The Inca Trail
Good for: Inca Trail, Machu Picchu, south america, hiking, trekking
Lonely Planet review for The Inca Trail
The most famous hike in South America, the four-day Inca Trail is walked by many thousands of backpackers every year. Although the total distance is only 33km (20.5mi), the ancient trail laid by the Incas from the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu winds its way up and down and around the mountains, snaking over three high Andean passes that have collectively led to the route being dubbed 'the Inca Trial'.
The views of snowy mountain peaks, rural hamlets where llamas graze and cloud forests flush with orchids can be stupendous, and walking from one cliff-hugging pre-Columbian ruin to the next is a mystical and unforgettable experience. Except for the sad fact, of course, that you won't have a moment's peace to really soak it all up. What savvy tourism officials and tour operators call the Inca Trail is just one of dozens of footpaths that the Incas built to reach Machu Picchu, and some of these overland routes are still being dug out of the jungle by archaeologists. You may have a more rewarding experience by taking one of the many alternative, less busy trekking routes.