Whether seeking a challenge or an escape from every day, hiking is one of the most widely practiced outdoor activities in the world. For many, Mount Kilimanjaro and Inca Trail are long-time bucket list items. So which one is right for your next big adventure? Let’s take a look at the facts and find out.
1. Mt Kilimanjaro and Inca Trail both offer stunning views, but Kilimanjaro is definitely the higher of the two. The tallest free-standing mountain at nearly 19,000 feet.
2. If you’re up for a challenge to get started on your trek as soon as possible, try the Inca Trail. Located in Cusco, Peru (13,215 ft above sea level), it’s about two weeks long and spans 84 miles (135 km).
3. If you prefer to explore before hitting the trails, consider visiting Kilimanjaro. It’s much bigger than you’d think and includes national parks that are open to visitors year-round. You can even go for a tour via hot air balloon that offers panoramic views of the area from above!
4. Both hikes are known for their incredible culture and amazing sights. But when it comes to the ultimate challenge, Kilimanjaro will win hands down. Take a look at the landscape to get an idea of how immense it is.
5. Take note that both hikes have shelters built especially for climbers that can be utilized during bad weather conditions or if you want a place to rest and stay overnight.
If you just want a good workout and love a mountain vista that’s sure to take your breath away, you can’t go wrong with either one! Choose Kilimanjaro for the best views and the Inca Trail if you’re up for more of a challenge.
Getting To Kilimanjaro:
Drive and hike. The easiest way to get to Mt Kilimanjaro is by driving in a car or renting a vehicle in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2,700 ft above sea level), the place where you land on the opposite side of the mountain. From there you can start your trek. If you prefer to explore in a fully independent manner, then you’ll be flying straight into the heart of it all in Arusha, Tanzania (2,900 ft above sea level). You’ll have to get yourself to the airstrip via car and then go on foot from there.
Getting To The Inca Trail:
The best way to get from Lima to Cusco is by taking the Panamerican highway through Peru and Colombia. The drive will take about 2.5 days. Once you arrive in Cusco, it’s only another day and a half to get to Machu Picchu. If you want to cut the travel time down, consider hiring a private driver or joining an organized tour that takes you straight from Lima to the start of your journey at Cachora (3,800 ft above sea level).
Preparation for Kilimanjaro and Inca Trail
- If you are thinking about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro or Inca Trail next year, let us help you with the preparation
- Choosing the right guide is very important for your safety on Kilimanjaro and Inca Trail. We highly recommend our guides who are licensed by the Government.
- Kilimanjaro uses a one size fits all approach to acclimatization. We have specific plans that ensure you are acclimatized and ready at the time of your summit attempt.
- Our itinerary on Inca Trail has a unique and special food menu. It focuses on slow-release carbohydrates and builds up your blood glucose level to properly fuel your body at high altitudes.
The Bucket List Items For Hiking/Trekking
1. Lost City Trek, Latin America
2. The Inca Trail, Peru
3. Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
4. Karanga Camp
5. Mount Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
6. Barranco Camp
7. Mount Kinabalu Trek, Malaysia
8. Mweka Camp
9. Aguascalientes, Mexico
10. Inca Trail going to Machu Picchu, Peru
11. Dead Woman’s, Somerset, England
12. Sun Gate
13. Imlil & Imenane Valley Trek, Morocco
14. Huayna Picchu, Southern Peru
15. Machu Picchu Mountain, Cuzco, Peru
16. Everest Base Camp (South Base), Nepal
17. Everest Base Camp (North Base), Tibet, China
18. Kosovo Camp
19. Alpine Tundra
20. Andean Landscape
Looking at the world’s best-known peaks: Machu Picchu vs Mt Everest vs Mt Kilimanjaro
Machu Picchu: Location: Peru
We talk about Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, and it’s all about the location. The ancient city stands in a valley surrounded by towering mountains. It provides stunning views from every angle imaginable. It’s a stunning location simply by itself. This is why Machu Picchu ranked as one of the greatest places on Earth by National Geographic.
Machu Picchu is located 3,100 m (10,000 ft) above sea level and 9 km (5 mi) above the city of Aguas Calientes (which means “Hot Springs”). This ancient city was built by the Incas around 1450 AD high in the Andes Mountains.
The journey to Machu Picchu is truly unforgettable, as it takes you on one of the most scenic train trips in the whole world. The Inca Railroads construction is a truly impressive feat of engineering. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones as you are driven through a beautiful landscape that modern man rarely sees.
