Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas, is renowned for its astounding natural beauty and inspiring history. Photos, travel brochures or websites are not enough to describe this beautiful site clinging on a hillside amidst cloud forests.
Kilimanjaro, on the other hand, is the tallest mountain in Africa and offers an adventurous trekking opportunity through amazing landscapes. It is said that you can get a view of the curvature of the earth from its snow-capped summit. Which place would you select for your next trip?
At a glance
Machu Picchu, located in Peru at a height of 7,970 feet above sea level, is among the world’s most fabulous ancient sites known for its enigma and history. The pre-Columbian Inca site is known for its vortex energy and spiritual significance. There are transportation facilities to reach the site, though several people like to take the Classic Inca Trail, which is said to fulfill their pilgrimage. The climb up to the citadel involves a jungle trek rather than a climb through cloud forests.
Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, is known as ‘Everyman’s Everest’ as the climb is the most doable of the seven summits on the seven continents. Located in Tanzania, the highest point of Kilimanjaro is the Uhuru Peak, which is 19,340 feet above sea level. The climb is more challenging and passes through varying landscapes and terrains, such as cultivated farmlands, alpine meadows and rain forests.
Travel options to Machu Picchu and Kilimanjaro
Visitors heading to Machu Picchu can fly from Lima, Peru’s capital, to Cusco, where they can take a train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of the site. There are frequent buses from Aguas Calientes to the Machu Picchu citadel.
The Kilimanjaro International Airport is in between the cities of Arusha and Moshe in Tanzania. There are daily flights from Amsterdam.
A note on the hiking trails to either destination
There are several trekking routes to Machu Picchu, but the Classic Inca Trail is the most popular. The 4-day trek through Mount Andes takes you through ancient Incan ruins before arriving at the Sun Gate at dawn. Catching a glimpse of the citadel at dawn is a powerful and unforgettable experience. The trail is regulated as there is a limit on the number of trekkers per day. You are required to be a part of an organized group under a tour operator’s guidance.
There are several routes to climb Mount Kilimanjaro as well, but the most common route is the Marangu Route, which is also called the Coca-Cola Route due to its popularity. The path to the ice-capped summit includes spectacular views and zig zag trails.
Getting a glimpse of the sunrise over the Great Rift Valley is an experience to be cherished forever. This trek also requires a tour company and the local government regulates the number of visitors. Though the trek is longer, it is attainable, as there is no need of special climbing equipment or expertise to walk up to the peak. In other words, it is suitable for both novices and experienced hikers.
Both Machu Picchu and Kilimanjaro are high altitude destinations, meaning that acclimatization is essential to achieve your goal. Completing the trek the either destination can be a testament to your physical fitness, and an achievement of a lifetime.