- Hiking, Sightseeing Type
- More than Full Day Time to Spend
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Winding through Peru's verdant landscape toward Machu Picchu, this famous four-day hike is not for the faint of heart. That said, recent travelers say the laborious trek pays off with gorgeous scenery, interesting wildlife and for many, a life-changing experience.
You'll likely start your journey near KM 82 along the Cusco-Aguas Calientes railway and then follow the trail's zigzagging path toward the "lost city." The three-night journey pays off with the views from the Sun Gate at dawn.
Since interest in the trail and the ruins has skyrocketed in recent decades, trekkers are only allowed to visit with licensed tour operators. The best time to visit is during the dry season (from May to September, with peak season in June, July and August). Since spots fill up quickly, plan to book well in advance with a reputable company that includes camping gear, meals and the Machu Picchu entrance fee. You'll also want to select a company that treats its porters fairly. A few reputable companies include Aventours, PeruTreks, Llama Path and SAS Travel, but there are dozens more.
No matter which operator you choose, you'll still be roughing it along the trail. Make sure to pack sturdy hiking shoes, a warm sleeping bag and plenty of layers, as temperatures drop at night throughout the year. You’ll also want to arrive a few days early and check out the other attractions in Cusco, if only because you'll need to acclimate to the altitude before starting your journey.