Perhaps the most popular and well known trek in the world, the Inca Trail leads hikers, history buffs, and explorers alike through the Andes towards it's fantastic end point, Machu Picchu, the famous "lost city of the Incas".
The 4-5 day trek includes sharp ascents through clouds, mist, and granite ruins, (Day 2 ascends to an altitude of 4,215m), followed by rolling descents into subtropical cloud forests bordering the Amazon basin.
Spanning 43km (26 miles), at various points the trail moves through mountain scenery, cloud forest, jungle, ancient Incan ruins, tunnels, and at points the original road paved with Inca-laid stones.
Due to the rise in travel to the trail, the Peruvian government enforces a strict rule stating that all hikers must carry a permit, and permits are limited to 500 hikers a day, including guides and those carrying food and supplies.
There are several government-licensed tour packages that include full trail, food, and camping accommodations, including snacks and the necessary permits.
The hiker's reward end of the trail includes the appropriately nicknamed “Sun Gate,” the entrance to Machu Picchu, where tourists can cap their effort with a beautifully framed view of the sun and mist rising over Machu Picchu, making the 4 day event well worth the effort.