Salkantay & Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

This exceptional trek takes hikers around the base of Mount Salkantay. To the Incas, this great peak was the home of the gods. The highest peak visible from Machu Picchu, this snow-capped giant is still central to the beliefs of the Incas’ descendants, the Quechua people of the high Andes, and it provides an absolutely stunning backdrop for this trekking route. Leaving Salkantay behind, we will join the world-famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, passing through stunning scenery and visiting archaeological sites, before ending our trek at the ruins of the Inca city of Machu Picchu.

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1

Cusco / Mollepata / Soraypampa

We will pick you up from your hotel at around 6:00am. We will journey west through the Anta Valley (we stop around 20 minutes). Descending into the warm and dry Apurimac Valley we visit the Inca temple of Tarawasi (2600 m/ 8528 ft.), a fine example of Inca ceremonial stonework. A little further along the road we climb to the village of Mollepata. Then, we will go to Cruzpata, where we will meet our mule drivers who will be waiting with horses or mules.

We will then start walking to our campsite in Soraypampa.

Driving travel time:

  • Cusco – Mollepata: 99.5 km/ 61.8 mi (paved: 88km/ 54.7 mi; dirt: 11.5 km/ 7.1 mi); 3 h 30 min
  • Mollepata – dirt road end (Truck trip): 22 km/ 13.6 mi: 1 hour

Trek length: 9 km/ 5 mi; 4 hours

Main altitudes: Cusco: 3400 m/ 11152 ft./; Mollepata: 2849 m/ 9347 ft..; Road end: 3703 m/ 12847 ft..; Soraypampa: 3908 m/12822 ft.

Meals: lunch, dinner

2

Soraypampa / Salkantay

From our campsite we will have our first sight of the south face of the Salkantay massif (6247 m/ 20600 ft.). We begin a slow ascent above the Rio Blanco and continue a steep climb to the highest pass of the trip (4933 m/ 16184 ft.) which is called Inkachiriasca, from where we will see the enormous glacier of the Salkantay and to the west spectacular views of Humantay peak (5885 m/ 19302 ft.).

We continue downhill to our most spectacular campsite, located at 4610 m (15125 ft.) directly below the south face of Salkantay.

Trek length: 8.7 km/ 5.4 mi; 6-7 hours

Main altitudes: Soraypampa: 3908 m/12822 ft..; Salkantay pass: 4933 m/ 16184 ft..; Camp: 4610 m/ 15125 ft.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

3

Salkantay / Inka Raqay

In our day we will hike all the way downhill along the Pampacahuana valley, where we will observe the irrigation system built by the Incas, gradually descending to our camp near the ruins of Inca Raqay (3105 m/ 10187 ft.). Today we will say goodbye to our mule drivers and tomorrow we will continue the trek with porters to carry our gear.

Trek length: 13.7 km/ 8.51 mi; 6-7 hours

Main altitudes: Inca Raqay: 3105 m/ 10187 ft.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

4

Inca Raqay / Huayllabamba / Llulluchapampa

From Inca Raqay we continue to the village of Huayllabamba from where the trail climbs steadily through high Andean woodland to a plain called Llulluchapampa just before the first pass, from where there are excellent views of the Huayanay Mountains. We will camp in Llulluchapampa.

Trek length: 6 km/ 3mi; 7-8 hours

Main altitudes: Inca Raqay: 3105 m/ 10187 ft..; Huayllabamba: 2968 m/ 9737 ft..; Llulluchapampa: 3767 m/ 12359 ft.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

5

Llulluchapampa / Phuyupatamaprca

We start our trekking aft.er breakfast. Aft.er another two hours walking we will reach the pass of Warmiwañuska (4205 m/ 13795 ft.), before descending as far as the canyon of the Pacaymayo River. The trail now climbs to the second pass at Runkuraqay from where we will be able to see the Vilcabamba and Urubamba mountains. Aft.er a short rest we will descend along a paved Inca road to the ruins of Runkuraqay and Sayacmarca, which have been restored. Here we enter the cloud forest and in the afternoon the trail descends via a stone stairway to the ruins of Phuyupatamarca, where we will make our camp.

Trek length: 11.1km/ 6.89mi; 8 hours

Main altitudes: Warmiwañuska: 4205 m/ 13795 ft..; Pacaymayo: 3604 m/ 11821 ft..; Phuyupatamarca: 3640 m/ 11942 ft.

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

6

The trail descends a vertiginous slope along a remarkable set of stone Inca steps for approximately three hours to the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, a beautiful Inca site in dense forest. In the afternoon we walk another two hours until we reach Intipunku, the Sun Gate, from where we get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu. From here, it is another forty minute walk to Machu Picchu. Arriving there, we will board the bus to go down to Aguas Calientes, where we will stay the night in a hotel (not included in the price).

Trek length: 9.3 km/ 5.8 mi; 5-6 hours

Main altitudes: Phuyupatamarca: 3640 m/ 11942 ft..; Wiñay Wayna: 2665 m/ 8741 ft..; Intipunku: 2693 m/ 8833 ft..; Machu Picchu: 2460 m/ 8071 ft..

Meals: breakfast, lunch

7

Machu Picchu

The much-anticipated day has finally come. We will pick you up from your hotel in Aguas Calientes, and then go to the bus station to board the bus to Machu Picchu. Our tour will include a visit to the temples, plazas, palaces, watercourses and residential areas. Aft.er it, we will have time to take pictures or walk around the Inca citadel. Afterward, we will go down by bus to Aguas Calientes and board the train to return to Cusco. This way, the fantastic day ends.

Optional: hike to Huayna Picchu peak (2-3 hours), subject to space available.

Main altitudes: Machu Picchu: 2460 m/ 8071 ft..; Huayna Picchu: 2532 m/ 8307 ft..; Aguas Calientes: 2070 m/ 6791 ft..

Included:

All necessary land transport (private vehicle)
English speaking guide
Camp cook, pack animals and mule drivers, camp assistant(s). Mules carry up to 8 kg participants’ personal gear.
Camping equipment: Two-person tents, kitchen and/or dining tent, and toilet tent
Inflatable mattress
Food: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner as mentioned in the itinerary
Snacks in the morning, including fruit, chocolate, candy, etc
Hot drinks in the afternoon (tea or coffee)
Duffle bags for packing personal gear
First-aid kit
Entrance fee to the Inca Trail.
Porters to carry equipment provided, food and up to 7 kg of your personal effects (on the Inca Trail)
Bus ticket Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu (5th day)
Round trip bus ticket to Machu Picchu (5th day)
Train ticket Aguas Calientes – Cusco.
Transfer from the train station in Cusco to the hotel

Not Included:

Sleeping bag (available for hire at an additional cost)
Travel insurance
Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
Tips

What to bring on the trip?

  • Passport
  • A daypack
  • Warm clothes (suitable for the Andean region)
  • Rain jacket
  • Long sleeved shirts (cotton)
  • Shorts for walking (optional)
  • Hiking boots
  • Cap and sunglasses
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun block
  • Water for the first day (we will refill your bottle with boiled water)
  • Binoculars for bird watching enthusiasts
  • Flashlight
  • Digital camera

Important detail: To be in good health and shape to be part of this adventure (Try to train by walking each day for at least two weeks before departure).

Travel Details

  • Duration: 7D / 6N
  • Dificulty: Demanding
  • Location: Cusco – Peru
  • Customizable: Yes
  • When to go: Best: March to December
  • Destinations: Uncategorized.
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