The Peru Inca Trail Tour!
The Peru Inca Trail tour is an incredible experience and is deservedly the most famous trek in South America and the World.
The Incas created thousands of trails to cover all areas of their huge empire. They covered land from Quito (Ecuador), Mendoza (Argentina), Santiago (Chile) and Cusco was at the heart of this network of trails.
The "classic" Inca Trail though is a spectacular trek that leads to Machu Picchu, a very important site and the centre of the Inca civilisation. It is highly regulated and the government has set a limit on the amount of people who can enter this protected zone per day. You must have a permit to enter the trail and to get one you have to go with a licensed guide. You will have to book several months in advance if you want to trek the Inca trail.
It is rated a moderate trek and anybody who has a fair fitness level should be able to complete the trek without any problems. It is however still challenging at times especially when the temperatures sore and there are still many kilometres to go until you reach base camp. Also account for the attitude of the trek. It is located at approximately 4200m so acclimatisation to the area is highly recommended. Also account for the rainy season during the months of January and March (February is closed every year for maintenance). April to October tends to be the most comfortable time of year to go and explore the Inca trail and its beautiful natural surroundings.
The Classic Peru Inca Trail Tour - 4 Day trek
The Peru Inca trail tour actually begins with a minibus from Cusco at around 4-5am, which takes you to km82. Is transfer to the actual start point of the trek will take around 3 hours.
The trek progresses along the Rio Urabambo where you will have the chance to see some spectacular views. After a short period of time you will reach the Llactapata. This is the first archaeological site that you will have chance to explore. After a short time exploring the trek moves down to Rio (river) Kusichaca. This is another picturesque place in the mountains where you will begin the decent to Rio Cusichaca. The remainder of day one of the Inca trail trek consists of walking alongside river and up the valley until you reach a hamlet called Wayllabamba, which is 3000m high! Here you will be able to take a break and appreciate your surroundings. Snowy Veronica is visible in the distance, which reaches an altitude of 5750m. You will probably stay here for the night in pre-arranged accommodation.
Day 2 (11km)
After an early rise you will begin the trek by trekking further up the valley, which is really steep! You will probably have a little rest at a place called Tres Piedras (The three stones) and from here a 3km rise to a beautiful, flat area known as Llulluchapampa (3680m). On the way here the trek actually merges with the stream, but stepping stones make sure that you will always be above water... Unless you slip!
After lunch you will move on towards Huarmihuanusca a.k.a. - Dead Womans Pass. This is the highest point of the trek and you will reach approximately 4198m. You will be exposed to burning sunshine, very cold winds and probably a lack of breathe due to the altitude.
The rest of the day will be tough on your knees as you spend it descending to the river where you will reach your campsite at a place called Pacamayo (3500m). Here you will finally be able to use a proper toilet!
and Rich trekking the Inca Trail
The Peru Inca Trail Tour leaves Pacamayo and once you cross over a small footbridge you will ascend for approx. an hour to Runkuracy, Incan ruins that show off breathtaking views of the Pacamayo valley.
You will then follow the trail, passing by 2 small lakes at an altitude of 3950m until you reach the second pass, Abra de Runkuracay (3950m). This path is the first one that you will experience that is almost entirely paved with original stone laid by the Incas. You will be able to see the snow capped peaks of Cordillera Vilcabamba along the way.... time to get your camera out!
You will then descend for about an hour to Sayaqmarca. This is a steep descent with incredible views and at the bottom you will cross Rio Aobamba. Sayaqmarca means 'Inaccesible town' and is a great description of the town as it is locked in by three cliffs.
The continued descent leads to an astonishing cloud forest and an Inca Tunnel carved into the rock at 3670m before reaching Phuyupatamarca. This is a well restored ruin that have a beautiful series of baths with water running through them.
After leaving Phuyupatamarca you will descend down about a thousand Incan steps into the cloud forest below. After about an hour of zig-zagging down the mountain you will be able to see Winay Wayna... Still about 2 hours to go though until you get to the hostel where you can shower, eat and drink! You probably won't be staying in a dorm here though as it is always chocka-block being the last official campsite before Machu Picchu but the restaurant caters for all. However, the campsite is very cheap and seems to be the most common choice.
Day 4 (6km)
The guided Peru Inca Trail Tour from the hostel to Machu Picchu is clearly marked and takes about 1 and a half hours.
Most people wake up at 4.30am so that they can leave Winay Wayna by 5.30am to get to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The Peru Inca Trail Tour contours through cliff-hanging cloud forests until you reach a step of Incan stairs that will take you straight to Intipunka (sun gate). You might even be lucky enough to get a glimpse of Machu Picchu from here if the skies are clear, while waiting for the sun to rise over the mountaintops.
From here you can enjoy by Machu Picchu in it's full glory. It is truly an unforgettable experience!
The Peru Inca Trail Tour or even an Inca trail holiday will be an experience of a lifetime. You will get chance to see some of the most beautiful views in the World. Your Inca trail holiday does not have to be very expensive. It does cost a fair amount to pay for the tour and you have to choose your guided Peru Inca Trail Tour provider wisely.
There are alternative treks that you can take if the Peru Inca Trail Tour is fully booked when you are going. An alternative Inca trail would be the
Inca Jungle Trek
. This alternative Inca trail is a great trek too and is another one of the large network of trails the Inca's created.