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Inca Trail vs Salkantay Trek

30 December 2017

There are several ways to get to the ruins of Machu Picchu, from express tours of a day to hiking several days to reach the magical citadel. Since the 70s, routes, and trekking circuits have been added that have expanded the possibilities to reach the Sacred City. In this article, we show you the two main trekking routes: the popular Inca Trail to Machu picchu and the alternative Salkantay Hike.


This is the most popular trekking to Machu Picchu because it manages to combine several climates, impressive landscapes, and centuries-old ruins. Due to its beauty, this walk is preferred by travelers, having to be requested five months in advance (a permit is required that has limited spaces per day).

The Inca Trail covers 42 kilometers of jungle and mountains, visiting some archaeological complexes such as Patallacta, the ruins of Wiñay Wayna and, of course, the lost city of Machu Picchu. Also, it delivers unforgettable landscapes of the Cordillera de Vilcabamba.




As the Inca Trail is the most popular and classic circuit in the area, there is an alternative trek to machu picchu series that does not require permission to perform them. Within them, Salkantay is the most popular alternative road to Machu Picchu. This route covers the southern part of the Vilcabamba mountain range, showing beautiful landscapes that vary from the pampas to the jungle.



    If your interest is to know in depth what remains of the Inca culture, the Inka Trail is the appropriate option, since the route includes a visit to different archaeological ruins, and much of the trail itself is made of stones, which They have remained since Inca times. On the other hand, if your interests go more for the observation of nature and you value more virgin places, Salcantay is an excellent alternative, since you will see fewer people and landscapes less intervened by man.

    Unlike the famous Camino del Inca, where you must pay a permit and a guide, to make the Salkantay trek you do not need a permit or entry ticket (except entrance tickets to Machu Picchu). For those travelers who want to save money, Salkantay is a better alternative.

    Although both circuits require preparation, to carry out the Inca Trail, it must be extremely orderly and far-sighted. To reach this trekking in high season, you must buy the ticket at least 5 months in advance. In that sense, it is always advisable to quote and buy the tour with a travel agency, where you can relax and just enjoy this trek.

    In short, to choose one of these options you have to take into account the type of trip you want to make.

    If you want to know the spectacular ruins left by the Incas, in one of the classic routes to the Sacred City, the Inca Trail is your option. While it can be difficult to find and buy tickets for this trek, it is worth it.

    If your budget is limited and you planned it with less anticipation, you should take Salkantay. Although in this tour there are no archaeological ruins, it is possible to connect with nature more deeply, with fewer people around you and with all the beauty of this area of Peru, visiting from mountainous landscapes to the jungle.

Inca Trail Programs

We organize tours for small groups, including families, friends, students and volunteers. Our tour leaders speak English, Spanish & Quechua (Andean Language) and will dedicate themselves to giving you the best independent tours in Cusco as well as Machu Picchu.

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