Salkantay Trek (10D)
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu tour will captivate you with stunning Andean scenery and crowdless trekking, all culminating at the mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu. Starting in Cusco, center of the Inca Empire, we will delve into Incan and Colonial history before starting the new popularized Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, that finishes with an exploration of Machu Picchu. Highlights of the Salkantay tour include a 4-day wilderness trek with camping in the Vilcabamba Valley. This unique location will afford trekkers up close views of Mount Salkantay (20,575 ft.), 3 nights camping and relative isolation not found on the Classic Inca Trail. This Machu Picchu trek tour will keep you active and engaged both mentally and physically.
*The Salkantay route is a great trekking alternative for those not able to obtain permits for the Classic Inca Trail trek tour.
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (10 Day)
DAY 1: LIMA
Arrival and transfer to your hotel. If you arrive early, we can arrange optional tours to museums or to visit the city and surroundings sites.
DAY 2: LIMA – CUSCO
Morning departure for flight to Cusco (10,856 ft.), center of the Inca Empire. Airport pickup and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax, allow yourself the necessary time to acclimatize to the altitude, and feel the history and culture of this amazing Andean city. (B)
DAY 3: CUSCO
After breakfast you will have a morning guided walking tour to visit the historic sites of Cusco, the colonial Cathedral and the impressive Temple of the Sun (Koricancha). We then transfer to the nearby fortress of Sacsayhuaman with its megalithic stone terraces; Kenko, with its carved stone surfaces and subterranean altars; the small fortress of Puka Pukara that protected the royal capital from attacks and the water temple Tambo Machay. Late afternoon transfer to your comfortable hotel in Cusco. (B)
DAY 4: CUSCO - SACRED VALLEY - CUSCO
Full day guided excursion to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our first stop will be the picturesque town of Pisac, with a visit to the ruins above the town and a stop to check out the daily market.* After lunch, we continue down the Urubamba valley to reach the charming town of Ollantaytambo (9,185 ft.). Here we will have plenty of time to explore the town and the impressive Inca fortress that towers nearby. The Urubamba valley was an important agricultural area in Inca times, as manifested by the many Inca remains dispersed throughout the valley. Return to Cusco and overnight Cusco hotel. (B,L)
*Due to its popularity, there is a market at Pisac every day, with the largest market day being Sun, as well as Tue & Thu.
DAY 5: CUSCO - SAYLLAPATA – SOYROCOCHA
Early morning pick up you from your hotel and depart Cusco by our private bus to Mollepata (9,186 ft.). Along the way we can appreciate a beautiful scenic journey through Limatambo and stop to appreciate Apurimac Valley. After we head for the trail head, Sayllapata (10,500 ft.). Here we meet our muleteers and trek staff, we hike approx. 2 hours through traditional andean villages Cruzpata and Challacancha, to Soraypampa (12,300 ft), where we’ll have the lunch. After 4 hours of trekking we arrive to our first campsite, Soyrococha. Overnight Camping. (B,L,D)
DAY 6: SOYROCOCHA – HUAYRAQMACHAY – COLPAPAMPA
We ascend to the highest point of the trek, Salkantay pass (15,250 ft.), from this point we can appreciate spectacular views of Salkantay mountain, a stunning snow-capped mountain (20,574 ft.); 3 hours walking with views of Humantay and Huayanay mountains, small lakes and moraines. Arrive to our lunch site at Huayraqmachay (12,150 ft.). Later we descend for Approx 3 hours until our second campsite Colpabamba (8,550 ft.). Overnight Camping. (B,L,D)
DAY 7: COLPAPAMPA – LA PLAYA
We start our day with a downhill trek , Approx 4 hrs. We arrive into a high jungle niche called Ceja de Selva where coffee, coca and fruits plantations can be observed. Here we have a free time to shower in a waterfall, take amazing pictures, and with luck we can appreciate the famous Peruvian National Bird “Gallito de las Rocas”. We set up our campsite in La Playa (7,400 ft.) - for a free afternoon to explore our surroundings. Overnight Camping. (B,L,D)
DAY 8: LA PLAYA – AGUAS CALIENTES
Machu Picchu Accommodations
Today we continue through sub-tropical vegetation to the village of Lucmabamba. From here we start our climb of about 3 hours to Llactapata (2,600 m/8,500 ft), which is famous for a “great condor view of Machu Picchu”, where an original Inca ruin remains. This trek is a gradual uphill climb through lush sub-tropical forest, from the ruins we enjoy a brilliant panoramic view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding peaks. We will have plenty of time to get great photos and take a snack. Finally the descent leads us to the Vilcanota River with a stop for lunch. We continue walking to the town of Hidroelectrica (with a hydroelectric dam). In the late afternoon we take the train (45 min) to Aguas Calientes (6,600 ft/2,000m). Transfer to the hotel for a hot shower and comfortable bed. Overnight in Aguas Calientes. (B,L)
DAY 9: MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
Early morning bus ride brings us to the ruins for incredible photos and the opportunity to climb the famous peak of Huayna Picchu (8,900 ft/2,720 m), beautifully situated, overlooking the Machu Picchu ruins. Afterwards we have a guided tour of the ruins (3 hrs approx)*. The rest of the day can be dedicated to exploring this extraordinary site at your leisure. The mid-afternoon Vistadome train returns us to Ollantaytambo, where a private vehicle is waiting for the 1.5 hr transfer to Cusco. Overnight Cusco hotel. (B)
*Climbing Huayna Picchu (permit required) – Only the first 400 people who purchase permits are allowed to climb the peak, per day (subject to change by park administration at any time). Two opportunities for 200 people (400 total) are offered per day (7am or 10 am).
DAY 10: CUSCO – LIMA
Morning transfer to the airport for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight (End of Services). Trip extensions to other regions or extra days in Lima or Cusco can also be arranged. (B)
Key: (B)reakfast (L)unch (D)inner
Physical Requirements: Involves moderate to strenuous trekking/hiking at high elevations (above 10,000 ft.) and in varying temperature conditions. Good walking/aerobic fitness is required.
Note: Any physical activity at high altitude can be a challenge. It is the traveler's responsibility to best evaluate their physical ability to meet the stated Physical Requirements.