Peru and Bolivia – with their glistening snow-capped peaks and dense Amazon jungle – have long attracted outdoor enthusiasts. The imposing Andes Mountains carve themselves across these countries while a melting-pot of climates produces an enthralling variety of landscapes for trekking. The classic Inca Trail may be the world’s most famous trek, but is by no means the only one to take your breath away. Alternative treks to Machu Picchu offer lesser-trodden trails past sweeping vistas and little-visited ruins, while hiking routes elsewhere in Peru and Bolivia merit their own fame.

Aracari draws on over 20 years’ experience to offer discerning travelers authentic luxury Peru treks away from the crowds, with top-notch equipment, first-class guiding and uncompromised safety standards. All of our camping and day treks in Peru and Bolivia are arranged on a private basis.

The Inca Trail Trek

The Inca trail trek is the most famous hike in South America, leading to the breathtaking World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. Once the route of Incan nobility, nowadays hikers follow in their footsteps passing major ruins only accessible on foot. The only ways to reach Machu Picchu are by train or the Inca trail. The Inca trail rises and descends along original Inca roads through various ecosystems, a challenge rewarded as you enter the majestic citadel of Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

With our private, carefully-crafted crowd avoidance itinerary, spend three nights at handpicked campsites on the Inca trail. Aracari offers camping in style along the Inca trail with what we like to call ‘appropriate luxury’. Creature comforts are all in the details, with top-of-the-range equipment, 3-person tents used for just two, wine at meals and a professional chef as ‘standard’. You can otherwise splurge on the most comfortable camping possible, with special upgrades like a dedicated massage tent with aromatherapy oils.

The Classic Inca trail has only 500 trekking permits per day, which usually sell out 4-6 months in advance. The alternative one-day inca trail tends to have much more availability, otherwise there are a range of impressive alternative treks to Machu Picchu. Contact us now for availability and expert travel advice.

Inca Trail To Machu Picchu Itinerary

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The most famous trek in South America

10 Days / 9 Nights

The Inca Trail with Aracari

Aracari has over 20 years of experience operating private treks along the Inca Trail with highly trained and experienced guides. With top-of-the range equipment, Aracari delivers an authentic premium camping experience. With two service levels to choose from, our Luxury Exploration Trekking uses 4-season tents with inflatable (not foam) mattresses, private ecological bathroom tents and 3-person tents used for just two as ‘standard’. Our Luxury VIP trekking is the most luxurious way possible to trek the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, with special upgrades for supreme comfort like gourmet dining, a dedicated massage tent, shower tents and premium toiletries. All of our treks are arranged on a private basis, as part of a tailoramde trip to Peru.

Along the Inca trail, we avoid the mass-tourist backpackers who reach the Sun Gate in the early hours on the final day, with a carfully designed route that uses stategically selected campsites. Aracari arranges the Classic Inca trail as a five day, four night trek. This slightly slower pace (it’s also possible to do it over four days) is a bit easier and allows you to trek ahead or behind the majority of trekkers and better avoid the crowds at the main ruins. Three nights camping will see you arrive at Machu Picchu towards the end of day four, when you then spend a night at a hotel of your choice to re-visit Machu Picchu again on the fifth and last day, without any rush. This also allows you additional time to enjoy the optional hikes within Machu Picchu on day five. Those short of time can do the last stretch of the classic trek as the one day Inca trail.

The One Day Inca Trail

The One-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is perhaps the best secret to hiking the classic Inca trail when all the permits have sold out. The one-day Inca trail follows the last stretch of the iconic multi-day route, taking in Wiñay Wayna ruins, with all the bragging rights of arriving to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. This one-day trek is perfect if you’re short on time, too late for a permit, or not looking to camp!

The one day Inca trail is often also referred to as the ‘short Inca trail’ or the ‘two-day inca trail’, since you take a train from the Sacred Valley to the trail head at km104 to trek to Machu Picchu on the first day, then enjoy a guided visit to the citadel of Machu Picchu at a leisurely pace on the second day.

Permits are highly limited to 250 people a day – so forward planning is still required – though these don’t sell out nearly as quickly as the multi-day classic Inca trail. Contact us now to check availability or book the one day trail as part of a tailormade trip to Peru.

Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu

While the Inca trail may be the only route that winds up directly at the gate of Machu Picchu, the Incas didn’t only walk to this one site. Rather, they left behind a vast network of other easily-accessed Incan trails through majestic mountains and to little-visited archaeological sites – none requiring permits purchased in advance like the classic Inca trail. There are an impressive range of alternative treks to Machu Picchu, whether you have just one night or several. Choose to camp in style or enjoy even greater comfort in remote, mountain lodges on a private trek. The most popular alternative multi-day camping treks include Salkantay and Lares.

