Inca Trail was one of my best adventures and one of the nicest for sure !!
The Inca trail is one of the parts of the Inca roads, which indicate all who came to Cusco during the Inca Empire. The most famous and searched by hikers made by me and then reported here, was the one who was heading the Lost City: Machu Picchu or so Old Mountain. It starts at km 82 (left bank of the Urubamba River) which runs 42km until the sun gate.
I decided to face this challenge more for a visual pleasure than any other. You are advised to arrive at least 2 days in advance to Cusco and stay there until get used to the altitude. Yes, this is normal, and it is given the name “Soroche” or mountain sickness. The trail cannot be held individually and hiring a local guide is required. It is also advisable to make your reservation with some anticipation, because as demand is high and jobs are limited, the vacancies are selling fast. Check the authorized guides and if your booking was successful in the official tourism site.
I ended up doing the trail of four days, the traditional. And on the 5th day I went up the Huayna Picchu mountain (that we always see in the background of traditional pictures). During the trail there are toilets and showers, but the water is cold (practically a thaw of the mountains), and as the night cools much, I advise taking bath before gets dark, or do as the Irish who have spent five days without bath. If you feel cold, drink coca tea, I was addicted on it because it took away my mountain sickness and helped a lot to heat up. It was served at any time. As we got up very early and we got quite tired, barely getting dark already and we were going to sleep. One evening I decided to go to the bathroom, and when I looked at the sky, completely starry, I had one of the most beautiful images of my life. Enjoy every moment, because there is enough time for that. There will be stops, moments for photos, social integration, etc. I was alone and I met a lot of friends, Peru in my point of view was super safe.
The trail is really nice, there are porters who carry everything for you except your personal equipment (sleeping bag, insulation and clothing) , moreover: tents , food … everything with them . It is important to recognize the efforts of these people and know that the tip we left at the end is extremely relevant to their work, therefore: save a decent amount for the working group. If you miss something along the way, like water and snacks, in the first kms you’ll find some sales (at twice the price). So plan everything well. But also your guide will tell you all.
In the last track day we woke up 3 am to stay on line at the park entrance. Everyone wants to be the first to enter because the doors open 5pm only (for trackers), and around 6am is the time of sunrise. Yes, only those who make the trail are blessed for this moment. As a result there are so many people waiting the opening time, and after they run off desperately to early terminate the track and get to the peak to sight Machu Picchu – yes I was one . When you reach the Sun Gate, the dawn is then awaited a silence takes care of all the long-awaited moment when the sun perfectly illuminate the lost city (depending on the solstice). The light goes perfectly between the rock columns, famous sun gate, enlightening perfectly the curves of Machu Picchu. Amazing and perfect. After that time you will feel blessed and understand religiosity cultivated by the Incas gods.
I advise to stay one night in the pueblo after the trail and enjoy the aguas calientes. So I left Huayna Picchu for climb on the 5th day, before returning to Cusco. If you are well trained, you can make the ascent in less than 30 minutes, despite being calculated 1h. So enjoy and make the full turn!
On the way back look VISTADOME train, it has panoramic windows and meals on board, the price difference is small, but it will leave you more close to Cusco, and is also more comfortable, since this trip is tiring too (trains go at 40 km/h), but you cannot deny that the look of the valley and the river Urubamba are amazing!And don’t worry if you don’t speak Spanish very well, Peruvians are so grateful for your presence.
Don’t worry Everyone is going to respect you and your pace, it is tourism, not competition. In Cusco there is the city historic tour, it takes you to protected neighboring communities. And when I was in Lima, I went to Paracas (round trip on the same day), amazing!
The airport of Lima has many direct flights by Avianca. Look sites from Avianca and Taca, they sometimes have different prices but is the same service. Also there are multi-city pass that allows you to stay on your connection cities. I stopped in Lima and stayed there four days, the same fare. Look for a hostel in the Miraflores neighborhood. I stayed at the Dragonfly , they have the own beer! The BRT work very well there, and they call for metro, it takes you to the center with security, otherwise there is a mini- vans very strange but who works well in the neighborhood.
Try Inca Kola, I love it! And Pisco Sour too. Cuy are the guinea pigs and is a traditional dish there. Nice trip!
If you want to see more pictures: