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Machu Picchu Alternatives

Machu Picchu isn’t for everybody

Crowds and clouds at Machu Picchu

Though Machu Picchu is amazing, it’s not for everybody: If crowds of over a hundred people will likely spoil your trip, pick one of these three alternatives. All are fascinating Inca ruins that rival Machu Picchu for architecture, history and beauty.

In order of the shortest walk to the longest trek, my three favorite alternatives are Pisac, Waqra Pukará and Choquequirao.

Choquequirao and Waqra Pukará get 10-100 visitors each per day. Pisac gets a few hundred, but if you go during lunch time or later in the afternoon you’ll likely have the place to yourself.

Pisac is a great alternative to Machu Picchu.


The Pisac Inca ruins can be done as a day trip from Cusco and part of the archeological site is wheelchair accessible on dirt trails. If you are up for a bit of a hike, plan about an hour to walk from the main section of the ruins down the ridge to the Intihuatana.

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Choquequirao Trek

Machu Picchu’s sister (3-5 days)


Mysticism & archeology

Waqra Pukará

The Horned Fortress

Text © Heather Jasper

Images by Heather Jasper