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  • Top 5 trails to Macchu Picchu

    Macchu Picchu, the ruined city of the Incas, still looms proudly over Urubamba Valley in Peru, centuries after it was abandone more than 6 centuries ago. The ‘forgotten city of the Incas’ was unknown to everyone except for the locals until 1911, when American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention.

    Now, Macchu Picchu is the most well known icon of the Inca civilization, and one of theĀ  new seven wonders of the world. Visitors usually take the Inca Trail to arrive to the ruins, but there are several alternative ways that can give you a glimpse of a lesser known facet of the region. Here are the top 5 trails to Macchu Picchu.

    Salkantay and Llactapata Inca trails

    The conquistadors in the 15th century supposedly used these routes in their attempt to conquer the Inca Empire, and you can follow in their footsteps (with more peaceful intentions, this time) on horseback on these trails.

    The trip takes about 10 days if you ride 4 or five hours per day, and the trail will take you by the glacial lake of Humantay, and through the lush passionfruit orchards of Santa Teresa Valley. The last 8 km or so will have to be done on foot.

    Salkantay Trail

    If you want to see some more Inca ruins on the way to Macchu Picchu, you can sign up for a tour through Salkantay Trail, which will take beneath the highest peak of the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountains. You get to visit Tarawasi and Llactapata ruins, and take walks through tropical valleys. More info about this tour can be found here.

    Espiritu Pampa

    photo by AgainErick

    Hiram Bingham thought that Macchu Picchu was the last surviving Inca stronghold, but later findings confirmed that the last outpost was Espiritu Pampa, discovered in 1964. You can take a tour through Espiritu Pampa, then move on to Tambomachay, another very interesting Inca site, and then finally visit Macchu Picchu.

    From Cuzco

    If you want to avoid an expensive train trip, you can get to Macchu Picchu on an alternative way by starting out at Cuzco. You can use local public transport, and the cost of the trip will be about $50 in total. You can take the bus from Cuzco to Santa Maria, a public minivan from there to the hydroelectric plant of Santa Teresa, and then the train to Aguas Calientes, the nearest town to Macchu Picchu.

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