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The very best treks aren’t just about putting one foot in front of another—they’re about stepping into a destination’s culture and history. Still, each of the eight treks included here are no walks in the park. They’ll challenge you physically and engage you mentally, leaving you with an indelible impression of the richness of our planet.

1. Peru’s Inca Trail | ~43km | 4 days

Follow the footpaths of the Inca to the roof of the Andes, passing ancient Tambo ruins, and breathing in Peru’s pure mountain air by the lungful. Memorable moments are plentiful on the Inca Trail, but none can compare to the moment you walk through the Sun Gate and catch your first glimpse of the forgotten city of Machu Picchu. It’s not just an accomplishment; it’s a transformative moment.

Did you know? When on the trail, some porters sleep with a mirror beneath them in hopes it will deflect spirits coming up through the earth.

Best time to go. May to September

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