The 10 Best Treks to Machu Picchu

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Machu Picchu through an epic journey on one of the 10 Best Treks. Immerse yourself in ancient history, awe-inspiring landscapes, and unforgettable experiences.

Its architecture and location are nothing short of splendid: the finest stonework and design available at the time, in the middle of the immense Urubamba Valley, on the frontier of the Amazonian jungle. A place of warm weather, blue skies, sunlight, and strong, healing natural energy. No wonder people from all over the world walk around the citadel every day! It is indeed like going back in time! Going back to a complete connection with nature.

The 7 Best Treks to Machu Picchu
The Best Treks to Machu Picchu

Embark on an Unforgettable Adventure: Explore the 10 Best Treks to Machu Picchu Today!

Sure! Here are some of the best treks to Machu Picchu:

1. Inca Trail

This famous route takes you through the Andean mountains, ancient Inca ruins, and dense cloud forests. It offers breathtaking views along the way.

Tienes 2 opciones para la caminata inca original, en cualquiera de ellos no te arepentirar y disfrutaras mucho de ermosos paisajes.

The 4-Day Classic Inca Trail:

One of the most important and famous in the world; 500 permits per day which sell out months in advance. This is because the itinerary is really a bucket list for hiking lovers: long walks along the Andean wilderness surrounded by majestic mountains, then walking down towards the green hugeness of the Amazonian jungle; camping nights; stops at wonderful Inca building remains; priceless natural views, intense connection with nature and more. Finally, the cherry on top: is the paradisiac tour of the Machu Picchu citadel. Really a classic among the best hikes to Machu Picchu.

The Short 2-Day Inca Trail:

For all those who for some reason won’t do the 4-day version; actually, the hiking part is not that long but long enough to give you the trekking experience. This version allows travelers to spend more time in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu village) instead, the very cozy, tropical town next to the archaeological site.

Fast facts
DurationFrom to 2 – 6 days
Max. elevation4215m
Start/finishKm 82 / Machu Picchu
HighlightsThe classic Inca trek through the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu

Note: If you’re short on time, check out the Short Inca Trail, a one-day trek along the last day of the Inca Trail. View the full itinerary for 2 days.View the full itinerary for 4 days.

2. Salkantay Trek

This alternative to the Inca Trail is equally stunning, taking you through diverse landscapes, including snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and tropical rainforests.

The best trek: Salkantay trek 5 days

Perhaps the most popular of the best hikes in Peru for those who want a harder challenge than the Inca Trail itself. Although it is a combination of highlands and jungle lower lands, the Andean heights part is particularly challenging: serious cold weather, defying slopes, rocky terrain, long walking times, and a real fight to conquer nature’s toughness. Includes a marvelous stop at the famous Salkantay pass, 4,630 meters above sea level (around 15,190 feet), a place that looks quite like the Himalayan heights. Campsite nights are also included.

Fast facts
DurationFrom to 4-8 days
Max. elevation4660m (Salkantay pass)
Start/finishMollepata/Aguas Calientes
HighlightsBiodiversity, high mountain pass, cloud forest, ruins

The trek is traditionally done in either 4 or 5 days, with the final night spent in a hotel in Aguas Calientes. View the full itinerary for 4 days.View the full itinerary for 5 days.

3. Choquequirao Trek

Now this is a real treat for hikers. First, do not mistake this tour for the one that ends at the Choquequirao site; this one goes to Choquequirao and then to Machu Picchu! The first day is easy, mostly downhill, with campsite night. Second day the hike turns uphill, until the amazing Choquequirao citadel, called “Machu Picchu’s twin sister” for exploration of the place and spending the night at a campsite too.

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu (8 days):

From there on, the path is mostly downhill, towards the jungle border more and more; additionally, you’ll have the chance to swim in and enjoy rivers with warm waters, and waterfalls, discover unique fauna and flora of the region, going along a very hidden route, until getting close to Machu Picchu. The final part of this best hikes member is a train ride to Aguas Calientes.

