The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous treks in Cusco and it is undoubtedly the best alternative route to experience the original Inca paths. This trek takes you through many different types of landscapes. You will have the best opportunity to see the typical Andean landscape up to the snowcapped mountains, down to the tropical forests and finally even venture into the dense jungle. If you are thinking to do a hiking trip to Machu Picchu and you want to be off the beaten path, close to the Andean communities and appreciate the beautiful and diverse nature of Peru, the Salkantay Trek is highly recommended.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a great alternative for the Inca Trail trek and better suited for more adventurous trekkers who are able to handle higher altitude and longer distances. Ascending to reach the famous Apacheta Pass at 4650 MASL - 15088 FASL is not too strenuous since it is at the beginning of the trek, neither is it very steep, but it does require stamina and a little time in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude before beginning the trek.
Today’s Highlights: Hike along the winding Salkantay trail with the mountain’s tallest peak in front of your eyes all morning! Challenge yourself as we make our way up some steep slopes while looking out on the valley far below until we reach the base of Apu Salkantay. Around midday, you will be standing in the middle of the Andes mountain range! In the afternoon, we make our way into the incredible cloud forest and tropical jungle around Chaullay. This is your most challenging day but also your most rewarding! (Click Here to see our CHAULLAY CAMPSITE)
After an early wake-up with the first daylight at 05:30 AM and a quick but energizing breakfast, we will start trekking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL – 15255 FASL). The distance is a 7 km (4.34 miles) of difficult ascent in 3 hours between the rocky valley base and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6271 MASL– 20574 FASL). When we reach the top of the pass, we will appreciate the spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains. Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu”. Continuing from this climax of today’s trek, there is a 5 km (3.1 mile) downhill walk to the site for lunch. The walk downwards is on a serpent-shaped, rocky, gravel path which leads to the Huayracmachay lunch campsite. To rest on the way down, there is a perfect valley outlook that is absolutely stunning! In the afternoon after our meal, we will enter the upper part of the Amazon jungle, which is also called “the cloud forest”. This is a 10 km (6.2 mile) hike completed in 3 hours on a wide trail in the thick and magical tropical forest. During this part of the trek, you will notice a dramatic change in landscape and the earth’s energy as we move from Andes to Amazon! This hike is truly beautiful; the hills are decorated with colorful scenery, wildlife, and native plants. The forests are warm and tropical most of the year with temperate climates. At the end of this outstanding hike, we arrive at Chaullay Village (2900 MASL – 9514 FASL) for a much-deserved reward of rest from our long day of trekking! This is our base camp in the jungle as we continue to make our way to Machu Picchu.Walking Distance – 22 km / 13.7 miles
At 06:00 AM, we will start our trek to the small town of La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. You will be able to soak up this new, lush landscape during our 6 hours of hiking today! During the hike we will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, and plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado. You can taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit along the way! We will see a village called Colpapampa, also called the “brow of the cloud forest,” where waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, and flora and fauna can be observed. If we are lucky, we will even be able to see the beautiful bird called “The Cock of the Rocks,” the national bird of Peru!
After a hearty lunch at La Playa, we will take local transportation to the Hidroelectrica train station.
Here you will have two options:
1) If you are exhausted, you may take the train to Aguas Calientes ($31.00 extra).
2) If you are still eager to hike, you may walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the train track. There is a nice path next to the tracks through the warm paradise of the cloud forest. This is the same trail used by the American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost to the outside world! Once in Aguas Calientes, you can rest a bit before dinner or walk around this alluring place that has the feel of a California Gold Rush town. There are no cars in Aguas Calientes, so it is an especially peaceful place to be. At 7:00 PM, we will have dinner at a local restaurant. All the expenses in Aguas Calientes are covered by the company, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the overnight stay at our hotel. In your luxury room, you will have a private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, breakfast in the morning, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
Today’s Highlights: Your excitement for our rendezvous at Machu Picchu will rise as we are hiking early in the morning through the forest to reach the site before most other tourists – even the Inca Trail trekkers!! You will have plenty of time to explore this truly magnificent World Wonder while you enjoy the beautiful sunrise from this once-in-a-lifetime viewpoint. Your group will learn about this mystical place in a two-hour guided tour of the ruins. Afterwards, you can opt to climb Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain (if you have pre-booked tickets) or walk to the Sun Gate (without extra tickets).
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hotel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. We will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. Here we will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 18:20 PM to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 22:00 PM. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!
|1-12 PERSON||GROUP SERVICE BY CAR||$200 PER PERSON||4 DAYS|
|1-12 PERSON||GROUP SERVICE BY TRAIN||$280 PER PERSON||4 DAYS|
|2 PERSON||PRIVATE SERVICE||$400 PER PERSON||4 DAYS|
|3-4 PERSON||PRIVATE SERVICE||$380 PER PERSON||4 DAYS|
|5-12 PERSON||PRIVATE SERVICE||$350 PER PERSON||4 DAYS|
Our 4D/3N Salkantay trek includes extra horse to carry up to 7kg/16lbs of your belongings.
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