Well hey there bucket list, a visit to Macchu Picchu is begging to be scrawled at the top of you. In capital letters, with a big star right next to it.
This Incan citadel was built in the 15th century, then abandoned in the early 16th century. To this day, even the smartest historical brains aren't sure how the site was used, but it's an incredible display of ancient archaeology.
How to get there? Well, you could take the train. But for a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience (unless you love it so very much you do it again, obviously), get those hiking boots ready and travel on foot along the breathtaking Inca Trail. We spoke to previous Trekker Jess to hear first hand all about this amazing experience...
What was it that inspired you to hike the Inca Trail?
If you haven't heard of the Inca Trail before, it doesn't take long to find out about it once you begin your research on Peru and how to get to Machu Picchu. For me, there was no other way to get there. The train just paled in comparison and I wanted to feel that sense of achievement, reaching the Sun Gate on my own two feet.
Did you have any favourite parts of the trail along the way?
The Inca Ruins of Sayacmarca and Phuyupatamarca are spectacular. You don't get to see them unless you are on the trail so it's definitely an added privilege. There were only a few of us in the group which was great, as it meant you got more time to ask the guide questions and concentrate on yourself.
Do you have a particular unforgettable moment that stands out from it?
Definitely the meals that we had. I couldn't believe the quality and quantity of the food that we received. Three course meals made from scratch and all so delicious! Being woken up each morning with a cup of hot coca tea and warm water to wash your face and hands in was also a lovely added touch. But I will also never forget that moment where we reached the Sun Gate and first got a glimpse of Machu Picchu.
What was the hardest part of trekking the Inca Trail and how did you deal with it?
Day two. Those dreaded Inca Steps on the way up to Dead Woman's Pass. With every step, it feels like your heart will burst out of your chest and your legs are already aching from the day before. At the time, it felt worse than how everyone describes it - but once you get to the top of the pass, its downhill to your campsite where you have the whole afternoon to relax. The worst part of each day was definitely those first few steps, as your legs are already so shaky.
How would you describe the feeling of arriving at Macchu Pichu?
Just amazing. I couldn't really believe I was there having seen so many photos and videos before. It was all a bit surreal. But the sense of achievement was like nothing else and you definitely feel like you deserve to be there far more than everyone else.
What kind of people did you meet when hiking the trail?
The Inca Trail is busy and there are hundreds of other hikers and porters. You can meet and chat to many of the porters who carry heavy loads so quickly up those Inca steps, you end up wondering whether they are even human! You also get talking to lots of other people who have always wanted to hike the trail just like you. And of course, there is your fantastic guide!
As well as the trail itself, what else did you get up to on your trip?
We spent a few nights in the Amazon Jungle which was hot and steamy. The jungle lodge we stayed in was so rustic and beautiful, in the middle of nowhere. On the walks and boat rides we went on, the guide would point out all sorts of wildlife we would never had spotted on our own.
What advice would you give to any Trekkers thinking of heading out on the Inca Trail?
Firstly, make sure you book your Inca Trail Trek in plenty of advance - permits are strictly limited and may sell out several months in advance (the lovely TrekAmerica sales team can help you with this!). And when you're on the Trail, buy a plastic poncho in the markets beforehand, either in Cuzco or Puerto Maldonado. Before going to sleep each night in your tent, wrap your things in the poncho just in case it rains overnight. That way, your clothes and valuables will definitely stay dry.