Tag Archives: Hiking

Hiking and Travel

Hiking & Travel: 7 Tips For Staying Safe On Long Hikes

At Devel Fitness, we love hiking. There’s nothing quite like getting in touch with nature, and getting a darn good workout at the same time! But Mother Nature can be harsh if you’re not prepared – so we’ve put together this list to help you stay safe on your next long hike, and ensure that your next outdoor adventure is an unqualified success!

  1. Always Tell Someone Else Where You’re Going – And When You’ll Be Back

If you’re going on a hike alone, DO NOT NEGLECT THIS STEP. If you get into trouble while hiking, your cell phone probably won’t work – and if nobody knows where you are, you could be in enormous danger.

This is exactly what happened to hiker and rock climber Danny Boyle, made famous by the book and movie 127 Hours. He didn’t tell anyone where he was going, so when he got stuck in a slot canyon while hiking in Utah, he had nobody to look for him.

While he managed to escape miraculously, he lost an arm while doing so – so don’t forget to tell someone where you’re going!

  1. ALWAYS Stick To The Marked Trail

Trails are marked for a reason. They help you stay on course and avoid getting lost, and going off-trail can lead to hazards like unmarked cliffs, dangerous wildlife areas, and more.

In addition, going off marked trails can be illegal. You may damage wildlife habitats, and be faced with stiff penalties for doing so, if you’re caught. So stick to the marked trail – we promise it’ll be just as fun!

  1. Don’t Forget To Grab A Map!

Trail maps are usually available at trailheads and visitor’s centers at most major national, regional, and state parks. Alternatively, you can usually print out a trail map from the park’s website, to ensure that you’ve got one on-hand when you start your hike.

Even if you don’t think you need one, you should pick one up and bring it along. If you get lost or turned around on a confusing trail, you’ll be glad you have it.

  1. Understand The Length And Difficulty Of Your Hike

Do some research by Googling the trail you’re going on. Websites like RootsRated and AllTrails are great for this, and most parks will have trail maps with difficulty ratings.

To prepare adequately for your hike, you need to understand how long it’s going to take, and how hard it will be. This is especially important if you’re hiking with a group that includes folks with different fitness levels.

  1. Dress Appropriately – For Any Anticipated Weather Conditions

Always check the weather before hiking, and plan your attire appropriately. Going on a morning hike? It’ll be chilly at first, but you’ll want to peel layers off as you continue hiking throughout the day. Going on a trail with a large elevation change? Remember that temperatures drop by 15-17° per 1000ft of elevation, and bring extra clothing to mitigate the chill.

In addition, you should have the proper footwear. Trail running shoes or boots are ideal, though shorter hikes can often be done in simple running shoes.

  1. Bring Plenty Of Food And Water

At a minimum, you should bring 2 quarts of water per person on an all-day hike, but 3-4 quarts are recommended. Have each hiker carry their own water – and be sure to drink as much water as you can before you start hiking!

In addition, a 160lb person will expend around 440 calories per hour of hiking, so you’ll want to bring plenty of energy-dense, high-calorie foods like trail mix and energy bars.

  1. Be Aware Of Local Hazards

Always be aware of any dangerous local hazards you may have to deal with, such as potential wildlife like bears, dangerous weather conditions like rock/mudslides, or other hazards. Take appropriate precautions to minimize the danger of these hazards.

Follow These Tips – Stay Safe In The Great Outdoors!

If you follow these tips, you’re sure to have a great time during your next long day hike. So get out there, and enjoy the incredible beauty of the natural world!

Thanks for reading! At Devel Fitness, we’re passionate about helping fitness enthusiasts live their best lives with our SuperBand system!

So whether you’re here for our SuperBands, or just stumbled across this page, thanks for visiting, and feel free to leave a comment below, and discuss your favorite hiking tips!

Multiday Hiking in New Zealand’s Backcountry, and 8 Reasons Why You Should Go Guided.

5 hikers in colourful gear walk a flat track along a valley surrounded by snowcapped hills.
Hiking up Siberia Valley in Mt Aspiring National Park.

