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The Salkantay Adventure - Journey to Machu Picchu

8 Days FROM USD 3,135

Overview

This Trek is also available to do on horseback - Contact us for more details.

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Andes towards the historic city of Machu Picchu on the ultimate lodge to lodge trek. This trip lets you experience challenging hiking in one of the most beautiful places in the world by day, and the comfort of luxurious mountain lodge accommodation by night. Adventure through the Salkantay trail and marvel at the snow-capped Mt. Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Incan Mythology. You will have the opportunity to hike through glaciers, witness stunning scenery and soak up the culture of the local people on your way to the famous city of Machu Picchu. Your day of trekking will always be rewarded with a hot shower in a different cosy mountain lodge where you can also relax with a massage or dip in an outdoor jacuzzi. The evening comes to a close with exquisite cuisine and specially selected wine, brought to you by our knowledgeable and hospitable local staff.

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Trip Code: PETSST7

Travel Style: Small Group Tour

Location: Cusco, Rio Blanco Valley, Machu Picchu.

Flights: Ask us to help book your flights to/from South America.

WHY YOU'LL LOVE THIS ITINERARY

  • Explore the Salkantay Trail one of the lesser known Inca journeys but just as beautiful visually and immersive culturally. 

  • Discover the stark and contrasting beauty of Peru as you hike through glaciers one day and descend into  a cloudy rain forest the next.

  • Experience the unique lifestyle of the rural Andean highlands as you travel in  a lodge-to-lodge experience, encountering unique cultural experiences that would be missed on more populated routes. 

  • Experience incredible visual experiences which are finally rewarded by ending at the incredible and mysterious Machu Picchu. 

ITINERARY INSPIRATION

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.

Pre-Trek Briefing

After an early breakfast, we are picked up starting at 7:00 am at your Cusco hotel by a guide and vehicle. En route we take a short break to visit the Archeological site 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 a place called Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by vehicle). Here, we begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for everyone to acclimate, while enjoying a beautiful six hour trek. 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 6,270 m (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.

Cusco to Salkantay Lodge

Today we take an acclimatization hike on the slopes above the lodge to Lake Humantay, fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay. The hike is optional, but the views are amazing, and those brave enough can even go for a dip. 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. We spend the night at the Salkantay Lodge with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds. In the evening, the guide briefs us on gear and the itinerary for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge.

Hike to Humantay Lake

This is the big day! After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point on the trek is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 m (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, 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 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 served en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge.

Crossing the Salkantay Pass

On this day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge. Then we continue our descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River, 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.

Descending into the Cloud Forest

Today we hike along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, granadilla, and avocado orchards and coffee plantations (said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world). A hot picnic lunch is served by the river. After lunch, we hike another hour before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” (aprox. 30 minutes). From the head of the newly restored Inca trail we easily make our way to Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. On the way we visit an organic coffee plantation where we join the owner on a short tour of the farm and learn how coffee is grown, harvested, dried and processed. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Following the Santa Teresa River Valley

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 Archeological site of Llactapata, 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!

First Views of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass

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.

Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary

This is a suggested itinerary. All Tailor-Made journeys can be customised to suit. Add in additional highlights, spend more time in areas of particular interest to you, or extend your journey to visit other regions of Latin America or Antarctica.

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ITINERARY ADD-ONS

  • Why not amend your stay in Peru and experience the incredible wonders of the Peruvian Amazon? Discover the incredible biodiversity of the flooded rainforest, spot the pink river dolphins of the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve, or simply enjoy the most exquisite Peruvian cuisine options on a luxury vessel. Find out more here Find out more.

  • Why not add on a tour to the Galapagos at the end of your South American journey, spending 4 days exploring the beautiful archipelago that abounds with fascinating wildlife? Amidst spectacular volcanic scenery you will see a myriad of birds and animals from lava lizards to blue-footed boobies, Galapagos penguins, frigatebirds and giant tortoises. Find out more

  • Experience the breathtaking landscape of the Atacama Desert. Undertake a 4-day luxury experience in a spectacular and private location. Tucked in a valley of scenic beauty you may choose to visit salt flats, hot springs, steaming geysers or even climb a volcano. Or simply unwind by visiting local museums or embracing local cultural encounters. Find out more.

WHY TAILOR-MADE?

  • Personalise your itinerary
  • Access to great flight deals
  • Choose your accomodation
  • Tailored travel insurance options
  • Choose your preferred dates
  • Cater to your travel needs

Pricing & date

The Salkantay Adventure - Journey to Machu Picchu from USD 3,135
Departs Daily March to December
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Important Information

  • Accommodation as specified 
    All meals daily
    Non-alcoholic beverages with meals
    Transportation Cusco to Cusco
    Services of experienced guides
    Activities as stated in itinerary


    EXCLUSIONS: 

    International flights
    Alcoholic beverages
    Personal expenses
    Gratuities for guides/staff
    Visa and reciprocity fees (if applicable) 

  • 5 (High altitude and good fitness required in many areas)
  • Available upon request. Contact us for more details.

  • All entrance fees are subject to change without prior notice.

    This is a Tailor-Made itinerary which can be customised to create your own unique journey. Contact us to discuss your travel plans.

  • Departure date, seasonality and availability.

Accommodation

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.

SPEAK TO A SPECIALIST

Your Destination Specialists will turn your South America adventure dream into a reality. With exceptional knowledge and first-hand experience, our Destinations Specialists 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.

Sustainability

Being environmentally accountable is a crucial part of our organisation. Chimu is currently striving towards using less paper, taking several initiatives to do so and tracking our progress along the way. Our goal: A paperless organisation. For this reason, all information given to you will be sent electronically. We encourage those who choose to travel with us to support our aspirations and actions and ask that you reconsider printing out documentation. To view these documents, you can download them to your iPad or portable computer before and during your trip.

Chimu is passionate and dedicated to sustainability measures and understands the crucial part sustainability plays within the tourism industry.

We use local guides and office staff to both maximise local employment opportunities and minimise carbon footprint. Local guides also ensure you benefit from the intimate knowledge, passion and culture of the country you’re visiting. Our guides are all highly qualified (most with university degrees) or equip with many years of experience and are paid above the standard wage. Whether it be our knowledgeable local guides, locally produced meals or the transport on tour, we do not use imported goods when local products are available. We aim to minimise our impact on the environment and give as much back as possible to the communities we work in.

Your itinerary will have you staying in the Mountain Lodges of Peru. These incredible lodges are a mindful and innovative player in the tourism industry in Peru. The Mountain Lodges of Peru sponsor Yanapana, a non-for-profit association committed to reducing poverty in the Andean Highlands. While visiting the many national parks, heritage sites, museums and landmarks our travellers are encouraged to explore remain culturally aware and sensitive. We further encourage you to buy appropriate souvenirs and discourage the buying of anything wrongfully made or taken from the environment i.e. shells and endangered species products. Information on how you can be environmentally conscious, and travel responsibly will be made available in our Travellers Guides and provided during your travels by guides and staff.

For more information on our sustainability policies, including how we are striving towards being a paperless organisation, click HERE