This Sacred path around the “Apu Salcantay” shows us the different ecosystems and biodiversity in flora and fauna that lives along the way, from mountain range with snow capped mountains at 6,271.00 masl where the temperature could go down to -18ºC, until tropical cloud forest where we see jungle everywhere, that are feed by the water that flow from the Andes mountain.
Along the way we will watch Inca remains like trails, walls and the last day of the trail we will visit Llactapata archaeological place, here it is possible to see the area of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from a different angle that is not traditional on pictures.
We leave Cusco early (06.00) and drive to the village of Mollepata a nice Indian Village situated in a citrus growing area at a subtropical region at 2803 masl. On the route we will visit the archaeological site of Tarawasi, one of the nicest buildings in the region before getting to Mollepata. After we will continue driving up over a dirty road until arrive to Challacancha, at the place we will meet the horse handlers and horses, who will be our support on the trek, from Challacancha we will start to climb toward Salcantaypampa, where we will take the lunch, after a short rest we will continue to climb toward Soroycocha (4,200 masl), which will be the first campsite, from this place we will have a magnificent view of Apu Salcantay (snow capped mountain 6271.00 masl) Guardian Lord of Cusco.
Max. altitude: 4,490
After a healthy breakfast, early in the morning, forecasting a long journey we will depart around 6:30 am, toward Collpapampa, we will start to ascent by 1 hour and until arrive to Salcantay Mountain pass (4525masl) at the side we will enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped mountain of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, show us the south face of Salkantay towering above us, at the place we have the possibility to watch chinchillas and Andean Condors in their natural habitat, arriving to Huayracmachay where we will take the lunch, then we will start descending towards a more tropical climate and into the so-called cloud forest. Along the route, we can see the remains of an original ancient Inca path by 6 meters approximately; we will walk along the Salkantay River, arriving to the second camp at Qollpapampa (2890m), a beautiful spot with some natural hot springs to relax in.
Max. altitude: 2,870
After breakfast we will descend through a narrow path toward the banks of the Cachora or Santa Teresa River. This day we will enjoy a warmer and humid climate, at this altitude there is a marked change in the flora and fauna, becoming more verdant and preparing us for the subtropical foliage, on the route we will pass through wild fruits plantations like passion fruit, coffee plantations. We pass the waterfalls of Coripacchi, the settlement at Wiñaypoko, where we will enjoy a delicious lunch. In the afternoon we will continue close to the banks of the river and we will pass Sahuayaco a small village less of 20 families. Later we arrive to our campsite at Lucmabamba.
Max. altitude: 2,135
After breakfast, we will start to walk toward La Playa village and we will cross the river and start climbing until arrive to El Mirador or Abra Q’elloqasa (2860 masl) from here we have an exceptional view of the Lost City of the Incas, the legendary Machu Picchu, from a different angle. We enjoy a last lunch in nature at the lookout point of Llaqtapata (2650masl) from where we can view both Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain and take a good rest, enjoying the added value of the Llactapata remains, which have recently been restored. A descent towards the Aobamba River crossing lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations brings us to the hydroelectric plant of Machu Picchu from where we board a train that takes us to Puente Ruinas (short, scenic 30-minutes train ride), arriving to Aguas Calientes, transfer to the hotel for resting.
Max. altitude: 2,736
Early in the morning we will take the first bus up to the Sanctuary; the guide will offer a full guided tour of this spectacular place. Then, we will have free time to explore after the tour. Return to Aguas Calientes to take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where the bus waits for us to transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley or Cusco city.