The team here at Active Adventures are an outdoorsy bunch. Every weekend you’ll find a handful of us out there in the hills, or on the rivers, getting stuck in to New Zealand in all its natural beauty. One of our favourite ways to spend a long weekend is by grabbing a backpack, packing a toothbrush, a cooker, a few meals, and a sleeping bag, and heading for one of the 950 huts dotted all over the country. Here we’ll talk about spending time in the backcountry on overnight ‘missions’ and offer some advice on how best to tackle the great New Zealand outdoors!

A backcountry hut sits in a basin next to a large alpine lake.
Angelus Hut on the edge of Lake Angelus in Nelson Lakes National Park

Background on New Zealand’s backcountry

As kiwis, we are lucky enough to have some of the best walking in the world, in our backyards. New Zealand has hundreds of trails, amongst vast mountains, rainforests, coastline, glacial valleys, and volcanoes. Even better than that, is that those trails, and (most of) the 950 huts that serve them, are maintained by the Department of Conservation, DoC. The huts started appearing in the 1800s, and were initially a network of shelters for hunters overnighting in the hills. Today they’ve become a big contributor to tourism in New Zealand, and a part of our national identity. For us the most unique thing about hiking in New Zealand is the variety of landscapes you can immerse yourself in. That’s why we love getting out there, because every time (and every hut!) is different.

A person lays back above a glacial valley enjoying the view.
Taking a moment for reflection on the stunning Milford Track

Few people who think of New Zealand do so without thinking of Milford Sound. It’s one of the things that put this country on the map, we don’t deny it. And it is absolutely stunning in its scale, and its untouched nature. The Milford Track is one of New Zealand’s nine Great Walks – walks of stunning natural beauty, maintained by DoC, and taking in the most impressive scenery in the country. But the Great Walks are not the only walks worth doing when you get here! There are quite literally hundreds of multiday walks here, and between us, we’ve probably knocked off most of them!

Learn More About Multiday Hikes

 

Why are we so addicted to getting out there?

We’d describe our love for multiday adventures in the hills as natural, and an essential part of growing up, and living in New Zealand. Being able to get away from traffic noise, light pollution, even cell reception, in a matter of minutes from home, is a special privilege, and not one we waste. There’s something primitive about arriving at a hut under your own steam, after a tough day, and being greeted by a log fire, smiles, and a cosy bunk. When you’re in a backcountry hut, sharing the experience, and stories, with others, you’re living in the moment; the last thing you’ll worry about is work, or bills. Instead you’ll be worrying about who’s taking up the most boot space around the fire, or who’s next in line at the sink to wash their dishes. It’s a special experience, and it’s made special, in part, by the sense of achievement, but so much more than this by those you share it with.

Two pairs of boots dry on a fence at the head of a valley.
Hiking Boots drying out at Siberia Hut in Mt Aspiring National Park.

And guess what! Aside from the warm fuzzy feeling that multiday hiking gives you, there’s also a whole heap of health benefits, and not all of them are physical! Maybe that’s why people say us kiwis are such a friendly bunch?!

Benefits of going guided

Over the years our guides have learned a few tricks when it comes to overnight hiking. And we know how valuable local knowledge is. When you’re on the trail you’ll want all sorts of information about the area you’re hiking in, its history, the plants, birds, even the elevation changes for each day – your guides can share that with you. And that kind of knowledge adds so much to an experience in the backcountry. They’ll also share a few secrets to having a successful trip, the kind of things you didn’t know you needed to know, or to pack. They’ll take you to the best viewpoints for the perfect photo, and tell you how to make your own pillow – no need to pack one. All you have to do is turn your sleeping bag stuff bag inside out, and fill it with your spare clothes. Now you can rest easy!

A group of hikers and their guide stand on a ridgeline.
Guide Andy, and his group of adventurers on Robert’s Ridge in Nelson Lakes National Park.

