Top 5 Things that Make the Inca Trail Awesome!

Looking for an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience? One that is full of adventure, incredible landscapes, rich history, and personal triumph? Then hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru may be just what the doctor ordered! Let’s take a quick look at what makes the Inca Trail awesome, and an unforgettable experience!

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Hiking the awesome Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!

#1. The Awesome Inca Trail by the Numbers

Some quick facts about the awesome Inca Trail: the classic route is 82 km long, and takes 4 days to complete. Trekkers reach the highest point at Dead Woman’s Pass at over 4200m (13,800 ft). By comparison, Whistler’s peak is a mere 2184m and even the majestic El Capitan in Yosemite National Park is just 2307m. That is an impressive height that trekkers can feel proud of reaching!

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The awesome Inca Trail stretches an astounding 82km long and reaches heights over 4200m!

#2. The Awesome Inca Trail is an Unforgettably Unique Experience

The Inca Trail is unique among all the other Andean routes: on the last day of the 4-day trek, your weary body is rewarded with the incredible sight of Machu Picchu as you walk through Inti Punku, the Sun Gate, at sunrise. No other trek does this.

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The spectacular view of Machu Picchu at sunrise

Did you know? Only a special few actually get to hike the awesome Inca Trail every year. Peru’s permit system means that just 500 people are allowed on the trail every day, and that’s including guides and porters! Permits are in high demand and can sell out as much as 6 months in advance! And with the Inca trail closed in February due to rainy season – as well as rumours that it might one day be closed entirely – it remains a true privilege for anyone who gets to hike its awesome length.

#3. Hike the Inca Trail and you will feel AMAZING. Guaranteed.

Let’s be frank: the Inca Trail, awesome as it is, is no walk in the park. It is a strenuous, uphill hike, over difficult terrain. And all that at high altitude. The intrepid folk who venture out onto the trail battle sore muscles, burning lungs, and mosquitoes. During the day, the blazing sun threatens to turn you into a puddle of sweat, while at night, freezing temperatures keep you tightly bundled.

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A well-deserved rest on the trail

But then…walking through the Sun Gate, that first glimpse of the ancient Inca Citadel, Machu Picchu, the sun just beginning to rise over the distant peaks of those glorious, verdant mountains, and you realize: it was all worth it. There’s truly no beating the sense of accomplishment you feel after battling such physical and mental adversity, knowing that you’ve made a historic journey, and being rewarded by some of the most spectacular views in the world.

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A local resident peeks through a doorway in the ancient Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu

#4. Did we mention it’s beautiful?

Simply put, the Inca Trail is stunning. Every day, there is a wonderful array of archaeological sites on which to feast your eyes, not to mention the breathtaking Andean scenery that surrounds you every step of the way. From snow-capped mountains and alpine tundra to lush cloud forest and sub-tropical Andean jungle, the awesome Inca Trail provides an unparalleled journey through a series of micro-climates.

#5. The Awesome Inca Trail is Steeped in History

And, for the history buffs out there, the Inca Trail is more than just thigh burn and gorgeous vistas. The story of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu begins more than 500 years ago, during the height of the Incan Empire. During that time, the Incas built an enormous network of trails that connected their entire empire, from Ecuador and Colombia through Peru and down into Chile, even crossing parts of Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil. We’re talking an incredible feat of engineering: the roads covered an estimated distance of between 23,000 km and 45,000 km!

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Retrace the steps of Hiram Bingham and ancient Incan religious pilgrims as you follow the Royal Road to Machu Picchu

And while many of the roads were used by the Incan Empire to facilitate transport for trade and during wars, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was part of the Qhapaq Ñan, or Royal Road, and was used solely for religious pilgrimage.

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Hiking the Inca Trail is like being magically transported through time, full of glimpses of ancient Inca ruins shrouded in mist.

Join today’s Classic 4-day Inca Trail trek and you will retrace the steps of American explorer Hiram Bingham. The journey is said to be modelled on Bingham’s 1911 hike that first led to Machu Picchu’s momentous rediscovery. A hike along the Inca Trail is like a journey through time! How awesome is that?

