If you were hoping of booking a summer Peru vacation with the experience of walking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu; I’m sorry to have to tell you that it is fully booked until September 2010.
Inca trail availability is limited by the Peruvian government to help preserve the magic of the trail for the thousands of trekkers that visit each year.
Permits are sold months in before and a visit in the high season requires booking at least three to five months in advance. Take up has been particularly quick this year due the closure and then re-opening of the trail earlier in the year.
Help is at hand though; there are Inca trail alternatives along other roads of the Inca, equally as beautiful if not better preserved, and that can easily include a trip to Machu Picchu via the town of Aguas Calientes if wanted.
Each of the routes has their own unique character, sites, challenges and rewards and they can vary from one day to up to ten.
It all depends on what type of trekking experience that you.
So what are the alternatives?
The Lares Valley is a remote and rarely visited area of the Cusco region. The trek lasts for 3 days and 2 nights, along with the spectacular mountain scenery, you will pass by thatched stone houses surrounded by herds of llamas and alpacas. It gives trekkers an insight into the lives of the Andean farmer, who can often be seen dressed in their traditional brightly colored ponchos.
The best part about this trail is that at the start you are able to spend time in the medicinal waters of the Lares hot springs – sadly not at the end. The trek itself is rated at moderate difficulty- which is similar to the Inca Trail. The trek finishes at the town of Ollantaytambo, one of the only continually lived in villages in Peru.
The Salkantay trail lasts over 5 days. Centered around the Salkantay sacred mountain in the Vilcabamba mountain range, it is just south of the Machu Picchu citadel itself, being worshiped in equally the same way. The views are jaw-dropping, best of all the views over Machu Picchu at the end. The trek then finishes at Machui Picchu itself, gaining entrance on a route not requiring an entrance permit.
The Full Day Trek to the Ruins of Chacan would be a good alternative to one day Inca Trail Trekkers. Leaving from Cusco you hike for the day visiting Inca ruins along the way. You visit the Temple of the Rainbow, the subterranean passageways under Cusiyuchayoc, and the Temple of the Moon.
Another full day trek would be the trail up to Huchuy Qosqo. The settlement is perched within the folds of the Peruvian Andes, making its location rather unorthodox. The views over the Sacred Valley again are spectacular and inspirationally awe inspiring. The journey gives trekkers an insight into the life of the Inca’s removed from the world and appreciating the nature that surrounds them.
These are only a few of the many alternative options that are available for the Inca trail. Just being in the region of Cusco connects you with the Inca civilization, but a trek to their citadels in the sky is an immensely rewarding experience. asurion customer service