Machu Picchu is a must-see for adventurers traveling to Peru. Most visit the site via the Inca Trail, but few realize there’s more than one way to witness the famed Incan ruins. The Clymb brings you a list of alternative treks that avoid the crowds and do not require difficult-to-obtain permits like the Inca Trail. Each of these routes still include a visit to Machu Picchu. It’s time to explore the road less traveled.
Beginning 40 miles north of Cusco, this route takes you through the Lares Valley, east of the Urubamba mountain range, and concludes with a trip to Machu Picchu. The route is both quieter and easier than the Inca Trail while still providing an authentic cultural experience. Most of the Andean communities function as they have for the last 500 years, and you’ll see many local weavers and farmers carrying on their colorful traditions. No Permit Required.
A stunningly beautiful alternative to the Inca Trail, the Salkantay trek meanders through incredible landscapes of lowland jungle giving way to high alpine terrain and glaciated mountains. You’ll cross the Salkantay Pass at 15,000 feet before descending into a cloud forest. On your way to Machu Picchu, explore the pristine Inca ruins of Llactapata. No Permit Required.
The Ausangate trek leads hikers through some of the wildest and most desolate areas in the Peruvian Andes. Traversing the Cordillera Vilcanota, you’ll make your way over several high passes and through low alpine valleys and rural villages before concluding your adventure at Machu Picchu. If you seek solitude and the chance to immerse yourself in sweeping landscapes, this is the trek for you. No Permit Required.
If you’re looking for undisturbed scenery, incredible natural landscapes, and a visit to awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, this route delivers. Named for the ruins of Choquequirao, an ancient city that archeologists believe was founded by the same emperor that commissioned Machu Picchu, the route explores lesser-known ruins that receive substantially less traffic, due to the rugged landscape. No Permit Required.
Inca Trail Trek
After all is said and done, if you can’t shake the desire to walk in the footsteps of Incan kings, you can always hike the most famous trekking route in South America: the Inca Trail. Ascend through lush jungle along rugged mountains before reaching the Sun Gate for a once-in-a-lifetime sunrise view of Machu Picchu. With permits restricted to 500 per day by the Peruvian government, remaining 2019 dates are extremely limited. Act quickly for the best chance at reserving your dates of choice. Permit Required.