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The Inca Trail is, for many, the best hiking route in Peru. However, few are the lucky ones who undertake this adventure. The main reason is the limited availability for this hike. Therefore, it is necessary to purchase the tour 6 or 7 months in advance. So what to do if there are no spaces available for the Inca Trail? The best solution is to choose another multi-day hiking route to Machu Picchu. Learn about some adventurous options.


What is the 4-day Inca Trail?

  • The 4-day Inca Trail, also known as the Classic Inca Trail, it is the most famous trekking route in Peru.
  • Its name is due to the fact that the route is part of the immense network of Inca roads known as ‘Qhapac’. The 39 kilometers that this route crosses belong to the section that connects Cusco with Machu Picchu.
  • Along this hiking route, in addition to traveling sections crossed by the Incas, it is possible to appreciate other small Inca citadels such as Runkurakay, Wiñayhuayna, Llactapata and more.
  • On the morning of the fourth day, you arrive at Sun Gate (the Intipunku). This entrance gate was used by the Incas and offers a panoramic landscape of Machu Picchu.
  • Due to the limited availability and the many tourists who seek to do the Inca Trail, it is necessary to buy the tour online 6 or 7 months before. Otherwise you will not find free spaces for this path.

The Short Inca Trail of 2 days

What is it?

  • The short Inca Trail of 2 days it is a quick version of the original walk as it crosses only the last part of the route (10 kilometers, approximately).
  • As well as the classic 4-day Inca Trail, this short version must be purchased through an authorized tourism agency (no unauthorized person can do it).
  • However, the short 2-day Inca Trail does not require a purchase well in advance. This route can be purchased just days or weeks in advance.

What is the itinerary like?

Day 1:

  • The first day begins with the trip by bus and train to kilometer 104 of the railway that connects Ollantaytambo with Machu Picchu town.
  • The walk begins in the archaeological center of Chachabamba. In the company of a tour guide, the visitor travels about 10 kilometers uphill (between 3 and 4 hours of walking) until arriving at the archaeological site of Wiñayhuayna.
  • From Wiñayhuayna you must walk downhill until you arrive at Machu Picchu through Sun Gate(the famous Intipunku).
  • The tourist will descend towards the town of Aguas Calientes where he will spend the night in a tourist accommodation.

Day 2:

  • On the second day the tourist will visit Machu Picchu. The tour of the Inca city will take 2 or 3 hours, in the company of a tour guide.
  • Then you must board the train that will return you to the city of Cusco.

How to book?

  • To book the 2-day Inca Trail tour, the visitor must choose an authorized tourism agency.
  • The purchase of the service can be done both online and in person. It is recommended to do it days or weeks in advance.

The Salkantay trek 5 days

How to book?

  • The Salkantay trek is a 5-day hiking route that runs through high mountain Andean landscapes until arriving at Machu Picchu, after approximately 70 kilometers.
  • On the second day of hiking, visitors reach the highest point in the ‘Abra Salkantay’ (4,650 meters above sea level). The tour is named for its proximity to this imposing snow-capped mountain.
  • This route is not protected by the Peruvian State so anyone can do it on their own. However, it is best to hire the services of a tourism agency.

How to book?

Day 1:

  • The route begins with the tourist pick up in the city of Cusco. Then, aboard a tourist transport, you travel to the town of Mollepata.
  • There begins the ascent route for 7 hours on average (16 kilometers of walk) to the Soraypampa camp (optionally tourists can visit the Humantay lagoon).

Day 2:

  • On the second day, approximately 22 kilometers are traveled from Soraypampa to the Chaullay camp.
  • Eevery day you cross the ‘Abra Salkantay’, the highest point on the route, located at the foot of the immense snow-capped Salkantay.

Day 3:

  • The third day begins to descend from the Chaullay camp to the town of Santa Teresa. In total, approximately 16 kilometers are traveled.
  • That day, tourists will relax in the famous thermal baths of Cocalmayo, considered the best in Cusco.

Day 4:

  • The fourth and penultimate day there is a walk of approximately 16 kilometers to the town of Aguas Calientes, famous for its proximity to Machu Picchu.
  • In Aguas Calientes the tourist will spend the night in a tourist accommodation. At night you can also take time to relax in the thermal baths of this famous town.