Apus Peru offers loads of awesome Inca Trail experiences. Permits for 2018 have already gone on sale, so book early and make 2018 the year you join the ranks of the lucky few who get to experience this once-in-a-lifetime journey!

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Want to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 2018?

Yes, we are talking about the “famous trek” – the one that takes 4 days, goes over 3 passes, and on the final day at dawn you see the Sun Gate from Machu Picchu.

If you want to do the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Summer 2018 you need to get your family, friends or significant other into “planning mode.”  PRONTO.

In the past few months some changes occurred in the conditions regulating the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and one of them is that the booking period has been brought forward.  This means that the most popular months of May and June 2018 will sell out in October.  We expect April, July and August to sell out in November.   These are estimates; but each year places sell out quicker and quicker.

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If you going to make it HAPPEN this year

  1. Check out our Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu page and make sure it’s something you really want to do.
  2. Decide whether you want to pick your own dates, and form your own group (ideal for families or groups of friends) or join another group.
  3. Get in contact NOW via http://www.apus-peru.com/contact-us/

Once you are in contact we can be keeping you updated as to exact dates that permits will be released; or advertise to form a group.

For 2018 bookings before 31st August quote PERU2018Yeah for a 5% discount.

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Photos courtesy Megan Gaston

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Comfort Camping On Your Peru Trek

Apus Peru Comfort Camping

What is it and why should you do it?

About five years ago, long before we heard the term “Glamping,” we at Apus Peru innovated a “Comfort Camping” option so that folks could relax in comfort after a long, hard day of trekking. We included such amenities as a real camp bed, large tents for extra comfort, and even portable hot showers to freshen up after the trek.

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Comfort Camping includes large tents for extra space.

With a dash of luxury, this new style of camping/ trek adventure is for people who want an ideal camping experience at the end of the day. It is for folks who love the idea of sleeping under the stars but who still want to indulge in those creature comforts after the large effort they have expended – in other words, they want the best of all worlds!

We at Apus Peru don’t like to overstate things – but some companies might call this “Luxury 4-Star Camping” or “Deluxe Camping”. This alternative for your Peru trip opens up camping to a wider range of people: folks who might not otherwise have the chance to experience camping in Peru will be likely to choose this option.

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Porters ascend the trail with comfort camping gear.

Comfort Camping enables you to concentrate on what is important: spending quality time with your family, friends, and loved ones. It allows your entire family to trek in comfort, and is a good choice for a multi-generational camping trip. That is not to say that you and your loved ones won’t be expending a strenuous effort during the daylight hours, as you climb Inca staircases at high altitude, and descend into verdant valleys; but at the end of the day, when everyone is likely to be hot, tired, and exhausted, the whole group will be able to relax in comfort.

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Relax in comfort after a day of climbing Inca staircases at high altitude and descending into verdant valleys.

The Comfort Camping option offers, among other things, a thicker Thermarest mattress that’s six inches off the ground, an inflatable pillow, deluxe sleeping bags, and a larger tent you can stand up and move about in. Perhaps best of all, you will be able to take a short hot shower after a day of intense physical exertion!

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Comfort Camping- Beds are up off the ground.

For more information and specific inclusions please refer to:

http://www.apus-peru.com/make-a-booking/comfort_camping.html

Many thanks to Apus Peru’s past client Patty Hinz for sharing the photos.

 

 

The Two-Day Inca Trail Family Hike

Maria, Jesus, and their teenage daughters, Itzia and Maria, are about to start a new adventure in Cusco: a trek along the 2-day Inca trail. With their guide, José, this family from Spain is all geared up to experience the amazing natural beauty  and explore the ancient Inca ruins along this route.

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Ready to Start the Trek!

As we descend from Cusco to Km 104, passing through the towns of Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, the scenery changes dramatically. Jesus and Maria mention that it feels as if they are in the jungle. Actually, as we get off the train at Km 104 and cross the suspension bridge above the Urubamba River, we find ourselves hiking in the middle of the dense cloud forest with its many different hues of green.

