The Peru Inca Trail trek takes paths that wander across the Andes all the way from Cusco, Peru to the infamous Machu Picchu, the ancient fortress citadel of the Incas. You will walk trails that are mostly paved, climb steep steps and pass through tunnels, all the while enjoying the incredible beauty and majesty of what was once a mighty empire.
Preparation For The Inca Trail Trek To Machu Picchu
While the Inca Trail hike may not be as arduous in some respects as the Everest Base Camp trek it is still important to train for it beforehand. Most guides recommend that you begin training two months in advance of the trip, by walking hills or climbing stairs, starting off by carrying a lightweight pack and building up till you are able to climb carrying a thirty pound pack. There are a lot of stairs to climb on the trail which is why it is essential to get used to this type of exercise before embarking on these trekking holidays.
The Inca Trail Trek Information And Itinerary
Usually the trek starts off in the city of Cusco, formerly known as the home of the gods, and one of the main tourist attractions in Peru. There is plenty to see in the city itself, and it is well worth taking the time to visit the different churches and manors. If you can spare the time, a trip outside of the city to see the picturesque Sacred Valley of the Incas located in the Urubamba Valley is well worth it.
The actual trek from the Cusco to Machu Picchu takes four days by trail, you are not allowed any more time than this. On the way you will visit many ancient ruins including Runquracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Winay Wayna, all excellent places to camp for the night. The architecture along the way is stunning as is the vista and it is well worth taking your time at each of the locations you visit along the way.
Tour Groups or Independent Hiking?
There are many organized tours to this area. Costs range from around $2,500 to $2,800 per person depending on the number of people traveling together and they can easily be booked online or through a travel agent. If you take an organized tour your group will be provided with experienced tour guides and porters, meals will be provided as will tents and sleeping gear. The advantage of traveling on a group tour is that you will benefit from the experience of the guides and their explanations of what you see around you. Porters will carry the bulk of your belongings and all of the details of the hike will be taken care of in advance.
Those not wishing to take an organized tour will need to hire their own porter and Inca Trail Trek guide as you are no longer allowed to trek independently without them. You will also need to make your own reservations and buy your own Inka Trail permits. It should be noted here that only a limited number are allowed to walk the trail each day, which usually means only around 250 entry permits are issued to tourists each day. Costs should be considerably lower if you organize your trek yourself.
What To Bring With You
Whether you travel by organized tour or independently, tents, up to a small 3 man tent, will either be provided or you can hire them from your guides; check in advance if you are not part of a tour group what you will need. Many people prefer to take their own sleeping bags. As far as clothing, it will depend on the time of year you are traveling however you should be prepared with several layers of warm clothing, lightweight raingear including a windbreaker, hiking boots, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, first aid supplies, toiletries and of course your camera. There is no real need for a head torch, though you may find it helpful to have one.
In conclusion, when it comes to trekking, Inca Trail treks through the Andes where you visit ancient Inca sites are amazing. You will be stunned at the architecture and sheer beauty of the surroundings and awed by the magnificence of the Inca civilization. It truly is one of the world’s most classic treks.