Spanning South America, the Inca Trail was built by the Inca Empire and served as their main means of sending messages throughout Tahuantinsuyo. Today, the road is patchy at best with many sections entirely unusable. Nevertheless, there are still many stretches of the road that connect to Machu Picchu. The popular Inca Trail Trek is one of those rare stretches.
The traditional Inca Trail Trek takes you from Cusco to Machu Picchu in approximately 4 to 5 days, where you’ll traverse fabulous landscape after fabulous landscape. But, there are also other sections of the original Inca Trail system that also connect to the famous citadel.
What is the Inca Trail?
Let’s cover the most basic question first: What is the Inca Trail? Essentially, it’s a construction of the Inca Empire that provided them with access to all of Peru and much of the South American continent. One of the most incredible aspects of the Trail is the fact that the Incas constructed it without the use of the wheel and were able to build sections of road on steep slopes and over hills. Even today, you can see how the Incas adapted the road to the environments it traversed, with steep ascents requiring narrower pathways and flat terrain receiving wider swaths of road.
Who Used the Inca Trail?
The Inca Trail was used by the Inca army, merchants, and chasquis, or Inca messengers. Even today, it’s incredible to think about the advanced thinking of the Incas who were able to construct a massive road system that allowed them to travel throughout Peru in just 5 days.
Tours on the Inca trail
There are actually a number of Inca Trails to choose from. Below are a few of the best known, all of which cross the official Inca Trail at some point along the way:
Inca Jungle Trail
On this trail, you can enjoy various activities en route including cycling and canoeing, not to mention hike along a section of the famous Inca Trail to finally arrive at Machu Picchu. The trek lasts 4 days and is full of adventure. It’s an ideal option for adrenaline junkies.
Inca Trail Express
This trek allows you to reach Machu Picchu in two days. You’ll start the trek in Aguas Calientes and from there at Machu Picchu. This is a popular option for family trips and for those who have a short time to travel.
The Traditional Inca Trail
Of course, there is the traditional 4-day Inca Trail Trek. You’ll pass through a variety of landscapes and camp in the light of the stars. This is a perfect option for travelers interested in beautiful natural landscapes and archaeology.
The Salkantay Trek
This trek lasts 5 days and includes a climb to Salkantay Pass. Mt. Salkantay receives the second greatest snowfall amounts in the region and is one of the highest mountains as well. This trek will take you through the sierra of Peru as well the jungle region just before Machu Picchu.
Take your pick from these treks to Machu Picchu, all of which find their way to the traditional Inca Trail. Experience the landscapes and activities available for your enjoyment along the way and soak in the views of Machu Picchu on your final day. Each of these treks offers you a totally different experience. For more information about any of these treks, don’t hesitate to contact us.