Have you ever dreamed of trekking to Machu Picchu on the same paths that people from the ancient Incan Empire once walked? One of the most amazing ways of experiencing this wonder of the world is by taking the Inca Trail. This hike can be done in two, three, four or five days. There are different options available depending on your schedule and preferences.
I had the pleasure of joining Cusco Journeys on their “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Two Days/One Night” tour. It was an incredible experience and one that I will never forget. In this article, I would like to share with you my experiences on the Inca Trail as well as provide some recommendations for your trip. Before I do so, allow me to introduce myself.
My name is Eypee. I was born in Germany, grew up in the Philippines and then moved back to Germany as a teenager. I found my passion for videography when I toured the world with my band. I was responsible for creating tour diaries. Soon, I decided to focus more on tourism and documentary films. That was how I got into photography as well.
I actually shot my first feature length documentary in Peru. For the documentary, I spent most of my time in Lima where we got to interview a lot of interesting people. In the Huaral province of Lima, a local family of a friend invited us to stay for a weekend. After two full weeks of filming for the documentary, my friend and I decided to explore more of Peru.
We went to Cusco, the Lamay District, tried Cuy (guinea pig) in Pisac, visited Paucartambo, explored the Amazon Rainforest in Manu National Park and experienced the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Overall, I had a great time in Peru and of course one of the main highlights was the Inca Trail.
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Two Days/One Night
Going with Cusco Journeys on the “Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – Two Days/One Night” tour was fantastic. Everything ran smoothly and professionally. Miguel from Cusco Journeys came to our hostel in Cusco and informed us about the tour. I was surprised to find out that we would be a group of three! It would be my friend and I and the tour guide, Miguel.
Compared to the large groups of 15-20 people on the trail, our small group felt like a private tour. We could really go at our own pace. As we only booked for two days, we took our time and captured many photos and videos along the way (my friend and I both do this professionally). We got to embrace nature and learn about Miguel and the ancient Incan Empire.
Arriving at the Glorious Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu
Being the slow travelers that we are, we were one of the last groups to arrive at Machu Picchu on our first day. At that time, most of the groups had gone back down to Aguas Calientes and so we got to enjoy Machu Picchu practically all for ourselves. The best moment was witnessing this glorious sunset over Machu Picchu with no one else around.
This sunset gave off the perfect lighting for Machu Picchu. It made for some awesome photos and videos. In the end, we didn’t have many hours to explore the ancient ruins but we were okay with that because the whole journey of the Inca Trail was our goal and not just Machu Picchu itself.
Biggest Challenges of the Inca Trail
Hiking the one day Inca Trail itself isn’t that challenging. Most people should be able to complete it as long as you have a good base level of fitness. The biggest challenge for me was when I removed the sleeves of my pants for 15 minutes to convert them to shorts. It was hot and I thought that was the natural thing to do. But it turned out to be a mistake.
Even though my guide warned me about bugs, I thought he meant mosquitos. I noticed sand flies around my legs but didn’t do anything. In the end, it led to some nasty and painful bites. I had to take anti inflammatory pills back in Cusco because the swelling didn’t stop and it was painful. So definitely keep that in mind when you do the trail.
Apart from that experience with bugs, my time on the Inca Trail was just spectacular. The views were breathtaking. Everything from the history, old ruins, bridges, mountains, forest and old stones was so incredibly enchanting. I would definitely recommend booking a longer Inca Trail tour.
My Review of Cusco Journeys
Cusco Journeys was a professional outfit. Our tour guide Miguel did a superb job. His English level was really good and his knowledge of Machu Picchu was impressive. I loved the fact that we were a small group. This made it more personal and we could ask questions any time.
Miguel even helped us out on a scene for our documentary. The only con I can remember would be the fact that we spent a night in Aguas Calientes and then woke up at 5am the next morning just to see an overcrowded Machu Picchu again. I don’t think that was necessary after experiencing the site with no people and with an amazing sunset the day before.
Important Tips for the Inca Trail
Firstly, make sure you pack light. The lighter you pack, the better. You don’t need to bring much stuff from Cusco if you are doing the two day tour. But bring plenty of water. Wear breathable long sleeves to protect your skin from sand flies and nasty bugs. Make sure you can sweat in your clothing and that the material dries quickly. Lastly, enjoy every moment of your trip!