Hike the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu

The world-famous Inca city of Machu Picchu graces many travellers’ bucket lists and is often the reason many people travel to Peru. It’s understandable why; it’s the best known archaeological site on the continent and a mysterious and captivating place to visit.

The conquering Spanish never found Machu Picchu and the ancient city was pretty much forgotten for a long time until 1911 when it was rediscovered by an American historian and brought to worldwide attention. In 1983 UNESCO designated it a World Heritage Site calling it "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilisation".

Today it is an incredibly popular tourist destination; in high season 2,500 people arrive every day. Yet despite this influx of visitors, Machu Picchu somehow manages an air of mystery, remaining enigmatic to this day. The labyrinth of palaces, plazas and homes could have been built as a military base, retreat for rulers or a ceremonial site. Academics are still attempting to uncover precisely what was going on here in the slopes of the Andes. 

Day trips are available if you don’t fancy trekking, but the adventurous among you may prefer to opt for the Inca Trail. 27 miles of Inca-laid trails takes four days to hike - and isn’t for the fainthearted - but you’ll be handsomely rewarded with stunning vistas, beautiful mountain peaks and breath-taking archaeological sites along the way.

Once you arrive make sure you have plenty of time to explore as the ruins are the size of a reasonable village. The surrounding subtropical forests and wilderness park provide a rich habitat and are home to several endangered species including the spectacled bear. After you’ve had your fill of ruins you can get a stunning overview by hiking Huayna Picchu, the often photographed mountain rising in the background above the citadel. For less crowds head for Machu Picchu Mountain instead, it’s less popular with tourists and offers just as good vistas. Afterwards head to the town of Aguas Calientes for a hot stone massage and a well-earned foot soak!

Highlights

  • Explore the impressive 15th century Inca citadel and marvel at its construction

  • Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for alternative views

  • Hike the impressive Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu

Ella
Travel Designer
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The time I spent travelling through South and Central America not only allowed me to perfect my Spanish, but also gave me real taste of authentic Latin America. The food, wine, landscapes and wildlife keep me going back for more whenever I can.

Machu Picchu trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas to Machu Picchu. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Things to do in Machu Picchu

Here are some of the things you can do at Machu Picchu. When you've chosen your favourite experiences, just give our Travel Designers a call and they'll put a trip together for you.

Places to stay in Machu Picchu

Map of Machu Picchu