You can choose to camp or stay in sustainably-run mountain lodges thanks to the wide range of multi-day and alternative treks to Machu Picchu. Spectacularly scenic routes start as short as just one night, with much longer and more challenging routes to suit seasoned hikers.

With the exception of the seven day Salkantay Lodge-to-Lodge trek group trek, all our our multi-day Peru treks are offered on a private basis only without fixed departure dates for maximum flexibility. Contact us to speak to locally-based experts for advice on the best Peru treks.

Lodge-to-Lodge Peru Treks

Enjoy the perfect balance between comfort and adventure with stunning lodge-to-lodge treks in Peru that take you off the beaten path. Choose between the Salkantay lodge-to-lodge route, a popular alternative trek to Machu Picchu with premium lodges, or high-altitude Ausangate with cozy community-run lodges in other-worldly landscapes with itineraries of different durations.

The Salkantay trail winds through 15 different eco-systems in the beautiful Cordillera Vilcabamba range, from snow-capped peaks to tropical vegetation. The level of luxury varies between lodges, but you can expect hot showers, Wi-Fi, gourmet meals and a massage or dip in an outdoor Jacuzzi to rest weary feet. Alternatively hike in the Ausangate region, south-east of Cusco, accompanied by llamas. A handful of simple lodges allow routes starting from just one night to the striking scenery of Rainbow Mountain.

Camping Treks in Peru

Explore the picture-postcard beauty of the Andes with a wide range of multi-day camping treks in Peru. All of Aracari’s camping treks are led by expert guides and arrange on a private basis only – allowing you complete flexibility to start your hike any day of the week and walk at your pace. We set ourselves aside from other Peru trekking operators by offering unrivalled service, deluxe comfort and taking our social responsibility seriously. Choose between our two premium standards of service: Luxury Exploration trekking and Luxury VIP Trekking. Plump pillows, gourmet cuisine and extra luggage allowance are just some of the special touches to enjoy our alternative treks to Machu Picchu.

The Salkantay trek is the most popular alternative to trek to the Inca trail, taking the same duration with a glimpse of the iconic ruins from the last campsite, while the shorter Lares trek passes traditional village communities. There are Peru treks to suit all time-frames and fitness levels.

Camping Treks with Aracari

Aracari’s private camping treks offer exacting standards for discerning travelers looking to hike in Peru without compromising on comfort. All our private camping treks use first-class equipment and expert guides. We offer two standards of service and comfort level. We like to think of our Luxury Exploration Trekking as ‘appropriate luxury’, balancing adventurous hiking with premium comfort. Alternatively, our Luxury VIP Trekking provides the most luxurious trekking possible in Peru – splurge on luxury upgrades like a dedicated massage tent and chef-prepared afternoon apertifs. Regardless of the level of luxury you opt for, all meals can be adapted for your needs – be that gluten-free vegan or having a cake whipped up in the remote mountains to celebrate a birthday by your private chef. Responsible travel is core to our philosophy and we take the social responsibility and conditions of our staff seriously, paying above-average wages

Luxury Exploration Trekking

Premium camping for discerning travelers looking to balance authenticity and comfort. Expect details like:

  • First-rate equipment 4-season EUREKA tents
  • Warm showers available on all routes (except the Inca trail)
  • Three-person tents used for just two for extra space
  • Inflatable (not foam) mattresses, pillows and hot water bottles
  • Chef-prepared meals, served with linen and glassware (not plastic)
  • Sleeping bags available in different sizes and thickness to suit the climate
  • Private ecological toilet tents

Luxury VIP Trekking

Ultra-luxe camping with the most comfortable camping possible on the Inca trail and alternative treks. Expect upgrades like:

  • Dedicated massage tent with massage bed and aromatherapy oils
  • Unmatched staff-to-guide ratio
  • State-of-the-art tents (Satellite Mountain Hardwear) designed for 6, used for 2-3 for extra space
  • Hot showers even on the Inca trail, with premium toiletries and micro-fibre towels
  • Gourmet chef-prepared dining: homemade bread (we bring an oven), freshly squeezed orange juice, premium drinks & afternoon apertifs
  • Therm-a-rest inflatable mattresses, sleeping bag liners, sheets and feather pillows
  • Andean textile decorations to camp in style

Day treks in Peru

Day treks in Peru take you across varied and exciting terrain. From exquisite glacial lakes to remote ruins, there are half day and full day hikes to suit all ability levels. Whether you’re looking for just a taste of adventure or a warm-up to a more challenging, multi-day hike, our private day treks are all arranged on a private basis to hike at your pace.

