Trek to Machu Picchu: Alternative routes

The Inca Trail is one of the most popular hikes in all of Peru. Thousands of people come to Cusco every month to trek up to Machu Picchu. Through beautiful landscapes and past ancient ruins. But did you know there are other routes you can take up to the gorgeous citadel in the Sacred Valley? Trails that are equally beautiful, but way quieter, deep in the Andean nature, without the masses. Here are our favorite alternatives to hike to the World Wonder of Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek leads you in an astonishing five-day hike through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will conquer massive mountain ranges while being away from the crowds.

Barely any trail takes you deeper into the Andes nature, closer to the Peruvian wildlife. You can look forward to dense jungles and colorful flora, turquoise and sky blue lakes mirroring the steep peaks. Glaciers reflect the sunlight, and snow glazed summits as far as you can see.

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You will get a taste of Peruvian coffee visiting a plantage, incomparable to anywhere else. And you will enjoy the fantastic landscapes from peaks as high as 4650 mts. /15200 ft. This trek starting in Cusco is almost twice as long as the popular Inca trail, which makes it a physical challenge. But likewise, it is an experience that you will not forget.

Lares Trail

The four days long Lares Trail is a traditional Andean experience, one of a kind. Quiet roads in midst of the Sacred Valley take you through various traditional villages.

People living and farming like they did hundreds of years ago, wearing traditional robes and hats. You will be able to talk to the locals, learn more about their origin and language. Quechua, the tongue of the Incas.

You pass traditional markets where you can buy Alpaca products. Maybe you want to buy a cozy poncho. You will pass a vast amount of beautiful lagoons, snow-covered mountain tops, and lookouts over the Sacred Valley. Tradition and nature at its best.

Quarry Trek off the beaten Path

The Quarry Trek is another great alternative to the Inca-Trail, taking you away from the crowds deeply into the land of the Incas. This four-day adventure is full of mystery shredded ruins and information about the empire of the Incas, making your way up to the ruins of Machu Picchu. Feeling the presence of the Incas you walk by ice-capped summits, pink granite ruins, having incredible views over the Andean landscapes.

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Short Inca Trail

If you want to experience the same paths and stunning sceneries you would have hiking up the five day Inca trail, but you only have a couple of days, you can choose the two day version of this stunning trek.

Tropical rain forests with shades of green you have never seen before. Snow-glazed mountain peaks on top of sheer rocks reaching endlessly into the Andes sky. An ancient ruin, a World Wonder, surrounded by overwhelming landscapes.

You will learn more about the Inca empire visiting the ruins of Machu Picchu and experience a diverse environment in two eventful days.

Choquequirao Trek

The Choquequirao Trek is another less known alternative leading to the mountain-overlooking citadel of Machu Picchu. On this four day hike you will pass Apurimac, one of the deepest canyons world wide.

You will make your way through a diverse environment along challenging paths and up sheer rock cliffs. Ruins, amongst them the archeological site of Choquequirao, and antique Inca terraces accompany you on your way, likewise a variety of flora, fauna and Andean animals.

And on the last day you will watch the sun rise behind the stunning World Wonder Machu Picchu.

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