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Ecuador / South America

First 3 Days of the Ecuador Inca Trail to Ingapirca | Stunning Great Inca Trail

Laguna Yaunavi, Ecuador Inca Trail, Andes Mountains, alpine lake, mountains, clouds, sky, grass

Did you know there is an Ecuador Inca Trail? Although not nearly as famous as the Machu Picchu Inca Trail, the grand Inca road begins in the mountains of Ecuador.

The Inca Trail Ecuador is part of the Qhapaq Ñan, a complex Inca road system that connected the lengths of the mighty Inca empire between Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and some parts of Argentina. The Great Inca Trail officially starts near Achupallas Ecuador, but extends as far north as Quito. Ultimately, the road reaches the Imperial City itself, Cusco Peru where the saying goes “all roads lead to Machu Picchu.”

The best parts about this 3 day trek along the Qhapaq Ñan Ecuador is that it can be completed without a guide and is completely free to enjoy. Bonus, it’s absolutely spectacular and a truly off-beat experience in Ecuador. You will sharing the path with locals of nearby tiny communities and a chance to experience the vastness that is the Andes Mountains.

This three day trek twists through the mighty Andean roads, follows along the mountainsides, meanders past incredible views of alpine lakes, cuts through a small portion of Sangay National Park, and ends at the Ingapirca Archaeological Complex. This sacred site houses the “largest Inca ruins in Ecuador,” but was originally built by the fascinating Cañari culture. The history here is too rich to simply call it an Inca site.

In this post, find an Ecuador Inca Trail map, useful tips, how to reach the official trailhead, what to expect along the route, how much it costs for independent trekkers, and more.

Here’s a detailed guide to the Great Ecuador Inca Trail and how to hike to Ingapirca in 3 days.

Table of Contents

Disclosure: This is part of my Hikes & Adventures series, which means these treks can be strenuous and challenging. I have personally done each of these hikes, but it does not make me an expert by any means. Please have all the proper equipment, verify the weather conditions, and take into consideration your own physical abilities and/or limitations. Please see my full disclosure for more information here.

Map & Overview | 3 Day Inca Trail Ecuador

  • Day 1 | Achupallas to Laguna Yaunavi | 7.5 miles
  • Day 2 | Laguna Yaunavi to Paredones | 6.25 miles
  • Day 3 | Paredones to Ingapirca Archaeological Complex | 10 miles

⁉️ If downloading the Ecuador Inca trail map, please verify that the map is correct and follows the waypoints. Oftentimes there are updates to the site, map platforms, and other things, which can cause a bug in downloading. This map is solely a planning tool. Please comment below if something doesn’t download right or email me here, as it helps me keep the maps up to date and maintained. Always hike responsibly and respect the mountains by practicing no trace philosophy, avoid hiking alone, and don’t stray from the visible trail. I also love to check and plan my routes with useful tools like graphhopper.

Mileage distances are rounded to the nearest quarter of a mile.

Ecuador Inca Trail 3 Day Trek Logistics

Qhapaq Ñan Ecuador, signboard, Ecuador Inca Trail Map, information board, trailhead Inca Trail Ecuador
The official signboard and trailhead for the Qhapaq Ñan Ecuador Inca Trail
  • Point-to-Point Trail
  • 3 Day Trek
    • Starts near the village of Achupallas & Finishes at the Ingapirca Ruins
  • Mileage: +/- 24 miles | The official signboard states 38.48 km (23.91 miles)
  • Difficulty: Challenging – Hard for the high altitude, remoteness, wet trails, and unpredictable weather.
  • Trail Markers: The trail is fairly well marked with wooden signboards along the route. Some sections are not clearly marked, so check-in with an offline map. Some trails are large and defined, while some sections are simply “goat paths.”
  • Utilize the free camping facilities. There are 2 distinct areas to camp along the route that are free! Both have access to water sources. As always, leave no trace
  • This trail is muddy and many sections are “boggy”
  • The Ecuadorian Inca Trail is very remote. It’s best to hike with at least one other person and/or utilize a local guide
  • Ecuador Inca Trail Trek Packing List & Gear Essentials
    • Hiking Shoes that are water resistant
    • Plenty of dry socks
    • Rain jacket, Warm jacket, layered clothing that dries fast
    • Gloves, warm hat or buff, baseball cap
    • Sleeping Bag, Pad, & Liner, tent
    • Large Hiking Backpack for gear and plenty of food (I used a 65 L Osprey Ariel)
    • Water Filter
    • Stove, propane, cooking gear
    • First-Aid Kit
    • Offline Hiking Map
    • Hiking Poles if you love them
    • Food & Snacks for at least 2 full days, there are no tiendas or communities along the route

