Comparing the world’s best-known peaks: Machu Picchu vs Mt Everest vs Mt Kilimanjaro

written by Jenna Hoare August 23, 2018
Female traveller at Everest Base Camp

What do you get when you compare an ancient lost city to the highest mountain on earth and the highest free-standing mountain in the world?

A bucket list of ‘out of this world’ hiking hot spots that the intrepid traveller lusts for. Comparing the three raises the question… where do I start?

Machu Picchu

Height: archaelogical site: 2,430 metres (7,972 feet), Inca Trail: 4,215 metres (13,828 feet)
Days to complete trek: 3-5
Fitness level: intermediate
Best for: combining a trek with a historical experience

Most travellers on a Peru trip choose to conquer Machu Picchu on one of several trekking routes. You can witness the beauty of the Andes Mountains on the Inca Trail, Quarry Trail or by undertaking the more challenging Choquequirao Trek. These trips start from Lima or Cusco, but you also have the option to take the train from Cusco to the town of Aguas Calientes where a 15-minute bus trip takes you to the magnificent ancient ruins. Some consider Machu Picchu to be a great way to get into trekking before embarking on more challenging itineraries.

Machu Picchu treks

RELATED: What I wish I knew before hiking Machu Picchu

Mt Everest Base Camp

Height: 5,364 metres (17,598 feet)
Days to complete trek: 11-14
Fitness level: advanced
Best for: bragging rights for climbing (part of) the world’s most famous mountain

As you might already know, you don’t have to summit Mt Everest to experience the magnificent Himalayas. You can hike to Mt Everest base camp, which sits at 5,364 metres above sea level and on the final day, stay at a lodge perched at 5,140 metres. It’s a tough undertaking, and will require a fair bit of preparation, but it’s a life-changing trip.

Everest Base Camp treks

RELATED: What I wish I knew before trekking Everest Base Camp

Mt Kiliminjaro

Height: 5,895 metres (19,341 feet)
Days to complete trek: 5-9
Fitness level: advanced
Best for: the ability to choose from several routes through a variety of landscapes, combining your trip with a safari

Hike a mountain higher than Mt Everest base camp in Africa. What? It’s surprising to some travellers (it was to me) that you can go from the grasslands, through forests to the highlands in Tanzania, where you can take in killer views overlooking the ice field of a crater. Stay in mountain huts and catch a dramatic sunrise from Gilman’s Point when you tackle the summit. Kilimanjaro sits at an altitude of 5,685 metres – higher than Mt Everest camp by about 224 metres (give or take).

Kilimanjaro treks

RELATED: What I wish I knew before climbing Mt Kilimanjaro

Here’s a few fast facts about three impressive peaks to get you inspired for your next trek.

Machu Picchu vs Mt Everest vs Mt Kiliminjaro infographic

Intrepid runs small-group adventures along the Inca Trail, Everest Base Camp and the Kiliminjaro Trek as part of their Walking & Trekking trips.

Hero image by Lucy Piper.

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