5 Reasons why Trekking to Machu Picchu is the Only Way to do it.
If Machu Picchu is on your bucket list, forget about the easy options. Forget about the making it a one day trip, up and down on the bus. Here’s why you NEED to trek the famous Inca Trail.
There exist a small number of ancient landmarks, each of which are universally awe-inspiring, scattered at different corners of the globe. They hold a certain mystery of attraction and wonder. The Great Wall of China, the Pyramids of Giza, Stonehenge, Rome’s Colosseum, The Parthenon, etc. Just outside of Cusco, Peru, the famous Incan site of Machu Picchu is one of the most incredible of them all. There’s a few different ways to get there. If you’re low on time, you can take the bus up to the ruins. Then there’s the Inca trail, the Lars trek and the Salkantray trek. Here’s why you need to forget about the short option and MAKE TIME to do it the right way. It will be a totally different experience that will create so many more powerful memories. I conquered the world marvel at the outset of 2016 via the Inca Trail.
1. All the Ruins and views along the way
Machu Picchu is only the final Incan destination on the 3-4 day journey. The Inca Trail actually boasts so many more incredible sites on the way. Depending how many slight detours you take, your jaw will drop 7-10 more times on the trek due to ruins, and countless more times thanks to spectacular views. You’ll get an incredible view of the Urubamba river. You’ll find yourself nestled within the clouds at dazzling altitudes. There’s Intipata, Dead Woman’s Pass, Chachabamba, Winay Wayna, and many more!
The Porters are the locals, without whom conquering the Inca Trail would be substantially more difficult. If you’re with a group, they’ll carry all the tents, food, supplies, sleeping bags, etc. They are some of the most genuine and kind people you’ll ever meet and give you an incredible insight into the local culture. They go above and beyond to make sure that your trek is the best experience possible. They carry immense weight on their backs and don’t get paid much at all, so make sure you leave them a tip at the end. They make the smiles on trekkers' faces even bigger!
3. Untouched, unpolluted sky
For most of us who grew up in big cities, it's a rare occurrence to see a sky full of stars. Even if you think you have before, when you spend 3 nights camping in the wilderness of the mountains, a beautiful night sky will have a new meaning to you. Hours can pass each night just lying on your back starting upwards, pointing out constellations and waiting for another shooting star to light up the night.
4. The friends you’ll make
It’s impossible not to bond with your fellow trekkers when you’re in such close quarters. Sharing tents, sharing food, and most importantly, sharing the incredible experience. The Inca Trail unites people from all corners of the world, who all share a passion for travel, adventure and fun. So you’re guaranteed to be able to talk about things you have in common. You see your hiking buddies at their worst - sweaty, smelly, tired, hungry. But it’s all worth it when you conquer the ultimate goal, together.
4. The ultimately feeling of success and satisfaction
On the final day of the Inca Trail, a 3.30am wake up is normal. The first couple hours of hiking will be in darkness, assisted by moonlight and torches. Then, as you ascend the steep, rocky steps with the Sun Gate in sight, and with the porters and guides cheering you on, tiredness is forgotten and adrenaline sets in. As you make it to the Sun Gate and finally see the colossal Incan structure that is Machu Picchu in the distance, the 4 days of hiking seems so satisfying. There’s an incredible sense of self-fulfilment and pride. As the trekkers descend from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu, the tourists who took the bus up to Machu Picchu travel backwards to the Sun Gate to steal the view that you just got after days of struggle. Their smell of fresh shower gel, perfume and clean clothes at first sparks anger - you feel cheated, you’ve worked so hard for this but they just took a bus. But that’s just it, what I realised immediately after is that is isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. Yes Machu Picchu itself is a wonder, but the expedition to get there, the sights along the way, and the people you meet make the journey infinitely better than solely the final destination.
Check out this compilation video encompassing the entire G-adventures 'Peru on a Shoestring' tour! Inca Trail starts at 4:00
Hands up if Machu Picchu is on your bucket list 🙌.