Originally posted on https://www.journeymachupicchu.com/2018/08/15/top-3-hikes-to-machu-picchu/
Among the many amazing hiking experiences we have in Peru and thus leading to Machu Picchu there are some that tend to stand out. We have compiled a list of what we believe are the Top 3 Hikes to Machu Picchu.
The Classic Inca trail is a 4 day hike that actually leads in to Machu Picchu on the four. It is special among
the other hikes to Machu Picchu because it is the only one that allows you to directly walk into the complex though hiking. The Classic Inca trail is right now by far the most popular hike in the country and maybe most of the world. In order book this hike you will need to reserve it months in advance, this is not stretching it you will literally need to have this booked in some cases up to a year in advance. The first months of the year to fully book are April, May and June so if these are your predicted travel months make sure to have your permits issued the year before. There is always a misconception with the trek.
Most travelers assume the tour operator or the travel agency have run out of space on the 4 day classic Inca trail to Machu Picchu when in reality the Peruvian government issues the permits. The limit is 500 spots/day and as stated before they go very fast. The trek in itself is beautiful, as you hike through the Andes you are able to see the change in topography from highland terrain to a more humid jungle area nearing Machu Picchu. This is called cloud forest and it makes for a unique climate. If you are planning to travel in October, November, December remember to bring your repellent as the mosquitoes can be a bit of a problem. The beauty, history and overall feel of the Inca trail definitely put this trek among the top 3 hikes to Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu has been the go to hike for travelers that want something a little bit more
challenging than the traditional Inca trail. Overall you will be at a higher altitude than the Inca trail, about 15,000 feet above sea level (4600 meters). The Salkantay trek is more nature immersive than other treks, you will definitely see less ruins along the route however the trade off is that you will likely see much more wildlife in its natural setting than the Inca trail.
In recent years the popularity of this trek has increased but not to the levels of oversaturating the route to Aguas Calientes (town at the bottom of Machu Picchu). This route allows you to even get a good look at Andean glaciers, it is definitely one of the contenders for top hike to Machu Picchu and was even named as one of the most beautiful hikes in the world by national geographic magazine. The Salkantay trek takes you to the town of Aguas Calientes on day 4. The following morning you begin the hike to Machu Picchu in order to catch the sun rising over the Andes. The overall amazing landscape plus the local flora and fauna make this a must do and makes the list of top 3 hikes to Machu Picchu.
The 2 Day Inca trail to Machu Picchu is a recently thought up route, it is also known as the express Inca trail.
This short hike to Machu Picchu includes a full day of hiking through parts of day 2 and day 3 of the classic 4 day version. You can’t really count the 2 day Inca trail as a full fledged out trek through the Andes but it is not intended to. This hike is directed towards travelers that want the experience of taking the Inca trail but don’t necessarily want to camp out in the Andes for 3 nights.
The 2 day Inca tail finishes on day one in the town Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu pueblo), the following morning we can either hike up to Machu Picchu from the small town or we can take the tourist bus up the winding roads.
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