Explore the most popular birding 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.

The hike was may favorite part (more than the destination). It was so amazing, in fact, that we're heading back to Cusco to do it again tomorrow!

hiking
24 days ago

One life experience definitely recommended on everyone's list .. the trek from KM104 after a nice train ride from Cusco was amazing .. fun hike that can be done by most I feel as long as you have some basic fitness .. slow climb that can be done at a leisurely pace .. the first view of Machu Picchu is astounding .. something you will never forget.

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

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

Beautiful, Historical trail. Some areas are very dangerous because some parts the side of the mountain is like hiking along a cliff.

1 month ago

Completed in 4 days, with the 5th day at Machu Picchu. Had trek guides “Tour Leaders Peru” and they were energetic, had excellent equipment, and generally fantastic — local guys who spoke great English and were very passionate about the money from the trip going directly back into the Peruvian economy.

It’s of course simpler to have a trek guide and also porters for your stuff, as we did. I am a moderate hiker at best and the trail was tough for me. I trained weekly beforehand on similar inclines for a few hours at a time with a weighted backpack and my hiking boots (15 lbs as I didn’t need to carry food/tent). Acclimated for 2.5 days beforehand in Cusco, which is necessary. Took Diamox just in case, and the altitude was still tricky going up Salkantay. Was passed by tons of people going up on horses.

If your knees are bad, like some of the people in my group, the hours of downhills on slippery rocks is going to be tough. Poles were absolutely necessary — heading both up and down. Pack in layers as you’ll go through many different climates, the first night in tents it was so cold some members of our party couldn’t sleep.

Would recommend just buying a train ticket into Aguas Calientes instead of hiking the last set of miles bc it’s not a comfortable hike, although flat, due to the loose rock, and you’ll also be exhausted at this point. We hiked it and it was miserable.

I heard that this trail may be permitted (like the Inca) in about a year or two.

Hardest physical thing I’ve ever done but also most rewarding. Every day I saw magical landscapes that made me inadvertently gasp. I may never do another hike this demanding again in my life, but am proud to have done this one. Made the grandeur of Machu Picchu even more amazing when you realized how people traveled to the ancient city.

hiking
1 month ago

A dream come true! It was exhausting, Sun was too hot..
But it was an amazing journey, the best hike so far!
17,000 ft of hard work paid off at the top!!
And I did it!!!

hiking
1 month ago

The most amazing hike so far ever!!!

The altitude makes this one extremely difficult but it was worth it

Just finished this trek in a 5 day trip towards Machu Picchu. I live below sealevel, so had to get used to the altitude. Went from Lima (msl) to Arequipa (2500m) to Cuzco (3300) and started the trek at Soraypampa (3800m). Which was fine altitude wise but if your not a trained hiker/runner and your daypack is too heavy (like mine ... 8kg) because you want to take your big-ass camera ... Do yourself a big favour BUY DECENT POLES!

They helped me a lot. Furthermore there are a number of opportunities to buy water and snacks so do not load up your backpack. Take the camera, a water bottle, a snack or two, a raincoat/poncho, gloves/beanie/buff and layer up (clothes) so you can layer down as well.
Leave enough room in your daypack to be able to stow the clothes you take off,

You will climb from moderate pampa, to a cold snowy mountain pass and descend to warm pre-jungle.

It’s super!

Leave some energy for the Machu Picchu (1670 steps) climb or even consider taking the bus up if you have to walk back (2hrs) to HydroElectrico afterwards.

Have fun

completed this yesterday 3 days after the salkantay trek. it was beautiful. any of the reviews you read that say it's not worth it must be because they did it on an overcast day. truly spectacular but it is a lung burner. definitely hike the extra few hundred feet to the right after you get to the top.

backpacking
2 months ago

Incredible sights. The hike was very difficult. However if you train correctly then it becomes difficult. The scenes and the mountains were jaw dropping. If you add another day or two then you can also see rainbow mountain which is just as beautiful. I highly recommended this hike to anyone. There are no people on the trial so you get to really take all of the environment in. I will never forget this hike and will trek it again in the future.

In my opinion, this is the way to enter Machu Picchu. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment to enter through the Sun Gate. If you don’t have the whole four days to do the full trail, this one day trek is wonderful. Took us about 4 hours to get from KM 104 to the Sun Gate. You get to experience beautiful views of the Andes and two other Inca ruins along the way.

