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Guidebook to hiking and biking Peru's Sacred Valley Inca trails including 7 routes to Machu Picchu. A range of mountain bike and trekking routes: half-day, full-day and multi-day. All routes graded for difficulty, and the guidebook includes many previously unpublished routes away from the tourist trails.
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The eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes is one of the most dramatic and diverse places on the planet, dropping from over 6000m (20,000ft) to just 200m above sea level. This dramatic drop in elevation produces a wide range of constantly changing climactic and vegetative zones – it is often possible to hike from the base of a glacier down to the jungle in just a day or two. Combined with the countless Inca sites and ubiquitous Inca roads, this makes the Sacred Valley one of the best trekking and mountain biking destinations in the world.
Machu Picchu is well known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the Inca Trail trek that leads there is nearly as famous. What is less known, however, is the vast choice of other epic adventure trips that exist in the region – treks through soaring Andean glaciers and Incan ruins, bike rides through stunning alpine and jungle scenery. Nearly every route in this book uses an Inca road or visits an Inca ruin – and most do both. The majority of the Inca roads can also be biked as well as hiked, so there is plenty of scope for both activities.
There are several bases to choose from for a Sacred Valley visit:
Ollantaytambo is perhaps the best base, as from here you can trek or mountain bike to Machu Picchu, Quillabamba, Choquequirao and nearly every other major site in the Sacred Valley. The town itself retains its original layout, Inca architecture and culture, and small village charm.
Cusco is the largest Inca city, with attractions including museums and restaurants as well as Inca sites. It is the starting point of only a few treks, but those include the iconic routes to Machu Picchu and Choquequirao.
Ausangate is the highest peak in the Cusco area, at a staggering 6270m. The region is home to some excellent hot springs, as well as various outstanding treks, and is usually accessed from the village of Tinqui.
The Andes are a formidable trekking and biking destination however. The altitude is often 3-4000m, so you will need time to acclimatise, even for the more moderate routes. The terrain is steep and rocky, which is particularly important to know for bikers when hiring a bike. Author Will Janecek has taken care to explain what to look out for when choosing your bike rental, to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.
The routes in this guide describe the very best day and multi-day, walks and MTB routes, many previously unpublished, right across the Valley.
We are always grateful to readers for information about any discrepancies between a guidebook and the facts on the ground. If you would like to send some information to us then please use our Feedback form. They will be published here following review by the author(s).
|The story of the Incas|
|The Sacred Valley|
|History in the making|
|Exploring by bike or on foot|
|Centres and bases|
|When to go|
|What to take|
|Maps and waymarking|
|Using this guide|
|1 Tourist Trails to Machu Picchu|
|Route 1 Agua Calientes to Machu Picchu|
|Route 2 The Classic Inca Trail|
|2 Around Cusco|
|Route 3 To Calca via H’uchuy Cusco|
|Route 4 The back way to Ollantaytambo|
|Route 5 To Urubamba via ‘44’|
|Route 6 Urquillos Canyon|
|3 Around Urubamba|
|Route 7 Salt Mines of Maras and Moray|
|Route 8 Moray to Paucarbamba|
|Route 9 Abra Azulcocha to Calca|
|Route 10 Calca to Lares|
|Route 11 Chicón summit|
|Route 12 To Lares via the Pumahuanka valley|
|4 Around Ollantaytambo|
|Route 13 Pumamarca|
|Route 14 Choquechaca|
|Route 15 To Lares via Abra Wakawasi|
|Route 16 To Lares via Patacancha|
|Route 17 The Weaver’s Trek|
|Route 18 Inca Raccay and Q’orimarca|
|Route 19 Ñaupa Iglesia (Pachar Caves)|
|Route 20 Las Canterras quarries and Inti Punku|
|Route 21 The Veronica glacier|
|Route 22 Patacancha valley|
|Route 23 To Quillabamba via Abra Yanamayu|
|Route 24 To Quillabamba via Abra Malaga|
|Route 25 To Ivochote and Pongo de Manique|
|Route 26 Machu Picchu ‘back door’ route|
|Route 27 To Huayllabamba and the start of the Inca Trail|
|Route 28 Ollantaytambo to Soraypampa via Salkantay|
|5 South and West of Machu Picchu|
|Route 29 Mollepata to Huayllabamba|
|Route 30 Soraypampa to Machu Picchu via Salkantay|
|Route 31 Soraypampa to Machu Picchu via Hydroelectric|
|Route 32 Choquequirao from Cachora|
|Route 33 Inca Wasi from Yupanqua|
|Route 34 Huancancalle to Choquequirao|
|Route 35 Huancancalle to St. Theresa via Yanama|
|Route 36 Huancancalle to St. Theresa via Abra Mojón|
|Route 37 Mollepata to Choquequirao|
|Route 38 Espiritu Pampa (Vilcabamba)|
|Route 39 Tinqui to Pitumarca via Ausangate|
|Route 40 Tinqui to Pitumarca via Puca Punta|
|Appendix A Route summary table|
|Appendix B Glossary of Spanish and Quechan words|
|Appendix C Useful contacts|
|Appendix D Further reading|