One of the most iconic treks in the world, the Inca Trail, is both awe-inspiring and vast in equal measure. Combining lush forests, subtropical jungle, epic mountain scenery and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World (Machu Picchu), the 26 mile, high altitude trek is literally breathtaking.
There are many things you will need to consider before you begin the Inca Trail. Our top tips include visiting between May and September, preparing for altitude sickness by spending at least three days in Cusco, and taking a small amount of local currency on the trek for tipping your porter and purchasing food and drink en route. Check online for currency exchange providers of the Peruvian Sole.
From the start of the course until the very end you will experience an array of archaeological and historical treasures; here we outline four of our favorites.
Situated in the foothills of Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes is a small town located approximately 6 kilometers from the wonder. Many people choose to take the train to Aguas Calientes and trek from here for a far less taxing route, whilst others begin at Parada de Tren for the four day hike. Despite its incredible setting, the town isn’t particularly scenic; however there are fantastic thermal baths and hot springs here, perfect for soaking your aching bones after a grueling journey.
If hiking to the Lost City of the Incas isn’t enough adventure for you, head to the Urubamba River for some excellent white water rafting. Featuring a whitewater canyon that opens into the Amazon plain, the river runs through the mountains of Cusco and lies parallel to the Inca Trail. Traversing spectacular scenery, river rafting is an exhilarating way to experience the area and you’ll find a range of operators offering excursions dependant on the time of year and the area you want to see.
Overlooking the Urubamba River is Winay Wayna, a wondrous site en route to its more famous neighbor, Machu Picchu. Meaning ‘Forever Young’ Winay Wayna is made up of a range of houses, each connected by a steep stone staircase. Thanks to the impressive stonework, intricate maze of structures, beautiful waterfall and slightly more intimate nature, this site is definitely worth a visit.
The sole reason many people take the trail, Machu Picchu is a magnificent 15th century Inca city that remained hidden from the world until it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Since then, the Lost City of the Incas has seen millions of intrepid travelers who come to marvel at the remarkable site. Whilst scholars continue to disagree on why it was built and who lived there, one thing is not up for debate: the astounding beauty and wonder of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu: Shashi Bellamkonda