Booking a place on the world-famous Inca Trail is now one of the hottest tickets around! Ever since numbers were restricted, getting a permit for the trail in UK summer months (Peru’s dry season) has proved increasingly difficult. This year, all dates in April to mid August have already now sold out!
But, fear not, Journey Latin America now offers an unrivalled range of alternative treks in Peru. See below for some of our favourites…
8 Great Alternative “Inca Trails”
1) The Salkantay Trek
Hiking to Machu Picchu “via the back door”, this is now a very popular alternative to the Inca Trail. So much so, there are rumours that a permit system may also soon need to be introduced here.
- Where: from Cusco, hike around the Cordillera Vilcabamba’s highest peak (Salkantay, 6241m).
- We like: contrasting scenery - descend from jagged high Andean peaks to sub-tropical valleys.
- More time: continue on into the Amazon and stay at the award-winning Refugio Amazonas.
- Price: 4 nights from £395 pp + flights.
2) Trek to Machu Picchu in style
No camping here, but staying in comfortable mountain lodges all the way. Six days of strenous hiking along the "Salkantay" route (altitudes from 2000m - 4600m), with outdoor jacuzzis to ease the pain!
- Where: from Cusco, crossing an amazing 9 different ecosystems en route to Machu Picchu.
- We like: the comfort - great for those who prefer beds and hot water, to a night under canvas!
- More time: head to the Colca Canyon, stay at Orient Express’ smart new “Casitas del Colca”.
- Price: 6 nights from £1260 pp + flights.
3) The Choquequirao Trek
A challenging, mule-supported trek to what is arguably the most spectacularly located of all Inca sites - Choquequirao - perched high on a mountain side, surrounded by dense foliage.
- Where: from Cusco, traversing the dramatic, steep-sided Apurimac canyon en route.
- We like: still only partly excavated, arriving at the site gives you a real feeling of discovery.
- More time: treat yourself after; go by luxury train to Machu Picchu and stay at the Pueblo hotel.
- Price: 4 nights from £268 pp + flights (12-night trip with Machu Picchu, from £1975 pp incl flts).
4) The Weavers Trail
Also known as the Lares Trek, it rivals the Inca Trail for scenery, but passes through remote “living” Andean communities rather than deserted Inca ruins. Hot springs to soothe your limbs.
- Where: from Cusco, into the Lares valleys, ending at the hilltop Inca citadel of Ollantaytambo.
- We like: a glimpse of ancient rural traditions, which have changed little since Inca times.
- More time: continue to Lake Titicaca and experience the local Llachón community (homestay).
- Price: 3 nights from £243 pp + flights.
5) The Ausangate Trek
A demanding trek, including three high passes, around Peru’s most sacred peak - the impressive Ausangate (6384m). Glaciers, lakes, herds of alpacas and colourful, traditional Andean villages.
- Where: from Cusco, hiking in the Cordillera Vilcanota, the last barrier before the Amazon basin.
- We like: possible as a 3, 4 or 6-night trek, with wonderful close-up views of stunning Ausangate.
- More time: start off and acclimatize first in the Sacred Valley and a train trip to Machu Picchu.
- Price: 4 nights from £624 pp + flights.
6) Biking and hiking to Machu Picchu
A great new option for this summer - bike through sub-tropical coffee and fruit plantations, hike along old Inca trails and over high passes - ending at Machu Picchu. Return to Cusco by train.
- Where: from Cusco to Machu Picchu in four days; by bike, on foot and returning by train.
- We like: a great mix of outdoor activities, with fabulous scenery, Inca ruins and hot springs.
- More time: for yet more adrenalin, add a 4-night rafting trip on the exciting Rio Apurimac.
- Price: 3 nights from £501 pp + flights.
7) The Huayhuash Trek
The setting for “Touching the Void”, this tough high-Andean trek takes you into some of Peru’s most beautiful mountains, skirting massive snow-draped peaks and aquamarine glacial lakes.
- Where: from Huaraz, north of Lima, high into the Cordillera Huayhuash (passes up to 5200m).
- We like: the stunning, remote wilderness setting. Or try, the shorter “Santa Cruz circuit”.
- More time: continue north to the little-visited pre-Inca sites of Kuelap, Chan Chan or Sipán.
- Price: 9 nights from £947 pp + flights.
8) Llama Trek
Trek with llamas through the Cordillera Blanca’s fertile glacial valleys; passing icy crags, forests, glacial lakes and isolated communities. End at the pre-Inca site (800 BC) Chavín de Huántar.
- Where: from Huaraz, explore the beautiful mountains and valleys of the Cordillera Blanca.
- We like: our trekking companions (the llamas!) and exploring a fascinating, little-known site.
- More time: head into the Amazon, to take the luxury new “Aqua” river cruise from Iquitos.
- Price: 2 nights from £369 pp + flights.
NOTE: All prices are quoted in £GBP, per person and based on double occupancy. Prices include accommodation with most meals, land transport and guides (unless stated otherwise). All flights are extra. Please let us know if you need flight prices, or high-res images for any of these.
* INCA TRAIL REGULATIONS (2008)
- Limited to 500 people per day: made up of trekkers (40%) and personnel (60% - guides, porters, cooks etc). This means, in reality, around 200 places for trekkers per day.
- Closed in February for maintenance. Bookings can only be made for the current season.
- Only bookable through authorized agencies. Payment of a non-refundable £150 deposit, full name and passport details must be given at the time of booking.
* Price: 3-night “Classic Inca Trail” packages from £305 pp + flights.
* Inca Trail availability correct on 08 April 2008.
JOURNEY LATIN AMERICA
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