Headed to the land of the Incas? Don’t forget to pack the essentials. Here is our best advice for what you need to bring to Machu Picchu, for both your day at the ruins themselves and the trek to get there.
Those who will be hiking to Machu Picchu, regardless of the trek or season, will need to bring the basics below, and then add on based on the season or trek.
General Machu Picchu Trek Packing List:
-Hiking Boots (those hiking the Inca Jungle during dry season can get away with running shoes)
-Plenty of extra socks
-Long athletic pants (Even during hot temperatures, wear pants to protect from aggressive mosquitoes)
-Hat (For those sensitive to the sun)
-Rain poncho (Be prepared no matter what the season!)
-Sandals (Or anything comfortable to put on in the evenings when you want to take off your hiking boots)
-Trash bag (To use as a laundry bag within your backpack)
-Comfortable backpack (Most treks will have hikers carrying their own packs, Lares & Inca Trail usually have donkeys to carry gear)
-Snacks (Things that will last through the hike such as nuts, protein bars, etc.)
-Light jacket (For evenings)
-Towel (For showering)
-Sleeping bag (If camping)
-Cameras, chargers, memory cards & extra batteries (Especially if camping- You will not have anywhere to charge your electronics)
-Adapter & Converter (If not camping)
-An empty smaller backpack (to use for the day at Machu Picchu)
-Cash (Ask your trek how much they recommend, and bring a little more just in case. There are no ATMs along the trek routes. Even when “everything is included”, there will always be little things you may need cash for).
In addition to these basics, you’ll need to add a few things depending on which season you’re visiting Machu Picchu during. While temperatures don’t vary too drastically, the differing rain levels between the dry and rainy seasons are going to have the biggest impact on what you need to bring.
Rainy Season Packing List Additions:
The rainy season spans from November to April, and the most severe weather will be during January and February. Anyone visiting during the rainy season should make sure to pack in case of rain- those during December- February should plan for it each day, to be on the safe side.
-Poncho (Maybe splurge for one that’s more heavy-duty; Ideally, find one that can fit over your backpack as well.)
-Trash bags (If your poncho doesn’t fit over your backpack, you can use a trash bag. It’s also recommended to have your things inside the backpack inside a trash bag as a backup.)
-Ziploc bags (Make sure to seal all of your valuables and electronics in individual plastic bags)
-Waterproof pants (For those in the peak of the rainy season or one more advanced treks)
-Waterproof Jacket (Also, for those on more advanced treks –such as Salkantay- because a poncho may not be enough)
-Shirts that can be layered
Read more: Visiting Huayna Picchu: The Best View of Machu Picchu
Dry Season Packing List Additions:
If you’re visiting during the dry (but sometimes colder) season, you will also have a few packing list add-ons to keep in mind. The dry season spans from April to October, and the peak of it is from June-August. We recommend everyone bring a poncho year round, just in case, but your focus will be more on keeping warm in the cooler evenings than preparing for wet weather.
-Moderately warm jacket (for evenings)
-Plenty of sunscreen
-Allergy medicine (for those with seasonal allergies, everything is blooming during this time)
-Sleeping bag (Optional for those not camping: If you get cold easily and are worried your accommodations may not have enough blankets, bring a small sleeping bag)
-Layers of long and short sleeve shirts (This is when you get that Andean weather that is hot in the bright sun and very cool in the shade)
What to Bring to Machu Picchu
For your day at the site, you will definitely want a smartly-packed day pack. Leave your large backpack in your hotel or hostel, and just bring your small one. For the snacks and drinks, we recommend buying everything at some point along the trek before you hit Aguas Calientes- prices are significantly higher there due to the limited supply and high demand. Keep in mind that you can purchase things on Machu Picchu, but prices are high and the restaurant and shop are outside the park, so you will need to exit, wait in line, and re-enter every time you need something which is very inconvenient due to the crowds and size.
Machu Picchu Day Packing List:
-Plenty of water. (Make sure it is in a reusable bottle, there are no trash cans and sometimes they will take away plastic ones).
-A sack lunch and snacks (Make it hearty if you’re climbing the stairs up or plan to stay all day)
-Sunscreen and bug spray
-Wear long pants to avoid the many mosquitoes
-Cameras with plenty of battery and memory
-Cash (In case you will want to buy food, drinks or souvenirs at the top.)
-Your Passport (This is optional, but they will give you a Machu Picchu stamp in your passport for free if you want it!)
Stuff all of these in your best backpack, and head off to see this Wonder of the World as prepared as you can be! Feel free to comment below with any other packing hacks you want to share with other travelers.