Salkantay Trek + Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 7 days
Our classic Salkantay Trek is an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The Sacred path is a cutting edge experience for adventure travelers looking for a little more privacy and authenticity. With more spectacular views, the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu offer a quiet and rich contemplation of Nature.
We will pick you up from your hotel and travel by bus to the town of Mollepata. Along the way, we will pass through the picturesque towns of Pampa de Anta (Izcuchaca, Zurite, and Ancahuasi). Our journey will take us into the Limatambo Valley, and then toward Mollepata, where we will begin our adventure trek. At Mollepata, we will complete the arrangements for our trek and then hike to our first camp at Soraypampa.
We will begin our second day with a trek to Choquekiclla, where we will view the majestic Salkantay, a sacred mountain capped with snow peaks and on whose skirts we will make camp (4,000 meters/13,123 feet above sea level).
The third day is far and away the hardest day of the trek. It’s long, it’s cold, and you have to make your way over the 4,650 mts – 15,256 fts Salkantay Pass. Nonetheless, waking up at sunrise amidst the sprawling grasslands of Sisaypampa, the sun illuminating the 6264 mts or 20551.18 fts Andean peaks springing up from behind you makes for an energizing and mesmerizing start to the day.
The climb to the pass takes anywhere from 3-4 hours, and it is a fairly steep grind of narrow switchbacks and steady uphills until the rock structures of the pass finally come into view. Unless hiking in June or July the trail should most likely be devoid of any snow or ice, although hail, sleet, ice, and rain are possible at any time of the year.
Though the air is thin and the trail is steep, anyone who is fairly physically fit and acclimated to the altitude can make it over the pass. We had, and probably we´ll have 60-something year old people in our group and they made it over the pass just fine. Our group carry extra oxygen, Also you can ride a horse and let them catch a ride over the pass.
Once having crossed the pass it is the start of a long path downhill where you will eventually drop over 1,700 mts or 5577 vertical ft until you arrive to our campsite in the Inca Canal. During our trek, we will be able to fully appreciate and take in the imposing Andean topography.
After waking up at 5:30am (maybe at 05:00-depending on your Guide) and having breakfast, we will start a steep ascent towards the highest pass (Abra de Warrmihuañusca / 'Dead Woman's Pass’ – 4200m / 13779ft). On this day a real sense of achievement is felt on reaching the top! After a rest here, we begin the descent to the lunch stop which is located at Pacaymayu (3550m / 11646ft). On the way up to the pass we will be able to see lots of hummingbirds and other birds. Also we will have the time to appreciate an incredible variety of native plants and trees such as the ´Polylepis´ or Q'ueuña trees which grow in the astonishing cloud forest located at 3650/11972m!! we arrive in our campsite at Pacaymayo by 5 pm.
This is the most impressive day (in our opinion!!!) so just keep thinking of that on the ascent on day 2! Again we wake up for breakfast at 6am, and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of ‘Phuyupatamarca’(meaning ‘Town in the Clouds’) and to reach the third highest point on the trail (3680m)). The views from here of the mountains, canyons and surrounding area are spectacular.
The Inca site, ‘Phuyupatamarca’, is located a few minutes walk from the third pass and after visiting this, we continue walking (3000 steps!) through the cloud forest and the impressive agricultural Inca site of ‘Intipata’ until we arrive at our third campsite Wiñay Wayna (2680m / 8792ft). Today we have only walked about 4 to 5 hours and have arrived to camp by lunch time! A short distance from this campsite is located the Inca site of the same name ‘Wiñay Wayna’ (‘Forever Young’). Even if you are tired after your day’s trek, don’t miss out on visiting the most impressive site on the trail.
We leave the last campsite at about 5:30am on the final day (breakfast 3.30 - 4:00am). It is an early start in order to get to ‘Inti Punku’ (‘Sun gate’) (2730m/8792ft) before sunrise. This is the place from where you will have your first dramatic view of Machu Picchu (2400m/7873ft) with the sun rising over it! After some time there, we will walk down the last part of the trail to the spot where you can take the classic photo (picture postcard shot) of this ancient city.
Finally we visit Machu Picchu itself! A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes (it can be reached by bus or on foot) for lunch and to be given your train tickets back to Cusco. Train included in all tours is until Ollantaytambo and then bus to Cusco. Allocations or Itinerary are subject to change depending on time of booking and campsites provided by INC (institution that runs the Inca Trail).
Ok, so here’s the deal with Huaynapicchu. Only the first 400 people who got to the entrance fees can climb Huayna Picchu, the famous little mountain that sits inside of Macchu Picchu. 200 hundred people at 7:00 am and other 200 hundred at 10:00 am. If you want to do it, please let us know at the moment of your reservation.
At 6:45p.m. (depending on availability), you will be taking a train to Ollantaytambo and from there; a bus will drive you to Cusco.