Walking to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is much more than the walled city. Much more than Cuzco. The region that comprises the Inca’s Sacred Valley has a huge expedition potential accessed only through winding trails that surprise the traveller at every turn. Due to its low to moderate difficulty, the walk to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular activities.
The Inca’s Road
It all started with the organization of an empire. Just like the Romans or Mongols, the Incas built a road network from present day Ecuador to Chile. The main two routes included one alongside the coast –extending over 2,485 miles– and the Royal Road, running through the sierra through 3,200 miles. Including connection branches, there were about 18,640 miles of roads.
These roads were mostly used by soldiers and chasquis, the empire’s messengers. These well trained runners walked to Machu Picchu, Cusco and other strategic locations over relays posted every 1,8 miles. Relay teams could cover up to 198 miles in one day.
Walking to Machu Picchu
The Inca’s Road is extremely long and the walk to Machu Picchu, Cusco and its surroundings is only a small part of it. Depending on the time and energy, it can take from one day to one week to cover. In two days, the walk to Machu Picchu comprises about 7,5 miles. In four days, the trip involves walking 28 miles.
Every year, more than 25,000 tourists from all over the world walk to Machu Picchu. For this reason, the Peruvian state limits the access to 180 tourists plus support staff (guides, cooks, porters) each day in an attempt to protect it. Thus, some operators recommend making reservations with at least three months in advance (this can be up to six months from March through September).
But there are other options to this well-liked walk to Machu Picchu. Some of the most popular ones are Salkantay (5 days), the Inca Jungle (4 days) and Valle de Lares (4 days). The average number of visitors to these optional routes is less than to the classical Inca Road.
Does trekking in this trip necessarily involve walking to Machu Picchu? If you have already planned to go to the walled city, perhaps this is the chance to visit the valley over other less populated routes. A top recommendation is the four-day visit to Choquequirao. This archaeological center is considered to be as important as Machu Picchu and includes 20 miles of breathtaking landscapes.
The explora Experience
Many people end up being disappointed with tours offered by traditional tourism operators, for which the “walk to Machu Picchu” is their landmark product. We encourage you to consider the explora experience.
Sheltered in one of the valley’s most remote estates, the explora Valle Sagrado hotel is sited in an old corn-field surrounded by mountains. It is aimed at promoting interactions with nature with respect for the Inca culture.
Walking or riding a bike, visitors can immerse themselves in nature and the Andean culture trough 20 expeditions, all included in their stay. Definitively, a much more attractive offer than the overcrowded walk to Machu Picchu available to common travellers. This feature positions explora as one of the world’s leading adventure lodge operators.
Don’t settle for the traditional walk to Machu Picchu. explora has way more to offer.