The Inca Trail is one of the most important hiking routes in South America. This is influenced by its original Inca architecture, the archaeological remains along the route and the natural mix of forest and cloud forest of the route. It is also the most spectacular way to reach the Inca Sanctuary of Machupicchu.
Visitors from all over the world come to Peru, not only to visit Machu Picchu, but also to trek the Inca Trail, the most famous trek in South America. In addition, they come to observe the ruins and the landscape that make this road the most famous worldwide. This means that the permits can be sold months in advance, so it is essential to plan in advance the reservation.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu part of the 23,000 kilometers (approx.14,000 miles) of roads built by the Incas in South America, are on the most famous trekking route in Peru, and possibly one of the most spectacular in America. But how far is the hike to Machu Picchu? Well, the total Inca Trail lenght is 43 kilometers along a stone paved road built by the Incas, which leads to the impregnable citadel of Machu Picchu located deep in the high jungle of Cusco.
Walking the Inca Trail certainly demands a little physical effort. Considered as "moderate" grade, this will depend more than anything on your physical condition
To start walking the Inca Trail, you need to cross the Kusichaca bridge, (an important Inca bridge that using Inca techniques, which was built with steel cables that allowed visitors to cross the Urubamba River) Then you should head to the left bank of the river through from an Eucalyptus forest to start the day calmly. Almost immediately, you will arrive at the archaeological complexes of Q'ente, Pulpituyoc, Kusichaca and Patallaca. From this last point, you will have to follow the path that is to the left of the Kusichaca River, in the area with the same name, where you will not only see the bridge, but also you will find the tombs, aqueducts, terraces. roads and a canyon. You will have to continue until you reach the small peasant village of Wayllabamba and the Inca aqueducts. It will take around four hours to cover 9 km to this place. The first night you can camp here.
Difficulty level: Easy
Maximum altitude: 3000m
Minimum altitude: 2600m
Distance traveled: 9 km
Approximate walking time: 5-6 hours
The second day walking the Inca Trail is more difficult as it will have to climb 4,200 meters, crossing the Warmiwañusqa pass, the first and highest point. If you suffer from soroche (sickness to the heights) it is better that you do not stop and descend quickly to the valley of the Pakaymayu river, where you will be able to camp. This place is 7 km away and approximately 8 hours walking.
Level of difficulty: Difficult
Maximum altitude: 4600m
Minimum altitude: 3000m
Distance covered: 12KM
Approximate walking time: 6-7 hours
The third day is the longest but the most interesting. You can visit impressive resorts such as Runqurakay, the second step, at 3,800 m.s. After crossing the second step, we will descend to Yanacocha (the black lagoon), then climb a path with stone steps to reach another group of buildings that attracts the attention of visitors. This place is called Sayaqmarka, a pre-Hispanic complex with narrow streets, buildings built on different levels; sanctuaries, patios, canals and an exterior protection wall. While we are on the road we will visit four more ruins, the first one is Sayacmarca, which in the Inca period was a junction point of the roads leading to Machu Picchu. After visiting these ruins, we will continue walking the Inca Trail to Phuyupatamarca, where all the groups often have lunch. From here, the descent is inclined and somewhat tired because it is mainly made up of bleachers. Finally, we will arrive at the ruins of Intipata, a complex of terraces and platforms built in the middle of a leafy mountain. The road finally circles the last campsite called Wiñaywayna, here, you can buy a well-deserved drink, or take a cold shower. You should also visit the ruins of Wiñaywayna which, in type, are similar to those of Intipata, but more impressive.
Difficulty level: moderate
Maximum altitude: 4000m
Minimum altitude: 2650m
Distance covered: 16 km
Approximate walking time: 8 hours
On the fourth day, which starts around 8 A.M., the walkers arrive at Machu Picchu at approximately 11 A.M. after 8 km of walk through the jungle. You must follow the signposted route and then drink some water at the Wiñay Wayna Visitor Center. The road is clearly marked but we recommend not getting too close to the cliff.
Difficulty level: Easy
Maximum altitude: 2650m
Minimum altitude: 2100m
Distance covered: 6 km
Approximate walking time: 2 hours
The short Inca Trail is a good alternative for tourists who do not have much time to walking the Inca Trail 4 days and for those who enjoy short routes with the family.
This short Inca Trail tour has a wide variety of flora and fauna and Inca sites such as Chachabamba and Wiñayhuayna, nothing to envy the traditional Inca trail.
This path is not too challenging, which can be done perfectly with children and those with tight time.