Trekking Peru's Inca Trail

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of September 21-28, 1995

Great ski resorts you've never heard of
Trekking Peru's Inca Trail
Bareboat sailing in the Caribbean
Snowboarding Europe's mega-areas
The wild side of the Grand Canyon
Joshua Tree's panoramic views

Trekking Peru's Inca Trail
Q: Does anyone have any experience with guide services that lead treks in Peru and along the Inca Trail?
Jim Heidell
Seattle, WA
[email protected]

A: Because the Inca Trail is renowned as one of the best historical treks in South America, several outfitters run multi-day trips along the trail to the ancient city of Machu Picchu. Regardless of which guide service you choose, you'll most likely begin the four- to five-day hike at the 8,000-foot Chilca trailhead. From there, you'll trek through the fertile Urubamba River valley into rugged, narrow gorges, past small lakes and waterfalls, and over high alpine passes. On most trips you'll hike anywhere from four to eight hours a day, with ample time to explore the many Incan ruins along the way. All of the following outfitters offer plush, full-service camping, which means all you'll need to shoulder is your day pack--porters and animals carry the rest--and you'll arrive at your camp at the end of the day to find your tent pitched and your dinner waiting. After four or five days of moderately challenging trekking, you'll drop down off the trail via ancient stairs cut into the hillside and hike in through the ruins of the spectacular Lost City; most trips allow a full day for exploring Machu Picchu before catching the last train down to Ollantaytambo. For much of the trip you'll be hiking and camping above 10,000 feet in the Andean highlands, so you'll need to be in good shape. In most cases, you'll have several days on either end of the trek for whitewater rafting and touring ruins in and around Cusco. For detailed itineraries, trip costs, and upcoming departure dates, contact the following outfitters:
Southwind Adventures: 303-972-0701
Wilderness Travel: 800-368-2794
Mountain Travel-Sobek: 800-227-2384
Overseas Adventure Travel: 800-221-0814

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