Salkantay Trek & Inca Trail to Machu Picchu 7 days
Description of the excursion.
An ancient and remote path, this path is the most complete since it joins two excursions in one as it starts in the area called Salkantay and then enters the Sacred Inca Trail that connects to the lost city of the Incas, Machupicchu, to those who are looking for a complete alternative. You can appreciate the change of the diverse ecological floors, from subtropical zones and impressive glacial peaks, until arriving at the Lost City of the Incas, Machupicchu.
This trek is spectacular for those travellers who wish to get off the beaten track but still experience a wilderness trek and the original Inca Trail. It is a wonderful trek taking you right from the watershed of the Apurimac River to the Urubamba River and around the stunning Mount Salkantay, which is the second largest mountain in Cusco region (6,277m/20,577ft). This spectacular trail twists and turns, ascends through high mountain ranges descends down steep enscarpments passing intimately through shrewdly placed misty cloud forest. The wildest landscapes and distallation of the oldest traditions and finest buildings on the planet, a number of diverse ecological zones filled with an enormous variety of plants and bird life. The ancient and remote foot path passes you through archaeological sites which lead you to the ethnic and cultural exchanges of Machu Picchu itself.
Departure : Every day, including holidays.
DAY 1 Cusco – Sayllapata
We pick you up from your hotel at 6 am to take you by private transport for a 3 hour ride from Cusco (3,400 m) to Mollepata (2,803 m/9,196 ft). On the way, we stop in Limatambo (a small town) to visit Tarawasi - very important religious Incan remains! Then, we continue our ride to a one and half an hour far away town of Mollepata where we have breakfast. There we start hiking up to Tillka and we take then wide gradually ascend to Marcocasa (3,500 m/11,482 ft) passing various Andean forests and steppes on the route giving us many opportunities to take fantastic photos of birds, flowers and various plants! In Marcocasa, we are given stunning views of the snow-capped peak of Rayuska (5,350 m/17,552 ft). In the end of the day, we get to a place of our first campsite at Sayllapata (3,600 m/10,200 ft).
DAY 2 Sayllapata - Salkantay Pampa
After an early breakfast, we start our today´s trek. First, we get to Soraypampa (3,850 m/12,600 ft) where we join the main route of the Salkantay Trek. From there, it takes approximately an hour to reach Salkantay Pampa, a place of our second campsite. Before we do so, we are given an opportunity to observe a breathtaking scenery of the sacred mountains of Humantay (5,917 m/19,412 ft) and Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft)!! Especially, the Salkantay Mountain is considered by Andean cultures to be "Apus" (a mountain god) of a great importance!! When in Salkantay Pampa (4,100 m/13,451 ft), we set a campsite to be later served dinner. The night might be a bit colder due to its altitude so do not forget to pack a sufficient number of warm cloths please.
DAY 3 Salkantay Pampa – Pampacahuarina
Today, we leave the main route of the Salkantay Trek to change for the route of Inca Trail. So we continue first through a lovely valley with native flowers and impresive views of the Salkantay Mountain in front of us at the left side passing through the indigenous villages of Qhesqa and Paucarcancha. Then, we ascend to the Incachiriaska Pass (Frozen Inca Pass; 5,100 m/16,700 ft), the highest point on the entire trek. From this point, we can admire the closest view of Salkantay and whole this area dotted with small mountain lagoons and old glaciers of diverse shades of blue! If we are lucky, we can see a variety of viscachas (chinchillas) and white-tailed deer and hopefully some rare animals such as a condor, guanaco and vicunha! Afterwards, we start descending to the Cusichaca Valley until the small village of Pampacawana (4,000 m/13,123 ft), a place where we can appreciate old Incan channels! We set a next campsite nearby and after dinner, we go to sleep.
DAY 4 Pampacahuarina - Llullucha Pampa
Hard trekking expects us today so we finish our breakfast to gain more energy and get ready for the trek. First, we hike for 3 hours to get to Paucarcancha (3,205 m/10,515 ft). There, our Tour Guide shows you around antique Inca´s ruins called Inkaracay! Then we descend for a couple of minutes to the town of Wayllabamba (3,000 m/9,842 ft). There, we say good-bye to our horseman and horses and welcome our Porters as we join the route of Inca Trail where only Porters are permited. Before we continue climbing, we enjoy lunch. During hiking, we can appreciate a cloud forest with its native trees, orchids, mosses, ferns as well as birds. Finally we get to our next campsite at Llullucha Pampa (3,855 m/12,650 ft)
DAY 5 Llucha Pampa – Chaquicocha
Early after breakfast, you start ascending towards the highest point of the trail - Abra Warmiwañusqa (Dead Woman´s Pass) at 4,200 metres passing through the cloud forests of Yunkachimpa and Corral Punku offering excellent views of surrounding snowcapped peaks. From Warmiwañusqa, you descend to the Pacaymayo Valley (3,300 m), where you have a lunch break. Then you continue hiking through the valley to the Inca´s ruins of Runkuracay where a guided tour follows. Afterwards, you climb up and get over the second pass - Abra Runkurakay (3,860m) walking on this "Royal Inca´s Highway" down to the next Incan site - Sayacmarca. On the way, you pass the Yanacocha Lake. In the end, we get to our second campsite - Chaquicocha (3,670 m).