Hey… don’t forget your Travel Insurance! I love SafetyWing

Useful Tips for the 3 Day Hike to Ingapirca

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On Day 3, finish the Ecuador Inca Trail at the gates of the Ingapirca Ruins

Here’s more useful information when prepping to trek the Ecuador Inca Trail.

What is the Qhapaq Ñan?

The Qhapaq Ñan is part of the complex Inca road system that spans across Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia. Although the Inca road network is not perfectly connected, these Andean roads span for almost 20,000 miles. It is oftentimes compared to the ancient Royal Road system built under the Roman Empire.

Today, the Andean road system of the Qhapaq Ñan is a recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site.

When to Hike Inca Trail Ecuador

Inca Trail Ecuador day 3, woman, grass, mountains, sky, clouds, hike to Ingapirca
The Ecuador Inca Trail is beautiful even when the weather can cycle through all 4 seasons in an hour! Photo credit: Pedro

The Ecuador Inca Trail can be hiked any time of the year; however, keep in mind that the Highlands in Ecuador have two very distinctive seasons, dry and rainy. In general, dry season is from April to October, while rainy season is from November until March.

Remember, at these highaltitudes the weather is wild, volatile, and can change in an instant.

During the dry season, there is less rain, but the nights are much colder than rainy season. With the rainy season comes the vivid green coloring, but also muddy trails and higher possibilities of mudslides and rockslides. The terrain along the Ecuador Inca Trail is very boggy, so waterproof boots are a must. Most mornings start out clear, but the clouds almost always roll in by 14:00.

💬 Personal Experience | I hiked the Ecuador Inca Trail in January and it was pretty muddy. However, we never passed another hiker and had the campsites and trails completely to ourselves. The nights weren’t as cold as I imagined.

Altitude & Altitude Sickness

One of the most shocking things about the Ecuador Inca Trail is the altitude. The highest point of the trek is found at Tres Cruces, almost 14,450 ft. (4404 m). The campsite on night 2 at Paredones is 13,152 ft (just over 4,000 m).

Make sure to be properly acclimated before trekking the Inca Trail Ecuador. Pack things to help like coca teabags. Coca leaves also help alleviate altitude sickness; however, unlike Peru, the leaf form of coca is technically “illegal” and may cause unwanted questions from local authorities.

I still carried the leaves with me, as it is a common practice to leave “offerings” of coca leaves to the mountains, for safe passage and out of respect to the Apus (mountains) and gratitude. Along the Ecuador Inca Trail there is an “offering location” near Laguna Yaunavi.

Hike with a Buddy

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The Andes Mountains are powerful and it’s best to hike with a friend

Always hike with a buddy, especially at these altitudes. A buddy can help carry all the proper gear, help support in case something goes wrong or an emergency, and can keep you company! At these extreme elevations, the weather can change quickly and storms roll in fast, especially during the rainy season. For safety issues, hike with at least one other person.

More South America Multi-Day Treks for Independent Hikers | Quilotoa Loop Ecuador | Ausangate Trek Peru | Choquequirao Trek | 9 Days Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

Ecuador Inca Trail Guided Tour Options

Near Achupallas it’s possible to hire a local guide. If you don’t feel comfortable walking on your own, the option is available. Many of these guides always bring a horse or mules to carry packs, always check-in on the welfare of the animals before committing.

