What Hikes Are Open in Peru After Covid-19?
Effective March 1, 2021, Machu Picchu reopened (again!) and so did Perurail and Inca Rail train service. But what about the hikes? Which hikes in Peru are open? Which hikes in Peru are closed? And for how long?
I called Vidal in Cusco and he literally gave me the grocery list of hikes that are open and those that are closed. I'll start with the list of "closed" hikes because that's the shortest. Each community has the autonomy to determine if they want to reopen their regions to hikers. So it's their call when and if they choose to reopen.
- Salkantay Trek 4-5 Days includes visit to Machu Picchu (local authorities are considering asking trekkers to provide neg covid test before begining the hike)
- Choquequirao Trek 5 Days does not include visit to Machu Picchu (local authorities are considering asking trekkers to provide neg covid test before begining the hike)
- 4 or 5-Day Inca Trail trek (this is the only multi-day trek that requires permits from the national government. National authorities have revealed they plan to begin hikes sometime in July 2021. But permits not available yet.
- Huayna Picchu - short hike (1-3h) that begins inside the Machu Picchu National Park
- Machu Picchu Mountain - another short hike (2-4h) that begins inside the Machu Picchu National Park
Fortunately, the list of open hikes in Peru is long:
- all partial and full day hikes near Cusco and the Sacred Valley corridor (may, or may not include a visit to Machu Picchu)
- 1-Day Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu (permits are available at reduced capacity through December 31, 2021 and subject to availability)
- 4-Day Lares Valley Trek includes visit to Machu Picchu.Can be combined with 1-day Inca Trail hike for people who want to enter Machu Picchu through the Sungate.
- 4-Day Cachiccata Trek (also called the "Quarry Hike") includes visit to Machu Picchu Can be combined with 1-day Inca Trail hike for people who want to enter Machu Picchu through the Sungate.
- 2-3 Days Huchuy Qosqo Hike (includes visit to Machu Picchu.) Can be combined with 1-Day Inca Trail
- 1-4 Day Ausangate 7 Lagoons Trek (does not include trip to Machu Picchu, which can be added separately)
- 1-2 Day Waqrapukara Trek (does not include trip to Machu Picchu which can be added separately)
- 1-Day Rainbow Mountain with Bosquie de Piedras (stone forest) Palccoyo route with light hiking. (does not include trip to Machu Picchu, which can be added separately(
At this time, foreigners can enter Peru without quarantine and visit Machu Picchu. But these protocols are subject to change. Other regions in Peru including Lake Titicaca and Ica/Paracas, may not be as open as the Cusco to Machu Picchu corridor. This is mainly due to supply and demand. Bus service is the main means of transportation and running half empty buses is not profitable.
We recommend that travelers to Peru use the Cusco region as their hub for all their activities and hikes. As you can see we are able to "mix and match" several hikes with the 1-Day Inca Trail for people whose dream is to enter Machu Picchu by crossing the Sungate (Inti - Punku) from above.
Other private activities beginning in Cusco can be arranged including, cooking classes, Pachamanca luncheon on a Qechua farm, and traditional guided day tours in the Sacred Valley.
What you need to know about hiking in Peru after covid-19:
- all our hikes are private. We will customize each hike to meet your needs and interests. For instance if you are traveling with a mixed group some people can hike the 1-day Inca Trail and others can take the train. All will meet up in the village of Aguas Calientes. We recommend a minimum of 2 people but we have set up hikes for solo travelers on request.
- joining a group hike in Peru is not likely in 2021 because of limited demand.
- we provide all camping equipment, meals and dining gear except personal backpacks and reuseable water bottles or bladders.
- no extra cost to use our sleeping bags and trekking poles. Available first come basis. We ask you to provide your own sleeping bag liner
- Hikers are not required to wear masks while hiking unless you choose to.
- Masks and face shields are required on planes, trains and buses
- In case you need a covid test to fly home, it's recommended that you allow an extra day and night in Cusco. We have listed the details about clinics at this link HERE
Hiking is even more popular now that nature-lovers are looking to escape the confinement of the past year of covid restrictions. I'm happy to report that Peru has many hikes to choose from for all ages and abilities. Keep in mind that we're expecting the Peru government to announce "something" soon about permits for the 4 and 5-day Inca Trail. These lists can change based on demand or covid restrictions.
If you have specific questions about hiking in Peru, just ask. I went to Peru in January 2021 and hiked the 1-day Inca Trail, the 2-day Wakrapukara trek, the 1-day Rainbow Mountain hike and the Ausangate 7 Lagoons trek.