A journey to the Inca Trail in Peru is perhaps the most enthralling hiking experiences relished by adventure geeks in South America. Some trekkers call it a must-do, daring and life-changing experience! It is indeed, and to be more precise, the trail extending through the Peruvian Andean Highlands to the citadels of Machu Picchu is an awe-inspiring yet arduous escapade. It takes four long days of pain, cold and exhaustion to reach the ancient ruins of the mystical city.
Unbelievable Charm and Essence of the Trail
The Inca Trail is the most well-known trek in South America, and is considered to be one of the top five treks in the world. It combines gorgeous scenery through mountains, and Andean cloud forest, and displays Incan construction at its best—incredible retaining walls, chain of temples and sites, and obviously Machu Picchu. For those thinking of taking train to Machu Picchu, I suggest to consider taking a hike instead. Inca trail is truly a wonder complete with a variety of striking scenery, pool of remarkable Inca constructions, and more flora and fauna than you would expect to see at any other high altitude. Catching a breath along the trail or breaking or a sip of water along the trail in the panoramic beauty surrounding you will leave you mesmerized.
When to visit?
The best time of the year to take the Inca Trail would be from May to September. Being the driest season of the year, the trail receives the maximum number of adventure hikers. Visiting Machu Picchu in rainy season is not a pleasant experience, the trail remains closed in the month of February. The trail gets cooler at night no matter what time of the year you are visiting.
Hiking across the Mountains, Along the Gorges
Hiking to the lofty mountains of Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail can be the highlight of every adventure junkie’s travel. Reaching a height of 4200 meters on the mountains and taking a glance over the peaks of the Andes fills you with both awe and joy. As a hiker, this trail might be a challenge, could drain you of your energy, and coax you into putting damn effort – but in the end its all totally worth it!
The ‘Inca Flat’ is the wide path alongside the Sacred Valley – the starting point of the trail across the meanders and rivers of Urubamba. As the journey extends through the shrubs and trees, the trail starts to gain altitude slowly. There isn’t any dearth of guides on your journey across the Incan Trail. Incan guides stop you at various points of the trail and recite their knowledge of the history of the trail, the Incan people and their survival story. These guides in fact have an extraordinary perspective about the area.
Enigmatic Trail – Exploring Colorful Villages and Fascinating Ruins
As you set out on the days’ hike, you would realize how cold it is! You can almost see the dew and frost clung to the sides of the trail. And, as you hike an altitude higher than the other day, there lurks a faint realization of how you are nearing your destined summit – that’s a moment of elation for all travelers. The picturesque view of the mountains and the valleys can be a memorable companion for the coming days.
The third day of the hiking ordeal for most travelers is the jungle trek! This is interesting as it begins with a strenuous and steep climb, which flattens gradually and finishes with few undulating trailing paths. Lush, the jungle is rich with vegetation. The trail runs alongside fruit tree plantations, cocoa and coffee trees – the scent of the wild flowers is a boost to your tiring expedition. Make sure you wear a good insect repellent, so that you won’t get the bites of nasty little flies in the forest area. As you leave the jungle-like scenery, you start to understand how such a majestic city was hidden by the jungle for many years.
Travelers and hikers take the trail in groups and often settle at the campsite to enjoy the much-required showers and food. The fourth day is a dream come true for every trekker – your first glimpse of the lost city, and your entry into the Sun Gate!
The chore of city building without any machinery or computer seems like an impossible task in the modern days. The ancient inhabitants of the Incas managed to overcome all the limitations and difficulties associated with toiling on the mountain ridges – something that makes the journey across the Incas Trail even more unique.
I am an addicted traveler based in Sydney, Australia and I explored Europe, North & South America, East Asia & South-East Asia. I love sharing my travel knowledge, I want to benefit my readers and give valuable travel advice.