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Alternatives to Machu Pichu. HELP!

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Alternatives to Machu Pichu. HELP!

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1. Posted by chellay (Budding Member 20 posts) 11y

I was commitment-phobic about planning anything for my trip to South America in advance other than my flights there and home and as a result, I am unable to do the Inca Trail. It is booked for the next three months due to restrictions. I am currently in Cusco and have looked into the "alternative" Inca Trail routes, such as Salkantay. It´s a five day trek that ends in taking a train to Machu Pichu. Has anyone done any of the alternative treks? I am trying to figure out if it´d be worthwhile, or just a sad consolation prize. Should I do a trek through the Sacred Valley, or just suck it up and take the backpackers train to Machu Pichu for a daytrip? Please help!

2. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

I took the train form Cuzco BUT I spent a night in Aqua Caliente, that way when the "day trippers" have to leave to get the catch the train back to Cusco, you can stay on the mountain. I basically had the place to myself in the late-afterneem after the "day-trippers" left. And you can go back up the following morning.

Machu picchu is an amazing place, I wouldn't get caught up in how you get there. I personally was quite happy to go by train .

3. Posted by hannahp (Budding Member 10 posts) 11y

It's a must see so just because you can't do the trail don't miss it out! I did the trek to Choquequirau, it's not for the faint-hearted to say the least! It's a killer but if you're up for that kinda thing it's certainly a worthwhile achievement.

I also went to Machu Pichu by train. You have to spend the night in Aguas Callientes. We went up first thing the morning after we arrived and had the place to ourselves other than the inca trailers. Don't forget to take cash with you there are no cash points in Aguas and not all places don't take credit cards.

4. Posted by Pati (Full Member 120 posts) 11y

Hi there,
What a pity you won't do the incas trail, that the best experiance i've ever had...butttt...why don't you try the Choquequirao Trek, a couple a friend did it last year and they had a really nice experience, besides you can do it in your own, another famous route is Ausangate Trek. Try to visit Maras and Moray, or spend a couple of days on Chincheros, for me this is the most beautiful highland town i've ever been...

Cheers

5. Posted by chellay (Budding Member 20 posts) 11y

thanks for the replies. i ended up doing a 5 day salkantay trek and it was AMAZING! it was very adventurous, challenging, and there were rewarding views the entire way. when it costs nearly $100 to see machu pichu on a daytrip, it is worth it to pay a little more ($170) for a five day tour. if anyone has any questions about salkantay, send me a message :)

6. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting chellay

thanks for the replies. i ended up doing a 5 day salkantay trek and it was AMAZING! it was very adventurous, challenging, and there were rewarding views the entire way. when it costs nearly $100 to see machu pichu on a daytrip, it is worth it to pay a little more ($170) for a five day tour. if anyone has any questions about salkantay, send me a message :)

So you never got to go to Machu Picchu? I'd pay $100 to see Machu Picchu.

7. Posted by solveig (Full Member 53 posts) 11y

I would love to hear more about the Salkantay trip, as I'm planning to do it in July. Which tour operater did you go with (the prices I've seen
for 5 days including Macchu Picchu are about 350-370 Dollars), or did you go on your own?
cheers from Brazil

8. Posted by micpic (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

Yes!!
please post something about this salkantay trip. I was just about to freak out when I realized the other day that my journey target Machu Picchu has become impossible :(

Which operator should be best regarding to prize and quality?

Please let me know: thanks!

Que les vaya bien, amigos -

Michael
[email protected]

9. Posted by micpic (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

@ solveig: I think >300$ is ways too much!

10. Posted by chellay (Budding Member 20 posts) 11y

yes i went to machu pichu! it is day 5 of the salkantay trek and included in the price.

i first heard of the salkantay trek in lima for around $350 and was not interested at all... when i got to cusco, all of the tour agencies were heavily advertising this tour and after hearing various sales pitches, they all seemed to be the same and nearly all charged $180. for students it was $10-12 less, though a friend of mine got me a deal for $164... everyone else on my trip paid $180.

the trek includes 3 nights of camping, one night hotel in aguas calientes, tent and sleeping mat, mules to carry bags, 12 meals, a guide, entrance to machu pichu, pickup from your hotel in cusco, and transport back to cusco at the end of the trek... some companies do not include sleeping bags. the shuttle bus to machu pichu from aguas calientes and back is not included (but my group walked) and one breakfast and one dinner are not included. there is also one short optional train ride to hidroelectrica that is not included, but its 5 soles (less than $2).

as far as finding tour operators, i recommend booking in cusco. the company i went with was on plateros (sorry, dont remember the name of it). it is not generally necessary to book in advance (i booked one day before i began the trek) and most companies have groups departing daily. we came across a group of people who were doing the trail on their own, without a guide, and they seemed to be fine... though im not sure its much of a financial incentive to do so and i enjoyed having nice meals cooked for me after a long day of walking.

hopefully thats more informative.. let me know if there are any more specific questions. i will try and locate the name of the tour company i used.