Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro

Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro? The most famous Inca trail VS the most famous base camp trek VS one of the most famous volcanos? Besides being on three different continents, all of these adventures are worth it! So which one should you choose? To make your choice easier we prepared an article describing in detail Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro. What are the main differences, experiences, routes, best seasons, different rates, etc.? You can find most info in this article to make up your own conclusion on which is better for you. The Inca’s Machu Picchu, the legendary Sherpa’s Everest Base Camp located at the highest mountain of the world in Nepal, or the most famous dormant volcano? Which will you choose for your next adventure?

Things to look out for

There are a few things to look out for between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro. What is the difference in routes, how many days does it take to reach Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, Mt Kilimanjaro, and do you need to acclimatize or not? What are the best seasons to go on either the Inca Trail or Everest Base Camp trek, or the Machama route? Do you want to go during the high season or low season? How about the cultural aspect of all three, and the differences in rates, and value for money? What kind of transportation can you expect during your journey to Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, or Mt Kilimajaro, and what type of accommodation and meals are there? All of these things can make or break your vacation, and adventure. In this article comparing Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro we discuss all these important topics. So that you can make the final conclusion. Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro, which is the better one and which one will give the best outdoor experience?

Comparing the Inca trail with the Everest Base Camp trek and the Machama route

First up when comparing Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro we thought its best to distinctly mention the similarities and differences between them. All three Machu Picchu located in Peru, Everest Base Camp located in Nepal, and Mt Kilimanjaro located in Tanzania are the most popular destinations in their respective countries. While there are different routes or trails that you can take to reach Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, or Mt Kilimajaro we’ll describe the most popular routes in this article.

For Machu Picchu that will be the Inca Trail taking 4 days of hiking. As for Everest Base Camp, we’ll describe the most famous Everest Base Camp trek which takes 11 days whereof two days will be used for acclimatization. Then there is Mt Kilimanjaro with the famed Machama route of 7 days. This is then also the first major difference between Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, and Mt Kilimanjaro. Another major difference is that during the Inca Trail and the Machama route you’ll have to spend overnights camping with limited facilities. As for during the Everest Base Camp trek every overnight destination has tea or guesthouse lodges available for a comfortable overnight! If you are aiming to reach some of the highest altitudes then you’re better off with the Machama route and the Everest Base Camp trek as they reach a max altitude of 5896 meters (Kilimanjaro) and 5,545 meters during a sunrise tour on Kala Pathar Hill overlooking Mt Everest and its neighboring peaks for the Everest Base Camp trek. The Inca Trail will only reach a max altitude of 4,215 meters at the famous Dead Woman’s Pass. As so if we need to compare the difficulty level of Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro we do need to conclude that the Everest Base Camp trek is a bit more strenuous than Peru’s Inca Trail and Tanzania’s Machama route. On the other hand, the Inca Trail does have steeper climbs, and as a result, gives its trekkers a lot of tiredness when doing the trail. And the Machama Route has harsh conditions and many unsuccessful treks. The Everest Base Camp trek and the Machama route’s main risk is AMS or Acute Mountain Sickness. You’ll only be at risk if you do not follow the proper itinerary and skip the planned acclimatization days at Namche Bazaar 3,440m, and Dingboche 4,450m! Having talked about some of the major differences between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro there is one we haven’t mentioned yet, and that’s the difference in views! Machu Picchu is more of a cultural experience with the main focus on exploring an ancient civilization’s ruins. While you can have a chance to see the beautiful Vilcabamba Mountain Range. As for Mt Kilimanjaro’s Machama route, you’re literally trekking to the top of one of the highest dormant volcanos on earth. You’ll be able to see incredible views of the Rebmann and Ratzel glaciers, as well as views of the two peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. And while it’s not the same as during the Everest Base Camp trek. You’re literally on the roof of the world while trekking to Everest Base Camp!

Surrounded by the highest mountains in the world and trekking towards the highest, Mt Everest 8,849m is just an experience you can’t get anywhere else! Besides seeing these giant Himalayan Mountains there are also a lot of cultures involved during the Everest Base Camp trek while visiting traditional Sherpa villages and sightseeing in Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital city.

