Inca Trails Less Traveled
Let's face it: The Inca Trail is being loved to death. Besides, it's pricey. But there are alternative routes to reach Machu Picchu.
Prices and availability for all of these trips depend upon demand:
- A longer, but less strenuous version of the Inca Trail leaves from km 82, following the rio Urubamba through lush jungle and past archaelogical sites. It joins the main Inca Trail after climbing steeply to Wiñay Wayna from km 104, the trek takes four days.
- An even longer, more spectacular approach to the Inca Trail, climbing over 4800 m high passes near the magnificent glacier-clad peak of Salkantay (6271 m), starts from the village of Mollepata, off the main Cusco-Abancay road. This weeklong Salkantay trek joins the classic Inca Trail after three days.
- The Lares valley trek spends three days walking between rural andean villages in the sacred valley, past hot springs, archaelogical sites, lush lagoons and gorges. Trekkers finish by taking the train to Aguas Calientes from Ollantaytambo. This is more of a cultural trek, not a technical one, though the highest mountain pass (4450 m) is nothing to sneeze at.
- The four-day Inka Jungle Trail is a heard-stopping trek that starts off with a dizzying mountain-bike ride from the abra de Malaga pass (4319m) down to Santa Maria. From Santa Maria, you'll walk through Amazonian jungle to Santa Teresa, camping by hot springs, then ride a cable car across the river and follow disuset train tracks to Aguas Calientes.