Our guides have comprehensive training in all sorts of areas, some of which we hope they’ll never need. They’re trained in outdoor first aid, efficient radio communications, and river crossing techniques, to name a few. And they’re also backed up by an awesome Operations Team here at Active HQ. The team is always just a phone call away, anytime day or night.

Two hikers on the trail, a river running beside, and a small aircraft flying overhead.
To hike in Siberia Valley you’ll need to catch a plane in!

Everyone’s number one priority in the outdoors is safety, especially on multiday hikes. Because of its separation from other large land masses, New Zealand gets some very interesting weather. Add that to the geography of the country, and particularly the South Island, with the Southern Alps dictating weather patterns as they do, and we end up with very changeable conditions. Our local guides have spent their lives amongst those conditions, and are always prepared for four seasons in one day. They’ll approach every hike with a plan A, a plan B, and often a plan C. Rivers can change course, or rise rapidly, groups can be super keen and want to hike further, or struggling, and need to do less, or rest more often. A guide is ready for anything, they’ve seen it all before, they’ll react calmly, and smoothly, and ensure you’re comfortable and safe.

Panoramic shot of glacial lake, icebergs floating, and a group sitting on the shore.
Icebergs floating in Crucible Lake in Mt Aspiring National Park. The kind of place you wouldn’t know to visit without a guide!

Our guides are also logistical magicians, and they work in pairs. You’ll hop off the bus for a hike from A, and the bus will pick you up at B just as you arrive off the trail, or back at civilisation from the hills. They’ll also give you some advice on the best way to ensure you get a comfy bed when you arrive at each hut – if it’s not pre booked. Your guides will carry the little extras, like bug repellent, hand sanitizer, and candles too. They’ve spent heaps of time in the hills, they know exactly what you need for a perfect trip. And to top it all off, they’re masters of the backcountry cooker! You’ll be fed delicious, nutritious meals after a day’s hiking, and wake up ready to go again.

 

Why go guided recap

  1. Knowledge of flora, fauna, mountains, rivers, and viewpoints.
  2. Tricks of the trade e.g how to pack your bag, or make a pillow.
  3. Comprehensive safety training.
  4. Backed up by an Operations Team.
  5. Experience of the conditions – plan Bs+Cs in place.
  6. Logistics – arranging transport, organising beds, putting up tents.
  7. Providing the small things that are easily forgotten – bug repellent, hand sanitizer etc.
  8. Excellent cooks.

 

We’d advise…

So if you’re itching to head out into the hills, and see what the real New Zealand is all about, we reckon your best bet is to do so with a local guide. The best advice we can give you though, is to embrace the whole experience, trust in your guides, and keep in mind that it’s sharing these experiences that makes them special. Head for the hills willing to share your space, and your stories, because it’s the story that you’ll remember long after you’ve taken your boots off.

Check Out Our Guided Trips

Other relevant information:

“For me, this was the best experience I’ve ever had.”

A group cheering and waving near Mt Cook.
The crew from Andrea’s ‘Kiwi’ trip celebrating at Braemar Station.

Over the last twenty years or so we’ve been honing our skills in adventure travel. We started with a group of three guests on a trip around New Zealand’s South Island in 1996, and have progressed to taking groups to nine different countries on four different continents. As kiwis we are famous for our hospitality, we love welcoming people, taking care of people, and sharing in experiences with people. When our guests finally arrive in New Zealand, they’ll often pop into our office in Queenstown mid-trip, because like us, friendships are so important to them. We love being able to put a face to the voice we hear on the phone before the trip!

A group poses for a photo at Active Adventures HQ.
A group of Active adventurers meet Lynette and Fiona at Active HQ in Queenstown.

That hospitality, and the sharing of experiences with new visitors to any of the countries we travel in, are the reasons we love doing what we do. And it’s guests like Andrea Rudolph (recently returned from New Zealand adventures) who help us to remember that: ‘Not only was the scenery breathtaking and the tour well run but our fun loving adventurous group made it even more special. Even the experienced travelers in our group felt it was the best tour they had ever been on. It’s been difficult to settle back into my ’normal’ life after such a life-changing experience.’

