Famed the world over for its jaw-dropping alpine scenery and ancient archaeological sites, the Inca Trail is the very essence of the old-world.
You’ll retrace the steps of the Inca, who once trampled along this very route to seek refuge from Spanish conquistadors in the hidden citadel of Machu Picchu.
An experienced English speaking guide will lead the way and a team of personal porters will carry your tent, food, sleeping bag, and mat along the trail. It’s not luxurious, but it is private and you will use lesser-known, quieter campsites.
On day one hike to the ruins of Llacapata and ascend to the first camp at Wayllambamba.
The ascent from Wayllabamba to Pacaymayo is the most difficult day of the trek, with a wheezy uphill jaunt to the ominous Dead Woman’s Pass (4,198m/13769ft). En route, you’ll see the landscape morph from rugged forested mountains into desolate highland plains devoid of vegetation.
On day three trek to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, carved out of a cragged cliff overlooking the Urubamba River.
Your fourth and final day of the trek requires a 4:00 a.m. start—a pre-dawn departure designed to see you reach the Sun Gate before sunrise. Many trekkers describe watching the day’s first rays cast light over Machu Picchu as a spiritual experience, the ultimate reward for an arduous high altitude trek.