No trip to Peru would be complete without visiting the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu. One memorable way to see the mysterious Incan ruins is to trek to it. If you are a firm believer in the journey matters more than the destination, then consider these paths to Machu Picchu.
The Inca Trail
You would have undoubtedly heard about the famous Inca Trail. It is a challenging yet rewarding trek taking you through cloud forests with views of snow-capped mountains and distant rivers.
Our Traditional Inca Trek is a 5 day/ 4 night trek taking you through rugged terrains surrounded by stunning isolated beauty. During your journey you may also see hidden Incan ruins which are only accessible by foot.
It is important to book a spot to trek the Inca Trail as permits are required and are often booked out for months in advance.
The One-Day Inca Trail
If you still want a taste of the Inca Trail but don’t want to do the full four days trekking, perhaps the shorter One-Day Inca Trail is suited for you. To do this you take a train ride from Cusco heading towards Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of Machu Picchu. You disembark around 30 minutes before reaching Aguas Calientes at what feels like no man’s land at KM 104. This is where you begin your intermediate hike to Machu Picchu.
This hike can take around 5 -8 hours paving your way through steep terrain and windy hills.
The Lares Trek
Unlike the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek is quieter and you don’t need a permit to trek it. The trek is slightly easier and shorter with the highest point being over 4, 500 metres above sea level.
There are variations of the Lares Trek but typically trekkers will depart from Cusco driving north of Calca to reach Lares. From Lares you hike to your camping ground in the traditional weaving village of Huacahuasi. The second day is probably the most challenging part of the trek as you cross the Ipsaycocha Pass which is the highest point of the trail (3, 700 metres).
You pass through many local villages before reaching Ollantaytambo. Here you take a train to Aguas Calientes. After an overnight stay in Aguas Calientes you take a short bus ride to Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay Trek
The Salkantay Trek is considered the best alternative trek to the Inca Trail with equal difficulty and without the permit requirement. You will walk through lowland jungle with views of glaciated mountains and pass through remote villages.
Our 7 day/6 night Salkantay Trek begins by driving from Cusco to Limatambo then trekking to your lodge in Soraypampa. Spend the next few days trekking alongside valleys that descend into cloud forests. At night you will stay at various lodges. On the sixth day you get your first glimpses of Machu Picchu then return to Cusco by train the following day.