A Machu Picchu hike is a huge deal in the trekking and archaeology world. Over 1.2 million people visit Machu Picchu every year, and a huge part of them either take the well-known Inca trail trek or the other trail to the ancient city. It is a very popular experience to have when a tourist goes to visit Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the world. It lives up to all its hype, located in the Peruvian Andes, and it is believed that Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui built the Machu Picchu. It is the most famous architectural site globally and very mysterious till today’s date.
Also, the most famous Machu Picchu trail trek’s name is inspired by its builder – Inca Trail Trek. If you have decided to go to the Machu Picchu, look at the stunning wonder and go to the Machu Picchu hike. We have the whole thing figured out for you.
Machu Picchu Hike Description
“Machu Picchu is a place of mystic wonder, unearthed history, and all behind a gorgeous Andes backdrop.”
There isn’t just one Machu Pichu hike. After multiple kinds of research, there are numerous Machu Picchu hikes to reach the city. When people talk about the hike, it is about the Inca trail trek, which is the most famous one.
But it turns out, there are so many other options to go for since each hike has its own advantages and disadvantages with different difficulty levels.
Let’s start our Machu Picchu hike discussion with the Inca trail trek.
The classic Inca trail trek is the most famous trek of all Machu Picchu hike. This trek is the most famous one because this would have been the route Inca took from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu. Booking the trek way early is the best option to go because only 500 trekkers are allowed a day put of which many of the places are saved for guides and helpers.
This trek is considered difficult in comparison to others, this Machu Picchu hike is 26 miles (43 km) long, and it takes 4 days 3 nights to do this trek. The altitude for this trek goes as high as 13 to 14 thousand feet. The maximum part of the trek is steep. For more detailed knowledge of this Machu Picchu hike, have a look at the itinerary given below:
A little itinerary for the Inca trail trek to get you an idea of what you can expect.
DAY 1 – CUSCO – WAYLLABAMBA (12km)
Travel by bus to Ollantaytambo, pit stop to buy last-minute belongings or hike gear. Then, take a bus to Piskacucho (82 km) to Wayllabamba.
DAY 2 – WARMIWAÑUSCA – PAQAYMAYU (12 km)
The Machu Picchu hike starts on Day 2; you grab your snacks and a good breakfast to move to the trek’s highest point. It takes approximately 5 hours to get there. Warmihuañusca Pass is the highest point on the trek.
DAY 3 – PAQAYMAYU – WIÑAYWAYNA (15 km)
We start day 3 by walking towards the archaeological site – Runkuracay and then towards Runkuracay Pass. Then, we descend to Sayaqmarka archaeological site, arriving at the Chaquiqocha campsite for lunch.
DAY 4 – WIÑAYWAYNA – MACHU PICCHU (5 km)
After an early breakfast, we start trekking for 2 hours to reach Inti Punku to grasp the stunning view of Machu Picchu. From there, return to Cusco.
Tips for Inca Trail Trek
Some tips to help you with the Inca Trail Trek are stated below. These tips are given by the people who have been on these treks before and knows what they are doing; it goes as follows:
- Arrive early – It is advised by many to arrive a few days before your trek. 3- 5 days is sufficient to get used to the climate and altitude there before hiking.
- Poles – Buy a trekking pole to make the steep areas a little easy. You can even rent one from your tour company.
- Shoes – The shoes you use during this Machu Picchu hike are essential that they are broken in. This is done to avoid blisters or any discomfort that can be caused in the future.
- Extra precaution – Things that you should definitely carry are SUNSCREEN and BUG SPRAY. The sunlight on the mountains can be very harsh, so the more SPF, the better. Bug spray is essential to get rid of the terrible mosquitos, the best way to avoid itchiness. Carry a mini first-aid kit; it might help if some minor issue comes.
- Extra money – The bathroom thing is in a shortage in Machu Picchu, to use that only bathroom you have to pay. So, make sure you are carrying the extra bucks.
- Passport – To have this amazing journey stamped makes this Machu Picchu hike even better. You can get your passport stamped on this trip, a little souvenir in your passport.
- Snacks – You will get plenty of food at the trek, but it is better when you have your favorite snacks right there. Make sure they are small like granola bars and don’t take much of your bag’s space.
Other Machu Picchu Hikes
There are plenty of alternatives to the Inca trail trek. Each trek has different takes a different amount of time to complete the trek and has different difficulty levels.
This Machu Picchu hike takes 5 days and 4 nights to complete with incredible views. This trek is the second most famous after the Inca trek. It was even voted as the Top 25 treks in the World by National Geographic.
This trek is the best if you want to trek and hand-in-hand explore the culture of Machu Picchu. It requires less effort and exertion to complete it. If you want to combine scenery and culture simultaneously, this is the best Machu Picchu trek to go to.
This trek is the longest and the toughest trek among all the Machu Picchu hikes. But, this trek is super rewarding for the results as the Choquequirao Inca site is worthy of all the efforts. For a great archaeological experience, this trek is your answer.
Inca Jungle Trek
This trip is not like the Inca trail trek we talked about above. This trek is for people who are into all kinds of adventurous activities. This Machu Picchu hike needs a lot of adrenaline. It has 60km of downhill cycling, including trekking, and also includes ziplining and river rafting. This is an entirely different experience that is most popular among frequent trekkers/backpackers or younger generations.
Other Machu Picchu hike apart from all the ones listed above is Huchuy Qosco Trek, Ausangate Trek, and Vilcabamba Trek.