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Alternative treks to the Inca Trail

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Alternative treks to the Inca Trail

Due to the great demand of the Traditional Inca Trail and for a policy of sustaining said route, the Peruvian government regulated and regulated the use of said road, determining only 500 spaces per day. This determination has an impact on the Tourism Sector, causing the opening of new alternative routes to reach Machu Picchu. It should be noted that the network of roads used by the Incas to reach Machu Picchu had different points of origin, different distances and was not just a road, but a network of several roads, many of them not yet studied and others used tourism.


Luckily, the Incas, who were masters of road construction, traced routes through the Andes. Many of them are alternative routes to Machu Picchu (or at least you get as close as in a quick train trip). Here we present the best alternatives, for most of which are not necessary permits and can be hired from any reputed agency in Cuzco. Some of these excursions can have multiple variants and can be adapted to fit certain physical conditions.


Classic Inca Trail

The Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of top treks in the world! The trek offers a 4 day journey through Andes including amazing views of snowy peaks, hardly accessible, but impressive Inca ruins and the overwhelming Inca city of Machu Picchu. This hike is very popular, which unfortunately makes it a bit crowdy. For that reason, the Peruvian government has limited its availability (only 500 persons a day including Tour Guides, Cooks and Porters!).


Every year, approximately 25,000 hikers from all over the world travel their extraordinary 43 kilometers along a stone paved road built by the Incas, which leads to the impregnable citadel of Machu Picchu located deep in the high jungle of Cusco. The trip begins in the town of Qorihuayrachina, at kilometer 88 of the Quillabamba railway - Cusco and takes 3 to 4 days of strenuous hiking, it is the road that takes tourists to Machu Picchu. The route consists of an impressive variety of altitudes, climates and ecosystems ranging from the Andean plain to the cloud forest.



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Alternative Treks to the Inca Trail

For those who prefer less traffic and stress trying to book the Inca Trail, there are some perfect alternatives trails. These so called Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu offers challenging hikes, less crowd, beautiful sceneries, contact to local Andean inhabitants and some Incan archaeological sites.


Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu


Salkantay Trek to Machu picchu


The very best of those Alternative Treks are the 5 day Salkantay Trek, its shorter Salkantay Trek 4 day, you will appreciate the Salkantay Mountain, flora and Jauna or the new version route to Salkantay Trek Expedition 5 days, this trek involve a short Inca Trail, Mountain and beatifull landscapes,

At a Glance

  • Duration: 5 days/4 nights
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Starting elevation: 13,780 ft (4,200 m)
  • Peak elevation: 15,090 ft (4,600 m)
  • Total distance: 32 mi (51 km)


  • View the Salkantay Mountain
  • Explore the Humantay Lake
  • Discover the Humantay Glacier
  • Discovery and exploration of the beautiful landspaces of the trek
  • Guided tour of the Incan site of Llactapata
  • 5 day trek with experienced tour guide, chef, horseman and horses
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu citadel

Worth reading... 


Cachicata Trek


Cachicata Trek to Machu Picchu


The Cachicata trek to Machu Picchu, you can appreciate Incan terraces, short authentic Inca trail, Temple of the Water God above a secret holding lovely waterfall, Incan mummies and Andean highlands. On the last day, you take a train to Machu Picchu and visit the antique and mysterious Incan citadel!! A climb to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain can be also added to the trek.

At a Glance

  • Duration: 4 days/3 nights
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Starting elevation: 9,596 ft (2,925 m)
  • Peak elevation: 14,600 ft (4,450 m) 
  • Total distance: 21 mi (34 km)


  • 3 days hiking with professional guide, chef, muleteer and horses
  • Discover the Inca ruins and monuments
  • View the sun rise over Machu Picchu
  • Visit the stone quarries of the built to Ollantaytambo
  • Hike part of the original Inca Trail
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Worth reading... 


Lares Valley to Machu Picchu


Lares trek to Machu Picchu

All day the trails are connected with occasional small villages on the Lares Valley roads. So we must consider the Lares trek has a lot more interaction with the direct descendants of the Incas than the traditional Inca Trail. Past and present intertwine here along the Inca roads, the traditional life has changed little since Inca times and the mountain people retain some customs of the Incas. There are some very spectacular and beautiful views to experience and people to meet. This trekking trip will be an unforgettable experience.

At a Glance

  • Duration: 4 days/3 nights
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Starting elevation: 9,596 ft (2,925 m)
  • Peak elevation: 14,600 ft (4,450 m) 
  • Total distance: 21 mi (34 km)


  • 4 day Lares trek with a professional Tour Guide, Cook, Muleteer, and Llamas or Horses; 
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu; 
  • Observation of incredibly beautiful sceneries of snowy peaks and mountain lagoons; 
  • Meeting people of remote Andean villages along the Lares Trek route. 
  • Andean way of life discovery. 