Mt Everest: Location: Nepal
Buddhists believe Mt Everest is sacred and is protected by the gods. Hindus think of Mt Everest as the abode of Lord Shiva while Tibetans believe it to be the home of Yeti, the abominable snowman. The first person to reach the peak was Sir Edmund Hillary in 1953 with Tenzing Norgay.
Mt Everest stands at 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) above sea level and is located in the Mahalangur mountain range. Mt Everest is currently the tallest mountain on Earth. From the Northside, Mount Everest is over 29,000 feet (8,820 m) high.
When you reach Mt Everest Base Camp you will be rewarded with a stunning view of Mount Everest and its neighboring peaks. Mt Everest is the starting point of a huge trek that takes you all around the mountain and provides views that have never been seen before. Even if you haven’t climbed Mt Everest yet, surely this experience will convince you to go there soon.
Mt Kilimanjaro: Location: Tanzania
Mt Kilimanjaro stands at 5,892 meters (19,341 ft) above sea level and is the highest mountain in Africa. Climbers will feel like they’re in the clouds as they climb to such altitudes. The ascent takes you from tropical jungle to alpine desert and then finally forest.
Mt Kilimanjaro is located near Kilimanjaro National Park, covering 1,148 square kilometers (443 square miles). Mount Kilimanjaro is a dormant volcano and it is the largest mountain in the world. There are multiple ways to climb Mt Kilimanjaro. Camping, guide-only climbing, and luxury climbing are the most popular choices. If you want a challenge, then endurance is key.
Inca Trail or Mt. Kilimanjaro – Where to go?
If you decide to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with your friends, then it is not such a big problem. However, if you are going solo and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro by yourself is something you need to consider before finalizing your trip. Every person is different, and ability plays a big part in climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. Many hikers die on Mount Kilimanjaro because they are not prepared enough for the task.
A common issue that people face is altitude sickness, which is caused by the low oxygen content at high altitudes. Altitude sickness comes on gradually and can vary from mild headaches to more severe pain. If taken in the early stages, you can avoid this condition by sleeping at a lower altitude and eat or drink more.
A pleasant day to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro can be anything from 18 to 24 hours, depending on the weather conditions. If you are climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group, you might be issued an early wake-up call. You can expect to start your hike before sunrise and climb around 60 to 80 kilometers (37.3 to 50 miles) per day.
Check out these Inca Trails
If you love Mexico but hate the heat, look into some of our great tours in Southern Mexico. You’ll be able to try authentic Mexican food like Pollo a la Brasa (grilled chicken) and enjoy the stunning scenery that’s sure to remind you of all you’ve seen in your travels.
How Hard Is It To Reach The Summit?
The survival rate for people who are hospitalized is around 50%. Deaths often happen when hikers fail to recognize the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. Other causes for death include falls, avalanches, severe weather, dehydration, and heart attacks. Luckily, there have been some significant improvements in medical care at extreme altitudes. However, even with this advanced care, there is still a high death rate at high altitudes from AMS.
The most common symptom of AMS is a headache. 40% of all hikers will experience headaches at high altitudes. The pain is often moderate or severe, and it comes on quickly. The causes may be a change in sleeping patterns, dehydration, or alcohol consumption. Take acetaminophen for mild pain or ibuprofen for moderate to severe pain. Don’t take aspirin because it increases the risk of bleeding. If the headache lasts more than two days, you will need a visit to the doctor to be sure it’s not a stroke or some other life-threatening problem.
Alcohol and acetaminophen also affect your ability to acclimatize. Keep alcohol away from high altitudes to prevent altitude sickness. This means no red wine, no beer, and certainly no tequila. Many natural herbal remedies are used for altitude sickness that work well and are safe to use in a headache.
Safety Considerations: How Do I Become Ready For My Hike?
If you’re like most hikers, you’re not going to go out and do the Atacama Crossing without doing some training in advance. Training is essential to really get the most out of your hike and for your safety. You’re not just preparing your body, you’re also preparing your mind. You have to be both physically and mentally prepared to cross one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Here are some of the important training considerations for your hike.
Training For Altitude Sickness: How To Prepare For AMS
The first thing you need to know is that altitude sickness is a real problem during the Atacama Crossing. There have been over 400 documented deaths due to this illness. It can even happen right here in Denver. But your chances of getting it are much lower than that if you’re properly prepared for it and pay attention to recommended precautions.
Even though you may not be aware of it, you are already acclimatizing to high altitude. You are already getting used to the low oxygen levels that accompany this type of travel. If you can keep yourself properly hydrated and keep water from freezing while you’re hiking, digesting food properly that not suppress your appetite, and resting at night to restore your body’s strength, then your chances of succumbing to altitude sickness will be greatly reduced. Here are some things that lead to altitude sickness but are often neglected until they’re too late.
