In 2018 I’ll begin featuring guest writers &
photographers from time-to-time.
My first guest writer is Mila Whitman, Editor of Travel Belles, mountain climber, trecker, and adventure traveler. Enjoy her article below, on choosing the right trek to Machu Picchu.
Choose Your Route to Machu Picchu
Towering over the Peruvian Andes since the 1450s, Machu Picchu is a standout amongst the most notorious ruins on the planet. However, much of it’s history remains a secret. Hiking to Machu Picchu is an experience beyond following a trail, contingent upon which course you take. To pick one is the genuine test!
They call it ‘Classic’ for a reason
The Inca Trail is the main path that takes you to the antiquated imperial Inca ruins. It’s believed to be the trail the Incas would have taken climbing directly from the Sacred Valley. As far as culture is concerned, the trail will be an enriching experience.
Unquestionably the best course for amazing photos if nothing else, for the most part, the trail keeps going four days and three evenings, however, don’t let that give you an impression of simplicity of the task.
While there’s interest from 500-tourists to join the trek every day, it’s in no-way-shape-or-form, simple. The beginning height of 3,400-meters (11,1154 ft) implies you’ll have to prepare hard to beat that headache and pressure. It’s certainly feasible, but I’d be surprised if you managed to trek it in full-day arriving directly from your couch.
Another downside? Unfortunately, there will be a lot of tourist on this route, so weigh your risks of constantly waiting for a good moment to take a picture without a crowded background!
For those who demand culture even in the wilderness
The Lares Trek is one the trails famous for more than just Inca ruins and gorgeous nature. On this trek, you are moving through Andean ancient villages that are barely touched by civilization as we understand it. Local farmers and weavers, making vivid customary garments, will greet you rather warmly. They are extremely welcoming. Meeting them is luck very few can boast about.
As far as complexity of the hike, the Lares Trek isn’t as troublesome as the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek (described below), yet don’t skip that training session at the gym just yet. In fact, there is a whole routine you need to do to be able to withstand altitude challenge, and that, sadly, involves some intense cardio workouts.
Look out for one of the most stunning peaks in the Andes
On the off chance that the Inca Trail or Lares Trek simply aren’t for you, it is best to explore another kind of trail reaching Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek enables you to witness the soaring, obscure magnificence of Nevada Salkantay – a 6,721-meter (22,050 ft) Andean pinnacle that will take your breath away. And not just because you’ve been trekking at altitude for some time at that point!
Completing this hike is a bigger achievement and more of an adventure than finishing the Inca Trail because you will pass through the diversity of ecosystems. There’s a touch of the rainforest wilderness and high-altitude pain with a few other interesting pearls of nature in the middle, making it a trek for the people who have the need to add another adventure to their growing list of accomplishments.
This is a challenging trek, so don’t take your training routine too lightly. I’ve trained for over 6 months with high-intensity interval training for this trek and only just made it physically. Although, I must add I’m not a marathon runner either!
For those who do a lot of trekking
Have you been a team captain of your school’s sports team? Have you never stopped challenging yourself? Well, then this mega-hard (comparative to other Machu Picchu treks) trail could be for you. The Choquequiaro Trek is not a walk in the park, by any means – it’s rather long. At nine days, it’s the longest route to Machu Picchu. The challenge is worth it. The trail combines breathtaking nature, various climates, and cultural experiences. There is an Inca city ruin sitting at 3,050 meters (10,006 ft) above sea level in the Cusco region of the Province La Convención.
The trek isn’t just for the courageous, but also for the historically inclined. Archeologists often refer to Choquequiaro as another well-preserved city, worth additional exploration.
For the wild at heart
Sounds familiar? Well, confusingly enough, this is a totally different trek from the Classic Inca. The Inca Jungle Trail is a variety of Machu Picchu’s most prominent trek and scores a strong 10 out of 10 in terms of originality.
A combination of a massive 60-kilometer-long downhill biking journey, some Grade III, IV river rafting, and a testing and edifying wilderness trek through the jungle. A zip-line to finish it all off is a trek that most likely make you feel empowered in the most literal sense of the word. It is an artful combo of fun and endurance testing. Because the trail is quite short, it is ideal for explorers who don’t have much time to spare.
Despite the fact that it most likely a triumphant trip, you must allocate quite some time to tedious training in preparation. The Inca Jungle Trail is less demanding than the Inca Trail. There are less steps to climb (which feels like murder to your knees), at the same time, watch out for that altitude sickness, it just might get you by surprise, no matter how often you’ve hiked.
AUTHOR’S BIO – Mila Whitman
After Cambridge University, Mila began traveling the world, while publishing her scribbles on major travel sites. Thanks to her ardent passion for adventure travel she is an editor and author at Travel Belles, Everest Base Camp Trek, Machu Picchu Trek, Climb Kilimanjaro Guide, Ladies Trekking Club and Mountain IQ.
Reach Mila at mila.whitman@gmail of comment here.