Worth reading... 


Inca Jungle Trek


inca jungle trek to Machu Picchu

The Inca Jungle trek to Machu Picchu is authentic Inka route (in Queachua Chapaqñan) was discovered as the last, 10 years ago. It is a new trek to Machu Picchu considered more adventurous and sporty than other treks as you do mountain biking on the first day, you hike through beautiful nature of a cloud forest and you can try ZIP Line and rafting too!! The last day, you observe the long-expected and stunning Inca´s city of Machu Picchu with a possibility of hiking to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain

At a Glance

  • Duration: 4 days/3 nights
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Starting elevation: 9,596 ft (2,925 m)
  • Peak elevation: 14,600 ft (4,450 m) 
  • Total distance: 21 mi (34 km)


  • Exploration of the latest discovered trail to Machu Picchu with the best company for Inca jungle trek
  • The most sporty trek of Southern Peru.
  • 1 day of mountain biking.
  • 3 days hiking the Inka jungle tour with a professional Tour Guide.
  • An opportunity to give a try rafting and ZIP Line.
  • Guided tour in Machu Picchu.

Worth reading... 


Choquequirao Trek


Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek 9 days involves the most beautiful scenic trail of the two Inca cities. Inca Trail, Inca ruins, Sacred mountains (Apus). . Give yourself a splurge of Andean and natural history and visit the best two archeological Inca sites near Cusco!!!

At a Glance

  • Duration: 9 days/8 nights
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Highlights: Choquequirao ruins, soaring condors, waterfalls and thermal baths
  • Starting elevation: 9,186 ft (2,800 m)
  • Peak elevation: 15,355 ft (4,680 m)
  • Total distance: 62 mi (100 km)


  • Visit of the biggest cities of the Incas in only one tour
  • Discovery and a guided tour of the last Incan refuge - Choquequirao, hidden in jungle
  • Visit of the "Lost City of the Incas" - Machu Picchu
  • Following an authentical Inca´s path
  • 9days hiking with a professional Tour Guide, Coook, Horseman and horses
  • Observation of Cusco´s highlands and a high jungle as well
  • Visit of very remote Andean villages where normal tourists do not have chance to get 
  • Exploration of old Incan mines
  • Spectacular landscape views

Worth reading... 


The difference between the Classic Inca Trail and the Alternative Treks:

Many customers have asked us about the differences between the Classic Inca Trail and the Inca Trail Alternatives to Machu Picchu. Well, choosing the right trek might be difficult so we have stated below a list of various factors that might help you deciding.



  • One of the most famous treks worldwide
  • Following an authentic path of the Incas
  • Taking you to Machu Picchu
  • Arrival to Machu Picchu through Inti Punku (Sun Gate) offering impressive views of the Lost City of the Incas
  • Breathtaking views from snowy mountains to luxuriant cloud forest
  • Everyday´s visits of inaccesible Inca sites
  • 500 permited persons to do the Inca Trail a day (including trekking staff)
  • A necessity of booking approx. 4-6 months beforehand when you like to hike during high season and 2-3 months in advance if you like to trek it in low season
  • 7, 5, 4 days hiking to Machu Picchu and beatiful landscapes
  • When booked, you CANNOT change your starting date!! If someone cancels, his/her permit CANNOT be used! There is no "waiting list"!
  • Good facilities and toilets at campsites
  • Campsites are very crowded and do not provide you a feeling of wilderness or adventure camping
  • If you like to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you need to buy another Machu Picchu entrance ticket including one of these mountains. The cost is about US$ 80!


  • On some of the hikes you might be the only person/group departing that day
  • A unique opportunity of cultural interaction meeting remote Andes inhabitants
  • Adventure feeling discovering new trails; however, the trails are original Incan
  • Real wild camping with quality camping gear
  • A feeling of real independence and seclusion
  • Some campsites have either basic toilets or only toilet tents at disposal
  • There are not so many Inca ruins along the Alternative Treks as can be found on the Inca Trail
  • An average number of trekkers per day is 60 persons
  • The last night of each of these treks is spent in Aguas Calientes (a small town just below Machu Picchu)
  • Majority of the alternative trails cost less than the Inca Trail
  • If you like to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you just upgrade your Machu Picchu ticket to include one of these mountains. The cost is between US$ 80 However, no change is allowed once you have purchased your entrance ticket!

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