We saw no other hikers when we hiked, solely families from the nearby communities enjoying the trail via horseback. Help support the communities, always opt for a local guide. (Also, the horses we saw on the trail looked extremely healthy and cared for).

Sleep in Alausi the Night Before Starting the Trek

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There’s a reason Alausi is a magic pueblo

The small village of Alausi is the perfect place to sleep before starting the Inca Trail the next morning. While Alausi is most known for the Devil’s Nose Train, there are plenty of things to see and do here. It is registered as a “pueblo magico,” or magic village.

Intrepid hikers will love the Devil’s Nose hike. Take the out and back trail to the condor, or travel back in time and visit the community of Nizag. There’s plenty of viewpoints to visit throughout the town, a local market, an Old Bull Ring, and the Puente Negro, or an old black railroad bridge. The village has plenty of artisan shops, colorful buildings, and offers day trips to waterfalls and lakes. It’s easy to feel at home in this village and come back to spend more time here.

➯ Detailed Travel Guide | 10+ Fabulous Things to Do in Alausi Ecuador

Where to Sleep in Alausí Ecuador

Community Hostel Alausi has an incredible kitchen, will stow luggage, and has a super friendly owner, Marco. The hostel has both private and shared rooms with an open common space. The hostel is clean, affordable, and is close to the Train Depot.

Browse the best Alausi Ecuador Hotels, Hostels, & Guesthouses

Detailed Schedule | Ecuador Inca Trail 3 Day Trek

Follow along with this detailed 3 day itinerary for the Qhapaq Ñan, the Ecuador Inca Trail. Included is how to reach the trailhead from Alausi, more about the campsites, and some serious photo inspiration for this underrated South America trek.

Day 1 | Achupallas to Laguna Yaunavi

road to Achupallas, road, valley, sky, clouds
The road that leads to Achupallas

Aim to reach the trailhead for the Ecuador Inca Trail at a decent time, so leave Alausi early in the morning. Have the mixto drop you off at the trailhead, which is located before the village. At night, camp at the designated camping area near Laguna Yaunavi.

How to Reach the Trailhead in Achupallas from Alausi

Be mindful that there are two routes that lead to Achupallas. The shorter route is oftentimes closed due to rockslides, especially during the rainy season. The longer route to Achupallas is more expensive, but super scenic! Try to depart from Alausi by 7 am to have plenty of time to enjoy day 1 of the Inca Trail Ecuador Trail.

🚐 Alausí Mixto Logistics | Flag them down on the side of any road | Two routes and prices depending on road closures | Route 1: $15 USD, faster, but often un-passable due to rockslides | Route 2: $20, 1 hour, drop before Achupallas at the actual trailhead | Personal Note: Route 2 is usually $25, but we got a discount since our driver was heading in that direction with other locals

Official Qhapaq Ñan Ecuador Trailhead

Begin on the trailhead of the Qhapaq Ñan Ecuador. It is clearly marked with a wooden signboard. When you see the stream, follow it on the left hand side. The “main path” leads to another section of the village, so stick close to the stream. This section of the trail is large and clearly marked. Twist up the side of the mountain which boasts some incredible views of the valley.

Open spaces along the Great Inca Trail Ecuador

Keep following the large and open section of the trail. This path is interesting as it’s open along the barren paramo landscape of the Andes, which reminded me a bit of Cajas National Park. Soon, reach an abandoned shelter.

Shelter

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Although some stop to camp at the shelter, it’s best to sleep near Yaunavi Lake

Follow the trail to a wooden shelter. Some people chose to camp here, but it’s better to continue to Laguna Yaunavi. This is a great spot to have a snack and a quick break. The trail is in front of the shelter. Be mindful that this section of the Ecuador Inca Trail trail is not well-defined as it’s so open. Glance and check-in with an offline map. This section is also extremely boggy. After a while, begin the ascent to Laguna Yaunavi.

🥾 Trail Logistics | Trailhead to shelter | 3.5 miles | 2 hours 30 minutes

Laguna Yaunavi Campsite

Keep climbing and reach the hill above Laguna Yaunavi. There is a signboard which clarifies where the camping area is. Near the camping area is a stream which has a cut-off water bottle to help collect drinking water. The ground is pretty soft and damp, but there is a little wind protection from the nearby mountains.

