Trekking to Machu Picchu is a dream for many travelers—but there's more than one way to get there. The classic Inca Trail lets trekkers walk in the steps of the Incas, while the more remote Salkantay route offers solitude and wildlife. Compare your options for getting to Peru's most famous place on foot, from distance and cost to overnight options.
Peru Trekking Tours & Itineraries
Depending on the amount of time you have, you can embark on an unforgettable multi-day trek of any region in Peru, be it the north, south, or Andean highlands. The most famous trek of all is the Inca Trail, a four-day hike from the Spanish Colonial city of Cusco to the world’s most famous indigenous ruins, Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay Trek is also a nice alternative to the Inca Trail, as it stops at more ruins while still ending up in the same place. But if you’re looking for an adventure away from the tourist crowds, then head to the northern Andes and explore the glacial lakes of the Cordillera Blanca mountains or visit the Huayhuash range, which features a number of stunning landscapes, such as snow-capped Andean peaks and the high-altitude lagoon of Jahuacocha.
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Planning your trek in Peru
The Inca Trail gets most of the publicity, but there are also several hikes within the Machu Picchu complex itself, offering more fabulous mountain scenery and some unique perspectives on the ruins. These hikes, ranging from one to three hours in length, can be great ways of escaping the crowds and adding some color to your time in Machu Picchu.
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.
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.
Peru is famous for the Inca Trail and other multi-day hikes, but if you are short on time, there are plenty of excellent day hikes throughout the Sacred Valley. These hikes are a great way to visit some of the rural communities and lesser-visited ruins throughout the Valley.
Avid hiker and kimkim traveler Kristin Monesmith lives in Peru halftime, working remotely and exploring the endless mountain trails. The Ausangate Trek checked all her boxes: incredibly beautiful, essentially devoid of tourists, and enough of a challenge to leave her feeling accomplished at the end. She spoke with us about her five-day adventure circumnavigating one of the most spectacular mountains in Southern Peru.
Peru trekking itineraries
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.
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.
Explore the Cordillera Huayhuash on this 9-day adventure through one of the most impressive regions of the Peruvian Andes. This is one of the lesser-known and uncrowded treks due to the remote location of this beautiful mountain range.
If you’re looking for a beautiful and more remote trek in Peru, the Ausangate trek may be perfect for you. On this 8-day itinerary, you’ll discover the beauty and rugged highlands of the Ausangate region, hike past glacial lakes, and wander amidst herds of alpacas.
Twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, the Cotahuasi is the deepest canyon in the world, cutting through the Coropuna and Surimana massifs. With numerous hiking trails and vantages points, Cotahuasi is a beautiful region that few travelers get to see. With single and multi-day tours, you’ll get to hike the length of one of the world’s greatest natural wonders.
Discover the ancient ruins of Choquequirao, the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, along this challenging yet rewarding trek. The 65 km trek passes through lush jungles, deep canyons, and snow-capped peaks en route to Machu Picchu. If you’re up for the adventure, this is one of the most beautiful treks in the Cusco Region.
A shorter alternative to the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek offers an experience just as stunning. Despite the high altitudes, this trek follows a less rigorous route through local communities, making it ideal for those who are looking for something accessible, unique, and immersive.
Experience Peru's rich cultural history and hike through the Andes on this exciting blended trip. Spend several days exploring ancient Inca sites in Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu. Then continue on foot through the mountains, trekking on and around Ausangate through vast glacial valleys and between herds of wild vicuñas. Spend your nights in cozy mountain lodges operated in collaboration with local communities.
Trek the last day of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. If you're short on time or permits are sold out for the full Inca Trail, this is a great option for those wishing to experience a taste of this famous route. You'll enter the ruins through the Sun Gate as the sun sets over Machu Picchu, then have a full tour of the ruins the following day.
The Santa Cruz four-day trek takes you high into the Cordillera Blanca in northern Peru, providing spectacular views of glacier-wrapped peaks, turquoise lakes and fields of wildflowers. It's a demanding hike that will test your body and lungs, but well worth it for the epic scenery. This article will help you make the most of your Peruvian high altitude adventure, and provide information on extending the hike to five or more days.