We find that guests on our adventures, because they always share common interests (adventure being just one!) really buy in to this idea that sharing the experience makes it so much more powerful. The willingness to be honest and open with one another about your life, and your achievements, and even your regrets, adds another dimension to the experience in a way that we find difficult to put in to words.

 

Andrea wrote some lovely comments about her South Island Explorer trip the ‘Kiwi’. On top of that she also took the time to write an awesome poetic review about the trip, here’s some of the best bits:

Active Adventures had everything planned

For a ‘better than average’ trip to Kiwi land

Our fearless leaders, Rachel and Koru

In every instance knew what to do

prepped us on schedules and weather every day

And tried hard to make us listen to what they’d say.

 

Koru told myths of Maoris and war

His tales were creative and never a bore

He showed us plants like the silver fern

This land is so varied there’s a lot to learn.

 

The Hector’s dolphins near the beach were rare

They amazed us by doing flips in the air

At the wildlife center we saw kiwis being fed

And heard how they’re kept safe till they’re bred.

 

 Braemar gave us bright stars at night

Sharing toilets and co-ed showers was also a delight

We ran through the hills, and drank lots of wine

Singing old songs and jingles, it was divine.

 

New Zealand is perfect except for the sandflies

Which bite all our legs as they drop from the skies

They even dare follow us into the van

Where we smash them on windows as fast as we can.

 

I tried really hard to write something clever

To celebrate our group and the best trip ever

Though our journey is over and we’re all back home

We can laugh and remember when we read this poem.

So when our guests return home, from adventures in New Zealand, South America, Nepal, or Europe, they return home with a warm fuzzy feeling that never wears off. And it’s that warm fuzzy feeling, and those unforgettable moments that so often lead to our guests travelling with us again: ‘I’ve spent lots of time researching my next trips. I will definitely go on the Iguana trip. and I will definitely keep checking your website for new trips I can take in the next several years.’ And when those guests take the time to write such amazing comments as the ones Andrea sent us, that warm fuzzy feeling is transferred to everyone involved with Active Adventures, and reminds us all why we love this job.

 

Hiking is Nature’s Therapy

In today’s world of chaos and constant stimulation, it’s hard to quiet the mind and think. Getting into Nature offers a way to find some silence and clarity; and it’s an important tool to counter our standards of survival in society. The more and more pressure we put on ourselves, the more our health degrades. […]

The post Hiking is Nature’s Therapy appeared first on American Hiking Society.

Facts About Machu Picchu To Outsmart Your Tour Guide

Peru has so many ancient ruins, villages imbued with an infusion of ancient and modern Incan tradition, mixed with a melting pot of Colonial and pre- Spanish Peruvian culture. 

Of all the Peru landmarks, Machu Picchu (which in the Quechua native language, means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.”) is the one categorised as both one of the best known and also most mysterious of the ancient Inca sites. Call it cliche to label it the jewel of Peru’s crown or it’s most famous contribution to the 7th wonders of the world, but Machu Picchu has remained in the limelight since it’s discovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911. It stands at 2,400 meters above sea level and it’s precise stone construction is spread along a narrow and uneven mountain vista, tucked up against a 400m sheer cliff, overlooking the Urubamba Valley and River. The whole city was hidden (and thus saved) from marauding conquistadores for centuries and its high remote location makes if feel like it is floating on a sheet of mist.

Local guides will tell of legends withed down from Inca ancestors, archaeologists will give you another perspective all adding to the sites enigmatic status, but it’s actually quite hard to put your finger on the reasons why this citadel in the clouds is just so fascinating.

Many of the discoveries in and around Machu Picchu have led to more questions than answers around it’s true purpose. The more discoveries made it seems, the wider the variety of possibilities.

Rather than give you a list of dates, numbers and scientific facts, this page is going to offer you a treat, so you can wow your guides and make them think you’ve been on a crash course of anthropology and/or Incan philosophy!

