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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Lima and machu picchu, Peru - Jul 26 - Aug 2, 2017
We had a couple of minor hiccups with miscommunication causing delays but Diego always tried to make things right and waited in our hotel lobby to personally apologize. Other than that great service.
13 days, salk, biking, horseback, Peru - Jul 14 - Jul 26, 2017
We just came back from a hiking trip to Macchu Picchu in Peru via the Salkantay route with HakuExpeditions wich we had booked via kimkim earlier this year. Our trekking along Salkantay as well as the visit to Macchu Picchu were just awesome. Nicole from Haku Expeditions was very flexible in setting up our itinerary and upon arrival in Cusco she organized a briefing with our trekking guides.
The guides were absolutely fantastic. Both were very friendly and helpful, and had tremendous... read more
Ausangate nevada trek, Peru - Jul 4 - Jul 11, 2017
An amazing job by the entire Quechua Treks team. From all of James's work picking the trek. Then preparing for it, to Mayra's work leading us on the trip it was simply amazing. I plan to use Quechua for any future trips to South America. I consider them a tremendous resource to have access to and will suggest that any of my friends looking do something in South America contact them.
As mentioned earlier James's responsiveness was tremendous. He seemed to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No question went unanswered for long.
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
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