The Vilcanota Mountain Range has an impressive range of mountains in Peru which include the snowcapped Salkantay (6,264 meters) and three others over 6000 meters that you will appreciate in this trek.
This snowy is really exceptional, located less than fifty miles northwest of the city of Cusco in south central Peru. It is the highest mountain of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range. Because of its proximity to the city, it is easily accessible and is climbed frequently. Join us on this incredible Hiking Tour to Machu Picchu. Book early.
Highlights: Humantay lake trek – Acclimatization day.
Overnight at Soraypampa Lodge Del Cielo “Sky Lodge” at 3,869 m/12,690 ft
Walk and Terrain: Walk, high routes, open routes, dirty roads and more.
About our Lodge del Cielo in Soraypampa: Our camp is located at 10 minutes by foot from the village of Soraypampa, this gives us a huge advantage to have a 360 panoramic view of Humantay glacier, also it’s a perfect place to escape away from the crowd, where we can appreciate the beautiful scenery of the Andean Valley.
Note: On the evening before of the first day, there will be a briefing with your guide in Cusco. After an early breakfast at your hotel, we are picked you up starting at 6:00 am at your Cusco hotel by ITEP guide and vehicle “Pick up time can oscillate and will be confirmed only on the day of your briefing”.
We pass through the Mollepata village where we stop for a short break before ascending to Soraypampa.
Here in Soraypampa our campsite is called Lodge del Cielo.
Soraypampa is an utterly surreal location. Nestled at the base of towering 3,600 mts or 8,528 fts. Andean peaks such as Mt. Salkantay Mountain at 6264 mts or 20551.18 fts, Soraypampa is our protector of Apu Salkantay: windswept, barren, freezing, and utterly enchanting. Most tour companies have covered campsites here to protect campers from the harsh elements, and it's quite easy to fall asleep after a long day of hike and the sound of the nearby river lapping you into a slumber.
After Lunch time, we’re going to Humantay Lake surrounded by glaciers on the slopes of the impressive Humantay Mountain.
Our 4-hours walking are necessary to reach the lake, but the view is worthy it and the braves can go for a swim at that altitude! Remember that the whole tour will be guided by a professional and experienced Tour guide.
6 hours (including a picnic lunch in the route)
Overnight at Collpapampa Sky Lodge at 2,870 m/9,414 ft.
Trekking Time: Approximately 12 hours (including picnic time). Our style is just walk slow, enjoy the landscapes and talk with our tour guide.
Walk and Terrain: Walk, on mostly steep trails, and some open slopes.
This day we will wake you up at 4:00 am and we'll give you a hot tea, then at 4:30 am we’re going to have a nice breakfast for starting our trek at 5:00 am, will be the most difficult climbing day but we are going to go directly to Salkantay Pass. Our journey continues to Machu Picchu going through the Rio Blanco valley, Humantay Peak and in front of Salkantay Peak. This part will be the highest point on the trek, called Salkantay Pass (4,638 meters or 15,213 ft).
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.
Into this high pass we’ll stop more than 30 minutes to take photos and appreciate the snow-capped mountains of the Vilcabamba Range and the south face of Salkantay Mountain. We will keep our eyes out for condors on this area. From this high pass we’ll descend towards to Wayracmachay that means “the cave where the wind lives” where we’re going to enjoy a delicious lunch. After finished, we are going to continue by 03 hours descending by foot until we reach our next campsite; dinner and overnight at the Sky Lodge.
A LITTLE OF HISTORY:
The name Salkantay or Salcantay is coming from the Inca´s word Sallqa, a Quechua word meaning wild, uncivilized, savage, or invincible, and was recorded as early as 1583. The name is often translated as "Savage Mountain".
Directly to the north of Salkantay lies Machu Picchu, which is at the end of a ridge that extends down from this mountain. Viewed from Machu Picchu's main sundial, the Southern Cross is above Salcantay’s summit when at its highest point in the sky during the rainy season. The Incas associated this alignment with concepts of rain and fertility, and considered Salkantay to be one of the main deities who controls weather and fertility in the west region of Cuzco.
About Our Lodge del Cielo base in Collpapampa: Our camp is located 10 minutes walking from the village of Chaullay, a very crowded campsite. However, our Campsite in Collpapampa gives us a huge advantage to have a 360 panoramic view of the Salkantay Valley, it is a perfect place away from the crowd where we can know a little of the local family.
Trekking Time: Approximately 5 hours
Walk and Terrain: Walk on narrow trails
Overnight at Lucmabamba Sky Lodge “Lodge del Cielo” at 2,062 m/6,765 ft
On this day we’ll walk along the Santa Teresa valley going through rural areas, banana, passion fruit, avocado, orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee which grows here one of the best organic coffees in the world. Our ride takes us to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”, where we’ll say goodbye to our horses and muleteers staff then we’ll continue through one of the most variety landscapes of this trek. A short 30 minutes walking through avocado plantations to reach to our Sky Lodge in Lucmabamba. Dinner and overnight at our Sky lodge
About our Lodge del Cielo base in Lucmabamba: Our camp is located in Lucmabamba it’s a perfect place away from the crowed groups where you can see the customs of the country men and farmers.
