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Destinations in Peru

Inca Trail

Inca Trail

Inca Trail, Cusco, Peru

The Inca Trail has to be one the most popular adventure activities in South America, and every year draws literally thousands of hikers to the lofty heights of the Andes in the region of Cusco. Inca Trails were the vast network of paths that the Inca’s created to interlink major cities along the coastline and mountains of South America. The Inca’s built some 20,000 km’s of stone trails which stretched as far north as Quito (Ecuador) and south to Santiago (Chile). The famous Inca Trail hike starts about 2 hours from the Andean City of Cusco – at Kilometer 82, and winds through the mountain terrain, traversing several mountain passes, before finally arriving at Machu Picchu. Permit System Not all people are aware that the Inca Trail operates a permit system that limits the amount of hikers per day. The Direccion Regional de Cusco (DRC) is the governing body of the permit system and operate an online reservation system for permits. The maximum number of permits issued per day is 500, and must be purchased using the passport number of the person intending to hike. The Inca Trail hike is a top attraction in Peru, and to avoid disappointment we advise planning your trip 3-4 months (or more) in advance. Acclimatization before you trek, It is important that you plan at least 2 days minimum of acclimatization time before you start any trek in the highlands of Peru. The high altitude affects tourists differently from a mild headache to more severe symptoms of vomiting and dizziness. Trekking at high altitude is strenuous on the body, and trekkers that have not taken the time to acclimatize could experience altitude sickness, which could prevent them from starting or completing the trek. The Inca Trail is in a remote location, and hikers that become ill usually return on foot to the trail head, where they can return by train to Cusco. Helicopters are available for airlifts, but cost on average about $4,000 per hour. Cusco is a wonderful city, and there are many attractions to visit in and around the city – therefore taking 2 – 3 days prior to the start of your trek can enhance your trip and keep you healthy. Take some time to review our Guide to Cusco for information on attractions, hotels, restaurants and general travel advice. Camping equipment, is an important part of the trek as you will be spending 3 nights under the stars en-route to Machu Picchu. The majority of the equipment that you will use will be provided by your chosen tour operator, but be sure to check what they include in the price and what they don’t. Tents, plastic floor sheets, are usually provided, whilst roll mats and sleeping bags are usually option extras that you will need to pay for. All other general camping equipment used for cooking and dinning will be provided. Some of the food best you may eat whilst in Peru could be in the Inca Trail. Most good tour operators will have a specially trained chef that will cook for the group. Meals are usually high protein, high carb foods to help you with energy levels on the trek. Breakfast usually consist of breads / toast, fruit, pop-corn, juices and cereals. Lunches and dinners can include meat, pastas, chicken, potatoes, vegetables, pop-corn, hot drinks, salads etc. and are usually presented in the dinning tent on a long table, where you can enjoy the meal with your trekking group and guides. High energy snacks are also typically provided at the start of the day. Extra Porters Although it might seem brave or adventurous to carry your on back-pack, trekkers it is actually not much fun – even for the most seasoned trekkers. The high altitude, fairly strenuous climbs and descents on stone pathways can make it tough on your back, knees and ankles. Your Inca Trail tour operator will probably offer the services of extra porters to carry your equipment, charging between $40 – $50 for the trek. Porters are usually local farmers from the many mountain communities close to the Inca Trail, and are well accustomed to working at these altitudes.

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