Campsite Laguna Yaunavi Logistics | Free | Water Source, but use a filter | No toilets or garbage facilities | Practice “Leave no Trace” | The Lake is a great place to rinse off, but it’s COLD

Ecuador Inca Trail Logistics Day 1

  • Distance: 7.25 miles
  • Duration: 5 – 7 hoursdependent on weather, breaks, and fitness level
  • Personal Schedule Reference: Started at 8:30 and set up camp in camping zone at 14:00

Day 2 | Laguna Yaunavi to Paredones

trail to tres cruces on the great inca trail, mountains, clouds, sky, andes, paramo landscape
The ascent up to Tres Cruces Ecuador Inca Trail

Leave the campsite early and continue along the trail. In a short distance, come next to an offering section for coca leaves and stones. Continue along the path to another signboard. Straight ahead lead to Tres Cruces, while the trail to the right veers to a waterfall. We didn’t follow the waterfall route, so I’m unsure of how far the cascade is from the main path.

The trail will begin the ascent starts up Tres Cruces.

Tres Cruces

The highest point of this three day Ecuador Inca Trail hike is Tres Cruces. The views here are absolutely spectacular. Look out in the distance to see many alpine lakes, the main one being Laguna Sontzahuin. Hopefully it’s clear enough to appreciate the 360° views! If you look far off to the right, it’s possible to see another alpine lake that sits on top of the distant mountains.

Tres Cruces elevation is 14,446 ft (4403 m).

When ready, begin the casual and steady descent. The trail comes to a smaller and narrow trail that follows down the mountain via a rocky trail. Savor those first glimpses of Laguna Culebrillas. The lake is sacred to the Cañari people and has origins with a “snake.” The streams twist and looks like a flowing snake, but it more has to do with a mystical snake the rose from the shores and laid two eggs that contained a man and a woman that populated the Earth.

Keep climbing down until you reach a wide open pasture. Jump over a small stream and look for the signboard that will lead you on the path to Paredones. These ruins are left behind from the Incan times. This was more than likely a Tambo, a resting spot for Inca Chaskis, who ran time-sensitive messages throughout the ancient Inca roads and the sprawling Inca empire.

signboard for culebrilla lake, man, backpack, hiking poles, plants, grass, clouds, sky, andes mountains, ecuador inca trail, hike to ingapirca
Follow the signboard that leads to Paredones and Laguna Culebrillas

If looking straight at the lake, look for the path on the left side of the hillside.

Follow the small trail. You will start to see the distant views of crumbling Paredones.

Culebrillas Lake is quite far from the ruins, even though it looks close. If you want to visit, it’s best to visit before climbing up to Paredones.

Laguna Culebrillas | Inca Legends or Truth?

Laguna Culebrillas, sacred spots in Ecuador, Inca legends, cactus, grass, andes mountains, Inca Trail Ecuador
Are there treasures buried deep below the bottom of Culebrillas Lake

Laguna Culebrillas is the focal point of one significant Inca legend. It was said that the conquistadors wished to receive a room full of gold in Cajamarca Peru from the Inca Empire of the north. The conquistadors promising they would spare the lives of those delivering it.

As the Inca brought their collection of sacred items along the Qhapaq Ñan, they realized it was a death sentence whether they delivered the treasures or not. As a last ditch effort, they threw the items into Laguna Culebrillas.

Is it legend or truth? One thing is for certain, the lake sits at a staggering altitude 3,885 m (12,746 ft) with the deepest part fo the lake being 20 m (65 ft). Add in the climate, boggy surroundings, mud, and altitude, it seems almost impossible to know what lies below the surface.

