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Top 5 Alternative Inca Trails
With 2011 marking the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham, Journey Latin America predicts that many visitors may be forced to look for an alternative trek to the classic Inca Trail.
It can surprise some visitors that the classic Inca Trail is far from the only way to trek to Machu Picchu. These alternatives to the well-trodden route are not only great for last minute bookers who find themselves unable to secure an Inca Trail pass, but are also well worth the muscle-ache in their own right.
Firmly established as the UK’s No 1 specialist to the region since 1980, Journey Latin America offers an unrivalled range of alternative treks in Peru - many of which also follow ancient Inca trails and can be easily combined with Machu Picchu. Here are some of our favourites…
Hiking to Machu Picchu “via the back door”, this is now a very popular alternative to the Inca Trail. So much so, there are rumours that a permit system may also soon need to be introduced here.
Where: from Cusco, hike around the Cordillera Vilcabamba’s highest peak (Salkantay, 6241m).
We like: contrasting scenery - descend from jagged high Andean peaks to sub-tropical valleys.
More time: continue on into the Amazon and stay at the award-winning Refugio Amazonas.
A challenging, mule-supported trek to what is arguably the most spectacularly located of all Inca sites - Choquequirao – perched high on a mountain side, surrounded by dense foliage.
Where: from Cusco, traversing the dramatic, steep-sided Apurimac canyon en route.
We like: still only partly excavated, arriving at the site gives you a real feeling of discovery.
More time: treat yourself after; go by luxury train to Machu Picchu and stay at the Pueblo hotel.
A demanding trek, including three high passes, around Peru’s most sacred peak - the impressive Ausangate (6384m). Glaciers, lakes, herds of alpacas and colourful, traditional Andean villages.
Where: from Cusco, hiking in the Cordillera Vilcanota, the last barrier before the Amazon basin.
We like: possible as a 3, 4 or 6-night trek, with wonderful close-up views of stunning Ausangate.
More time: start off and acclimatize first in the Sacred Valley and a train trip to Machu Picchu.
4. Weavers' Trail
Also known as the Lares Trek, it rivals the Inca Trail for scenery, but passes through remote “living” Andean communities rather than deserted Inca ruins. Hot springs to soothe your limbs.
Where: from Cusco, into the Lares valleys, ending at the hilltop Inca citadel of Ollantaytambo.
We like: a glimpse of ancient rural traditions, which have changed little since Inca times.
More time: continue to Lake Titicaca and experience the local Llachón community (homestay).
5. Huayhaush Trek
The setting for “Touching the Void”, this tough high-Andean trek takes you into some of Peru’s most beautiful mountains, skirting massive snow-draped peaks and aquamarine glacial lakes.
Where: from Huaraz, north of Lima, high into the Cordillera Huayhuash (passes up to 5200m).
We like: the stunning, remote wilderness setting. Or try, the shorter “Santa Cruz circuit”.
More time: continue north to the little-visited pre-Inca sites of Kuelap, Chan Chan or Sipán.
Win A Trek To Machu Picchu
Journey Latin America are offering one lucky winner and their guest the chance of an all-inclusive trek to Machu Picchu, swapping tents for the luxury of mountain lodges.
The lucky winner and their guest will enjoy 7 days of Andean adventure, worth over £4,000, including a guided visit to Machu Picchu, a fully supported trek with full-board in mountain lodge accommodation, and transfers to and from Cusco. To enter visit our online magazine http://www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk/
Limited to 500 people per day: made up of trekkers (40%) and personnel (60% - guides, porters, cooks etc). This means, in reality, around 200 places for trekkers per day.
Closed in February for maintenance. Bookings can only be made for the current season.
Only bookable through authorised agencies. Payment of a non-refundable £150 deposit, full name and passport details must be given at the time of booking.
For more information on Journey Latin America and to see our full range of holidays, please visit http://www.journeylatinamerica.co.uk or telephone: 020 8747 8315.
For press information or images please contact Laura Rendell-Dunn or Jenny Powles on 020 8747 8315 or at email@example.com
Laura Rendell-Dunn is a destination specialist and is available as a spokesperson on events, travel trends and features relating to all locations in Latin America.
Journey Latin America are the UK’s no1. travel specialist to Central and South America. With 30 years experience dealing exclusively with Latin America we can offer practical advice based on personal experience.
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The UK's No.1 travel specialist to Central and South America since 1980. Offering tailor-made travel, small group tours, flights and airpasses, our team of specialists and guides have an unrivalled knowledge of the region, and a passion for sharing it.