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The Inca trail to Machu Picchu

Inca trail to Machu Picchu
The Inca trail to Machu Picchu

Inca trail to Machu Picchu is one of the ten most beautiful treks in the word. It’s considered by far the most famous trek in South America and is rated by many to be in the top 5 treks in the world. In just 26 miles (45km) it manages to combine beautiful mountain scenery, lush cloud-forest, and subtropical jungle and, of course, a stunning mix of Inca paving stones ruins and tunnels. The final destination of the trail just cannot be beaten: Machu Picchu, the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas”.

The Incas built a highly advanced network of nearly 45,000 thousand kilometers of trails to connect the distant corners of their vast empire that stretched from Quito in Ecuador down to Santiago in Chile and east to Mendoza in Argentina. Cusco was at the heart of this great empire. Almost all of the principal trails in the mountains surrounding Cusco were built or improved upon by the Incas. However, a particularly beautiful 45km section of mountain trail connecting the important Inca archaeological sites of Ollantaytambo, Qhanabamba, Patallcata, Willkaraqhay, Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Intipata, Wiñayhuayna and Machu Picchu has become popular with hikers in the last 40 years and has become known as the “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu”. Access to this section of Inca Trail is strictly controlled and only authorized trekking companies are allowed to sell this trek.

[icon name=”address-book” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] CLASSIC 4 DAYS INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu starts at a place of Pisqhakucho or at the place known as Km82 (so called because it is located 82 kilometres along the railway line between Cusco and Machu Picchu). It usually takes 4 days to do this trek arriving at the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu for sunrise on the fourth day. The trek is rated moderate and any reasonably fit person should be able to cover the route. It is fairly challenging nevertheless, and altitudes of 4200m are reached, so ensuring that you are well acclimatized is important. If arriving from sea level, plan to spend at least 2 full days in Cusco prior to commencing the trek. This should allow plenty of time for acclimatization and give you sufficient opportunity to visit the city of Cusco and nearby Inca ruins at Sacsayhuaman, Q’enko, Pucapucara and Tambomachay, as well as spending a day or two exploring the Sacred Valley of the Incas visiting the tradition market town of Pisac and the fascinating Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo.

The Inca Trail can be hiked year round although the months of April till October are probably more comfortable since the weather is drier. June, July and August are in the high season when the trail can become fully booked so be sure to make a reservation in advance. The 4 day Inca Trail is closed each year during the month of February to allow conservation work to take place. The months of January and March are in the wet season so hiking the trail can be a little miserable unless you have a good rain jacket and waterproof tent.

[icon name=”male” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu is a Quechua word that means Old Peak or Old Mountain; it´s located in the Cusco region at 112 km at northeast of Cusco City; at 2,400. Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian XV century Inca site. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachakutec (1438–1472).
The Incas started building the Machu Picchu around 1,400; and abandoned it as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later; at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like. Since the site was never known to the Spanish during their conquest, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry- stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana (Hitching post of the Sun), the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu.

HOW LONG THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU IS AND HOW MANY HOURS DO WE HIKE PER DAY?

Inca trail to Machu Picchu
Hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail is 45 kms (26 miles) long.  Campsites along the Trail are assigned by the INC (National Institute of Culture) and for this reason it is difficult to determine the distance to be covered in a day but expect to walk 6 to 9 hours per day for the first three days and approximately 2 hours on the last day.

IS ALTITUDE SICKNESS COMMON? AND HOW HIGH IS THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU?

It’s impossible to predict who will be affected by altitude. Your ability to adapt to high altitude is determined by your genetic makeup and has little to do with fitness or health. Most people will have no problems as long as they take the time to acclimatize properly. A full day spent in Cusco located at 3400masl, taking it easy and drinking plenty of water, is usually enough for most people.

[icon name=”bar-chart” class=”” unprefixed_class=””] The Inca Trail treks to Machu Picchu


Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

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* 4 days 3 nights
*  difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
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Luxury Inca Trail Machu Picchu 5 Days

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*  5 days 4 Nights
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