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Showers on the Inca Trail

Everyone who travels to Peru knows what the Inca Trail is, and many of those who have an adventurous spirit have intentions to hike it. However, as with many multi-day hikes, there are certain comforts that you will need to forgo. Is showering one of them?

Can You Shower on the Inca Trail?

The short answer is yes. The long answer is, yes but there are places that it won’t be advisable for several reasons. Throughout this blog we’ll discuss the campsites that we use during the trek, whether you can shower, and whether you want to shower.

We’ll also discuss must-pack items for shower lovers and those who are happy to forgo the bathing for a few days and how you can do that without feeling gross. Finally, the best showering on the Inca Trail available and how to achieve it.

Campsite 1 – Wayllabamba (3000 m / 9842 ft), 5 hours hiking

Welcome to camp number one! Wayllabamba is right around the corner from the first ruins of the trek, Wayllabamba ruins themselves. The first day of the trek is not a particularly steep day, but it gets you warmed up and ready for the trek.

But can you shower there?

It is possible! The showers are, unfortunately, cold though. There are shower blocks and toilet blocks at the campsite, but be aware that both the toilets and the showers are available to be used by everyone, so they may not be the cleanest, on top of being cold.

It is only day one though, so unless you’re feeling particularly disgusting, maybe it’s best to wait a little rather than brave the freezing water before a night’s sleep at altitude.

Campsite 2 – Pacamayu (3580 m / 11700 ft) or Chaquicocha (3600 m / 11800 ft)

Here we are at camp number two. Congratulations, that was the hard part, and you did it. After such a steep climb, surely you’re ready to take your first shower on the Inca Trail!

But can you shower there?

Sorry for getting your hopes up, but no. There is a shower cubicle here, but with the altitude as high as it is it is really not recommended. The temperatures are going to plummet the moment the sun sets, regardless of how hot the day has been. Getting your hair wet here is not just foolish, it’s dangerous.

Likewise with your skin, and generally being without clothes. It would be very hard for your body to warm itself back up once it lowered under the water. Additionally, it’s also an unnecessary risk for your personal safety, for the safety of the porters who would have to evacuate you, and for the rest of your group. It is just better for you to be a little smelly rather than potentially compromise the rest of the trip for your team.

Campsite 3 – Wiñay Wayna (2680 m / 8792 ft)

Our third and final campsite is Wiñay Wayna, and just like that, Machu Picchu is right around the corner. The climate has changed now from harsh highland temperatures to warm jungle, and we’re back at a comfortably lower altitude.

With the big day tomorrow and the promise of lots of pictures looming, the question hangs in the air:

But can you shower there?

Yes!! Rejoice! The showers, as with everywhere on the Inca Trail, are still cold. But with the warmer temperatures coupled with the humidity you’re not at any risk of having your hair freeze through the night or being unable to warm up.

Are There Hot Showers on the Inca Trail?

The question on everyone’s lips: hot showers? Can they be found anywhere on the Inca Trail? Well, if you arrange in advance with your tour company then they can create a hot shower for you.

Please remember that the Inca Trail is remote and the government works hard to maintain its authenticity. That’s why you won’t find women selling candies or jumpers along the way, it’s why it’s so strictly controlled, and it’s why the toilet and shower conditions are very basic.

However, if you’re willing to spring for a little luxury, or if hot showers have no price, there are options available. These will not be the hot showers that you are used to, but they will get the job done.

In order to have a hot shower on the Inca Trail, the porters and chefs must heat up the water for the shower over the fire. Once it is sufficiently heated you can head into the shower tent where the heated water will be put into a special contraption that allows a shower like rain to fall on you.

It’s not temperature controlled, but it is a hot shower. And isn’t that why you’ve read this far?

So go on, get in touch with us to ask about getting a hot shower on the Inca Trail. If you’re going to come all the way to Peru to hike the Inca Trail, you might as well have a nice shower as well. Please be aware this will cost more as it will require extra porters to transport the equipment.

Packing List for Showers

Okay, so you know when you’re going to shower and you know it’s going to be cold. But what do you need to pack for the showers on the Inca Trail? Unfortunately, it’s not going to be like your hotel shower where all you need is a heated bathrobe and something good on the telly to snuggle up and watch.

No, you are going to need some particular bits. And here they are:

Alternatives to Showering on the Inca Trail

So, the showers may not be exactly what you were hoping for. That’s understandable. You are in the middle of the Andes mountains on an ancient Incan road, afterall. It is imaginable that the showers wouldn’t be exactly what you’d expect from a hotel.

Here are some alternatives that help keep the cold out:

So there you have it, a complete guide to where, when and how you can shower on the Inca Trail. On a trip like this you want to ensure that you are comfortable and let’s face it, you want your pictures to look good.

Get in contact with us today to book your Inca Trail permit and chat to us about hot showers.

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