Paredones Ruins Campsite

Paredones ruins, Inca tambo, bushes, stones, mountains, clouds, Inca ruins in Ecuador, grass, Ecuador Inca Trail
Behind Paredones you can see the water canal to collect fresh water

The Paredones ruin make a great base to camp on night 2 of the Ecuador Inca Trail. The old walls of the Inca Tambo offer some much welcomed wind protection. There is a water canal that is up the hill to collect water, but it’s steep, so always use your best judgement.Be mindful that this is the only close access point to fresh water, however, there is water further up on the trail, but it’s almost 3/4 of a mile one way.

The Paredones site is at a high altitude of 13,152 ft (over 4,000 m) and boast distant views of Laguna Culebrillas.

Don’t miss the nearby goat paths around the crumbling Paredones ruins that also boast nice views of the lake.

Campsite Paredones Tambo Logistics | Free | Water Source steep uphill climb to a water canal, or further up the trail | Wind Protection | Leave no Trace

Ecuador Inca Trail Logistics Day 2

  • Distance: 4.75 miles
  • Duration: 3 hours, more if you stop at the shores of Laguna Culebrillas

Day 3 | Paredones to Ingapirca Archaeological Site

Leave the Paredones ruins and continue on the path. This trail section is large and defined. What’s peculiar along this section of the Ecuador Inca Trail is the large boulders. They are kind of mind boggling as to how they ended up here.

To the right, you will notice the distant views of another lake on the right. Keep on the trail, which becomes more of an open field. Cross over the water canal and come to the tiny hamlet of San Jose de Culebrillas. Here, meet a dirt road that you follow past other communities.

As you walk through these community, be aware of dogs that may be protective.

San Jose de Culebrillas

village of  San Jose de Culebrillas, hike to ingapirca, grass, fence, village, mountains, ecuador inca trail, trees, houses
Views from San Jose de Culebrillas and the final hike to Ingapirca

One you reach the road, follow it all the way into Ingapirca. Near the village of San Carlos Cajon Tambo, look for switchbacks that run next to the road that will act as shortcuts. Although the mileage is “longest” on Day 3, the path is fairly flat so it’s possible to cover a lot of milage in a short time.

There is just one more large uphill before coming into the main road of the Ingapirca Archaeological Complex. The road passes by the popular Posada Ingapirca, a popular spot to eat lunch in a garden setting and sleep at.

Ecuador Inca Trail Logistics Day 3

  • Distance: 10 miles
  • Duration: +/- 4 hours, dependent on weather, breaks, and fitness level

Visit Ingapirca Archaeological Site

After 3 scenic days on the Ecuador Inca Trail, finally arrive to the gates of the Ingapirca Archaeological Complex! Since it’s more than likely midday, it’s easy to join a guided tour, eat at one of the restaurants, or shop at the artisan shops. All entrance fees include a visit to the museum, a guided tour of the site, and access to the nearby hiking path that boasts the “Cara del Inca,” or the face of the Inca.

Ingapirca Archaeological Complex Daily: 9:00 – 17:30, closed Dec 25th, Jan 1, & May 1 | Entrance Ticket: $2, includes museum, nearby paths, and a guided tour (English & Spanish Available) | Guided Tours take 1 hour

There are large lockers onsite at the entrance that can stow big hiking backpacks, so no worry about carrying them through the guided tour.

Ingapirca is considered the “largest Inca ruins” in Ecuador, but in reality they are so much more than that. Built by the Cañari people, this site really focuses on the history of this Pre-Inca civilization. Cañari’s worshipped the moon, held women in powerful government positions, and had an advanced calendar system. While advertised as “Ecuador Inca Ruins,” the tours give a deeper understanding into the Cañari culture.

I highly suggest visiting Ingapirca. Even if you don’t have time to hike the Ecuador Inca Trail, this interesting site can be reached easily as a day trip from Cuenca.

Detailed Ecuador Travel Guide | 10+ Stellar Ideas for Day Trips from Cuenca Ecuador

Where to Next?

When ready, you can take a bus to the village of Tambo where it’s easy to catch a ride to the colonial city of Cuenca, or head back to Alausi if you stored some things there.

Those who want to continue the hike from Ingapirca can walk to Cuenca. This route is about 2 more days. In fact, it’s possible to hike The Great Inca Trail in its entirety all the way to the Imperial City of Cusco, but you will need 3 – 4 more months. Sigh, bucket-list goals.

