The infamous Inca Trail is an old path through the southern section of the Andes mountain range in Peru that you can hike even til this day. It takes you through the same paths that the Incas walked connecting various archeological sites from Cusco (the capital of the Inca Empire and where your plane will land) to Machu Picchu (the infamous Inca citadel).
Normally, the classic Inca Trail tour takes 4 days starting from Kilometer 82 of the local railroad and through the mountains to end up at the Sun Gate (Intipunku) and Machu Picchu on the 4th day. Today, the path is well trodden and well marked, and you’ll feel safe on this high altitude hike with a team accompanying you during the trip.
Nevertheless, the Peruvian government mandates that travelers hike the Inca Trail with a licensed guide working under a travel agency that has an up-to-date permit for entry to the Inca Trail. A guide will not only know the route and the appropriate safety measures, but will also know be knowledgable in any restrictions related to archeological sites.
The 4-Day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is considered challenging, but it doesn’t require any specialized training, rock climbing, or snow shoeing. The most difficult part of the trek is the uphill through stone steps in a tight space. After that, the rest of the trek is mostly downhill.
If you’re short on time or find the full Inca Trail too much of a commitment, the 2-Day Inca Trail Hike is a good alternative. On this shorter version, you get a taste of the Inca Trail on the 1st day and then see Machu Picchu on the 2nd day of your trip.