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Family in Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is quite popular among trekking lovers because it allows one to have one of the best routes for this activity. That is why it was becoming quite popular and today is one of the most requested alternatives to get to Machu Picchu. This trekking route can be done in 4 days, but it also has a 2-day option. Both options are highly recommended for large groups and therefore, it is one of the best options to do it as a family. Of course, taking some care so that the experience is beneficial and not a punishment for the children. Let’s learn more about the difficulty of the route, the options that can be followed, and the benefits of doing the route as a family.

Difficulty of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Picchu

The Inca Trail that follows the route to Machu Picchu is 43 kilometers long. All this distance has to be done on foot by different sections that will end up joining the Cusco Andes and the high jungle. This is the mandatory step to reach Machu Picchu. The Inca archaeological sites, in the past, were connected by the great road network of the Inca Roads or Qhapac Ñam. This route departed from Cusco to different destinations that connected the entire Tawantinsuyo. In this sense, we can say that Machu Picchu was built in the Antisuyo, one of the most rugged destinations, and also meant a great effort and challenge for the first expansionist expeditions of the Incas.

However, nowadays the route is not as complicated as it seems. This is thanks to the paths that make up the Inca Trail. These trails were used by the ancient settlers and especially by the Chasquis. They surely made the route in a few hours. Today it is possible to do it in 4 days following controlled distances and based on the difficulty that follows on the way to Machu Picchu. Also, the itinerary of activities allows adequate time to know the Inca constructions that are found along the entire route. The trekking route to the wonder of the world in 4 days may seem difficult for those who only think about the distance and days.

However, this is not the case; probably the greatest difficulty lies in the fact that every night is spent in the camps. Sleeping may not be as comfortable as sleeping in a hotel or a normal bed. We mention this because the daily hike during the 4-day route is done at the beginning of the day, which allows a cooler journey and not to face the inclemency of the sun at noon. Something that can happen if you decide to do the 2-day route. We will see these differences in both routes in more detail later on. Before that, we want to mention that the Inca Trail (in any of its options) is an excellent option to do with the family. Especially if there are children over 12 years old in the family, they will be able to do the route without any problem. There are even cases in which younger children cover the distances without any problems.

Adults of legal age in Machu Picchu
Adults of legal age in Machu Picchu – Classic Picture

Options for Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The Inca Trail as such has 2 options. The first one is the 4-day route, while the other option is only 2 days. In the case of this option, you will be able to reach Machu Picchu from the first day, only that you can have a panoramic view of the entire site. This is because you arrive in the afternoon and it is advisable to rest. In the case of the 4 days, you will arrive at Machu Picchu at dawn and you will make the tour around the Inca site. Let’s know more in detail about these alternatives.

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 4 days

  • It is probably the preferred option, for all the routes that are done, the days of activities, and the places that are known along the trail. When following the paths of the Inca or Qhapac Ñam, we find archaeological sites besides that. Some spaces or camping areas. The camping areas are limited and are also consistent with the number of people who entered to make the route. Therefore, there is an assured place or space to spend the night.
  • The porters and the cook will take care of the food. Therefore, only the essentials for the 4 days can be carried in the backpack. In this case, it is recommended that the parents carry as much weight as possible and that the children, if possible, only carry their drinks and hydrate themselves as they see the need.
  • There are toilets in the camps. Normally there are well-equipped bathrooms, and those who wish may also use the showers and take a bath. Some travel agencies provide the necessary equipment. Otherwise, you can bring your toiletries.
  • In the case of camping tents, agencies usually offer only one per person. In case you want to be more comfortable, you can ask for two extra mattresses to be included. Something similar happens with the weight. In case you do not want to carry your luggage, you can request an extra porter for this task. Of course, this will include an extra charge.

Inca Trail 2 days to Machu Picchu

  • This option is ideal for those who do not have much time and want to experience the route. Like the other route, it follows the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but only in one day. So it will not be necessary to take camping or porters.
  • The night will be spent in Machu Picchu Town. So dinner can also be tasted in that place. In this sense, lunch is covered with a box lunch in most cases. However, some agencies offer the preparation of a lunch, just in the Wiñayhuayna camp.
  • The hike in this case is arduous, it takes a total of 6 hours. The first stretch is from Chachabamba to Wiñayhuayna (3 hours). In both places, you can find a control point and also hygienic services.
  • The second stretch is from Wiñayhuayna to Machu Picchu passing by Inti Punku from where you have one of the best views of Machu Picchu. Arriving at Machu Picchu, you can appreciate the sunset from the upper platforms.
  • This option may seem the easiest for the whole family, but the whole long hike may be a problem. It is recommended to do this route if the child likes these activities and knows what he or she will find.
Archaeological site of Wiñaywayna
Archaeological site of Wiñaywayna – Inca Trail

Benefits of doing the Inca Trail as a family

Outdoor activities are appropriate to reinforce the family nucleus and find better ties between relatives. This is because it is a sporting activity that at the same time can reinforce the education of the youngest members of the household. This is because children tend to be more interested in the activities that are being done. The main benefit that can be obtained is that you can do physical activity avoiding a sedentary lifestyle, something that will not only strengthen the physical conditions but also the mental ones. Now let’s see some other benefits.

  • Respect for the environment is promoted, especially by example. This will be a fundamental task of the parents who will explain why.
  • It helps to reduce stress and even blood pressure. Especially this type of activity strengthens the immune system.
  • This activity, although it may seem simple to do, helps to strengthen the muscles, in addition to working on the psychomotor skills of the children.
  • Something that many people leave aside is that walking, especially in the mountains, improves attention and concentration.
  • You can appreciate beautiful landscapes and awaken curiosity for the enigmatic Inca constructions that can be seen along the way.
  • Probably the best benefit in these times is the family time that can be had throughout this activity.
Family exploring Machu Picchu
Family exploring Machu Picchu

Tips for the Inca Trail as a family

Some important tips to do this trekking route is to make reservations in advance. Getting to Machu Picchu by doing the 4-day Inca Trail route is one of the most requested activities. Entrance tickets are usually sold out. Normally people make reservations 4 months in advance. It is also important to know that during February, it is not possible to do the route due to heavy rains. Let’s see a brief list of other tips.

  • All family members must have the ideal footwear or trekking shoes for the activity.
  • Parents should have a spacious backpack with everything necessary for the trip.
  • Change of clothes and some clothes that help to control perspiration.
  • It is important to have some snacks and drinks so that children do not suffer from thirst or hunger during the hike.
  • Even if the route is 4 days, try to take only what is indicated by the guides or during the briefing.
  • The whole family must have one or two days of acclimatization. This will be vital for a special travel experience.
  • In case the child is very small and can no longer do it, parents are recommended to carry him in their arms.
  • Finally, to avoid some discomfort or suffering, you can exercise regularly before starting or even making the trip to Cusco.
Family visiting Machu Picchu
Family visiting Machu Picchu – Postcard Photo


By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 11-04-2024

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