Most people associate Machu Picchu with the iconic Inca Trail. As this was the original pilgrimage trail made by the Incas, it’s easy to see why. Whilst the Inca Trail is incredible and certainly well worth doing, there are other routes available to Machu Picchu. Whilst these other routes are not as iconic, they do offer up their own charms. Far less crowded, they do not require a permit and they also do not require you to be accompanied by a tour operator like the Inca Trail does.
Below we’ll have a look at all the route options available so you can choose what will suit you most.
There are three Inca Trail routes. Firstly, of course, is the ‘Classic’ Inca Trail which takes 4 days and covers a distance of 45km. This is the most popular and requires booking moths in advance .Be warned – there are a lot of steps!
Secondly is the ‘short’ Inca Trail. This is much shorter taking two days and covering a distance of 13km. This is a perfect option for the less energetic of hikers.
The third is called the ‘Salkantay’, also known as the ‘combo’ route. This is the longest route combining both trails together and takes 6 days with a distance of 65km.
Below are other Machu Picchu Routes you can consider. Read more about each here: http://www.machupicchutrek.net/hike-to-machu-picchu/
Choquequirao Trek: 9 days, 69km trek. The Choquequirao ruins are incredible and should be seen if possible! This is a rare trek as it can be shortened or lengthened depending on how you’re feeling. As this is the longest trek up to Machu Picchu it is wise to hike it in the dry season from May to September.
The Lares Trail: 4 days. 33. This easy going trek is a great way to get away from the crowds and interact with the locals!
The Junge Trail: 4 days. 60km (cycle) 15km (trek). As the only cycle option to Machu Picchu this a fantastic trail for the thrill seekers out there. The downhill section of the trek is very fast and there is also the option of rafting and taking a zip-wire!
The Salkantay Trail: 5 days. 55km. Similar to the Lares trail, the Salkantay trail is fairly crowd free. The trek is considered quite difficult as it hiked at high altitude. The reward for this difficult hike is getting to see Nevada Salkantay.
Huchuy Qosko: 3 days, 20km trek. Short and easy going, this trek is ideal for the less fit amongst us!Ideally should be hiked between May and September. The trail has beautiful scenery and the Huchuy Qosko ruins are a must see!
The Vilcabamba Trail: 5 days. 62km. The toughest trail to Machu Picchu, Vilcabamba is for experienced backpackers and offers up incredible scenery!
Click here for a recommended Machu Picchu Trek Operator.