A bucket list item on nearly everyone’s list. We can assure you that yes, it should be and yes you can easily check this one off with Trips by Nic. I cannot emphasize enough that you will have more fun getting to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail (or another route if you choose) than when you actually arrive. Yes, it is stunning and a site to be seen. However, as they say down in Peru, the journey is the destination. Camping out under the stars, eating meals cooked on the trail, meeting new people from all around the world are just a few of the amazing experiences you will have when you choose to do Machu Picchu. Local language is Spanish and we recommend learning a few phrases before you go! You usually can only hike from April – October. It is closed completely in the winter during the rainy season. Make sure once you have a date in mind you do secure your passes!
What to expect
Everyone says to arrive a few days early to acclimate to the altitude. While Trips by Nic highly recommends this if possible, please do not be alarmed if you are in good health and plan to arrive just one day before. You will be okay as long as you have properly trained for the trek. Break in your hiking boots well ahead of time!
We recommend chatting with your doctor to see if you need any specific vaccinations such as Typhoid and to potentially pick up some altitude medicine just in case you should need some for nausea and other altitude related symptoms. Once you do reach Machu Picchu you’ll be able to spend plenty of time exploring this incredible Inca site. You will certainly get lots of pictures and if lucky can grab the special stamp for your passport. Your passport does stay with you the whole time. You won’t be hiking back either. There is a train that takes you down. Pro tip: grab a few beers ahead of time to enjoy on the way down and reward yourself for a job well done on the trek!
The world is your oyster!
While on the Inca Trail…
You’ll spend 3-5 days hiking and camping, depending on your tour selection. You do need to go with a tour and you must lock in your passes to get into Machu Picchu well in advance (we can of course help you secure all of this). You’ll reach Dead Woman’s Pass on your 2nd day and this will be the highest peak you’ll likely cross over. You’ll see lots of historic structures during your trek also that you can feel free to explore. I remember at one point literally being in the clouds and feeling like we were completely up in the sky, it was surreal! It was also a bit scary at times if you are afraid of heights. Our sherpas helped us to carry our bags (though you are still restricted to how much you can bring on the hike) and we just carried our daypacks. The guides that we were with also cooked us all of our meals, 3 a day and it was actually amazing food! They made us hot coco most evenings too for dessert as it was a bit chilly while on the trail.
Cusco is an enchanting little village filled with plenty to see and do. We had a chance to venture out on a scenic tour of the land nearby and do a small hike to warm up. I know many people pair up Rainbow Mountain while in Peru as well. We explored some local markets, saw lots of llamas, tried their version of street corn and had an all around excellent time. The biggest market was Pisac Market on Sundays in the Sacred Valley which took about one hour to get to from our hotel in Cusco. Make sure to buy a beautiful blanket and other small trinkets while shopping around the never ending markets. You absolutely will want to try a Pisco Sour, literally at any bar or restaurant they can make you a delicious one as it’s the local drink! There are a ton of local boutique hotels that will be lovely and will be happy to host you! If you are looking for something a bit more chic, stay at the JW Marriot complete with a spa. Save the massages for after your hike though! You will need it!