Everything You Need to Know About Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Veiled by mountain peaks and lush cloud forest, Machu Picchu is a spot that has captured the imagination of the world. This sacred space offers visitors a chance to walk in the footsteps of the Incas and revel in the majesty of the mystical ruins they left behind. Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu instead of driving to it will give you a way to enjoy this amazing site more deeply. As long as you are in general good health, hiking Inca Trail to Machu Picchu shouldn’t pose too much of a challenge.
Others who have completed the journey will tell you that the views along the way are more than worth the sweat and energy you’ll expend to get to the top. One of the best features of hiking the Inca Trail is that you’ll pass many ruins along the way that you simply wouldn’t get to see if you took a bus instead. When you devote a few days to hiking Machu Picchu Trail, you can expect early start times in the mornings, long afternoons of hiking, and peaceful evenings of camping beneath the stars inside the jungle’s tender caress.
What to Expect on Your Inca Trail Journey
Your four-day trail hike will take you through 25 miles worth of the most beautiful scenery in all of South America. You can expect to see Inca remains, lush forests, and breathtaking mountain scenery during your journey. Some of the ruins you’ll pass include Llactapata, Sayaqmarka, Runcurakay, Phuyupatamarca, and Wiñaywayna. You will want to make a note to pay attention to the exotic orchid varieties you will pass along the way. At the end of the journey, you will also have the option to enjoy an Andean camping trip in the mountains. The first day of your tour will have you following the gently sloping paths that run along the Cusichaca River.
You will also brush by the ruins of Llactapata. While the first day of hiking is hardly strenuous, the second day is the most challenging for most hikers. You and your hiking companions will enjoy views of the Llullucha River as you tackle some of the steepest points of your climb. The second day of the journey will also bring you through a mix of forests and plains. Relief will come as the climb returns to a gentler pace on day three of your journey. This is the day you’ll likely trek through a lush forest and encounter the ruins of Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca before settling in for the night. The fourth day offers something different. You will hike downward on bumpy terrain and stone steps before arriving at your destination and finally laying eyes on the sacred space that is Machu Picchu.
When to Book Your Inca Trail Hike
Early birds have a great advantage when it comes to booking tours to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The general rule to follow is to book your hike as soon as you know the dates you’ll be traveling in Peru. If possible, book your journey at least four to six months in advance to ensure that there will be a spot for you. Many tourists do not realize that regulations at the site restrict the number of permits that can be given out daily to only 500. The Peruvian government enacted this policy out of fear that the overuse of the trail was leading to erosion in the area. These restrictions make it essential for tourists to book their journeys with one of the tour groups that have permission from the government to conduct tours along the trail.
How to Prepare for Hiking Inca Trail
It is always important to keep your personal safety and health in mind before embarking on any outdoor excursion. Before you hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, it’s important to make sure you don’t have any underlying medical conditions that could put you at risk. It is also important to remember that the trail reaches an altitude of 13,600 feet at its highest point. The combination of the mountain’s high altitude and the steepness of the climb could make it difficult for some people. Once you are certain that your health is in good enough shape for the adventure, you may want to spend some time acclimating to the high altitude so you don’t risk developing altitude sickness along the journey.
One smart way to prepare yourself for the hike is to avoid alcohol and greasy foods in the days leading up to your departure. In addition, it is important that you get plenty of sleep in the days leading up to your hike so you will be rested enough to exert yourself. If you are concerned about endurance, it is smart to gear up for the trip by visiting the gym to do leg presses or climb the stairs daily at your home in the weeks and months leading up to your vacation. It is also a good idea to do a test run on an uphill trail near your home so you can see how your body reacts to long hikes. You should also consider loading up on high-protein foods to build up your strength in the days leading up to your voyage.
What to Bring on Your Inca Trail Hike
What you pack in your bag for your hike is very important. You want to make sure you’re prepared without creating a hiking bag that will weigh you down and make you uncomfortable on the trail. In addition to practical items, it is also important to remember to bring your passport because you will need to have it stamped when you enter the Inca Trail. Make sure your checklist includes the following items:
- Cash to tip guides and purchase snacks
- Waterproof clothing and shoes
- A rain jacket or poncho
- A four-season sleeping bag
- Insect spray and sunscreen
- Comfortable shoes for when you reach the top
- High-protein snacks
- A reusable water bottle
Book Your Exciting Inca Trail Journey Today
If you have your heart set on walking through misty forests that keep the secrets of an ancient civilization, make this the year you book your trip to hike Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The memories you make on this trip will stay with you for a lifetime. You’ll savor every minute of taking in nature and history as you bond with your fellow hikers along the way. You can spend your days at this enchanted spot pondering how and why the Incas crafted such amazing temples. You can spend your nights peering at the stars and anticipating what amazing adventures and discoveries the day ahead will present you with.
Of course, experiencing your hike with the help of a guide will ensure that you don’t overlook any of the popular landmarks or subtle treasures that will be waiting for you along the way. Hurry to book your guided hiking tour at Machu Picchu so you don’t risk losing out on what will be the biggest adventure of your life. Facebook.