Fast facts
DurationFrom to 7-13 days
Max. elevation4668m (Yanama pass)
Start/finishCachora/Aguas Calientes
HighlightsIncredible ruins, steep Andean mountains, few people

4. Lares trek

This less crowded route allows you to experience Andean village life and natural hot springs, in addition to stunning high-altitude scenery.

The Lares Trek (4 Days):

Other the best hikes to Machu Picchu. It has more of a cultural side in addition to the trekking: going to rural villages, knowing the people and culture, seeing Andean camels (llamas, alpacas) in their natural habitat and also enjoying the famous thermal baths in Lares. Campsite nights on the Andean windy heights, occasions to delight with typical Peruvian gastronomy, visits to Inca remains on the way and more. Finally the great arrival to the Machu Picchu area!

Fast facts
Duration3-5 days
Max. elevation4640m (Huacahuasi pass)
HighlightsCulture, hot springs, high mountain pass

5. Huchuy Qosqo Trek

This shorter trek allows you to visit the lesser-known Inca ruins of Huchuy Qosqo and offers stunning views of the Sacred Valley.

6. Vilcabamba Trek

Following the trail taken by the last Inca emperor, this trek offers a glimpse into history and takes you through beautiful landscapes and ancient ruins.

7. Ausangate Trek

his challenging trek encircles the snow-capped Ausangate Mountain, offering breathtaking views of glaciers, colorful lakes, and unique wildlife.

Each of these treks provides a unique and unforgettable experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty and rich history of Machu Picchu. However, it’s important to adequately prepare and acclimatize to the high altitude before embarking on any of these treks.

8. Inca Jungle Tour

This 4-day package to Machu Picchu is very different. First, it takes less known routes, which are more across lower altitudes belonging to the Cusco jungle. Also, you’ll optionally have the chance to take part in mountain biking activities, riding a bicycle for many hours on day 1. If you’re not a camping lover, this member of the best hikes does not include campsite nights; visitors will sleep at route hostels. In the remaining 3 days, no more biking, it’s all trekking but taking no mainstream paths, always along the jungle region of Cusco. Finally, you won’t get to Machu Picchu by bus, you’ll walk up from Aguas Calientes, small village next to the Inca citadel.

9. The Quarry Trail

One of the least known of all Sacred Valley treks is the Quarry trail. The trail receives very few visitors and in fact, not many have even heard of it. This is a trek that will appeal to those who enjoy doing things that are decidedly different. The trail crosses two passes that are higher than the Inca Trail’s infamous Dead Woman’s Pass (4,200m) and takes in several sets of Inca ruins including the ancient quarry that gives the trek its name.

10. Ancascocha trek

One of the least known Machu Picchu treks is the Ancascocha trek. It will take you far from the beaten track and into the true wilderness of the high Andes over ancient paths reaching almost 5,000 m in altitude. This is a tough trek perfect for those who want to test their endurance.

Discover the Hidden Treks of Peru: Embark on Your Machu Picchu Adventure Today!

When hiking in the awe-inspiring Andes mountains, the most picturesque way to reach the royal citadel of Machu Picchu is by hiking. While the ancient Inca Trail is the most popular pathway, there are other alternative treks to Machu Picchu that are definitely worth exploring in Peru.

These treks offer unique experiences and allow you to immerse yourself in the country’s rich culture and stunning landscapes. Whether you opt for the Salkantay Trek, the Lares Trek, or the Choquequirao Trek, each trail unveils its own historical significance and natural beauty. Make sure to research and consider these alternative routes when planning your Machu Picchu adventure in Peru.