I probably don’t need to tell you that Machu Picchu’s walls, caves and buildings are widely adorned with intricate carvings in the citadel, boasting carefully selected cave entrances, strange altars, 600 impressively engineered terraces, a 1km long aqueduct and exquisitely engineered buildings. Quizzical llama lawnmowers help to keep the grass around the buildings all beautifully manicured, showing off their best features. It is indeed a sensory feast for 21st century eyes staring firsthand at structures built by Incan hands more than a thousand years ago!

Did you also know that the positioning of the buildings are no accident. Inca people were master astrologers, the milky way had particular significance, and they arranged structures within the citadel to align with the cosmos or rising of the sun at specific times of year?

Standing amongst these features, everyone marvels at the masterful engineering the ancient Incan builders managed to achieve way back in the mid 14th century. You may find yourself getting lost in stories told by local legends if you walk through the various buildings with a local guide (like our Cynthia Valledares). When you also understand the significance of the structures around you from a spiritual and ritualistic point of view – it is not at all difficult for ones mind to be blown!

Machu Picchu Architecture

The technique used to build the structure is called called “ashlar”, this means that stones that are precisely cut to fit together without any mortar. This method is so precise that not even a credit card can slide between stones. Peru has experienced hundreds of years of seismic activity, yet the stones the Inca’s crafted stand strong, mostly undamaged by natures powerful forces.

Some of the most interesting architectural features of Machu Picchu are all closely huddled together over it’s total area of 32,592 hectares, an assortment of structures, each with an archaeological and spiritual back story that would make even Indiana Jones proud!

Sacred Rock

Sacred Rock Machu Picchu

Looking out over the central plaza to the far end of Machu Picchu , we find the Sacred Rock, something you will notice in almost every Inca village. The Inca practiced placing a sacred stone in close proximity to the building site and this was dedicated to the site itself, which adds to the intrigue of the site; what did this mean to these people, and what daily practices took place right here where you stand, some say they can still feel the energy of these people and the land they revered so much.The Sacred Stone of Machu Picchu was carefully placed at the base of Huayna Picchu (or little peak), a place from which it’s possible to ascend right up to the summit, for a magnificent view down the valley. After your hour-long hike to the top of the peak, you can choose to stop off on the way back down at the Gatekeeper’s shack for a signed memoir, verifying you have conquered the steep climb up Huayna Picchu. The rock, resembling the shape of the top of the mountains behind it is a shrine where the Incas carried out special rituals and pachamamas (offerings to the earth).

The Sacred Rock is a powerful symbol in Machu Picchu, and is recognised as being a spiritual area for meditation and absorbing positive energies.

Many visitors like to include Temple of The Moon cave, another enigmatic structure situated approximately 1280 feet or 390 m below the summit of Huayna Picchu facing North. This is less than an hours walk from Sacred Rock, and will reward you with not only grand Inca structures to marvel over, but also spectacular views down the valley.

Central Plaza

Temple of the three windows, Machu Picchu, Peru

The Central Plaza of Machu Picchu is laid out with rows of many roofless stone structures embedded among steep terraces, facing outward for a grand view of Huayna Picchu. The lush green grass colour in the middle of the plaza can be likened to an island sitting amongst the rest of the Inca stone buildings that make up Machu Picchu. It’s an enticing and inviting spot amongst the buildings for Llamas and other grazing animals to frequent for a tasty meal. The Central Plaza’s grassy field also provides separation from the Sacred Plaza and Intiwatana to the residential areas on the farther side of the complex.

One of the buildings bordering the plaza is the Temple of the Three Windows. From this standpoint we look out to see a pretty view out on to the green central field, if we carry on from here, a flight of stairs at the back of the Sacred Plaza takes us back down to the Central Plaza.

At the very lowest end of the Central Plaza we find what is known as the Prison Group, this is essentially a network of cells, passageways, and niches extending both underground and up to the plateau above. Right in the center of this group of structures, we find the Temple of the Condor, some visitors and locals call this the main attraction because of its attention seeking condor carved in stone right above a rock pile. Behind this striking carved condor head, is a doorway leading to a tiny underground cell.

