Carol Sottili of the Washington Post claims that the ancient Incan ruins of Machu Picchu are one of the most popular places for avid travelers "to cross off their been there lists." Dating back to around 1430 AD, the UNECO World Heritage Site is among the top draws in South America for adventurous tourists.
For travelers seeking to explore "the Lost City of the Incas," there are a few options for reaching 8,000 foot high ruins, but none quite as adventurous or rewarding as hiking the Inca Trail. Described as a mountainous jungle hike by local tourist agencies, the nearly 28-mile trail is home to a wide variety of unique wildlife and a collection of captivating views not available anywhere else in the world.
Most adventurers undergoing the trek will take around four days to complete the hike, taking time to enjoy the over 250 species of orchids, lush cloud-lined forests and several rare and endangered species of animals.
It is recommended that travelers braving the mountainous region spend at least two days in nearby Cuzco to better acclimate themselves to the thin air of the region before attempting the climb.