Here are some frequently asked questions about trekking to Machu Picchu:

  1. Do I need a permit to trek to Machu Picchu?
    • Yes, permits are required for most treks to Machu Picchu, including the famous Inca Trail. These permits help regulate the number of visitors and preserve the site. It is advisable to book your trek well in advance and through a licensed tour operator who can help secure the necessary permits for you.
  2. How fit do I need to be to do a trek to Machu Picchu?
    • The level of fitness required depends on the specific trek you choose. The Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek, for example, can be physically demanding due to steep inclines and high altitudes. It’s recommended to engage in regular exercise and cardiovascular training prior to your trek to ensure you’re adequately prepared for the physical challenges.
  3. When is the best time to trek to Machu Picchu?
    • The dry season (April to October) is generally considered the best time to trek to Machu Picchu, as there is less rainfall. The peak tourist season is from June to August when the weather is cooler but attracts larger crowds. However, even during the rainy season (November to March), you can still have a great trekking experience, albeit with more unpredictable weather.
  4. What should I pack for a trek to Machu Picchu?
    • Essential items include sturdy hiking boots, comfortable clothing, waterproof and warm layers, a good backpack, a hat, sunglasses, insect repellent, sunscreen, a reusable water bottle, snacks, and a camera. It’s recommended to pack light while ensuring you have all the necessary trekking gear.
  5. Do I need a guide for trekking to Machu Picchu?
    • Yes, having a guide is highly recommended, especially for the Inca Trail. Guides are knowledgeable about the history, culture, and environment surrounding Machu Picchu. They can enhance your experience by providing valuable insights, ensuring your safety, and managing logistics.

Remember, it’s always best to consult with a reputable travel agency or tour operator for specific information about permits, fitness requirements, weather conditions, and other important details related to trekking to Machu Picchu.

best machu picchu hiking tours


To get to Machu Picchu, how much of a climb is it? 

The time it takes to climb to Machu Picchu ranges from 2-11 days, depending on the route you follow.  Although the pandemic has forced the closure of the world-famous Inca Trail trek, there are plenty of other pathways to choose from.  For the sake of everyone involved, we only take small parties on our off-the-beaten-path treks.  We know you want to explore other parts of Peru during your trip, thus most of our treks only last 5 days (4 nights).

Do you need to bring your own gear?  

No, you do not need to carry any of your personal belongings on the journey unless you so choose.  Everything, from setting up tents to packing away sleeping bags and cooking utensils, will be taken care of by our personnel.  Duffel bags are provided so that we can transport your extra gear from one campsite to the next.  A daypack is all you’ll need to bring with you.

When should I expect to feel the effects of altitude? 

Altitude sickness is something for which there is no prevention. There is no way to know if and when your body will adapt until you get in Cusco (11,300ft), and everyone’s experience will be unique. After getting there, it’s best to relax, hydrate heavily (with water, Gatorade, or tea), and take your time getting around.

Tell me about the contents of your day pack.  

You should bring no more than a 30-liter daypack. (not affiliated, but something similar to these would be great).  Any necessities you may have between camps will have to be carried by you. (passport, wallet, snacks, water, and rain gear, for example). Including a water storage bladder would be a nice touch.

How many liters of water should I pack for the hike?  

We suggest bringing a 2L water bottle with you on the journey, although that number really depends on how much water you use on average each day/hike.  Our staff will supply purified water for you to replenish your water bottles at all campsites and lunch locations.

Where can I use the restroom en route?  

While facilities are not provided while hiking, a biochemical toilet will be set up each day at the campsite and the lunch location.  You might have to rely on Mother Nature when hiking.  Remember that it is inappropriate to leave toilet paper on the trail after using a natural restroom.  Bring a garbage bag to contain any waste you generate on the hike.  Leave it at the campground and our crew will remove it off the trail when the hike is over.

Campsites get how cold?  

The temperature during your hike may drop significantly.  It is strongly suggested that you bring thermal leggings.  At night, the temperature drops, and it’s not uncommon to have sub-zero Celsius weather.  If you hire a tent from us, we’ll provide you with an all-weather sleeping bag and liner to keep you toasty inside, as well as a sleeping mat; however, it’s a good idea to bring additional layers, such as a winter hat and gloves, just in case.

How long does the hike to Machu Picchu typically take?

The path to Machu Picchu, known as the Inca Trail, can be taken in a variety of ways. The usual time to reach Machu Picchu through the Classic Inca Trail is four days and three nights, but the hike itself can take anything from three to five days. There is a quicker way to get to Machu Picchu for people who are pressed for time. Starting at Kilometer 104 of the Inca Trail, this hike gets you to Machu Picchu in a day.


