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Hiking The Incan Trail to Machu Picchu

Updated on April 29, 2014

Peru-Home To Machu Picchu, Wonder Of The World!

Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province in the MachuPicchu District in Peru. It is 2430 Metres above sea level and is situated on a mountain ridge above the sacred valley. It is a world famous icon to Inca Civilization which was built around 1450 but remained a secret to the world until 1911 when it was brought to the worlds eyes by a historian. The majority of archaeologists share the common belief that Machu Picchu was built as an estate to house the Inca Emperor Pachacuti, however over the years it has picked up the name "the lost city of the Inca's",this is inaccurate.

Machu Picchu has gathered its desirability as a must see destination as a result of its amazing views, its historical significance and of course because of the fact that in 2007 it was voted during an internet poll as One of the seven wonders of the new world .

Photo Courtesy Of Google Images/ Personal Photos

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu

Background History To Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu like other Inca infrastructure is built in the classic Inca style, which means it has polished dry-stone walls. It was very common to have rectangle buildings without any internal walls, while the roof was built with wooden beams and thatch. Buildings were rarely more than a single story, while decoration of the buildings itself was present but very scarce and rarely evident. Machu Picchi itself has three primary structures called The Temple Of The Sun, The Room Of The Three Windows and the Inti Watana.

There were many theories for what was the function of Machu Picchu, these include:

-Machu Picchu was possibly a royal retreat for the emperor and his and his royal party to relax, hunt and entertain visitors to the estate.

-Machu Picchu was possibly built to honour the sacred landscape that enshrines the area and to honour the sun, which is a God to the Incas. The sun aligns with the mountains when seen from certain points while it is rising and setting.

Machu Picchu Itself is divided into an urban sector and an agriculture sector. While the urban sector itself is divided into the upper town and lower town, for the temples and the warehouses respectively. The are consists of over 200 kanchas (compounds) which are built in a rectangle shape so as to utilise the uneven land as best as possible.

The Most Famous of these structures the Inti Watana, the Temple of The Sun and The Room Of the Three Windows Occupy the first zone and this is where they worshipped Inti, the sun god.

Machu Picchu's buildings have a different story behind each one in which every local/tour guide is itching to tell you about. Every Story will amaze you just as much as the last and its a truly amazing, worthwhile experience.

All Photos from my personal archive.

Background and History Of Machu Picchu

If you want to know more about this amazing place, then these may help.

The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour
The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour

Want to avoid getting a tour guide? Then this book is a must.

The Hike Is part of the expeirence!
The Hike Is part of the expeirence!

The Famous Inca Trail Hike

For those of you that have been hiding under a rock and have never heard of the famous Inca Trail, the Inca trail is the road system that the Incas built to connect Machu Picchu with the outside world for trade and transport purposes. Today thousands upon thousands of tourists from all around the world start the 2,4 or 5 day hikes from Cusco and walk through the Andes Mountains until they reach the Wonder Of the World. Hiking is really the only authentic way to see Machu Picchu however there are ways around the strenuous hike, such as taking the train and connecting bus, however from my personal experience of the journey, the hike is a big part of the experience.

There are numerous companies who in conjunction with the locals run the hiking trips to Machu Picchu. You travel along with the local guide, pack mules carrying food,water and tents and your own backpack up through the mountains through sharply contrasting regions, you go from hiking through blistering sunshine to hiking through a blizzard of snow, it is really in truly an amazing once in a lifetime experience.

The Company will provide the tent, food, water, utensils and directions. I myself recommend you bring the following items. A warm waterproof jacket and pants, a good set of hiking boots, thermal underwear and socks, a torch and altitude sickness tablets anything else is an unnecessary luxury and just means extra weight to carry!

All Photos From My Personal Archive.

Some Of The Neccesities - Try To Pack Light

Ignore what most websites say about what you should bring, the lighter you travel the better. The main things to make sure of is that you have warm water proofs, hiking boots and altitude tablets. These three alone will get you through the hike with ease !

Altitude RX Oxyboost Complex for Mountain Sickness - 120 Veggie Caps
Altitude RX Oxyboost Complex for Mountain Sickness - 120 Veggie Caps

Have these with you and altitude sickness won't be an issue.

Dynamo Illuminator Wind-up LED Flashlight
Dynamo Illuminator Wind-up LED Flashlight

Forget Batteries, never be in the dark with this wind up torch!


Pictures from My Own Expeirence - All Photos From My Own Archive

Click thumbnail to view full-size
We Hiked Through the HeatWe Hiked Through WaterWe Hiked through SnowBut It was worth it to see the amazing Machu Picchu
We Hiked Through the Heat
We Hiked Through the Heat
We Hiked Through Water
We Hiked Through Water
We Hiked through Snow
We Hiked through Snow
But It was worth it to see the amazing Machu Picchu
But It was worth it to see the amazing Machu Picchu

To Summarise..

Machu Picchu Sign From Personal Archives
Machu Picchu Sign From Personal Archives

All in all Machu Picchu is a hard experience (if you choose to hike that is) but it is a chance of a lifetime to experience something amazing, I have never seen such breathtaking views in my life, every step you take there is a reason to stop and take a picture, I'm surprised it did't take longer to hike!

If you were to take my advice and you were to visit South America, or even if you were planning a vacation from scratch , keep Peru and Machu Picchu in mind as any one who has yet to see it is missing out!

Thanks For reading.

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Some Useful Links To Get You Started

Planning is always hard, but it doesn't have to be!


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