Routes (itineraries)

All the routes to Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, or Mt Kilimanjaro have various options that can make your trek/hike longer. As mentioned above in this article on Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro we’ll compare the most popular routes. The Inca Trail of 7 days, the Everest Base Camp trek of 14 days, and the Machama route of 7 days!

The Inca Trail:

The Inca Trail

Peru’s most popular camping and hiking experience are the Inca Trail. Following a standard route, or itinerary to Machu Picchu. One of the largest and most fascinating ruins of the ancient Aztec Empire. This hike starts in Cusco. Here you can enjoy sightseeing and your first short hike towards Ollantaytambo. The next day you’ll need to manage transport to the starting point of the Inca Trail about 82km/51mls further. A 4 days hike with camping takes you straight to the south gate of Machu Picchu. During the hike, there will be a lot of strenuous and steep climbs, especially on day 4 when you’ll need to face the “Dead Woman’s Pass”, locally known as Warmiwañusca. Also, the highest point of the hike is at 4,198m/13,769ft. After exploring Machu Picchu you can take a train back to Cusco.

1Arrival at Cusco
2Hike to Ollantaytambo
3Start the Inca Trail
4Inca Trail
5Inca Trail
6Machu Picchu + train ride back to Cusco
Standard Itinerary

Do note that only 200 touristic hikers per day are allowed on the Inca Trail, creating long waiting lists and quickly sold-out tickets. If you want to take part on the Inca Trail or hike to Machu Picchu we do advise you to book way in advance to guarantee an opening!

The Everest Base Camp trek:

Everest base camp trekking

Undoubtedly one of the most popular treks in the world! Nepal’s famous Everest Base Camp trek takes the top position of best treks in the Himalayas. This 14 days trek in the Everest region of Nepal takes you to Everest Base Camp at the foot of Mt Everest and the Khumbu Glacier. Meet the Sherpas, lots of yaks, and numerous stupas and gompas along the trail to base camp. The trek starts from Lukla, the world’s 38th highest airport with a short trek towards Phakding. From Here on the trail enters the Sagarmatha National Park and heads straight for Namche Bazaar. This is the largest Sherpa village in the area and the last stop to do some shopping before continuing on toward Everest Base Camp. Another 6 days of trekking with 2 days of acclimatization takes you to Gorakshep, the last stop before base camp. Along the way, you’re surrounded by snowcapped white mountains and peaks reaching over 6,000m/19,685ft! Among them will be Mt, Amadablam 6,812m/22,349ft, Mt Lhotse 8,516m/27,940ft, Mt Nuptse 7,861m/25,791ft, and the highest mountain in the world Mt Everest 8,849m/29,032ft.

01Arrival in Kathmandu1400mHotel
02Fly to Lukla 2,820 m and trek to Phakding2,641mTeahouse
03Trek to Namche Bazaar3,440mTeahouse
04Rest day at Namche Bazaar for acclimatization and a short hike3,440mTeahouse
05Trek to Tengboche3,867mTeahouse
06 Trek to Dingboche4,260mTeahouse
07Rest day at Dingboche for an acclimatization hike to Nakarjung or Chukung from a 3-5 hours walks scenic excursion4,260mTeahouse
08Trek to Lobuche4,960mTeahouse
09Trek To Mt. Everest Base Camp 5,364 m past Gorakshep5,180mTeahouse
10Hike from Gorakshep to Kalapatthar (5,545m) and Trek from Gorakshep to Pheriche4371mTeahouse
11Trek from Pheriche to Namche3,440mTeahouse
12Trek from Namche to Lukla2,820mTeahouse
13Morning flight to Kathmandu and transfer to hotel1400mHotel
14Final departure for International flight homeward bound
Standard Itinerary

While there is no limit on trekkers for the Everest Base Camp trek, the trail can get crowded and you can expect delays during your flight to and from Lukla.

While you are planning to trek to Everest Base Camp Before you need to read the below article.

The Machama route:

The Machama route

Who hasn’t heard of the famous dormant volcano in Tanzania Mt Kilimanjaro? Standing high with a crater rim of 5,896 meters makes it one of the highest volcanos in the world, and a popular trekking destination as well. While there are various routes up the crater rim of Mt Kilimanjaro we believe that the 7 days Machama route is the best option. It approaches the volcano from a southwest direction and ends in the southeast along with the starting point of the Mweka route. The trek goes through different types of habitats ranging from tropical rainforest up to cold and barren artic. Facilities are very limited as you can expect from a trek like this and the risk of AMS is there so make sure to trek at a proper pace. As we do not know where you will start or end this trek we show the Machama route from starting point to the endpoint.

