Peru – Inca Trail
Ask 1000 people, among experts and enthusiastic trekkers, to pen a list of their top ten treks and you‘re guaranteed to find the Inca Trail featured on all. The Inca Trail in Peru is full of moments to capture. It ranks among the most famous, and beautiful, treks in the world. It roughly follows the stone ‘road’ which the Incas used to access the citadel of Machu Picchu from their capital, Cuzco. The 38-kilometre (27-mile) trail is remarkable for its wonderful scenery, the diversity of the vegetation it crosses and for the ruins that you pass through – each more impressive as you approach Machu Picchu.
The Incas built a vast network of roads to be able to communicate with the four regions of their huge empire. The network was known as Qhapaq Ñan (the sovereign’s highway) or Inca Road. It was built of stone pathways, suitable for the traffic of two or three people with a herd of llamas. Rivers were crossed by hanging bridges and the steep slopes were conquered with stairways and ramps. There are remains of the Qhapaq Ñan throughout Peru that are still used to this day by local farmers and peasants. One of the most impressive and best preserved roads is the trail that links Cuzco to Machu Picchu.
Today, hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu allows visitors to step back in time and walk through a variety of eco-systems and dazzling scenery. It includes unforgettable views, archaeological remains; 400 different species of orchids and begonias, exotic trees like the pisonay, the queñual and innumerable species of fauna in their natural habitat, such as the cock-of-the-rock, the white-tailed deer, vizcacha and, if visitors are lucky, the endangered and vegetarian spectacled bear. The Inca Trail is one of the world’s most important trekking and camping routes and it is possible to get there in 4 days/3 nights or 2 days/ 1 night and find the altitude between minimum 2,600 meters – 8,528 feet; Maximum: 4,200 meters – 13,776 feet.