Hikers cimbing to the Salkantay pass

Travel Advice 7 Best Peru Treks

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1. Classic Inca Trail - 4 days

Undoubtedly the most popular trek in Peru, the Classic Inca Trail is on the bucket list of many a traveller and for good reason. The Inca Trail makes up the original pilgrimage path taken to Machu Picchu by the 15th century Incans. The trek begins by crossing the Rio Urubamba, where you begin to ascend quite gently through the day, passing the archaeological site of Llactapata. Day 2 is more difficult and the morning is spent climbing steeply to the highest part of the Inca Trail - Warmihua?usca Pass (Dead Woman Pass - 4,200m). The 3rd day takes you via the Incan ruins of Phuyupatamarca, also called the 'the Town in the Clouds'. The trail then leads to the Inca site of Intipata or 'Terraces of the Sun'. By the afternoon you reach the 'Sun Gate' - the entrance to Machu Picchu. The Sun Gate is famous for its stunning views of the ancient citadel and should not be missed! Please remember the Inca Trail requires a permit and you will need to book with a tour company like Kandoo Adventures to trek the trail. 

2. Salkantay trek - 5 days

The Salkantay trek is the most popular alternative trek to Machu Picchu and was rated as one of the top 25 treks in the world by National Geographic Magazine. The trekking environment changes rapidly and Mount Salkantay dominates the surroundings. You begin near Cusco in the lowland jungle area before ascending up into clouded alpine forests where you can see glaciated mountains. You then traverse your way through the mountains before reaching Agua Calientes where you take a bus to Machu Picchu.

Hiker before the Salkantay pass

3. Choquequirao trek - 9 days

Although not quite as impressive as Machu Picchu, the Incan ruins of Choquequirao are constructed in a very similar manner and are well worth the extra trek. The trail is challenging, beautiful, far less crowded than the Inca Trail and gives you the chance to visit the ruins of both Machu Picchu and Choquequirao. The Choquequirao trek can also be completed as a stand alone shorter trek if you have previously visited Machu Picchu. The trek is popular with rugged trekkers who want to get off the beaten path and see some incredible Incan ruins without the hordes of tourists ruining the atmosphere!

4. Huayhuash trek - 19 days

Made famous by Joe Simpsons book 'Touching the Void', the Huayhuash trek is one of the longest treks in Peru and runs through the Cordillera Huayhuash in Northern Peru. The 165 km mountain range circuit trek offers up incredible views, exhilarating peaks and glacial lakes. The dramatic landscape is home to Alpacas, Llamas, Viscachas and Condors. The trek circumnavigates the mountain range and passes over 7 peaks. Below the peaks you'll get stunning views of the grasslands and green-glacial lagoons that dot the mountain range.

5. Vilcabamba trek - 5 days

By no means an easy trek, this is probably the toughest route to Machu Picchu. However, this is way-laid by the fact that it very rarely gets a single trekker and you will have the trail to yourself! One of the wildest and off the beaten path treks in Peru, this a true Andean trekking experience! Taking you deep into the cloud forest regions of the Cordillera mountains, the Vilcambamba trek offers up stunning views, local wildlife and a taste of the quiet rural life in Peru. The trek concludes at Machu Picchu where you can take a train back to Cusco.

Hikers during the The Vilcamba Trail

6. Santa Cruz trek - 4 days

One of best treks in the Cordillera Blanca region, this short 4 day trek offers up a quick way to see some of the tallest mountains in the Andes. After wending your way along rivers and meadows you ascend up over the Punta Union Pass at 4,750m. The snow capped peaks and turquoise lakes make for an unforgettable trek. Remember to take a dip in the hot springs at the start of the trek!

7. Ausangate Rainbow Mountain trek - 5 days

The Ausangate trek is an amazing option for those looking for a challenging high altitude hike with several high passes to cross.  It is not for the faint hearted and a good level of fitness is required. You will be rewarded by quiet, uncrowded trails, spectacular glacial lakes, stunning snow-capped peaks and the unusual red scree landscapes of the Rainbow Mountains of Vinicuna.

Peaceful landscape during the Ausangate trek