To be honest, hiking the Inca Trail was the one part of my recent trip to South America that I was absolutely dreading. Up until about 3 weeks before we left I hadn’t done a lot of preparation or a lot of exercise in general (I did hike Mt Warning once…in September). However, as it turns out none of that really matters!
The Inca Trail is about 45 km long and most people complete the hike with a tour company. These companies provide you with everything – tents, food and sleeping bags. We did our hike with G Adventures and they were fantastic – super knowledgeable guides, friendly porters and without a doubt the best chefs.
Even though we had spent some time is Cusco getting used to the altitude we still chose to do the 4 day hike. There is a 2 day option but even with medication you never really know how the altitude will affect you and if you’re there you may as well take your time.
Because we were there during the wet season the day 2 hike was not the most challenging despite the steep inclines. Once you have earphones in and beats going, you reach the top of Dead Women’s Pass pretty quick. Day 3 on the other hand, which I had mistakenly been looking forward to, proved to be tricky. The trail is mostly downhill but it’s all stairs. We’re not talking about regular size stairs; these are large stone stairs that get real slippery in the rain. I found it difficult at times but if you’re on the smaller side (I am 5’9) I would watch out for day 3 (or just don’t go in the wet season).
Day 4 is obviously the best even though you have to wake up at 3am. It’s a super short and easy hike to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) and even if you don’t get to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu (it was super cloudy) the view is still amazing! Plus on the walk down from the Sun Gate there are lots adorable llamas just hanging out.
Machu Picchu is incredible and also really busy. Around 2, 500 people visit Machu Picchu each day! But if you hike there rather than take the train, you can arrive a little bit before the crowds and have a good look around. But for real, it’s definitely worthy of your bucket list!