One of the most popular hikes in South America, the Inca Trail is definitely the experience of a lifetime. A centuries-old trail, it begins in the ancient Incan capital of Cusco and winds some 88 kilometers to some of the world’s most iconic ruins: Machu Picchu. Of course, the entirety of Inca Trail is absolutely stunning, from stunning snowcapped Andean peaks to centuries-old ruins situated in bucolic river valleys. However, these 5 highlights are truly bound to make your jaw drop.
Wayllabamba. The endpoint of the first day’s trek along the Inca Trail, Wayllabamba, which means “grassy plain” in Quechua, is the perfect spot to watch the sunset behind the dramatic Andean peaks. This grassy plain overlooks a stunning spot of Andean scenery, with centuries-old Incan terraces winding through the surrounding mountainsides. There is even a village nearby where travelers can mingle with local villagers.
The Valley of Llulluchapampa. Trekkers will start off the first portion of day two of the journey hiking through the picturesque Valley of Llulluchapampa. As you gradually ascend in altitude, you will even be afforded perfect views of stunning snowcapped cliffs.
Runkuracay: This unique oval structure, sometimes colloquially know as the “Egg Hut,” is believed to have been a kind of rest stop for Incan travelers, called a tambo, providing them with a place to spend the night and rest their animals. It is the perfect place to enjoy a mid-hike break and marvel at the beauty of Incan architecture.