People travel from all over the world to Peru, not only to see Machu Picchu but also to walk the Inca Trail, the most popular hike in South America. They flock here to see the beautiful ruins along this four-day hike and enjoy the amazing scenery which makes the Inca Trail so famous.
The multi-day Machu Picchu hike allows you to explore the Andean mountains, the cloud forest and Peruvian jungle, following the original route the Incas used to take 500 years ago. The Inca Trail is a spectacular and once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
Known as one of the world’s best ten hikes, the Inca trail is unparalleled for it’s ecological diversity and wealth of archaeological treasures.
The Inca Trail is a small part of a vast network of trails and roads built by the Incan Empire over 500 years ago. The total distance of this legendary Inca highway is approximately 43 kilometres or 26 miles. The Inca trail is one of the best five hikes in the world and the most popular trek in Latin America. Without a doubt it is on many travellers’ bucket lists and one of the seven wonders of the modern world, Machu Picchu, is an incredible sight to see and place to experience.
The picturesque and charming city of Cusco is the gateway for all Machu Picchu tours and treks. The Inca Trail starting point is just passed Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas nearby Cusco.
After transport from Cusco, you cross the narrow bridge at Kusicancha (at Km. 82) and afterwards head towards the left-hand side of a forest of Eucalyptus trees. The adventure has started! Camping on this night is either in Wayllabamba or Llullucha.
The second day is known to be a bit more difficult, as you have to climb to 4200 metres at the Pass of Warmiwañusqa, or Dead Woman’s pass. The views are breathtaking!
The third day is the longest, but also the most interesting due to the changes in microclimates. There are impressive Inca ruins like Runkuracay and Sayaqmarca. Camping is either in Phuyupatamarca or Wiñayhuayna.
On the final day, most hikers wake up early to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu from the Inti Punku (sun gate). The remainder of the day is spent exploring the fabulous Inca Citadel.
Getting to Machu Picchu via the famed Inca Trail is a truly spectacular experience. Unfortunately, Inca trail permits are hard to get. Due to its popularity and concerns over the impact of tourism on the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the Inca trail is limited to 500 people a day (300 of which are for porters and guides).
»Learn here How to book Inca Trail Permits.»
If you are not one of the lucky ones that booked the Inca Trail on time, the good news is that there are several great alternative Hikes Machu Picchu on offer. The Salkantay Trek is one of the most popular alternatives.