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Inca Trail vs Alternative Trek to Machu Picchu


The Classic Inca Trail Trek is one of the most popular treks in the world! It leads to the mysterious citadel of Machu Picchu, through the amazing Sun Gate. It is also known for its high quality spectacular archeological ruins along the Inca trail. The mountain landscapes are spectacular and the tropical cloud forests are not to be missed. The Peruvian government has enforced permit regulations, in order to preserve the 500 year-old trail.

Below are all the treks that are part of the Inca Trail:

  • 2 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • 4 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • 5 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • 7 day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu


An alternative is if you want an alternative option instead of the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains and Cusco region. The classic Inca Trail Trek is one of the most popular and well known, but unfortunately it sells out very quickly and bookings must be made well in advance.

There are many great treks that you can do in the Cusco area that lead to Machu Picchu. These are gaining popularity as they become well known. These alternative treks are not restricted by government regulations so are available anytime of the year. Two of the most popular are the Lares 4 day and the Salkantay 4 day treks. Others that do not end in Machu Picchu are the Choquequirao, the ruins on this trek is 3 times larger and the scenery spectacular.

The actual hiking views on these Alternative Treks might be even more spectacular than what you see on the Inca Trail but instead of hiking directly into the ruins, your trek ends at Aguas Calientes town and spend the night there in a hotel. These treks tend to be less crowded and you still have the Machu Picchu tour the next day and in fact get to the ruins 2 hours before the Inca Trail trekkers. On clear mornings you will see the sun rising over Machu Picchu the surrounding mountains.

All Alternative Treks of Sam Corporation that end at Machu Picchu are:

  • Lares Trek to Machu Picchu 4D3N
  • Salkantay Trekking to Machu Picchu
  • Choquequirao Trek
  • Huchuy Qosqo Trek

What Makes The Inca Trail So Special?

  • It’s one of the most famous treks in the world
  • It hikes right into Machu Picchu using the Royal Road of the Incas – no other trek does this
  • You arrive at the Sun Gate with an impressive view over Machu Picchu at dawn
  • It has a wonderful array of fascinating ruins every day
  • Breathtaking scenery – from snowcapped mountains to dense lush cloud forest and jungle
  • Good facilities and toilets are available at the campsites
  • Despite large amounts of people, there are still moments for solitude in the mountains
  • The feeling of completing a very famous trek
  • Hiking through the ancient path to Machu Picchu

What May Be Inconvenient On The Inca Trail?

  • 500 people depart every day. (this includes tourists and trekking staff)
  • You need to book about 4 months in advance for high season and you MUST make the date you booked for. No changes are allowed. If someone cancels, then their permit will not be used. There is no waiting list
  • Many groups are as large as 25 people. (SAM Corporations maximum group size is just 8 people)
  • Campsites are very full, with full facilities – it’s not exactly a wilderness or adventure camping experience

Good Aspects Of The Alternative Treks

  • Trekking “off the beaten track,” exploring new places no one else goes
  • On some of the treks you may be the only group departing that day
  • A sense of adventure and discovering new trails
  • Real wilderness camping
  • Isolation and remote atmosphere
  • Incredible Mountainous views and lots of wildlife
  • Lots of herds of Alpaca, Llamas, and Vicuña
  • What is lacking in ruins is usually made up by cultural interaction and the meeting of locals
  • You still get to trek to Machu Picchu and experience the same tour of Machu Picchu as the Inca Trail
  • You get to be at Machu Picchu in time for sun rise

Some Inconveniences Of The Alternative Trails

  • You don’t walk into Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate, because you get the bus up to Machu Picchu.
  • They are not as well known (but are becoming more well known such as the Lares & Salkantay treks) therefore there may be some concerns that you are making the best choice for you.
  • There are not the high quality spectacular ruins along the other treks that you will find along the Inca trail.
  • You will need to spend the night before your Machu Picchu visit in Aguas Calientes, we recommend you take the bus up in the morning of your visit.

Sam Corporations


Local Peruvian Company

Our company is 100% locally owned. We directly contribute to economic development and environmental sustainability in Peru.

Service Quality

The quality of our service is one of our most important values which demands all our effort, determination, and courage to be successful in what we are doing and the services we provide

Responsible travel

We aim to have a positive impact in all the areas that we visit. Through our training sessions and social projects, we empower women, indigenous communities and children

Small Personalized Groups

Our groups never exceed 10 people, giving you a personalized tour in our small comfortable vans

100% Customised Itinerary

Interested in visiting only specific destinations? No problem, all our packages can be fully customized to suit your budget and schedule. Contact our travel advisors to plan the most comprehensive trip of a lifetime.

Community and Environment

We commit socially and culturally to the community and adapt our business strategies to the preservation of the environment

  • 100% Locally owned and operated.
  • Best Tour guides & trip leaders.
  • Quality-Touch & Personalized service
  • Highest quality, name brand equipment.
  • All Inclusive Tours with no hidden fees.
  • Sustainable Prctice and responsible travel.
  • Safety conscious with first aid training annually.
  • Unique Tours & Trekking routes
  • Customized Tours & Packages forFair and kind travel.
  • Personalized Attention with the Most Dedicated Team
  • Giving back to our local communities



100% Customised itinerary

Contact our travel advisors to plan the most complete trip of your life.

Easy communication

Simplified ease of communication, text us on WhatsApp, email or call us.

Professional and experienced

Our guides are local and have vast knowledge in Peruvian culture and history.

Local peruvian company

100% local company. Development and environmental sustainability

Small personalized groups

Our groups never exceed 10 people, giving you an unforgettable experience

Memorable trips

Discover an exceptional journey where perfection meets adventure.