What is the best hiking trek that no nature lover or hiker enthusiast should ever miss? The Machu Picchu trek in Peru, South America. Also called Inca trail trek, it leads to the Machu Picchu ruins, which was the administrative and spiritual center of Inca civilization. Located about 112 kilometers North West of Cusco, Machu Picchu trek goes through the Andes and stretches as far as 325 square kilometers, covered and ornamented by cloud forests, gorgeous mountains, exotic animals and plants as well as Inca ruins.
Having only been unearthed in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a South American history professor, Machu Picchu was buried for the longest time. The rediscovery of this important archaeological site became big news, not only because of its historical value but also of the rich varieties of flora and fauna that surround it. There was little wonder why in 1981 the Peruvian government declared it as the national protected nature park and two years later the UNESCO awarded it as one of the World Heritage sites. It is so popular in South America that more than 75,000 people visit Peru every year just to hike the trail.
However, the burgeoning number of visiting people raised concerns, especially from the environmental and history groups. They fretted that the trail was actually suffering from destruction that could not potentially be repaired. That is why the government of Peru limited the number of visitors that wished to hike Machu Picchu trail to only 200 trekkers a day. They also added in the regulation that independent trekking was no longer allowed without the existence of an official guide.
That brings us to the fact that hiking Machu Picchu is normally conducted in groups. If you are an individual traveler, you need to be a part of an ad-hoc group organized by an official agency to trek the trail. Or if you travel in small groups and you do not really want to blend in with strangers, you can have one of those agencies arrange a privatized Machu Picchu trek for a higher price.
The trekking agency is not a bad idea at all. They provide basically almost everything: 2 man tent, a ” hiking Machu Picchu trek map “, sleeping gear, English-speaking guide, three-day meals and porters to carry your bags. So it is a money value trek. All you need to do is walk and enjoy the scenic panorama around you.
Depending on your time availability and physical fitness, you may choose between the 4-day trail and the 2-day one. The first covers three difficult mountain passes. If you feel that you are physically fit, this should be the better trail to choose. Not only that it is more economical (prices begin at $400 per person including entrance fee), but it also provides you with breathtaking mountain and cloud forest sceneries as well as a number of Inca ruins. The trek normally starts at Qorihuayrachina (Km 88), then passes three formidable mountain hikes where the highest elevation reaches 4,200 meters, and arrives at Machu Picchu on day four by sunrise. This makes the total distance of the 4-day route 43 kilometers.
The 2-day trek, on the other hand, offers a new easier trail called “Camino Sagrado del Inca,” which means the Sacred Trail. The trek climbs up to only 2,750 meters and the distance taken is only 14 kilometers. Although you may get to see more with the classic 4-day trek, the 2-day trail offers most of the best mountain sceneries. You will pass Huiñay Huayna if you take this trek and will most likely spend the night here to be able to arrive at Machu Picchu by sunrise the day after.
If you are a first-time hiker, it might be wise to check online for Machu Picchu trek reviews before booking your trek. The testimonies from former fellow hikers will give you better ideas of how the treks will be like and you will most likely find them giving essential hiking Machu Picchu information. They will also definitely sound less promotional and unbiased than the Machu Picchu trek information provided by some agency’s websites. Researching online beforehand will also give you the advantage of comparing hiking Machu Picchu prices with the facilities offered. However, normally you will get what you pay for. So it is only about which suits your interest and comfort more.
Hiking Machu Picchu trek will not only enrich your historical knowledge, but it will also reward you with personal appreciation of the nature wonders and the living things inhabiting them. So, are you adventurous enough to take one trekking trip to the great ruins?