There is no better way to venture to Machu Picchu than the famous Salkantay Trek. Deemed by National Geographic Travel Magazine as one the top 25 best treks in the world; if you are in search for a trek with less travelled routes than the Classic Inca Trail and a more tranquil experience, this is it! Passing through cloud forests, rivers, a coffee bean tour, and fascinating Inca ruins all surrounded by the Andean mountains, you will experience a route to Machu Picchu unlike anything else. The trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at (4,638 m/15,213 ft.), and descends into the cloud forest through the Inca ruins of Llactapata where you have magnificent views of Machu Picchu City. We then venture through the high jungle and have one night accommodations at one of the very nice hotels in Aguas Calientes. The Salkantay trek takes you through original Inca paths while experiencing the diverse nature and ecosystems of the Andean mountains, all with less people and more freedom, we highly recommend this great adventure!
Overall distance hiked: 50 km / 31 miles
Maximum altitude reached: 4,638 m/15,213 ft.
To take full advantage of our first day, we start early at 3:00 a.m. You will be picked up at your hotel in Cusco by a private van and we will drive 3 hours through Mollepata valley amongst the beautiful Andean mountains until we reach Soraypampa (3,850 m/12,631ft.). Here we enjoy a delicious breakfast prepared by our chef and get to know your trekking team. Then we load the horses with your equipment and take our first steps on the trail.
We first hike two hours gradually uphill through Salkantapampa, where we will see our first view of the breathtaking Apu Salkantay. The Salkantay Mountain is the Big Protector or Big Spirit of the Incas, this is the highest and most impressive peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range. Salka means savage or invincible in Quechua, and as you will see when you are surrounded in its glory Salkantay without a doubt lives up to its name.
We then have another 1 and a half hours ascendant to (4,485 m/14,715 ft.) at Soyroqocha where we will rest and have lunch at the foot of this majestic mountain.
After lunch, we will reach the highest point of our trek (4,638 m/15,213 ft.), here we soak in the 360 views, relax, and take some photos. Then it is downhill for approximately 5 hours to Colpapampa (2,850m/9,350 ft.), our first camp! Here we will unwind under the stars, surrounded by the beauty of the Vilcabamba area, and eat a beautifully prepared dinner by our trek chef.
Today is a slightly lighter hike than our other days, however consisting of stunning views, rushing rivers, and much more!
We wake with a hot cup of tea, a lovely breakfast, and take off on our journey at about 6:30 a.m., we begin our path along the glorious Santa Teresa River, winding through forests, and passing waterfalls, coffee, and fruit plantations. You will see as we progress, the change through varying micro-climates and landscapes as we hike from cold glacier views to enter a warmer and more lushly vegetated area. We will see many types of plant life including ferns, begonia flowers, and several species of beautiful orchids.
We will share local fruits amongst the vibrant flora and fauna and then continue hiking through varying terrain for approximately 6 hours. We then reach Lucmabamba (2,050 m/6,725 ft.), our lunch spot and campsite for the night! Where we will take a wonderful coffee tour from one of the local families. Throughout our tour we will learn about the process of production, harvesting, roasting, and of course, drinking! After our tour we rest and rejuvenate, enjoy dinner and have a good night’s sleep.
Early to rise, with a great breakfast as we set out for the jungle today. We begin a 3 hour uphill hike to the high jungle where we reach paths of the original Inca Trail. We then approach Llactapata (2,610 m/8,562 ft.), offering our first gorgeous views of Machu Picchu. Llactapata is a beautiful ruins site which was only recently discovered. Here we will take a tour, learning of the Inca history and significance of this fascinating ancient site.
After our tour we descend for approximately 2 and a half hours till we reach Hidroelectrica and from here you will board a comfortable train taking us to Aguas Calientes (2,040 m/ 6,692 ft.). Along your scenic train ride you will be moving through the jungle amidst lush vegetation and wildlife.
Once in Aguas Calientes, we will check you into your lovely hotel and then share dinner at the finest restaurant in town.
Today we explore the sacred city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m/ 7,972 ft.)! We wake up early and enjoy our breakfast at the hotel. Then we head to the bus station where we wind through the mountains in a beautiful cloud forest. Once we are at the sacred city itself, the sun welcomes us, as does our local professional tour guide. We then experience a 2 hour informative and fascinating guided tour. On our tour explore numerous significant sites such as temples, fountains, housing, and ceremonial areas.
After the tour you will have time to explore on your own and capture those famous Machu Picchu photos! Also, if you choose you can climb Huayna Picchu Mountain (included in the trek price). This is a 45 to an hour uphill climb, ascending Inca built stairs to ruin sites and a beautiful overlook of Machu Picchu. This spectacular bird’s eye view of Machu Picchu is worth the workout!
After, we return down the mountain on the bus and catch the afternoon train to Poroy train station in Cusco. A Peru Path representative will be waiting with a warm welcome and a private van to make your way back to your hotel in Cusco. Your estimated arrival time in Cusco is 8 p.m.
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