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4 Alternative Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Treks

February 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 164

The Peruvian Andes Mountains play host to a number of excellent hikes, the most popular of which is called the classic 4 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trek. This trek starts in the Sacred Valley, and winds past beautiful scenery until it reaches Inti Punku, the Sun Gate entrance to Machu Picchu. But for those looking for an alternative Inca Trail trek, here are 4 alternative Inca Trail to Machu Picchu treks that offer many options for the eager hiker.

Here are explanations of each alternative Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trek:

The Lares Trek: This 4 day tour includes 2 days of hiking through the Lares Valley, well-off the beaten path in the Sacred Valley. From Cusco, the trek passes the Lares Hot Springs, heads to Wacawasi, an Inca town, and then ascends to Puma Abra, from where you can see the Aroray and Mantanay lakes. Then second day of hiking takes you to the village of Yanahuara and then to Ollantaytambo. Explore the ruins, then take the train to Aguas Calientes. The final day is spent exploring Machu Picchu and then returning by train to Cusco.

The Salkantay Trek: This challenging, 5 day trek follows 88 km (55 miles) along the Salkantay trail. From Cusco, you'll drive to the Apurimac Valley, where you'll spend 3 nights hiking through gorgeous river valleys and mountainous terrain. Finish hiking past the Hydroelectric Plant in Aguas Calientes. The final day is spent exploring Machu Picchu and then returning by train to Cusco.

The Lodge-to-Lodge Trek: For those who want to hike the Inca Trail in style, the Lodge-to-Lodge trek is the perfect fit. This 7 day tour includes 6 days of part-day hiking, with lots of opportunity to rest and relax at high quality mountain lodges along the way. The final day is spent exploring Machu Picchu and then returning to Cusco by train.

The Choquequirao Trek: This 4 or 5 day trek takes you to many isolated Inca ruins in the Apurimac Valley. Covering some steep inclines, you'll see awesome views of the river valley, pass quiet villages, and will be able to explore the Inca ruins of Choquequirao itself. You can add a trip to Machu Picchu as well.

One common reason that people take these alternative Inca Trail hikes is that the Inca Trail itself is limited to only 500 hikers per day (that includes porters, guides, and cooks), so during the busiest months of June-August, the Inca Trail is often booked full months in advance. So, there are several nearby hikes that offer great alternatives.

Another reason people take these alternative Inca Trail hikes is that there are off-the-beaten path options. While the main Inca Trail gets many travelers per day, Choquequirao is a quiet hike that takes you far from the crowd. Passing small villages and tranquil rivers, the Choquequirao hike shows you a part of the Inca Sacred Valley that most travelers never see - you may even see the rare Andean Bear; the trek is that remote.

A third reason to consider an alternative hike is that these hikes offer a wide variety of physical difficulty levels. Some hikes are strenuous, like the Ausengate and the Choquequirao, while others are much more at ease, such as the Lares and the Lodge-to-Lodge. The Lodge-to-Lodge trek is actually designed to be a luxury version of the classic Inca Trail; you'll stay in 5 star lodges along the trail rather than camp in the cold, and you can treat yourself to a delicious dinner and relaxing spa treatment after each days hike.

Each hike either finishes at Machu Picchu, or can be combined with a tour of Machu Picchu by train. If you take an alternative trail to Machu Picchu, make sure to schedule your trip to arrive early in the morning, and give yourself plenty of time to explore Inti Punku, Watchman's Tower, Huaynu Picchu, the terraces, and the other highlights of the wonderous Machu Picchu.

Read more about Alternative Inca Trail Treks or the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

Read more about Inca Trail treks to Machu Picchu and all our Peru Tours. SouthAmerica.travel offers 4* & 5* custom South America tours to Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, and more. Choose from hundreds of Peru travel packages, or create your own custom tour to Peru with the help of an expert travel consultant.

Source: EzineArticles
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