Cusco is the destination with the most alternatives and a variety of itineraries. From your arrival in the capital of Tawantinsuyo, you will be able to choose different itineraries with activities that will not cease to surprise you. In this article, we will learn about some alternatives for hiking in Cusco. Doing these activities in Cusco is important because it allows you to take a tour of the old paths. These roads were known as the Qhapac Ñan and currently connect with Machu Picchu. Let’s know more.
Why do the hiking trails in Cusco?
Answering this question may take many lines of text. One way to reduce all those details is that Machu Picchu is located in Cusco. We could conclude with this, but there are many more destinations and different options for hiking trails that will always surprise you.
Cusco is located in a mountainous area. This enables an enormous variety of landscapes and climates throughout the Cusco region, which has a territorial area of more than 71,000 square kilometers. Throughout this territory, it can be found from frigid to tropical climates, from high Andean áreas, and even the high jungle itself, where the climate is humid and warm.
Another important factor is that Cusco is the ideal point to redirect hiking activities to the different destinations that are in the territory of the Cusco region. Another important factor of Cusco as a tourist destination is the different archaeological centers, museums, and colonial temples.
What are the hiking routes that can be done in Cusco?
Cusco was the capital of Tawantinsuyo. An empire that was in charge of unifying a people from the north of present-day Ecuador and to the north of Chile and Argentina. This entire region was linked by different roads connecting and reaching Cusco itself. Some of these roads cross mountains and border ravines. At present, these roads are still used to reach Machu Picchu or to do other routes.
From Cusco, you can reach the Montañana de 7 Colores and the Humantay Lagoon with a three-hour drive. It is also the starting point for most tours that include hiking trails such as the Salkantay Trek, Huchuy Qosqo, Inca Jungle, and the classic Inca Trail or the Short one only lasts 2 days.
If you are looking for higher-level routes or with more days in the mountains, there are two important options. These routes, you can do the Choquequirao route to Machu Picchu, which has activities of more than 7 days. Another option of several days is by which you can visit the Ausangate route. From this place, you can get to see incredible landscapes such as the snow-capped Ausangate mountain itself and the Mountain of 7 Colors.
The snow-capped Ausangate and the Salkantay are two of the highest snow-capped peaks that can be found in Cusco. They are the protagonists of one of the legends that were motivated by the presence of the geography of both snow-capped mountains. According to legend, both are brothers and lived in an old town in ancient Peru. After a series of events, they remained idolized in these two figures that would represent apus or spirits of the mountains that are in charge of watching over the population.
How can I do the walks?
There are only two options, the first with a travel agency and the other on your own. The latter will depend a lot on the knowledge and experience you have doing hiking trails. On the other hand, by hiring the services of a travel agency, you will have more comforts such as hotel reservation tickets and tickets, for example, to Machu Picchu. Another important factor of travel agencies is that you will have the support of a team dedicated to transporting luggage.
The team of porters will help you with your luggage. They will also be in charge of carrying the camping equipment and assisting the cook with his kitchen equipment. Food and luggage during the route will greatly facilitate the entire walk. Many are testimonies that can attest to this. At the same time, it is a way of contributing to the inhabitants of the communities that cross all the long circuits.
In case you decide to do any of the routes on your own, you must inform yourself adequately about everything you will need. In the case of the route, it may not be a problem because all the longest paths are usually well-signposted. You will also have to have your tent and kitchen. Especially if you dare to do long routes such as the Salkantay Trek and Choquequirao Machu Picchu or the tour of the Ausangate mountains.
What is the peak hiking season in Cusco?
The high season of visits to Cusco coincides with the dry season. That is, with the season that includes the months of March to November. This season is usually the ideal season for hiking because the paths are not wet and there is less chance of rain falling unexpectedly.
How’s the weather? – Cusco has different climates, this thanks to the fact that it is located in the Andes Mountains, for example, on the Salkantay Trek hiking route, the hike begins in the mountain area and ends in Machu Picchu, which is already located in a tropical zone. After almost 4 days of walking and the drastic geographical change, they considerably enrich this activity.
As we mentioned, all the activities take place more frequently from the month of March. Another of the most anticipated and most demanded routes is the 4-day Inca Trail. An experience without comparison until reaching Machu Picchu. During the journey, you will cross some Inca citadels that in the past connected with Machu Picchu precisely through the paths made by the ancient inhabitants of Peru.
Details to be considered:
- Cusco has different options for walking and hiking trails.
- These routes have unique geography and landscapes.
- In Cusco you can visit both the high jungle and the mountains and the Puna.
- A short hiking route is the route to Vinincunca or Mountain of 7 Colors.
- Another activity that includes a hiking route of only a few hours of walking is a visit to the Sacred Humantay Lagoon.
- Try to always wear comfortable shoes.
- Always find out about the activities you will carry out and, if possible, follow the guide’s instructions.
- Wear a windbreaker jacket.
- You will need sunscreen to protect your skin, this will be necessary during all the activities you do.
- In the rainy season, it will be necessary to bring a waterproof poncho.
- You always have to show your ID, so you can access all your reservations.
- Another option that may work is to show your passport.
- In Cusco you will find financial services and also money changers. The dollar is usually the currency with which most tourists arrive.
By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 02-05-2023
Interested in the Inca Trail? Know more about Routes!
- Are there hiking trails near Machu Picchu?
- Inca Trail Detailed Map
- Classic or Traditional Inca Trail
- The Shortest Inca Trail
- Inca Trail Network (Qhapaq Ñan)
- This is the Choquequirao trek of 4 days