Cusco Journals

How to hike the Inca Trail

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A travel journal to Cusco by BOKI

The Inca Trail Photo, Cusco, Peru More Photos
Quote: This journal will aim to provide you with ideas and suggestions on how to get the most out of your hike on the incredible Inca Trail. In addition to the Classic Inca Trail, I have included ideas on alternate routes and suggestions based on extensive personal experience on how to prepare for the hike. I will update this journal periodically to include the latest changes in regulations affecting hikers and hiking on the trail.

How to hike the Inca Trail

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Overview

The Inca Trail Photo, Cusco, Peru
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Declared both a natural and a cultural World Heritage Site (UNESCO), the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary and its world-famous Inca Trail may be the most amazing place on the planet. Here, you can walk for days through cloud forests and over razor-sharp passes, passing extraordinary Inca ruins to reach the magical lost city of Machu Picchu. Sounds too good to be true? Not at all! But to fully enjoy this amazing place, you need to be well prepared. Here are suggestions, ideas, hiking options and other recommendations to help you prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.Quick Tips: Best Way To Get Around: The Inka trail starts from several trailheads along the railway line that runs f...Read More

Current Regulations Affecting Hikers

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The Inca Trail used to be open to individual hikers and organized tours alike for a nominal entrance fee. This policy enabled thousands and thousands of tourists to visit the trail each year, but as a consequence also led to its severe deterioration. To prevent the trail from deteriorating further, the government has recently put forth a set of new regulations including the following important changes: 1 Individual hikers will no longer be allowed on the trail. Hiking will only be allowed when organized by licensed tour agencies. 2) Groups of up to 10 independent travellers who do not wish to use an agency will be allowed to hike the trail if they contract an independent & licensed guide to ...Read More

General Hiking Tips / Suggestions

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Here are a couple of suggestions that will help make your hike more enjoyable. Trust me with this and take it very seriously. I am sorry to say that I've seen quite a few people get very ill at high altitude or suffer from cold weather or blisters due to poor preparation. Proper preparation will help you avoid this. 1) Acclimatize first! The hike is strenuous and with your backpack even more so. Try and spend a few days hiking around Cusco first to help you acclimatize (see my Cusco journal for hiking suggestions). I recommend aclimatizing for at least three days. A week is better. If you are reading this upon your arrival in Cusco, you surely have already noticed that walking 10 steps up gives you...Read More

What to take with you

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The Inca Trail Photo, Cusco, Peru
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A lot of people come well prepared for the hike on the Inca Trail, but I have seen many examples of problems due to inadequate preparation getting in the way of complete enjoyment of the Inca Trail. The most important thing to do is acclimatize to the high altitude. Coca leaves may help, but there is no substitute for spending a few days around Cusco to get adjusted prior to beginning the hike. There are several short hikes around Cusco (see my Cusco journal) that serve well to prepare for the Inca Trail. Equally important is the issue of what to bring with you. Here are some suggestions that I think are particularly applicable to hiking the Inca Trail. The golden rule is to travel light, so plan...Read More

Equipment Rental in Cusco

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Camping equipment can be rented in a number of stores near Plaza de Armas, as well as from most of the tour agencies located on Plateros and Procuradores streets. Prices vary, but you can expect to pay $3-5 for a tent, $3 for a sleeping bag, $2-3 for a stove (all per day) and another $1.5 for fuel. All rentals require a deposit in cash, plus a credit card or passport. Quality varies so choose carefully. The best place to rent is Soqllaq'asa Camping Service, located at Calle Plateros 359, tel. 252560. Service is friendly, English-speaking, and they will even buy equipment you no longer need. Gear can also be purchased at Camping Deportes, Av. del Sol 346, shop # 118. ...Read More

Hiking the Inca Trail with a Tour

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I've walked the Inca Trail alongside people who paid $8 to hike it (old student fee) and people who paid $800 (on a really expensive tour), and I can honestly say that they all seemed equally thrilled. Hiking the rail independently or with a few friends you may have met in Cusco gives you a feeling of true accomplishment. But there is something to be said for doing it in an organized tour as well, especially when it comes to the delicious food prepared by tour cooks after a day of strenuous hiking. Finding a tour agency in Cusco is not hard, they are located all around the Plaza de Armas, especially along the Procuradores and Plateros streets. However, finding a good agency is a bit harder. Cheapest p...Read More

Inca Trail: Hiking Route Options

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Story/Tip

The Inca Trail Photo, Cusco, Peru
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There are several different routes and starting points for the Inca trail, ranging in length from two to seven days of hiking. The most popular choice is the Classic Inca Trail route. It starts at kilometer 88 on the railway line that runs from Cusco to Machu Picchu and covers 43km (26.6 miles) of varied terrain, ranging in elevation from 2600m to 4200m and in vegetation from barren grassland to encroaching jungle. Along the way are several superb Inca ruins and at the end lies Machu Picchu. This route can be hiked in two days, but most people choose to take three full days and three nights, with the fourth day consisting of a short hike to Machu Picchu at sunrise. Variations on the Classic Inca Trail...Read More