Everyone that visits Cusco go to see the world-famous Inca Ruins of Machu Picchu. There are two ways to do it (unless you have your own transportation): either take the train all the way to the ruins, or (and it is clearly preferable) you can hike 2-4 days on the famous Inca Tail, ending in Machu Picchu. In order to protect Machu Picchu, you are not allowed to go here on individual trekking, so you will have to join an organized tour to Machu Picchu. Tours to Machu Picchu are very popular so we recommend that you book your tour to Machu Picchu well ahead of time.
The Inca Trail of Machu Picchu
The Inca Trail is undoubtedly the most famous trek in South America and one of the most famous treks in the world. Start your trek in Cuzco and follow the Inca Trail on the 43-kilometer walk where you will experience mountain scenery, forests, subtropical jungles and of course fascinating Inca Ruins. Your end station is nothing short of magnificent: mysterious Machu Picchu and the Inca city in Peru. The permissions for Machu Picchu will be sold out fast, so book at least 5-6 months in advance!
When is the best time to trek to Machu Picchu?
You can trek to Machu Picchu almost all year, except for February. February is summer in Peru, which means a lot of rain in the mountains so the paths to Machu Picchu are closed. If you are in Peru in February, it is better to experience the Pacific Coast, the beaches and the jungle around Iquitos. It is best to trek to Machu Picchu in the winter, from May to November, as temperatures do not fluctuate much from summer to winter, but you avoid rainwater.
Is it hard to trek to Machu Picchu?
It is not the world's toughest trek, but it is recommended that you are in good physical shape. As a starting point, it is good if you can run around 5 km or work out regularly. After a couple of days of hiking, the view of Machu Picchu through the sun gate at sunrise will be your ultimate reward. During the trek you will see several Inca Ruins, each of which has its history, making the hard times on the route into memorable moments.
Which route to Machu Picchu should I choose?
The trip to Machu Picchu and the beautiful Inca ruins can take many different routes. Below you can read short highlights about some of the Machu Picchu routes. To learn more about each route, read all the details of the individual tours or contact us. Our travel consultants will be happy to give you more details and answer all your questions about Machu Picchu trekking.
Routes to Machu Picchu
The typical Salktantay Trek takes five days and four nights and is quite challenging but with amazing views. The highlight of this route is Nevada Salkantay, which is iconic and the highest point in the Peruvian Andes Mountains, 6.271 meters above sea level. Salkantay Trek is one of the most popular routes to Machu Picchu.
Lares trek:The Lares Trek is typically 3-4 days of trekking, where you will pass the local communities of the Andes Mountains. On this route you are guaranteed local and authentic experiences.
Choguequirao trek:This trek is one of the longer ones, typically 11-12 days. It is one of the toughest, but coolest treks to venture into. Choquequirao is an Inca area that is so exciting that it requires its very own visit. Combined with Machu Picchu, this trek is the most archaeological and historically exciting for you who are ready for challenges and excitement.
Inca Jungle trek:The Inca Jungle trek is for those who love adrenalin. On this route you get to experience zip-lining, river rafting and a biking downhill nearly 60 km. This trek is very popular among backpackers and other adventurous travellers.
Vilcabamba trek:Without a doubt, the least-used route to Machu Picchu. On this route you are guaranteed three things: silence, beautiful combinations of alpine and jungle landscapes and sore legs. This route is ideal for the experienced trekker who certainly is not afraid of long and heavy trekking tours.
Huchuy Qosco trek:A short and cosy trek to Huchuy Qosco ('Little Cusco' in Quechua), located just north of Cuzco in the Sacred Valley. Ideal for those who want to do a shorter trek or warm up before trekking Machu Picchu.