Thing #9 – Watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu (almost)

I was lucky enough to do the traditional inca trail 12 years ago when I was 22 but it was so cloudy when I finally got there I never got to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu’s beautiful mountains.
It was my plan to do the inca trail again as a challenge to myself but I didn’t realise you now had to book it months in advance nowadays as I think they may have restricted the number of people that do it. It’s now also very expensive.

I heard about something called the ‘Jungle inca trail’ which is a four day tour where you hike, raft, mountain bike and zip line your way to Machu Picchu. It leaves everyday and it’s also half the price of the traditional inca trail.

It was an incredible experience and I loved every second of it. It’s still a physically challenging four days but not as demanding as that of the traditional inca trail. Saying that there were times I really thought I couldn’t go on. Especially the climb up to the ruins on the last day. The best thing of all is that you get the same amazing climax as the traditional inca trail whilst also doing loads of fun activities.

Which one is the best?

For incredible views and a feeling of just pure achievement then I would say the traditional inca trail is still number one!

The jungle inca trail still has it all though but I found the traditional trail very challenging so I was very proud to have finished it when I was 22 as it was exactly a year after being diagnosed with deep vein thrombosis. I remember the second day of that trail being one of the hardest things I have ever done. A truly amazing experience.

Tips for travel

  • Make sure you are fully fit for either one of these inca trails. They are both very challenging.
  • Remember you will be at altitude so acclimatise for a few days in Cusco before setting off.
  • Book the traditional inca trail at least four months in advance.
  • Try to do either one in the dry season for better views (June to August)
  • Shop around for tours. Most agencies have a jungle inca trail package and they are pretty much the same.
  • Buy a poncho if doing the trail in the wet season (December to March)
  • The jungle inca trail is half the price of the traditional inca trail if on a budget.
  • Get ready to be blown away by the beauty of Machu Picchu.

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