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Training for the Inca Trail: A Journey of Preparation and Discovery

The Inca Trail—an iconic journey through history and nature, leading to the majestic wonder of Machu Picchu. For years, it has beckoned adventurers and history buffs alike with promises of breathtaking landscapes and unparalleled cultural immersion. 

As an office manager with a thirst for adventure, I embarked on a six-month journey of preparation to tackle the 4-day, 3-night trek along the ancient path of the Incas. Here, I share my experiences, from the meticulous preparations to the profound realizations gained along the way.

Why I Chose the Inca Trail

llamas in peru inca trail guide

The decision to embark on the Inca Trail wasn’t made lightly. It’s not just about the destination—it’s about the journey itself. The allure of walking in the footsteps of ancient civilizations, surrounded by the stunning beauty of the Andes, was too enticing to resist. Moreover, the promise of reaching Machu Picchu at sunrise, after days of challenging trekking, added an extra layer of magic to the experience.

Preparing for the Inca Trail Hike

cardio training


Months before setting foot on the trail, I delved into extensive research. From understanding the historical significance of the trail to studying the terrain and climate conditions, every detail mattered. 

I familiarized myself with the itinerary, the campsites, and the altitude challenges we’d face along the way. Learning about the Inca civilization and the significance of Machu Picchu deepened my appreciation for the journey ahead.

Booking the Trip

Securing a spot on the Inca Trail requires meticulous planning. With permits in high demand and limited availability, I booked my trip well in advance to ensure I wouldn’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

The peace of mind that came with having everything arranged early on was invaluable. Coordinating travel logistics, including flights to Cuzco and accommodations in the region, ensured a seamless experience from start to finish.

Get more information: A 5-Step Guide to Booking Your Peru Inca Trail Adventure

Getting Gear and Supplies

Equipping myself with the right gear was crucial for a successful trek. From sturdy hiking boots to lightweight yet durable clothing, I invested in quality equipment that would withstand the rigors of the trail. 

Additionally, stocking up on essentials like water purification tablets, energy bars, and altitude sickness medication ensured I was prepared for whatever challenges lay ahead. Packing efficiently and minimizing unnecessary items helped keep my backpack lightweight and manageable throughout the trek.

How I Trained for My Inca Trail Hike

exercising and physical training for the inca trek

Physical Training

Preparing my body for the demands of the trail required a comprehensive fitness regimen. I focused on building endurance through cardio exercises like running and cycling, while also incorporating strength training to tackle the steep ascents and descents. 

Weekend hikes in nearby trails served as invaluable practice runs, allowing me to gauge my progress and adjust my training accordingly. Incorporating elevation training, either through stair climbing or altitude simulation, helped acclimate my body to the high altitudes we would encounter along the trail.

Mental Training

More than just a physical challenge, the Inca Trail presented a test of mental resilience. To prepare myself mentally, I practiced mindfulness and meditation, learning to embrace discomfort and stay focused in the face of adversity. 

Visualizing myself conquering each segment of the trail helped build confidence and alleviate any pre-trek jitters. Additionally, maintaining a positive mindset and staying adaptable to unforeseen challenges proved instrumental in navigating the highs and lows of the trek.

The Inca Trail Trek Experience

Day 1

Setting off from Cuzco before the crack of dawn, anticipation hung in the air as we made our way to the starting point of the trail. 

The first day’s trek to Wayllabamba Camp was a gentle introduction to the rugged beauty of the Andes, with each step bringing us closer to the heart of the ancient Inca civilization. Along the way, our knowledgeable guide shared insights into the flora, fauna, and history of the region, enriching our understanding of the landscapes unfolding before us.

Day 2

With the most challenging segment of the trail ahead, we rose to the occasion with determination. The ascent to Dead Woman’s Pass tested our physical limits, but the awe-inspiring vistas that greeted us at the summit made every step worth it. 

Descending to Pacaymayo Camp, we reveled in the camaraderie forged through shared triumphs and challenges. Along the way, we encountered local porters and fellow trekkers, exchanging stories and encouragement as we tackled the rugged terrain together.

Day 3

As we trekked towards Wiñayhuayna Camp, the trail unveiled its hidden treasures in the form of ancient archaeological sites and lush high jungle landscapes. 

Each archaeological marvel served as a poignant reminder of the rich history embedded in these rugged mountains, fueling our sense of wonder and curiosity. Despite the physical exertion, there was a palpable sense of joy and gratitude among our group as we marveled at the ingenuity of the Inca civilization and the natural beauty of our surroundings.

Day 4

The culmination of our journey was within reach as we embarked on the final stretch towards Machu Picchu. Greeting the sunrise from the iconic Sun Gate, the sight of the ancient citadel bathed in golden light was nothing short of surreal. 

Exploring the ruins with a knowledgeable guide, I felt a profound sense of connection to the past, realizing that some experiences defy words and can only be felt with the heart. Despite the crowds, there was a sense of reverence among visitors as we explored the ancient terraces, temples, and plazas that make up this UNESCO World Heritage Site.


machu picchu fog

As I stood atop Machu Picchu, surrounded by the remnants of an ancient civilization, I couldn’t help but reflect on the journey that had brought me here. The Inca Trail had tested my limits, both physically and mentally, but it had also revealed the resilience and strength that lay within. 

Moreover, it had instilled in me a deep appreciation for the natural beauty of the Andes and the enduring legacy of the Inca civilization. In conquering the trail, I had not only fulfilled a dream but also gained a newfound perspective on life’s challenges and the power of perseverance. The experience had reaffirmed my belief in the transformative power of travel and the importance of stepping outside one’s comfort zone to embrace new adventures and discoveries.

Final Word

The Inca Trail is more than just a trek—it’s a transformative journey through history, nature, and the human spirit. From the rugged beauty of the Andes to the ancient wonders of Machu Picchu, every step is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the enduring legacy of the Incas. 

As I bid farewell to this remarkable adventure, I carry with me memories that will last a lifetime and a newfound appreciation for the wonders of the world waiting to be explored. Whether it’s conquering ancient trails or embarking on new adventures, the spirit of exploration and discovery will continue to guide me on my journey through life.

Check out Bamba Travel’s free itinerary to the Inca Trail in Peru below:

Red Obero

Guest post written by Red Obero

Meet Red Obero, the office manager with a wanderlust soul. While she’s a master at organizing chaos in the workplace, her true passion lies in exploring the world beyond office walls.