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Inca Trail Routes

The Inca Trail route

You may ask how long it takes to walk the Inca Trail. The answer will depend on your preference. There are several route options to take, allowing you to choose your preferred experience. Several trekking options are described below, followed by more detailed information about the Classic Inca Trail trek. Each of these routes, ranging in length from one to several days, caters to different audiences depending on their duration, popularity and availability of accommodation on the trail. All four are one-way treks. Depending on the tour operator with whom you make your travel reservations, you will normally use a combination of public and private transportation to return to Cusco from Aguas Calientes.

The Lares Route

Often hailed as the cultural alternative to the Inca Trail, the Lares Trek is a three-day odyssey through the forgotten weaving communities found on the eastern side of Machu Picchu. But don’t think of it as a museum visit. Access to the traditional villages is hard-won, in the form of passes that rise to over 15,000 feet (4,570 meters) and zigzag across the peak of Pumahuanca. You can add a visit to the ruins of Machu Picchu on the fourth day of Lares.

The Salkantay Route

The Salkantay trek is one of the many treks that can be found in the Cusco region of Peru. It is about 75 km (46 miles) in distance and about 3000 m (10 000 ft) in altitude, so it is considered to be a tough trek, compared to the other trekking options in the area. A typical Salkantay trek starts in Cusco, where you are picked up at your hotel to take you to Mollepata or Soraypampa. A great attraction of the Salkantay trek is that not only can you see Machu Picchu, but you can also see Llaqtapata. Pronounced as “Yakhta-Pata”, Llaqtapata is an archaeological site about 5 km from Machu Picchu. It is believed that in Inca times, it was a resting place on the way to Machu Picchu. Still today, on some treks, Llaqtapata is used as a resting place. Be sure to choose the right itinerary if you wish to spend the night here.

The Classic Inca Trail Route (3 to 5 day trek)

The Classic Inca Trail Trek is the most popular route to Machu Picchu. The time it takes to hike the Inca Trail will depend on your preference and hiking itinerary, but hiking this route can take anywhere from three to five days.

The Classic Inca Trail Trek begins at a point on the trail known as KM 82, in the town of Piscacucho. During the hike, adventurers travel 42 kilometers (26 miles) in total and reach a maximum altitude of 4,200 meters (13,776 feet) above sea level.

The itinerary for the Classic Inca Trail is four days, the most optimal option. On this trip to Machu Picchu, hikers cross the Urubamba River and pass through many small villages and incredible landscapes. On the last day you enter Machu Picchu the same way the Incas did, through Inti Punku (the Sun Gate).

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