Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu and Aliens


This morning I woke up, and after being very ill the last week, I realised our trip to Peru is only 36 days away. Panic started to run through my veins as if it were scalding hot blood until I noticed how incredibly crap I still felt and decided to dismiss giving Peru any attention until now.

This trek has been my project for over 10 months, and while I studied international travel, culture, terrain; learned basic spanish and tried to pack I remember feeling like a scientist probing, prodding and testing an alien, and the Salkantay trek is its heart and to me the most exciting organ of all. With my instruments and determined nature, I picked and plucked and found my instruments were blunt which left me poking the outer shell, merely scratching the surface and getting no closer to Peru’s heart. I wanted to touch it and feel the beating pulse through my finger tips, but I couldn’t. My method was right, and the passion was there, but the instruments were wrong (they must have sent the wrong ones when I ordered my alien probe kit online). How could I get to the aliens heart if I couldn’t find the right instrument? Maybe I was looking at this wrong? I was. It is normal for Peru and its Salkantay Trek to feel Alien to me – I’ve never been there before!


I am the best instrument!

I can catch a plane to Cusco and walk the Salkantay trail and find every answer to every question I’ve asked google in the last 10 months. Finally, I can trek the Salkantay trail and hold natures heart and feel the beat as it will mine. Unlucky for those who want to discover if aliens have hearts and how they work!

I’ve even tried to induce “Salkantay Trek” dreams hoping to get a glimpse of what to expect – that didn’t work. If I wasn’t needed in the process of connecting with the unknown, there would be no need to travel, would there?

So, what do I pack on this very important journey into the unknown? What brands are right and what equipment is best suited for me? Am I thinking enough or too much? Should I have adopted a more careless approach? Either way I dissected this packing list with the only tools I had – common sense and the internet. I’m boarder lining confidence that I’ve prepped enough. I’ve chewed nails, scratched my head and bit my lip for months in this long tedious, however, exciting process, and I will only know if my packing list is an utter failure, mediocre or friggin’ awesome once I’m there. Hence my paragraph above and the reasoning about why I’ve moved on from trying to obtain answers that only I can answer when I see it for myself.

My overall point is that the internet only offers a guide, and the rest is up to you! Thus, my packing list into the Aliens heart *ahem* for the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is as follows:



Day Pack
  • Rain Coat/Jacket (apparently $2 ponchos won’t cut it)
  • Spare socks
  • Hat
  • Water Bottle 1L (with hole big enough to fit steri-pen)
  • Cameras
  • Spare Batteries
  • Power Monkey ( Portable charging device for iPhone, cameras and steri-pen)
  • First Aid Kit
  • Medication (Diamox for altitude sickness, painkillers and other essentials)
  • Passport and all travel documents
  • Waterproof packet for passport
  • Tipping money
  • Hydro-lyte (sachet’s added to drinking water)
  • Head sock
  • Trekking poles (Low-Mid range $160, can hire in Cusco)
  • Water proof cover for backpack
  • 30L dry cell to act as a cover inside the back pack for extra water proofing
  • Tissue/toilet paper
  • Snacks
  • Coca Leaves
  • Ear phones
  • Sense of humour
  • Matches
  • Light weight fleece
  • Mosquito head net (for jungle areas – I read that they can be bad at dusk and dawn)
  • Pen
  • Travel Journal
  • Lip Balm
  • Sunglasses
  • One beating heart
Other Items to take:

(won’t be carried by me and won’t be accessible during the day)

  • Sleeping bag (can hire but I’m taking my own it’s -12 degrees)
  • Thermal-reactor (Similar to silk liner but gets warmer)
  • Down Jacket
  • Beanie
  • Gloves
  • Clothes – 4-5 changes and another set for Machu Picchu
  • Thermal’s (base layers)
  • Larger bag for porters
  • Head Lamp

**UPDATE 1/10/2013** Other items I am taking are as follows:

  • Extra SD Cards (thanks Katy)
  • GPS
  • Blister Packs
  • Ear Plugs (thanks Katy)
  • Pillow Cases (put clothes in them and use as a pillow and once washed use at motels for extra hygiene)
  • Vicks inhaler (essential for me)
  • Extra copies of all Travel Documents and soft copy just to be safe (thanks Katy)
  • NEW CAMERA! Camera bag for Canon EOS 700D (not sure if this will go in backpack or over my shoulder) Why did I have to go fancy with the lens? It makes it so heavy… oh well teaspoon of cement should do the trick :-)
  • Trekking in the Central Andes Guide Book, Lonely Planet!
  • World Vision Team Shirt! ( Thanks Katy, I packed it but forgot to mention)
  • World Vision Team Beanie!


3 Responses to “Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu and Aliens”

  1. Katharina Franke

    Hi Jayne,

    Finally had a chance to look at your packing list! :) At last, I’ve started thinking about mine (though I’m still umming and arring about the backpack thing… :) ). One thing you forgot was your World VIsion t-shirt! ;)

    I’m also not bothering with the mosquito net given the altitude (though I will be packing insect repellent). Another thing I’m going to take is earplugs, I read somewhere that they can be really useful a) for noisy hotels (and yep, very true!), and b) for the howling wind up in the mountains that won’t let you sleep…

    I’m also going to take quite a bit of food as I’m gluten-free and need to be careful with what I eat.

    Then I’m also going to take at least one book, travel money card/credit cards, and photocopies of everything (I always have photocopies of my passport and other important docs with me, always kept separate to where I keep my passport). I also keep photocopies of important docs “in the cloud” in case everything gets stolen so I can still access these and have proof of my identity (should help enormously with dealing with embassies etc.).

    Other than that, I think I’m pretty much packing what you’re packing (oh, and yes, I’m also taking things like face cleanser, moisturiser, etc. :) ).

    ps: Did you change your blog or is that just my imagination??

  2. Katharina Franke

    Remembered a couple more things…

    Adapter, spare laces, extra SD card(s) for camera (esp. in case camera gets stolen, I don’t want to lose all my photos as well, so I prefer to have SD cards with less storage but more of them, if that makes sense) and silk liner for sleeping bag (so my sleeping bag doesn’t get all yucky after trekking for a few days without having a shower).

  3. Jayne Marshall

    Hi Katy,

    Thanks for the comments! I changed the blog name because Pack Your Bags was used be heaps of other people (I know to thoroughly check next time).

    Thanks a million for the tips, you actually jogged my memory of a few things I had forgotten about :-) I just received a World Vision Beanie too, I’ve packed it as well. I eat a lot so I will be taking snacks to eat while walking and so on.

    Don’t quote me but I think there is a supermarket close to our room in Cusco :-) Yes I have an adapter but I need Troy to check and make sure its got a built surge protector some of our gear requires it. Let me know if you think of anything else!

    Sounds like you are very organised! Looking forward to meeting you in 25 Days :-)


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