Journey through an undiscovered land of wild desert landscapes, snow-capped peaks, herds of alpacas, to arrive at the ultimate destination: the rainbow-painted slopes of Rainbow Mountain hidden deep in the Andes.
Named after the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range, the Salkantay Trek takes you high in the Andes outside Cusco, providing specular views of snow-capped mountains, glacial lakes, and lush cloud forest. It’s an easy to moderate hike, with some sections of challenging terrain. The trek involves comfortable stays at luxurious lodges in remote locations so that you can enjoy the gorgeous Andean scenery without having to give up your comforts.
This awesome 12-day adventure takes you to the pristine heartlands of the Cordillera Huayhuash, one of the most stunning mountain areas in Peru. Your lungs will be tested as you cross four passes over 14,700 feet (4480 m)—but the challenge is well worth it for the chance to see colorful lakes, glaciers, wildlife, and Peruvian mountain culture.
Explore Peru's remote Huayhuash range in the northern Peruvian Andes during this 9-day adventure. Start in metropolitan Lima, then transfer to Huaraz in the north. Join your trekking group and support team in the village of Pacllón, then hit the trail for a spectacular 5-day hike. You will trek through rugged landscapes, camp beneath a spectacular night sky, and spend afternoons relaxing by turquoise mountain lakes. Alpine meadows and snow-capped mountains that reach 19,685 ft (6,000 m) are the backdrops for this adventure. At night, relax at camp to a hot meal prepared by the camp cook.
For people who enjoy backpacking in the mountains and beautiful hot springs, this is the ideal multi-day trek. You'll have a local guide who will help you discover Colca Canyon, one of the deepest canyons in the world, with stunning views of the Andes.
Trek through the Lares Valley, where you'll pass between glacier-capped mountains where llamas and alpacas graze in the surrounding hills. You'll visit the town of Lares, a colourful traditional town in the heart of the valley. Combined with the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this is a trek that combines two wonderful valleys & mountain ranges with very different ecologies & landscapes.
This itinerary is ideal for travelers who have a limited amount of time in the Sacred Valley, and really want to make it count. Spend 5 days delving into the beauty and rich culture of the Sacred Valley. Walk in the footsteps of the Inca on the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and top it off with an exploration of the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.
Explore the essential highlights of Peru, including visits to Cusco, Machu Picchu, and Rainbow Mountain, on this weeklong adventure. Begin with a night in Lima and head to the Sacred Valley, where you'll enjoy cultural experiences and a tour of the Maras Salt Flats. Hike part of the famed Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, where you'll spend a day immersed in Inca history. End your trip with a special hike to the brilliantly-hued Rainbow Mountain.
Cachicata is a relatively new and less-crowded trek in Peru's Sacred Valley. You'll pass beneath beautiful snow-capped mountains, cross over a high pass, and descend down into the Sacred Valley, arriving at the village of Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, it's a short train journey to Machu Picchu where you can enjoy a private tour of the ruins.
From metropolitan Lima to the remote Peruvian Andes, this 5-day adventure brings you to the heart of the mountains. Start in Lima— the capital of Peru—then take a quick flight to Huaraz, a mountain town popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Spend a day exploring the city's history, then head into the mountains to see stunning glaciated peaks, bright blue mountain lakes, and Peru's highest mountain—Mt. Huascaran, which towers at 22,205 ft.
In recent years, a number of alternative treks to the Inca Trail have opened up, offering hikers an off-the-beaten-path experience to reach the famed citadel of Macchu Picchu. Treks have also taken on a new face, targeting travelers who are keen on long adventurous hikes but who want all the comforts of a hotel at night. There are a handful of lodge-to-lodge treks available in the Cusco area, offering travelers the perfect balance between adventure and luxury.
Avid hikers, this one's for you! Follow the Camino del Apu Ausangate through the Cordillera Vilcanota mountain range, accompanied by llamas and horses loaded up with gear. You'll overnight in traditional tambo lodges, enjoy authentic Peruvian cuisine, and gain a better understanding of life in Andes.
