Southern Peru is a wonderful area for trekking with plenty of options from easy strolls through villages, to multi-day walks between lodges in the mountains and longer hikes staying in remote camping spots. Most people have heard of the Inca Trail which is an amazing walk but don’t despair if permits have sold out, there are 500 per day issued and they sell out fast, there are plenty of alternative trails which can be just as good if not better.
Classic Inca Trail
This walk is popular for a reason it is spectacular and has it all – mountains, ruins and of course Machu Picchu itself. Travel along original Inca trails over windswept mountain passes, through lush tropical jungle, past bustling villages and lonely ruins arriving at the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. We suggest doing this was over five days, you leave later and thus avoid the crowds, stay at quiet camp sites away from the masses, arrive at Machu Picchu at the quietest time of day in the late afternoon and get a further full day at the citadel the following day.
A beautiful five day trek through high mountains and an alternative walk to Machu Picchu. This trek goes past glaciers, over Salkantay pass at 4650m before heading down into tropical coffee growing areas. Visit Llactapata, an Inca site that has only recently been excavated and one which very few people visit, this area also gives unique views of Machu Picchu. There are far less people doing this trek than the classic Inca Trail so days along the trail will be quiet. End at the base of the mountains upon which the citadel sits, the following day have a guided tour and explore the ruins. This walk can be done camping along the way or staying in remote comfortable mountain lodges.
A stunning five day trek through remote villages, experience Peru as it was in Incan times. On this walk travel through beautiful mountain scenery, meet traditional mountain communities and visit little known ruins. Life in this area is simple subsistence living, homes are low stone buildings and days are spent tending to alpaca, llama and crops. Quechua is still spoken, the language of the Incas, and traditional red ponchos woven by hand are worn. Relatively few people trek in this area so trails are quiet. End in the town of Ollantaytambo and catch the train to Machu Picchu for a full day of exploration. This walk can be done camping along the way or staying in remote mountain lodges. A good option for families as there is vehicle access along the way, walks can be as long or short as wanted.
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu
A challenging yet hugely rewarding seven day trek. This trek connects three fantastic Inca sites all discovered by Hiram Bingham over a 100 years ago - Choquequirao, Llactapata and Machu Picchu. This trek has big climbs and descents and walks along old Inca trails traversing the entire Vilcabamba range from the Apurimac to the Urubamba river. Choquequirao is a huge Inca ruin which very few people visit due to its location. It is bigger than Machu Picchu, has less visitors in a year than MP has in a day and large areas of the site remain covered in vegetation. There is a full day to explore Choquequirao, before moving on to the recently cleared Llactapata ruins and your first view of Machu Picchu. The final day is spent visiting the ruins at Machu Picchu.
This is a stunning five day trek around the 6,384 metre snow covered Ausangate massif, considered to be a mountain spirit by the Inca. This is a circular walk with three high passes over 5,000 metres, amazing views, big snowy mountains, hot springs, waterfalls and colourful lakes. The only people you will see on the trek are locals in traditional, colourful clothes when you pass through remote villages. During the walk see alpaca and llama, there is also the chance to see condors, Andean foxes and viscachas.