The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is among the world’s most famous and iconic hikes. The Incas once used this ancient trail to travel from Cusco to the sacred city of Machu Picchu, and today, it is a popular trekking destination for adventurers from around the globe. But what makes the Inca Trail so unique? What makes the Inca Trail so special, and why should you consider doing it? Because the Inca trail is an experience like experience like no other. Why hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
Why hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?
A Brief History of the Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is a 45-kilometer (28-mile) trek that begins in the Sacred Valley near Cusco and winds through stunning Andean landscapes, including cloud forests, high mountain passes, and ancient Inca ruins. The trail ends at Machu Picchu, the legendary “Lost City of the Incas” and one of the most breathtaking archaeological sites in the world.
The Incas built the trail more than 500 years ago, using it to transport goods, communicate with neighboring villages, and access the sacred city of Machu Picchu. The trail was an essential part of the Inca road system, which extended more than 40,000 kilometers (25,000 miles) throughout the Andes. Today, the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu are protected areas requiring a special hike permit. Only limited tickets are issued daily, making the hike an exclusive experience. Pre-corona, the Inca Trail tickets were sold out 5 – 7 months before.
What is so special about the Inca Trail?
History and Culture
There are many reasons why the Inca Trail is such a memorable hike. First, it offers an incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in the history and culture of the Incas. Along the route, you’ll encounter several ancient Inca ruins and archaeological sites, including Wiñay Wayna, Sayacmarca, and Intipata. These sites provide a glimpse into the fascinating and complex world of the Incas and their architectural and engineering prowess.
Incredible ecosystems, flora, and fauna
In addition to its historical significance, the Inca Trail is a feast for the senses. The trail winds through diverse ecosystems, from lush cloud forests to stark high-altitude plateaus. Along the way, you’ll encounter an incredible variety of flora and fauna, including orchids, hummingbirds, and even the rare spectacled bear!
Sense of accomplishment when reaching Machu Picchu
However, the most extraordinary aspect of the Inca Trail is the incredible sense of accomplishment and wonder that comes from reaching Machu Picchu. This legendary city, nestled high in the Andes, is one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. To arrive there on foot, after days of hiking through rugged and beautiful terrain, is an experience like no other.
Why hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Inca Trail Compared to Other Hikes
Peru and South America are home to many incredible hiking destinations, from the rugged peaks of Patagonia to the lush forests of the Amazon. So how does the Inca Trail stack up against the competition?
The Inca Trail is among the world’s most unique and iconic hikes. Its combination of history, culture, and natural beauty simply cannot be found anywhere else. While other hikes in the region may offer stunning scenery or challenging terrain, none can match the sheer sense of wonder and achievement from hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Furthermore, the Inca Trail is accessible to hikers of all ages and abilities. While the hike is certainly challenging, with high-altitude passes and steep descents, it can be done by anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and preparation, including 60+ hikers and families with children. The Inca Trail is not only for the young and adventurous. It is a hike that can be done by people of all ages, as long as they are in good physical condition and well acclimatized (to avoid altitude sickness). The Inca trail is challenging, but doable!
Reading tip: Visit Machu Picchu with kids
Despite the Inca Trail’s popularity and the hard time you might have got the Inca Trail tickets, it is still worth it. Once you know how to book the Inca trail and get the passes*, you will see that the trail provides an unforgettable hiking experience in Peru! The trek takes you on an adventure through stunning landscapes, the Inca civilization, and a remarkable historical journey. It is no wonder that the Inca Trail is considered one of the best hikes in the world.
The Inca Trail is unique compared to other hikes in Peru and South America. The trail is also well-maintained – they close it every year in February for maintenance – and well organized, with campsites set up and porters to carry your gear. Other hikes – such as the Salkantay Trek or the Lares Trek -may offer similar views, but the cultural and historical significance of the Inca Trail is unmatched.
Why hike The Inca Trail? Just go for it!
Do you have plans to travel to Peru and wonder Why hike The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu? If you can do the Inca Trail, just go for it! The Inca Trail is not just a hike with beautiful scenery but a remarkable trek that offers a unique cultural and historical experience. The stunning landscapes, ancient ruins, and rich history make this trail a must-do if you are looking for adventure and culture during your travels in Peru. The Inca trail is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime and one that you will never forget.
FAQ About the Inca Trail
How Long is the Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is 45 kilometers and takes four days. On day four, you visit Machu Picchu and go back to Cusco.
What is the highest point of the Inca Trail?
The highest point of the Inca trail is 4,215 meters above sea level.
Are special permits required for the Inca Trail?
Yes, special permits are required.
Only 500 people per day are allowed on the trail, and permits generally sell out well in advance.
Is the Inca Trail open?
Yes, the Inca Trail is open. The Inca Trail closed for a few months during the corona pandemic and from Mid Jan to Mid-February 2023 due to social unrest in Peru. The Inca trail is now open. The Inca trail closes every year in February for maintenance.
Can you hike the Inca Trail without a guide?
No, you cannot. You can only hike the Inca Trail with a licensed travel agency in Cusco.
At what point does the Inca trail arrive at Machu Picchu?
We hike along the Inca Trail and follow the path. Finally, on day 4, we arrive at Machu Picchu on foot via the Sun Gate. The Inca Trail is the only hike that arrives at this point and enters Machu Picchu through this unique entrance. All the other hikes arrive first in Aguas Calientes.