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Inca Trail vs Inca Quarry Trail: What you should know before hike

Tierras Vivas Travel > Inca Trail vs Inca Quarry Trail: What you should know before hike

Inca Trail vs Inca Quarry Trail: What you should know before hike

Everyone knows about the Inca Trail: their friends may have traveled it and it is the echo that is heard in return when the name of Machu Picchu is called in all the Andes.

No matter what path you take, walking in Peru offers you a dazzling perspective of the old mountain peaks, offers the rewards of a physically demanding hike and takes you on a journey while meeting the locals along the way.

While many travelers are in panic searching Google for ‘other walks in Peru’ after discovering that the Inca Trail permits have been exhausted, you can even consider the Quarry Trail as a better option for you.

For whatever reason you have found yourself at a crossroads trying to decide, here is a quick summary of what you will get from both amazing walks.


Classic Inca Trail

The 4 Day Inca Trail is classic route to Machu Picchu and famous of the world, the classic trail need to book in advance, the tourist limit is 500 people per day and you have to worry, if your company has booked or no your hike. Once be on the route, you realize that in the route there are more than 500 or 200 hikers with you, which makes it very difficult to connect and enjoy the scenery of the Inca Trail. the Classic Inca Trail offer diferents micro-climates (mountain range to Rainforest), but It’s actually one of the most beautiful walks in South America, at least among those in the know.

inca quarry trail vs inca trail

Tierras Vivas offers two hike to the Inca Trail tours:

Inca Quarry Trail

In case, you want to explore, enjoy the beautiful landscapes, the Inca Quarry trail is new alternative hike to the Classic Inca Trail, where you wont find the hikers. Not on the usual gringo trail path.It doesn’t lead right to the Sun Gate, the main thing you miss by doing the Quarry Trail is hiking through rainforest as the Quarry trail doesn’t go through different micro-climates but you can still reach Machu Picchu via a short train ride. But you can find a new Sun Gate all over the Andes. Sun Gate or called Inti Punku, are structures built to honor the sun, usually at such an angle that they frame a distant mountain and welcome the first rays of the winter solstice. Inca mummies´s inside the caves. The water fall, where you can take a shower, above it will appreciate the Inca ruins. Andean Terraces and finally the stone quarries it is one of the ancient quarries used by pre Inca and Inca civilizations to build the vast complex of Ollantaytambo.

inca trail vs quarry trail

Tierras Vivas offers two hike to the Inca Quarry trek:

Inca Trail and Inca Quarry

The way to the mystical Inca site was a mystery for a long time. As early as the Incas Ages, numerous paths led from the Inca capital of Cusco through the whole of Peru, the most famous of which connected the Sacred Valley with Machu Picchu, the city in the clouds, for ages. The Inca Trail and Inca Quarry (Ollantaytambo) were rediscovered and uncovered in the last century. The Inca Trail has a total length of 45 kilometers and 4 days of hiking time and the Inca Quarry trek from 28 kilometers and 3 days of hiking time, the path is relatively short compared to other long-distance hiking trails. However, the Inca Trail and Inca Quarry trek turn out to be an unforgettable experience full of adventure and breathtaking moments.

Classic Inca Trail vs Inca Quarry Trail


Inca Quarry Trail

Inca Trail

What is it?

This place was dedicated to carve and extraction of stones that were used for the construction of Ollantaytambo and many establishments nearby and it is located 9 kilometers away from it. The tourist can see the great work done in the moment the gigantic stones were moved to build the enclosures of Ollantaytambo. There you can appreciate Incan terraces, short authentic Inca trail, Temple of the Water God above a secret holding lovely waterfall, Incan mummies and Andean highlands. On the last day, you take a train to Machu Picchu and visit the antique and mysterious Incan citadel!! A climb to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain can be also added to the trek. The Inca Trail is considered the best trek in South America. It is a 43-kilometer route along ancient Inca trails to Machu Picchu. The start of the journey is in Pisqacucho (kilometer 82), near the town of Ollantaytambo in Cusco. The end is at the Intipunku (Puerta del Sol) in the Inca City of Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is considered among the 5 best hiking trails in the world. Daily they only allow a maximum of 500 people to enter their paths. Of these, approximately 200 are tourists. The rest are support staff: guides, porters, cooks. This route is the way the Incas once arrived in Machu Picchu.

Where is located?

The Inca Quarry Trail is ubicated 12 km from Sacrec Valley of the Incas and 9 km of the Ollantaytambo and near to Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is located in the heart of the Peruvian Andes, between Cuzco, Capital of the ancient Inca Empire, and the citadel of Machu Picchu. The alternation of mountains and valleys along the walk offers an incredible and very diversified spectacle.

How difficult is the Trail?

The overall distance of the Quarry Trail is about 26km (the Inca Trail is 43km) and the maximum altitude is 4,450m above sea level (the Inca Trail’s highest point is Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,215m). We’ll give you time in Cuzco to acclimatize before the trek, but altitude sickness can be a problem for some. The Inca Trail is considered of medium moderate difficulty. The 4 days and 3 nights of walking are intense the first days but decrease as the end approaches. The jackpot is to see Machu Picchu from a unique place at the end of the trekking.

When is the best time to do the Trail?

The best season to do the Inca Quarry is May or October are good months. Peak time is the same as the Inca Trail, June, July and August. Weather here will be great, but you will be fighting for photo space at Machu Picchu. The difference is, you will have had the Andes to yourself for the last few days. From May to September (dry season) is the ideal time to travel the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. These months are usually generally good for the crossing due to the low rainfall frequency.
In the months of November to March, summer (rainy season) is presented. This season is usually very rainy, which makes walking and access difficult. You will not even be able to travel the Inca Trail in February due to rainfall and maintenance work.

Other Hiking Tours to Machu Picchu

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.

If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.

When is the best time to hike to Machu Picchu?

The best season is during the dry season, which covers the months April to the end of September. In October the rains begin and you can find Machu Picchu covered by clouds. If you travel in June, we recommend you to book the Inti Raymi 2023 Tour that takes place in June 24th, and also hike the Palcoyo Mountain Tour, which is an incredible Rainbow Mountain located in the Andes.

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