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Alternative treks in Cusco
The best way to scape of the crowds
Cusco . Perú
Nicole Maxdeo
April 20, 2024

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In the Peruvian Andes, hiking is the most famous activity because it allows you to reach places where roads are not known. There are well-known routes, but there are also many alternative hikes waiting to be discovered.

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Alternative treks in Cusco: Ancascocha trek

Ancascocha is a turquoise-colored lagoon that leaves travelers in awe. Though it remains a relatively untouched area, receiving fewer visitors daily, it's undoubtedly an alternative trek you can undertake in Cusco. This trek involves a continuous ascent through forests, passing by waterfalls like Perolniyoc. You'll have the opportunity to walk along the bases of snow-capped peaks and glaciers that adorn the Cusco mountain landscape. Generally, the trek descends through a flowery valley teeming with wildlife.

This trek is categorized as one of the 20 most beautiful treks in the area. Ancascocha trek is also known among hikers as the Hidden Inca Trail, as it indeed covers a portion of the ancient Inca path.

For most agencies, this trek concludes in the town of Ollantaytambo, where you can then take the train to Machu Picchu, spend the night in Aguas Calientes, and visit the world wonder on the final day. This is one of the best alternative treks in Cusco

The ideal itinerary goes something like this:

DAY 1: Soqma - Perolniyoc - Racaypata - Rayan - Abra Kuychiccasa - Chancachuco
The trek begins with a hike to Perolniyoc, then a visit to Racaypata. After lunch, we hike up to Abra Kuychiccasa before descending to the Chancachuco campsite.

DAY 2: Ancascocha - Abra Huayanay - Incaracay - Quesqa
We'll have stunning views of Mount Veronica as we trek to the community of Ancascocha. After lunch and rest, we'll reach the Quesqa campsite.

DAY 3: Paucarcancha - Piscacucho, KM 82 - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
We'll visit the archaeological site of Paucarcancha before descending to kilometer 82 of the classic Inca Trail. From there, we'll board the train to Aguas Calientes and spend the night in a hotel.

DAY 4: Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
We'll visit Machu Picchu and fulfill our dreams! Then, we'll return to Cusco.

Alternative treks in Cusco: Lares Trek

Lares is a community located in the highlands of Calca - Cusco. In this area, you can find many waterfalls and incredible hot springs with medicinal properties. For sure, one of the best alternative treks in Cusco.

During this alternative trek in Cusco, you'll encounter steep ascents but also descend through valleys that offer the best views of the Cusco mountains. In many cases, the trek can be completed in 4 to 5 days. If done in 4 days, the journey concludes in Ollantaytambo, where you'll spend the night in Aguas Calientes to visit Machu Picchu on the last day. If opting for the 5-day trek, you'll have the option to hike part of the short Inca Trail for 2 days, ascending to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate. For sure, one of the best alternative treks in Cusco.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1 | Cusco | Calca – Lares | Medicinal thermal baths - Huacahuasi
  • Day 2 | Huacahuasi | Sacsallauilli Summit - Mantanay
  • Day 3 | Mantanay | Urubamba – Maras – Moray - Ollantaytambo
  • Day 4 | Ollantaytambo | KM 104 - Wiñaywayna – Sun Gate – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 5 | Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu

Alternative treks in Cusco: Choquequirao Trek

The hidden gem among the shrubs. Choquequirao is the archaeological site akin to Machu Picchu. This alternative trek in Cusco is a real challenge for travelers, as it demands great effort to ascend and descend the mountains like experts. This trek can be completed in 4 to 5 days, traversing the best of the Apurímac valley, skirting the banks of its river, and discovering the highlights of this archaeological site. Here, you'll have the opportunity to sleep very close to the complex and enjoy a somewhat warm route.

The journey goes as follows:

  • Day 1 | Cusco - Capuliyoc - Chiquisca - Playa Rosalina - Santa Rosa
  • Day 2 | Santa Rosa - Marampata - Choquequirao - Marampata
  • Day 3 | Marampata - Santa Rosa - Playa Rosalina - Chiquisca
  • Day 4 | Chiquisca - Capuliyoc - Sayhuite Monolith

Alternative treks in Cusco: Ausangate Trek

The largest apu (sacred mountain) and glacier in the city of Cusco. This is one of the best treks in Cusco to undertake. Would I have to climb? Do you walk the full 3 days? Will I see snow all the way? Is it very cold? Many questions that only increase the desire to know everything. The answer is yes. You walk for 3, 4, or 5 days to reach the best viewpoints from which you can appreciate this snow-capped peak in all its splendor.

Vale la pena mencionar que durante este trayecto, podrás apreciar hacia el fondo la montaña de colores.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1 | Cusco - Ocongate - Upis - Laguna Huayna Ausangate
  • Day 2 | Upis - Abra Arapa - Yanacocha - Hatun Pucacocha
  • Day 3 | Hatun Pucacocha - Ausangate Cocha - Abra Palomani - Huchuy Phinaya - Sorapata
  • Day 4 | Sorapata - Abra Jampa - Pacchanta
  • Day 5 | Pacchanta - Tinke – Cusco

Huchuy Qosqo Trek

This alternative trek is part of one of the best in Cusco and ends with a visit to one of the best archaeological complexes in Cusco. Huchuy Qosqo, translated from Quechua, means Little Cusco. This is a wonderful experience that will take you through the Sacred Valley to reach the impressive Inca citadel. The highlights of the route will always be the views of the mountains and lakes surrounding the area.

The itinerary is as follows:

  • Day 1 | Cusco - Tambomachay - Qoriqocha Lagoon - Patabamba Community
  • Day 2 | Patabamba Community - Huchuy Qosqo - Lamay - Cusco

More is yet to be discovered. Pack your things and start the journey of your life!

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