Psst… Head North to Latacunga to hike one of the best treks in Ecuador, the Quilotoa Loop

Buses to Cuenca

parque san sebastian, plaza de san sebastian, cuenca plazas, church, sky, things to do in cuenca ecuador, tree, stairs, streetlight, things to do in cuenca ecuador
The beautiful San Sebastian Plaza in Cuenca Ecuador has a museum and plenty of delicious restaurants

To reach Cuenca, hop on the blue and white Inga Pirca bus to the village of Cañar.

🚌 Inga Pirca Bus Blue and White bus that connects Cañar Terminal Terrestre, El Tambo, & Ingapirca village | Buses Depart: every 30 minutes or less | Bus ticket cost: 75¢ | Duration: 30 minutes

Once at the Cañar Terminal Terrestre hop on any bus to Cuenca

🚌 Bus to Cuenca multiple companies with buses that depart frequently | Average One-Way ticket: $3 – $4 | Duration: +/ – 2 hours

Cuenca Ecuador is often a highlight on any South America itinerary. The city has authentic markets, free museums, four rivers to enjoy via a stroll or bike, a delicious food scene, and curative hot springs.

There’s a plethora of day trips to explore from artisan villages, waterfalls in nearby valleys, tranquil loop trails in the Cajas National Park, or adventure hikers can take more challenging trails in the Cajas.

Buses to Alausi

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The colorful buildings next to the train tracks in Alausi Ecuador

If heading back to Alausi, take the Inga Pirca bus to El Tambo (before Cañar). From there, wait for a bus heading in the direction of Quito.

🚌 Inga Pirca Bus Blue and White bus | Exit at El Tambo and wait in front of the Market | Buses Depart: every 30 minutes or less | Bus ticket cost: 50¢ | Duration: 25 minutes

Wait outside the market for any bus heading in the direction of Quito and tell the driver you wish to exit at Alausi.

🚌 Bus to Alausi multiple companies that are heading to Quito | One-Way ticket: $4 | Duration: +/ – 2 hours

There are so many cool things to do in Alausi, it’s worth it go back and hike the Devil’s nose and spend some quality time in the town.

Travel Tip | Love Alausí? Here’s 20+ of my favorite South American Villages of the Andes

Total Cost of 3 Day Ecuador Inca Trail Trek

So how much does the 3 Day Ecuador Inca Trail hike to Ingapirca cost?

Prices on the table are rounded to the nearest 25¢

EXPENSEUSD ($)
Large Hiking Propane Tank | $14 (Split by 2 people)$7
Mixto Fare to Achupallas Ecuador | $20 (Split by 2 people with discount)$10
Snacks & Food (Per Person for 3 Days)$10
Lunch in Ingapirca$5
Ingapirca Archaeological Park Fee$2
Bus Fare | Ingapirca to Alausi$4.50
TOTAL $38.50

The Ecuador Inca Trail trek over 3 days cost me less than $40!

This is a very budget friendly itinerary for hiking the Ecuador Inca Trail. Keep in mind, guide services and mules will add a significant amount of money to this budget. Most guided Ecuador Inca Trail tour start around $200 – $400 USD per person, but cheaper with local guides.

Final Thoughts | Hike to Ingapirca via the Ecuador Inca Trail

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The views from the water canal has awesome aerial vistas of the Paredones ruins and Laguna Culebrillas

In short, this is an overview on how to hike the first official three days of the Great Inca Trail in Ecuador. This is an intrepid trail that sees little tourists and showcases the vast beauty of the Ecuador Andes Mountains.

Begin the trek from the village of Achupallas and pass by barren scenery filled with alpine lakes. Follow empty paths through Sangay National Park, sleep in an abandoned Inca Tambo, and ultimately reach the impressive site of Ingapirca.

The Inca Trail Ecuador is untouched, rugged, and simply spectacular. Adventure hikers, this trail is a must, especially if you are drawn to the magic of the Incas and their many sacred sites.

