A deeply spiritual destination, Peru’s sacred snow-capped cordilleras and dreamlike mountain communities create a next-level high altitude trekking environment that echoes the divine aura of Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan.
At Paragon Expeditions, we take pride in offering the best Andean treks in Peru, ranging from classic Inca Trail hikes to secret lodge-to-lodge treks in remote, mountainous territories. Winding through idyllic valleys and sleepy potato-farming villages, these Andean treks offer you up close, intimate access to Peru’s rural countryside. There is something intangible about experiencing the Andes on foot that brings you closer to the people and gives you a greater appreciation for the land.
Each of these award-winning Andean treks are led by local experts who enrich the experience with their insights and stay by your side for anything you may need. While independent Machu Picchu day hikes are possible, most of the multi-day Andean treks require a local guide and sometimes even a team of assistants (depending on the location and duration of the trek).
Short Inca Trail
Of all the drool-worthy treks in Peru, none are the source of more mystique and wanderlust than the Inca Trail. This sacred trail was the one and only path to Machu Picchu during the reign of the Inca, a city that remained “lost” for some four hundred years before Hiram Bingham’s discovery in the early 20th century.
At Paragon Expeditions, we offer multiple Inca Trail options, ranging from the classic four-day Inca Trail to Machu Picchu trek to the one-day Inca Trail hike from km 104 (see Machu Picchu treks for more information).
Inca Trail Alternatives
In addition to the Inca Trail, there are several other Inca Trail alternative treks located within close reach of Cusco. A few of these multi-day Andean treks also end at Machu Picchu, either meeting up with the Inca Trail or one of the train stations that leads to Machu Picchu.
Popular Inca Trail alternatives include the Lares Trek, as well as the Salkantay Trek.
With four and five day options featuring a visit to the hot springs, a zip line canopy tour, and unparalleled hiking beside the sacred Salkantay glacier, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Salkantay trek is quickly becoming the Inca Trail alternative of choice.
Outside of the Inca Trail alternatives, we offer other noteworthy Andean treks near Cusco such as the Choquequirao trek and the hike to Apu Ausungate.
One of the most unique ways to experience the Peruvian Highlands is on a lodge-to-lodge Andean trek. These scenic, multi-day hikes bridge the gap between modern luxury and rugged adventure, allowing you to hike across breathtaking Andean countryside by day and relax in the comfort of a warm cottage by night.
A noteworthy option, perhaps the most famous, is the Salkantay lodge-to-lodge trek, which leads you through a series of charming mountain lodges as you make your way to Machu Picchu.
A little-known but highly recommended option is the trek to Apu Ausungate, a 5-day lodge-to-lodge trek led by indigenous shepherds from the nearby Chillca and Osefina communities.
Touching the Void
Those looking for more extreme treks may consider visiting Huaraz and the Cordillera Blanca, the so-called trekking capital of Peru located five hours northeast of Lima. This isolated mountain range boasts Huascarán, the colossal 22,205 ft. crown of Peru, and has gained international recognition in the trekking community as one of the best destinations for hiking and trekking in South America. Another interesting territory for rugged high altitude Andean treks is the Cordillera Huayhash, which made famous by Joe Simpson’s unbelievable account of Simon Yates’ historic climb up Siula Grande.
Our Favorite Andean Treks
- Short Inca Trail with Peter Frost
- Salkantay Lodge to Lodge
- Apu Ausungate Lodge to Lodge