Temple of the Condor

Temple Of The Condor

The Temple of the Condor in Machu Picchu has to be one of the highlights (although you will find it difficult to choose one) of your exploration of these Inca ruins. It is an exquisite example of Inca stonemasonry. The Inca took a natural rock formation shaped by the elements millions of years ago, and skillfully shaped it into the outspread wings of a condor in flight. The Condor represented spirit and higher levels of consciousness, so the Inca considered the Condor to be of elevated importance in the animal, and spirit kingdom.

On the floor of the Condor temple you can see a rock carved in the shape of the condor’s head and neck feathers, this section of the rock makes up the figure of a three-dimensional bird. Historians speculate that the Inca used the head of the condor here as a sacrificial altar. Underneath this is a small cave that used to contain a mummy, the hierarchal importance of which perplexed archaeologists like many other mummified remains found in this area. Behind the temple, is situated a prison complex. The prison comprised of many human-sized niches and an underground maze of dark dingy dungeons. The close proximation of the alleged sacrificial temple and the prison structures conjures up visions of how the Inca may have used them for sacrifice or other rituals. Similar Inca prison sites, record events outlining the handling of an accused citizen… word has it that the prisoners would be shackled into these niches for up to 3 days to await their fate. The jury could nominate their death for such simple sins as laziness, lust, or more in line with Victorian punishments, theft.

Funerary Rock Hut

Funerary Rock Hut

If you are a photographic enthusiast, you will want to take a small hike to Machu Picchu’s Funerary Rock Hut. It’s believed this location was the place where Inca nobility were mummified, and like many places chosen for overseers to rest, the vantage point from the hut offers a dramatic view over the whole complex.

Every day herds of Alpacas and Llamas arrive via the terraces near the Funerary Rock Hut to graze leisurely on the grass. These furry manicurists keep the lawns short, neat and tidy for our benefit whilst filling their stomachs with rich green grass. From this position we look out towards the start of the Inca Trail, in contrast to many of the skinny mountainous trails in the region, it is easy to see because the Inca Trail is a well developed wider road that connects the Cusco region directly with Machu Picchu.

The hike up the long sturdy stairs that lead to the Funerary Rock Hut will give your muscles a good workout, but the rewards at the end of this short but relatively steep hike are worth every drop of sweat. The views from this viewpoint will stay in your memory along with many snapshots of your unforgettable trip to Machu Picchu.

From this point we take a detour back down the stairs to arrive at the Royal Tomb.

Royal Tomb

Royal Tomb Machu Picchu

Walking down and to the left descending a long set of stairs, we approach the Royal Tomb. This cave-esque area of Machu Picchu is decorated with ceremonial niches and adjacent to the Temple of the Sun is a carefully carved Inca cross. The cross design resembles steps, and represents the three levels of existence in the Inca world. The first step, symbolised by the snake, is representative of the underworld or of death. The second step represents the present, or human life, symbolised by the jaguar. The highest step represents the celestial or spiritual plane of the gods, and is symbolised by the condor.

This revered site has been the focus of numerous mummy excavations. Over 100 skeletal remains have been discovered here, 80% of which were women. For this and several other factual reasons, historians surmised that the area was inhabited primarily by Inca high priests and an elite selection of chosen women.

Immediately to the left of the royal tomb lies a series of 16 ceremonial baths, cleverly linked together via a skilfully engineered viaduct. At the top of this system we find the watershed hut, which passes beside the rock quarry emerging at the Sacred Plaza.

Intiwatana

 

Intiwatana Hitching Post Of The Sun

The Intiwatana at Machu Picchu, is referred to by Inca and modern people as the “hitching post of the sun”. One of Machu Picchu’s primary functions was that of astronomical observatory. It is a carved rock pillar with construction planned to orient towards the four cardinal points. As accomplished astronomers the Inca used the angles of the pillar to accurately predict the solstices. The sun was an integral part of the Inca way of life and greatly influenced agriculture which supported the life of the whole community. The Inca considered the Sun the supreme natural god and during the winter solstice on June 21, it is said that the high priest would rope a golden disc to the Intiwatana, to symbolically catch the sun, returning it back to earth, thus ensuring another bountiful season of crops.