01Machama Gate trek to Machama Camp
02Trek to Shira Camp
03Trek to Barranco Camp via the Lava tower
04Trek to Karanga Camp
05Trek to Barafu Camp
06Trek to the Summit of Mt Kilimanjaro and down to Mweka Camp
07Drive to Mwosi
Standard Itinerary

The Machama route is filled with adventure and challenges, prepare yourself strongly before undergoing this trek! Besides that, it is our opinion that the Everest Base Camp trek provides more value for money when comparing Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro!

Best seasons

Before making a choice between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro, you might want to have a look at the best seasons for all three of them! Each has its peak seasons and less crowded seasons. Have a look below to find out when the best time to go to Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, or Mt Kilimanjaro.

Machu Picchu:

In Peru, the best time to travel is during the dry season. The rainy season ends just before April and lasts until September. Machu Picchu’s peak season however starts in June when the festival of the Sun takes place. Despite this, we do recommend aiming for April-May to book a trip to Machu Picchu as it will be less crowded and the skies will be clear blue!

Everest Base Camp:

For Nepal, the rainy season takes place between June and the beginning of September. Placed the high seasons just between March to May and September to November. Or in short spring and fall/autumn. During the spring season, the weather will be naturally warmer as well as the nights. But during the fall/autumn season Nepal celebrates its biggest festivals; Dashain and Tihar + the weather is clearer, allowing you to see more panoramic views of the surrounding Himalayas. On a minor downside, the nights can get colder, especially at higher elevations. Our recommendation for the Everest Base Camp trek will be to book either for spring or fall/autumn to get the best experience!

Mt Kilimanjaro:

Tanzania’s rainy season falls in April and May making those months impossible to complete Mt Kilimanjaro’s Machama route. The best time to go would be in January up to the first half of March. These months the weather will be warmer and the chances of rain are greatly reduced. You can also trek to Mt Kilimanjaro during November and December, but expect occasional rainfall. So in short the best time to trek to Mt Kilimanjaro is at the beginning of the year January, February, and the first half of March.

Comparing these best seasons for Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, and Mt Kilimanjaro, we conclude that Everest Base Camp has more options on when to go. 

When traveling to new and unfamiliar places, the discovery of new cultures is also a great aspect! During all three trails to Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, and Mt Kilimanjaro you’ll come across different cultures. Naturally, each has its own, as we’re talking about different people of different contents.

The Incas, the Nepalese Sherpas, and the Chagga people! During your trail to Machu Picchu, you’ll not see modern culture but more ancient remnants of a culture long gone. Interesting to see are the ancient sites where the Inca people used to live and thrive before the Spanish Conquistadors arrived. While making your way to Machu Picchu you’ll come across ruins of palaces, and cities. Even at Moray, you’ll be able to see how the Incas developed a system to farm on the mountainsides! To get the best out of your trip to Machu Picchu culturally speaking, you should plan to go during the Sun Festival which happens near the end of June, once a year. The Everest Base Camp trek has a completely different cultural aspect than Machu Picchu. As you might expect from the Himalayas. During your trek to Everest Base Camp, the majority of the population are Sherpas. Well known as mountain legends and made more famous due to the brilliant movie “13 Peaks” these heroes live and thrive in altitudes above 5,000m/16,404ft. Dealing mostly in yaks and seasonable veg as sustainable husbandry, during your trek to Everest Base Camp you’ll come across various herds and terraced fields. Furthermore, you’ll be passing by numerous Gompas and Stupas made for prayer and spiritual motivation. During your stay at Namche Bazaar, you’ll get to overnight in one of the biggest Sherpa settlements in the entire Everest region! During your trek to Mt Kilimanjaro, you’ll come across the Chagga ethnic people of Tanzania. These tribes’ people have been living and thriving on Mt Kilimanjaro for centuries. Tanzania has been colonized two times before its independence in 1961, and you can still see some influence of German and British colonization.  So if you are thinking between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro in terms of culture. It depends, for ancient cultural ruins Machu Picchu is your best bet. To see some nomadic tribes and rural villages you are best off with Mt Kilimanjaro, but if you are looking for a living culture then we strongly suggest Everest Base Camp for your next destination!

