inca trail - how fit do i have to be?

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean inca trail - how fit do i have to be?

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Last Post This thread is marked as being about Peru
1. Posted by george1979 (Full Member 101 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi guys,

I will be in Peru from Late April and was looking at doing the Inca Trail but i am not exactly "athletic" so i am concerned about whether i will be able to handle it. Have looked at the various packages and the "classic" 4 day trek seems to be most popular and have also seen the shorter 2 day trek. Since i am quite unfit (am trying to get my fitness level up b4 travels but it is SO boring), and given the altitude, i am thinking about doing the train+bus option thru SAS Travel. Would rather not take this option as it seems, from other posts, that the hike is an essential part of the experience.
Perhaps someone has done the shorter 2 day hike and could enlighten me as to how challening this is?
Thanks in advance.

2. Posted by george1979 (Full Member 101 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Also meant to ask - what exactly is the vistadome upgrade in these inca tours?

3. Posted by boreal2673 (Respected Member 345 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Well you have to be in reasonable shape. This is a bit difficult to give advice on because everything is relative. You can hire a porter to carry your gear so that should make it easier. The altitude is another unknown variable. It really bothers some people and others are fine. To get an idea I would do a hike before you book the trail. The trail should be up and and down and roundtrip should be around 6 miles. If you are miserable doing that, I suggest taking the train instead. If you complete it fine then you should be ok. Just remember, hiking the Inca Trail is suppossed to be fun, not a chore. If you decide to do the hike, I would go with SAS. Brent

4. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi George,

Because the Inca Trail is such an amazing experience, travellers never really tell you how hard it is! The ones you talk to are still experiencing post-Macchu Piccu euphoria or something.

Honestly, I found the first day really hard (not impossible though :) )
I'm pretty fit and was used to regular hiking in Ireland before I left home. After the first day though, it defintiely gets easier, as you get used tothe altitude.
By Day 3 I was like a racehorse! and was loving every minute of it.

On Day 4 I was a cripple as my muscles just seized completely and I limped to the sungate.

It is hard to say how you will find it really. There were people of all age groups of my tour, and none were particularly athletic. Two of the leanest of the group were the worst affected by the altitude and found the going very rough.

Ironically, smokers seem to do a little better at the altitude. I found no effects from it really. One girl in our group who was quite overweight had to turn back after the first two hours.

I think as long as you are not too heavy, have a moderate level of fitness, and just take it at your own pace you'll be fine. :)

5. Posted by george1979 (Full Member 101 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

thanks for the advice guys. I think given my level of fitness i will either go for the short 2 day hike or cheat and use the train .
Kind of annoying that the permit has to be arranged before i go otherwise i could wait to see how the altitude affects me etc.
Oh well - as long as i get to see Macchu Picchu i suppose that is the important thing.

6. Posted by Jason316uk (Budding Member 11 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!


If you dont mind me asking, which tour company did you use for the Inca tour......

Whilst there did you hear of any other good companies. Trying to book something for late April.

Your assistance would be appreciated.



7. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Hi Jason,

I did the trek with United Mice - slightly pricer than a lot of other companies but very reputable. :)

If you go with them, try and get on Raul's group. He was a great guide.

Another company that a lot of people seemed v happy with was SAS.

There are a LOT of tour operators so you wont be stuck for choice, but I wuold really recommend United Mice. ;)

8. Posted by vxmike (Budding Member 64 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

I'm curious about this as well. I'm wondering if anyone could compare the Inca Trail to something like the Grand Canyon? I've done the GC in August (100 degrees) but the altitude is probably less.

9. Posted by zellyuk (Budding Member 22 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

i have just finished the 4day inca trail treck and found it bloody hard!! the 1st day was tough, but ups and downs. the 2nd day is by far the toughest, 4hrs constant uphill. we were with flamenco tours, and i have to say they were fantastic. porters carried our bags so we only had our day packs. the meals were amazing. 3 and 4 courses for every meal and the food was superb! how the cooks managed it along the trail is still baffeling! our guide Santiago had done the trail 650times and was still so enthusiastic!
we unfortunately had bad weather which meant it rained the whole way and the views were therefore non existant at times (especially the 3rd day which is meant to be the most scenic).
but, like said previously, you do feel a sense of machu picchu euphoria and once there, looking down from the sungate, its surreal. we hobbled around the site and were so so tired, but to say you have walked the inca trail is pretty amazing.
i wont be doing the trail again (once is enough), but i would definatley recommend it. i am not a fit person, and struggled at times, but i managed. dont chicken out, you will regret it!xx

10. Posted by george1979 (Full Member 101 posts) 13y Star this if you like it!

Already chickened out !!!
Booked the train tour over a week ago...didn't want to risk an injury or something 4 weeks into my trip. Would rather ease into it gently....i know its pathetic ;).