If you want to feel the dizzying effects of the rising altitude leading you to one of the world’s New Seven Wonders of the World, taking a trek on the Inca Trail will fill this travel-sized hole in your heart. The country of Peru is a mystifying destination of its own, a home of influential culture, historical villages, and Inca construction, giving a much deeper meaning to the land’s storied past.
One of the best ways to truly come to know a destination and feel connected to the land is by embarking on a walking tour. The Inca Trail offers much in the field of enlightening interactions and physical activity. With up to eight hours of walking each day on our Inca Trail tour, travelers are able to experience the country on foot and embrace a slower form of tourism that breaks away from past-paced touristry and instead warrants a unique perspective on Peruvian heritage.
An Intro to Lima
Rather than saving a “big city finale” for the end of your trip, start out strong in the capital city of Lima, a buzzing metropolis contrasting the remote paths you will be engrossed in for the majority of the trip. With its historical significance taking the form of government buildings, you’ll be able to gain a sense of the city’s importance by walking to sights such as the Government Palace and the Cathedral of Lima. In order to truly begin digging into the culture of Peru, however, seasoned visitors recommend attending a cooking demonstration to see how a traditional Peruvian meal is prepared. From ceviche to Lomo Saltado, Peruvians have proven to have a sophisticated palate that comes alive in the kitchen. Give yourself a front-row seat to this process, learning the techniques and favored recipes that have been passed down through generations.
Begin Your Trek in Sacred Valley
After arriving in the spirited city of Cuzco, you’ll be transported to the scenic hilltop ruins of Pisac to begin the walking segment of your trip. While hiking down the steep path to Pisac village, admire the far-off views of the textured streets lined with local vendors. Walk through the cobblestone streets selling colorful artisanal crafts and accessories. Continue on foot to Moray, a leveled architectural center showcasing the Incans’ intellectual grasp of high-altitude crop growing that fed their lands for centuries.
Located within the Sacred Valley is another prominent archaeological site with squares of terrain giving off a milky color from afar. Upon walking closer, you’ll discover these squares to be salt evaporation ponds with varying degrees of neutral colors. Explore to your heart’s content before hiking back down. Spend your evening enjoying more of Peru’s foodie culture by joining a local family for a home-cooked meal in a village near the riverside.
The Highlight of the Trip: Machu Picchu
Following a few days of adjusting to the nomadic lifestyle, you and your group will board The Expedition Train to Km 104. Upon disembarking, you will begin a gradual uphill hike to the honored Incan remains known worldwide as Machu Picchu. Allow the image of Machu Picchu to encourage you as you trek through the sacred scenery and experience the landscape in its magic hour. Your first day on the trip will lead you past the Incan ruins of Wiñaywayna and eventually lead you to Intipunku, also known as the Sun Gate. This spot will introduce you to your first glimpse of Machu Picchu, a sight that will only grow more profound as you hike down a rocky path.
The next morning will begin early for those opting into the optional hike to Huayna Picchu, an arched mountain overlooking the archaeological site. In the late morning, embark on an Inca stone trail to gain a closer look at the ancient ruins that have made Machu Picchu a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Although this influential citadel was abandoned by its former inhabitants, it has remained a protected part of history, now drawing in over a million visitors each year. Join the other travelers in admiring the Temple of the Sun, the House of the Priest, the Sacred Plaza, and a carved rock that the Incas are presumed to have used as a sundial.
Additional Incan Culture
After an immersion in the Incan ruins giving present evidence of a previous lifetime, journey to Wayllarcocha to embrace more culture by participating in a shaman ceremony. Your group will be introduced to a local “shaman” (holy man) to learn more about the prominent Andean culture and traditions. Following an educational introduction, your group will hike to yet another Incan site known as Saqsaywaman, continuing the theme of admiring ancient sites that have remained intact. The day will be finished by hiking to the cultural center of Cuzco, inviting you to journey further into the poetic San Blas neighborhood. From visiting whimsical galleries to introducing yourself to locals on their daily commute, these quarters will inspire you to sit back and admire the aesthetic atmosphere that cannot be duplicated elsewhere in the world.