On our hikes we arrange gourmet pop-up picnics in secret locations in the middle of the countryside, besides glistening lakes and in the shadows of breathtaking mountains. All short treks can be combined with other exciting adventure activities – from mountain biking to stand up paddle boarding – as part of a private, tailormade trip.

In addition to our top day treks below in the Cusco and Sacred Valley, we also offer privately guided hikes to hidden corners of Peru, such as a full day hike to the impressive waterfall of Goctoa in Northern Peru, or a full day hike in Colca to the little-known pre-Incan fortress of Chimpa for views of Colca Canyon.

Day treks in Bolivia

Just like Peru, neighboring Bolivia similarly draws hikers to its fantastic mountain landscapes. The capital La Paz makes for a great launch pad for day and multi-day hikes. Elsewhere, the countryside surrounding Sucre offers charming hikes to visit traditional rural weaving villages. Contact us to speak to an expert travel consultant for more information on the best Bolivia treks.

Palca Canyon – Full Day
With views of the Illimani Mountain towering in the distance, this trek takes you past farming village and impressive rock formations in Spirit Valley. The day hike ends in the village of Palca.

Potolo & Maragua – Full Day
Towards the northwest of Sucre lays the Cordillera de los Frailes mountain range, home to the Jalq’a ethnic group and their traditional weaving villages. Day hike trails of differing difficulties allow you to visit these communities, optionally hiking in the crater of Maragua – noteworthy for the dinosaur footprints embedded in the terrain.

The Choro Trek – 3D/2N
Thanks to its close proximity to La Paz and its variety of scenery, the Choro trek is a popular trek from La Paz in the Cordillera Mountain Range. Once forming part of the extensive Incan trail network, this challenging trail leads you from high-altitude, snowy, mountain peaks down into the semi-tropical climes of the Yungas valley, camping en route.

The Cordillera Blanca

The spectacular Cordillera Blanca  is the highest tropical mountain range in the world and forms part of the Andes. Located within the Huascarán National Park, the region is a hiking mecca thanks to its jaw-dropping combination of sparkling glacial lakes and snow-capped mountains. Over 50 peaks exceed 5,000m (16,400ft) and there are an impressive 700 glaciers and 300 lakes. The Cordillera Blanca is often compared to the beauty of Annapurna in the Himalayas, with a variety of day treks and multi-day camping treks that reach epic remote mountain scenery, appealing both to serious seasoned climbers as well as hikers looking for more gentle trails.

Base yourself in one of the best mountain lodges in the Cordillera Blanca to acclimatize and take day hikes to nearby mountains, lakes and cultural attractions. Those looking for more adventure can enjoy multi-day camping treks, like the popular Santa Cruz trek. The Cordillera Blanca is reached by direct daily flight from Lima, or by bus.

Aracari arranges day hikes, cultural visits and multi-day camping treks in the Cordillera Blanca on a private basis, as part of a tailormade trip to Peru. Contact us today to speak to an expert travel advisor about visiting the Cordillera Blanca.

Day Treks in the Cordillera Blanca

Head to one of the top mountain lodges in the Cordillera Blanca and use it as a base to explore the best of the region or simply soak up the fresh mountain air. Our five day, four night itinerary Exploring the Cordillera Blanca is a great way to enjoy the region, basing yourself at the welcoming Llanganuco Mountain Lodge.

Laguna 69
The most popular day trek in the Cordillera Blanca takes you to Laguna 69, the crown jewel of the region. A relatively rigorous out-and-back trek, you’ll hike through lush meadows to reach the picture-perfect stunning turquoise glacier lake.

Churup Lake
Another of the most popular day treks, this is also a moderately difficult hike with a tough final ascent on a rock wall at the end for added adventure to reach this dazzling lake. Visit as a day trip from a nearby lodge – Churup Mountain Lodge is the closest.

Llangaunco Lake
The launch pad for the Laguna 69 trek, Lllanganuco Lake is a great day hike if you’re staying at nearby Llanganuco Lodge. The lake also attracts non-hikers who can rent small row boats to paddle out onto the lake.

Santa Cruz Camping Trek

One of the best trekking routes in the world, the Santa Cruz trek takes in turquoise lakes, meadows of wildflowers and snow-capped peaks that make the Cordillera Blanca a haven for hikers. The Santa Cruz trek is four days, with the option to add on an extra day for a side-trip to Laguna 69. Although at altitude, the trek is relatively easy with the option to rent donkeys, so is a great option for adventurous families looking to trek in Peru.

Cordillera Blanca Trekking Itinerary

Cordillera Blanca Trekking

Spectacular lodge-based day treks

5 Days / 4 Nights

Featured Trek Itineraries

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

The most famous trek in South America

10 Days / 9 Nights

Marisol’s Favorite

Visit Peru as an insider

10 Days / 9 Nights

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