What to pack for your tour of Machu Picchu

Wondering what to pack and wear on your tour to Machu Picchu? Start with its mysterious mountain location which hid the captivating tale of the Inca Empire and its lost city from the world for many centuries.  

Layers, layers, layers are important considerations for what to wear for Machu Picchu visits

This sprawling La Ciudadela (Citadel) would have been a hive of activity at the height of the empire’s influence. Today, this abandoned UNESCO-listed historic fortress attracts adventurers and history lovers keen to uncover its many secrets, some of which have yet to be revealed.

No trip to Peru would be complete without heading deep into the Andes Mountains to discover this lofty sanctuary. And on this high-altitude quest, you’ll be grateful you packed properly for the unpredictable weather, heat and humidity. Did someone say layers? 

GET INSPIRED BY: Land of the Incas

Preparing for your tour of Machu Picchu

You’ll feel like you’re on top of the world when you gaze down at the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu. The peaks of the Andes and lush rainforest surround you every step of the way.

View of Machu Picchu

It must have been the most extraordinary place when the Incas built it in the 15th century. Having been abandoned when the Spaniards conquered the Inca Empire a century later, its mysteries seem to cling to every crevasse of the structures that straddle the steep ridge to this day.

Pack comfortable walking shoes for your tour of Machu Picchu as you explore what remains of the Citadel, from the Temple of the Sun (Torreón) to the Principle Temple. Climb up to the Sun Gate and look down on the ruins from above. And, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, the dramatic views from Huayna Picchu are unbeatable.

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What to wear in Machu Picchu

Switch your shorts and t-shirts for loose, quick-drying items. While it may be warm, even hot, and sunny, your priority when planning what to wear in Machu Picchu should be to shield your skin from the unforgiving sun and insects.

Planning for vast temperatures is a good guide for what to pack for Machu Picchu

Also remember you’re at altitude and that means unpredictable weather and vast differences in temperature between day and night. How to pack for this eventuality at Machu Picchu is key. That means adding a few warm layers to your luggage and packing a good rain jacket or poncho.

Since it’s likely you’ll be doing a fair bit of walking, even if you don’t plan to hike the Inca Trail, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing comfortable footwear. This need not be hiking boots, but a sturdy, water resistant pair of walking shoes will do just as well – as long as your feet feel supported and stay dry.

While this bit of advice doesn’t extend to what to wear in Machu Picchu, it certainly is a must. Take care with your choice of a daypack. You’re going to want space for those extra layers, your reusable water bottle, microfibre towel and camera. Make sure it’s not too big that you’re tempted to overfill it.

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A local llama overlooks Machu Picchu

How to pack for Machu Picchu

Refillable water bottle

The Peruvians are pretty strict about what you’re allowed to bring on your tour to Machu Picchu. Single-use plastic bottles are strictly off limits so we recommend taking a reusable purifying water bottle with you.

Insect repellent

The sun may be harsh, but the resident bugs even more so. You’ll want to lather up with insect repellent and wear long trousers to ensure you’re not the main attraction. Enduring the awful itch for days is a not-so-lovely reminder of your tour to Machu Picchu.

Waterproofs

Consider a rain jacket when you're planning what to pack for Machu Picchu

Raincoat or poncho, you can’t go wrong carrying some form of waterproof in your daypack. While you’re at it, a small waterproof bag for your valuables and a microfibre towel will do just the trick to keep you dry. It’s just what you need if there’s an unexpected rain shower on your tour to Machu Picchu.

Over-the-counter medication

Stock up on your over-the-counter medication before you leave home. Add some high-altitude medication to the mix if you’re particularly sensitive to the effects of altitude, or even if you’re not sure. You will also be grateful for a stomach remedy, antihistamine and pain killers.

Keeping charged

Pack a universal power adapter as buildings in Peru often feature different power sockets. You’ll want to ensure you’re fully charged to capture those epic views at all times. You may also wish to carry a portable power bank around and, if space allows, a travel-smart multi-charger so that you can charge more than one device at a time using your adapter.

Ready to pack for your tour to Machu Picchu? Perhaps you’ve already explored the historic sanctuary. We’d love to hear some of your packing and dress trips for fellow adventurers heading that way in the comments below!

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