Inca Trail – All you need to know

Inca Trail

The Classic Inca Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days 

The Classic Inca Trail is, without doubt, one of the most amazing hikes in the world. Over 4 days, you will explore mysterious Inca Sites connected by cobblestone paths, camp in the mountains in tents, and arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sungate, where you will have the first and most beautiful view of the great lost Inca citadel.

Overview.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchi requires no introduction; this legendary hike to the Lost City of the Incas is a must-see destination.  The Inca Trail is considered one of the best hikes globally, a pilgrimage to a Sacred city, a trek that can change the way you see life.

Few places in the world will be so inspiring and unique, like the Mount Kilimanjaro Trek, the Appalachian Trek, and Tour du Mont Blanc. Inca Trail has a bonus that makes it unique and one of the most remarkable treks; you will be hiking to a world-renowned destination, The Sacred city of Machu Picchu.

During the Inca Trail, you are hiking not only to see Machu Picchu but everywhere you stop to take a break; you will have a view that will take your breath away; there also several Inca Sites that are full of history and mysteries.

The Journey to Machu Picchu starts in the Andes, where the weather is cold and dry, crosses the last Mountains, and enters into the clouds forest, the beginning of the Amazon, Machu Picchu in the cloud forest. This travel through different ecosystems allows the travelers to enjoy different landscapes, Inca ruins hidden in the thick jungle, stone-paved trails, a wide variety of birds, and endemic flowers.

What are the Inca Trails?

The Incas were the largest empires in the South America region. Tawantinsuyo (4 provinces of the sun) was named this Civilization originated in the Peruvian highlands in the early 13th century until the Spaniard arrived in 1532. At the height of the empire, they ruled from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. To connect such a vast territory, the Incas built an extensive network of trails called Qhapaq Nan.

Cusco was the capital, the center, and the most important city where the kings lived. All trails started from Cusco to the south, north, east, and west. The Inca Trails allowed the trading, communication, transportation of food, and the Inca Army’s move. The Total length of the Inca Trail is approximately 40,000 Km / 25,000 miles long and has a status World Heritage by UNESCO.

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is just a small portion of this vast trail network in the Tawantinsuyo. the total length is 26 miles/42 kilometers long and rediscovered in 1915 by the American Explorer Hiram Bingham

Why is the Inca Trek so famous?

Many factors helped the Inca Trail to became so popular and a must-do hike in the world:

1.- The Classic Inca Trail was built between the 1400s and 15o0s during the Incan Empire’s height. This means that the Inca engineers used the most advanced techniques and the power of thousands of workers to move rocks and build the impressive stone-paved trails and sacred archaeological sites along the route. They literally carve the mountain to anchor the trail and cities.

2.- After the Hispanic Invasion in 1532, Manco Inca II, Rebel Inca King, fled with his army into Vilcabamba, destroying all trail and bridges; this was the main reason why the Spaniards never found Machu Picchu and teh Inca Trail as well.

3.- Since Inca Trail and Machu Picchu were lost for hundreds of years, they remind very well preserved, and now, travelers can enjoy the great work of this civilization.

4.- Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911 by the American Explorer Hiram Bingham, and in 1915, he is going to discover also teh Inca Trail. This will help to Inca trail to become so popular.

5.- Inca Trail is only accessible hiking, you can not drive, and you can ride a horse. This is the only trek in Peru that only porters are allowed. Porters are the descendants of the ancient Chaskis, the messenger who used to run to deliver any message in a relay system. Porters give a special theme to this trek.

History of the Classic Inca Trail

During the Inca Empire’s height in the 15 century, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are built by the great Inca emperor, Pachacuti, the ninth Inca King.

In 1532 the Hispanic conquistador arrived in Peru and captured King Atahualpa in Cajamarca. The biggest ramson in history was requested: 2 rooms full of silver and 1 room full of gold. The king paid the ramson was executed anyway.

In 1533 the conquistador arrived in Cusco; Francisco Pizarro founded Cusco as a Spanish city on March 23, 1534. After on April 25, 1534, Pizarro founded the city of Jauja as the first capital of the new colony.

On January 18, 1535. Pizarro founded Lima’s city on Peru’s central coast; it was called “the city of the kings.”

On May 6, 1536, began the siege of Cuzco, Manco Inca II’s army against the Spanish conquerors led by Hernando Pizarro. The siege was from Sacsayhuaman fortress and lasted for almost ten months and was ultimately unsuccessful.

On January 1537, the battle of Ollantyatmbo took place between the troops of Manco Inca and the Spanish expedition led by Hernando Pizarro. The Inca army defeats the Spaniards. Despite this victory, Manco Inca’s forces abandoned Ollantaytambo and seek refuge in the jungles of Vilcabamba, where he established a small, independent New Inca Until 1572. During this retrieve, the Manco Inca orders to destroy all trails, bridges, and towns so the Spaniards can not follow them.

In 1911, Hiram Bingham was in Peru searching for the Incas, Vilcabamba’s last capital, and discovered by accident Machu Picchu. Until his death, he believed that Machu Picchu was Vilcabamba.

In 1915, Hiram Bingham discovered the Inca Trail and performed excavation in all Inca sites. We hiked the Inca trail in the opposite direction. He started in Machu Picchu and ended up at the beginning of the Inca Trail.

In 1983, Machu Picchu declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.

In January 2020, Inca Trail was closed due to a landslide caused by the excessive rains; it was expected to be open in March 2020. However, due to Covid 19, Pandemic remind closed Until March 2021.

Archeological Sites inside the Inca Trail.

Salapunku

The first Archeological site after Km 82 is only visible from the other side of the river; Inca Trail hikers will not visit this site. Travelers can only take pictures from the other side of the river. The site has great walls, and a huge gate believed to be Machu Picchu’s entrance from the Sacred Valley.

K’anabamba

Also, Located on the opposite side of the river from the Inca Trail, this second archaeological was a resting place for travelers.

Llaqtapata

“We found evidence that some Inca chieftain had built his home here and had included in the plan ten or dozen buildings. They were made of rough stones laid in clay with the usual symmetrical arrangement of doors and niches. It may very well have been built by one of Manco’s captains” – Hiram Bingham, The Lost City of the Incas, 1912.

Willkarakay

Located in the upper part of Llaqtapata, with circular construction and a great location, it shows that it was used and uninhabited by religious priests.

Runkurakay

Located in the heart of the Inca Trail, the semicircular shape ruins were once used as a resting stop for more messengers and a religious place for the moon.

Sayakmarca

An amazing archaeological site with a strategic location that controls all the cloud forest valleys down below. This place was used for religious and military purposes.

Conchamarka

Located right below Sayacmarka, it probably was home to a significant person or a high priest.

Phuyupatamarca

“The city over the clouds” is located on a mountain top right above Machu Picchu Mountain. This place was an important religious place for water and the mountains.

Intipata

Located in the thick cloud forest, this site was an important agricultural center. The terraces are perfectly adapted to the shape of the mountain.

Wiñayhuayna

This is one of the most beautiful and important Inca sites inside the Inca Trail. A religious place with temples, water fountains, and farming terraces.

Intipunku

Also called Sungate, this amazing place is a control point also an astronomical observatory. The first and best view of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu

There is no greater joy than arrive at Machu Picchu from the Inca Trail.

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