How to prepare for Machu Picchu

How to prepare for Machu Picchu

It’s no secret that a trek to Machu Picchu is an arduous journey that requires plenty of physical preparation. In general, you can expect to be hiking anywhere between 8-20 kilometres a day. It might sound easy to some, but it's worth noting there will be steep ascents and descents involved. 

No matter what route you choose, each trek will be a challenge, but the experience will be one that you will share stories of for years to come. 

Physical training

You might have already guessed there would be some physical preparation involved, but your training regime doesn’t need to feature hours of hard work in the gym. There are plenty of ways for you to prepare for your journey to Machu Picchu, and how you train is completely up to you. Some of the suggested activities to help increase your overall strength and fitness include walking, hiking, swimming, cycling, or running. 

Mental preparation

There will be moments during your trek to Machu Picchu where you will struggle to repeatedly place one foot in front of the other. This is when your mental stamina will be tested, and this can be challenging for some people to prepare for. Consider joining a fun-run or maybe even a half marathon before your trek so you can test your mental stamina and push to the finish. This experience, which places you out of your comfort zone, will help give you something to draw on when fatigue starts to appear during your trek. Another tip for when you’re running low on energy during your trek is to use positive mantras while focusing on your breath. This will help to focus your mind as it starts to wander. Practice the use of these mantras in your daily routine before you hike to find what works for you. 

Altitude preparation

Preparing to trek at a high altitude is the hardest element to prepare for, and altitude sickness can strike even the fittest individuals. Before you set foot on the trails in the Sacred Valley, the best way to prepare is to make sure you spend ample time in Cusco, which is actually set at a higher altitude of 3,399m than the Machu Picchu site, which sits at 2,430m. Another way to help combat the effects of altitude sickness is to carry altitude sickness pills, spend 2-4 days in Cusco before you trek, and chew on coca leaves as you hike (a local's tip).