Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Cusco with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

I loved hiking this trail. I did it with a group over four days. It could be less but we were working with some altitude difficulties. Go if you can!

beautiful 5 day trek to machu Picchu! highly recommend it and do it solo, no need for a guided tour. altitude can get to you over the salkantay pass but after that it's not too challenging! beautiful mountains and jungle views. ausangate is next!!

KILLER (especially if you normally live in a place that is sea level) but so worth it. Breathtaking views and so so rewarding. If you camp near Sorasypampa do the extra hike up to Laguna Humantay - even if you feel like you are dying it is so worth it!

There are tiendas with water and snacks along the way owned by locals so you never have to carry a whole days supply - there are also streams on trail or taps at camp sites from which you can filter (don’t drink without filtering!). Our lead told us that the locals who own the little tiendas also own the land and are the ones who maintain and prepare the trail, so knowing that made me want to support their businesses even more =)

Hiked late December with a trekking company we were in tents 3 of the 4 nights. It rained during the night but not too much during the day. Prepare for very cold weather on Salkantay pass and (possible) warmer weather during day 3 and 4 (hiking through Amazon).

Difficult but worth it!

Wir haben den Trek mit Guide gemacht, jedoch auch ohne gut machbar. Der Trail ist nicht besonders gut gepflegt, es ist viel Geröll auf dem Weg und viele Steine. Trotzdem ist er wunderschön :)

Breathtaking!

I cannot say enough about this hike/camping experience! The hike itself was not too difficult if you are already a hiker and all the history, story telling, and unbelievable food made it even more comfortable and exciting. The steps get a little daunting at times but nothing you cannot do with a little training. I live at a high elevation (5,300 ft) and have hiked up to 13,000 ft so the altitude was not really felt which made it easier. Machu Picchu itself is very crowded but many of the other sites along the way were essentially empty. The flora/fauna is incredible. You see everything from rain forest to desert! I recommend good shoes, rain gear, walking poles for uphill, and a water reservoir in your pack. I found I drink more water and don't have to stop every time I get thirsty. This is a life changing hike and one I highly recommend!

Unbelievably beautiful and fulfilling. For me a hike of a lifetime.

day two was hard as i feared

Amazing journey through spectacular scenery ranging from alpine desert to rainforest. Unforgettable NatGeo experience!

hiking
2 months ago

An incredible experience, the trail, the views, the guides, the porters, the chefs and the food!! The great friends made during the hike. And of course Machu Picchu!!!

Hiked in April and was a truly amazing trip. Quite hard, but worth it. It rained 2 of 4 days, but we managed to stay out of torrential downpours. The only thing I'd wish I'd known was how much horse poo would be on the trail.

We hiked this trail for our honeymoon and it was amazing. It is very challenging but worth it! Definitely bring Deet spray for chiggers, they’re worse than mosquitos.

Did the trek in Aug with REI adventures. Food and lodging was amazing. The hike took us 6 days with the longest day being 9 miles. Not very many people on the trail and the weather was perfect. Hardest day was getting up and over the pass at 15,200 feet. Take diamox if needed and acclimate a few days in Cusco or higher if able.

I’m so glad that we didn’t take classic Inca trail. Salkantay trail is definitely marvelous, holy, peaceful and not crowded at all. Our trip with “Alpaca Expedition “ makes the 4-day trekking flawless.

hiking
3 months ago

So hard but incredible trail

We did the classic 5 day hike to Machu Picchu with Salkantay trekking in May. Highly recommend they were wonderful! Food was amazing! This hike pushed us past our mental and physical limits. We’re from very low sea level. We arrived a few days early to help acclimate to the elevation but it’s still hard to breathe no matter what. Just take it slow and go at your own pace! Reaching the pass was the hardest day with the highest elevation of over 15,000ft. But once we reached the top it was the most beautiful sight! We even saw an avalanche happen right before our eyes at the top of the pass! Truly an experience of a life time.

We did this for our honeymoon and it was an incredible trip! We did the 5 day which is spectacular and the Salkantay company was amazing!

Fantastic trek! It’s much more difficult because of the altitude but so worth the effort. Parts were quite scary because the steps were so steep up or down but when you have no other choice, you make it through.

3 months ago

Great comments in here, and all true. My wife and I did a private trip with Apamayu Expeditions. They were first class. The trek was difficult at times and tough on the knees, but conditioning ahead of time, time at altitude in Cusco before setting off, and any advance stair work you can do will pay off in spades.

As for the crowds at Machu Picchu, our guide was brilliant. We took off on day four later than all the big groups who were in a rush to get to sun gate. By getting there we’ll after the morning bus groups had arrived, we were able to avoid the big bus tour groups as they had already moved down. The bus folks in the morning have to leave before the afternoon group is my understanding. We had the Inka bridge mostly to ourselves.

Hope this helps someone. Definitely worth doing, good luck.

Great experience. Challenging with the high altitude and steps. We did a 4 day/3 night trek with Alpaca Expeditions.

Walked the Lares trek, similar in many ways, highest altitude 4600 metres, walking was easy breathing was harder! Fantastic experience. Didnt see any other groups but plenty of animals, (Llama’s) and locals. Kiliminjaro next!

backpacking
5 months ago

Guided journey, 3 days. Lares to Cucani and overnight camp. Days 2, Cuncani to Ipsay pass. Day 3 Huacawasi pass to Mantanay, then end at Yanahuara. Altitude 15,700 at pass. Snow at pass. Alpine lakes, too numerous to count. Will llamas and vicunas.

The trail was well worth the effort with ancient sites and fabulous flora and some fauna. We found the trail loaded with wild orchids. The ancient sites along the trail were spectacular. I do agree with other hikers that Machu Picchu itself is completely overrun with people. Once you arrive at the end of your 3 day hike, the crowds do overwhelm you. Don't let the crowds deter you. Machu Picchu is a breathtaking site and was worth the visit.

Completed the Inca trail trek to Machu Picchu July 18-21! Incredible journey to say the least! This trail is typically dry in July however we had 2/4 days of our trek soaking wet with rain and a bit of snow at the top of dead woman’s pass. This trek was very tough due to the altitude and ups and downs I would recommend being in good cardiovascular shape for this one, but it was so worth it to see all of the Inca ruins spread throughout the entire hike. Much like everyone else’s reviews the end destination of Machu Picchu was super crowded and overwhelming with people after spending a few days on the hike, still worth seeing but the trail was more enjoyable in my opinion. My family and I traveled with the company G Adventures and we would highly recommend them as guides for this trek as they were knowledgeable, prepared, and very enjoyable!

The hiking trail to Machu Picchu was breathtaking. The Inca sites along the way was a true highlight the the trip. Unfortunately, Machu Picchu itself is completely overrun with people bused in. Everyone in our hiking group agreed the trail leading to Machu Picchu was much better than the end of the destination.

Vous devez avoir un bon guide et être en forme. Excellente alternative à Inca Trail plus populaire.

I did the 4 day trek the beginning of January 2018. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life. The trek (especially Dead Women’s Pass) was better than Machu Picchu. I can’t imagine just taking the train up to Machu Picchu, as it completely bypasses the experience of the pilgrimage.

Definitely do your research about how difficult the trail and altitude are. Be sure to acclimate for a few days prior. It is extremely difficult, but this is part of the reason it is so rewarding. It is a very spiritual and magical place.

A pretty epic trail with variety of terrain and scenery. Make sure you’re acclimatized first so you can really enjoy it.

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