Day 1 Cusco to Salkantay Luxury Lodge (Overnight at Salkantay Lodge at 3,869 m/12,690 ft.)
After an early breakfast, you are picked up at 7:00 am at your hotel in Cusco by our 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 acclimatize while enjoying a beautiful six hour trek. Salkantay Luxury 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 their friendly staff, we are shown to our rooms and have time to freshen-up, before regrouping for tea and biscuits. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner.
Trekking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch en route)
Hiking Level: Moderate
Optional: Guests who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge by vehicle
Day 2 Hike to Humantay Lake (Overnight at Salkantay Lodge at 3,869 m/12,690 ft.)
Today we take an acclimatization hike on the slopes above the luxury 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, then your afternoon is free. You may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in our outdoor jacuzzi. We spend the night at the Salkantay Luxury Lodge with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds. In the evening, the guide briefs us on the itinerary and the gear we will need for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge.
Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
Optional Horseback Riding
Day 3 Crossing the Salkantay Pass (Overnight at Wayra Luxury Lodge at 3,906 m/12,812 ft.)
This is the big day! After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling the peak of Mt Humantay, which is situated across from Mt Salkantay. 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 the snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep an eye out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards Wayra Luxury 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.
Trekking Time: 6–8 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Challenging, crossing a 4,638m (15,213 ft) mountain pass
Optional Horseback Riding
Day 4 Descending into the Cloud Forest (Overnight at Colpa Lodge at 2,870 m/9,414 ft.)
On this day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Luxury Lodge. We then 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 in the ground by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones. Everything is then covered with more hot stones, plantain leaves, high Andean grass and local herbs, and the contents are baked in this makeshift 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 luxury lodge.
Trekking Time: 3–4 hours
Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate
Day 5 Following the Santa Teresa River Valley (Overnight at Lucma Luxury Lodge at 2,135 m/7,003 ft.)
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 until 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.
Trekking Time: 5–6 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging (because of distance, not terrain)
Day 6 First Views of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass (Overnight in Aguas Calientes at 1,900 m/6,232 ft.)
After a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards the Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we are greeted by 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 has recently been restored. Lunch is served at a scenic viewpoint looking out towards Machu Picchu, after which we begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. Then we will board the 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!
Trekking Time: 4–6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
Day 7 Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary (Return to Cusco at 3,360 m/11,021 ft. )
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 (depending on avaliability), a steep and vertically quite challenging hike that takes about 2 hours but 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, then a private vehicle will drive us back to Cusco (an additional 1½ hours). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7 or 8 p.m.), we are dropped off at your hotel.
- All services and transport (vehicles and trains) from pick up in Cusco on Day 1 to drop off in Cusco on Day 7.
- 6 nights lodging (5 nights in MLP lodges, 1 night in Aguas Calientes in a 4-Star hotel).
- All meals except breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7.
- Service of a bilingual guide (English/Spanish) from Day 1 to Day 7 (other languages are available at additional cost).
- Transportation of personal belongings on the trail by pack horses/mules and/or porters.
- Guided visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary (includes entrance, transport to the site and Huayna Picchu permits).
- Wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) at all lodges and hotels
- Water, tea, coffee, soft drinks and fresh juices are free of charge at the Lodges. Only filtered water and tea are available free of charge at the hotel in Aguas Calientes.
Does not included:
- Massage & Spa Services.
- Laundry Service.
- Chakana Inca Cross Excursion, Horseback Riding (subject to change)
- Alcoholic beverages
- In an effort to reduce plastic waste on the trail and at the lodges, bottled water and sports drinks are not included. For this purpose we provide an ample supply of the highest-quality filtered water, available at multiple water stations at the lodges.
- Local taxes (18% IGV) on meals and lodging is applicable to Peruvians, foreign residents in Peru and tourists traveling in Peru for 60+ days.