All About Altitude
You have to sleep with oxygen at high altitudes. This is a major problem for some people who aren’t used to the thin air. You might have trouble breathing while you’re asleep, and this can lead to a problem called hypoxia, which can be very dangerous. Do not use sleeping pills while you’re in high altitudes because they could put you in danger if you don’t wake up when you should. You can buy sleeping pills that have a lighter dose of sleep medication and oxygen if you think you might need them.
Food And Drink:
If you’re going to be hiking for long distances, then you need to take hiking water bottle or bladder with you. It would be best if you took at least a liter with you at all times. Drinking too much water can be dangerous as well, so try to find an appropriate amount for your body weight and amount of activity that’s just right for you. You should also take snacks with you, especially in the morning when you first start your hike.
You need to use proper clothing for hiking like hiking vest or jacket. You should wear layers of clothing and always carry a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Make sure that the clothing is appropriate for the temperatures before you leave so that you don’t get too hot or cold. You should also wear insulated or non-insulated hiking boots if possible so that your feet are protected from rocks and roots during your hike.
You should try to eat nutritious foods that do not suppress your appetite and not contain a lot of fat. You should also exercise and take vitamin pills if possible. Taking them while you are at a high altitude can help you acclimatize to them more quickly. You should also avoid caffeinated drinks, especially coffee because they can bring about many problems for people who are not used to them.
You have to stay mentally strong during the Atacama Crossing as well. If you anticipate problems, then you won’t have as much trouble dealing with them. You should be prepared for the problem of not being able to speak or understand what is being said to you during the early days of your hike.
When you are hiking across an area with low oxygen levels, your body will have trouble maintaining its normal functions. You may notice a change in your vision, heart rate, and blood pressure, among other issues. The most common sign of altitude sickness is a headache, which is why you should always be prepared for it.
You can’t take most vehicles with you on this hike, so you’ll need to pack everything that you need for the journey before you leave. Even if your food supply and water supply run out, you can still reach the opposite side of the desert as long as you have the proper equipment. Note that you won’t be able to use your cell phone during the hike because it won’t work. However, if there is an emergency, you can use a satellite system to phone for help. You also need to carry a GPS tracking system so that rescuers can find you in case of an emergency.
Here are some things that you can do to reduce the effects of altitude sickness and increase your odds of having a successful hike. Once you start your hike, you’ll need to drink more water than normal to keep yourself hydrated. When we’re moving around all day in the heat, it can be difficult for us to get enough water in our bodies.
Do you suffer from a lot of allergies? Many people who are allergic to certain plants or insects worry about coming down with a disease. Well, if you’re one of those people, then you may want to have an Epinephrine pen on hand just in case. If you are going to be hiking through anything that’s brushy or has a lot of weeds, then you might want to wear long sleeves and pants to protect your skin and possibly take an antihistamine before heading out. You can also try an EpiPen if you’re allergic to certain things.
You’ll probably want to wear hiking boots that are waterproof and have good ankle support. When you’re moving around all day, it can be very difficult to regulate your body temperature. You should always visit the bathroom when possible and drink plenty of water/soda if you’re not getting enough liquids in your system. Your body will be exposed to low temperatures on this trip, so you should wear appropriate clothing that won’t restrict your movement as much as possible. If you don’t have warm clothing, you can always layer your clothing so that you have several layers to keep your body warm.
If you’re feeling dizzy or faint, then it’s probably because your body is not getting enough oxygen. You should stop hiking, sit down, and begin to take in a few deep breaths. This will help get the oxygen back into your system. You should always take a break whenever you feel like you’re going to pass out or lose consciousness during the Atacama Crossing. You can sit down and rest until you feel better. This will get the oxygen back into your system and bring you around.
The debate of which trek to take, Kilimanjaro or the Inca trail, is difficult. The best advice I can offer is to ask yourself what you want out of your adventure. If you’re looking for a more independent and less guided trek, the Inca Trail is the right one for you. But if you want to be led by an experienced guide, served great food, and have a very unique (and possibly more difficult) experience, the Kilimanjaro route is ideal.
No matter if you want to take the Inca Trail or the Kili route, there are many options available. You can go with a group or do it independently. You can take the easy path and enjoy a luxury hotel at the end of the trail, or you can push yourself to the limit by doing a more remote trek. In this guide, I have shared our experiences climbing both of these magnificent mountains so that you can get a good idea of what your next adventure will be like.