The Machu Picchu Inca trail is Peru’s best known trail, and by far one of the most popular hikes in Peru. The stunning combination of the ruins of the Inca civilization, rich subtropical forests, breathtaking mountain scenery, and lush cloud forest makes it one of the top five treks in the world. The Machu Picchu Inca Trail trek through this mountainous jungle trail, through Inca ruins and tunnels will lead you to the famous destination of Machu Picchu – the mysterious “Lost City of the Incas”. Perched high above the Urubamba River chasm, the ancient city of Machu Picchu is cradled in the laps of a remote mountain range of the Andes, and is carpeted in orchids. In Machu Picchu’s Historical Sanctuary, more than 220 different varieties have been so far identified. To add to that the Sanctuary is also home to some of the rarest and finest birds including hummingbirds, waterfowl as well as the majestic Andean Condor.
Machu Picchu Inca Trail
The Machu Picchu Inca Trail essentially comprises three overlapping trails – Mollepata, Classic, and the One Day trail. Of these Mollepata is the longest route, which intersects with the Classic route just before crossing one of the most famous passes Warmiwañusca also known as the Dead Woman’s Pass. The Classic trail is among these the most widely travelled and recommended route. This is a 4 day trail along the breathtaking scenery around the river Urubamba, which later climbs up through the cloud forests to a staggering height of 13,780 feet before crossing paths with the Mollepata trail, and finally arriving at Machu Picchu. On the way, the Machu Picchu Inca Trail crosses various Inca ruins and ancient fortresses like Llactapata, Runkurakay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca and Wiñay Wayna, before reaching the Intipunktu–the Sun Gate at daybreak on the fourth day, as the first rays of sunlight illuminate the crafted stone walls of the ancient city.
The Machu Picchu Inca Trail is one of the most popular trails, thousands of trekkers from all over the world take this trail every year. Hence, with an eye to prevent overuse and trashing of the trail, eventually leading to erosion, the Peruvian government has now placed a limitation on the number of people who can hike along this trail each season and regulates the companies that can provide guides along this route. The government in 2001, also laid down that all hikers need to travel with a licensed tour operator and allows up to 500 people who can begin this hike each day, including guides and porters. In addition, every year, during February the trail remains closed so that it can be cleaned. Consequently, it is essential to have your bookings done at least 4 months in advance since during the season this trail gets booked out very quickly. You can fly to Cusco, where you join your guide for a 37 mile long bus ride to Ollantaytambo and the Inca Trailhead. While the guides will provide you with food and tent, you need to carry your own backpack including boots and raingear. Also carry lots of small bills and change, since you’ll need to on the way to pay the porters and for the hostel at Wiñay Wayna.
Though you are advised to carry raingear, it is best to avoid this route during the monsoon laden months – from November to April, because the route’s amazing views and scenery often remain shrouded by the low-lying clouds. May is perhaps the best time for hiking the Machu Picchu Inca Trail, when the skies are clear and crowds are less. June to early September is the peak season though, with thousands of trekkers from all over the world hiking along this trail.
The amount that you will end up spending varies largely depending on if you choose to travel in a large group or prefer a private service. Usually travelling in a group works out cheaper, since the person cost is calculated based on an average group size of 12 people to a maximum of 16 people. You will end up spending anywhere between US$500 and US$580 per person, when travelling in a group like this and is perhaps the most economical option available. You can also travel in smaller groups of 2 or 4 people though it will cost you much more, around US$850 per person. This covers the various expenses like the private bus services at the beginning and end of the trail, the entry fee to the Machu Picchu ruins, the fees for the guides and assistant guides, as well as the food and equipment.
Where to Find Good Deals on Inca Trail Tours
If you are looking for good (sometimes last minute) deals on Peru Trekking Tours and Inca Trail Tours try “G Adventures”. G Adventures specializes in adventure travel at a discount price, with plenty of choices, 24/7 service and much more. You can plan your next adventure visiting G Adventures here.
Conclusion: Machu Picchu Inca Trail
The cost to travel the trail might look expensive at first but once you see what is included, like an experienced guide, the entrance to Machu Picchu fees, etc. you will see that is well worth it. The Machu Picchu Inca Trail is a once in a lifetime experience that you will enjoy for years to come.