An activity-filled expedition to the South of Peru. A multi-day tour full of new experiences that excite & challenge. This is a tour for all age ranges, group sizes and all types of experience.
Discover Peru's Cordillera Blanca as you trek, climb, and scramble over snow- and ice-covered moraine rock into the high altitudes of the Andes. Not for the faint of heart, this 19-day itinerary is for the somewhat experienced climber and altogether adventurous spirit. This program includes acclimatization hikes and a basic climbing course to practice the skills required to reach the summit of Alpamayo. It's also an excellent trip for photography lovers — the views are simply breathtaking!
The five-day Lares Trek takes you high up in the Andes, hiking during the day and overnighting in luxurious lodges along the way. Providing impressive views of snow-capped peaks and glacial lakes, it’s a relatively demanding hike that will test your fitness.
Explore Southern Peru's most famous region through a uniquely immersive local experience. This tour will allow you to experience the trails, traditions, and daily lives of subsistence farmers while still making time for the more well-known highlights of the Sacred Valley.
From metropolitan cities and ancient Inca ruins to remote jungle lodges, this 16-day exploration of Peru's history and nature is perfect for the adventurous traveler. Start in Lima, Peru's capital city, then continue to the Amazon rainforest. Spend a few days deep in the Amazon exploring the jungle and seeing rare wildlife. Next, head to the imperial Inca capital of Cusco to explore narrow cobblestone streets and 15th-century archaeological sites. Then, embark on the Salkantay Trek to get some breathtaking views of the Sacred Valley. End your trek at Machu Picchu, and spend a day immersed in the beauty and history of its ancient ruins. Reward your hard work with two relaxing days exploring the villages and historical sights of the Sacred Valley. Finally, head back to Cusco and summit the colorful Rainbow Mountain.
From bustling cities to remote Inca ruins, this 8-day tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous and fit travelers. Discover Peru's metropolitan culture in the capital city of Lima, then continue to the imperial Inca city of Cusco. Tour the Sacred Valley and explore Inca ruins and colorful textile markets before embarking on a 4-day trek on the Inca Trail. Walk on the same stone steps that Inca engineers built in the 15th century, cross Dead Woman Pass at 13,828 ft (4,215 m), and relax in camp at night with sweeping vistas of the Andes Mountains. Finish your trek at the famed Machu Picchu ruins.
On this Peruvian adventure, you'll start in the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Embark on a rewarding trek to the ancient ruins of Choquequirao, the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, passing through jungles and snow-capped peaks en route to Machu Picchu. If you’re up for a challenge, this is one of the most beautiful treks in the Sacred Valley.
Discover the ancient ruins of Choquequirao, the “sister city” of Machu Picchu, along this challenging yet rewarding trek. The 65 km trek passes through lush jungles, deep canyons, and snow-capped peaks en route to Machu Picchu. If you’re up for the adventure, this is one of the most beautiful treks in the Cusco Region. Top it all off with an in-depth exploration of the ruins, markets, and villages of the Sacred Valley.
From bustling cities to remote Inca ruins, this 10-day tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous travelers. Discover Peru's metropolitan culture in Lima, then continue to the Incan capital of Cusco. Tour the Sacred Valley before embarking on the Inca Trail, finish your trek in Machu Picchu. Finally, head to Lake Titicaca for cultural experiences among the lake's islands.
This three-week itinerary is ideal for avid hikers looking for a unique adventure. Explore the ancient Incan capital of Cusco before embarking on the 5-day Ausangate trek, a beautiful and off the beaten path trek to Machu Picchu. During the trek, you’ll discover the beauty and rugged highlands of the Ausangate region, hike past glacial lakes, and wander amidst herds of alpacas. After completing the trek, venture to Machu Picchu citadel to explore Peru's most iconic ruins. Next, head out to explore the colonial city of Arequipa, then travel to Colca Canyon, one of the world's deepest canyons. After trekking through the canyon, depart for Lake Titicaca to spend a few days hiking, kayaking, and exploring the region's rich history, culture, and natural beauty.