Day 5:

  • The last day of the route we will visit Machu Picchu. The tour of the Inca city, like every day of the trek, is done with a professional tour guide.
  • In the afternoon you return to the city of Cusco by train and tourist bus.

How to book?

  • The Salkantay trek can be done on your own. However, it is best to do it through a tourism agency that includes everything you need for a safe adventure.
  • The tour can be purchased online or in the city of Cusco (most tourist agencies are located in the historic center). The purchase can be made a few days or weeks before without problems.

The Lares trek of 4 days

What is it?

  • The Lares trek is a 4-day trekking route that crosses Andean landscapes and towns of great beauty and culture. Each visitor will travel approximately 37 kilometers, from the departure in the town of Lares to the Inca city of Machu Picchu.
  • This walk is known as the ‘Cultural Route’ because visitors will be able to better learn the traditions of the towns that are covered in the four days of walking..
  • There are two versions of the Lares trek: the route through Patacancha and the route through Yanahuara. The first is the most used.

What is the itinerary like?

Day 1:

  • The trip begins with the pick up and transfer by tourist bus from Cusco to the town of Lares.
  • Before starting the walk, tourists will enjoy the relaxing thermal baths of Lares.
  • The walk begins with a 4-hour stretch to the town of Wacahuasi.

Day 2:

  • In Wacahuasi, tourists will learn the ancient weaving techniques used by its inhabitants.
  • Then the walk of another 4 hours begins, heading to the highest point on the route, the ‘Abra Condorpasa’ (4,100 meters above sea level).
  • On the way you will appreciate the Ipsaycocha lagoon until you arrive at the town of Patacancha where you will camp that night.

Day 3:

  • On the penultimate day there is a short walk that goes through the towns of Willoq and Pumamarka until arriving at Ollantaytambo.
  • In Ollantaytambo you will board a train heading to the town of Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). There you will spend the night in a tourist accommodation.

Day 4:

  • The last day will be the visit to Machu Picchu. To do this you will be promoted by bus. The tour of the Inca city is in the company of a tour guide.
  • Finally, you will return to the city of Cusco by train and bus.

How to book?

  • The Lares trek, like the other hiking trails in Cusco, can be done on your own. Despite that, most visitors decide to go with an all-inclusive tour.
  • Tours can be purchased on short notice (a few days or weeks in advance is sufficient). You can choose the tourism agency of your preference and make the purchase, either online or on your own.

The Inca Jungle of 4 days

What is it?

  • The Inca Jungle is not a hiking route itself but a 4-day route to Machu Picchu in which different adventure sports are practiced.
  • The Inca Jungle owes its name to the fact that it leaves from Cusco and travels through the jungle areas of Cusco. Machu Picchu is reached through the alternative route by Hydroelectric.
  • The route is famous for cycling, hiking, canoeing (optional) and zipline (canoeing). It also includes a relaxing afternoon in the famous thermal baths of Cocalmayo.

What is the itinerary like?

Day 1:

  • The adventure begins with the tourist’s pick-up from the city of Cusco and the subsequent transfer to the ‘Abra Málaga’ where a downhill bike begins.
  • In the afternoon, as an option, tourists can go canoeing on the Vilcanota River.
  • Visitors will spend the night in a tourist lodge in the town of Santa Teresa.

Day 2:

  • On the second day there is a hiking route from Santa María to the town of Santa Teresa.
  • In the afternoon, visitors can relax in the thermal baths of Cocalmayo.
  • The night will be spent in a tourist lodge in Santa Teresa.

Day 3:

  • On the third day, there is another walk to the town of Aguas Calientes, crossing the Hydroelectric station.
  • Optionally, visitors can zipline in Santa Teresa. Likewise, in Aguas Calientes you can enjoy the thermal baths of the place.
  • In Aguas Calientes, visitors will spend the night in a tourist accommodation.

Day 4:

  • On the last day, tourists will visit Machu Picchu with a tour guide.
  • Finally you will return to the city of Cusco by train and minivan.

How to book?

  • The Inca Jungle is an adventure that requires maximum organization (bicycles, guide, safety equipment, etc.).
  • Tours can be contracted with the tourism agency that best suits them (either online or in the city of Cusco itself).
  • Tours to the Inca Jungle have wide availability so it is possible to get it days or weeks in advance.

 

By Inca Trail Machu Picchu - Last updated, 23-07-2021


Traditional Inca Trail is one of the paths that belongs to Network Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.


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