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While the Inca Trail is the best-known and most popular route to Machu Picchu, it is by no means the only one. In reality, there are many ways to reach Machu Picchu that archaeologists and geographic terrain experts continue to discover, proving that the ancient Incan tribes had multiple ways in and out of this location that were well-hidden from the Spanish during the period of colonialisation.
One of these trails is known as the Salkantay Trek, which takes you to Machu Picchu via a majestic route that includes snowy mountains, clifftop vistas, earthy terrain of various inclines and declines, and a series of altitudes that will get the body moving, while keeping the mind focused on the breathtaking scenery that is promised around every corner. Along the way, you will get to see Humantay Lake which exudes an electric blue shimmer; a lake brimming with such an enticing shine you’ll be tempted to jump into its crystal blue waters after a long day of hiking. You’ll also be lucky enough to pass through the eponymous Salkantay Mountain that stands over 6,200 metres tall, and a misty cloud forest that dances on the outskirts of Peru’s wild jungle.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is less busy than the Inca Trail, but it easily stands toe-to-toe with its more famous counterpart, and some say it’s even better—albeit more physically challenging—making it the perfect trip for those seeking a little more peace and quiet during the monumental journey to Peru’s Golden Child: Machu Picchu!
For those unaware, Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city that remained hidden from much of the world for 500 years before Hiram Bingham, an American explorer, discovered it for himself during an expedition in 1911. Not long after, the cat was out of the bag, and one of the world’s most mysterious secrets became famous across the world for its sharp mountain peaks, sophisticated architectural ruins, and the ancient Incan people that inhabited it away from the world’s view.
With Machu Picchu being declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, and much later on, being rightfully declared as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, its fame quickly grew and with it, the abundance of travellers who dreamed of seeing it for themselves. As the Inca Trail became more popular, some travellers started looking for alternative routes that would challenge them more physically, while giving them the space they desired to take it all in without the crowds (hey—we can’t all be people-lovers!).
Luckily, however, Valencia Travel Cusco offers tours to Machu Picchu on both the Salkantay Trek Tour and the Inca Trail, catering to the needs and desires of different travellers, making it easy for them to plan their journey according to the type of experience they are after.