Trekking has surely become the most sought after adventure sport activity by many nowadays. Not only is it fun, but it’s a great way to explore the wild, see new sights and revel in natures warmth. To top it all, it’s all the more exciting when your friends accompany you! While there are over several trekking trails all over the world, nothing beats the Inca Trail that leads straight to the World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. A visit to Machu Picchu is a must if you wish to delight your senses, so here’s a brief insight into what exactly the Inca Trail is all about.
Machu Picchu is historic for its Inca Citadel, which is the main attraction in Peru. The city was built in the 15th century and is situated at least 4200 metres above sea level. It’s interesting to note how the city was built back then without the invention of modern transportation system, the rocks used to build the city are said to have been transported through manual labor. Located in the Urubambu province in Peru, Machu Picchu is a site that attracts photographers, adventure-seekers, archeologists, geologists and travelers worldwide.
Okay…How Do I Get There?
There are two ways to visit the site. The first is the less adventurous option of taking the train till Aguas Calientes and then subsequently visiting the historic town on foot or bus. Often, adventure-seekers and travelers (even bloggers) prefer to hike it up till Machu Picchu, which is taxing but rewarding, nonetheless. The Inca trail is the most common one chosen by those who wish to go hiking.
Do I Just Hike on My Own?
It is advisable for first time hikers to take up the Inca Trail tours organized by local travel agents, as the path up can be a bit dangerous if alone. Usually, the package cost includes, accommodation and meals. However, you may have to pay extra for bathroom usage.
Why the Inca Trail?
The Inca Trail is a 42 km long trail that is spread over a period of 4-5 days. The trail passes through several types of Andean landscapes, finally stopping at Macho Picchu at sunrise. The ascend is tough, and about 4000 metres above sea level. The sights you’ll come across are spectacular and it is recommended that you carry your camera to capture the best moments. Some of the sights that’ll leave you speechless are-:
The Dead Women’s Pass
Gringo Killer or the Steep Steps carved near the Amazon Cloud Forest
Sun Gate, Machu Picchu
Tips to Pack for your Trek
When you book your trek with a travel agency, usually they give you a list of supplies that are essential to carry, however, we suggest that you be prepared for a lot more than your handy trek supply.
Insect Repellent Creams– Handy when the you are treading your way through the Amazon rain forest.
Bathroom Supplies- these are last minute things a lot of packers forget, do not forget your toilet paper and plastic bags!
Comfy Clothes– You’re going for a trek, pack wisely. Loose tee’s and board shorts or track pants are ideal.
Raincoat– The place is notorious for untimely rainfall, it’s always good to be on the safe side.
Water resistant shoes- If you don’t want your toes to feel soggy and wet, it’s advisable that you bring in a pair of water resistant shoes.
Light Jacket/Sweater– The nights can get pretty chilly and it’s always handy to have something to save you from the cold.
Sleeping bag– It’s a must for all trekkers, try to carry one that is warm and comfy.
Hand Sanitizer– This is a must, you don’t have supplies at about 3900 metres above sea level, so this is the best you’ve got.
Water– You need to stay as hydrated as possible while trekking, always carry a 1L water bottle in hand.
Cost and Entry
Hiking Trail costs about $800 per person, depending on the tour you book. The travel agency usually takes care of your permit (yes, you need one) and entry fee.
Individual travel via train and bus is cheaper and can round up to about $300. But remember that it’s always better to hire a guide who can show you the best places in Machu Picchu.
Day tours from Cusco and Aguas Calientes cost about $350 with guides and a professional tour. This is advisable for all those who are short of time but still want to get the whole experience.
Best Time to Visit
Usually May to September is the best time to visit since it rains pretty much throughout minus this time of the year. The Inca Trail remains closed in February for maintenance and it is advised that if you plan on taking it up, you book at least a few months in advance in order to get a slightly cheaper rate.
It is said that Machu Picchu is at a risk and has been listed on UNESCO Endangered Sites list. This is mainly due to the millions of visitors per year, however, other things like pollution and erosion are contributors too. If you’ve wanted to visit this beautiful ancient site forever, then do so while it is still open to the public!