DAY 6 Chaquicocha – Wiñayhuayna
Today, we start hiking passing through lovely subtropical vegetation and many important archaeological sites. Before we reach the first site, we get over Phuyupatamarca Pass (3,670 m) and just behind it, we can see the Phuyupatamarca Incan complex (3,600 m), one of the best preserved and most completed sites of the trek. The complex is located on the top of a mountain and it corresponds with its Quechuan name that means the "Town above the Clouds". After a guided tour, we have lunch there. Then, we start a steep descent via a cloud forest offering an opportunity to see beautiful orchids and different bird species on the way to our last campsite at Wiñay Wayna (2,700 m). There we have a guided tour of the same-named impressive archaeological complex consisting of a religious sector, urban sector and an agricultural center with lots of stepped terraces. Afterwards, we are served dinner and then we go to sleep to get ready for the "icing on the cake" of the trail - Machu Picchu!!
DAY 7 Wiñayhuayna - Machu Picchu
Early morning of the last day, we climb antique steps to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) to see the sunrise above the long-expected citadel of Machu Picchu!! Then, you enjoy a 2 and half an hour guided visit of the so called "Lost City of the Incas"!! Afterwards, you have an opportunity to climb the peak of Wayna Picchu (45 minutes up and the same time back) on your own to take some panoramic pictures of Machu Picchu!! In the afternoon, you descend to the town of Aguas Calientes to take a train back to Cusco. Arrival in the evening.
What is Included:
Pre-trek briefing with your Tour Guide (our guide will visit your hotel a day before)
Transfer by private vehicle to Soraypampa.
Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights).
Entrance fees to the red of Salkantay, an Inca Trail Permit and Machu Picchu fee.
Meals: 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner and 6x afternoon hot beverages.
Professional bilingual Tour Guide.
Horses and Porters to carry food, camping equipment, cooking equipment and personal belonging (7 kg), Porters to do so in the second part (due to very strict Inca Trail regulations.
Camping equipment: Eureka Mountain Personal double tents (3 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks).
Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress).
Duffel bag (for your personal belongings).
Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own).
Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas.
A Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo (Expedition Service).
Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day.
A shuttle bus between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes Town ($12- one way, $24 - a round trip).
Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain ($ 80).
A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C).
Extra porter and horses to carry your personal belonging (USD 130).
Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory).
Other extras not mentioned.
We recommand to bring:
A medium backpack (40 liters) for the walks.
Walking sticks with rounded and rubber ends.
Camera and extra batteries, chargers and adapters.
Personal toilet items, most important are wet tissues because there are not showers or proper sanitary installations.
Personal medications kit (plasters, bands, cotton, alcohol, aspirins, pills for stomachache, medicine to avoid altitude sickness, contact lenses cleaner, etc.).
Mountain boots or hiking shoes.
A hat or cap
Woollen gloves, scarves and socks.
Rain gear for the rainy season.
Long pants or slacks.
Sweaters and a jacket.
Towel and toilet paper.
Swimsuit (for Aguas Calientes hot springs - not included).
Sun screen Lotion.
A bottle of water and some purifying pills.
Dried fruit, candies and chocolate.
Headlamp and batteries
Some local currency for not included services and tips
Inca Trail Availability
We offer daily departures on the Inca Trail (excluding February when the trail is closed)
It is strongly recommended to book your Inca Trail at least 4 to 6 months in advance as permits can quickly sell out.
It is necessary to arrive in Cusco at least the day before the trek because departures are very early in the morning, before the arrival of the first flights.
Do not organize anything for the day of the return of the trek, because the arrival in Cusco is late in the evening.
Do not plan to take a bus or plane that day at the risk of missing it in case of delay. Please notice that there are not public services on the trek (running tap water, sewage, electricity or telephones).
The main problem a trekker might encounter is altitude sickness. The Inka Trail goes over 4000 m of altitude. Below you will find some elementary things to consider:
The best is to arrive at least two days before the trek so your body gets used to fonction properly in high altitude. Rest for at least 1 hour at your hotel upon arrival, walk slowly and don't hesitate to take a cab even for short distances.
We recommend to drink coca- leave infusions (mate de coca) upon arriving to Cuzco. Every public place and hotel have some and even some hotels give it to customers for free.
If you smoke, try to slow down a little bit.
Eat light, low fat meals or easy to digest food.
Tap water in most of Peru is potable, but the chemical and bacteriological content varies from place to place. To avoid problems, we recommend you to always drink bottled water.
During the Trek, walk calmly the first day, avoiding useless efforts.
Drink enough water during walks.
Do not hesitate to stop and get some rest if you feel the lack of oxygen.
Alert your guide if you feel sick. He is trained and will be able to help you or to take necessary measures.