Machu Picchu is truly one of the wonders of the world. This breathtaking and historically important sight sits 7970 ft above sea level and is only accessible after a trek which usually takes two to four days. This trek is known as the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Journey by Foot
The length of the journey, which can only be taken on foot, adds to the magic and mystique of Machu Picchu, anyone who has made the journey along the Inca Trail will testify to the fact that the anticipation is increase massively and when you reach the summit you feel a real sense of achievement.
Many famous world heritage sites and wonders of the world are breathtaking to look at but few rival Machu Picchu as an overall experience. The Inca Trail is every bit as special and the wonder at the summit. The panoramic views and relaxing silence are still as profound and powerful today as they were over 600 years ago when the site was first built as an estate for Incan Emperor Pachucuti
Inti Punku (The Gate of the Sun)
The Inca Trail finishes with a final descent from Inti Punku which means, when translated, to Sun Gate. The site is given its name because at a certain time of day the sun will shine thru the sun gate onto the ancient ruins. This is a magical and breathtaking site and was very important and profound for the Incan people. It is worth the extra effort to try and time a trip to coincide with this moment.
Limited Access to the Trail
The popularity of the Inca Trail has caused a problem for the Peruvian government; the constant foot traffic was causing damage to the site and threatening it for the future. This has cause a limit to be placed on the number of people who are allowed to use the trail per day and sharp controls to be placed on the companies who are allowed to offer tours.
Advanced booking is mandatory for tourists and the available five hundred places per day fill up rapidly, well in advance, especially in the peak months. In a similar way to the length of the journey this exclusivity has had the effect of adding to the popularity and desirability of the overall experience.
The Trail as an Attraction
The Inca Trail is the gateway to Machu Picchu and the ancient ruins at the summit would not be nearly as special without the journey it takes to get there. In fact the beauty of the trail, with its history and panoramic views is enough to make it a major tourist attraction in itself. In the same way that people will chose to hike in the Himalayas or climb Kilimanjaro, the Incan Trail would be a worthwhile and rewarding journey even if the ancient ruins where not located at the end of the trek. The fact that the reward for the climb is not just a sense of achievement by also the chance to see a very special and historic World Heritage site makes the trail all the more wonderful.