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Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Huchuy Qosqo 1The Qhapaq Ñan, also known as the Andean Road System or Inca Trail is ‘the most extensive and advanced transportation system in pre-Columbian South America.’[1] Parts of this immense network are visited by thousands of trekkers every year hiking the Classic Inca Trail, the Short Inca Trail, the Premium Inca Trail, and the Huchuy Qosqo route on their way to Machu Picchu. Comuneros still transit the Andean paths, as they are often their only way home connecting the pre and the post-colonial history.[2] ‘Of the sixty thousand kilometers that make up the Qhapaq Ñan, nearly half run through Peruvian territory.’ [3]  The rest can be found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. 25% of the original structure survived till today and is now protected by UNESCO; the rest was destroyed by the Spanish conquest and building of modern infrastructure. [4]

Crossing high-mountain passes, barren deserts, and misty jungles the Qhapaq Ñan testifies to the masterful engineering of the indigenous (Wari and Inca) builders. This witness challenges the traditional narrative about the conquest of the Americas, in which according to ‘Kevin Gover, the director of the National Museum of the American Indian’ the native peoples ‘are either the opponents of civilization or they are literally part of the nature that was there to be settled and conquered.’[5]

According to the Lonely Planet Quechua Phrasebook & Dictionary the original words qhapaq means ‘rich’ and ñan means ‘path’, ‘road’, or ‘way’. According to Wikipedia they mean ‘the beautiful road’. The Wari and Inca ‘extensive network of roads served for means of communication, trade, and even defense.’[6]

The final part of the ceremonial route that once connected Cusco and Machu Picchu became the most famous section of the ‘Great Inca Road’. [7] Today the Classic Inca Trail, the most famous way to the Inca Citadel, is busy with trekkers from near and far supported by professional porters and local guides – many descendants of the original inhabitants of Tahuantinsuyo – the Inca Empire.

Wiñay Wayna Inca Trail

Wiñay Wayna archeological site on the Classic Inca Trail route

Because the 4 Day Classic Inca Trail is always busy, this year the Peruvian Ministry of Culture increased the limit of visitors on the 2 Day Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It is an easy trekking route that starts at km 104 goes to the Wiñay Wayna archeological complex and the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) through which the Incas and their llama caravans originally entered Machu Picchu. After resting overnight in a hotel the final day of this itinerary grants enough time to enjoy all that the citadel of Machu Picchu has to offer.

Apart from these two trekking routes Andina Travel offers another two much less travelled sections of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: Huchu Qosqo and Premium Inca Trail. The Huchuy Qosqo (Little Cusco in Quechua) is a 3-day easy trek with no camping involved. This trekking route will allow you to experience walking on Inca stone path that are very well preserved, enjoy great view of the Sacred Valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains, spend a night in a typical Andean farm house and interact with the locals, and also visit the Huchuy Qosqo archeological site that once was an important administration center of the Inca Empire. The Premium Inca Trail is a moderate 5-day trail. We are the exclusive tour operator of this off-the-beaten-trek. So we highly recommend it for those seeing to escape the crowd. Learn about centuries old weaving traditions in Chinchero. Spend a night in a picturesque Zurite home stay – a house that was visited by Hiram Bingham and several Peruvian presidents. Visit Inca Temples and hike the central section of the original Inca Trail that goes from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Come close the alpaca herds of Andina Travel and Dragoman Overland joint community project. Behold a variety of landscape, wildlife, and vegetation. Both of these journeys end with a unique train ride to Aguas Calientes where you will spend the last night before enjoying the final day of your itinerary in the Machu Picchu UNESCO World Heritage Site.

With all these four Inca Trail trekking packages we offer the option of spending an extra night in Aguas Calientes and visiting Machu Picchu Citadel twice.

Check the departure dates and make your booking for the upcoming season right now.



[1][4][7] Wikipedia

[2][3] Peru This Week

[5] Peru This Week

[6] Peru This Week





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