Tagged: south america travel

The Inca Trail: What To Expect

LTMKETravelMachu The Inca Trail: What To Expect

From Trekking Peru. Photo credit: KE Adventure.

This post on The Inca Trail was written on behalf of mapthegap.co.uk.  The new site offers ideas for gap year and career break destinations.

The Inca Trail in Peru is the mountain hike of a lifetime.

The challenge about this epic hike is that you can never know what to expect… until you get there.  Here are some hiking tips on What To Expect on The Inca Trail:

Prepare for the altitude

We all know that scaling the Andean peaks will involve climbing some of the tallest mountains in the world, but many of us won’t realize the effect the altitude will have on our bodies.

Peru’s peaks rise above 6,000 m, and while you won’t quite reach its tallest summits on the Inca Trail, you will definitely feel the effects of the lack of oxygen while trekking the 43 km route.

The feelings of shortness of breath, a pounding heart, headaches, tiredness and nausea are only compounded by the arduous hike through the mountains.  It is important to take things slowly and give your body plenty of fluid and regular rests.

The best way to combat altitude sickness is to acclimatize slowly. Make the most of Peru’s beautiful landscape and travel to Cusco – and the main base for Inca Trail hikers – over a few days. Otherwise, you might want to speak to your medical adviser before you fly in case they can offer you altitude sickness tablets.

Whatever you can do, it’ll be worth it, as you don’t want to ruin this fantastic experience by feeling too ill to appreciate it!

Steep heights and long walks

Now, for someone who is planning to trek up impressive mountains for four days, it might sound obvious that you will have to stretch your legs for a bit and scale some heights in preparation.

The highest pass you will trek through is Warmiwanuska or Dead Woman’s Pass, which at 4,200 m is quite a feat. Don’t worry too much though, as you will be accompanied by trained guides who are experienced with fearful and apprehensive trekkers and will help you along each step of the way.

Fantastic views

This is perhaps something you can expect to see, but you will still be blown away by the magnificent views of your last stop Machu Picchu, as well as the entire Inca Trail leading up to it.

Your four-day journey will take you upon an ancient pathway through the Andean mountains until you reach ‘the lost city of the Incas’, as it is commonly known. This is a grand citadel hidden in the folds of the peaks and was only discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham.

When you see Machu Picchu break through the sunlight on the morning of the last day of your trip, you will no doubt be mesmerized by the impressive view of this stone city built on to – and in some places, it looks as though it has been built into – the mountain face.

Take your camera and spend some time soaking up the scenery, trying to learn how this civilization survived on this mountaintop, so far away from any other township.

A Patagonia Lodge

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Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia. Photo credit: explora.

Fancy a Patagonia adventure?  Then you might fancy staying at explora’s Hotel Salto Chico, a luxury lodge in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in central Patagonia.

On the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall, the lodge has views of Paine Massif and two of the three torres (towers).  Situated on a 7.4 acre site, the lodge features 49 rooms and “inviting spaces.”

At the mountain lodge, the explora team offers mountain travelers some 35+ diverse explorations on foot or horseback.  With Hotel Salto Chico as their base, all adventures are lead by trained bilingual explora guides.

The mountain lodge recently reopened following fires in Torres del Paine National Park.  Since reopening, the explora team has expanded its trips with 11 new explorations: five half-day treks, five full-day treks and one full-day of horseback riding.

Several of these trips are in the north area of Torres del Paine National Park, where explora also has two estancias (ranches), Estancia 2 de Enero and Santa Gemita.

The new explorations include:

  • Full-Day Walk to The Horns: This exploration follows the densely vegetated foothills of Mount Almirante Nieto through the Antartci beech forests.
  • Horseback Ride to Toro Heights: Starting on a steep, sandy trail, this exploration leads onto the trail of Lake Toro towards Toro Heights where travelers can view Pampa Serrano and the Grey Glacier.
  •  Half-Day Walk to New Nodenskjold:  On this exploration, the trail crosses sloping grass covered hills and offers views of the Paine Massif and the glaciers of Mount Almirante Nieto and Lake Larga.

Mountain Photo: Machu Picchu

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Hikers enjoy a sunrise view of Machu Picchu, the Incan city in the Andes in Peru. Photo credit: Classic Journeys.

Want to walk along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?  Take a look of this view from a South American trip with travel company Classic Journeys.

“Our walking tours to Peru immerse you into its conquistador-tinged history, indestructible Inca architecture and spectacular geography,” says Classic Journeys.

Wine Tasting In Chile

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Meteorito wine. Photo credits: Meteorito Wine.

Mountain and wine traveler?  Then you might fancy wine tasting tours in Chile with Meteorito Wine.

Recently, these South American wine tours in Chile’s Colchagua Valley have been featured in Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2012.

At Tremonte Vineyard in central Chile, Meteorito is the “first wine believed to be aged with a 4.5 billion-year-old meteorite.”

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Chile. Photo credit: Tumuñan Lodge.

About two hours from Santiago, the wine tasting tours are offered at Tumuñan Lodge with the Meteorito Cabernet Sauvignon creator Ian Hutcheon.

Tumuñan Lodge is a family-run mountain haven which offers rest and relaxation, hiking, horse-riding and fly fishing in the Chilean countryside.

Along with other excursions in the Colchagua Valley, tours of Tremonte Vineyard hosted by the owner can also be arranged.

This valley is famous for its vineyards, being a “haunt of Charles Darwin”, fossilized dinosaur footprints, volcanoes, glaciers, waterfalls and condors.

For more info, visit Tumuñan Lodge online.




Trekking Patagonia

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Patagonia is a stunning mountain travel destination.

If you’re a mountain traveler interested in guided trips, World Expeditions offers trekking adventures to this dramatic mountain region.

Here are 3 trips to Patagonia:

  • Patagonia Adventure, 11 days: This trip is an introduction to the parks of Patagonia. The trip covers Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina to Los Glaciares National Park. It continues across the border to Chile and takes a cruise from Puerto Natales via the Balmaceda Glacier into Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Patagonia Parks and Wildlife, 18 days: This trip includes viewing the Perito Moreno Glacier; cruising the Beagle Channel; visiting the Magellan penguin colony at Punta Tombo and bird watching in the Tierra del Fuego National Park.  Highlights also include Puerto Madryn; Ushuaia; national parks of Los Glaciares and Torres del Paine; a lakes crossing from Chile to Argentina and Bariloche.
  • Chile End to End, 18 days: This trip explores the best of Chile and the Patagonia region. Highlights include the Torres del Paine National Park; Puerto Natales; Serrano Glaciers; Santiago, Puerto Montt and the Atacama Desert.

For more info, visit the World Expeditions site.

Image courtesy of World Expeditions.