One of the 7 Wonders of the world and typically heralded as a “lost city,” Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca fortress that sits right above the Sacred Valley just northwest of Cusco, Peru. It’s a popular tourist spot for people who are visiting, since hiking to Machu Picchu only takes a few days.
Planning a Machu Picchu Hike
If you are physically able to take on the challenge of a 3 to 4-day hike to the ruins, travelers will most likely take the Inca Trail hike as it offers one of the more spectacular views of the mountains and hedges. Frustratingly so, it is also one of the more challenging routes to the ruins. For eager adventurers, it is important to note that it is prohibited for tourists to hike independently along the Inca trail. You must travel with a sanctioned group or tour guide and you must get a permit. This is to preserve the unique artifacts from would-be thieves, as well as to circumvent the ecological footprint of visitors. The preservation and conservation of Machu Picchu is a priority.
For travelers who want an easier way to the destination, rather than hiking to Machu Picchu, then you will most likely be routed via a train from Aguas Calientes. The most popular trains to Machu Picchu are Perurail and the Aguas Calienties.
What To Expect From Hiking To Macha Picchu
There are some realities when it comes to traversing the terrain to visit Machu Picchu. Even though it is a trip that is well worth it, it can be a harrowing experience if you aren’t prepared.
- There will be cold nights. It’s important that you are well equipped to withstand the cold winds at that altitude. Things can get a little bit chilly. Make sure that you have packed enough layers in your bag to keep yourself warm.
- Acclimate to the different altitude. Not only is the temperature fluctuating throughout the day, but so is the altitude. Macchu Picchu is 7,972 ft (2,430 m) above sea level. Spend a few nights in Cusco to acclimate your body to the different elevations. Jumping right into a hike to Machu Picchu can make you feel disoriented and even cause bouts of vomiting.
- Proper hiking material includes attire, documents, and toiletries. It’s important to bring a copy of your identification when starting on the Inca Trail. There is a government checkpoint to ensure that inbound and outbound traffic is controlled. Official documents need to be stamped. Also take note that you will be hiking for several days, four hours at a time. Waterproof hiking boots are recommended, as there is a chance that you will experience mud or rain, especially at that altitude. You should also make sure to bring a rain jacket or poncho.
To plan your Peru adventure and to learn more about preparing for hiking to Machu Picchu, get in touch with Alpaca Expeditions. Alpaca Expeditions is a Peruvian travel operator with a main office in located in Cusco, Peru, and we are the top-rated tour operators of the Inca Trail.