A unique adventure, enabling you to experience Peru at its best. You will trek from lodge to lodge, enjoying the comfort and service of four top quality mountain lodges located in pristine areas, with Machu Picchu as your final destination. In this journey, you will trek from 3,900 metres to 2,100 metres traversing magnificent mountain passes, observing towering snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and exploring more than 15 different ecosystems. Moreover, the chances for ethnic and cultural exchange are ever-present with local people who still remain closely attached to their heritage and are very willing to share it with open minds. This is a special, once-in-a-lifetime experience you will not want to miss.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu includes:
– All services & transportation from pick up in Cusco on day one to drop off in Cusco on day seven.
– 6 nights lodging (5 nights in MLP lodges & 1 night in Aguas Calientes in a 4-Star hotel).
– All meals except breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7.
– Service of a bilingual guide; tours are led in English.
– Transportation of personal belongings on the trek by pack horses/mules and/or porters.
– Guided visit to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (including entrance and transportation to site).
– Transportation (Train to Aguas Calientes, and Ollantaytambo).
– At the lodges we provide filtered and sparkling water, tea and coffee, juice and soft drinks free of charge. Alcohol, sports drinks and natural bottled water are not included.
After an early breakfast, you will be picked up starting at 7:00 am at your hotel in Cusco by an MLP guide and vehicle for the drive to the Salkantay Lodge (3,869m) in Soraypampa. En route, take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where you will stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to a place called Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by vehicle). Here, begin your trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for everyone to acclimate, while enjoying a beautiful six hour trek. Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley, Mount Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270 m. the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, you will be shown to your rooms and have time to wash-up, before tea and cookies. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner.
Trekking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch en route)
Hiking Level: Moderate
Option: Guests who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge by vehicle
Note for evening prior to departure: Your local guide will arrange a time to come to your hotel this evening for a briefing regarding your trek. Luggage should be packed into a soft duffel bag (no hard suitcases please); if you do not have a suitable bag we can arrange one for you- please let us know. You only carry a day-pack with everything you may need for a day’s hike (water bottle, rain gear, cameras, snacks). Additional drinking water is available on the trek. Mules and porters carrying the luggage will not walk with the group. Your luggage will meet you upon arrival at the next lodge.
Today, take an acclimatisation hike on the slopes above the lodge to Lake Humantay, fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay. The hike is optional, but the views are amazing, and those brave enough can even go for a dip. Return to the lodge for lunch, after which you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in our outdoor jacuzzi. Afternoon at leisure. We spend the night at the Salkantay Lodge (3,869m) with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds. In the evening, the guide briefs you on gear and the itinerary for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge.
Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
Option: Horseback Riding
This is the big day! After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point on the trek is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 m (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction. Keep your eyes open for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass, descend towards Wayra Lodge (3,906m; “Wayra” means wind; so ‘the place where the wind lives’) our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is served en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge.
Trekking Time: 6–8 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Challenging, crossing a 4,640m mountain pass
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge. Continue descending along the left bank of the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery. You will be able to feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colourful butterflies and striking orchids. Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge (2,870m) you will be greeted with a Pachamanca meal, a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones, and then covering the whole thing up to bake. Colpa Lodge is located on an open plateau at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor jacuzzi has panoramic views of lush green mountains. Spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Trekking Time: 3-4 hours
Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate
Hike along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. You will pass through banana, granadilla, and avocado orchards and coffee plantations . A hot picnic lunch is served by the river. After lunch, hike another hour before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” (30 minutes or so). From the head of the newly restored Inca trail we easily make your way to Lucma Lodge (2,135m), set in an avocado orchard. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Trekking Time: 5–6 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging (because of distance, not terrain)
After a hearty breakfast, tackle the last day of our trek. Head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), you will enjoy a spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the Southeast, a view few travellers ever get a chance to admire. Take a short break to explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is served in a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. Begin your final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. Aguas Calientes (1,900m), the town of Machu Picchu, is a short, scenic train ride away. Upon arrival, we check into our lovely hotel for celebration dinner with your guide and one last briefing!
Trekking Time: 4–6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
After a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, make your way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). The trip leader will give the group an introductory two-hour guided tour of the ruins, after which you will have the rest of the morning to explore the site on our own—there is a lot to do and see! Afterwards, return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch for your ongoing train ride. The ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about one and a half hours, and then a private vehicle will drive you back to your hotel in Cuzco (3,360m; an additional hour and a half).