Thousands of people visit Peru every year for a chance to hike one of the world’s most famous treks — the ancient Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. In order to plan a great trek and memorable experience, here’s an insider’s guide on what to expect, what to avoid, and how to get started in organizing your trip.
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Most travelers come to Peru to see Machu Picchu, the iconic ruins perched high above the Urubamba River. Most arrive by the ancient stone-paved route of the Inca Trail which passes through the Sun Gate after four days of arduous trekking. One could spend a week alone exploring the other ruins of the Sacred Valley, a corridor of villages, mountain peaks, and hiking routes above the Urubamba River.
Yet, this is just a small glimpse into what Peru has to offer. The Peruvian Amazon along the border of Brazil gives birth to many of the mighty tributaries of the Amazon River, full of wildlife, indeigenous cultures, and pristine wilderness. The north of Peru, still undiscovered by mainstream tourism, rewards any traveler who ventures off the beaten path with untouched ruins and vistas. Then down along Peru's West Coast, past beautiful beaches with year-round surfing, you'll arrive at the mysterious Nasca lines, immense geoglyphs carved into the desert sand.
Peru — a nation with abundant natural diversity, from coast, to mountains, to jungle — has long attracted lovers of the Great Outdoors. The Peruvian Andes, running like a backbone down the centre of the country, contain mesmerizing variations in landscape that make for some of the best trekking in the world. Cloud forests, 5000m+ cordilleras (mountain ranges), the world’s deepest canyon and the striking remains of ancient civilizations all await.
A visit to Machu Picchu is the highlight of most people’s trip to Peru. In fact, this ancient Inca Citadel attracts over a million visitors each year. Many visitors get there by way of the classic Inca Trail. Yet, there are numerous treks that take you there, each unique in their own right.
Southern Peru has a long list of both natural and man-made wonders. Come for Machu Picchu, but depart with the memories of the beautiful places scattered across the high, southern altiplano: countless ruins, vibrant local communities, and natural wonders that will open your eyes to the beauty of Peru.
If you’re looking for the best way to hike the Inca Trail, this classic route offers a unique approach which avoids the main crowds, and follows the ideal schedule for timing your visit to Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay trek is one of Peru’s best alternatives to the Inca Trail. Trek over a beautiful mountain pass at the foot of Mt. Salkantay before stopping at a local organic coffee plantation, followed by a visit to the Llactapata ruins. Finally, get up early the last day to catch sunrise at the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.
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Peru ~10 days, Peru - Nov 15 - Nov 23, 2017
Miguel is friendly and helpful. 1 of the best i have met. Carlos is nice too altho' due to language barrier, we didn't interact much.
i guess the best part of Miguel is he can take great pictures! now I have headaches with so many potential IG post-able photos!
As for Lima, Arturo definitely knows where the good local food is. we had a great time of food sampling.
Machu picchu & the sacred valley, Peru - Nov 18 - Nov 26, 2017
James, Mayra and the entire Quechua Trek team were incredibly helpful, responsive, and professional in setting up a trip customized to our needs. Everything went off without a hitch, in spite of very short notice and some real time adjustments. Our guide, Yilbert, and driver, Paul, were both the ultimate in professionalism and tailored the entire experience to our desires. In addition, Yilbert's historical knowledge, and deep cultural engagement made all the difference in our experience!
Peru ~10 days, Peru - Nov 15 - Nov 23, 2017
James and Mayra have been great throughout the itinerary planning process. Responsive and flexible, and they give very sensible suggestions. Our guide in Cusco Miguel was great too - he knows the area in and out and is quite resourceful in accommodating our requests (dinner choices, getting local SIM card, etc.)
Special touches were much appreciated, such as picnic lunch prepared by Quechua's private chef when we arrived, off the beaten path hikes in Yucay, great recommendations on dinner... read more
We would like to Hike inca trail to Machu Picchu, Amazon stay in jungle, Lima food tour, Lake Titicaca. Inca ruins. Adventure, camping, small group. Rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking. We also will be visiting Galapagos on the same trip either...
A couple visited Peru in October 2017
We are a family with three active teenage boys. We are looking for a 5 week holiday. We love seeing the world while being active (hiking, biking, white water rafting, snorkeling, zip lining etc.). Machu Pichu is a must and we would love any other...
Family of 2 adults and 3 children looking to visit Peru in July 2018
I am interested in a ten day trip to Peru. I would like to trek for five or six days in the Andes. My son and I are experienced trekkers. I would like a guide. The Ausangate trek looks like it could be a great fit for us.
Group of 2 friends visited Peru in July 2017
I am seeking a private guided tour on May 31 for two people starting 7-8am from Tambo del Inka hotel in Urubamba, to Pisaq Archaelogical Park, then back to Ollantaytambo ruins, then to train station in Ollantaytambo by 3pm. We have a train to Machu Picchu...
A couple visited Peru in May 2017
Would like to see some of the sacred valley while waiting in Cuzco. Would prefer to do a partial day trip. We are not sure if we will have any altitude issues so would like to get a simple guided tour of the valley towards the end of our stay in Cuzco. We...
Group of 4 visited Peru in May 2017