Adventure Blog

Which Peru Trek Should I Choose?

Peru is a trekker’s paradise, especially in the Cusco area! There are so many amazing options to choose from that it can be a little daunting to figure out which trek is the perfect fit. Here's a guide to help you decide which itinerary may be right for you.


I really want to visit Machu Picchu
All of our itineraries include two days at Machu Picchu, helping you to maximize your experience in this sacred and sought-after city in the sky.


The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
Our private Inca Trail trek is one of the most coveted treks in the world. When it comes to epic hikes, it is hard to beat 4-5 days of trekking on a path that was hand-laid by Inca stonemasons over 500 years ago, along the sacred Urubamba River, up over a high pass to finally arrive at Machu Picchu at the Inti Punku (the Sun Gate). It just doesn't get much better than that! You should be an experienced hiker and be able to hike for a full day at elevation. The hike is tough but well worth the reward and expert chefs make sure you're well-nourished to complete the journey.

Best for: Those looking to hike an ancient and iconic trail and don’t mind sleeping in tents
Accommodation type: Comfort camping with linens, feather pillows, and even a hot shower tent and masseuse!
Highest point: Dead Woman's Pass at 13,830ft
Hiking days: 1 warm-up day, 4 days on trek
Private or group departure: Private, so group size is determined by you
Popularity: Very high
Pro tip: Sign up for our Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu a minimum of 6 months in advance to secure one of the limited permits on this route.

 

Sacred Lands of the Incas
The Sacred Urubamba River Valley is the most famous in the Cuzco region and was the heart of the Incan Empire that flourished just 500 years ago. This is the perfect place to explore some beautiful terrain and authentic communities. With ready access to local villages high up in the hills, it's easy to explore without a lot of hiking. Experience a pachamanca (traditional Peruvian cooking style), chat with friendly members of the Lamay community and explore Incan ruins along the way. The itinerary is designed with the flexibility to have a few different options every day, allowing you to adjust your experience to your interests. The boutique hotels and lodges are stunning.

Best for: Non-hikers or guests looking for shorter day hikes with lots of culture and scenery
Accommodation type: Luxury lodges and boutique hotels
Highest Point: Optional hike to Patacancha, pass at 14,646ft
Hiking days: As much or as little as you’d like
Private or group departure: Private, so group size is determined by you
Pro tip: Use this itinerary as a starting point for greater explorations of the Amazon or Lake Titicaca.

 


Salkantay Lodge To Lodge Trek
Salkantay peak is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range and is revered as one of the sacred mountain gods (apu’s) of the Incas. This trek crosses over a high pass offering trekkers close-up views of its immense glaciated flanks. From there, hikers descend from the alpine into the cloud forest and jungle valleys along ancient Incan footpaths leading to Machu Picchu. Along the way, you’ll have the chance to experience a Pachamama ceremony, explore coffee plantations and harvest your own tropical fruits. The trek is lodge-based with every comfort a trekker could hope for – even hot tubs available each night.

Best for: Hikers looking for a challenge and who love nature
Accommodation type: Luxury lodges with private rooms and bathrooms
Highest point: Salkantay Pass at 15,100 ft
Hiking days: 7
Private or group departure: Small group departure up to 12 guests on set dates
Popularity: Moderate
Pro tip: Our Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trek can be done with the aid of a horse until the final day when you enter the Inca Trail. Horses are not permitted on the old Inca Trail.

 


Ausangate Trek
The Ausangate region is one of the most spectacular places that we have ever visited. This is THE trek to do if you are an experienced and very fit hiker looking to get way off the beaten path. Every day yields jaw-dropping scenery like up-close encounters with the glacially covered Ausangate massif, the striated sediments of the kaleidoscopic Vinicunca (Rainbow) Mountain, and the endless vistas across the Red Valley. Supported by a herd of llamas, you’ll only need to carry a light daypack with water and layers for each day’s hike. Wild alpacas and vicunas graze in the high alpine meadows and glacial lakes punctuate the landscape that you’ll move through on each day of this trek. Each of the rustic yet comfortable lodges you stay at is owned and run by the communities of the Ausangate region. Each of the four lodges along the trek feels more spectacular than the previous. Local shepherds and villagers will join you along the hike allowing for the unique opportunity to learn about their traditions and myths.

Best for: Those wanting an authentic experience at high altitudes and far away from any crowds.
Accommodation type: Rustic yet comfortable lodges. The lodges are heated by fireplaces, have no electricity, and are lit by candles and solar lanterns. There is hot water for showers in your private bathroom each night.
Highest Points: Palomani Pass at 16,732ft, Warmisaya Pass at 16,355 ft, Vinicunca Pass at 16,339 ft, and Anta Pass at 16,273 feet
Hiking days: 1 warm-up day on the KM 104 trek to Machu Picchu, 5 days on trek
Private or group departure: Small group departure up to 16 guests but usually less. Private departures are also possible - please inquire.
Popularity: Low
Pro tip: Nearly the entire length of this trek is above 14,000 ft. You must acclimatize in the Cuzco area before embarking on this trek and should be a very experienced hiker.


​Hopefully, this guide will help you sort which itinerary might be best for you. These four treks are just a sampling of some of our favorites in the Cuzco region. Peru also offers trekking in the Cordillera Blanca and Huayhuash in the North, opportunities to stay at a research station in the Amazon, or relax at a luxury lodge on the banks of Lake Titicaca.

Ready to go? Let me know!

Your partner for all things Peru,

Chris Moriarty

 

 

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