The distances involved in hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu are not that great. The entire 4-day trail hike is only 25 miles (40 km). However, the altitude can cause problems in the strongest hikers. For this reason all Adventure Life trips involving this hike spend a number of days at high altitude in order to acclimatize. The Machu Picchu Pilgrimage 10 Day tour spends nearly 3 days before beginning the hike and the Inca Pathways 14 Day tour spends nearly 6 days at altitude. NOTE: Many tour operators have Inca Trail tours that last only 7 or 8 days. This does NOT allow enough time to acclimatize to the altitude and clients will have greater difficulties on the trail.
It is generally accepted that anyone who is accustomed to hiking and camping (i.e. walking for several hours and then sleeping in tents) can hike the Inca Trail. For those less initiated in the arts of camping, a few weekend trips near home are strongly suggested to get accustomed to life in the great outdoors. Hiking the Inca Trail should be a highlight of a trip, and travelers should have an idea of what they are getting themselves into before setting out. We have had nearly all ages on our high altitude treks, from 8 to 75. The right state of mind and several weekend day hikes near home can make all the difference!
The appeal of this particular trek is the stunning combination of Inca ruins, magnificent mountains, exotic vegetation and extraordinary ecological variety. The trail goes over high passes with unforgettable views, through cloud forest, and finally into subtropical vegetation. Over 250 species of orchid have been counted in the Machu Pichu Historic Sanctuary, as well as numerous rare birds, animals, reptiles. Several species on this hike are also considered to be in danger of extinction. Peter Frost (author of exploring Cusco) recently reported seeing a pair of spectacled bears.
DAY 1: (7.8 miles or 12.5 km)
DAY 2: (5.1 miles or 8.3 km)
DAY 3: (4.5 miles or 7.3 km)
DAY 4: (6.9 miles or 11 km)
NOTE: The exact locations where you will have lunch and camp is subject to change depending weather conditions, current Inca Trail regulations and the abilities of the group.