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Peru Travel

November 04, 2010

Great Alternative Treks to the Classic Inca Trail

By Guest Blogger

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View from the Top: Machu Picchu (Photodisc)

With Inca Trail passes filling up three months in advance (sometimes even faster during peak travel months), the last-minute Peru trekker can find themselves wondering what their options are when there's not a trail pass to be found. There are alternatives, and they are excellent.

If you want to stay within the same region as the Classic Inca Trail, consider the Salcantay trek. The reason it's not as popular as the Classic Inca Trail is the Salcantay does not hike directly into Machu Picchu. This is a big deal for some folks—and rightfully so; when you hike those steps up to the sun gate that overlook Machu Picchu after four days of trekking through the Andes, it's truly special. Keep in mind, the Inca built a road system stretching along the coast from Ecuador and into Chile and Argentina—an estimated 15,500 miles of roads. To put it simply, there is lots and lots and lots of "Inca Trail" throughout the region.
Total Distance: 45 miles
Highest Altitude: 15,252 feet

Cachiccata Trek
I also highly recommend the Cachiccata trek. This cultural four day/three night trek includes a visit to the Inca temples of Chokekillka and Intiwatana. It also visits local Peruvian communities. It's an easier, shorter option with hiking at lower altitudes. Rather than hike into Machu Picchu, you'll take the train at the end of this trek into the ruins. This is a more secluded and less-traversed trail—I'd be surprised if you ran into another traveler outside of your group.
Total Distance: 12.5 miles
Highest Altitude: 12,500 feet

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