Machu Picchu – Route Options and Recommendations

machu-picchu-trekking-optionsAlthough the Inca Trail is by far the most popular route to Machu Picchu, there are other options.

Sometimes we just want to get away from the crowds and find our own path. The Inca Trail requires you to be accompanied by a licensed tour company and also requires a permit and, whilst this suits many people, others want to go it alone!

We have therefore put together a little list of the possible other route options available. We’ll also conclude by quickly mentioning the Inca Trail itself.

Alternative Machu Picchu treks

Huchuy Qosko – 3 days, 20km trek: This is a relatively easy and short trek that is best attempted between May and September. It offers up great scenery and the Huchuy Qosko ruins a well worth a look.

Choquequirao – 9 days, 69km trek: This is the longest trek up to Machu Picchu and is best attempted in the dry season between May and September. The Choquequirao ruins are a great thing to see and this particular trek can be shortened or lengthened depending on energy levels. Read more about Choquequirao.

Lares – 4 days, 33 km trek: This little trod trek is a great way to get away from the crowds! You’ll be able to immerse yourselves in the local culture and get up close and personal with the locals.

Salkantay – 5 days, 55km trek: This is a fairly tough trek at high altitude. Like the Lares trail, the Salkantay trail is one of the least busy treks to Machu Picchu. The reward for this tough trek is getting up close to Nevada Salkantay.

Junge – 4 days, 60km (cycle) 15km (trek): Great trek for the thrill seekers as it has a super-fast downhill cycle track! Also includes a zipwire and rafting if that’s your cup of tea!

Vilcabamba – 5 days, 62km trek: Probably the toughest trek to Machu Picchu, the Vilcabamba trail is for experienced backpackers and offers up incredible scenery!

The Inca Trail Variations

Classic – 4days, 45km trek: The Classic trail is of course the most popular. Great for people with a sense of history as this was the original pilgrimage trail when Machu Picchu was a functioning site. Includes a lot of steps! Remember to book early as permits sell out months in advance!

Short – 2 days, 13km trek: Ideal for the trekker looking to understand the Inca Trail without so much of the effort.

Salkantay (combo) – 6 days, 65km trek: The ultimate option! Combining both treks to make a beautiful trail that flows through the ancient trail and also the mountains.

Here’s a packing list for the Inca Trail –

Click here for a recommended Machu Picchu tour operator.

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