Absolutely! Machu Picchu can be reached without any specialized knowledge. However, this does not mean you can simply show up in hiking footwear and start hiking. As with any multi-day expedition, you must train and become as physically fit as possible prior to departure. It will be more pleasant the more physically fit you are! 

How Physically Fit Must I Be?

You should be comfortable hillwalking for seven hours per day for two consecutive days. The greatest way to achieve this level is to go hiking on hills! We recommend hiking at least twice a month in preparation for this trip. In the three months prior to departure, attempt to complete two long hikes (6-8 hours at a comfortable, steady pace) on consecutive days while carrying an 8kg pack. In addition to hiking, you should also perform cardio exercises. Here you can find information on how to exercise for Machu Picchu. 


Regardless of your level of trekking experience, high altitude can affect anyone. The most effective way to reduce the risk of altitude sickness is to walk slowly, rest adequately, remain hydrated, and eat regularly. 

Is it simple to locate lodging in Aguas Calientes?

It depends entirely on the season of your visit. During the peak season, rooms tend to fill up rapidly, so it is best to book in advance, whereas, during the off-season, there is ample availability.

Can I travel to Machu Picchu by local train?

The local train is only for locals and inhabitants, and it is frequently overcrowded; many passengers also stand. In addition, a Cusco region ID is required to purchase the ticket, so there is no means to obtain a local train ticket.

Can children access Machu Picchu?

However, one should not bring vehicles for children, as they are not permitted. An infant carrier is desirable. In 2021, review the new Machu Picchu entrance regulations.

What about mosquitoes?

At Machu Picchu, the mosquitoes can be irritating. Bring insect repellents or anti-venom spray to combat mosquitoes.

Do you suffer from vertigo?

Any normal person can complete the Machu Picchu and Mount Machu Picchu hikes. The Huayna Picchu mountain trail, however, is only recommended for those without acrophobia because it is steep and confined.

Where can I locate an ATM in Aguas Calientes?

There are cash machines in Aguas Calientes. The only consideration is whether or not the bank will impose a withdrawal fee and for how much. Because ATMs in Machu Picchu may also be malfunctioning, it is recommended to withdraw currency in Cusco.

How long can I remain in Machu Picchu?

Aside from the ticket indications for a specific time period, nobody forces tourists to leave. Because there is no way to turn back, some individuals move slowly in order to maximize their odds of observing additional park features. 3 to 3.5 hours only in Machu Picchu would be fine, and certainly, more than that if the visit includes mountain tickets. Nobody gets fined after all.

How much cargo can I bring on trains?

Baggage exceeding 5 kg / 11 lb and exceeding 62 inches / 157 centimeters in length is restricted. Large carry-on bags can impede the exits, so it is advised to leave them at your hotel in Cusco or the hotel in the Sacred Valley and retrieve them after visiting Machu Picchu. The majority of hotels offer complimentary storage services.

Do I need to buy the entrance to Machu Picchu in advance?

Yes, the Machu Picchu tickets ought to be bought well in advance, this must be the first thing to book since this is subject to availability.

Is there an age limit?

There is not guideline established regarding age limits, this is up to your travel operator and the traveler’s criteria

Are there any restrictions for Machu Picchu?

After August 15th, 2022, there are no longer capacity restrictions at all outdoor Inca sites in Peru. Machu Picchu trains and shuttle buses are at 100%. Only the Inca bridge and the Sun gate remained closed until further notice.

Is bus travel hazardous? (Aguas calientes to Machu picchu)

 As with everything in life, there is a certain level of risk involved.

Is an internet connection available?

If you possess a Peruvian Sim card, you will have access to the internet. Otherwise, you will not have Internet access unless you use the hotel’s services. However, the majority of hotels, restaurants, and cafes in the town of Aguas Calientes offer free WiFi to their visitors. There, you can utilize it for any internet-based operation you require.

Is a travel agency required for a trip to Machu Picchu?

