Peru | The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Discover the mysterious origins of the royal Inca.

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  • Machu Picchu with mountains shrouded in fog.
  • "The Salkantay adventure goes beyond deluxe lodges and a great trek... it is a unique opportunity to experience ancient history in the Land of the Incas, as well as the most interesting and exotic variety of flora and fauna, all in the company of new friends and like-minded souls."- Mountain Lodges of Peru

Trip Highlights:

  • Hike Machu Picchu, the highlight of the Inca Trail and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Gaze at the Andes Mountains while sipping wine at our amazing guest lodges.
  • Trek through 15 different eco systems on a historic section of the Inca Trail.

Hike Machu Picchu, and enjoy this unique opportunity to experience ancient history in the Land of the Incas. Our 10-day Salkantay Trek begins in the beautiful and bustling city of Cusco, which is perfectly tucked into the hillsides at an elevation of 11,200 feet and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Our lodge to lodge trekking experience will take you on a historic section of Inca trail through 15 different eco-systems, while you hike a mountain pass over 15,000 feet, walk to villages where locals still maintain age-old traditions and re-discover the mystical beauty of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire. Each day’s trek ends at a deluxe lodge followed by a gourmet meal with select wines.

Trip Itinerary

Arrive in Cusco, the once capital of the Inca Empire. Meet the group for welcome drinks and dinner at 7:00pm.

Today’s walking tour of the city includes the ruins of Sacsayhuaman, the Cathedral Basilica and the historic Plaza de Armas. In the afternoon relax at the hotel or wander around the city exploring its many nooks and crannies.

Our first stop will be a visit to the Inca ruins at Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo before ascending a winding mountain road to a site called Marcoccasa. Here we will begin our hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). Our lodge for tonight sits under the glacier peak of Mt. Salkantay, among the most sacred in Inca mythology and the highest in the region (20,600 ft).

Today we will continue our slow and steady acclimation with a half-day hike up to Lake Humantay and its amazingly turquoise blue waters. Relax at the lake, at an elevation of 13,845 ft, and wonder at the Humantay glacier looming above. You will have the afternoon to yourselves.

We embark on our longest and most strenuous but arguably the most magical day of the trek. Our hike begins up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak where we will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes. The final and most challenging part of today’s ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take us to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek (15,213 ft). What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog. We will stay at the remote Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay.

We will descend along the banks of the Salkantay River into the lower elevations of the cloud forest and the warmer air of the jungle below en route to the Colpa Lodge located on a promontory above the confluence of 3 rivers. We will access the lodge by an amazing zip line across the canyon.

Today’s hike winds us down through the Santa Teresa River valley. We will cross waterfall fed streams and fruit orchards. A van will take us to the start of the Llactapata Inca Trail that will lead us shortly to the Lucma Lodge (elevation 7000 ft).

Today we leave the last of our lodges and hike for several hours under the jungle canopy, treading on original Inca steps to the ruins at the Llactapata Pass (elevation 8975 ft.). From the Llactapata Pass you will get your first glimpse of the “back” side of Machu Picchu. After we explore the ruins at the pass our hike ends with a steep descent through bamboo forest. Enjoy a one-hour train ride to the village of Aguas Calientes.

At dawn we will begin our journey to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu, where we will be given a 2-3 hour guided tour of the grounds plus a Huayna Picchu hike. Prepare to be awed by the supremely skilled architecture of the Temple of the Sun, the Watchtower and the many beautiful royal Inca residences. This afternoon we will transfer by train to our hotel in Ollantaytambo.

We will enjoy a morning tour of the Ollantaytambo Ruins, gateway to the Antisuyo (the Amazon corner of the Inca Empire) and located at the northern end of the Sacred Valley. From there we will stop at the Chinchero Archeological site before transferring to Cusco and our final night.

Have breakfast and depart Cusco.

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu | Peru

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Eileen-Burns

Brittney Clarke

Alps Specialist

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