Machu Picchu Destination Management

There are literally thousands of miles of Inca trails that connect Machu Picchu with all the distant parts of the Incan Empire. Of all these trails, the Classic  trail was the main pilgrimage route from Cuzco, the capital of the Incan Empire to Machu Picchu. This became so popular in recent years that to prevent damage to the trail, the Park Authority introduced a permit system which strictly restricts traffic on this route.

With access to the classic trail restricted, interest in other Inca trails increased dramatically and there are now many trails that are well established competing for trekkers. We now operate three treks as well as the Classic Inca trail. These are the Salkantay trail, the Lares trail and the Vilcabamba trail. All of them are great treks and each is distinctly different.

Classic Inca Trail

  classic inca trail thumb
  • The classic Inca trail pilgrimage to Machu PicchuThe classic Inca trail pilgrimage to Machu Picchu
  • Fascinating Inca ruins along all sections of the trekFascinating Inca ruins along all sections of the trek
  • Climb Huayna Picchu for the best views of the ruinsClimb Huayna Picchu for the best views of the ruins
  • Duration: 7 Days
  • Availability: April-November

This is the original pilgrimage route for the Inca to their most sacred temple and is by far the most popular route being trekked by hundreds of visitors each day. This beautiful trail starts at the Kilometre 82 gate (so called because it is 82 km along the railroad from Cusco) and takes in many of the Inca ruins including Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupatamarca, Wiñay Wayna and of course Machu Picchu.

The route we recommend takes you all the way to Machu Picchu on day 3 with an overnight stop in Agua Calientes. This has the advantage of avoiding the crazy early morning stampede to the Sun Gate and also allows you to shower and clean up before touring the ruins.

Salkantay trek

  Map Machu via Salkantay and inca trail with icons
  • Trek through the quiet and remote Salkantay valleyTrek through the quiet and remote Salkantay valley
  • Fascinating range of bio-diversity from mountain to jungleFascinating range of bio-diversity from mountain to jungle
  • Private tour of Machu Picchu and chance to climb Huayna PicchuPrivate tour of Machu Picchu and chance to climb Huayna Picchu
  • Duration: 8
  • Availability: All year

The most popular alternative to the main Inca trail, National Geographic rated the Salkantay trail as one of the 25 Best Treks in the World. Effectively the back door route into Machu Picchu, the route travels under Salkantay mountain before continuing around the base of Machu Picchu.

One of the reasons the classic Inca trail is popular is the incredible diversity of the views and ecosystems and in this respect the Salcantay route is even better. The walk is dominated by the 20,500-feet-high Mount Salcantay and cuts through the beautiful Mollepata Valley and traverses past Salcantay at an altitude above 15,000 feet before traversing around the mountains to arrive at Aguas Calientes.

  Map Lares Trail with icons
  • Trek through the fabulously fertile Sacred ValleyTrek through the fabulously fertile Sacred Valley
  • Visit authentic villages where time has stood stillVisit authentic villages where time has stood still
  • Stunning mountain scenery along the whole of the trailStunning mountain scenery along the whole of the trail
  • Duration: 7
  • Availability: April-November

The Lares trek to Machu Picchu is a great way to get away from the crowds on the main Inca trail and experience life in traditional villages that is virtually unchanged from when Machu Picchu was built. Slightly easier than the Inca trail with a lot fewer steps the route it is still a challenging trek with great variety and interest around every turn.

The trek begins from a small village in the Sacred Valley and crosses two passes over 4000 metres passing through traditional, colourful villages, visiting the relaxing hot springs in Lares and finishes with a visit to Machu Picchu.

Vilcabamba trail

  Map Vilcabamba trail with icons
  • A tough hike taking you deep into the Cordillera mountainsA tough hike taking you deep into the Cordillera mountains
  • Remote and quiet route with exceptional mountain viewsRemote and quiet route with exceptional mountain views
  • Fascinating variety of plant and animal lifeFascinating variety of plant and animal life
  • Duration: 10
  • Availability: April-November

This week long walk covering 60 mountainous miles is not for the faint of heart or weak of legs. Starting at the town of Cachora, a two-day hike crosses the mile-deep Apurimac River canyon to the remote ruins of Choquequirao (the name means "Cradle of Gold" in Quechua), which have become famous in recent years for their similarity to Machu Picchu.

The route then continues through the sparsely populated Cordillera Vilcabamba, which looks much the same as when Hiram Bingham first explored here a century ago. The trek ends a short walk or train ride from Machu Picchu.

Proud to be part of...

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