Soaring and plunging among the ice-clad summits and deep green valleys of the Andes, the Inca Trail is probably the most famous walking route in the world. Following a vast network of the path, this epic four-day trek links a series of ruins, many of which offer a far more evocative experience than Machu Picchu, the trail’s illustrious and much-visited endpoint.
Throughout the year, thousands of travelers from all over the planet undertake the route of the Inca Trail from Cusco to access the jungle of Peru and the ancient mysteries that the stones of Machu Picchu still contain.
Along the way, there are several archaeological remains of different fortifications in relatively good condition, which visually dominate all the valleys.
The tour begins in the town of Cori-huayra-china (Quechua: Quri Wayrachina, ‘gold vent’), at kilometer 88 of the Cusco-Quillabamba railway, and it takes between three and four days of walking to arrive to Machu Picchu. In the crossing, which crosses an impressive tall slope, with climates and ecosystems as varied as the high Andean high plateau and the misty forests, two passes must be overcome at a great height (the largest of them, Huarmihuañusca, also known as “step of the dead woman”, being 4,200 meters tall,). The crossing ends at the entrance to Machu Picchu through Inti Puncu or “Sun Gate”.
On the route, you will find a network of carved granite settlements along the way (Huiñay Huayna, Puyupatamarca), immersed in natural scenery. As an ideal complement, the tourist will also find an exuberant nature, with unique landscapes, hundreds of species of orchids and multicolored birds.
Main Walking Routes
The trip to Choquequirao is long and strenuous, but certainly unforgettable. It is located at the edge of the jungle, which is the transition from the Andean valleys to the jungle. Life in this area belongs to those given in dry, montane and sub-tropical forests.
Salkantay, located in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, one of Cusco’s departments, rises to 6271 meters above sea level. The Salkantay is the protective spirit, or Apu, of Cusco, where the Salkantay massif is. It is a beautiful and lonely area dominated by the same Apu Salkantay, it has numerous high elevation peaks, such as Tucarhuay (5,910 masl), Veronica (5,682 masl) and Huacayhuilca (5,361 masl), among others.
Ausangate is the representative mountain of the Cusqueños Andes. It is located in the Vilcanota mountain range with large lagoons with a bright greenish blue color. Walking the Ausangate mountain is an indescribable adventure, and it is impossible not to be impressed by the enormous beauty of eternal snow.
From this place you have a beautiful view, on this side of the valley you can appreciate the incomparable beauty of the perpetual snows of the Pitusiray and, in the background, you can clearly see the town of Calca.
The Lares Valley
Lares is the name of a small town north of Cusco, you start in the Incas’ Sacred Valley (in Huarán) where you will have the opportunity to see stone houses with thatched roofs surrounded by herds of llamas, alpacas and guinea pigs, communities where you can appreciate the art and textiles that are preserved in these places.
Ausangate is the fifth highest mountain in Peru, considered the most important mountain of the Andean range. This mountain is sacred to local people; in fact, many of the nearby Andean communities still have pilgrimage dates at the top of the mountain.
Climate change has discovered the multicolored beauty of these mountains located in the Vilcanota mountain range, it is a mountain in Peru with an altitude of 5,200 meters above sea level and owes its incredible coloration to the mineral richness that houses its soil. Walking around this area is a very special experience, combining the fact of being at such heights with the enjoyment of an outdoor activity and the contemplation of a visual wonder.
Humantay is a snow-covered mountain that is part of the Vilcabamba mountain range and gives rise to the formation of this splendid turquoise-colored lagoon that is fed by the glaciers of the mountain and that is a jewel of nature on the route of the Apu Salkantay.
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