This 12-day tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous and fit travelers. Begin in the imperial Incan city of Cusco, where you'll embark on a 3-day trek to Machu Picchu. Then, explore the Sacred Valley's ruins, markets, and villages before summiting Rainbow Mountain and getting your fill of culture and stellar views at Lake Titicaca.
From the city to the jungle, this 7-day exploration of Peru is perfect for adventurous travelers. Start in metropolitan Lima, then continue to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Explore the ancient Incan streets of Cusco then continue to the jungle for a stay at a jungle lodge. Explore the rainforest, visit a coffee plantation, and hike the Inca Trail to see the Llactapata ruins. Spend a day visiting Machu Picchu, the famed 15th-century citadel. Finally head back towards Cusco to see the colorful Rainbow Mountain.
Discover Colca Canyon - one of the deepest canyons in the world. Here, you'll find a canyon filled with rivers, verdant forests, and an ancient agricultural tradition. During the trek, you'll have the chance to interact with friendly Andean farmers and taste the typical foods of the region. Enjoy afternoon swims in natural pools and waterfalls before camping overnight in tents in beautiful natural campsites. After your time in Colca Canyon, head to the Inca capital of Cusco and explore colorful textile markets and small towns of the Sacred Valley. Next, embark on the Lares Trek, and hike the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Top it all off with a full day exploring the iconic Machu Picchu Ruins.
The Ausangate trek is beautiful and remote, a great option for travelers keen on avoiding the crowds of the Inca Trail. With this itinerary, you'll start with history and culture in the ancient Incan capital of Cusco. From here, embark on your five-day trek and discover the beauty and rugged highlands of the Ausangate region—glacial lakes, herds of alpacas, and pretty mountain views. Cap off your trek with a day of exploration at Machu Picchu, Peru's most iconic ruins.
This 11-day exploration of Peru is perfect for adventurous travelers. Start in metropolitan Lima, then continue to the ancient Inca capital of Cusco. Head into the mountains to challenge yourself on the 4-day Salkantay Trek—a spectacular hike with remote camping and glacial views. End in Aguas Calientes for a relaxing night, then visit the famed Machu Picchu citadel—a marvel of ancient engineering. Finally, head to the Amazon jungle to spot wildlife like macaws, cayman, giant river otters, and tapirs.
Pair a short trek in the Lares Valley with Amazon exploration on this ten-day tour. Spend two days hiking past glacier-capped mountains and grazing alpacas, ending in the traditional town of Lares in the Sacred Valley. Then, walk a short section of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu before heading to Puerto Maldonado—gateway to the rainforest. Enjoy wildlife and botany tours, ride the river in a dugout canoe, and spend your nights in the comfort of an eco-lodge.
If you’re looking for a beautiful and more remote trek in Peru, the Ausangate trek may be perfect for you. This itinerary gives you some time to explore the ancient Incan capital of Cusco before embarking on this 5-day trek. During the trek, you’ll discover the beauty and rugged highlands of the Ausangate region, hike past glacial lakes, and wander amidst herds of alpacas.
Trek through the Lares Valley, where you'll pass between glacier-capped mountains where llamas and alpacas graze in the surrounding hills. You'll visit the town of Lares, a colorful traditional town in the heart of the valley. Combined with the Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, this is a trek that combines two wonderful valleys & mountain ranges with very different ecologies & landscapes. Next, enjoy a kayaking adventure on Lake Titicaca and delve into the beauty and history of the region.
Explore the essential highlights of Peru's Sacred Valley with this short itinerary. Begin with two days in Cusco, touring the textile markets and ancient ruins that the ancient Inca capital is famous for. Take a guided excursion to the top sites of the Sacred Valley, and enjoy a one-day trek on the Inca Trail, ending in Aguas Calientes. Complete your trip with a full day of exploration in the Machu Picchu citadel complex, the perfect grand finale.
From bustling cities to remote jungles, this tour of Peru's highlights is perfect for adventurous travelers. Discover Peruvian cuisine and culture in Lima, and continue to Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Explore Inca ruins and colorful textile markets before embarking on a short Inca Trail trek, ending at the famed Machu Picchu ruins. Top it all off with a visit the Amazon, spotting wildlife like macaws, cayman, anaconda, and tapir.