Inca Trail Trekking Region and Routes
Being such a mountainous country, there are literally hundreds of trekking routes that all offer to trekkers something unique and beautiful.
Below are brief descriptions of the region and links to individual route itineraries.
The region Of Machu Picchu
- Site: Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
- Location: Peru
- Reason: Machu Picchu is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.
The Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary (SMH) is one of the most important sanctuaries in the world because the Natural and Cultural resources. Is Peru’s most visited natural protected area; Declared a Natural and Cultural Heritage to Humanity, the sanctuary protects archaeological complexes, as well as ecosystems with a wide diversity of wild flora and fauna, some of which is considered to be endemic and endangered.
The SHM is located in Machu Picchu district, Urubamba province, Cusco department. It stretches over an area of 32,592 hectares (80,537 acres), with impressive Inca archaeological complexes, sites and monuments with a high historical and cultural value.
The main attraction is the universal jewel: Machu Picchu connected with various archaeological sites through the “Qhapaq Ñan” a network (known as the Inca Trail). There are six routes (four are long and two are short) currently available for hiking the Inca Trail, one of the most sought-after trekking experiences in South America.
The SHM boasts exceptional geographical features, with micro-climates that are a source of great biological diversity, spread between the Andes and mountain ranges adjacent to the jungle. It runs from snowy peaks at heights of 6,271 meters above sea level to the wetter and warm area of the Urubamba River (which divides the sanctuary in two by forming the “Torontoy” canyon) under 2,000 meters (6,562 feet) above sea level.
Visiting the Sanctuary is a trip of discovery of the Inca civilization across the Andes and the Amazon. Visitors can discover the home of various species of wild fauna, including the spectacled bear, the Andean fox, viscachas, the cock-of-the-rock and the Andean condor, among others. Tourists can also make contact with flora, including the remarkable orchids with a total of 309 recorded species and an as many as 200 more yet to be discovered.
In addition to the exceptional natural riches, there is the Machu Picchu archaeological complex, declared a Mixed World Heritage (natural and cultural) by UNESCO in 1983. Machu Picchu is one of the new 7 Wonders of the Modern World.
The Inca settlement of Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade.
Many countries have mountain ranges with beautiful scenery and Peru itself is richly blessed in this respect with many other areas for hiking. However the scenery is only one of the elements responsible for the magic of the Inca Trail Treks. Can there be any walk anywhere in the world with such a combination of natural beauty, history and sheer mystery and with such an awe-inspiring destination? The various ruins along the way serve to heighten the hiker’s sense of anticipation as he or she approaches what would surely find a place in any new list of archaeological wonders of the world – Machu Picchu.
Walking the Inca Trail Treks can be very rewarding and is possible for all ages as long as you are fit. Over the course of the Trail, you gain and lose 1000 meters several times, all of which is over 3000 meters where oxygen is noticeably thinner. Acclimation to the altitude is a must, with generally a minimum of 2 days advised before starting the hike, and good physical condition advised. The journey winds through the valleys and hills of the surrounding area, taking you through the scenic landscape, from high alpine to cloud forests.
The Inca Trail Treks are part of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary, a protected area of 32,592 hectares, managed by the National Institute of Natural Resources, INRENA. Every visitor must obey park regulations that prohibit littering, cutting or damaging trees, removing or damaging stones of ruins and the Trail, removing plants, killing animals, lighting open fires or camping in the archeological sites (only authorized campsites can be used).