A good alternative to the Inca Trail and a recommendation for all those who not only want to visit Machu Picchu but also want to do some hiking.
If the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is too expensive or too less of a challenge, this Trek is a very fitting alternative. On 5 days some differences in altitude and kilometer, through exciting landscapes and climate zones, will be covered. On the guided tours, the luggage (up to 5 kg) can be carried by donkeys and mules and the food is very good.
The trail runs through various landscapes: from glaciers to jungles to high mountains. A real challenge is the difference in altitude. From almost 1500 m at the lowest to 4600m at the highest point at the Salkantay Pass. With a lot of concentration and breaks slow progress is made. Therefore, it is very important to acclimatize beforehand in higher regions such as Cusco.
The differences in temperature can also be quite challenging. Around the glacier, there are minus temperatures and in the jungle it is tropical. Multi-layer clothing is mandatory for this trek.
The tents for sleeping are brought up by the mules. The starry sky at night is especially beautiful because no other light sources cover the sight on the Milky Way.
The absolute highlight of this trail is, of course, Machu Picchu. The lost Inca city is definitely worth a visit, even if there are a lot of other tourists. But the view of the city and the mountains around it is simply spectacular!
On the third day, during leisure time, pay a visit to the hot springs of Santa Teresa. After a long hiking session, this is very good for relaxation.
Beforehand, take time to acclimatize to avoid altitude sickness.
Tips, hints and links
The tour is bookable online and on-site in Cusco. It is recommendable to book it in Cusco as it is cheaper.
Book recommendations for this region:
trekking backpack (approx. 30 liters) with rain cover, comfortable and sturdy footwear, second pair of shoes/sandals if necessary, adequate and durable outdoor clothing in multiple layers, change of clothes, telescope sticks, sun and rain protection, snacks and drinking water, first aid kit, penknife, mobile phone, headlight, maps, travel documents, toilet bag, and travel towel, travel detergent and clothesline, camping equipment if necessary (tent, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, cooking equipment)