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The Magical Inca Trail Peru

The Magical Inca Trail Peru

Posted by Juan Gavasa on April 07, 2014

February has ended and with it, the rainy season, making the famous Inca Trail once again accessible. The most conventional and recommended to the average traveler is the four day trek, divided into three camps. You have to get in touch with the authorized operators to do the trek, and they will look after all the necessary arrangements.

Day 1: The beginning of the adventure

They meet in the plaza de Chilca, in the middle of a frenzy of colors, cooks, guides, buses, porters waearing red ponchos and travelers who are eager to start the trail. Baggage, packages, and backpacks are weighed to make sure they are not over the 25k limit for the porters to carry. The porters come from communities like Huilloq or Patacancha. People that don’t walk, but rather glide at high speed up and down the trail.

A maximum of 500 people are allowed to walk the trail each day, 160 of whom are travelers from all over the world. The first day’s journey is made entering Piscacucho at km 82, where you find yourself at entry control. After six hours of gentle walking, passing archaeological sites like Llaqtapata and Wilkarakay, you arrive to the camp of Huayllabamba, at 3,000 meters above sea level (AMSL)

Day Two: The pass

This is the most demanding day, because it’s when you make the four hour uphill hike to the highest point of the trail: the Warmiwañusca pass, located at 4,200 metres above sea level. To get there, you walk along the beautiful and wide valley in which the mountains and the clouds play with the sun, making unlikely shapes and shadows. After passing through, you start the descent on a paved path to arrive at the camp of Pacaymayo Alto at 3,600 AMSL.

Day Three: The cloud forest

The archaeological sites, like Runrurakay and Sallaqmarqa, are surrounded by vegetation. There are grottos and a multitude of trails where the moss, the ferns, and the dwarf trees have all the ranges of green and red.

Orchids, lichen, cocks-of-the-rock, and riverbeds abound. It’s the cloud forest, the transition between the mountain and the jungle and one of the most particular ecosystems of the world. It’s a good day to walk, after the demanding day that came before. The ending point is the camp of Phuyupatamarca, at 3,620 AMSL.

Day Four: Machu Picchu

You will arrive at the citadel of Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, also known as the Sun Door. The view of the ancient city from here is incredible: you contemplate all the majesty of the archaeological site surrounded by mountains, precipices, and vegetation.

In the background, in the deepest depths of the valley, you can see the serpentine river Urubamba that runs parallel to the train tracks, circles the mountain that holds Machu Picchu, the place that the ancient Incas used as a refuge, resting place, and place of astronomical observation, as well as being the end of one of the best trails you can take in Peru.

How to arrive

To start the Inca Trail, you have to get to Ollantaytambo from Cusco by road or railway. Perú Rail offers daily trips from Poroy (Cusco). For more information, visit their website.

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