Why You Absolutely Must Hike the Great Inca Trail

The 25,000-mile road network known as the Qhapaq Ñan was the glue that held the Inca empire together. You may set off expecting a “hike,” but you’ll come home having experienced a culture and a way of life.

What is the Qhapaq Ñan, also known as “The Great Inca Trail”

It is an ancient trade route which connects the most important towns in the Andes. It passes through spectacular scenery, centuries-old Andean villages and tiny agricultural communities. What’s more, the road itself is far wider and more imposing than any of the other Inca Roads (the Inca Trail pales in comparison) and by walking it you are actively participating in its preservation–and when you trek it with SA Expeditions, you’ll do it all with a train of llamas. 

Trekking on the “The Great Inca Trail”

During a trek on the Qhapaq Ñan you will wake before the sun shows its face from behind the snowcapped Andes and eat breakfast overlooking remote, mirror-calm lakes. You’ll walk roads built 600 years ago, and in so doing gain some insights into the brilliance of the people who built them. You’ll camp in ancient Inca refuges, meet their modern custodians and experience their way of life. You’ll learn how to pack and lead a llama and you’ll see ancient Inca farming, weaving, and cooking techniques at work. 

The Main Attraction

On the section SA Expeditions hikes, the road itself is something to behold. Sixty feet wide at some points, it cuts through the Andes like a latter-day Interstate, showing scant regard for the extreme topography of the area. Of course, the road served a massive logistical purpose within Tawantinsuyu (the Inca Empire) but its construction was also a resounding show of force by the Inca rulers as it demonstrated, in no uncertain terms, their ability to tame nature. The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, although extremely impressive in its own right, does not have any of these wide, boulevard-like sections and it also sees 500 visitors per day.  

Are You Ready?

If all this sounds like your kind of adventure, SA Expeditions offers several customized opportunities to trek the Qhapaq Ñan. Their highly-trained guides can easily adjust the itinerary according to your needs of your customized group. Click here to learn more.