Inca Trail Hiking with Zephyr Adventures

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    With January 1 just around the corner, it’s never too early to start thinking about what your New Year’s resolutions might be. Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is not only on many a globe trotter’s New Year’s resolution list, but their lifetime bucket list as well – and no wonder! It’s a tremendous achievement that includes travel, physical activity, cultural immersion, and mental strength.
    4 Reasons to Add Hiking the Inca Trail To Your Bucket List

    4 reasons to add Hiking the Inca Trail to your bucket list:

     

    • Relive Ancient History: While hiking the Inca Trail, you will be walking on the exact stones that were laid down by thousands of workers more than 500 years ago. As you’re trekking along, you’ll get to explore one of the world’s greatest archeological sites and imagine what everyday life would have been like for the ancient Incans.

     

    • Complete One of the World’s Greatest Hikes: Some of the greatest hikes typically fall into two categories: hikes you do to get to a destination and hikes you do for the journey itself. The Inca Trail is special because it fits into both of these categories. During your trek, you are treated to spectacular views of the mountains and amazing ancient architecture, but you certainly won’t be disappointed when you arrive at the impressive Machu Picchu ruins on the final portion of the hike.

     

    • Visit One of The New 7 Wonders of the World: Declared as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu is regarded as a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. For hundreds of years, until the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it in 1911, the abandoned citadel’s existence was a secret known only to peasants living in the region. Getting to see this magnificent ancient city first hand is well worth the strenuous hike to get there.

     

    • Feel a Major Sense of Accomplishment: We all need to challenge ourselves every once in awhile to keep life from getting stale. In fact, facing new obstacles can be quite exhilarating! The Inca Trail is a true physical and mental challenge as the hike takes place at high altitude, topping out at around 13,750 feet above sea level. This can make breathing and walking a physical feat of strength in itself. As with most endurance challenges, being mentally prepared for a trek like this is just as important as being physically fit. By training ahead of your trip, you can ensure that you are up for whatever the trail puts in your path.

     

    So what do you say, are you up for the challenge? Join fellow adventurers this April as we make our journey on the Classic Inca Trail or book your own private trek with a date of your choice.

    We recently conducted a “Two-Minute Survey” and asked potential travelers for their opinions about traveling to Peru.  Our intent was to not only find out how and where people were interested in traveling to and in Peru, but also to find out if we had the information on our Inca Trail Hiking website that people needed to make a decision about their travels.  I was somewhat surprised by some common misconceptions that people had about traveling to Peru and trekking on the Inca Trail.

    1. I can’t go by myself. Not having a travel partner was the most popular reason listed for why somebody hadn’t yet traveled to Peru.  The truth is you can go alone!  Sure, it might be a little daunting to fly to Peru by yourself, but on our Peru treks (both private and group trips) we meet you at the airport upon arrival and are with you every step of the way.  (Note to solo travelers: many of our trips have a good percentage of travelers who come by themselves.  As an example, 100% of the participants on our Kilimanjaro trip this year are solo travelers!)

    A Zephyr trekker contemplates the universe from Inca Trail, above the clouds and peaks.

    A Zephyr trekker contemplates the universe from Inca Trail, above the clouds and peaks.

    2. It is expensive. Travel can be expensive, that’s true.  However, Peru has a couple things going for it that other places don’t.  First, spending 10 days in Peru costs much less than spending 10 days in, for instance, a European country – your dollar goes a lot farther!  Second, it is difficult to put a price on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Trekking on the same stone paths as the Incas did 500 years ago…hiking for four days to reach Machu Picchu by foot…watching from the comfort of your tent as the peaks of the Andes disappear behind the swirling clouds…these are priceless experiences that only a fraction of humans on this earth get to do.  When you look at that way, it isn’t expensive at all – it is just a matter of prioritizing.  (At Zephyr, you might recall that we prioritize adventure!  Incidentally, if you’re curious as to how we stack up against the competition, price-wise, click here.)

    3. I’m not in good enough shape to hike the Inca Trail. The Classic Inca Trail Trek (our most difficult trek) has been completed by hundreds of thousands of people.  Chances are good you can do it too, provided you are not extremely overweight or have other health issues that preclude you.  Mental perseverance also goes a long way in completing the Inca Trail!  The hiking will be challenging for some people and quite moderate for others.  If you are concerned about the steepness or high altitude of the Classic Inca Trail, you might consider trekking the Royal (Alternative) Inca Trail.   The Royal Inca Trail is a lower-altitude option that is perfect if you are worried about your lungs, your knees, or your ability to handle high altitudes and steep terrain. This trek avoids the intense climbs and sharp descents of the Classic Inca Trail.  Click herefor an overview and comparison of all our Peru treks, including difficulty levels.

    visiting-machu-picchu-peru4. I’ll plan my hike once I get to Peru. Many people are unaware that hiking on the Inca Trail requires purchasing a pass to do so.  Even more are unaware that only 500 passes per day are issued (and two-thirds of those passes are for the porters who support trekkers like you).  And even more don’t realize that passes sell out sometimes six months in advance. As I write this, the first available pass is in August.  So, hiking the Inca Trail is not something you can simply show up in Cusco and hope to plan once you get there.

    What’s stopping you from hiking the Inca Trail? Leave your comments below or email us.