Inca Trail

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James Heilman

James Heilman

The Inca trail to Machu Picchu, the "Lost City of the Incas", is a world-famous trek in Peru. It's the best known part of the Inca road system, which was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2014. The hike takes you past staggering mountain scenery and many impressive Inca ruins, through ecosystems ranging from mossy forests to stark peaks. For much of the trail, you're walking on the very stone paths laid by the Incas hundreds of years ago.
Treks vary significantly in style, from budget backpacking to high-end glamping, but typically consist of 4 days and 3 nights on the trail itself. While the main route is fixed, timing and campsites vary. The trail requires reservations months in advance, and all trekkers must be part of a tour group, which includes porters and a guide. In addition to keeping you safe, organized, and on schedule, guides have extensive knowledge of the ruins, their history, and the variety of plants and animals that can be found along the trail.
Visits generally start from Cusco, the capital of the Incas. Due to the need to acclimatize to the altitude for a few days, the trek itself must be part of a longer trip, usually a few days in Cusco and the Sacred Valley; see Inca Highlands.



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