This exclusive trip allows you to soak up the culture and natural wonders on the road to Machu Picchu whilst staying in world class lodges with superior comfort and relaxation after a days exploration. This seven day trip offers you the essence of adventure but still with the home comforts you miss when you are adventuring around the word. By day you will ride horses through Peru’s unforgettable scenery, soaking up the culture and landscape of one of the most beautiful places in the world, and by night you can relax with some delicious local food and wine in world class lodgings.
This evening at 1900 hours (7pm) Mountain Lodges of Peru will hold a pre-trek briefing in El Mercado Hotel's restaurant. You will meet your guide and fellow travellers and receive a detailed briefing of your upcoming adventure.
After an early breakfast, we are picked up starting at 7:00 am at your hotel in Cusco. On route we take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to Coronilla Ranch.
Here, after a short period of familiarization with the equestrian team and the horses, we begin our ride to Soraypampa. This is a good opportunity for everyone to acclimate while enjoying a beautiful 3-4 hour ride.
Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley—Mt. Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270m (20,600 ft), the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, we are shown to our rooms and have time to freshen-up, before tea and cookies. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner.
Today’s excursion takes us first to Humantay Lake, fed by glaciers far above on the slopes of the impressive Mt. Humantay. Our 1-hour ride there is followed by a short 20-minute walk, which is necessary in order to reach the lake, but the view is well worth it and those brave enough can go for a swim!
After a short snack break we hike back down to where we left the horses, and from where we begin a 30-minute ride to our next dismount spot: the gateway to the “Chakana” (the mystical Cross of the Incas, located on a view point high above Soraypampa). From here, we begin a one-hour excursion on foot to our destination, the actual “Chakana”. This excursion allows guests to enjoy the best views of the Soraypampa Valley, Mt. Salkantay and Mt. Humantay, and is truly one of the high points of our journey…which should not be missed! A mystical offering to Mother Earth (or “Pachamama”) at the Chakana, performed by a local Shaman, in full view of the awe-inspiring Mt. Salkantay, tops off this unique experience.
We return to the lodge for lunch with your afternoon at leisure, after which you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in our outdoor jacuzzi. Additionally there is the option of riding out again for a couple of hours in the surrounding area. In the evening, the guide briefs us on gear and the itinerary for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge.
Today we continue our journey towards Machu Picchu, riding up the Rio Blanco valley and circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point of the ride is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 meters (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, with the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us.
We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards the Wayra Lodge, (“Wayra”: wind; from the name of the location “Wayracmachay”: ‘the cave where the wind lives’) our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is taken en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge.
On this day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge, and then we continue downhill
above the Salkantay River, descending into the cloud forest, through increasingly verdant scenery. We can feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids.
Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge we are greeted with a Pachamanca, a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones. Everything is then covered with hot stones, plantain leaves, high Andean grass and local herbs and the contents are baked in this underground oven.
Colpa Lodge is located on an open plateau at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor jacuzzi has panoramic views of lush green mountains. We spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Today we ride along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas.
We pass through banana, passion fruit, avocado orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee grown here is said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world.
Our ride takes us to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”, which is where we say goodbye to our horses and equestrian staff. A short 30-minute walk through an avocado orchard brings us to Lucma Lodge. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
After a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we come upon a distant but spectacular
view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travelers ever get a chance to admire. We take a short break to explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is served at a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. After which we begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. We then board a train for a scenic ride (approx. 1 hour) to Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, we check into an award-wining hotel for a celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing!
Note - Those who prefer not to hike can go to the train station by van after a leisurely morning including breakfast and lunch at the lodge. They will meet the rest of the group at the train station for the ride to Aguas Calientes together. (The guide confirms your preferences the night before.)
After a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). Our trip leader will give an introductory 2 hour guided tour of the ruins, after which we have the option of climbing the steep staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically quite challenging hike that takes about 2 hours which affords great views of Machu Picchu.
Afterwards, we meet up with our guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch and to catch our train. The ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about 1½ hours, and then a private vehicle will drive us back to Cusco (an additional 1½ hour). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7 or 8 p.m.), we are dropped off at your hotel.
We believe that appropriate accommodation should add to the authentic travel experience, as well as providing utmost enjoyment. For that reason our accommodation is scrutinised by our staff on the ground frequently, ensuring the properties adhere to our high standards. This key will help you understand the levels of accommodation available on this tour.
Comfortable properties with dependable facilities and service.
Upmarket properties with above average facilities and service.
Luxurious properties with impeccable facilities and service.
SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST
Talk to one of our Destination Specialists to plan your South American adventure and turn your dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first hand experience, our consultants will assist in every way possible to make your journey the most memorable it can be, matching not only the itinerary, but the accommodation and activities to suit your style of travel and budget.
Although Mountain Lodges of Peru has historically had an active yet private role in the socioeconomic development of the communities to which we neighbor, in 2006 MLP sponsored the creation of an NGO named Yanapana Peru. Yanapana Peru has set two important goals for its first stage of development: 1) to elevate the level of education for more than 150 families in the area; 2) to give an incentive to the local population to take an active role in the development of tourism in the area.