Have you heard of the Ecuador Inca Trail that is part of the Qhapaq Ñan? Have you done the hike to Ingapirca? Is the entire Great Inca Trail on your bucket-list, too? Let me know in the comments below!

Disclaimer: There’s a chance this post contains affiliate links, and I receive a small (but grateful) portion of the sale. There’s no extra cost to you, and I only promote things that I use and love.

About Author

Hey, my name is Megs! I'm an adventure-seeking, wanna be storyteller, with a wandering soul. I love immersing myself in diverse cultures and customs. I'm kind of obsessed with hiking in the mountains, soaking in hot springs, and seeking-out the most authentic travel experiences as possible! Find me savoring a good cup of coffee, eating at traditional markets, or catching a sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Experiences and memories are my most prized possessions.

14 Comments

  • Ophelie
    February 19, 2022 at 11:48 am

    Hiking here must be awesome! The trail, the views, the lakes… everything is stunning here! Thanks for all the good tips!

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 11:28 am

      It was the perfect place to reconnect in nature! 🌱

      Reply
  • Susanna
    February 19, 2022 at 12:10 pm

    Wow, it’s been a long time since I saw a hiking post and said, “OMG I NEED TO DO THIS!” I’m so inspired by your wonderful experience on the Inca Trail Hike. I was very curious about the accommodation and love that you can wild camp out there. Did you bring your own gear? The lakes, environment, and ruins were just breathtaking. I also enjoyed the story about Incas throwing their gold in the lake. I’m definitely putting this on my list!

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 11:32 am

      Thanks so much Susanna! It is quite off the radar still, so it was so nice to enjoy a few days in solitude in the Andes. Yes, I carry all my own gear and follow the no trace principles. Most of the weight in the pack came from the food, layered clothing, and a heavy sleeping bag 🏕

      Reply
  • Alanna
    February 19, 2022 at 12:44 pm

    I am so NOT a hiker but posts like these really make me wish I was! The scenery is beautiful and so rewarding!!

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 11:34 am

      Thanks Alanna! 😊

      Reply
  • Elena Pappalardo
    February 19, 2022 at 4:20 pm

    This is such an epic place to hike. I’ve definitely got my eye on Laguna Culebrillas – what an incredible view! Although I’m not much of a camper, this place just may change my mind…

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 1:50 pm

      Thanks Elena! The good news for those who don’t have time to hike is that Laguna Culebrillas can be reached by car along the opposite side of the lake from a Visitor’s Center. 💙

      Reply
  • Terri
    February 19, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    I would hike here. It is gorgeous.

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 1:51 pm

      Thanks Terri! It was a nice three days to recharge in the Andes Mountains 🏔

      Reply
  • Coralie
    February 21, 2022 at 10:31 pm

    What an inspiring post about such a wonderful place. you really made me want to lace up my boots and head out there!

    Reply
    • Megs
      February 25, 2022 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks Coralie! It is a super adventurous hike and a great way to experience the Andes.🥾

      Reply
  • German
    August 1, 2022 at 2:47 am

    Did this one back in 2019. Had just a terrible weather there in July, with stormy winds on the pass, where I fell down and broke my trekking pole. Paredones ruins supposed to protect our tent from the winds, but in fact we had to hold our tent throughout the whole night, just not to let the winds destroy it. All the way was muddy and wet, so our shoes were full of water for 3 days. We had almost no great views on the trek, and on the pass we could see only 10 meters in front of us. Terrible experience, which is to be honest, important to have in your hikers bag for the future and this one I will never forget 🙂

    Reply
    • Megs
      August 10, 2022 at 9:02 am

      Thank you for sharing your experience on the trail.

      It is an important reminder of the power of this region and that the Andes Mountains are so unpredictable and mighty, especially at these high-altitudes. You are correct in these experiences are important and remind us of the deep respect for nature and the mountains. We too experienced the bogginess of the trail. It was quite wet, even though we didn’t encounter the same weather.

      I am glad that you made it safely to the end of the trail and are able to share your experience.

      Safe hiking and travels.

      Reply

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