Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru

We will get to the packing lists and how to prepare blogs on the Inca Trail in good time, but for now I'm just going to tell you, without giving too much away, my experience of the Inca Trail.

You might be reading this because you're thinking of doing the Inca Trail, or just because you're interested in hearing about it, but here's the honest truth.

The Inca trail is hard

Waking up before 6am and walking for 5+ hours isn't many people's idea of a holiday, and it's hard work to get yourself up, prepared and motivated each morning. If you're coming from the UK you have jet lag on your side, so take my advice and keep waking up at 5am before you start the trail.

The Inca trail is longer than it sounds

26 miles does not seem long - its a 30 minute drive. People run marathons in a matter of hours! Wrong. You tackle these 26 miles at a fraction of the speed you might normally. The combination of altitude, incline, the bag on your back and the prospect of 4 more days of the same mean you need to pace yourself, and if that means going 2mph - so be it. Enjoy the scenery, stop to breathe it in, then carry on putting one foot in front of the other.

The Inca trail is beautiful

Possibly never again will you feel like or be, just a tiny speck of a person in the middle of enormous mountains and deep valleys. The wildlife, the flowers, and clouds even are all the motivation you will need and with every meter gained or lost, your whole environment will change. From clouds and rock to humidity and orchids; it's a beautiful trail.

The Inca trail is major bragging rights

Nothing will make you feel more smug than reaching the outskirts of Machu Picchu and hearing the day trippers coughing and spluttering over the few steps they've climbed to reach the perfect selfie spot. Like the marathon runners finishing alongside the 5k runners, you admire the fact they've made the trip, but there's something extraordinary about the physical and emotional journey you've been on.

The Inca trail is worth it

It's so worth it. The biggest fear I had on the Inca Trail was that once I reached the end, it would be an anticlimax. But on that morning, after the 3am wake up call, the queuing, and the final hike, reaching Machu Picchu and seeing it emerge from the clouds, as we emerged from the trail, it all came together. The challenges of the trail are worth it, and the journey is the destination.

Watch our story of the trail below.