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Hiking Trails to Machu Picchu

The 4 top hiking trails to Machu Picchu in 2024

Machu Picchu is the most prominent destination in Peru and there are trails that will take you to well-trodden destinations and off-the-beaten-path trails. The archaeological center of Machu Picchu is located in the cloud forests of the Sacred Valley of the Incas at an altitude of 2400 masl and is surrounded by mountains such as Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu, Phutucusi and in the lower part with the Willcamayo River (sacred river), which makes this place unique and wonderful.

History of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu after the Spanish invasion was abandoned by the Incas and in that period of time it was forgotten entirely and became the lost city of the Incas until 1900. For more than 400 years there were some explorers and looters of treasures, but due to the dense vegetation and the inaccessible territory, it was difficult to enter this place. The story goes that until 1970 only some explorers arrived, one of the most notable is the peasant Melchor Arteaga who discovered this place but due to economic interest he did not say anything to the authorities Until the arrival of the professor from the United States Hiram binguam who rediscovered in the year 1911 who carried out excavations between the years 1912 and 1915 taking 15 thousand photos and found a lot of ceramics, gold and silver objects, already in the year 1915 with the authorization of the government Peruvians decide to transport to the United States for a more in-depth study but unfortunately, they do not return to Peru.

Nowadays you can make the trip from Cusco to Ollantaytambo by bus and then take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes and visit Machu Picchu for a whole day, however, there are other trails that will also take you to the citadel of Machu Picchu such as The Classic Inca Trail of 4 days, which will enter the most preserved Inca trail in Peru where you will pass through Inca centers and endemic forests to the famous Puerta del Sol (intipunku)

Salkantay Trail, There is the option of 5 days and 4 days where you will enter lagoons, snow-capped mountains, thermal baths, tropical forests, and Inca centers. As you can see, it is a complete trail since it has everything necessary for a hiker.

Choquequirao Trail, there is also the option of 9, 8.7 days where you will travel through one of the deepest canyons in Peru to the archaeological center of Choquequirao, considered the sister of Machu Picchu. In general, there will be 2 Inca centers in just one trip.

Lares Trail, This trail will take you to less trodden paths where you will pass through beautiful lagoons and snow-capped mountains and what makes this trail special is the living culture that has survived hundreds of years.

Here we show you these trails in more detail.

Classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu 4 days

One of the best-known hiking routes in the world, the Inca Trail (also known as Qhapaqñan) begins in Colombia and continues through Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile before reaching the magnificent Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. UNESCO has designated this road as a World Heritage Site.

Along the Inca Trail, you’ll see tropical species such as orchids and eucalyptus, as well as rainforests and historic stone paths once used by the Incas. There are also impressive mountains, a wide variety of birds, and lush cloud forests. There are spectacled bears on the Inca Trail.

You will also visit a number of interesting historical sites:

The Inca Trail is a tourist hotspot for 11 months and is closed for maintenance in February compared to Machu Picchu which is open all year round. It is one of the most popular hiking routes in the world. The Inca Trail is at its best between April and October. The road is closed for repairs every February. One of the best things you can do in Peru is explore the country’s diverse landscapes and experience its unique flora and animals up close.

How would you describe the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is a historic path built by ancient men that leads directly to Machu Picchu. Five hundred people pass by every day. A minimum of four months in advance is recommended for reservations.

Details of Inca Trail 4 days

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu 5 days

The Salkantay Classic Trail is a well-traveled path that hikers take to get from Cusco, the Inca capital, to Machu Picchu. At its highest point, the Salkantay Classic Pass, the 46-mile-long Salkantay Classic Trek reaches an altitude of 15,090 feet (4,600 meters). While most people spend between four and six days on the classic Salkantay trek, the trip can be extended to a mammoth eight-day expedition through the Peruvian Andes if you wish.

The Salkantay Trek Classic is unique in its kind due to its isolation. On the Salkantay Classic trip, you will meet between fifty and a hundred more travelers every day, or maybe more. Add to that the fact that you will visit some incredible places, such as the crystal clear waters of Lake Humantay and the winding trails of the desolate valley of Huayraqmachay, continuing the journey towards the jungle where you can visit the hot springs of Santa Teresa, to continue to the next day to the ruins of Llactapata and ending at the imposing Machu Picchu. This is the trip for you if you want to see the wilder side of South America.

Details of Salkantay Trek 5 days

Choquequirao trek 8 days

Choquequirao is considered the sister of Machu Picchu and both Inca sites were very important in Inca times today the trail can be done in 9, to 8,5,4,3 days. The Choquequirao Archaeological Complex, which dates back to the 15th century and is located at the top of the Vilcabamba mountain range, can only be reached on foot. Although Choquequirao has terraces, temples, plazas, and aqueducts like Machu Picchu, there is a very big difference between the two: around 3,300 people go to Machu Picchu every day, but only 100 to 150 people go to Choquequirao on average.

In the native language, Quechuan, Choquequirao means “Golden Cradle.” The city was built in the late 1500s when the Inca kingdom was at its strongest. It is in the Vilcabamba Valley. Experts think that it was built about the same time as Machu Picchu. Like its sister site, Choqueaquirao was not found by Spanish conquistadors. Instead, the story goes that the Spanish traveler Juan Arias Diaz found it in 1710. Due to how far away the site is, excavation didn’t begin until the 1970s. Since then, work has been going on to uncover and fix up big parts of the ruins that are still covered by jungle.

Details of Choquequirao trek 7 days

Lares trek to Machu Picchu 4 days

On the Lares route, we will approach rural Quechua communities, where you will have the opportunity to live, savor, and breathe their unaltered customs and traditions, despite these modern times.

After crossing the cold glaciers and mountains of the Lares Valley, you will be able to immerse yourself in the warm climate, which characterizes the great jungle area of the Inca trail.

The enigmatic archaeological complexes will give you a beautiful vision of the ancient history that dominated these imposing lands. Each trail is adorned with beautiful orchid flowers, crystalline waterfalls, the enveloping mist of the cloud forest, and mountain landscapes that will take your breath away.

The ancient Incas used this pilgrimage route to the sacred city of Machu Picchu; If you dare to explore it, you will feel that disconnection from the chaotic world is the best thing that could have happened to you.

You will not regret it!

Details of Lares trek 4 days