Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
Approaching Machu Picchu 'through the back door', the Salkantay Trail weaves through a tremendous spectrum of landscapes and microclimates, from mountain passes (up to 4,638m) choked by glacial ice sheets to steaming subtropical jungle.
The views are nothing short of breathtaking, particularly when your first glimpse of Machu Picchu reveals the mountaintop citadel from an angle few get to see, completely untarnished by any evidence of modern civilisation.
For those with an aversion to camping, you can take a 7 day trek, including a day of acclimatisation walks, where you spend your nights in extremely comfortable, heated mountain lodges with excellent hot meals and wine all along the route – unwind after your exertions in the Jacuzzi with an ice-cold beer, surveying the mountains beyond.
Note that if you take the camping version you travel at a brisker pace and your sleeping conditions are rudimentary. Take the lodge version, with its days of acclimatisation built in, slower pace and comfortable accommodation, and the grading falls to Moderate (2).