The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most outstanding trekking experiences in the world. Also, It is the most popular one in Peru, with hundreds of travelers hiking every year. But, did you know the Inca Trail is not the only way to get to Machu Picchu? Here, we’ll share with you some of the best Inca Trail alternatives routes to Machu Picchu if there’s no more available for the classic one or if you are feeling more adventurous.
#1 Choquequirao Trek & Machu Picchu (5-day itinerary)
This 5-day trail connects one of the less-visited but most impressive sites in Cusco, Choquequirao citadel, and combines it with Machu Picchu.
Despite only around 30% of the Inca remains of Choquequirao being excavated, it is majestic.
This trekking route starts in Cusco and will have you hiking for about 7 to 4 hours during the first 4 days. On the 4th day, you’ll board a train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town) and visit Machu Picchu citadel the day after.
This trek is perfect for experienced hikers that want to know the Cusco off-the-beaten-path. Choquequirao citadel still looks like Machu Picchu when it was recently discovered! Although the route is challenging and requires at least an excellent physical condition, it’s well worth the effort.
#2 Lares Trek to Machu Picchu (4-day itinerary)
This itinerary is different from the others since the route doesn’t only focus on the stunning landscapes, but allows people to approach the traditional Peruvian living cultures.
This alternative route to Machu Picchu requires a hike for about 5 to 8 hours daily, which means that it’s important to be at a medium level of fitness at least.
This is a perfect option for people looking for adventure and culture, as this route pass through several Andean communities along the way. It’s also a less-crowded Inca Trail alternative.
#3 Inca Jungle Trek (3-day itinerary)
This is the favorite route for many young people as it combines multiple activities in just one itinerary! Biking from the Malaga Pass to the cloud forest, bathing in local hot springs, hiking amid local plantations, and finding interesting sites along the route.
This trek is not as challenging as the other ones, and it is possible to do it in 3 or 4 days.
#4 Huchuyqosqo to Machu Picchu (3-day itinerary)
This one is also an excellent alternative for avoiding crowds on your way to Machu Picchu. Not many people know about Huchuyqosco or this trek, you’ll be likely to meet one or two small groups exploring the place! Huchuyqosco or little Cusco, in English, is an archaeological complex in the Sacred Valley of Incas, which seems to have been an essential royal state during the empire.
This trek takes 3 days, hiking from 5 to 7 hours the first two at a very high altitude. It’s recommended to have at least 2 previous days for acclimatization.
One of the advantages of this option is that, even though camping is not needed, it includes a homestay night with a local family in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
#5 Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (2-day itinerary)
Starting at the 104 km on the train route from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu, the short Inca Trail has become one of the best alternatives to the Classic one when there’s no more availability for the 4-day itinerary. Also, it is an excellent option if you are looking for a great but not so challenging hike to Machu Picchu. This itinerary lasts 2 days and, actually, you only hike the first day for about 6 to 7 hours, depending on your physical condition, some people even make it in 4 hours! Check our article of all that you need to know about the Inca Trail for more information.
Now that you know that there are many other ways to get to Machu Picchu apart from the Inca Trail, which one is your favorite? If you need extra information for your next trip to Peru, contact us.