Machu Picchu: probably the most famous place of interest in Peru. Many tourists from all over the world come every year to Peru to visit the Inca city. However, most of these visitors don't come only to visit the Machu Picchu, but also to walk the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail doesn't only represent a great challenge. It also offers the natural beauty of the setting, the impressive ruins all along the way and the mysterious Incas lost city of Machu Picchu waiting on the top as a highlight.
The Inca Trail is part of the immense communication network the Incas set up in their Empire more than 500 years ago and that stretched from the South of Colombia to the Northwest part of Argentina, going through Peru, Bolivia and Chile. The Inca Trail was a pilgrimage to the site of Machu Picchu, followed by the Inca ruler himself. It was not constructed for trading, as there are other trails with easier access by transport means, llamas and people to Machu Picchu . We can deduce from this that the purpose of the Inca Trail was in fact religious and ceremonial: a procession that included rituals to honour the Apus (mountains and glaciers).
The Inca Trail begins at km 82, and we will experience a varied climate during the walk. During the day it is often sunny; the climate is dry on the first two days and humid on the third and fourth days. At night, the first two camps are often cold, but the third is milder. The rain season begins in early November and lasts until March.
Along the walk the setting and the landscape also change. On the first two days the landscape is Andean, with mountains covered with dense forest, or capped with snow and covered with small streams. However, on the third day the vegetation is more tropical and we will be walking through the cloud forest. Along the way we'll go through tunnels, wooden bridges, forests and valleys. It is also possible to see llamas, hummingbirds, falcons and a variety of animals which live in this habitat.
Due to regulations brought in 2002, the Inca Trail (5, 4 or 2 days) is limited to 500 people per day (including guides, porters and cooks). It is therefore necessary to book in advance to guarantee a place on the date you want to leave. For Inca Trail treks in the high season (June, July, August and September) it is essential to book at least 4 months ahead.