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 in 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 2017 - family trip for robert bass, Peru - Jun 8 - Jun 20, 2017
I have had the opportunity of planning travel with several established companies previously, ie Backroads, Vermont BicycleTours, Costa Rica Expeditions. The experience we had with Quechua Treks / Mayra was EXCEPTIONAL. She truly designed an itinerary specific for my family which was unique and certainly not the traditional Inca Trail/Machu Pichu visit. The opportunity to do the Lares Trek allowed us to see amazing countryside and visit with actual native folks. This was only possible because... read more
Inca trail to machu picchu - 5-day itinerary, Peru - Jun 4 - Jun 17, 2017
The Peru trip was amazing! It beat expectations and was a marvel on so many levels. Our guide, Aldo, was a huge bonus as he was an amazing person to spend two weeks with escorting us through his magical country.
Peru sacred valley - urubamba, pisaq, ollantaytambo, Peru - May 31 - May 31, 2017
The service provided was the best I have ever encountered. I highly recommend using the kimkim service in Peru and particularly Mayra and James MacKender.
Mayra was terrific to work with. She was very responsive during a very difficult time in Peru. A strike in the Sacred Valley was announced for the same time I had booked a tour with kimkim. Mayra showed empathy and concern and worked with me to plan alternate contingencies and to keep me updated on the latest news. I heard from her... read more
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
My wife and I would like the experience to hike and backpack the Inca Trail all the way to Machu Pichu and maybe able to see the Amazon from Peru. We were thinking in arriving in Lima, then going to Cuzco, stay in the Sacred Valley and start the hiking with...
A couple looking to visit Peru in May 2018
Hello, We like to hike to the Machu Picchu from Cusco. We are interested to do the Lares trail as a 2nd option of the Inca trail that is fully booked for those date. We live in Las Vegas Nevada, we both like to hike at the Red Rock Canyon. We will start...
A couple looking to visit Peru in August 2017
We'd like to see Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu, and the Amazons. We'd like to visit museums, ruins, tour the amazon for some wildlife, zip lining and water rafting. Don't want to miss Machu Picchu or the Amazon. I am 26, excited for the Peruvian cuisine...
A couple looking to visit Peru in July 2017