Peru’s Andean region offers a beautiful but challenging terrain. The trails in the Andes are on every hiker’s bucket list. The Inca’s trails were built to connect the Incan Empire to the famed Macchu Picchu. Today, there is one famous Incan trail that can be hiked to reach Macchu Picchu.
How to Hike the Trail
Regulations have been added to the Inca Trail in the last few years. You must book with an official tour company months in advance to ensure your spot. All of these tours offer porters and guides but prices can run a bit steep. If you’d prefer a cheaper option look into Salkantay trail, an alternative option to Macchu Picchu.
Picking A Tour Group
There are many international tour groups offering hikes on the Inca Trail but most are at higher prices than local tour operators. I used this website to find official tour operators who you can book directly through. http://www.incatrailperu.com/inca_trail_tour_operators.html
What to Expect
You’ll get to see beautiful ruins of the Incan Empire on the hike as well as beautiful waterfalls and rivers. You hike past rivers that feed into the Amazon, mountain peaks, and through jungle territory at the border of the Amazon. You’ll get to see a wide variety of birds, so I’d highly recommend this to anyone who is a bird watcher. It’s a great experience in Peru and allows you to feel a greater appreciation for the Incan Empire.
The trail is very remote and is a very challenging hike. Incans built stairs rather than what most of us think of as a traditional hiking path. I’d recommend doing some serious stairs as preparation for the trail.
The trail is limited in terms of evacuation routes. You must be carried out by porters if you have a medical emergency so very seriously consider your medical state before committing to the trail. I am not a medical professional so its very important to speak with your doctor to see if you are in good condition to go on this hike.
Altitude affects everyone differently. Some people feel no affect, while others can have very severe reactions. I’d recommend arriving at least a few days early to Cusco to give yourself time to adjust. It’s important to talk to your doctor about how the altitude may affect you.