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Hiking in Peru: Beyond the Inca Trail

Machu Picchu is arguably the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in South America. Tens of thousands of visitors each year reach its iconic location on foot, following the Inca Trail.
 
But this is by no means the only remarkable journey you can take through the mountains of Peru: the alternatives are just as impressive, and often much less crowded!
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Salkantay Trek
Machu Picchu is arguably the most famous UNESCO World Heritage Site in South America. In normal times, tens of thousands of visitors each year reach its iconic location on foot, following the Inca Trail. But this is by no means the only remarkable journey you can take through the mountains of Peru: the alternatives are just as impressive, and often much less crowded!
Salkantay Trek
Walking the entire route takes five days, and though you need a reasonable level of fitness due to the altitude, it is not uncomfortably strenuous. Highlights of the route include the shifting landscapes, from snowy peaks to tropical forests, spotting the birdlife of Collpabamba, and the chance to swim in pristine mountain lakes. Your first sighting of Machu Picchu from the ruins at Llactapata is absolutely unforgettable. The sacred site still seems hidden, well-protected, and the feeling of discovery and excitement is palpable, well worth the effort getting here.
Salkantay Trek
Walking the entire route takes five days, and though you need a reasonable level of fitness due to the altitude, it is not uncomfortably strenuous. Highlights of the route include the shifting landscapes, from snowy peaks to tropical forests, spotting the birdlife of Collpabamba, and the chance to swim in pristine mountain lakes. Your first sighting of Machu Picchu from the ruins at Llactapata is absolutely unforgettable. The sacred site still seems hidden, well-protected, and the feeling of discovery and excitement is palpable, well worth the effort getting here.
Salkantay Trek
Walking the entire route takes five days, and though you need a reasonable level of fitness due to the altitude, it is not uncomfortably strenuous. Highlights of the route include the shifting landscapes, from snowy peaks to tropical forests, spotting the birdlife of Collpabamba, and the chance to swim in pristine mountain lakes. Your first sighting of Machu Picchu from the ruins at Llactapata is absolutely unforgettable. The sacred site still seems hidden, well-protected, and the feeling of discovery and excitement is palpable, well worth the effort getting here.
Machu Picchu
Walking the entire route takes five days, and though you need a reasonable level of fitness due to the altitude, it is not uncomfortably strenuous. Highlights of the route include the shifting landscapes, from snowy peaks to tropical forests, spotting the birdlife of Collpabamba, and the chance to swim in pristine mountain lakes. Your first sighting of Machu Picchu from the ruins at Llactapata is absolutely unforgettable. The sacred site still seems hidden, well-protected, and the feeling of discovery and excitement is palpable, well worth the effort getting here.
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The Lares Valley
Machu Picchu is a must-see in Peru, but you may well decide to visit the site on a day tour and enjoy your trekking elsewhere. If that’s the case, why not consider the Lares Valley? The Lares Trek is ideal for walkers who want to see Andean life and landscapes without too much exertion
The Lares Valley
The best routes take two to three days, and they give you the chance to interact with local Andean communities, which haven’t changed much for centuries. No permits are required, and along the way you’ll learn about traditional Peruvian weaving, hear Quechua being spoken, and take a dip in the natural thermal springs at Aguas Calientes.
The Lares Valley
The best routes take two to three days, and they give you the chance to interact with local Andean communities, which haven’t changed much for centuries. No permits are required, and along the way you’ll learn about traditional Peruvian weaving, hear Quechua being spoken, and take a dip in the natural thermal springs at Aguas Calientes.
The Lares Valley
The best routes take two to three days, and they give you the chance to interact with local Andean communities, which haven’t changed much for centuries. No permits are required, and along the way you’ll learn about traditional Peruvian weaving, hear Quechua being spoken, and take a dip in the natural thermal springs at Aguas Calientes.
The Lares Valley
The best routes take two to three days, and they give you the chance to interact with local Andean communities, which haven’t changed much for centuries. No permits are required, and along the way you’ll learn about traditional Peruvian weaving, hear Quechua being spoken, and take a dip in the natural thermal springs at Aguas Calientes.
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The Huchuy Qosqo Trek
The Huchuy Qosqo Trek is a short and sweet route to Huchuy Qosqo (Little Cuzco) in the Sacred Valley. Some visitors like to do this as a preparatory trek before tackling the Inca Trail or Salkantay Trek, but it’s well worth doing in its own right.
The Huchuy Qosqo Trek
Huchuy Qosqo is a large archaeological site, and it is believed to have been built during the reign of the Incan Emperor Viracocha in the 15th century. This site can only be reached on foot or horseback, but at its heart is a well-preserved royal estate. You can still see the Great Hall, the store houses, and the irrigation channels and reservoirs. The ruins’ mountainside location is pretty dramatic, too.
The Huchuy Qosqo Trek
Huchuy Qosqo is a large archaeological site, and it is believed to have been built during the reign of the Incan Emperor Viracocha in the 15th century. This site can only be reached on foot or horseback, but at its heart is a well-preserved royal estate. You can still see the Great Hall, the store houses, and the irrigation channels and reservoirs. The ruins’ mountainside location is pretty dramatic, too.
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The Choquequirao Trek
Our fourth and final recommendation, the Choquequirao Trek, is for those who want a physical challenge in Peru. There are multiple variations, taking four to eight days, all of which start at Choquequirao and end at Machu Picchu.
The Choquequirao Trek
The Inca archaeological site of Choquequirao was built in the 15th to 16th centuries by Pachacuti, the same emperor who commissioned Machu Picchu. High in the mountains and relatively unknown to most tourists, it’s interesting to compare the two cities.
The Choquequirao Trek
The Inca archaeological site of Choquequirao was built in the 15th to 16th centuries by Pachacuti, the same emperor who commissioned Machu Picchu. High in the mountains and relatively unknown to most tourists, it’s interesting to compare the two cities.
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Visit Peru
Peru has a vast amount to offer, from its Andean peaks to Amazon Rainforest. Its ancient civilisations and thriving cultural traditions further enhance the country’s offering. We highly recommend that you take the time to explore the different regions, immersing yourself in adventures on foot as well as by road.

Your time is precious and with a world to see, we understand the importance of getting it absolutely right for you first time. We would love to hear from you.

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Email: inspireme@journeysmiths.co.uk