The Inca Trail and three alternative climbs to Machu Picchu
If you book late, find an ascent of four to five days, either too long and difficult or too short, or try a new route to Machu Picchu, there are a number of interesting alternatives to the classic Inca Trail. Thanks to the art of construction and the indefatigability of the Incas, who have established roads through the Andes, many accompanied paths lead to Machu Picchu, or at least very close. In contrast with
Travelers of the Inca Trail do not need permits for these tours. They can be booked directly at the site in Cuzco, usually before the start, if they wish. We will present you three of these tours below. But you can also book variants and even individualized walks.
The Salcantay trail leads through the Mollepata Valley past the Salcantay mountain into a forest before ending at a small train station that takes the traveler directly to Machu Picchu. If you are particularly interested in the diversity of the Peruvian ecosystem, the local fauna and flora and the topography of the landscape, you should not miss the Salcantay route.
Mount Salcantay, 6,200 meters high, was one of the most sacred mountains of the Incas and is still venerated in the traditional Andean religions. The trail led by mules passes through the Salcantay at an altitude of about 4,500 meters and then winds its way through the subtropical forest, where it meets an old Inca road that belongs to the famous Capac Ñan infrastructure that links the far reaches of the Inca Empire. .
Continue to the ruins of Llactapata not yet discovered. From here, the traveler can take a first look at Machu Picchu through the valley, from a rare longitudinal perspective. At the foot of the hill is the small train station, from where frequent buses take tourists along the Urubamba River to Aguas Calientes, the city at the foot of Machu Picchu. Depending on the guide and accommodation, you will be on the route for five to eight days.
In contrast to the really beautiful Sacred Valley, which is crossed by thousands of tourists every year, to the north is the hidden Valley of Lares, where the huge snow-capped peaks rise above the Sacred Valley. Even today, life is not very different from a hundred years ago: people naturally wear traditional Andean costumes, grow potatoes, grow llama and alpaca herds, and weave traditional fabrics as they did generations ago, and all without Folklore If you are looking for the original life of Peru and would like to get an idea of the Andean culture next to Machu Picchu, then the Lares Route is just the ticket.
Here you will meet the three or five days you will travel, often just farmers and artisans. Most of the Lares route starts in the small town of the same name and then crosses many smaller villages. In the middle, the traveler gets a spectacular view of the Verónica mountain and a series of crystalline mountain lakes. The route ends near the ruins of Ollantaytambo. From here, a short train ride of approximately 90 minutes takes you to Machu Picchu.
Even if you do not have the condition of an experienced climber, you do not have to go without the experience on the way to Machu Picchu. The only Inca day tour begins along the train tracks to Machu Picchu, from approximately 100 km. A three-hour hike up the steep hills will take you to Wiñay Wayna. From there you can continue straight to Machu Picchu. Much more advisable is to stay at this height and get up early the next morning. Then you can enter Machu Picchu at sunrise through the famous Puerta del Sol.
Make sure, however, that the one-day Inca Trail needs a so-called permit! Therefore, it should be reserved as soon as the multi-day version.