Peru Treks from Cusco - Orange Nation

Peru Treks from Cusco

Saul, Orange Nations’ director, has been trekking and guiding in the Andes of Peru since 1999. Here he gives his round up of best treks in the Cusco area, from the Classic Inca Trail to the more remote and rugged mountain Ausangate Circuit.


Our Classic Inca Trail is a 4 day trek and runs as a small group tour. You will stay at the popular campsites, use good camping equipment and thermarests to sleep on (sleeping bag not included), and be well supplied with nutritious, plentiful meals and snacks. At campsites you use the basic, shared latrines provided, but you do have the option to pay extra for a toilet tent. We offer daily departures, except in February, when the trail is closed to everyone. We always include a personal porter who will carry 6kg for you.

Permits for the Inca Trail are limited to 500 per day and sold on a first come first served basis. Demand is always high, and the 4 day trek trek is already sold out for the early months of 2018 – although there is still plenty of availability later in the year.

Cancelled spaces are not resold. So, if you can’t change your travel dates to fit with when permits are available then how about considering an alternative trek.

Our alternatives are all great treks in their own right and are less well trodden. If you prefer having the mountains to yourselves, an alternative may be preferable anyway. See more information here!

classic inca trail - Orange Nation
inca trail alternative salkantay - Orange Nation


Our Huchuy Qosqo, Lares, Salkantay, Choquequiaro and the Moon Temple trek all take you through the heart of the high Andes and include a guided visit to Machu Picchu. Alternatively choose to hike the remote Ausangate trek that takes you well off the beaten track and can still be combined with a visit to Machu Picchu before or after the trek.

We suggest you acclimatise for a minimum of 3 days and 3 nights in Cusco, or higher, before starting any of these treks, because of the high altitudes involved. If you have longer then spend longer acclimatising. The better acclimatised you are the more you will enjoy the trek.

#2; LARES and THE SHORT INCA TRAIL: (Cultural Hike)

Cost: USD ??? pp based on joining a small group Lares Trek with a private 2 day Inca Trail add on.

Permits for the “2 day Inca Trail” or “Short Inca Trail” are easier to come by and are different from the permits for the full Inca Trail so you could consider the option of doing just a 2 day trek or combining it with our Lares Trek – making it a 6 day trip with day 5 being a hike to the site of Winay Wayna where you join the Inca Trail and follow it along to the sun gate, entering Machu Picchu as you would on the Inca Trail. Day 6 is then a guided tour of the site.

For a fuller experience I’d recommend the 6 day trip, combining the two day Inca Trail with the lovely Lares Trek.

lares and the inca short inca trail 6 days - Orange Nation
lares 5 days - Orange Nation+

LARES: (5 days)

Cost: USD ??? pp on a small group trek.

The Lares trek goes through a traditional weaving and farming area close to the Sacred Valley. You will see people dressed in authentic highland Peruvian clothing, farmers at work, herds of llamas etc. You also have the opportunity to bathe in some hot springs.

Departures: Orange Nation starts on any date with a minimum of 2 people

More information here!

#3; SALKANTAY: (5 days)

Cost: USD ??? on a small group trek.

The Salkantay option is a bit more rugged and tougher, with higher passes. Starting off at 3,600ms this trek goes up to 4,600ms and then drops down into the high jungle before coming in the back door to Machu Picchu. A stunning high-mountain walk with great views of the big snow-capped peaks in the area and ending at Machu Picchu.

Departures: Orange Nation daoes everyday.

More information here!

Salkantay 5Days - Orange Nation
ausangate lodge based trek 5 days - Orange Nation


Cost: USD ??? pp Fridays guaranteed.

The Ausangate trek takes you to a wonderful remote area at the foot of the sacred peak of Ausangate. Fewer hikers and dramatic scenery make this trek a great choice for those who’d like to veer a little off the beaten track. It is challenging mostly due to the altitude, so requires a longer acclimatisation pre-trek. This is one of our highest treks so we recommend at least 5 or 6 days of acclimatising before setting off.

Departures: Confirmed group departures every Friday from April to October (other departure days and private tours available, please ask).


Cost: USD ??? pp on a small group trek.

This trekking adventure features a spectacular 5-day walk around Mount Ausangate in the remote and stunning Vilcanota Range. Fully supported, this trek features hot-springs, stunning mountain scenery and turquoise lakes – making it one of Peru’s finest hiking circuits.

You should be very well acclimatised before starting to walk as we will be camping in Altiplano well over 4,000m and crossing several passes at around 5,000m.

Departures: Regular group departures from April to October (please ask for dates to suit you).

ausangate camping and trekking 5 days - Orange Nation
moon temple and machu picchu - Orange Nation


Cost: USD ??? pp on a small group trek.

This Moon Temple trek is a great alternative to the Inca Trail, taking in some remote Inca ruins and many stunning mountain views on the way to Machu Picchu. This trek is truly off the beaten track. For anyone wishing to get away from other trekkers and to experience the beauty and rich Culture of the Andes this is a perfect option.

Departures: Regular group departures from April to October (please ask).


Cost: USD ??? pp on a small group trek.

Huchuy Qosqo is a fantastically varied and short trek with Inca Trails and archaeological sites en route to Peru’s jewel, Machu Picchu. It is perfect for those seeking an alternative and interesting trek to Machu Picchu, but who don’t want to hike the longer trekking routes.

