Monday, 30 January 2012 11:56 AM
Peru is home to a wealth of exciting destinations to explore, from humid jungles to huge canyons. However, perhaps the most famous of all the attractions the country has to offer is the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu – and the best way to discover this lost city is to take part in Inca trail trips.
In recent years, Peru has become a haven for backpackers and sports enthusiasts, all keen to get involved in one of the world's most famous trekking expeditions.
There are many reasons for the growing popularity of the Inca Trail, with the expedition allowing visitors to not only scale some impressive peaks, but also learn more about the country's fascinating history.
The biggest highlight of the Inca Trail trek has to be reaching Machu Picchu at the end of the trip.
Hidden away in the depths of the Andes mountain range, Machu Picchu is an ancient city built by the Incas, many miles from any other form of civilisation. The only way they could communicate with those outside the rugged peaks was to go on a journey on the Inca Trail, which took them through the mountains to the lands below.
Every year, thousands of tourists head to Machu Picchu to take a look at the historic city, which was only uncovered in 1911.
However, to really make the most of the experience and to appreciate the seclusion of the city, taking part in a hike on the Inca Trail is the ideal option for adventure enthusiasts.
What's more, by getting involved in this expedition, you will have the opportunity to see other Inca monuments along the way. Some of these you will be able to see from a distance, as you stand on the peak of a mountaintop and look out over the horizon, while others you will have the chance to get up close to.
Most of the day before venturing to Machu Picchu, for instance, is often spent at a camp near the Phuyupatamarca ruins – visit here and you will get a taste of what you can expect to see the following day.
At times along the trip, when you reach some of the highest points, you will also be able to spot some ceremonial Inca sites if you look across over the breathtaking landscape.
The views you can enjoy on the Inca Trail are another big selling point for holidaymakers. In addition to being able to get involved in the challenge and stretch your legs, you will also be able to take a look at some awe-inspiring vistas.
As the trek scales a vast distance over an impressive altitude, you will have the chance to see a variety of different views along the way.
At the beginning of your trip, you will clamber through cloud forests, hear the trickling of waterfalls and walk on log bridges over running streams.
However, the deeper you venture into the Andes mountains, the more you will see the scenery change. The landscape will become more rugged, with rocky pathways, sparse trees and jutting snow-capped mountain peaks.
One reason why the Inca Trail is so popular is that you can choose from a number of different trips to take part in, which means you will be able to find one that suits your age, ability and walking experience perfectly.
You could opt for the Classic Inca Trail, which takes four days to reach Machu Picchu and traverses 45 km, or you could pick a more challenging option that lasts longer.
Whichever expedition you decide to embark on, you are sure to find yourself in the company of like-minded travellers, who will be just as excited about this once-in-a-lifetime adventure as you are.