What is the Inca Trail?

Machu Picchu is consistently the #1 travel destination in the world. Why? The answer is simple: the experience is mesmerizing and unique. You aren’t merely driving up to the lookout, getting out of the car, and snapping a few photos; you are traveling to the depths of South America, into the heart of the Andes. Stumbling onto the Lost City of the Incas is just one part of the journey.

Once you’ve arrived in Cusco, and arranged for transportation towards Machu Picchu, you’re left with 2 options to arrive at this Wonder of the World:

1. Take the train
2. Hike the famous Inca Trail

Image Credit
Image Credit

 

Today we’re focusing on the latter. The Inca Trail is also world famous, and for good reason: it is a section of thousands and thousands of miles of Incan “roads” that provided transportation throughout the entire Tahauantinsuyo (Incan Kingdom). The most exclusive road, reserved only for Incan royalty, is The Inca Trail.

Along the pathway to Machu Picchu you will witness more than half a dozen Incan archaeological sites and stunning Andean scenery. From glacier-covered mountains to spiritually significant Incan temples, your trek will be remarkable.

In order to hike The Inca Trail you have to secure hiking permits at least 3-6 months in advance to be able to have a chance at this 4-Day experience. This can only be done through a certified tour company.

Day 4 is particularly wonderful. You wake up at around 3:00AM and hike the remaining miles to what is known as the “Sun Gate.” This is the entrance to Machu Picchu and provides the perfect opportunity to watch one of the most unique sunrises of your life. As the fog peels off of Machu Picchu, you make your way down the final descent of The Inca Trail and arrive at the famous Incan City.

Happy Travels…

PS For those of you who want all the benefits of the Sun Gate view, without the 3 days of heavy hiking, you’re in luck. You simply hike 1-hour up to the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu. This is a free hike and no permits are required and is a fun add-on during your day in Machu Picchu.

Jared Snow on Twitter
Jared Snow
Peru Travel Expert at Destination Peru
I lived in Peru for 3 years between 2010 - 2014. During that time I researched and wrote full-time about traveling and living in Peru. I've owned and operated Destination Peru since 2012. I've always had a special interest in the Peruvian Amazon, not only because I think it has so much to offer, but because my wife's family is from the Loreto area. My favorite food of all-time is Peruvian Ceviche. Please feel free to reach out anytime: jared@treehouselodge.com. #PeruIsWaitingForYou

3 comments on “What is the Inca Trail?

  1. Nice blog, I´ve been in Peru a year ago and hike the Inca Trail, it was an amazing experience, beautiful landscapes and incredible archaeological sites. Best regards to all people in Iquitos, hope to visit next time in Peru.

  2. Great information! I really enjoy reading your blog, since is very interesting and is more than anything agency told you about the hike. Hope to visit Machu Picchu next year and be amazed by the landscapes and archeological sites on the way. Please continue writing more tips and what to expect about the seven wonder. Best regards.

  3. The Inca Trail was one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced in my life. When I went with my cousins there were moments when we wanted to leave the trek but in the end we got the reward that was the satisfaction of having achieved it and to know the wonder of the Machu Picchu world.

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