Cusco is a city defined by three things: Incan civilization, Spanish conquest, and mass tourism. But those Incan ruins that shall not be named have done some serious damage. The remote magic of Machu Picchu is as good as done with 1.2 million visitors per year. Once-remote Inca trails have become overrun with crowds in recent years. But all of this isn’t to discourage you from trekking in the Sacred Valley. There still plenty of places where you can experience the rainforests, high altitude lakes, quiet Incan ruins, and local culture that really make the region awesome – you’ll just have to work a bit harder to find them.
There are a handful of alternatives to Machu Picchu where you can experience Incan ruins in relative solitude. Classic Inca Trail permits are sold out months in advance, so trekking guides and tour operators have started focusing on the Salkantay, Lares, Vilcabamba, and Choquequirao Trek. This means that trails that were once inaccessible are now possible for independent trekkers in a way that they never were before. You get to plan your own adventure, and all you need is open expectations (and perhaps some trekking gear) to do it.If you’re planning on backpacking around South America, you’ve probably tossed around the idea of bringing your own gear. Turns out tents and sleeping bags are pretty damn heavy. Unless you already own gear you love (here’s our guide to picking a sleeping bag that doesn’t suck!) and are planning on camping more often than not, there are benefits to renting your gear once you get there. If you decide you’d rather handle gear rental in Cusco than lugging it around the world, here are a couple of gear rental shops where you can pick up camping and trekking equipment that I can recommend.
Rosly is located down an alley just off Plaza de Armas, but don’t let the touristic location throw you. The gear rental at Rosly is probably the best in town when it comes down to price and availability of equipment. You shouldn’t expect brand new gear, but the gear they do rent is well maintained and they’ll let you take everything out of the bag to inspect it before you head off on your trek. Another upside of renting your trekking gear at Rosly is that the staff is happy to make recommendations based on climate and hiking difficulty so you get everything you need.
Where to Find It: Calle Procuradores 394, Cusco 08000, Peru
2. Speedy Gonzales
Just across the way from Rosly is Speedy Gonzales. Their gear is priced about the same as Rosly’s, meaning you can go between the two to stock up on whatever it is you need for your trek. If you have anything for your trek that needs repairing, they can also handle it here.
Where to Find It: Calle Procuradores 393, Cusco 08000, Peru
Cost of Gear Rental in Cusco
Curious about the costs of gear rental in Cusco? As of 2018, the average daily rental cost of gear rental in Cusco is as follows:
- 2 Person Tent ($3 or 10/s per day)
- Rain Cover ($4.50-$9.00 or S/15 – S/30 for purchase only)
- Sleeping Bag ($2 or S/6 per day)
- Sleeping Mats ($2 or S/6 per day)
- Camping Backpack ($2 or S/7 per day)
- Camp Stove + Cook Set($2 or S/7 per day)
- Trekking Poles ($2 or S/6 per day)