The Inca Trail is arguably the most popular trek to Machu Picchu. Retracing the footsteps of the Incas on this esteemed trail is an experience only a few could enjoy as the access is limited to 200 people a day. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is also Peru’s crowded route, so if you like to be tranquil and daring at the same time, this might not be the trail for you.
So, here are five alternatives to the Inca Trail that you should consider when visiting Machu Picchu. These five Inca Trail Alternatives are perfect if you enjoy serene, unspoiled trails that offer breathtaking views.
The Salkantay Trek is the most preferred Inca Trail Alternative among all types of travelers. Since you don’t need a permit to hike this trek, it will be easy to book it at anytime. The trek is rewarding because you will see breathtaking scenery as you pass through Lake Humantay and get a glimpse of the Nevado Salkantay. It is a sacred Andean peak at 6,721- meters above sea level.
Hiking the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu can be a little difficult for inexperienced trekkers. However, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the chance to go on one of the top 25 treks in the world, as per National Geographic Travel Magazine, would you?
Inca Jungle Trail is another one of popular Inca Trail Alternatives. But with an entirely different ambiance geared toward adventure seekers. The Inca Jungle Trail mostly involves mountain biking, which is thrilling and combined with other activities like river rafting and zip lining.
There isn’t much trekking involved. Therefore, for hikers searching for a tough yet enjoyable experience before visiting Machu Picchu, the Inca Jungle Trail is the better choice.
The Lares Trek is one of the best Inca Trail Alternatives for experiencing Andean culture in its entirety. You can engage with local families because this trek isn’t as challenging as the other Machu Picchu hikes.
For instance, you can learn about their 500-year-old histories, weaving techniques, Alpaca wool dyeing processes, and much more! Lares Trek is also permit-free, so you can take advantage of its tranquil atmosphere without too much trouble.
The Choquequiaro Trek is a high altitude trek. Although this could be challenging inexperienced hikers because of numerous ascents and descents through stunning scenery and Inca ruins. On the ascent from the Apurimac Canyon towards Choquequirao, there are a few particularly challenging parts. As a result, it is also known as Machu Picchu’s “sister city.”
This is the best choice for people who have already traveled the standard route to Machu Picchu and are searching for a similar alternative.
One of the less traveled Inca Trail alternatives, Inca Quarry Trail is claimed to have the most breathtaking landscape of all the treks. You can see numerous irrigation facilities from the Inca era, the renowned Sun Gate or Inti punku, and the Inca Quarry that gave the route its name.
The Pucaqasa Pass (4,370 m) and the Kuychicassa Pass (4,450 m), which both surpass the famed Dead Woman’s Pass (4,212 m), the highest elevation on the Inca Trail. The former passes are high passes that the Inca Quarry trail passes.