By Mark Adams, author of Turn Right at Machu Picchu (available June 30, Dutton Books). See more Machu Picchu tips, facts, and photos.
With all the hoopla surrounding the 100th anniversary of Hiram Bingham III’s rediscovery of Machu Picchu on July 24, 1911, there’s never been more interest in visiting the ruins that he dubbed the Lost City of the Incas. The best way to arrive, of course, is by hiking the Inca Trail. (A path, incidentally, that was another one of Bingham’s finds—he uncovered it while exploring the area around Machu Picchu in 1915.) But the days when an adventurous traveler could fly into Cusco on a Saturday and depart for the Inca Trail on Sunday have long since come and gone. Walking the Inca Trail requires equal parts dreaming and strategizing—not to mention a few trips to the gym. Here are a few tips on how to get the most out of your trek.