Yes, if you want to save time, you should consider using a local travel agency, as the majority of tourists prefer the convenience of a pre-arranged tour to hop between boleterias and buses.

Where can I find the most breathtaking photographs of Machu Picchu?

The best photographs can be obtained from the Sun Gate, the Guardian House, and Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Summit.

When is Machu Picchu’s closing time?

Never, Muchu Picchu is accessible 365 days a year; the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is closed 365 days a year.

When should you avoid visiting Machu Picchu?

Trains to Aguas Calientes may be affected by a landslide in January due to nonstop rainfall, thereby complicating the traveler’s itinerary.

When is Machu Picchu most affordable?

The entrance fee to Machu Picchu is US$45, regardless of the season. If you are a student or minor, you may be eligible for a discount, but you must present valid identification before booking your ticket.

How much are tickets to Machu Picchu?

The price of the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu varies by a travel agency, as some charge an additional service fee.

What is the ideal period of the year to visit Machu Picchu?

From June to August, the weather is drier and travel is simpler, but it is peak vacation season in the northern hemisphere. Keep in mind that three major Peruvian holidays – Inti Raymi (June 24), Peru’s Independence Day (July 28), and Santa Rosa de Lima (August 30) – fall during this time. These celebrations attract large numbers of Peruvian tourists, resulting in higher lodging costs and larger crowds. During the months of October through April, prices and visitor numbers can decline significantly. January has the most precipitation. Consider August, September, or October for near-perfect weather and manageable throngs.

Can I camp in Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel?

In 1983, Machu Picchu was designated by Unesco as a world heritage site. Since then, in order to preserve the historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, the Peruvian government has implemented strict measures and regulations limiting the amount of time you can spend in the citadel, requiring all visitors to be accompanied by a licensed tour guide, and making it impossible to camp inside Machu Picchu due to its delicate nature.

Is one day sufficient to explore Machu Picchu?

You can visit Machu Picchu on a Day excursion, but staying overnight in Aguas Calientes is recommended. A full-day excursion permits approximately six hours at Machu Picchu, coinciding with the busiest times. If you plan to remain overnight, you will have more time to explore the ruins after the majority of visitors have left, or you can revisit the citadel the following morning very early.

Does Machu Picchu shutter during the wet season?

Fortunately, Machu Picchu is open year-round; however, you should secure your tickets well in advance.

What mountains are Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu?

The exhilarating Huayna Picchu Trail, which traces an ancient Inca path, ascends Sugarloaf Hill in front of Machu Picchu. Tickets for the Inca Trail must be purchased at the same time as your entrance to Machu Picchu. The arduous vertiginous hike up a steep, narrow set of Inca-carved stairs to the Summit takes between 2 and 3 hours round-trip, and there are Inca structures called the moon temple at the summit. Bring insect repellent with you.

The Mount Machu Picchu, Hiking up Machu Picchu is an additional option. Entrance is permitted between 7:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. and between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. Tickets must be purchased simultaneously with entrance to the site.

Important Note

  • In 2022, children over 3 years old are required to purchase an admission ticket.
  • Which mountain is superior, Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu?
  • This is a difficult question to answer, so there are tourists who prefer Huayna Picchu mountain and others who prefer Machu Picchu mountain. Consequently, both mountains are climbable.
  • Before making a decision, you should compare the two options:
  • Hiking time.The journey to Huayna Picchu can take between two and two and a half hours. Huayna Picchu is closer than Machu Picchu Mountain, which requires between 3.3 and 3.4 hours to reach.
  • Altitude increase.-With Machu Picchu as the starting point at 8038 ft / 2450 masl, it is 270 m up to Huayna Picchu and 600 m up to Machu Picchu Mountain.
  • Each mountain has 400 permits divided between two time periods. Since Huayna Picchu is the more popular of the two mountains, reservations sell out in advance.
  • Both peaks offer spectacular views of the ancient citadel and its environs.
  • Summit altitude.- The summit of Huayna Picchu is approximately 8923 feet / 2720 meters above sea level, while the summit of Machu picchu mountain is approximately 10,000 feet / 3050 meters above sea level.