Travel to Peru different routes to Machu Picchu

April 3, 2014  —  By
Alternative treks peru

The classic Inca Trail trail has become very popular in recent years, but the the Peruvian government limits access to 500 persons per day, including porters. To do this trek you have to book far in advance through a licenced tour operator.

Neverthless there are alternate treks to Machu Picchu. Following you will read about some alternatives, most of which require no permits and can be arranged through any travel agency in Cusco. Travel to Peru different routes to Machu Picchu:

The Lares Route
Just beyond the snowcapped peaks that mark the Sacred Valley’s northern edge. Here, life continues much as it has for centuries. Locals in traditional Andean dress plant potatoes by hand, raise herds of llamas and alpacas, and weave cloth as they have for generations. This trek usually starts at the small town of Lares, home to a famous hot spring, and passes through several villages. Along the way it provides close-up views of  the Mount Veronica and several high-altitude lakes. It ends near the ruins of Ollantaytambo, and from there the train journey to Machu Picchu is 1.45 Hr. Trip Length: 3 to 5 days Difficulty Level: Medium

The Salkantay Route
The Salkantay mountain is considered a sacred peak, in the Inca religious pantheon. It’s still revered today in traditional andean religion. This mule-assisted hike cuts through the beautiful Mollepata valley and traverses past Salkantay at an altitude above 15,000 feet. From those chilly heights, the trail descends into subtropical cloud forest, where it meets up with an ancient inca highway (part of the original Capac Ñan network that connected the far ends of the empire) that leads to the recently rediscovered ruins of Llactapata. From there, one can gaze a few miles across the valley to take in a rare sidelong view of  Machu Picchu complex. A downhill walk ends at the small train station, where a frequent shuttle runs along the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. Trip Length: 5 to 8 days  Difficulty Level: Medium to difficult

3. The One-Day Inca Trail
The classic Inca Trail trip lasts four days. Travelers who want to see two of the greatest hits of the famous hike but who are short on time can choose this truncated version, which begins at KM 104 of the Machu Picchu train line. A three-hour uphill hike leads to Wiñay Wayna, a spectacular site of stone ruins and curved agricultural terraces that cling to a steep ridge high above the Urubamba River. Hikers can opt between walking ahead the same day to Machu Picchu, or spending one night on the trail, so as to be able to enter the lost city at dawn via the Sun Gate, the dramatic entrance that provides Inca Trail trekkers with their first glimpse of the site. Note: The one-day Inca Trail requires one of the 500 daily Inca Trail permits, and therefore must be booked far in advance. Trip Length: 1 day (2 if you camp overnight) Difficulty Level: Medium

The Chaski (or Cachicata) Trail
The outposts of the vast Inca Empire were kept connected by fleet-footed chaski messengers, who ran so fast (according to lore) that the emperor was able to dine in Cusco on fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean, a mountainous 300 miles away. This high-altitude route follows some of the same paths those runners might have used, and takes in scarcely visited Inca buildings, water channels, and quarries, where one can see firsthand how the Inca obtained the stone they used in their building projects. Most versions of the Chaski Route include a stop at the spectacular waterfall named Perolniyoc and its nearby ruins. The trail ends at Ollantaytambo, where trekkers can visit one of the most famous sets of Inca ruins before hopping the train to Machu Picchu. Trip Length: 3 to 5 days  Difficulty Level: Medium

Vilcabamba Traverse Route
This weeklong walk covering 60 mountainous miles is not for the faint of heart or weak of legs. Starting at the town of Cachora, a two-day hike crosses the mile-deep Apurimac River canyon to the remote ruins of Choquequirao (the name means “Cradle of Gold” in Quechua), which have become famous in recent years for their similarity to Machu Picchu. The route then continues—in some spots along original stone Inca highways—through the sparsely populated Cordillera Vilcabamba, which looks much the same as when Hiram Bingham first explored here a century ago. Trekkers traverse a mountain range, cross rivers and valleys, and cut through several of Peru’s diverse biozones: dry scrub, lush cloud forest, and puna, a high-altitude grassland. The trek ends a short walk or train ride from Machu Picchu. Trip Length: 7 to 13 days Difficulty Level: Difficult

The Lodge Trek
This new route is for those who want to hike like an old-school Andean explorer by day but sleep between clean sheets each night after cocktails and a gourmet meal. (And who don’t mind paying for the privilege of staying at the four fully serviced private lodges that dot the route.) The journey is similar to the Salcantay Route, offering close-up views of the sacred apu and its glaciers, but places an emphasis on comfort rather than on roughing it. The trail reaches a height of 15,000 feet before descending into a lush valley where coffee and bananas grow. Luxury lodgings near Machu Picchu and a private tour guide at the ruins are usually included in the price of a package tour. Trip Length: 7 to 11 days  Difficulty Level: Medium

Travel to Peru different routes to Machu Picchu
alternative treks peru