The Best Routes to Trek towards Machu Picchu

Your legs might be ready for take a trek to the Peruvian wonder, but you are not sure which path take as a friend of you told you about quarries, but you also heard about a snow mountain. One said it can be done in 1 day, but a blog post says seven. In order to have the best experience and considering your hiking skills among other concerns, View Latin America presents the best hiking routes towards Machu Picchu.


Take the original path

The Classic Inca Trail is a 4-day adventure by the high mountains and orchid valleys is the iconic trek to Machu Picchu. Each day, the 500 permits for this hike are redeemed by travelers coming from all around the world and the travel agencies’ staff of porters, cooks, and tour guides. Originally, this path was used to connect towns all around the Inca country, meaning you will find archaeological ruins along your way in each day.

Stone steps might be the hardest challenge to face, as well as the high mountain passes. This option is pretty recommendable for those who don’t mind crowds, daredevil travelers and camping fans. Remember this hike must be booked in advance and it closes during February for maintenance works.


  • – Distance: 42 kilometers (26 miles).
  • – Time: 4 days.
  • – Highest Point: Dead Woman’s Pass (4200 meters, 13770 feet).
  • – Difficulty: Medium to hard.
  • – Features: Ruins, plantations, lagoons, jungle, orchids, Sun Gate.

Classical, but short

The Short Inca Trail is a great option for those who are short on time but still want that selfie in the famous Inca Trail. Starting in Chachabamba, an archaeological site exclusive to this route, connects some kilometers later with the last part of the Inca Trail. A big advantage of this route is that there are no high altitudes in your way, making pretty suitable for beginners and families.

As its longer counterpart, it must be booked in advance to avoid getting beaten to the draw. It is also closed on February. By booking permits for you and your travel companion (250 are released for each day only) you will be allowed to step in the route old Inca messengers used to arrive to your final destination.


  • – Distance: 13 kilometers (8.1 miles).
  • – Time: 1 day of hike and 1 day for Machu Picchu visit.
  • – Highest Point: Dead Woman’s Pass (2700 meters, 13770 feet).
  • – Difficulty: Easy
  • – Features: Ease of hike, jungle sceneries, Sun Gate

Hike under the snowy god’s sight

Salkantay is part of the mountain gods, the apus, in Andean faith. It is always mentioned in rituals, and also is the most beautiful snow peak of Cusco. Once you go through the Mollepata valley, the scene of the Salkantay welcomes you in the highest pass of all the routes. As your steps descend, the cloud forest transform your surroundings from solitary lands, to thriving jungle. The Llactapata ruins are on your sight, and after some kilometers, you reach Aguas Calientes, the village next to the ruins.

You might need strong legs to resist the whole Salkantay Trek, but you will have mules to assist you if needed. This choice also includes a visit the turquoise Humantay Lagoon, with an outstanding landscape of quiet waters reflecting two snow peaks.


  • – Distance: 55 kilometers (34 miles).
  • – Time: from 5 days.
  • – Highest Point: Salkantay Pass (4600 meters, 15100 feet).
  • – Difficulty: Medium to hard.
  • – Features: snow, subtropical forest, Humantay lagoon, fewer crowds.

Two marvels in one trek

The exposure of the Choquequirao citadel to the world changed Peruvian archaeology, being called the sister of Machu Picchu. Located on the top of a high hill in the boundary of subtropical forests, it is the prize for those extreme voyagers who embrace this challenge.

By selecting the Choquequirao Trek, you will visit two of the most important Inca citadels in Peru in just a simple hike. In addition, flexibility is ensured, you can shorten or lengthen your stay to add near routes as you desire. It is important to bring with you sunscreen and other items to protect yourself of the direct and intense sunlight.


  • – Distance: 65 kilometers (40.3 miles).
  • – Time: from 4 days.
  • – Highest Point: Yanama Pass (4670 meters, 15320 feet).
  • – Difficulty: Hard
  • – Features: physical challenge, fruit plantations, extreme hiking, Choquequirao ruins

Head to the stone quarry

This path explores the western side of Cusco, taking you by the newest trekking path in the market. Main attractions include the Cachicata quarry, used to get all those stones to build houses, temples, stone paths, water channels, and more. Get a cool surprise at the Perolniyoc waterfall, right there to splash a little and refresh yourself in the Cachicata Trek!


  • – Distance: 25 kilometers (15.5 miles).
  • – Time: 4 days.
  • – Highest Point: Chancachuco Pass (4500 meters, 14760 feet).
  • – Difficulty: Medium
  • – Features: Andean sceneries, waterfall, quarries

Lares and Andean people

Touching experiences wait for those who prefer the Lares Trek to Machu Picchu. Your footprints will reach northern Cusco, in the lands of the Sacred Valley and will be also in the road next to villages of highlanders. The laugh of small children on typical clothes and authentic llamas and alpacas being raised is the main remark of Lares. Natural sceneries don’t fall behind other paths, as you can spot the Mount Veronica along streams, meadows and cold breezes.


  • – Distance: from 33 kilometers (20.5 miles).
  • – Time: from 4 days.
  • – Highest Point: Dead Woman’s Pass (4450 meters, 14600 feet).
  • – Difficulty: Medium.
  • – Features: Andean communities, quiet nature.

Traveler tip: Keep on mind the best time to hike any route in Cusco: from March to November, during the dry season, due to safety and stormy weather.


Have you made your choice for your next hiking route to Machu Picchu? Pack your loved shoes and your Indiana jones hat and go for it. View Latin America offers these and more adventure for single travelers, families, couples and friends. Contact us!