Peru trekking tours on the Inca Trail are probably the only such tours where customers willing to pay are actually turned away because it’s already heavily booked. This 26-mile hike through the cloud forests and the Andes, with Inca ruins and relics littered all over the place, counts as one of the world’s top five treks. A last minute booking is almost impossible because permits have to be obtained and only 500 people are allowed to enter the trail each day.
The only way to ensure a memorable adventure is to book a luxury tour well in advance. These tour operators are licensed by the government to take people on guided treks on the Inca Trail. In fact, around 300 people on the trail each day are guides, porters and other staff. This means the actual number of tourists entering the trail on any given day is around 200.
It may be a bit of a reach to equate hiking through a South American jungle with luxury, but the relative difference is kind of a big deal. This means having access to chemical toilets and portable hot water showers, which the rest of the crowd will start missing dearly after a day or so. Not to mention porters to carry all the supplies, and cooks to provide lip-smacking cuisine and fine wines. There may even be a masseuse at hand, along with musicians to provide live entertainment.
The point is to get through an arduous 3-4 hiking adventure without giving up the little luxuries of daily life. This includes fine dining, five-star hotel stays and first-class transportation between Lima and Cuzco before and after the trek. Most visitors will be arriving via an international flight to Lima, and then continue on to Cuzco on a domestic flight.
The expedition gets underway at Qorihuayrachina, at the 88 km mark on the Cuzco-Quillabamba railway. This is the Inca Trail’s starting point, with a four day hike from here to Machu Picchu. Trekkers will find themselves going through changing landscapes, as the Urubamba River banks in Cuzco give way to the sub-tropical forest and then to the incredible scenery high up in the Andes.
There are different trekking choices designed to match physical endurance and age. The Classic Trail can begin at different points, with the most popular ones being the 82, 88 and 104 km markers. The last choice is a short trek which can be completed in a couple of days, or even in a single day.
Taking the longer Mollepata route requires a more challenging seven-day trek high up in the Andes past the beautiful and snow-capped peaks of Salkantay Mountain. It’s also possible to choose tours based on preferred interests. For instance, the trek could include a cultural discovery of the Sacred Valley and its numerous Inca architectural landmarks, settlements and tunnels.
The star among all Peru trekking options is the Inca Trail, irrespective of whether it is the classic trail, the Mollepata route or the short trek. Throwing some luxury into the mix makes the adventure much more enjoyable, since it allows hikers to focus on challenging the trail instead of worrying about food and other necessities. The real prize for those who complete the trek and go through the Gateway of the Sun is the awesome sight of Machu Picchu, which makes the whole thing very much worthwhile.
Check out Peruforless.com for a review of the things to keep in mind when booking Peru tours, today. You can also find more information about a reputable tour operator at peruforless.com/packages/trekking-inca-trail.php now.