Inca Trail Alternative Treks (which one?)
Replies: 4 - Last Post: May 9, 2013 9:18 AM Last Post By: WILLEMSPIE
May 7, 2013 12:21 PM
Inca Trail Alternative Treks (which one?)Hello! My boyfriend and I are going to be visiting Peru in July (2013) and are visiting Machu Picchu. I was wondering what people thought of some of the inca trail alternative treks. We are thinking about doing some other treks in Peru and may bring our own camping gear. We are pretty in-shape and live at 4,500ft but the highest elevation we hike at is approx. 7,000ft so not sure about difficulty levels.
(before this becomes a debate about whether I should do the Inca Trail instead... There are no permits left during my trip)
I've been hearing about these:
1. The Salcantay Route
2. The Lares Route
3. Vilcabamba Traverse Route
4. The Chaski (or Cachicata) Trail
What are your thoughts? Are there other routes I'm missing? What is the possibility of doing these without a tour? Other advise?
May 8, 2013 9:23 AM
1To answer your last question first, please don't trek in Peru by yourselves. Budget for a group trek or at least hire a guide. Two people by themselves are a very inviting target for robbery or worse. I say this having hiked the Peruvian Sierras numerous times over the years and having been robbed at gunpoint. Although it happened to me just once, it can and does happen. My advise, don't take the chance.
How you will feel at altitude is a very individual matter and only by being there will you know.
You can not be feeling well after arriving in Cuzco and three days later be ready to go trekking.
The daily distance walked is half of what you would do in the US but of course at altitude so things like carrying your supplies, setting up camp, preparing meals can be a chore. Much more enjoyable and safer with a group or a organized trekking company.
Can't give you any first hand on the routes around Cuzco, spent most time in the Cordillera Blanca, except did do the Inca Trail one year and would not recommend it. Very over crowded, not as scenic as other trails. The other routes you mentioned are probably better and you can reach Machu Picchu just the same.
Good luck and enjoy your trek.
May 8, 2013 12:23 PM
2Salkantay and Lares are easier to follow if you go by yourself as they're more frequently done. Cachicata isn't a clearly marked trail so you could have some trouble.
Regarding safety I'd say that only Vilcabamba would be of concern due to the Sendero Luminoso being active in that general area. Salkantay, Lares and Cachicata are all very safe routes with either lots of tourists on or in the case of Cachicata, very close to the sacred valley.
All the treks you mentioned go up to high altitude, 4500m+ on Salkantay, Lares and Cachicata.
Huchuy Qosco is another possibility, the Moonstone trek (similar to Cachicata but slightly different route), Ausangate - best with a guide, Choquequirao, Choquequirao to Machu Picchu - again best with a guide.
May 8, 2013 7:01 PM
3There are several discussion threads over the last month. Everyone speaks highly of Salkantay. I found it a great route. No one can know about altitude on any trip, but you will only cross one high pass. My memory is that we may have camped at 14000 the first night, gone up another 1000 and then descended quickly. So you can easily follow the advise to get to lower altitude.
You could do it wihout a guide. but if you can afford $400 -$500 a person, a guide is apt to make sense. Certainly did for us.
One way or another, Salkantay is great
May 9, 2013 9:18 AM
4I have done all my treks in Peru alone. Of course it is not 100% safe, but it is safe enough. actually in the past even large trekking groups have been targeted.
there are lots of treks. if you want to stick to the mp area, buy the trailblazers guidebook. a very quiet trek is between Choquequirao and Huancacalle (vitcos ruins).
Somewhat further, the ausangate - phinaya traverse (by the lakes) is fantastic.
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