Trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a lifelong dream for many. A journey of self-discovery and endurance, it is a demanding trek, but one that offers untold rewards in terms of culture, history, scenery, and sense of achievement, and if you have a good level of physical fitness, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make it to the Sun Gate… where the adventure really begins!
While you can hike the Inca Trail in just 3 days – there’s really no reason to rush! The trail is magnificent, with many hidden treasures, and if you want to see the best of it, without being surrounded by hordes of other travellers, the 5-Day Inca Trail should be your preferred choice.
Out of sync with the mass 3-day tours, the 5-Day Inca Trail starts in the afternoon, and so you can indulge in a leisurely breakfast at the hotel before packing your old kit bag and making your way to reception where your driver will collect you at around 08:30am.
You will then leave Cusco behind and enjoy a scenic ride to Ollantaytambo, where you will have time to shop for any last-minute necessities, view a local guinea pig ‘farm’, and enjoy a mountainside lunch before heading off on to the virtually empty Inca Trail.
After signing in for your Inca Trail expedition and crossing over iconic bridge, your journey will begin with a gentle 3-hour hike to your first base camp, Llactapata Camp, which sits majestically beneath a magnificent Inca site. Here, you will have some free time to explore the site and take pictures of the many Llamas that live here, before heading to the mess tent for a sumptuous evening meal.
Bedtime comes early on the Inca Trail, but after so much excitement, you’ll be more than ready to head to your tent, after all, it’s day 2 tomorrow, and that’s when the ‘climb’ really begins!
Here’s what the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu looks like on day 1…