The Inca Trail is the most famous trek in South America, possibly in the whole world. The roads of the Incas don´t cease to amaze people from all over the world, as they come, year after year to enjoy the wonders of this enigmatic place. From proud mountains, to rich forests and lush jungles, not to mention the main attraction: the ancient ruins, the Inca Trail has it all.
Since you are reading this, the mystery of the Inca ruins is already calling you. Action Peru Treks provides many different ways to explore and enjoy the Inca Trail. Here, we will try to help you figure out which of the main Inca Trail Tours suits you best: The Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N, the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2D/1N, or the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Camping 2D/1N.
Of course, to make the best choice, you have to figure out what offers you more of what you need. I will now discuss the main points that will make a difference in your choosing which trail is the perfect one for you.
1). Time.This is a crucial point to consider when you choose the right Inca Trail tour. Ask yourself: do I want to take it slowly, spend as much time as possible taking in the breathtaking mountains and vestiges of the Inca civilization? Or are you the type that doesn´t need a lot of days to understand this historical area and might get bored if you roam around for too long?
If you answered “Yes” to the first question, then the Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N is definitely for you. Here, you can take it slowly and already start the hike when you get off the van at km 82. You will be hiking for 4 days and camping for 3 nights. Of course, this way you can take it easy and closely admire many more locations.
However, if you think so many days will get you bored of the Inca ruins (which is practically impossible, but let´s just pretend it might), you might want to consider the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2D/1N or the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Camping 2D/1N. The only difference between these two would be that, by choosing the former one, you get to sleep in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, and by choosing the later you will be camping in Puente Ruinas.
2) Fitness and physical strength.Now, we´re not saying you have to be the perfect athlete for any of these trail options, but you should take into account that some are more physically challenging than others- not really difficult, but requiring more stamina.
If you hit the gym everyday and you are a committed runner, you should have no problem choosing any of the 3. In this case, and if you are willing to spend more time, the Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N would suit you best, as there will be hours of hiking, spread over 4 days- of course with very gratifying experiences and breathtaking views. If, on the other hand, you don´t consider yourself Usain Bolt- the famous Jamaican runner- you might want to go for the second or third option, where you only have 2 days of experience on the Inca Trail. However, if you don´t have a great physical condition but would like to push yourself a bit and test your strength you are more than welcome to go for the first option, we welcome everyone.
3). The amount of historical places/beautiful views.None of the Inca Trail Tour options will let you down when it comes to this. Although, do keep in mind that, by taking the first option, the Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N, you definitely get to see closer, much more places. As they say, no pain, no gain and there is definitely more gain- as in more things to see- by choosing this tour.
With this tour, after getting off the van at km 82 and walking 2 and ½ hours, you will have the chance to appreciate the Wilkaraqay Inca site. You can also take in the Llactapata archeological site, with its gorgeous views at 2750 m. Then you will hike for 2 more hours until you reach Hatunchaca and from there 2 and ½ hours more until Ayapata. Then, the next day you will hike through the Dead Woman´s Pass and later ascend to the Inca site of Runcuraccay, followed by another Inca site of Sayacmarca. Here you can appreciate not only the historical site, but also a beautiful sunset in the Aobamba Valley. On the third day, upon reaching Phuyupatamaraca, you will have astonishing views of Aguas Calientes and you will have a guided tour of the Phuyupatamarca Inca site. Then, walking through the rainforest, you will be able to see Inti Pata, which will be followed by a visit to the archeological site of Winay Wayna. On the fourth day, you will reach Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, where you can take some lovely photos.
With the second option, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2D/1N, you will still see some wonderful places, but not as numerous as the first option. On the first day, you will have the chance to see the archeological center of Chachabamba, whose ruins were one of the last shelters the Incas used before reaching Machu Picchu. You will appreciate a waterfall before arriving at the archeological site of Wiñay Wayna. On this trail, you can also see the Sun Gate, or Inti Punku.
With the last option, the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with Camping, you get to see all the sites and lovely views that you do with the second option- the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 2D/1N, the only difference being that you will spend the night in a tent in the middle of nature and not in a hotel.