Hiking the Inca Trail is a bucket-list adventure for many outdoor enthusiasts and history buffs alike. March, in particular, presents a unique opportunity to embark on this ancient Inca trail Hike since March is the end of the rainy season in Cusco so recommended hiking the last week of March, despite the potential challenges it brings. In this blog post, we will explore the pros and cons of hiking the Inca Trail in March, providing you with valuable information to help you make an informed decision about your trekking plans in Cusco Peru.
Things to Know
Before diving into the specifics of hiking the Inca Trail in March, let’s cover some essential details you should be aware of:
- The Inca Trail is a renowned 26-mile (42-kilometer) trek through the Peruvian Andes, culminating at the awe-inspiring ruins of Machu Picchu.
- Permits are required to hike the Inca Trail, and they often sell out months in advance. Make sure to secure your permit well ahead of time and you can get just from an authorized local tour companies like Andean Soul Adventure.
- March is considered the end of the rainy season in the Cusco region, so be prepared for rainy conditions it won’t be as bad as in the middle of the rainy season but you need to be prepared.
- The trail is limited to 500 visitors per day, including guides and porters, which helps preserve the environment and maintain a sense of solitude on the trail.
- Physical fitness is crucial, as the trek involves challenging terrain and high altitudes with a lot of stairs up and down.
Why Hike Inca Trail in March (Pros)
While March may not be the most popular time to hike the Inca Trail, it offers several advantages for those seeking a unique experience:
- Lush landscapes: The rainy season brings vibrant greenery and blooming flowers along the trail, transforming the scenery into a breathtaking spectacle.
- Fewer crowds: Compared to the peak months of May to September, March sees fewer hikers on the trail, allowing for a more tranquil and personal journey.
- Availability of permits: As the demand for permits is slightly lower in March, it can be easier to secure one for your desired trekking dates.
- Cultural experiences: March coincides with Holy Week or Semana Santa in Cusco, offering a chance to witness traditional celebrations and immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.
Why Not Hike Inca Trail in March (Cons)
While there are advantages to hiking the Inca Trail in March, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks:
- Rainy weather: March brings increased rainfall especially the first week of March and less on the last week, which can result in muddy and slippery conditions on the trail. Proper gear, including waterproof clothing and sturdy footwear, is essential to enjoy your Inca trail tour.
- Landslides: The combination of rain and steep slopes increases the risk of landslides along certain sections of the trail. Staying updated on weather conditions and following the guidance of experienced guides is crucial.
- Limited visibility: Fog and mist can obscure the panoramic vistas that the Inca Trail is renowned for, potentially impacting your overall trekking experience overall the vistas will be more mystical because of the clouds.
- Temperature fluctuations: March sees varying temperatures, from cool mornings to warmer afternoons. Layering your clothing is recommended to adapt to changing weather conditions.
Weather on the Inca trail in Mach
In March, the weather in the region can be unpredictable. The average temperature ranges from 45°F (7°C) in the evenings to 68°F (20°C) during the day. However, it’s essential to note that temperatures can vary widely due to the high altitude, weather conditions, and microclimates along the trail. Be prepared for rain showers and pack accordingly.
To maximize your experience hiking the Inca Trail in March, here are some recommendations:
Pack appropriately: Bring waterproof and breathable clothing, sturdy hiking boots, and a rain cover for your backpack. Also, don’t forget essentials like a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle.
- Train for your trek: Prioritize physical fitness and endurance training before embarking on the Inca Trail. Focus on cardiovascular exercises, such as hiking, running, or cycling, to prepare your body for the demands of the trail.
- Acclimatize to the altitude: Cusco, the starting point for the Inca Trail, is situated at a high altitude. Arriving a few days early to acclimate to the altitude can help reduce the risk of altitude sickness and ensure a more enjoyable trekking experience to Machu Picchu.
- Hire a knowledgeable guide: Engaging the services of an experienced guide is highly recommended. They will not only provide valuable insights into the history and culture of the region but also navigate the trail safely and efficiently.
- Choose a reputable tour operator: Research and select a reputable tour operator that adheres to sustainable and responsible tourism practices. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations can help you make an informed decision. Book our 4-Day Inca Trail or Short Inca Trail 2 Days
- Be environmentally conscious: Respect the natural surroundings and follow the principles of Leave No Trace. Minimize your impact by properly disposing of waste and refraining from damaging or removing any artifacts or plants along the trail leaving only a footprint only.
March Events in Cusco
March coincides with Holy Week or Semana Santa in Cusco, adding a cultural dimension to your Inca Trail adventure. This religious celebration includes processions, street performances, and traditional rituals, providing a unique glimpse into the local customs and traditions. Participating in these events can enhance your overall experience and offer a deeper understanding of the region’s rich heritage.
In conclusion, hiking the Inca Trail in March presents both advantages and challenges. The lush landscapes, fewer crowds, and cultural experiences make it an enticing time to undertake this remarkable hike in South America.