Two days prior to starting the Inca Trail we had to go into the Peru Treks office to pay the remainder of our tour fees, pick up our duffle bag to pack for the porters and discuss our itinerary. They make you go in 48hours early to ensure you’re in Cusco long enough to begin acclimatising prior to the walk.
On the first day we were picked up early from our AirBnb to set off towards Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley where we were able to buy a nice breakfast and purchase any last minute supplies which in our case was plastic ends for Fraser’s walking poles as metal tips are not allowed on the trail. From here it was a short hop further to KM82- the commencement of the trail.
At the entrance we all had to show our original passports before crossing a bridge to start the trail proper. Day one is 12km from KM82 to Wayllabamba.
The initial section along the river is a wide, dusty, flat path. Occasionally we saw a train pass us by on the opposite side of the water carrying the non-hikers the quicker route to Machu Picchu. There were snow-capped mountains behind us and lush, green hills infront.
As we continued along the route it gradually began to climb until we came upon our first proper Inca Ruins at Llactapata. There were some down in the valley below and some that we hiked up to. Here our tour guide gave us some history about the trail and what we could expect to see along the way. The lack of actual Inca path on day 1 is due to the fact it was destroyed to stop the Spanish ever finding Machu Picchu when they conquered, which clearly worked, but by the second day there was far more original path and day 3 was all going to be Inca stones.
After a bit more trekking we stopped for a 3 course lunch and then carried on all the way up to our campsite with the path becoming steeper and narrower the further we went. That being said none of the day was too taxing. There were plenty of toilets on the route and lots of locals out selling water or soft drinks, I think some even had beer. Our campsite also had a decent loo and was in stunning surroundings even if some of the group were woken up in the night by donkeys sniffing around our tents.
The first day of the Inca Trail is a great warm up for what is to come later on and offers a nice introduction into what to expect as you make your way further along the route.
Have you done the Inca Trail? What did you make of the first day of hiking?