Is The Inca Trail Worth It? 11 Reasons Why

Is the Inca Trail worth it? For many adventurous travellers, this question emerges when planning things to do near Machu Picchu - the ultimate journey to Peru’s most iconic destination. 
At Skyhook, we know the trail offers more than just a Machu Picchu circuit trek; it’s a profound journey through breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and unique cultural experiences.
machu picchu (7-day inca trail)
The best view of Machu Picchu.

Is Hiking the Inca Trail Worth It: 11 Reasons Why It Is

Not sure if the Inca trail is worth it? Let’s convince you with these 11 reasons to add this trek to your bucket list.

1. Supporting the Indigenous Quechua Community

When you embark on the Inca Trail, your journey contributes to more than personal fulfilment and bragging rights. 
What makes Machu Picchu unique is that completing an Inca trail hike plays a significant role in supporting the indigenous Quechua community
Each Machu Picchu permit purchased by trekkers is a direct investment in the local economy. This financial support is vital as it helps sustain the community by providing employment opportunities and funding to maintain and preserve their ancestral lands.
Your decision to hike the Inca trail to Machu Picchu is a meaningful contribution that extends beyond the physical trek, enriching your experience and the lives of the Quechua community.
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2. Hidden Gems of the Trail: Beyond Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail, renowned for leading to the majestic Machu Picchu, also unveils lesser known yet equally captivating Incan sites exclusive to its hikers. 
A prime example is Wañay Wayna, an exquisite and often overlooked gem that can only be accessed by those trekking the trail.
This remarkable site, nestled along the lush mountainside, offers a stunning display of Incan architecture and agricultural ingenuity with its terraced fields and intricate stone structures.
Wañay Wayna serves as a poignant reminder of the Inca’s sophistication and harmonious relationship with nature. 
For many trekkers, the discovery of such hidden treasures becomes a highlight of their journey, offering a unique and intimate glimpse into the ancient world of the Incas. 
machu picchu porters

3. Culinary Delights: Peruvian Cuisine on the Trail

We know the Inca Trail is a feast for the eyes. But did you know it is also a feast of the palate? This hike offers an immersive experience of the rich tapestry of Peruvian cuisine. 
As you journey through the Andes, each meal becomes a delightful exploration of locally sourced ingredients and traditional cooking methods. 
The trail’s chefs, skilled in the art of high-altitude cooking, craft various dishes that reflect the diversity of Peru’s culinary heritage.
From hearty quinoa soups to succulent lomo saltado (stir-fried beef), each dish is designed to replenish and energise trekkers. 
Meals often feature a fusion of native Andean staples like potatoes and corn with Spanish influences, creating a unique and flavorful dining experience.
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4. Immersion in Peru’s Stunning Natural Landscapes

Do you love nature? You’re in luck. With good Machu Picchu weather, the Inca Trail is a journey that immerses trekkers in some of Peru’s most stunning and diverse natural landscapes. 
As you traverse this ancient path along the mountains of Machu Picchu, you are enveloped by a kaleidoscope of environments, each offering unique beauty and challenges. 
From the lush and mystical cloud forests, shrouded in a perpetual mist, to the rugged and imposing Andean peaks that command respect and awe, the trail is a continuous showcase of nature’s splendour.
Along the way, hikers encounter a variety of ecosystems, including the vibrant rainforests teeming with exotic flora and Machu Picchu animals like the iconic Machu Picchu llama, and the serene, dry forests that echo the ancient footsteps of the Incas.
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5. Cultural and Medicinal Insights: The Coca Leaf

The Inca Trail introduces trekkers to the cultural and medicinal significance of the coca leaf, an integral part of Andean life. 
Revered for centuries, the coca leaf is deeply embedded in the daily lives and rituals of the indigenous people. 
To the Quechua community and other Andean cultures, it symbolises life, health, and unity. Today, it plays a crucial role in social and spiritual ceremonies.
Medicinally, the coca leaf is valued for its natural properties that alleviate Machu Picchu altitude sickness – a common challenge on the Inca Trail. Chewing coca leaves or drinking coca tea provides a gentle stimulant effect, helping to boost energy levels and combat fatigue during the arduous trek. 
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6. Exclusive Access to Restricted Areas of Machu Picchu