My skin senses the warm air and the humidity. With every breath I take, comes the fresh smell of dew. That fragrance and the roar of the river accompany us for most of the day as we hike the opposite hill. Our guide emphasizes that the scenery here is green all year round.

In addition to the green color of the forest, we admire yellow, red, and pink orchids as well as white, brown, yellow, and black butterflies.

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The Wiñay Wayna Orchid, (Epidendrum Secundum) is  often found along the Inca Trail.

We hike past Chachabamba, an administrative post located near the starting point very close to the river. We can also see, at a distance, the sites of Choquesuysuy, also by the river, and Intipata, perched upon a hill, as we approach Wiñay Wayna.

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The Chachabamba Ruins

After passing through a few streams and a couple of waterfalls, we reach one of the most impressive Inca archaeological sites known as Wiñay Wayna, (Forever Young), named for the orchid of the same name that can be found in this area. Wiñay Wayna features a ceremonial section with a double door and a room with 7 windows, as well as several finely carved water fountains.

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The ruins of Wiñay Wayna

José says that he was lucky enough to see a spectacled bear as well as a puma and a wolf during his previous treks towards Machu Picchu.

Suddenly, the family and the guide spot a bright greenish blue object on the branch of a tree. It’s a type of jungle bird known as a quetzal. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of quetzals playing cheerfully in the tree.

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The family spots a Quetzal in a nearby tree.

A few minutes later, a hummingbird flies above us. We are excited about these encounters, but we are still anxious to find the most famous endemic bird of this area, the Gallito de las Rocas, or Cock of the Rock, Peru’s national bird. It is sometimes spotted in this excellent bird watching region.

We pass Wiñay Wayna, and after a couple of hours we reach a steep section of stairs: the last stretch before reaching the Sun Gate or Inti Punku, from which we attain our first spectacular view of Machu Picchu, the most important and magnificent archaeological site of the Americas.

We walk down the ancient Inca trail listening to José’s explanations about the two huacas or temples we pass on the way down to the archaeological site itself. We are tired but very happy because we have completed this challenge and we are excited to explore Machu Picchu more thoroughly first thing tomorrow morning.

Maria and her daughters admit they were a little bit concerned about the hike at first, but now realize that it was not as difficult as they had feared. They add that the experience surpassed all of their expectations.

Maria exults, “I will definitely recommend this trek.”

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Both tired and happy, the family enjoys their accomplishment!

For more information about this trek, see: Apus Peru Two-Day Inca Trail Trek

First Aid Training for Apus Peru Staff

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Popular guides Arturo and Urbano Enjoy  A Lighter Moment During First Aid Training

Recently, Apus Peru’s guides and a few others from the office who have been long-term employees took the opportunity to refresh our skills in wilderness first aid during a two-day course.

This was our chance to enhance our knowledge of dealing with problem case scenarios in remote areas, as well as to become empowered to administer ‘duty of care’ to our trekkers and clients across the board, if it ever becomes necessary.

Apus Peru continues to enforce our policy of appropriate training for all of the team, especially our guides.

The photos included below are intended to illustrate some important aspects of mountain safety that must be considered when on the trail; as well as depicting the serious fun we at Apus Peru have out in the wilderness.

You are in great hands when you trek with Apus Peru, in large part due to our well-trained staff.  We ensure that our guides and other faculty are well-equipped to handle routine first aid as well as emergencies. Visit our trek page to view our 2016 offerings.

-Matt Waugh April, 2016

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Guide Mery and Erika from the Apus Peru office learn how to administer an injection.

CPR practise

Learning how to perform CPR

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The mannequin is used as an aid for teaching CPR

Day time practical

We continued the training outdoors, practicing on a live person who pretended to  faint.

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Practicing CPR in the field.

 

Everyone passing their examination

Happily, everyone passed the exam and received their diplomas.