Hi. Does anybody know if it is possible to hike the inca trail in anything but boots? Im going to be travelling around south america for 2-3 months afterwards and as i'll be trying to travel light, im not sure if its the best idea that I take my big pair of raichle boots, as I would have to carry them around for a long time.
I was thinking on maybe getting a pair of walking shoes such as the North face M Solar 200 GTX Mid.
possible, but I wouldn't recommend it at all. You run a major risk of spraining your ankle.
I wouldn't recommend also not to use boots. Good ones are very light, even when expensive, but i'm the kind of person that can spend half the salary in a pair of boots but then love them for years and take them off hardly to sleep, even in the heat, but goodd ones shouldn't be a problem either. The third day, when you have to go downstairs there is risk not just to sprain an ancle, specially when your muscles are already tired and specially if the trail is wet (and is not unusual to have light rain in any month of the year)
You wouldn't be seening always the same landscape, so don't worry to get bored, every day is a differen challenge and scenario.
A good advice is to buy walking sticks, surely you don't want to be carryng them all your travel, but kids sell them at the beggining of the trail. Buy TWO of them, you are not just gonna be safer, they help a lot to distribute the forces and the weight ond you will end less tired that without them
You can also check this website. They give a lot of useful information and an interactive map, so you can have a better idea. It is great! www.inca-trail.com.pe. Altitudes are also clearly explained. Enjoy!
Im travelling for over 7 months in South America and will be hiking in such places as Patagonia, Central Andes and the amazon.
Im leaving with a pair of boots and pair of sandles and thats it. My boots although maroon in coloour I shall use as my going out attire. I figure if women are gunna judge me by whats on my feet then there not worth the effort anyway.
I got a pair of full leather boots that retail for A$360 for A$186. What a bargain.
By the way. Im doing the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. maybe an extra day or 2 but there will be no crowds, half the price and the scenery is just the same. I think you gotta be a bit fitter to do this though.
make that a LOT fitter. Salkantay is actually challenging, quite unlike the Inca trail. It has one leg in it that goes up very steeply; I was in the company of two otherwise relatively fit smokers, who had to quit there.
The Inca Trail is difficult on the first day for anyone who has a low-moderate level of fitness. I am quite fit and I found Day 1 a shock to the system, probably because I'd spent the first month of my trip sitting on my ass in hostels drinking beer.
Day 2 - you're pretty damn tired the next morning, and then it's a short but tough climb to the top of Lady's Pass (the highest point on the trail). After that, it's mainly a descent with a few short upward hikes.
Day 3 - down, down, down, - hard on the knees but worth it all for the scenery and reaching the next camp which has showers! and beer!
Day 4 - very early rise, sore muscles, short 2hr hike to Machu Piccu. The minute you come to the SunGate and see it before you, you forget about any aches and pains you have.
I found the Inca Trail to be a bit of a spiritual experience for me. It was definitely one of the most enjoyable things I have ever done, but it is difficult on your body if you are not usually very active.
Bring either good hiking sandals or a pair of sturdy boots. I was very glad of my boots for the ankle support, especially for Day 3 when we had such a long descent.
Bring absolutely as little as possible. YOu need hardly anything. Some ppl just wear the same clothes for the whole trek - a bit gross yeah, but I was envying them at the time.
Essentials: Baby Wipes, CHocolate to boost you, Cocoa Leaves (yes they taste weird but they really help), Toilet Paper, Camera, Plasters and Pressure Foam Padding just in case you get blisters. And get yoruself a walking stick - you will be glad of it, believe me.
Dont be put off by anyone who says its too hard. Equally, there will always be ppl who find these things "easy". FOr the average individual with a moderate level of fitness, it is a long hard climb which is worth every second of it.