Departures: Regular group departures from April to October (please ask).

Rainbow Mountain Trek (Day trip)

A visit to Rainbow Mountain, known locally as Vinicunca (its Quechua name) or the montaña de siete colores (seven-colored mountain), is an absolute must for all those who love stunning landscapes and gorgeous scenery. Nestled in a remote region of the Andes Mountains, Rainbow Mountain was once a spectacle only to be admired by trekkers along the Ausangate Trek, but now you can witness this display of natural beauty in all its glory on a shorter 1- or 2-day hike as part of your Peru vacation. We also currently offer a Rainbow Mountain & 2-day Inca trail package that takes you up to Machu Picchu before visiting Rainbow Mountain.

More information

If you’d like some more information about other alternative treks, itineraries, accommodation or tailor made options, as well as prices, kit lists and the best time to go, please get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

Traveller reviews

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Christian B

10/10 Amazing experience

If you’re thinking about which agency to use, look no further- Ray and Jimmy went well above and beyond and made this a memorable, safe, fun, and professional experience.

Ray is the most knowledgeable guide I’ve ever had in any country for any excursion - during both the Short Inka Trail and the actual tour of Machu Picchu, Ray’s expertise shined through in his ability to give us a detailed background on every aspect of the history, climate, nature, flora, animals.. anything!

Likewise, Ray and Jimmy were truly the friendliest, kindest hosts that I could have imagined our group having.

Thank you both so much and I will definitely book with you again if (when) I come back!

Jan 2023 • Friends
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Matt A

Awesome experience!!

Did the 2 day Inca trail with Ray and Jimmy they were great and knowledgeable. Ray not only guided us along trail to Machu Picchu but also was an excellent photographer and taught us the history. It was a group of 10 and we had a great time. Even everything going on in Peru, we always felt in good hands.

Jan 2023 • Friends

Short Inca Trial (2-Day)

This tour was the perfect experience for our (group of 10) short trip to Peru. The trail was sometimes challenging, but the views and history made it all worth it. Ray and Jimmy were our guides and imparted sooo much knowledge about the history of Peru, Inca, and beyond. I would definitely recommend!

Jan 2023 • Friends
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Daniela Rabito

It was perfect! On the first day we had a great time exploring the Sacred Valley and see the main attractions and learn about the history of this beautiful place.

I would definitely recommend the short Inka trail, I think it was the best way to get to know Machu Picchu and the surrounding area. We arrived at Machu Picchu when most of the crowd was gone and it felt really special.

Abril 2023
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Brittany Skulkety

You won’t regret booking with this tour company, especially if Liz Montesinos is your guide. My boyfriend and I did the 4 day Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain (private) tour. The tour covered everything; from transportation, hotels, meals, tickets and entrance fees, to stops at local places we would’ve never known to go or check out. We did a private tour because for us we felt this would help us get the most out of our time and experience in Peru

Dic 2022
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Best mix of adventure, history and nature: Sacred Valley & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

4-day trekking option seemed too intense for us, but we still wanted to experience the entrance to Machu Picchu through the ancient Inka trail, so we opted for Orange Nation’s combination of Sacred Valley & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. I couldn’t be more happy about our decision.

Dic 2022
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We booked and paid the deposit to Orange Nation / Sam travel for the 4 day Inca Trail and Machu Pichu trip back in 2019. But we couldn't travel in 2020 and 2021 - but the company honoured our agreement and so we came back in 2022.

Dic 2022
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Brittany Nicole
icono recomment - Orange Nation recommends Orange Nation Peru

You won’t regret booking with this tour company, especially if Liz Montesinos is your guide. My boyfriend and I did the 4 day Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain (private) tour. The tour covered everything; from transportation, hotels, meals, tickets and entrance fees, to stops at local places we would’ve never known to go or check out. We did a private tour because for us we felt this would help us get the most out of our time and experience in Peru. This tour had so many incredible things and places packed into 4 days.

September 16, 2022
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Ray Besos
icono recomment - Orange Nation recommends Orange Nation Peru

My girl and i did the Machu Pichu trek tour with Orange Nation. It was seriously the most amazing experience that we'll never forget. Gorgeous views! The long trek was worth the amazing view. The tour guide was friendly and very knowledgeable. We considered other tours but chose Orange Nation because we liked the idea of smaller groups and this was definitely worth it. I will be using Orange Nation again next year when I come back to Peru!

November 29, 2018
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Juliet Julz
icono recomment - Orange Nation recommends Orange Nation Peru

Wow, what a wonderful trekking experience! My trip to Peru was amazing thanks to this awesome tour that i took with Orange Nation. I did multiple tours with this company. I'm a solo traveler and everyone in my group was always still friendly and did not make me feel left out. I loved going off the beaten track with this company. It's much better to pay extra to go off the path for the quality experience of this amazing guided tour They definitely helped guide us and gave us a quality experience with a small group and paid special attention to each one of us. I highly recommend using Orange Nation for your next tour in Peru!

November 29, 2018


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Orange nation

Has one of the most outstanding meal services. Our chefs have been highly trained to prepare the best peruavian and International food our treks. You should be prepared to not only have a superb trekking experience, but also a culinary one. "The food has been the highlight for all our hikers"

Chefs Orange Nation

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