Book revealing secrets of Inca Trail in Peru turns 40

31st Jan 2014

The Inca Trail leading from Cusco's Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu in Peru has been well known to locals for centuries, but tourists and backpackers were unaware of it until the 1970s, when Hilary and George Bradt published Backpacking Along Ancient Ways in Peru and Bolivia.

The couple had learnt about the infamous Inca Trail, which navigates through a number of ancient ruins, from locals in 1973 and then published their book the following year.

A depiction of their journey became the first ever Bradt guide and 40 years later, travellers and backpackers are still using the latest edition of it when they travel to South America.

The latest edition, Trekking in Peru, is seen as the perfect accompaniment to those who want to cross Machu Picchu off their travel bucket list.

The guide now also extends beyond the fabled Inca Trail and suggests a number of other treks into more unknown parts of the country, where walkers can delve into Peru's rich and vibrant history.

The classic Inca Trail takes around four or five days to complete on foot, but many tour operators have offered shorter treks for travellers pressed for time or stamina. However, experienced travellers will say the only true way to reach the monument, which sits 2,430 metres above sea level, is on foot.

Machu Picchu was left in ruins for centuries following the fall of the Incan Empire and the invasion of Perui by Spanish Conquistadores (although there is no record that the Spanish ever found the site).

The world wasn't officially reminded of its existence until the early 20th century and since then a massive regeneration project has led to its reputation and visitor numbers rapidly increasing.

In 1983 Machu Pichu became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and featured as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World in 2007.

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