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The Inca Trail

A popular bucket list experience, the splendour of The Inca Trail in Peru cannot be overstated. In particular, watching the sunrise over the majestic city of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Most people embark on a 4 day, 3 night trek, which has to be done as part of an organised expedition. The starting point for this journey is Ollantaytambo, where you cross the Urubamba River and then start rising up into the mountains, encountering meandering streams, stunning Andean scenery, and ancient Incan ruins.

The second day starts early and is the most challenging day of the trek. The high point (4,198m) takes the long steep path to Warmiwañusca, better known as Dead Woman’s Pass, and the views are well worth the effort. After a rewarding day of walking, you will have ample time to rest and relax in the stunning mountains.

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The third day takes in two more passes. The first pass, Runquraqay at 3,950m, offers hikers a glimpse of the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba on a clear day. The route then takes you through a cloud forest and on a gentle climb to the second pass of the day, providing spectacular views of the Urubamba Valley. You will also discover the impressive Incan Ruins of Phuyupatamarca, ("town above the clouds”) and Wiñay Wayna ("forever young"), both of which can only be explored as part of an Inca Trail trek.

The final day starts pre-dawn to reach the Sun Gate for sunrise. The first views of the breathtaking ruins of Machu Picchu on a clear day are an unforgettable experience. Any Inca Trail trek ends with a tour of these expansive and exceptional ruins.

Whilst there are some challenging sections of this trek, anyone who wants to tackle this can do it with a little training beforehand. Most people reach the camp each day by early afternoon, which offers flexibility for people who may need a little longer. A reputable tour company will offer more than one guide to allow for this eventuality so no one gets left behind. The sense of comradery with your group by the time you get to Machu Picchu is fabulous and you can make life-long friends. 

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