Sadly the Intiwatana is the only structure of its kind left standing by the Spanish conquerors, who went on a aggressive campaign to wipe out all structural references to Inca religion. Many visitors report that Machu Picchu feels like one of Earth’s magnetic focal points, it emanates a mystical quality and carries an inherent spiritual or metaphysical power.

When you’re sitting on the edge of heaven, perched high above the valley at the Sacred Plaza looking down at the Urubamba River below, it’s hard to deny the etherial sense this place is embued with. Turn around behind you, and absorb the genius of the ancient builders who created these stone plaza and temple structures, framed magnificently in the background by the spectacular mountain peaks of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu to the left and right. How could you not be moved and humbled by this experience?

Huayna Picchu

The big little mountain that everyone forgets. Huayna Picchu is like a jewel in the crown of Machu Picchu. Standing at  2,720 metres (8,930 feet), it towers above and behind the citadel of Machu Picchu.  Only 400 people are allowed daily to climb Huayna Picchu in 2 groups – first departing at 7.00AM second at 10.00Am. The steep (both hands and feet needed) climb winds up the side of the rock faces and through a tunnel. It takes about 1.5-2 hours up and about 45 minutes to 1 hour down. For many people climbing Huayna Picchu is one of the highlights when visiting Machu Picchu.  The view from the top highlights how the structures and terraces below are built on seemingly impossible places like they are almost glued to the mountain side. You are in for a breathtakingly beautiful panorama of the site of Machu Picchu below, but also the snowcapped mountains and grand valleys beyond.

Machu Picchu is divided in two parts

Hanan and Urin according with the Inca tradition. This essentially means upper and lower, or heaven and earth.  The upper realm = included the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the planets, and constellations (milky way in particular) and was called hanan pacha (in Quechua). The hanan pacha was inhabited Inti, the masculine sun god, and Mama Killa, the feminine moon goddess. The lower realm is where earth spirits reside, or the people who inhabit the earthly realms. 

 Popular Trails Leading To Machu Picchu

Ancient Inca rulers forged trails and communication systems through this region over 18,600 miles long, paving mountain tracks, building runners and swing bridges from straw ropes. Most of these structure still exist today, and it’s quite astounding to think that the well worn steps you are walking on when traversing the Inca or Lares trails were hand constructed by Inca stonemasons so very long ago.

The most popular trails leading to Machu Picchu are the Lares Trail and the Inca Trail. There is also the Salkantay trek, but the two most raved about journeys by far are the Lares and Inca trail. The Lares takes you through many more villages, without the same level of foot traffic you may encounter on the Inca Trail. You can also opt for cycle and kayak options, where you can visit a small village on Lake Titicaca’s reed islands and hang with the locals. Experiences like these are magical, they add a few more days to your adventure, but you’ll leave with a whole new sense of the meaning of immersion in another uniquely Peruvian culture. Check out this comparison between the Inca Trail vs. Lares Trails or take a look at our Jaguar trip which gives you the option of visiting these places and many more.

Inca Trail Hike to Machu Picchu

A trip to Machu Picchu along the Inca trail is the epitome of a spiritual and wondrous experience to one of the worlds most fascinating ancient wonders of the world. An unforgettable experience is not something you have to ‘try’ to achieve when visiting Machu Picchu – you’ll be taken on a journey of curiosity and wonder in all directions.

Facebook Review:

Noel Carroll reviewed Active Adventures – 5 star – 29 July ·

Jaguar trip to Peru. Great guides, accommodations, activities, food. Absolutely the best adventure I have had, and I have been blessed with quite a few. Would definitely consider another one. Hiking the Inca trail on this trip was the hardest and most rewarding thing I have done.

Other pages that may be of interest:

Best Time To Trek Machu Picchu | Machu Picchu Tours |4 Day Machu Picchu Trek