As I embarked on my 3-month solo backpacking trip through Latin America, I knew that I wanted to challenge myself in every way possible. And what better way to push my limits than trekking to the ancient wonder of Machu Picchu in Peru? Little did I know that this experience would not only test me physically, mentally, and emotionally, but also leave me with a profound sense of achievement and connection.
I used to be the girl who couldn’t breathe after walking up a flight of stairs. I’d never describe exercise as “fun” or “enjoyable”, but I was determined to challenge myself mentally and physically after quitting my job to travel the world solo. Peru would be the last leg of my solo backpacking trip through Central & South America, so I knew that trekking Machu Picchu would prove to be the ultimate test. It would allow me to explore an ancient wonder while pushing my self-imposed physical limits. With my limited hiking experience and a boatload of hesitancy, I knew I needed a reliable team to guide me and ensure my safety.
After completing a journey like trekking Machu Picchu, I can now say that choosing the right tour company can make all the difference. While my original tour company has since closed its doors, I’ve stumbled upon a true gem: Action Peru Treks.
Action Peru Treks is an authentic and local company specializing in the Inca trail. Any trail that you’re interested in trekking? They’ve got it! Beyond the trail, they’ve cultivated a team of local guides that embody Peruvian culture and hospitality, each carrying a minimum of five years of experience in. They mostly recruit from the Sacsayhuaman community, where they’ve even built a robust roof for the school.
Whether you’re up for the classic 4 day Inca Trail or prefer a shorter version, Action Peru Treks offers a wide range of locally led treks that are tailored to different fitness levels, time constraints, and personal preferences. There’s something for everyone!
With Peru being home to one of the seven wonders of the world, you likely know about the legendary Inca Trail. And after completing the trek to Machu Picchu for myself across 4-days and 3 nights, I must say that my expectations completely exceeded reality. This beautiful yet challenging journey through the Andes Mountains proved to be the perfect blend of culture, nature, and adventure.
Action Peru Treks offers a diverse range of treks, each with their own appeal. Drawing from my own memorable experience, here are three interesting trek options offered by Action Peru Treks:
● The Ancascocha Trek to Machu Picchu is a 5 day 4 night tour that’s perfect for those seeking a lesser-known yet challenging trail.
● The Short Inca Trail is the way to go for a shorter but equally impactful journey, boasting all the Machu Picchu highlights in a compact 2-day,1-night adventure.
● The Classic Inca Trail is the OG 4-day, 3-night pilgrimage for those who want to immerse themselves in the history, grandeur, and spirituality of the Inca civilization. The Classic Inca Trail will transport you back in time and quite literally take your breath away.
With so many options to choose from, you better believe I’ll be returning to conquer a new trail with Action Peru Treks on my return to Peru. But first, let me share my personal journey through the Sacred Valley of the Incas to Machu Picchu.
Excitement and anxiety mingled as I prepared for the 16-mile trek. I’d promised myself I’d train, but let’s be real, that never happened. The night before, I stuffed my pack with liters of water and layered clothing, giving myself mental pep talks as doubts swirled through my mind. Did I pack the right things? Would I be able to keep up with the group? Why on earth did I sign up for this? But At that point, I was just relieved that I wasn’t doing this alone.
When pre-hike jitters hit hard, I quickly realized that having the support of a group tour like Action Peru Treks makes all the difference. While you’ll certainly be full of excitement, you may feel equally as overwhelmed when it comes to planning.
Action Peru Treks’ website is a treasure trove of information, with detailed descriptions of each trek, what’s included, what to pack, and even reviews from fellow travelers who have conquered those trails before you. Before booking, you can take a look at the daily itinerary, hiking altitude, average distance, and duration. Action Peru Treks lays everything out from the jump so that you know exactly what you’re signing up for. The site is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about guided treks in Peru – even the vibrant Rainbow Mountain which I also conquered on my Peru trip. Not to mention, the local guides that will have your back on the ground. You’ll receive a personal porter, a group porter, and a professional cook to stay fueled up on the go. Those hot meals hit different after a long day on the trails. Trust me when I say, this support makes all the difference.
Hiking to 4,450 meters was daunting. Within 15 minutes, I questioned my sanity. Thin air and tightening muscles made me doubt my ability to last three days without a mule. But the porters reassured me, and I took frequent breaks. I wasn’t leading the pack, but they always stuck by my side. Their support was invaluable.
I looked around at my fellow trekkers and guides, realizing that if they could do it, so could I. With each passing day, I trusted my body more. By day two, I was dancing on the trail! Despite wanting to quit multiple times, I felt both physically and mentally empowered.
I gotta keep it real and say that I would have been on the struggle bus without the team. Action Peru Treks offers experienced local porters who speak Spanish, English, and often Quechua. They’ll watch out for you, guide you, and lift you up when you need it most.
As we trekked through the Sacred Valley, I marveled at the cascading waterfalls, breathtaking sunrises, and the way I quickly connected with both strangers and myself.
For three days, I was free from my phone and most of my belongings, a rarity in the 21st century. I savored the simple things I rarely see in my daily life: the foliage underfoot, the cool breeze on my face, the snow-capped mountains in the distance, the constant stream of water, and the nearby villagers going about their day.
An experienced operator like Action Peru Treks takes care of everything, from meals and navigation to gear and transport, so you can kick back(well…with a bit of hiking) and simply enjoy the Sacred Valley’s natural beauty.
Picture yourself atop a mountain, gazing at the stunning scenery, free from the distractions of everyday life and at peace with nature.
Reaching Machu Picchu was no easy feat, let me tell you. Three days of tough terrain and a rollercoaster of emotions. But you know what? It was a total triumph. The journey itself was just as transformative as the destination. I discovered a strength in me that I never knew existed, both physically and mentally. The trek left me feeling accomplished and inspired, a reminder of what we are capable of when we push our boundaries and have support in our corner.
The Trek to Machu Picchu was undoubtedly the highlight of my solo trip through Latin America. It pushed me beyond my self-imposed limits and allowed me to grow both mentally and physically. The journey reminded me of the power of perseverance and the profound connection we can forge with nature, ourselves, and those around us.
If you’re considering trekking Machu Picchu, I wholeheartedly recommend choosing a tour company like Action Peru Treks. The right operator that will enhance your journey, enabling you to create lasting memories and discover the true magic of this ancient wonder. Embrace the challenge, soak up the beauty of the Andes, and prepare to be transformed.
My only regret? Missing out on Action Peru Trek’s cultural immersion program. With this, you can sign up for a home stay at your guide’s home where you’ll savor a traditional Andean meal and sleep over before taking off on your trek in the morning. Ultimately, you’ll learn more about their agricultural way of life in a way that most tourists never will.
I’m already counting down the days until I can finally return to Peru and dive even deeper into the Andean culture and way of life.
● Book your trek in advance, especially if you’re traveling during peak season. You can book directly on the Action Peru Treks website.
● Train for the trek before you go. Machu Picchu is located at a high altitude, so it’s important to be in good physical condition. Arrive a few days early to acclimate. You can get an idea of the daily difficulty level on the Action Peru Treks in order to train appropriately. Hopefully you’ll prep better than I did!
● Pack for all types of weather. The weather in the Andes Mountains can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be ready for anything. You can find a packing list on the Action Peru Treks website.
● Live your best life!
Hey, I'm Ciara. I’m a global citizen and lover of travel. Want to know more?
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