Here’s a secret: Inca Trail hikers are granted a unique privilege beyond the awe-inspiring experience at the Sun Gate: exclusive access to certain restricted areas within Machu Picchu. 
These areas, off-limits to regular day visitors, offer a more intimate and in-depth exploration of the ancient site. 
One such area is the Intipunku, or the Machu Picchu Sun Gate itself, where hikers can enjoy unparalleled views of Machu Picchu in its full glory. This perspective is reserved for those who have journeyed the trail.
Inca Trail trekkers can also explore other less frequented but equally fascinating parts of the site, such as the Inca bridge. The Inca bridge is an architectural marvel that showcases the ingenuity of Inca engineering.
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7. The Scenic Train Journey: A Rewarding Return

After the exhilarating experience of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu, trekkers are treated to a relaxing and scenic Machu Picchu train journey back from Aguas Calientes. 
This train ride, typically included in most Peru tours, offers a different yet equally captivating perspective of the Peruvian landscape. 
As the train winds its way along the curves of the Urubamba River, passengers are immersed in the breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley Cusco Peru.
The journey through the valley floor is a visual feast, with panoramic windows offering glimpses of verdant mountains, distant peaks, and the vibrant life along the riverbanks. 
This tranquil return trip allows trekkers to reflect on their adventure, providing a serene transition from the ancient world of the Incas back to modernity.
hiking during inca jungle trek

8. Physical and Mental Endurance Test

The Inca Trail is a testament to physical and mental endurance. The trail presents a formidable and challenging Machu Picchu hike difficulty, with steep ascents to high altitudes and long, taxing descents.
Each step you take on the ancient pathways, including the Machu Picchu Stairs of Death, tests stamina and determination, pushing hikers to their limits. 
The Machu Picchu hike length spans 34 miles and reaches an altitude of over 14,000 feet, encompassing steep stone steps and rugged terrain, often referred to as “Inca Flat” due to its deceivingly undulating nature.
However, the true reward of this demanding adventure lies in the immense sense of accomplishment felt upon completing the trek. Training for the Inca trail and finally conquering it is a journey that strengthens the spirit and fortifies the will. 
lares trek to machu picchu
There's a reason why Machu Picchu gets more than a million visitors annually.

9. Bonding with Fellow Travelers

One of the most enriching aspects of the Inca Trail is the opportunity to bond with fellow travellers. 
Trekking in a group, often with people from various walks of life, creates a unique social dynamic. The shared experience of navigating the challenges of the trail naturally fosters deep connections and camaraderie among group members. 
As you walk together, encourage each other, and share stories and meals, a sense of community is built that often extends beyond the trail.
The trail’s communal campsites and shared meals also provide ample opportunities for interaction and exchange. 
It’s not uncommon for trekkers to form lasting friendships bound by the accomplishment of completing one of the world’s most famous treks.
inca statue

10. Learning the Historical Significance of the Trail

The Inca Trail is a path steeped in history, offering trekkers a journey through time, exploring the rich tapestry of Incan civilisation. 
As hikers traverse this ancient route, they encounter numerous Incan sites, each with its own story and significance. These sites are living testimonies of a sophisticated culture that once thrived in these mountains.
Guides, often deeply knowledgeable about Incan history and culture, bring these stories to life, explaining the historical significance of each site. They provide insights into the Incan way of life, architectural prowess, and spiritual beliefs. 
This educational aspect of the trek enriches the hiking experience, turning each step into a lesson in history and archaeology.
inca jungle trek hiking

11. Building Confidence for Future Adventures

With its demanding terrain and high altitudes, the trail serves as an excellent proving ground for both physical stamina and mental fortitude.
For many, conquering the Inca Trail is the first step in a larger journey of exploration. The skills, resilience, and endurance developed on this trek are invaluable for tackling other formidable hikes in Peru, such as the Colca Canyon, Laguna 69, or even the iconic Rainbow Mountain. 
The sense of accomplishment and the lessons learned on the Inca Trail provide a solid foundation for these future adventures, turning trekkers into more confident and experienced hikers.
tourist and machu picchu guide

Conclusion

The Inca Trail is an all-encompassing experience that enriches and challenges on multiple levels. 
Completing this iconic route with us at Skyhook Adventure is a highlight of many Peru tours, leaving trekkers with a profound sense of accomplishment, deeper cultural understanding, and a readiness for future adventures.
We think it’s an essential journey for anyone seeking to embrace the spirit and beauty of Peru.

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