alternative to Machu Picchu

Whether you are a beginner or a fairly experienced traveler, surely you have heard of the wonder of the world known as Machu Picchu. It is one of the most famous main tourist attractions within the Andean country. In itself visiting Peru and not going through Machu Picchu is a journey that is not complete. Despite how spectacular these Inca ruins are, there are other equally incredible and impressive alternatives. You can complement your trip with a tour of the following ruins or in case you have not booked your tickets on time, you can go through the following alternatives. That is why together with Machu Travel Peru we have prepared an article about the best alternatives to Machu Picchu.

Some of the best alternatives to Machu Picchu


alternatives to Machu Picchu choquequirao

This is the best alternative to Machu Picchu, it is practically the “younger brother” of Machu Picchu, although it is considerably triple its size. It is not as crowded with tourists because it is not usually as popular as the Wonder of the World. It is accessible only by a rather laborious three to four-day hike, but comparable to the “Inca Trail”, even considered by many to be one of the best hikes in Peru.

The Choquequirao ruins are located at an altitude of 3,050 meters above sea level. It is an ancient site that rises above the Apurímac River and is located on a flat hill. Practically built at the same time as Machu Picchu. Choquequirao does not usually attract more than 20 people per day, guaranteeing a quiet visit. This is the most suitable alternative to Machu Picchu, the ruins are very similar and will give you a related feeling that you get from the Wonder of the World.


alternatives to machu picchu kuelap

The mysterious ruins of Kuelap are located high in the hills of northern Peru, and these were formerly inhabited by the “cloud people” belonging to the Chachapoya culture. The Kuelap ruins are one of the archaeological treasures in Peru and are made up of three levels which were built between 400 BC and 1470 AD approximately. These ruins are quite unusual due to their circular constructions and contain over 550 structures.

In their excavations, archaeologists found different blonde mummies, which were pre-Inca. Within it, all Kuelap is quite affordable and a perfect opportunity to explore ruins of great magnitude. The only downside is that they are located a bit far, but still, the different tours include transportation, guide, lunch, and admission. Kuelap also has a wonderful hike that could easily compete with the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The accommodations in Chachapoyas are usually quite cheap making it a very good alternative to Machu Picchu.


alternative to machu picchu sacred valley

The Sacred Valley is another great alternative for those looking to complement their trip. Inside it, you will find other ruins such as Ollantaytambo, Sacsayhuaman, and Pisac. Although it must be borne in mind that these ruins compared to Machu Picchu are usually smaller and more dispersed. You will have enough excuses to visit the wonderful Sacred Valley and its incredible landscapes.

The many tours in Peru usually make small excursions at these points, but if you want to explore them in-depth it would be good to devise a private or personalized tour. With a Tourist Ticket, you can visit up to 16 Inca ruins within the 10 days of validity that it usually has. To get to the Sacred Valley, you will have to first go through Cusco. To get to Imperial City, you can go by bus or a local flight. Usually, everyone chooses to take a flight because it is the best way to travel in Peru. After your arrival, different buses will take you to the different points of the Sacred Valley for a small price.


alternatives to machu picchu chan chan

Chan Chan was one of the largest cities in the Pre-Columbian era within all of South America. It was the ancient capital of the Chimor Empire, this incredible city was home to approximately 40,000 to 60,000 people and its influences spread throughout the Peruvian coast. The Chimú were defeated by the ascending Inca Empire that would later build the well-known Wonder of the World. Within the many Machu Picchu facts, you will find more reasons to visit it. Although Chan Chan is an excellent alternative. One of the most interesting features of the city is its amazing ornamental reliefs on the walls, with geometric patterns, as well as figures of local flora and fauna. Today these ruins are a few hours away from the city of Trujillo.


alternatives to machu picchu chavin de huantar

If you were not lucky enough to get Machu Picchu tickets, you can choose to console yourself with a beautiful tour in Chavín de Huantar. Chavín de Huantar was considered an important place for religious pilgrimage. It consists of a large central square and a temple with several tunnels and underground chambers. At the bottom of the underground labyrinth is the most important relic of the Chavín cult, a carved monolith about 5 meters high, representing the most important deities. One of the best alternatives to Machu Picchu, without a doubt. 

Chavín was one of the most important pre-Inca civilizations in ancient Peru. This culture had a relevant and great impact within the Incas, in addition to other later civilizations. Many characteristics that were generally associated with the Incas, were actually part of the Chavín civilization. The domestication of llamas, the cultivation of potatoes, corn, and quinoa, and as well as religious aspects were originally part of this culture.


alternatives to machu picchu ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is another great alternative to Machu Picchu. Many even choose to visit this wonderful site before embarking on an adventure to the citadel. The town of Ollantaytambo is one of the few that still retains its traditional charm. It has been inhabited since the 13th century and is totally surrounded by archaeological Peruvian ruins. The nearby site is a kind of temple and fortress. Being able to climb the terraces and enjoy the imposing views is a great spectacle to behold.

Getting to Ollantaytambo is relatively easy, and you can do it from Cusco. You can take a taxi or a bus, both very accessible economically. You can also choose to look for a guided tour that includes transportation. Keep in mind that the Cusco tourist ticket includes the entrance to these wonderful ruins.


alternatives to machu picchu sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman is one of the best alternatives to Machu Picchu. This wonderful and spectacular Inca site has some immaculate views of the city of Cusco. And this is not to mention that it is one of the most visited Inca ruins in Peru. This large complex of ruins is one of the finest examples of precision Inca stonework and architecture. You will be able to appreciate walls built with giant stones, some of which weigh more than 100 tons. These stones fit together perfectly, leaving no room for even a knife blade between the stones. Visiting this fortress is highly recommended, whether you visit the Inca citadel or not. If you are looking to visit Machu Picchu, before starting your tour, we highly recommend being able to visit this imposing site.


alternatives to machu picchu sipan

In case you have missed the magnificent train to Machu Picchu, there is always the option to visit the tomb of El Señor de Sipán. Sipán is located in northern Peru, near the charming city of Chiclayo. Sipán refers to the Lord of Sipán, an ancient mummy found in an excavation at Huaca Rajada. It is believed to date from around the 50s and 700s A.D. Different historians and scholars believe that this mummy was a member of the ancient Moche civilization. This had its place in the north of Peru. One of the characteristics that make this mummy so special is that the tomb was completely intact. Something unusual in the region due to the numerous grave robbers in ancient times.

Inside the museum and the archaeological complex, you will be able to appreciate a large number of articles of great historical importance. Among them, gold, silver, and turquoise ornaments that were used to adorn the tomb. All are in excellent condition and are quite a spectacle to behold. One of the best alternatives to Machu Picchu. This wonderful place is worth knowing.


Peru is a country with an extensive history, and this is reflected in a large number of archaeological sites and complexes to visit. Although Machu Picchu is a great highlight, you will find a wide variety of sites to appreciate. We hope together with Machu Travel Peru to have encouraged your future visit to these wonderful options that can complement your trip. Remember: not everything in Peru is Machu Picchu, although this is an important part of the Andean country, you can always visit other wonderful ruins.

Peru has so much to offer, it can be hard to know where to start. With many years of experience in the tourism sector, Machu Travel Peru is happy to help with anything regarding your trip to Machu Picchu and any tours around it. Make your Machu Picchu experience an unforgettable one!