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Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu

Alternative Treks are amazing hiking tours in the Peruvian Andes that take place on ancient trails that are not the classic "Inca Trail". The Inca Trail itself travels along the mountains to the actual Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu. Because Alternative Treks do not go on the classic Inca Trail, they are not regulated by the government and do not require a permit. This means they are easier to book, more readily available, and equally as beautiful and rich in history. They are also less crowded than the classic Inca Trail.

Alternative Treks Usually End with a Bus Trip into Machu Picchu

The one important difference between the Alternative Treks and the Inca Trail Treks is that the hiking portion of your tour will end at or before the town of Aguas Calientes. The last night of the trek is spent in a hotel in the village and on your last day you will bus up to Machu Picchu with your guide for your tour of the ruins.

Option: Add a 2-Day Inca Trail Hike to Your Alternative Trek

You can choose an Alternative Trek and ALSO add on 2 additional days of hiking the classic Inca Trail. This means you will hike scenic and less crowded alternative trek trails and STILL get to walk through the Sun Gate into Machu Picchu in the early morning of your last hiking day! These add-on trek options are indicated by "Trek Name + Inca Trail".


Although challenging, the Salkantay trek is a favorite for its stellar views, unique lodging options, and what feels like a truly epic experience from start to finish.


A cultural flare: experience the thrill of hiking the Andes, and spend time in local villages learning more about this incredible culture.


To watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu is a must-do for most, as is the mind-boggling Rainbow Mountain. These trek options bring both this favorites together for you.


Choquekiraw ruins are larger than Machu Picchu, but are currently a hidden gem, and not easily accessible to visitors. Soon, a tram will be built and this will become as popular as Machu Picchu.


Known as the "Little Cusco" perched above the Sacred Valley, Huchuy Quosqo is one of our prettiest treks and is both shorter and easier for those with limited time. Great for families and those who want a taste of hiking.


Trekker Planning Resources

Are you ready to plan your Inca Trail journey to some of the most awe-inspiring sights of Peru?

We're taking the guesswork out of the process for you; start here to plan the best Inca Trail or Alternative trek for you—including choosing your hike, information on permits & tickets, fitness & altitude sickness, and FAQs.

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