Salkantay Inca Trail Trek 7 days/6 nights
This challenging trek passes through various ecological zones, alpine meadows, spectacular 20,000ft glaciated peaks, down through subtropical forest onto the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
It is ideal for travellers wishing to get off the beaten track, but still enjoy the original Inca Trail. It is a wonderful trek taking you right from the watershed of the Apurimac to the Urubamba. We traverse through beautiful green valleys and camp next to turquoise glacial lakes. We also come across many Inca archaeological sites and enjoy a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Not only will you get to explore ancient Inca sites and discover beautiful mountain landscapes, but you will also have the opportunity to hone your photography skills in these environments, with the help of your expert guide, Flavio. Our special blend of photography master class and challenging trek will give you the experience of a lifetime, enabling you to learn new techniques, explore new viewpoints and share your skills with others. The trek will give you opportunities like no others in terms of night, light painting and Milky Way photography, and you will leave Cusco wishing only that you'd had more time here!
Day 1: Cusco (3,350m) - Mollepata (2,909m) - Soraypampa Pampa Japonesa (4,300m)
Great chance for landscape, flora, fauna, night, lightpainting, macro, sunset & sunrise photography
We drive from Cusco by bus for approximately 4 hours to Mollepata from where our trek begins. Mollepata is a small village situated in the Apurimac Valley which is well known for its citrus produce. Here we meet up with our wranglers and their mules and horses that will carry our equipment during the trek. The trail climbs for approximately 1 hour before reaching Cruzpata, from where we get our first view of the magnificent snow mountain of Humantay (5,917m).
We pass many rivers continuing on our trek for about another 3 hours before reaching the picturesque small community of Checchicancha. We stop here to take a break and have our lunch. In the afternoon we continue walking for about 3-4 hours to reach Soraypampa, which is nestled in-between the snow mountains. We camp here overnight.
We continue walking on a flat plain for about 3 hours. We stop to take lunch along the way and continue our trek for 3-4 hours. This day we will enjoy magnificent vistas of the snow mountains. We reach our campsite which is approximately 1km away from the snow mountain Salkantay. Here at our campsite we find many streams and two glacial lakes. At night we can hear the crashing of the calving glaciers. (B / L / D)
Day 2: Pampa Japonesa (4,300m) – Sisay Pampa – Pampacahuana. 14 km. Approx.
Alter a cold night, we continue our hike to start the 3-4-hour steep climb towards the Incachiriasca pass (4850m/15908ft), the highest of the entire route, offering impressive views of the Salkantay snow peak. After a celebratory rest on the pass we will then descend towards our lunch spot at Sisaypampa, a flat area from which one can observe the Salkantay's neighboring valleys (it is possible that you will see condors in this area). After lunch we continue towards the Pampacahuana community, located next to an original Inca canal, where we set our second camp and spend the night. (B / L / D)
Day 3: Pampacahuana – Ayapata. 12 km. Approx.
In the morning you will see that the valley begins to narrow and the river becomes a canal. The Incas frequently cut canals through valleys to increase the agricultural land. From Pampachuana it's a 3 hour hike down the narrow, steep valley to the Inca fortress of Inkaracay (also known as Paucarcancha). This is a site well worth exploring and little known to the vast majority of visitors to Peru. It's about another ½ to 1 hour's walk down to the small village of Wayllabamba which is the point that we join the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As mules are not allowed on the traditional Inca Trail, at this point we say goodbye to our mules and muleteers and welcome our porters who will accompany us for the next few days
In the afternoon, we leave Wayllabamba behind to start our way up the Warmihuañusca mountain pass (Dead Woman’s pass) through an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. We only climb part way up the pass, stopping at Ayapata, where we camp and spend the night. (also known as Yuncachimpa) (B / L / D)
Day 4: Ayapata to Chaquicocha
Today we continue our trek up to the highest point in the Inca Trail (but not on this trek), reaching the mountain pass of Abra Warmihuañusca (4200m/13776ft) after about 2 hours. Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m/11808ft), from which we then continue to climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970m/13022ft), stopping halfway to visit the very impressive archaeological complex Runkurakay. This site, located at 3800m/12464ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction. Only 20 minutes away is Chaquicocha, 3400m ("dry lake" in Quechua), where we will camp. (B / L / D)
Day 5: Chaquicocha to Wiñay Wayna
After breakfast we have an easy climb, to arrive at the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft). Phuyupatamarca is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phyupatamarca means ¨town over the clouds¨. From here we also have impressive views of the Urubamba River valley. We descend to Wiñay Wayna (2650m/8692ft). At this campsite we will find a lodge with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Wiñay Wayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector – even if you are tired and enjoying the relative luxury of this campsite, don’t miss this archaelogical complex! (B / L / D)
. (B / L / D)
Day 6: Wiñay-Wayna (2,700m) - Machu Picchu (2,00m)Aguas calientes (2,000m)
This is our last day on the Inca Trail. We rise early, have breakfast, and start walking. We navigate a ridge that affords us magnificent vistas of the surrounding cloud forest below.
Continuing along the original Inca Trail we arrive at Intipunku (the Sun Gate), with a spectacular view of Machu Picchu. Our guide will help us understand the importance and functions of all the temples, and the history behind the Incas and the majestic Machu Picchu! You will have free time to explore (B / L/D)
Day 7: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Today you have the whole day to explore Machu Picchu at your leisure. This is also a great opportunity to climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain for an amazing view of the Machu Picchu citadel from the top. Considered as a difficult hike, this option is really worth it if you want to challenge yourself. Otherwise, you have plenty of options for hiking and exploring different areas of the Machu Picchu citadel. During the afternoon, we have a transfer back to Aguas Calientes to catch our train service back to Ollantaytambo, or Cusco. Finally we will transfer you to your hotel. (B / L)
Considering an extra night in Aguas Calientes? We can change the date of your train ticket to the following day. Hotel and other costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. Please also note that your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is valid for one day only, if you wish to visit the ruins on a second consecutive day you will need to purchase another ticket.
Aguas Calientes Extra Day Upgrade Package (optional)
With hikes that trek the traditional Inca Trail, the standard package has clients returning to Cusco at the end of the trek, and they don't spend a night in Aguas Calientes. This package provides clients the opportunity to stay in Aguas Calientes for an extra night, visit Machu Picchu for a second day and then return to Cusco by the comfortable Vistadome train.
** Please contact us for a price for the same package but with 2 star accomodation and return in Expedition Train service **
Explanation of services 2017:
Private Service - No other people except your group
Students (with valid ISIC card) get a USD$50.00 discount
Private Service Prices