Gear List: Trekking Machu Picchu

Gear List: Trekking Machu Picchu


If a trek to Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains of Peru is on your near-term bucket list, you’ve got an amazing journey ahead of you, but you’re far from alone. 

The number of total daily visitors in Machu Picchu itself is capped at 2,500 and the number of Inca Trail hikers per day is capped at 500. 


Machu Picchu Guides, Fees and Permits

Choosing a Guide Company

(REI Adventures has several types of Machu Picchu trips available.) Be aware that limits on Inca Trail permits have led tour companies to develop alternative trekking routes where numbers are not capped, but they may not match the dizzying cloud-forest paths and spectacular archeological sites you find on this fabled world-class trek. 

What's included when you book: The trip cost typically includes fees for all of the necessary permits. Both Huyana Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain permits cost about $50. 

Tipping: Gratuities to guides and trekking support staff are encouraged but not always included, so check with your tour company. 

Travel insurance: While prices vary widely, a trek to Machu Picchu is a substantial investment. 


When to Book Your Trip

You need to book your trip six months or more in advance in order for your tour company to be able to secure the needed permits. 

Dry season: June through September is when you’re less likely to have rain. 

Wet season: October through April is the rainy season, when mudslides have happened in previous years and when muddy trails can present a challenge in any year. 

Regardless of the season you choose, the combination of high altitude, nearby rainforests and equatorial latitude creates weather conditions that can vary dramatically over the course of a single day. 


Preparing for Machu Picchu

Get any required vaccinations: Before traveling to Peru, make sure you’re up to date on needed vaccinations. Also talk to your doctor about other medicines you might need. 

Get in shape: The journey requires you to be in excellent physical shape. Machu Picchu itself is at just under 8,000 feet in elevation, but passes along the Inca Trail are more than 13,000 feet high, so you must prepare to hike at altitude.

Cusco, the starting point for most tours is 11,000 feet high, so spending a few days here will help acclimate you. 


Packing for Machu Picchu

Trekking to Machu Picchu involves a combination of international travel and backpacking. Many hotels here let you store bags, so clothing and essentials for other travel you plan to do before or after your trek can be packed in standard luggage. 

Know your weight limits: The Peruvian government regulates the maximum amount that each porter can carry, which impacts the weight your tour company allows in your duffel bag. 


Trekking Gear List for Machu Picchu

The following list is designed for a guided trek along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Essentials are omitted from the list below only because you cannot trek to Machu Picchu without utilizing a tour company that will be bringing those items. 

Travel Documents

  • Airline tickets (confirmation and itinerary)
  • International health card (immunizations listed)
  • Valid passport (needed many places, including Machu Picchu, where you get a souvenir stamp)

 Travel Equipment

Travel Clothing

Trekking Equipment

Trekking Clothing

Personal Items


  • Compact roll of toilet paper
  • Personal wipes / hygiene items
  • Washcloth
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush (travel size)
  • Toothpaste (travel size)
  • Dental floss
  • Sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Lip balm (SPF 30 or higher)
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Skin lotion
  • Spare eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • Prescription medications for traveler’s diarrhea, altitude sickness, malaria


Guide companies generally provide breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinking water during your trek. You’ll want to add to this by bringing snacks, drink mixes and energy foods. Check with your guide company to see what food is provided.

Source: Machu Picchu Trekking Gear List

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