As part of our global travels last October, Nat & I embarked on a four day hike/ancient Incan pilgrimage – A.K.A The Inca Trail.
This adventure began in the super-touristy Peruvian town of Cusco, where all hikers spend a couple of days getting their bodies acclimatised to the high altitude before undergoing the epic up and downhill haul. Cusco has been the main city hub in the highlands of Peru for centuries, and as we spent two days roaming the city streets, feeling like we were wading through concrete (thanks to the Cusco’s elevation). Despite the altitude, it was plain to see from the impressive and well-worn stone walls, cobble streets and intricate alley-ways why the city has been so pivotal to the region for such a long period of time.
We booked our hike over four months ago in order to get spot on the mystical Inca trail. We decided to go with a tour company by the name of Llama Path, which have a great reputation with the locals and Trip Advisor for providing an unforgettable experience for hikers and most importantly, for their sustainable and ethical treatment of porters (which a lot of other tour operator seem to neglect). Thankfully Marco, Wilber and their team really came through with the goods.
During our trip we found ourselves hiking huge distances of up to 12 hours a day and literally walking up-and-down mountain peaks, reaching altitudes close to a staggering five thousand metres in elevation. This was all very daunting considering that a few days earlier, we were sitting on deck chairs on a yacht sipping on cervezas in the Galapagos Islands. But, every time we stopped to catch our breathes along the famed trail, we found our energy levels were quickly renewed by simply looking around and taking in the majestic mountain passes, snow-capped glaciers and the ruins left behind by the ancient Incan civilisation which you are passing along the way.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve ever done. If you’re planning on making the trip to Cuzco to see the fabled ruins, I highly recommend NOT catching the train and bus straight to the ruins, and making the trek yourself. You will appreciate Machu Picchu and the incredible Incan civilisation so much more if you take the Incan Pilgrimage into the mountains. It will make your experience far sweeter than any of the other tourist who take the bus! Not to mention the self-fulfillment and priceless sense of accomplishment that you get to take home as a souvenir.
As you can imagine, a trip to the fourth wonder of the world meant that my camera and memory cards were both working around the clock throughout the entire trek. Here is just a small sample of favourites from the trek. If the shots below leave you wanting more, feel free to hit the link to check out a few more photos from the trip <—