Regardless of how you choose to reach Machu Picchu, there is no denying that the citadel is an amazing place to visit. It is a tourist attraction that draws in visitors by the thousands each day and even surpasses expectations.
Whether you intend to do the Inca trail or travel by bus and train, you don’t want to be overladen with luggage. Here is our advice for a must-pack list.
Backpack. A solid backpack is a must and in fact, the smaller, the better. Most hotels in Cusco and surrounding area allow you to store larger luggage items while you visit Machu Picchu so make sure you have a small backpack or daypack at hand.
Water bottle. Of course, if you intend to do the Inca trail or another hike, you will need a water bottle or bag. Even day visitors will need a steady supply of water. Staying hydrated is one of the most important things during this visit.
Rain jacket/Light jacket. Depending on the time of year (wet summer season: October to March and dry winter season, April to September), a rain jacket or light jacket will keep you dry and warm and is a must during the rainy season. The weather can be very changeable, hence wearing layers of clothing is recommended.
Sun hat and sunglasses. While Machu Picchu is at a lower altitude compared to Cusco, it still sits at 2,430m above sea level. Therefore, a hat and sunglasses are advisable to avoid getting sunburnt. Even when it is cloudy the sunrays are strong and you may not notice that you are getting burnt: taking the necessary precautions is important.
Sunscreen and lip balm. A high SPF sunscreen and a lip balm with SPF to help hydrate and protect your lips and skin are also necessary as you wander through the ruins. Again you must ensure you keep hydrated at all times.
Camera. A good quality camera is a must to capture the beauty of Machu Picchu. The views are spectacular, and you will want to take that all-important selfie to show you were there.
Gloves. Depending on the time of year you will climb the peak, you might wish to have a pair of gloves– even better if waterproof.
Swimsuit. This item might surprise you, but Aguas Calientes has hot springs and you might enjoy a dip in the naturally warm waters.
Packing for the Inca Trail
If you intend hiking, you will need the following items, over and above what we have already mentioned. We recommend a sleeping mat, sleeping bag, quality hiking gear including hiking boots, walking stick, flashlight or headlamp, comfortable clothing including hiking trousers, insect spray, earplugs, personal toiletries including wet wipes, medication, toothbrush and toothpaste, as well as snacks for the journey such as energy bars. Trekking from December to January is not recommended because of weather conditions. The Inca Trail closes every year during February for maintenance.