Peru – The Inca Trail Day Three: “The Most Beautiful Day”

On the morning of Day Three, the porters woke us up at 6:00am, a whole half-hour later than previous days, as a reward for completing Day Two. That morning, we did the usual packing of our bags, drinking coca tea, eating breakfast, and talking about what was yet to come for the day ahead of us.

They call Day Three “the most beautiful day on the Inca Trail.” Snow-capped mountains, beautiful vistas, brilliantly colored flowers with hummingbirds constantly hovering over them, and dense jungle, will all be encountered during this hike. But as a trade-off, this day is also the longest day on the Inca Trail.

Day Three:

Distance: 9.31 miles (15k)

Estimated Hiking Time: 8 – 9 hours

Highest Point: 12,795 ft (3,900 m)

Final Campsite Altitude: 8,694 ft (2,650 m)

One of three Inca ruins encountered on Day Three

Another great thing about Day Three is that it isn’t only hiking. Day Three is a long day because you will stop many times as you encounter up to three (one requires going left at a fork in the trail and is optional) Inca ruins along the way. Expect to spend at least twenty-minutes at each as your guides talk about the ruins and you take plenty of photographs. These ruins are incredible and provide a great chance to give your legs another break so that you will be good to go for the rest of the day.

One of the vistas along the trail
Looking back at the trail through the mountains

The above photographs (and even the very first in this post) are from a couple of the best vista points along the Inca Trail on Day Three. I found that I couldn’t stop taking pictures during this hike, so this day took me a bit longer than most of the others in my group. But I find that no matter what hike I’m doing, it’s always worth slowing down and pausing to take a photograph of a sight you may never see again.

Into the jungle...

Finally, as you begin to descend from the high elevations of the mountains, you’ll hike into dense jungle. You’ll find that the foliage along the trail quickly changes from alpine to subtropical, the mosquitos will come out, parrots will squawk above your head, and there will be a chance that you’ll even find a snake wrapped around a tree limb. All in all, it is a relief to walk in the shade of the dense foliage, and the jungle is a magnificent place. Enjoy it!

Coming next week: Peru – The Inca Trail Day 4: Machu Picchu, “The Day We’ve All Been Waiting For”  

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12 thoughts on “Peru – The Inca Trail Day Three: “The Most Beautiful Day””

  1. Another great post and beautiful pictures ! I remember the last night was spent drinking Peruvian beers up top before our final short hike to MP. We were a little hungover but the memories are still with me today of a great time

    1. hahaha we saved that for Aguas Calientes. We literally had like 15 beers on our table and we all had burgers or sandwhiches and re-ordered the same burger or sandwhich after we finished the first because we were so hungry lol. Theres so many good memories from that trip, I can’t wait to go on another.

  2. I am the same way when I hike. It takes me twice as long as everyone else I am with because I can not stop taking photos. Beautiful photos! Your blog posts have definitely convinced me I have to visit this beautiful place. Looking forward to the next post:-)

    1. Hey f-stop mama,
      Thanks for your compliment. The problem I often run-into in the mountains is that the clouds shift every second. Due to this, I find that when I look at the same view after already taking the picture, all of a sudden it looks like a whole new picture, so I have to take it again in case one is better than the other. Repeat, repeat, and so on. Haha, it is absolutely worth it when I return home and have all the photographs though… If you get the chance to go you should absolutely take it. Seeing photographs of Machu Picchu is one thing, but it is absolutely breathtaking in person!
      Thanks again for visiting!
      Nate

  3. Thanks for stopping by my blog. My husband and I love hiking – and we always do a hike on our vacation (and we’re also trying to explore more local hiking trails – Southern Ontario – although they don’t compare to hiking in the mountains, some are pretty interesting in their own way). While hiking in nature, we always forget about stresses from work and focus on the present – the scenery, the scents, and our steps. South America is a continent that we have yet to visit, we hope to venture down there one day. I look forward to reading more about your adventures!

    1. Hi Tomorrowswisdom,

      Of course! Yes, there is nothing quite like hiking through the mountains, but any hike provides that comforting stress-free feeling of being away from things like work. When I hike, the only electronic I like to bring is my camera. After that, I like to be away from the ball-and-chain also known as a cell phone as much as possible :P. I love South America. I’ve been to Europe as well, but there is something about South America that I really connect with. It’s a great place down there. Hope you make it down there one day!
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment,
      Nate

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