Machu Picchu the 6 outstanding alternative routes

There is nothing like making the trek to get to Machu Picchu, such is the case that the classic road through the Inca Trail has become very famous in recent years. However, some time ago a traveler could plan their walk from one day to another but today the government has taken measures to limit the damage to the trails with an access regulation of 500 people per day including porters. One fact is that permits in high summer season are exhausted months in advance.

Fortunately, the Incas were builders of main roads that opened trails along the Andes, and many of them are alternative routes to Machu Picchu (or at least one is as close as a quick train ride). Here are six alternatives, most of which do not require permits and can be arranged through any reputable provider in Cusco. Some of these excursions are available in multiple variations and can be adapted to meet a particular fitness level. Next, the 6 most popular versions of walks.

  • The Salkantay trek: The famous Inca trail is known for the diversity of its ecosystem rich in flora and fauna. The snow-capped Salkantay with 6, 271 meters high stands out for being one of the most sacred Apus within the Andean religious traditions and to this day is still venerated. The route is impressive, as it crosses the beautiful Valley of Mollepata and Salkantay at 4, 572 m.s. In the cold of the heights the path descends towards a subtropical cloud forest where it meets an old Inca road (part of the original road Qaphac Ñan, which was connected to the ends of the empire) which leads us to the re-discovered ruins of Llactapata. From this point one can observe laterally the entire archaeological complex of Machu Picchu. The return downhill ends at the train station, where we will find a transport service that runs along the Urubamba River to the base of Machu Picchu, the famous town of Aguas Calientes.
    Level of Difficulty: Medium to difficult.
  • The Lares route: Thousands of passengers every year cross the Sacred Valley on their way from the city of Cusco to Machu Picchu famous for its beauty. Within the beauty of the northern end of the Sacred Valley lies the Valley of Lares. Inside Lares everything remains the same, the villagers wear their traditional Andean clothing, they do the sowing of potatoes by hand, they raise herds of llamas and alpacas. In addition, the weaving is carried out just as the past generations did. The walk begins in the city of Lares where we will find thermal waters and while we advance we will observe wonderful views in the foreground, among them the Veronica Snowy and several high altitude lakes. The trek ends near the historical ruins of Ollantaytambo, and from there the railway to Machu Picchu. 
    Level of Difficulty: Medium.
  • The One Day Trail: The normal Inca Trail crossing lasts 4 days although it is preferable to do it in 5. Travelers wishing to observe two of the most famous successes of the famous trek but for those who have little time could make the trek It starts at Km 104 of the railway to Machu Picchu. After three hours of road leading to Wiñay Wayna, a spectacular site with stone ruins and curved agricultural terraces that cling to the Urubamba River. Hikers can easily choose between walking through Machu Picchu or spend a night on the trail, so that at dawn, they can enter the lost city through the Puerta del Sol, the spectacular entrance for hikers of the Inca Trail. Take into account: In order to carry out the one-day Inca trail, it is necessary to request the daily permit and reserve it in advance (only 500 permits are granted)
    Difficulty Level: Medium
  • The Vilcabamba Route: The walk lasts approximately 7 days, covering an area of 60 kilometers that requires a lot of physical effort. A two-day walk begins in the city of Cachora and crosses the Apurimac River canyon about a kilometer and a half from the ruins of Choquequirao (“Cuna de Oro”) that has become famous for the similarity with the Citadel. of Machu Picchu. We continue, the path along the Inca stone roads through the Cordillera Vilcabamba, which is similar to what was once explored by Hiram Bingham. Finally, the walk ends at the Machu Picchu railroad or with a short walk. It is important to mention that hikers cross a mountain range, rivers, valleys and diverse biozones such as: Cloudy forests, high altitude grasslands and the Puna.
    Level of Difficulty: Difficult.
  • The Hike Lodge: The hike is ideal for those who want to be explorers during the day and at night rest peacefully with all the comforts of a hotel accompanied by a delicious cocktail added to that if you are someone who does not mind paying for To stay in private inns with all the services during the route then, this walk is definitely for you. The view during the trek is impressive, you will observe in the foreground the Sacred Apu and its glaciers. The entire trail reaches an altitude of 4572 masl before reaching a wonderful valley where there are coffee and banana plantations. As for the private luxury accommodation near Machu Picchu are generally included in the price of a tour package.
    Level of Difficulty: Medium.
  • El Camino del Chaski (Cachicata): During the Inca Empire, if you wanted to send a message or communicate with another Inca, it was done through the famous Chasquis, men who were the fastest runners in the empire. Legend has it that the Inca was once able to dine fresh fish from the Pacific Ocean, which was more than 400 kilometers away. The hike presents a high altitude and follows the paths that the Chasquis could have traveled. During the trip, we found little water channels, buildings and Inca quarries. Here you can see first-hand how the Incas obtained the stone they used in their construction projects. Most versions of the Chaski Route include a stop at the spectacular waterfall called Perolniyoc and its nearby ruins. The trail ends in Ollantaytambo, where hikers can visit one of the most famous sets of Inca ruins before taking the train to Machu Picchu.
    Level of Difficulty: Medium.

Source: Andina


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