What is it like to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

What is it like to hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Inca Trail Road
Inca Trail path

Sometimes we need a little push to go and get what we wish. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is the wish of many. Here we share some inspiration to help you finally make it. Keep reading, and you’ll find some good reasons why you must be packing right now to fly to Peru.

“The hard, sometimes, hazardous terrain where we trek. The Epic scale of the Andes mountains hard to capture, peaks nearly reach 15k. The views from the dead Woman’s pass, the thin air, and the many Inca sites crowned with Machu Picchu, that’s what I call an adventure.

Words of one of our users when we asked him what were his thoughts after complete the Inca trail.

A bit of History

Silvia and Victor Von Hagen in Peru in the 1950s︱© impactentrepreneurs

Victor von Hagen, explorer of the Qhapaq Ñan (Inca trail) in 1953 said “A fresh fish from the coast can reach Cusco in 2 days,” and this was only possible to the almost 23.000km of the fantastic roads built by the Incas.

The Inca Roads were a network of roads considered one of the most significant achievements of the great Inca ruler: Huayna Capac. He asked for the development of those roads, literally, they built them rock by rock for the Inca people. The roads reach 1m to 8m wide, the higher the path the narrow the road they made. The primary purpose was to have an advantage against the constant threats of war; The emperor Inca had to face many riots during his government.

But they were also used as a way of communication and to transport goods from one point to another. And who did this vital task? The Chasquis; they were messengers who RUN, yes they run through the empire to take and give the entrust message. We are talking about 1980 km from Cusco to Quito; luckily there were “Chasqui Stations” where they can eat and rest.

Why the Inca Trail took that “complicated” way up in the mountains’ cliffs?

Did You Know?

And here is a “Did you know?” you really should know: The Inca Roads were almost impossible to the Spaniards, their horses or cars could not go through. Because of the many steep steps they had to climb, the horses get stocked. But that was not a problem for the llamas. You may say “This They didn’t planned it” but it was one of the reasons they never made it to Machu Picchu. Maybe The Inti God told them.

But now, among all those roads there is an exceptionally famous one: The Inca Trail. Rediscovered by Hiram Bingham during his exploratory travels in the years 1913-1915; he found a path from the sacred valley that if you follow it, you will end up in the citadel of Machu Picchu.

After some observation, it became clear that this Inca road wasn´t like the rest. Why take that “complicated” way up in the mountains’ cliffs when you have the whole Urubamba river’s banks? The Incas built this particular road with a Pilgrim and ritual purpose.

Based on the studies of Giulio Magli, Italian archaeoastronomer; the Inca Trail was a kind of preparation journey because nobody had the divine honor to enter the citadel. This theory was related to the original myth about the creation of the Inca people; the first Inca came from the Island in the middle of Lake Titicaca, and he gets into a mystical journey to be prepared to live and rule in the earth; so was the Inca trail.

So that incredible road is what now a day is we know as the Classic Inca Trail.

The trail: Km 82

Our Friends Happy at the Km 82

Everything starts here in Piskacucho, better known as Km 82 at 2,720m / 8,923 ft and we will be following the Urubamba River. You will soon begin to adapt to the terrain and the conditions of hiking in that altitude. Mainly you need to pay attention to altitude sickness.

During the first day, we will visit 2 Inca ruins or archeological sites: Huillca Raccay and then the great Patallacta, or some visitors say A Huge puzzle. Then we’ll have the opportunity to spot the sacred snow-capped peak known as “La Veronica” (Quechua name: Wakay Willca 5, 860m /19,225 ft). To end up near Wayllabamba, a small town where we’ll spend the night.

Dead Woman’s Pass

They made it till the Dead Woman’s Pass

Today we’ll hike the highest pass: Warmihuañusca best known as the ‘Dead Woman Pass’ at 4,200 m / 13,779 ft. You’ll be proud of yourself as it is not an easy task to get this high. We will have a rest at the top and enjoy the view. After resting, we begin the descent to our lunch stop in Pacaymayu at 3, 550m /11,646 ft. During this hike the biodiversity will be the star, so be ready to take some pictures.

After resting for a moment, we begin the descent to our lunch stop in Pacaymayu at 3, 550m /11,646 ft.

But This is not all. This day we’ll overcome another pass: Runkurakay at almost 4,000m where we’ll set up our campsite to spend the night. Next day we’ll visit the archaeological site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’ (Town in the Clouds) the third highest point on the trail 3, 680 m. From this place start our journey through the cloud forest passing the impressive agricultural Inca site of ‘Intipata’ to get to our third campsite Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young) at 2, 680m/8, 792 ft. Here we’ll spend the night before we finally meet the wonder of the world: Machu Picchu.


Arriving at The Sun Gate

We have to start this day getting to Intipunku (‘Sun gate’) (2,730 m / 8,792 ft) before sunrise. Here you will have your first fantastic view of Machu Picchu (2,400m / 7,873 ft).  Remember from here your experience will be wide better than coming from Aguas Calientes.

When we arrive at Machu Picchu, we will go directly to the place where everybody takes the classic picture, and guess what? You’ll take the classic picture.  Then our guide will lead you for 2 hours around the citadel to tell you the most relevant parts of this Royal Inca citadel. In the end, you will have some time to explore this mystic city by yourselves, and you can even hike Huayna Picchu.

Machu Picchu, more than a End Point

The experience many people share once they finished the trail, they came out physically and mentally stronger. But there is a word we usually heard at the end of the Inca Trail: Thankfulness. People are thankful for everything they’ve seen and Lived during these days.

Because once you start the hike you realize is not totally about the “EndPoint,” but let’s be honest, Machu Pìcchu is a pretty epic Endpoint but is about all the adventures we have on our way, the people we met, and the lessons we learn.

The experience with us

We are a tour operator with many years bringing friends from all around the world; not only to our country but to South America, and for us is essential to be with you since the day one when you arrive in Peru.

We always strive to give you the best experiences, get you the best hotels or tours. The Guides with the most exceptional experience, merely the best memories.

But we ask you just for one thing: The Inca trail trek is very demanded, so we always recommend booking months in advance. You must also be aware that during the rainy season, from september to march, the trail is closed. You won’t find any guided tour because is turns so dangerous.  

The best is to wait for the dry season, but if you have any doubt give us a call, we can advise you or help you find the right moment to come.

The 7 DAY – TREK ALONG THE INCA TRAIL TO MACHU PICCHU is one of our more popular tour to the Inca Trail we have, so if you are ready to come, we’ll be prepared to show you Peru.

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