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Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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Road Scholar
Program #19937RJ
12 Days | 11 Nights
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Bev Schrage Mar 27, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Hi, my husband & I have just booked for the October 14th trip. We are coming from Colorado. Anyone else booked for Oct?

Jody Gebhardt Mar 04, 2014 at 09:48 AM

We are two coming from Northern Arizona for the September trek. Although we live at 4000 ft, and frequently hike at 6000 ft, we plan a number of higher hikes and camping. We are lucky to have some great places to train. Anyone else going on the September trek.
Jay Simons Mar 18, 2014 at 04:48 PM

Hi Jody ...we are two coming from SoCal for the Sept 9 trip. Hiking the Sierra's and White Peak (White Mtns) for fun and training. Jay Simons & Sheri Ann Cate
Jody Gebhardt Mar 20, 2014 at 10:59 PM

Sounds great. See you in September.

Helen Berkman Feb 19, 2014 at 07:30 PM

There are 4 of us coming from Denver and we will bone up on our knowledge of altitude sickness so we can try and keep the rest of you healthy! As far as clothing, personally I would stress layers (all poly, no cotton), and a down or fleece vest, but not a down jacket. Likely that will be too hot and bulky. Instead, a HAT (fleece or wool), Gore-Tex jacket (or similar) with a hood, plus a packable poncho. When I start my real packing list, I would be happy to post it.

Bette McKown Feb 19, 2014 at 06:48 PM

I completed this trip in October 2013 without high altitude experience, but I did take altitude sickness pills as prescribed, and stayed hydrated. Our guides helped us adjust to the altitude during hikes planned for the first few days in country, prior to embarking on the Inca Trail. Definitely use poles and proceed at your own pace. It is challenging, but well worth it!

Rosanna Kennedy Feb 16, 2014 at 08:11 PM

We are on the May 6-17 2014 trip and live in the SF Bay Area. Anyone else going from our area? It would be fun to meet up before the trip..... Neil and Rosanna Kennedy
Helen Berkman Feb 19, 2014 at 07:19 PM

Hi Rosanna - there are 4 of us coming from Denver. Plus I hear there is one from Vancouver, but i don't know of anyone yet from the Bay area. I look forward to meeting you!

Robert Whaley Feb 16, 2014 at 10:58 AM

We would really like to take this trip, but are concerned about the altitude and the other physical challenges. So we are thinking of first tackling a similar trip in the US as a trial; either: #20760RJ (Wallowa Mnts) or #9883RJ (Mummy Range) to tune up and to verify that we could tolerate the Inca Trail. Would like to get some comparison between these trips, has anyone here done the Inca trail and one of these others? Can you give advice on the which one of these might be closest to the Inca Trail in terms of physical demands?
Mike Chesnut Feb 16, 2014 at 12:38 PM

We had hiked extensively in Colorado and Wyoming before taking the r
Mike Chesnut Feb 16, 2014 at 12:45 PM

We have hiked extensively at high altitude before attempting the inca trail in 2012. Everyone in our group completed the trip and not everyone has prior experience, but I would recommend you have prior experience at high altitudes with 7 miles or so hiking as a test before scheduling the trip. I have hiked with friends at their first high altitude experience and most do well but a couple became sick and could not go over 11000 feet. As this inca trail trip is incredible, I would recommend previous experience to get maximum enjoyment from your trek.

Betsy Noyce Feb 14, 2014 at 02:29 PM

We took a lightweight down vest or jacket for the coldest morning. They compress so small, and are so lightweight that they were the perfect extra layer. Layers is definitely the way to go.
Your guide will be assessing your abilities and giving valuable advice throughout the trip. Our guide was knowledgeable, perceptive and flexible, a real treasure!
For those of you getting ready to go, you are in for the experience of a lifetime, I think. Retuning from our July trip , I have thought many times,"How could you top this trip?". For me the answer is, you can't. Enjoy!!

Betsy and Jeff

Madeleine Feb 14, 2014 at 01:35 PM

Regarding comments about . . . "it's really cold at night" on the Inca Trail . . . I am also concerned about that. I asked an REI rep for advice. I told him what I planned to wear, (as needed):
- a base layer (Duddl Duds ActiveLayer . . . or (as the REI rep suggested) a mid-weight Smartwool (merino wool) base layer to wear when it's really cold),
- microfiber pocketed vest,
- arm warmers (that you can pull up or down),
- Smartwool merino wool socks (over 'liner' socks to prevent blisters),'
- ankle-high hiking boots,
- wind / water resistant, high-quality fleece jacket,
- gloves,
- and a final layer . . . a lightweight O2 rainjacket & rain pants & backpack cover. (I plan to also take a waterproof poncho that will cover me and my backpack in case there is really heavy rain.)

The O2 rainwear is one of my favorites, but the material is fragile and can rip. I still wear it the most often when hiking or biking. It's so, so breathable, very lightweight / packable. If used alone or as a final layer, it will add additional warmth without making me hot. For info, see I had considered a Down or Primaloft jacket but that would have been too much (. . . or alternatives to the fleece jacket that I already have).

I tested the mid-weight Smartwool top last weekend when I hiked 4 hours in temps in the 30s - high 40s. Very nice temperature control. Didn't get too hot or cold. Hope this helps!
Betsy Noyce Feb 15, 2014 at 01:26 PM

Just keep in mind that, contrary to all the RS info-we were givena duffle bag for the porters to carry and a scale-6 kilos (13.2lbs) total-including the duffle. We had no problems, but we carried our raingear and a layer or two ourselves. I also took a DSLR camera and a 300mm lens on a belt. Jeff
Madeleine Feb 15, 2014 at 02:17 PM

Thanks! I've seen the discussions about how much the porters will carry per person and surmised it would be around 12 lbs (not including the duffle). Did you have access to your duffle bag at lunch (or only at the evening camp)? Was there anything you wish you had known before the trip . . . or would have done differently?
Betsy Noyce Feb 15, 2014 at 06:38 PM

Hi Madeleine,
Betsy Noyce Feb 15, 2014 at 06:41 PM

You may have access to your duffle at lunch if needed. There was nothing other than weight restirctions that was not forewarned in our trip planning. We had never used hiking poles before, and we both found them helpful especially on the down hill steps.There is nothing i would have done differrently, i think. Road Scholar really does an excellent job of preparation. If you have questions, do ask!!

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
11 nights of accommodations
31 meals: 11 breakfasts, 10 lunches, 10 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
7 Field trips
1 Performances
2 Flights during the program


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