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salkantay trek vs inca trail

Inca trail vs alternative treks - What trip should I do?

Things to know before you travel:
In 2004, the government of Peru regulated the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, limiting total staff and hikers to 500 per day. We support sustainable tourism - but the impact of this regulation has changed the face of trekking around Cusco forever and the creation of alternative routes.
Why are they called alternative treks?
Alternative treks are called all walks available when the Inca trail is not available, because at the moment to avoid inconveniences you must make your reservation with approximately 4 months in advance, but if you do not reach it you will be able to make an alternative trek.
The Salkantay trek, has absorbed much of the "overflow" of the Inca Trail and is the main "alternative" trek - along with other popular treks.
The most famous alternative treks to Machu Picchu today are:

But now we will compare the famous Inca trail with the well-known Salkantay trek.

The best of the Inca trail:
  • You arrive to Machu Picchu by taking a walk along the Inca's royal road, no other treks do it.
  • The famous Puerta del Sol called Inti Punku, with a breathtaking view of Machu Picchu at dawn.
  • You will visit a wonderful set of spectacular ruins every day.
  • Amazing landscapes - from high snowfall to a lush dense cloud forest and jungle.
  • Good facilities and services in the camps.
  • Despite large numbers of people, there are still moments of solitude in the mountains.
The best of the Salkantay trek:
  • You arrive at Machu Picchu by taking a natural trek.
  • The Salkantay trek is known as the number 1 alternative to the Inca Trail in Cusco and Peru, is the best route to Machu Picchu.
  • The Salkantay trek is much cheaper than the Inca Trail.
  • With the Salkantay trek you will also get to experience the sunrise in Machu Picchu, as you arrive in Aguas Calientes on the 4th day and the next day get up early to walk to Machu Picchu to see the sunrise as on other trips to Machu Picchu.

What can be said about the Salkantay trek?

Most people do the Salkantay trek, because they can not get a space on the Inca Trail or they want to avoid the crowds.

The disadvantages

  • It is necessary to book about 4 months in advance in high season and you have to make the trek on the date you have booked. No changes allowed. If someone cancels, your permission will not be used. There is no waiting list.
  • Many groups are as large as 25 people.
  • The camps are packed, the facilities packed - not exactly a wilderness or adventure camp experience.
  • It's a bit like a freeway with lots of people on the way.
  • Locals can be a bit tired of seeing tourists.
  • There are no ruins on the route Salkantay.


If you want to make the traditional INCA TRAIL, you must make the purchase of your space 4 or 5 months in advance.
If you want to do the SALKANTAY TREK Salkantay trek, space is not restricted but it is necessary to make the purchase of your entrance to Machu Picchu in advance, 1 to 2 months in advance is recommended.


The SALKANTAY TREK is more difficult than the INCA TRAIL, and is also full of adventure, why? Because in some parts of the route you can do zipline.

You want to see the itineraries of the Salkantay trek and the Inca Trail:

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Conde Travel We are a pioneer company in adventure tourism, located in Cusco Peru, with more than 12 years of experience in the field of tourism.

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