AMAZING. As good as it gets!

just finished this in 3 days with 2 friends. we did it on our own without a guide. went up to humantay lake first then on to the salkantay. make sure you acclimate before starting. it is a tough hike but very rewarding. camp in one of the coffee plantations just after the town of la playa. there is a lot of water on the trail so bring a filter and dont bother carrying much water. the final several miles to aguas calientes is miserable as it follows the train track and you are walking on loose rocks the entire way.

Challenging hike, beautiful scenery culminating in Machu Picchu. Unforgetable experience!

Great hike. A bit difficult to breath toward the end but it was worth it. Starting snowing when we got to the top but most of our trek was awesome. Our guide left around 10 in the morning for the trip so we managed to beat the crowd on the way up. There were only four of us at the top. Excellent sights and wildlife for most of the hike.

backpacking
3 months ago

I did this trek solo with all my own gear and food /water starting on Mollepata. See my profile for a day-by-day breakdown. The All Trails map is outdated in spots, as I found, and it starts from Soraypampa vs Mollepata. It was 5 days, 4 nights and incredible. Email me if you have any questions - bobbyboombeck at gmail dot com.

We did this as part of a guided tour through Mountain Lodges of Peru (highly recommend) in June 2016. I struggle with altitude but spent two days in Cusco beforehand and took Diamox and was able to manage it fine. The last little bit was tough, above 14,000 feet, but definitely worth it. I did not take hiking poles and was fine except at the very highest part because altitude makes me dizzy. If I did it again I would probably take poles. Pack lots of layers and water.

Wear sturdy shoes for this very nice walk up to the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu. The views of the valley and the site are awesome. Took us about an hour up and half that down, very glad we took the trail.

We did this as a 3 day hike, beginning in Sorayampa. Don’t underestimate the effects of the altitude near the pass- it’s extremely hard to breathe- we ended up taking a horse for about a mile or so until the top of the pass. After that, the trail gradually descends and the scenery is beautiful. The campsites were nice- our guide took good care of us! We ended in Agua Caliente, and bussed to Machu Picchu.
We chose this trail instead of the original Inca Trail, as there are less people.

We went independently backpacking. Amazing nature & landscapes. You pass through 3 different ecozones. The directions are easy to followed as we we downloaded the offline map from all trails. The hike is hard; altitude plays a huge role in its difficultly. Better to acclimatize for 3 days before hitting the trail. You need to carry meals at least for 3 days as in some camping areas you might not find food. At first two nights it gets really cold. It’s worth all the tiredness.

horseback riding
4 months ago

Amazing valley with shepherds, alpacas, lamas. Dress in layers it, rain jackets. Despite arriving while it was snowing we still snow the different colors

This hike is a lung-burner, but well worth the effort. A previous reviewer said it best, some hikes take you to a view and others ARE the view. This one IS the view. Be sure to bring an extra 5 Soles to continue on to Red Canyon, which is an extra nine miles, approximately.

We chose Valencia Travel and they were excellent. The hike itself was my first major hike and it was something I will never forget!

Perfect hike to Machu Picchu if you don't have a ton of time in order to do the 4 day Inca Trail.

Some trails have a view, and some trails ARE the view. This one is the latter. Which makes it even more of a shame that searching online for Rainbow Mountain yields two major misconceptions about this hike. One is that you will find a Dr. Suess-drenched literal rainbow mountain that the Photoshopped and heavily filtered photos implore you to believe exists. The second is that the point of this hike should even BE Rainbow Mountain. It’s a cool little mountain but somewhat underwhelming after a difficult hike at 16,000 feet. But the rest of the hike! The valley is dripping in purples and greens, rust reds and Caribbean aquas, as if a painter has carelessly tossed all his brushes aside over the ragged peaks thrusting themselves diagonally through the grassy floor. Sheep and the occasional horse dot the landscape, grazing, seemingly oblivious to the beauty surrounding them. You’re rewarded to glimpses of the snow-blanketed Ausangate Mountain, and clouds spilling into the valley on the far side of Vinicunca.

This hike is not steep and would not be difficult save for the altitude. It affected us all a lot more than we anticipated. The coca tea (3 soles) at the top helped but we all had headaches the whole next day, never mind the struggle to the top. It gets cold and windy; dress appropriately. Entrance is 10 soles and you can also hire a horse to ride up. We didn’t start at the parking lot but found a spot on the side of the road, which added about 3.5 miles roundtrip (some of my pics are from that part of the trail). The drive is sketchy; you can find day tours that leave by bus from Cusco, but we drove ourselves. There is also a 3-day trek.

less crowded trail. a nice place to just sit down and enjoy the scenery

Load More