Inca Trail vs Salkantay vs Lares

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Machu Picchu Paths: Lares Trek vs Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail

Choosing the right trekking route to Machu Picchu is crucial for an unforgettable experience at this iconic archaeological site. 

The three most popular routes to reach Machu Picchu are Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, and Inca Trail. Each offers a unique experience, from cultural immersion to adventure in nature.

In this article, we will explore the distinctive features of each route and provide tips for choosing the best option based on individual preferences.

Lares Trek

The Lares Trek route is a perfect choice for those seeking an authentic cultural experience. 

During this 4-day trek, hikers have the opportunity to explore the picturesque Lares Valley and immerse themselves in the rich culture of local communities. 

Visits to the last Inca towns, such as Cancha Cancha, Quishuarani, and Cuncani, where the ancient Quechua language is still spoken, are highlighted.

Interaction with locals is an integral part of this experience, and travelers can learn about the ancestral heritage of llama herding, alpaca breeding, and potato farming. At the end of the journey, hikers can relax in the Lares hot springs, enjoying a well-deserved rest after the trekking.

Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek is known for its stunning natural landscapes and exciting challenges. This route, also lasting 4 days, starts in Cusco and takes hikers through the majestic Vilcanota mountains to reach the Humantay Lake and Humantay Mountain.

 Highlights include admiring the imposing Salkantay Mountain and exploring the tropical valleys of Santa Teresa, where locals are dedicated to growing coffee and exotic fruits.

Interaction with local communities offers an authentic insight into Peruvian culture, and travelers have the opportunity to taste traditional food and beverages.

Inca Trail

The Classic Inca Trail is the most famous and sought-after route to Machu Picchu. This 4-day trek offers a unique experience, combining history, nature, and adventure.

During the trek, hikers visit several Inca sites, such as Canamarka, Wilcarakay, and Llactapata, before tackling the challenging Dead Woman's Pass. 

The route continues through the stunning landscapes of the rainforest mountains, with stops at additional Inca sites such as Runcurakay, Sayacmarka, Phuyupatamarca, Inti Pata, and Wiñayhuayna.

 Due to permit limitations, it is essential to book in advance to secure a spot on this popular route.

Comparison between the routes

Each route offers a unique experience and presents its own advantages and challenges. 

Lares Treks are ideal for those seeking a deep cultural immersion, while Salkantay Trek offers stunning landscapes and exciting challenges in nature. 

The Classic Inca Trail tours are the preferred choice for history lovers and offers the opportunity to explore a variety of Inca sites along the way. It is important to consider fitness level, personal preferences, and availability when choosing the best route to reach Machu Picchu.

Tips for choosing the best route


  • Evaluate fitness level and desired experience.
  • Consider personal preferences, such as cultural interaction or nature exploration.
  • Plan ahead and book permits for the trekking route.
  • Properly prepare with the right equipment and information about the chosen route.


In conclusion, the choice of trekking route to Machu Picchu depends on individual preferences and desired experiences. 

Whether you prefer an authentic cultural experience, stunning landscapes, or a historical adventure, there is a trekking route to meet all needs. 

Whether you choose Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, or Inca Trail, each offers a unique opportunity to explore the beauty of the Peruvian Andes and immerse yourself in the rich culture of the region.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which route is the most challenging among Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, and Inca Trail?

The most challenging route is typically the Inca Trail due to its mountainous terrain and high altitude.

What is the best time of year to do these trekkings?

The best time to do trekkings in the Cusco region is during the dry season, which runs from May to September.

Is it necessary to hire a guide to do these routes?

Yes, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced guide who knows the route and can provide assistance in case of emergency.

How much time is needed to complete each route?

Lares Trek, Salkantay Trek, and Inca Trail typically take between 4 and 5 days, depending on the specific route and itinerary.

What is the best option for those seeking a more authentic cultural experience?

Lares Trek offers the best opportunity to interact with local communities and immerse yourself in traditional Andean culture.

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We present  our  real  culture  life  to our  clients, hiring people  from  villages  and  communities of  our region.


We  offer  unique services  like: hot shower and  private toilets on treks. We have a real responsibility taking care of  our planet.


Experts on: Inca Trail hikes and  Machu Picchu Hiking Tours. We operate small  groups.


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Free warm jacket for my litle friend!

Kenko Adventure Peru founder decided to add a social proyect in all Our tours that means, if you are booking a tour with Us, you automatically are donating a warm jacket for Our litle kids that have very hard living in very cold conditions near by the Andes Mountain

f you are booking a tour with Us, you automatically are donating a warm jacket

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