The Essential Inca Trail - Peru
Could there be a more iconic hike than the four-day Inca trail to Machu Picchu? You may have seen it on The Motorcycle Diaries, or on many a postcard of Peru, but nothing can prepare you for this stunning pilgrimage to the ancient citadel, swaddled in Inca mystery. Accompanied by exceptional guides and a team of porters, strike the perfect chord of adventure and luxury on this sought-after trek.
THE HUAYLLABAMBA VALLEY
Porters & peaks
From Cusco city, journey to Piscacucho, the starting point of your trek. Accompanied by a specialist guide and your porter, walk along the banks of the mighty Urubamba River. Enjoy the views of looming peaks. Then climb to the Llactapata, an Inca site found by famed explorer, Hiram Bingham in 1912. Investigate its curved terraced formations, then cross into the Huayllabamba valley, where you’ll camp for the night.
THE ANDEAN HIGHLAND
Cloud forest & condors
Awaken to birdsong and wild valley views. After a hearty breakfast, slowly begin the climb through patches of fable-like cloud forest, dripping in foliage. Reach, the infamous Warmihuyñuska, the highest point of the Inca trail, teetering at 4,200 metres. The trail opens up arid Andean highland before you descend the stone steps to your second campsite. Keep a look out for condors and giant hummingbirds (there are 120 different species in Peru). Tonight, you’ll sleep above the clouds with the sounds of waterfalls to lull you to sleep.
THE CLOUD FOREST
Hike to Puyupatamarca
You can lie in a little this morning, letting other trekkers go ahead, leaving you to enjoy the Inca trail’s most beautiful stretch in peace. Hike to Runkurakay, an archaeological site sitting at 3,600m. Enjoy the impressive valley views, which stretch all the way to the Amazon. Enter the cloud forest via an Inca-crafted stone path lined with orchids, ferns and huge bromelias. It’s the ideal habitat for the spectacled bear. Continue to Puyupatamarca, your last campsite. Revel in the stunning vistas of the Urubamba mountains undulating in the distance.
THE SUN GATE
Wake at the crack of dawn to watch the sun rise over the Andes. Then start your descent to the ruins of Intipata, used by the Incas as an agricultural lab. You’ll also pass Wiñay Wayna, another feat of Inca architecture built into the steep hillside. Arrive at the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu and the pivotal climax of your journey. Take in emotionally-stirring panoramas of the Lost City before you closely explore the wide grassy avenues, intricate stone structures and mysterious sacred sites.
Reference : A&K