Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
We made it! The trek from Inca trail to Machu Picchu is completed!
The feeling of seeing Machu Picchu after having climbed the 50 stairs up to the Sun Gate, one of the scariest part of the trail due to it being literally a wall straight up to heaven, is hard to describe. The sun was shining, our hearts were beating and there it was – the purpose of our long journey, in its full majesty in between the huge mountains of the Andes. The beauty of Machu Picchu, the skills with which it has been built, the influence of the solar calendar and how well preserved it is still today, amazes you! It is impossible not to be spellbound by the Inca trail to Machu Picchu and its history and still, there are so many questions unanswered…
Inca trail to Machu Picchu – Things to do
But getting there was not easy… we expected an adventure on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu and an adventure we got! First we were met by a guide that had had too much fun the night before. After realizing, that it was this guy or no one, we started our journey a bit frustrated. Then it turned out that we had to do the Inca Trail in 3 days instead of 4! This was due to a local strike and the risk of Machu Picchu being closed. Luckily then, we did not know what this meant…
The first day of the Inca trail to Machu Picchu was ok. We did 14 km instead of 12. We were still in a good mood, even though we were tired when reaching our camp and tent after 7 hours of walking. The second day is known to be the toughest but for us it was brutal. Wake up call at 5 am and then the day began by climbing 900 m up to 4200 m. Yeah, quite a tough start of the day. We were all very happy when we reached the highest point of the trail 3 hours later. We thought we left the toughest part of the journey behind. However, we soon got to know that we hadn’t. Leaving us with 600 meters downhill, 500 meters uphill and another 500 meters downhill (approximately 4,5 hours) ahead of us before lunch.
Getting closer to Machu Picchu
Just to make it clear, downhill in the Inca trail to Machu Picchu does not mean rest. Being these steep, your legs starts to shake after five minutes. This was not only the case for me but also for Mr. Iron Man. Being afraid of heights the uphill part was a nightmare. Its steep, narrow paths with cliffs on the sides with no bottom, it was terrifying. The good news is, I cured my fear of heights forever – there and then!
Inca Trail Tours
It is astonishing how your body and mind adjust to the situation, entering into a survival mood. When you’re on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, there is no reason to rush to the top or to the next corner. You know that you have four hours of climbing up and down ahead of you. There will be just another path there, steeper than the current one! You try to save as much energy as possible, taking small steps, avoiding high or deep stair. You even try finding alternative routes and your mind slowly calms down, restlessness turns into patients. The Inca trail to Machu Picchu is true therapy for your mind and soul!
As unlikely as it may sound, the last part of the second day made it all worth it. After a very late lunch and 8 hours of walking, we entered the original Inca Trail – the part not destroyed by the Spanish. This path was not only much better prepared and easier to walk but truly beautiful with breathtaking views. The sun, the mountains, and Mother Nature on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu – all magic!. To our great surprise, the campsite turned out to be as beautifully set, 3800 m up among the clouds – a truly unforgettable experience!
Nevertheless, while sitting in our Lima apartment and having recovered from this challenge we both agree, this was one of the toughest but the most incredible, stunning and magical adventure we have done so far! However, our strong recommendation is to do it according to plan in 4 days. Or even to take the light version of 2 days…1919
More from Travel with a Silver Lining
- Before embarking on the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, you should stay in Cusco to get acclimated to the altitude. It’s a lovely and ancient city! Read my Cusco travel story and my travel guide!
- Peru is so much more than just Machu Picchu, and capital city Lima definitely deserves some love. Check out my Lima travel story, travel guide, and restaurant review!
- Follow up the adventure by reading about our Iguazu Falls adventures next!
- Read my top 3 posts: The Most Instagram Worthy Spots in Lisbon, My Photography Guide to the Amalfi Coast, and Trendy Restaurants in Moscow!
Booking Support & Input
- Don’t overspend – find the best rates for flights to South America through Momondo. And then download their all-in-one travel app HERE!
- Before heading to the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, you’ll need to rest in Cusco for a few days. Book your stay!
- Once you’ve visited this world-renowned UNESCO Site, experience other incredible places around Machu Picchu with Get Your Guide. The platform allows you to see each place in a different light, with tours that fit what you want out of your trip. How about this Moray, Maras and Salt Mines Half-Day Tour?
- Check out the Cusco city guide, below!
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