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7 things no-one tells you about the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is a well-known trekking route in Peru that attracts thousands of visitors each year. This ancient trail is famous for its stunning views, historical significance, and challenging terrain. However, there are some things about the Inca Trail that are often overlooked or not mentioned in travel guides. In this article, we will explore 7 things no-one tells you about the Inca Trail.

1. The Inca Trail is not just one route

While most people think of the Inca Trail as a single path, it is actually a network of trails that lead to Machu Picchu. The most popular route is the Classic Inca Trail, which takes 4 days and 3 nights to complete. However, there are other options, including the Short Inca Trail (2 days), the Salkantay Trek (5 days), and the Lares Trek (4 days). Each route offers a different experience, so it is essential to research and choose the one that suits you best.

2. Permits are limited

The Peruvian government imposes strict regulations on the number of people who can hike the Inca Trail each day. Only 500 permits are issued per day, and these include permits for guides and porters. This means that if you want to hike the Classic Inca Trail during the high season (June-August), you need to book several months in advance to secure a permit.

7 things no-one tells you about the Inca Trail

3. Altitude sickness is a real thing

This ancient Inca route reaches an altitude of over 4,000 meters above sea level in some sections, which can cause altitude sickness for some hikers. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath. It is essential to acclimatize before starting the hike by spending a few days in Cusco or another high-altitude location. 

4. Weather can be unpredictable

The weather in the Andes is notoriously unpredictable, and this ancient trail is no exception. You can experience all four seasons in a single day, with sunshine and rain. It is important to pack for all weather conditions, including warm clothing, rain gear, and sunscreen.

7 things no-one tells you about the Inca Trail

5. Porters are essential

Most people who hike this ancient route use porters to carry their camping equipment, food, and personal belongings. These porters are incredibly hardworking and can carry up to 25kg on their backs. They play a crucial role in making the trek possible, so it is essential to treat them with respect and kindness.

6. The Inca Trail is not a luxury trek

While some tour companies offer luxury treks with comfortable tents, hot showers, and gourmet meals, this ancient Inca route is not one of them. The camping conditions are basic, with small tents and shared toilets. The food is nutritious but simple, and you need to bring your own snacks and water. However, the experience of sleeping under the stars and waking up to stunning views makes it all worthwhile.

7. The Inca Trail is a once-in-a-lifetime experience

This ancient route is not just a hike. It is a journey through history and culture. Walking in the footsteps of the ancient Incas and arriving at Machu Picchu is a profound and unforgettable experience. It is a reminder of the incredible feats of engineering, agriculture, and artistry that this civilization achieved, and a testament to the enduring power of human ambition and ingenuity.

In conclusion, these 7 things about the Inca Trail highlight the challenges and rewards of this incredible trek. It is a journey that requires preparation, resilience, and respect for nature and history. But for those who undertake it, the Inca Trail offers a glimpse into a world of wonder and inspiration.

7 things no-one tells you about the Inca Trail

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