The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is without a doubt one of the most popular treks in Peru and the world for those in search of adventure. To Machu Picchu Travel is pleased to offer you a hike in a unique style that you will never forget, with spectacular landscapes of the Andes chain, a great mix of mountains and jungle, that you, family, and friends will enjoy to the fullest from start to finish. . There is no other side of our planet a natural circuit that leads to a world that combines the most varied ecological floors, adorned with imposing snow-capped mountains, rivers and a great variety of flora and fauna. To all these natural wonders are added Inca constructions that are worth visiting, the architectural art harmonizes perfectly with the natural environment. Here you will have all the useful information about the history, what to bring and all the attractions that surround the Inca Trail.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is part of a system of more than 30,000 kilometers of roads that make up the vast network of Tawantinsuyo, from southern Colombia to central Chile, passing through Quito, Ecuador; Cajamarca, Huanuco, Jauja, Huamanga, and Cusco in Peru; La Paz and Cochabamba in Bolivia to Salta and Tucumán in Argentina. These routes ran mostly along the coast and the mountains and in some cases reached the Amazon jungle, as is the case of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The tour of this Andean road is an unforgettable experience. The path is paved with rock blocks and features stairs, tunnels, and wooden bridges that cross rivers, temperate valleys, warm cloud forests, and cold Andean heights. All this set makes the visitor meditate on the intellect and spiritual greatness of the Andean man whose greatest achievement was the Inca civilization. What is known as the Inca Trail is a small section within what was the Inca communications network built throughout the territory. This section takes on singular importance since it unites different sites between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, where you can see the variety of architectural resources that give rationality, importance, and why not say mystique to the old Imperial Road.
Location and Geography
The location of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu varies according to the route you choose, that is, there are two routes. The first is the one that starts at Km 82 of the Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes railway line (Machu Picchu Pueblo). The second is the alternate route that begins at Km 104 of the same railway line. For both cases, the geography of the Inca Trail is rugged and you have to be in optimal physical conditions since in some passages of the road you will reach a height of 4000 meters above sea level.
Access routes to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
As we mentioned, there are two ways to do the Inca Trail. The first is the Classic Inca Trail of 4 days that has a 36.6 km trek until reaching the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. And in the second is the Short Inca Trail of 2 days that has a journey of 15 km approx. It is worth mentioning that to carry out any of these routes it is necessary that you reserve them months in advance since there is only availability of 500 visitors per day.
HEALTH: Since you will be visiting the Andes of Peru, do not forget to take the necessary precautions to avoid altitude sickness. Be sure to drink tea or infusion of coca leaves very hot as soon as you reach the height, the first day walk slowly and eat lightly. Maximum heights of the Inca Trail Machu Picchu: 2,400 m.a.s.l. Urubamba Valley: 2,850 m.a.s.l. Inca Trail (highest point): 4,200 m.a.s.l.
Names of the Inca Trail
The Inca Trail is a cultural heritage of humanity after being declared so by the cultural agency of the United Nations (UNESCO). In order to reach this decision, it had to be shown that the Inca Trail is approximately 60,000 kilometers long and has exceptional universal value. To do this, the committee was based on four criteria for this long-awaited denomination. Therefore, the Inca Trail is an engineering marvel that must be preserved and restored by all those who visit it. It is worth clarifying that of the total of 60 thousand kilometers of extension of this immense road network, only 30 thousand kilometers have been recognized in which some 273 archaeological sites that are already considered World Heritage are located.
Weather on the Inca Trail
In Cusco, there are two marked seasons: the rainy season that begins from November to March with temperatures ranging from 12°C to 18°C. and the dry season that begins in April. until the month of October with temperatures ranging from 4°C and 8°C in the mornings and nights and during the day from 12°C to 20°C. On the route of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the climates are very varied from semi-tropical climate, hot and humid days and cold nights to dry cold climates at its highest points for which it is better to be prepared and take precautions. The season with the highest humidity on the Inca Trail is from January to March.
Inca Trail regulations
The Inca Trail is part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, an area protected by the National Institute of Nature Reserves INRENA. Each visitor must obey the rules of the park which prohibit: throwing garbage, cutting or damaging trees, removing or damaging stones from the ruins or the path, removing plants, killing animals, setting open fire or camping inside the Inca remains ( only authorized camping sites may be used).
Attractions of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
1.- WayllaBamba.- This is the point where our walk begins. From the control post, we will pass through some terraces, platforms, and a warm climate.
2.- Patallaqta.- It is an archaeological site in Peru located in the Cusco Region, province of Urubamba, District of MachuPicchu. It is situated southeast of the site of Machu Picchu, at the confluence of the Kusichaka and Willkanuta rivers on a mountain called Patallaqta.
3.- Runkurakay.- The Runkurakay fortress (Quechua) was a rest and food base (“Tambo”) with a strategic view of the surroundings of the Inca Trail after Machu Picchu. The ruins are located at 3,720 meters above sea level near the pass “Abra de Runkurakay» (3970 masl). The structure consists of two concentric and sloping walls that surround the chambers and the court. Archaeologists suspect that Runkurakay was a stopping point (Tambo) for the messengers because the construction is made up of several bedrooms and stables for the animals.
4.- Sayaqmarka.- It is an archaeological site located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, MachuPicchu District. It is located southwest of the Runkuraqay archaeological zone.
5.- Wiñay Wayna (Quechua for “forever young”) is an Inca ruin along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It is built on a steep hillside overlooking the Urubamba River. The site consists of upper and lower housing complexes connected by a stairway and structures. Above and below the village houses, agricultural terrace areas were built.
6.- IntiPunku.- It means “Puerta del Sol” and constitutes the entrance to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail with an impressive view over the citadel of Machu Picchu at dawn.
7.- Intipata.- It is a set of Inca platforms and enclosures, which is located between the Archaeological Site of Wiñaywayna and Intipunku. 8 Phuyupatamarca.- It is a place immersed in an overwhelming natural scenery where there is a great variety of orchids, birds, and a dreamlike landscape.
Recommendations to take to the Inca Trail
- Wear shoes, trekking shoes.
- Drink plenty of fluids during the Inca Trail.
- Travel in the rainy season always wears waterproof clothing or extra clothing.
- Photographic camera. Insect repellent and sunscreen.
- Flashlight and knife. Personal hygiene items and first aid (bandages, cotton, bandages, alcohol, aspirin, pills for stomach problems, medicines to prevent altitude sickness)
- Bottle of water and pills to purify water.
- Dehydrated fruits, candies, and chocolates.
- Gloves, scarf, hat, or cap.
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