It’s very important to know that Peru is a land of extremes. You will need layers of clothing for a day hike, a swimsuit to the beach, and a thick alpaca blanket on a cold night in the Andes. Here is a comprehensive packing list that will allow you to pack your travel bag.
Whether this is your first trip or your hundredth trip, it’s always helpful to have a rundown of what items you may want to pack so you have a travel checklist. Bookmark this packing list, because you’ll want to refer back to it to make sure you’ve thought of everything you might want to pack. We even have trip-specific resources at the end.
The Inca Trail Packing list
- Passport – You MUST take your passport and a photocopy is not sufficient. (Keep it in a plastic bag in case of rain).
Sleeping bag – You will need a good warm sleeping bag for the Inca Trail trek. Where possible we recommend you bring your own sleeping bag, however adequate ones can be hired locally (for approx. US$30) for the entire trek.
- Silk sleeping bag liner – Especially recommended if you plan to hire a sleeping bag but can also give your own bag added warmth
Waterproof, well worn-in walking boots – Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn in and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing is recommended but if you already have something comfortable with good grip on rocks then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well worn in pair!
- Waterproof clothing – A plastic poncho is recommended and can be purchased locally for approximately US$1. Some trekkers also like to bring waterproof trousers, however a poncho will usually be sufficient if it covers your bag, body and most of your legs.
- Small lightweight umbrella – Light umbrellas which pack away to almost nothing can be useful to keep away drizzle.
- Plastic bags – to keep your belongings and clothes dry (wrap everything in plastic bags).
- Toilet paper – Most important! Also small plastic bags for rubbish which can then be thrown in the main rubbish bag provided by the porters.
- Small towel and basic personal toiletries – there is an opportunity for a shower at the campsite on the third night so bring travel size shampoo and shower gel if you would like to use it, plus wetwipes for the rest of the trek.
- Water bottle – bring one large (1.5 litre) or two or three small water bottles that can be refilled on the trail with boiled water, which will be supplied when possible.
- Warm clothing for night time – Fleece, long pants, woollen hat, gloves
- Thermal underwear – If trekking in winter or you feel the cold
- Walking clothing in layers – e.g. zip off trousers, fleece, T-shirts
- Personal medication and basic first aid kit – Bandaids, Imodium, Panadol, rehydration sachets
- Camera and spare batteries, memory cards or film – Please note: there are no electrical outlets on the Inca Trail so make sure you fully charge or/and have spare batteries!
- Snacks – Chocolates, chips, biscuits, energy bars. Snacks are provided during the trek but you may like to bring one or two extras just in case.
- Torch (flash-light) – (Very Important) and spare batteries.
- Sunscreen, sunglasses and sunhat
- Tropical strength insect repellant
- Antiseptic hand gel
- Swimwear for Aguas Calientes hot pools – Towels can be hired there for 3 soles.
- Flipflops / thongs / jandals – If you wish to have a shower on the third night.
Machu Picchu Packing List:
First on your packing list for your trip to Cusco, you should be an open mind and a sense of humour! Don’t come with too many preconceived ideas about what Peru is like; this way your trip will open you up to incredible new horizons and possibilities.
Bring as little as possible. Don’t worry, if you forget something, you can probably buy it in Cusco once you arrive. Tourist shops abound selling a whole range of items from water bottles and first aid kits to hiking gear. You can also rent hiking equipment in Cusco, which can be a good option if you don’t want to travel to Peru with a whole lot of heavy hiking and camping gear.
Cusco and Machu Picchu Packing List:
After asking to our customers who have been traveling around Cusco & Machu Picchu we have come up with our definitive list of what to pack for a trip to Cusco & Machu Picchu.
- A GOOD PAIR OF HIKING BOOTS OR WALKING SHOES.- This is not the place to bring those high heels ladies! Steps and uneven cobble stone surfaces abound and if it rains the stones can get slippery.
- A PONCHO FOR THOSE DOWNPOURS.- The weather changes very quickly here. An ideal solution is to carry a good quality poncho in your daypack at all times particularly during the rainy season from November / March. (You can buy ponchos in any of the tourist shops in Cusco but the quality isn’t always great.)
- A WARM JACKET.- Evenings and mornings can be very cold particularly between June – September so a good quality, waterproof and ideally windproof jacket is ideal. Another good option is a warm fleece which you can wear under a light-weight waterproof, windproof jacket.
- GOOD QUALITY SUNSCREEN AND A SUNHAT.- Due to the altitude and Peru’s location close to the Equator frequent application of sunscreen is advised to avoid any nasty sunburn. Be warned, even when it’s cloudy here you can get very burnt.
- BRING CLOTHES THAT YOU CAN LAYER.- Cool mornings mean you may want to wrap up as you set off for a day’s exploring, however by 11am you might want to strip down to a t-shirt and shorts. Warm layers and trousers that can be unzipped into shorts are great. You will only need a couple of changes of clothes as you can get washing done anywhere cheaply.
- A DAY-PACK TO CARRY ALL YOUR BITS AND PIECES.- ideally with a hip strap to make long days hiking and exploring more comfortable.
- A WATER BOTTLE.- Plastic disposal is a real problem in the Sacred Valley so we recommend you buy large bottles and refill water into your own re-useable bottle.
- SMALL FIRST AID KIT FOR BASIC CUTS AND BRUISES AND TUMMY UPSETS.- Pharmacies abound in Cusco and other small towns in the Sacred Valley where you can buy basic first aid and medical supplies. Do make sure however, that you bring enough of any prescription medicine you might need as some brands and types of medicine might not be available in Peru. Good rule of thumb is to bring enough prescription medicine to cover you for the length of your trip plus an extra week in case you get delayed.
- A spare pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses plus a copy of your prescription is a good idea.
- SMALL POCKET SIZE TORCH.
- Earplugs for when you are stuck in a noisy room or want to sleep on the bus or plane.
- A DUCKPACK.- or rainproof covering for your daypack or backpack is a must particularly if you are travelling during the rainy season to avoid wet clothes and personal items. This is particularly important if you are going to be doing any multi-day hiking including the Inca Trail.
- A HAT, SCARF AND GLOVES FOR THOSE COLD MORNINGS AND EVENINGS.- You can buy fabulous Peruvian style hats and gloves at the local markets so don’t worry if you forget to bring these with you.
- PACK YOUR TOILETRIES IN ZIP LOCK BAGS.- For some reason the altitude can cause shampoo and other bottles to pop leaving a nasty mess in your bag, Pack all toiletries in sealed bags to avoid any unnecessary mess.
- INSECT REPELLENT.- particularly if you plan on going trekking or visiting Machu Picchu.
- CAMERA.- with lots of memory and battery for all those great shots you are definitely going to want to take.
- Take enough padlocks for every double zipper to stop wandering hands and lock up your important belongings, even in your hotel room.