A 5-Point Concise Guide Before You Travel Up the Inca Trail
Some people only reach a destination in their journey, whereas some savour the journey itself. The Inca Trail in Peru satisfies both preferences. Built by the Incas 500+ years ago, Inca is a hiking trail in Peru that terminates at Machu Picchu.
The Incas used to be only a very small portion of a vast Andean highway once stretching over 20,000 kms (14,000 miles). Archaeologists and historians are of the view that the trail was once used by messengers known as “Chasquis” as a road-system to deliver messages between places by running and carrying knotted cords of vivid colours.
1. What makes it exciting?
- A fascinating blend of alluring mountain scenery with lush cloud-forests
- Subtropical jungle terrains with an awe-inspiring mix of Inca paving stones, tunnels ruins.
- Hundreds of endemic species of flora and fauna
- A heavenly bird watching and orchid spotting experience
- Opportunity to explore mythical natural landscapes
- Pristine virgin lands teeming with life.
- The opportunity to explore Machu Picchu, the final destination.
2. How many days does it take to complete the Trail?
Trekkers including both amateurs and professionals from around the globe generally take 4 or 5 days to conclude the Trail, but a two-day trek, beginning from ‘Km 104’ is also a possibility for many.
The elevation profusely varies, and trekkers often struggle with altitude sickness, particularly when they do not spend sufficient time in Cusco, prior to trekking the trail. On the first day, starting at 2,600 meters, you travel up to 3,300 meters. On the second day, you travel up to Dead Woman’s pass which is the highest point at 4,200 meters on the Trail. This is considered to be the most crucial point for those prone to altitude sickness.
Inca Trail is one of the most acclaimed treks in the entire South American region having its historical, cultural and architectural value. Therefore, the entrance to the legendary Inca Trail is managed and controlled by Peruvian Tourism Authority (PTA) to safeguard the traditional unpaved trail and the surrounding environments. You need to pre-purchase the permit (generally managed by tour companies) as the permits are strictly limited.
5. Best time to travel up
Peru has two main seasons, the rainy months from November to March, and the dry months from April to October. The dry season is loved and preferred by a majority of tourists to explore the adventure and trill of the Trail.