If you intend to carry out the Inka trail, keep in mind the following: The Peruvian government has limited access due to its poor condition and only 500 people can access it a day, of which only 220 are travelers since the rest are guides and the porters. In addition, it is necessary to request with a 4 days of advance a governmental permission that allows us the access to the same. This permit is personal and non-transferable, therefore, if someone fails or cancels his, that place can not be assigned to another person. The acquisition of these permits will be managed by the agency you contracted for the tour. It is the only way to do it, before it could be done for free but now it is mandatory through operators or tourism agencies. As you can imagine there is great demand to make the Inca trail, and according to which dates it is impossible to find a place. If you are going to make the trip in the summer months we recommend that you book the tour through the internet as far in advance as possible, you will pay a little more but you will secure a place. If your trip is at another time of the year you can request the permit once you are there, and while it is managed you have 4 days to visit Cusco and its surroundings. The availability of places for the Inka Trail can be consulted here. If you have not got place you can make the alternative Inca trail, called Salkantay trek.
This walk takes the name of one of the highest mountains of Peru, it is the mountain Salkantay (6271 m). For a month a year the traditional Inka trail closes to the public in the rainy season to make small maintenance and restoration arrangements. This made that they looked for alternatives to the traditional walk for that time since the people continued wanting to go to Machu Picchu walking. The salkantay trek is a good option so during the rainy month this trek was the one used by the travelers. When the limitation and the quotas of people on the part of the Peruvian government arrived at the original Inka road, it caused that many travelers were left without places for the walk. Therefore, the Salkantay trek became an alternative for the whole year and not just for the rainy season. Today for this hike has to do through agency, however there are no quotas or limitations, also being less requested will not have problems getting them.
In addition to the alternative routes to Machu Picchu enumerated herein, numerous tour operators offer customized itineraries that range from basic tent accommodations to more luxurious “glamping” options.
For travelers with limited time and a preference for peace of mind, it is advisable to pre-book their itineraries in advance. However, significant savings can often be realized by booking on-site in Cusco.
During the peak season (June to September), tours tend to sell out quickly, necessitating the purchase of Machu Picchu permits at least three months in advance.
To mitigate the effects of altitude sickness, it is recommended to spend two or three days acclimatizing in Cusco prior to embarking on the journey. Additionally, high elevations can result in drastic temperature fluctuations.
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu: It is a beautiful trek, lasts 5 days / 4 nights and is not excessively hard. Paisajísticamente is much more beautiful than the traditional road, however in this trekking you do not go through the archaeological sites through which the original Inca trail runs. The big advantage is that it is less saturated with people, which is very rewarding; If you can do it you will not regret it. The recommendations for this trek are the same that you can find for the traditional Inka trail or any type of trekking; Theme of medicine chest, footwear, bag, raincoat, etcetera. In this trek also, the horses can carry up to 5 kg per person, which is to be appreciated when you carry the most loaded backpack of the necessary thing.
Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is widely regarded as one of the most arduous Inca trails Tours. Despite its challenging nature, the additional exertion required to complete the trek serves to enhance one’s experience of the ancient Inca citadel, rendering it all the more gratifying.
The standard itinerary for this trek spans a duration of 8 days and 7 nights. The trail traverses the Rio Blanco Valley, leading trekkers to the elevated heights of the sacred mountain passes. Along the way, they will have the opportunity to explore ruins that are seldom seen by visitors and to witness the diverse ecosystems for which the region is renowned. From the lofty tundras of high elevations to the verdant river valleys and sub-tropical cloud forests, this alternative Inca Trail trek offers a glimpse into the striking contrasts of the Inca heartland.
Lares Trek to Machu Picchu is an ideal route for those seeking an authentic Andean cultural experience. This trail, which is the second easiest among the alternative Inca trails leading to Machu Picchu, traverses several captivating and distinctive local villages. Some of these villages have remained unaltered for centuries.
During the journey, hikers will inevitably encounter and engage with local farmers and weavers attired in their traditional Andean attire. It is advisable to carry some additional Soles to purchase locally woven materials, as they are considerably less expensive in these villages than in Cusco Peru.
Moreover, the Lares Trail offers remarkable mountain vistas and necessitates scaling a few 4,000-meter (13,123 foot) passes.
Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu presents itself as a viable alternative to the Inca Trail, as it covers a portion of the latter without necessitating a permit. This trek offers a diverse range of activities, including hiking, mountain biking, zip lining, and river rafting, making it a win-win situation for adventure enthusiasts. While I did not personally undertake this trek, I had the opportunity to converse with individuals who found the amalgamation of activities to be exhilarating and stimulating. It is important to note that this trek is not recommended for those who are faint of heart.
The Alternative Inca Trail treks derive their nomenclature from their original purpose of serving as a substitute for the Classic Inca Trail. Nevertheless, they are all exceptional Peru Treks.
Prior to 2004, the Inca Trail was accessible to all individuals interested in hiking it. However, government regulations have since become increasingly stringent, restricting the number of individuals permitted to hike the trail on any given day. As a result, some individuals unexpectedly found themselves unable to embark on the Inca Trail and sought out alternative options.
Nonetheless, it is important to note that the term “alternative” does not imply inferiority. Having traversed these magnificent mountains for decades, we can attest that each route boasts awe-inspiring panoramas, captivating cultural landmarks, unspoiled natural environments, and an unforgettable immersive Andean experience. This is not to say that we do not hold the Inca Trail in high regard – it is referred to as “classic” for a reason.
At TierrasVivas.com, we offer a wide range of trekking options in Peru. Our team takes great care in ensuring that all details are taken care of, providing personalized trekking advice and delivering the highest level of service. Our comprehensive selection of Peru trekking offers can be found on our platform, which is user-friendly and allows for easy comparison of different options based on your interests, abilities, and budget.
Should you require assistance in selecting a specific trek or have any questions, our team of Tieras Vivas is readily available to provide personalized recommendations and advice. We are committed to helping you plan an unforgettable trekking adventure and encourage you to reach out to us for assistance.
Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, 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.
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.