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Machu Picchu - alternatives

Travel Forums Central/South America & The Caribbean Machu Picchu - alternatives

1. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi All,
I am aware that the inca trail needs to be book way ahead of time. Unfortunately, my trip to Peru only got finalized a few weeks ago and I assumed that ONLY THE 4-DAY INCA TRAIL required to booked way in advance. I did not realize that this applied to the short inca trail too (i.e. 2 days, 1 night). I am getting to Cusco on May 20 and have resigned myself to this situation. I do not have the time to do any of the alternate trails. In this situation, what is the best possible way to do the Machu Picchu trip? Any advice will be highly appreciated. Thanks in advance.



2. Posted by sirwhale (Full Member 84 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I was there at the end of Feb, which was the low season but from what i heard from everyone was that there were loads of tours when you get there. Cheaper too if you shop around and even cheaper if you speak spanish well. But we're now getting near to the high season so i don't know. You might have luck with the crisis with less people travelling. I dunno.

3. Posted by Carlaperu (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!


Unfortunately the Inca trail trek mus be booked earlier, it works like this for the short Incan trail 2 days and for the long of 4 days- 3nights

The only option now is doing the alternative trekings wich connect as wel to Machu Picchu such as . Mollepata salktanTAY, Lares trek, ect

In case you dont want to hike the other option is by train on a classic tour, but i think the best option is doing the Mollepata Salkantay is a nice trek and it is also very famous now after the Inca trail

good luck


4. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Carla,
Thanks for the suggestion. Unfortunately, I have less than 5 days total in the Cusco area so I cannot do any of the longer treks.


5. Posted by Carlaperu (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Pranavc

In case you have only somedays , I suggest you to do the other alternative trek called Inca trail via Llactapata, you only need 2 days- 1night

Llactapata is a religious and ceremonial center, which was discovered in 1912 by Hiram Bingham. In 2003 a group of American explorers, who were researching notes from Hiram Bingham´s Lost City of the Incas, came to Llactapata to unearth what they suspected was another network of ceremonial and agricultural sites high above the Urubamba, just a stones throw from Machu Picchu. Using modern methods such as GPS, aerial photography and topographic maps, the exploration team, backed by the Royal Geographic Society in London, combined technology with some good old fashioned manual graft, hacking their way through dense cloud forest to discover what Bingham had not been able to prove, the existence of walls, plazas and more than 80 buildings similar in layout, to the sun temple of Coricancha. Thanks to the efforts of the Thomson-Ziegler Andean Research Expedition, we have been able to open up the the Inca trail from Lucmabamba to Llactapata. This two day, one night trek involves camping in Llactapata overlooking Machu Picchu. The wonderful landscapes thrown up on this route are complimented by the sound of wild parrots and picaflores among many others. Llactapata is known as The Viewpoint because you can observe the citadel of Machu Picchu very clearly, as well as the sacred mountain of the Apu Salkantay.

The major bonus of this trek is that it is available all year round, unlike the Classic Inca trek, which is full until September. Its relatively recent discovery means that the tourist hourdes have yet to flood this beautiful trail and its unmatched settings.
Through jungle path and mountain trail, your senses will be dazzled and unjaded by the flock of travellers.

Good luck , i hope this information will be usefull for you



6. Posted by Degolasse (Travel Guru 823 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I don't know if you are under this impression or not, but it seems that a lot of people seem to think that Machu Picchu requires a trek and that Inca Trail and MP are synonymous. This is not the case. Just in case it needs clarifying - The Inca Trail and all other alternative treks are simply treks that end at Machu Picchu, which is a historical sight outside the town of Aguas Calientes. You do not need to go on a hike to visit MP, nor do you have to book any sort of tour. If you are short on time you can simply hop on a train from Cusco to AC, walk or take a bus up to the sight, buy a ticket at the gate and return when you are done. If you are really short on time this can all be done in one day, but that's not something I would recommend. Stay at least one night in Aguas Calientes so that you can relax and spend as much time at the sight as possible.
If you do want some sort of guided tour (which isn't a bad idea since MP is pretty big with lots of history) you can book something in Cusco or Aguas Calientes. I didn't go this route (I took the Salkantay Trek) so I can't really help you too much there. One thing to consider is taking a few days and make MP part of a tour of the Sacred Valley - the area between Cusco and Aguas Calientes. You'll find loads of travel agents in Cusco offering different options for this.

7. Posted by sirwhale (Full Member 84 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

I would also recomend, if possible, spending more time in and around cusco. amazing place, very interesting. I did 9 days and wanted more.

8. Posted by pranavc (Respected Member 316 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Thank you ALL very much for your input. I guess we are going to do the walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu early morning. How early should we leave to catch sunrise? We will try and do the trip roughly around May 22. Thanks in advance.



9. Posted by Cecilia22 (Budding Member 4 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

To visit Machu Picchu, there are many ways, as taking the Inca trail, which takes at least 3 days, going by train, walk by yourself, and to reach the city buy a ticket to visit the citadel. There are other optional tours in Cusco such as Choquequirao, Salkantay, etc., but the most traditional is the Inca Trail and Machupicchu full day taking the train, all options are good, but Cusco not only has machupicchu and inca trail, has more ruins and other roads just as impressive, but need time, obviously, but is a great experience, difficult to forget. Good luck.;)

Good Bye