WEATHER ON THE INCA TRAIL
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop raining from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for 4 seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures.
The first day of the Inca Trail is quite warm. You will most likely want to hike in short sleeves and have a hat to protect you from the sun. Make sure you also have some sunscreen on. By the time you get to the campsite, you might need a fleece as the sun will soon be setting and then something even warmer for dinnertime. The temperature drop once the sun goes down is quite significant.
The second day you will need to have a few options in your daypack. As you climb to Dead Woman’s Pass the temperature will drop and you will begin that morning in short sleeves and probably want a heavier fleece or jacket at the top of the mountain. Also a nice wool cap may be nice. We always recommend layers, because by the time you get to lunch, after climbing down a huge amount of Inca stairs, you will be warm again and probably enjoy the short sleeve shirt you started with. And then its time to get back up in the mountains and grab that fleece. Just be prepared for weather changes. That evening, the campsite will be on the cooler side, so your warm jacket will come in handy.
The third day is your easy day and is all downhill. It will feel like it is going from Spring to Summer – so again be prepared with some lighter clothes. You may want a fleece to begin the hike, but by the end you will want to shed it. This campsite will be the warmest, so probably your heavier jacket will not be necessary.
Do not feel bad about re-wearing clothes. Everyone does it and everyone is camping in the Andes, so don’t feel shy about the lack of proper shower facilities. The only day you might want to have something special to wear is day four when you will visit the place you traveled to Peru to see – Machu Picchu. Make sure its light, it will be quite warm and usually very sunny – so sun hat, sunscreen, mosquito spray and short sleeves are recommended but wear something you want to see in LOTS of photos!