Differences in rates

Traveling for most means keeping an eye out for your travel budget. So between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro, what is the difference in rates, and which one gives the best value for money? Well, Machu Picchu’s Inca Trail costs a shocking ±1000 USD per person for 7 days. Mt Kilimanjaro’s Machama route of 7 days ±1600 USD per person, while a trek to Everest Base Camp costs anywhere between ±1600-2500 USD per person for 14 days, inclusive of all accommodations, all meals during the trek, porter and guide services, permits, transportation, flight tickets to and from Lukla, and sightseeing in Kathmandu.

Breaking down the cost per day per person it comes down to 150 USD for Machu Picchu, 228 USD for Mt Kilimanjaro, and 120 USD for Everest Base Camp. While there is not much difference in the per-day cost, you’ll get more value for money during the Everest Base Camp, as the trek is longer and more activities are included, as well as two-way national air tickets.


Traveling to far places and hiking or trekking through rural country means also that you’ll need some transportation to get to your going. Machu Picchu, Everest Base Camp, and Mt Kilimanjaro each have their own way of transportation. During the Inca Trail, you’ll need to travel to Ollantaytambo from Cusco and then take the short drive to the starting point of the Inca Trail. After visiting Machu Picchu you’ll be happy to know that a train can take you directly back to Cusco. For the Everest Base Camp trek, you’re in for a surprise, as you’ll need to fly from Kathmandu to Lukla, the world’s 38th-highest airport. Besides the scenic views, the landing itself is an adventure! After coming back down for Base Camp, you’ll need to take the same flight back to Kathmandu. As for the Machama route, you’ll be driven in and out to the starting points and ending points. So to summarize in short, transportation during the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu includes a short drive and a train ride, for Mt Kilimanjaro you’ll be driven in and out. While transportation for Everest Base Camp includes a two-way flight ticket from Kathmandu to Lukla! Making the Everest Base Camp trek the most exciting way of transportation.

Accommodation and meals

Denbuchhe Village

During every outdoor holiday, the places you’ll stay and the things you’ll eat have a big impact on your own experience. Between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp, there are a lot of differences between accommodation and meals. We are talking about two different cultures. For Peru’s Machu Picchu and Inca trail, your accommodation will mostly consist of tented camps except during your stay in Cusco where hotels and lodges are available. As for meals, you are in South America so expect tropical cuisine. Most of Peru’s dishes consist of corn, potato, and fruits. Wantan, deeply fried pastry filled with cheese and ham in combination with a quinoa soup you can’t go badly. Meals during the Inca trail will be served in a big tent per group. The Everest Base Camp in comparison offers more comfort during your trek, as the entire time you’ll get to stay in traditional teahouses or guesthouses. Rooms are fitted with two or three single beds and offer great protection against the harsh elements outside. Meals during the Everest Base Camp trek consist of a mix of traditional Nepalese dishes such as rice, lentil soup, seasonable veg, and a spicy pickle sauce. Or international dishes such as pasta, and pancakes. We do also recommend the famous Sherpa stew packed with energy, or Nepalese dumplings called momo! For Mt Kilimanjaro’s Machama route, you’ll be out in the wild. Accommodations vary between tented camps and local huts. While comfort is not really in play here it does add up to the experience! Food in Tanzania is fresh and delicious. With a wide variety of vegs, such as popcorn, lettuce, and cocoa dishes you won’t run out of fuel during your trek to Mt Kilimanjaro!


Having described most of the differences and expectations between Machu Picchu VS Everest Base Camp VS Mt Kilimanjaro we came to a few conclusions. If you compare what you get in terms of comfort, value for money, views, and bragging rights we find that Everest Base Camp is the more popular and wiser option. Machu Picchu and Mt Kilimanjaro are more secondary options as the cost is way higher, the days are shorter, and the accommodation is based on camping. While Everest Base Camp is at the foot of Mt Everest and takes you on an incredible journey throughout the Himalayas, still untouched and everlasting!

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