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Machu Picchu hike: the best alternatives for Traveler

Hiking lovers and adventurers:

Peru is a real paradise for outdoor lovers and adventurers. The perfect mix of ancient Inca culture, spectacular landscapes and, in the truest sense of the word, breathtaking mountains is unique. But are there alternatives to the popular Machu Picchu hike route? For your Machu Picchu trip we present you the best trekking routes. Both other Machu Picchu treks and alternatives away from the popular sight, from Salkantay to Choquequirao.

Alternative treks from Ancash

Especially from May to September, the weather is ideal for visiting the Huascaran National Park in the White Mountains (called Cordillera Blanca). The highest tropical mountains in the world offer perfect terrain for mountaineering and beckons with the best views of the most impressive natural forces. No less than 434 lagoons and 712 glaciers await visitors. How to get there Best over the city of Huaraz.

Adventure awaits at every corner. For example, when climbing the snow-capped mountains Alpamayo and Huascarán, which lead up to 6,768 meters. The hike to lagoon 69 at the foot of the Chacraraju glacier (6,031 m), which takes around 4 hours, is particularly popular with park visitors. The sight of the turquoise water is absolutely unique.

If you have more time, you should consider the four-day Santa Cruz Trek. It leads to an altitude of 4,750 meters, of course including breathtaking views of the snow-capped peaks.

Still not enough? Then another climbing and hiking paradise awaits with the Huayhuash Mountains in the Huánuco, Áncash and Lima regions. There are 21 glaciers to marvel at, including a very famous one. At 6634 meters, the Yerupajá is the second highest mountain in the country and even the highest in the entire Amazon basin. Our tip for arrival: The best way to get there is via the city of Chiquián in Áncash.

Cusco instead of Machu Picchu hike

Make a stop in Cusco before the Machu Picchu hike? A good idea. Columns, wooden balconies, wall ruins: no question about it, Cusco has many sights to offer, from archaeological sites to Spanish colonial architecture. No less impressive than the city and its history are the unique natural landscapes around the metropolis.

For adventurous nature lovers, Cusco is therefore the perfect combination of city trip and nature excursion. Picturesque landscapes and quaint villages await, but also many trekking routes such as the most popular of all: the Inca Trail. But that is by far not all that the region has to offer in terms of routes. Especially those who want to avoid the tourist trails are spoiled for choice. Here are some great alternatives to the Machu Picchu hike.

Hiking the Lares Trek

If you are looking for an alternative hiking route for the Machu Picchu hike, you should consider the 33 kilometer Lares hike. This trekking tour goes through beautiful landscapes and past snow-capped mountains and picturesque villages. Perfect for getting to know the tradition and warmth of the locals.

A special highlight is the diverse flora and fauna at over 4,000 meters, especially queuñales, orchids and the striking Ichu grass. Along the way there are not only llamas, vicuñas and herds of alpaca to marvel at. With luck, you can even spot condors, eagles, vizcachas, raposas and Andean foxes.

Hiking the Salkantay Trail

The reputation of the Salkantay Trek precedes it. It is considered particularly demanding. No wonder it attracts mountaineers from all over the world. The most popular route as an alternative hike to Machu Picchu starts in Limatambo, Mollepata or Soraypampa. You need at least four days to get to your destination, but the hikers are rewarded with two peaks, the Humantay and the Salkantay, and with lots of native wild animals such as Vizcachas, alpacas and condors.

Ausangate & Vinicunca

The Andean peoples call it the holy “Apu”: At 6,384 meters, the Ausangate is the highest mountain in southern Peru and is ideal for a 5-day hike. Highlights along the way are imposing glacial lakes, remote mountain villages and three high mountain passes. Thermal springs provide well-deserved relaxation.

Of course, a detour to the region’s trend destination: Vinicunca should not be missing. The mountain is located in the Cordilleras Vilcanota mountain range and is also called Rainbow Mountain. Depending on the route chosen, it can be easily installed.

Its seven different colors, which are caused by the minerals in the soil, quickly made it a popular subject for photos. You have to work hard to get a snapshot, however, because the 5,200 meter high Vinicunca can only be reached on foot.


The ruined city of Choquequirao is considered the twin city of Machu Picchu and the last retreat of the Inca before the Spanish conquerors went ashore in Peru. Choquequirao is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the mystical secrets of history and in completely unspoiled nature.

The ruins are surprisingly well preserved and yet only withheld from all adventurers who undertake a four-day hike. The area is dominated by the snow-covered Salcantay (6,264 meters) and the Apurimac river at a depth of 1,500 meters. On the way, hikers can marvel at the extraordinary, snow-capped mountains of the Villcabamba Mountains, which stretch deep to the east.

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