At this time their main economy is cultivate the coffee farms. Is our responsible to give them the opportunity to show themselves.
Optional: If you request a Private Service: We can have a local coffee experience
RESPONSIBLE TOURIST DEVELOPMENT FOR INCA COMMUNITY, “MACHU PICCHU’S HERITAGE”
THE INCA´S COFFE
Peru has a global reputation for producing traditionally shade grown and high-quality coffee beans.
Coffee production came to Peru in the 1700s. After two centuries, the farmers still comprise with this kind of production and the 60 percent goes outside as exportation. There are more than 110,000 coffee farms in Peru where the farmers are most indigenous.
The 'Flor de Cafe' (Coffee Flower) Rural Community Tourism Association from Lucmabamba - Bayona, is located in the Inca Trail (Lucmabamba – Llactapata - Ahobamba) with a final destination in Machu Picchu at a height of 2026 a.s.l where we can find 15 families that lives with this association.
These families found an opportunity to improve their life quality through touristic activities, sharing their ancient knowledge with tourists as well the visitors live the experience of flavors of this Coffee Tour (Ruta del Cafe).
Hiking Time: 5–6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to challenging.
About our overnight in Machu Picchu town: Hotel in Machu Picchu will depend according your request and expectations before starting the whole trek.
Overnight in Aguas Calientes at 1,900 m/6,232 ft
After a hearty breakfast, we will continue with the last day of our trek. We’ll trek for 2-3 hours to Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we'll have an spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view that few travelers ever get a chance to admire. Here we take a short break to explore the Llactapata complex and then we’ll receive the lunch at this scenic viewpoint looking out Machu Picchu. After seeing the amazing landscapes we'll begin with our final part of the trek to Aobamba river and through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. We’ll arrive to Hydroelectric train station, for continue walking into the trails of the rail way until Machu Picchu town or also known as Aguas Calientes (approx. 3 hours). After this soft trek, we’re going to our hotel then we’ll have a celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing for our next day experience!
Note - Those who prefer not to hike from Hydroelectric train station to Machu Picchu town, can take the train by 40 minutes of traveling, but remember that price isn’t included in your package or tickets. They will meet with the rest of the group at the train station in Machu Picchu town. (The guide confirms your preferences the night before.)
A LITTLE OF HISTORY:
Bingham discovered Llactapata in 1912. "We found evidence that some Inca chieftain had built his home here with ten or a dozen buildings. Bingham locates the site between the valleys of Aobamba and Salcantay with 5,000 meters of Huaquina farm." "Here we discovered Inca constructions and two or three modern huts. The people around said the place was called Llactapata, that’s why Bingham did not investigate the ruins thoroughly, however they were not studied for 70 years.
In 2003 Thomson and Gary Ziegler did an study that concluded the location of Llactapata along the Inca trail suggested that it was an important roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu. This and subsequent investigations have revealed an extensive complex of structures and features related to and connected with.
Free time to Enjoy the Sunset in Machu Picchu after we've passed the Sun Gate, we'll carry on along the trail to get Machu Picchu town where we'll check in to our hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Distance: 6 kms/3.7mls
We will hike for aprox 3 hours from Aguas Calientes to Chachabamba (5:00 am – 8:00 am). Upon arrival, we will cross a bridge to the checkpoint to present our passports and have our information verified.
Then we will start an easy walk to the other side of the Vilcanota River, where the trail veers off to the right towards the ruins of Chachabamba located on the old Inca Road that ran along the southern bank of the Urubamba River. After our visit we'll continue the trail south and begin climbing the mountain before entering the cloud forest. Then the trail leaves the forest and goes West while continuing the uphill hike in open grasslands.
After hiking in the sun for about 3 hours, the trail descends into a shaded forest where we will enjoy a refreshing waterfall. Following our break, we continue to the lower part of the incredible ruins of Wiñaywayna. It is recommended that you start the trek with at least 2 liters of water. After lunch in Wiñaywayna, we continue through a beautiful cloud forest full of colorful bromelias, orchids and ferns.
You will walk the last part of the trail along superb , stone steps and tambos (resting places). Then climb 60 steps before arriving to the famous Inti Punku (Sun Gate). From this magnificent point, you will see the extraordinary magical Machu Picchu before you. Feel the energy and warmth of this surreal sanctuary while taking some unforgettable pictures. Then we'll take a 25 minute bus ride to Aguas Calientes to spend the night and reminisce over our exciting hike.
Return to Cusco at 3,360 m/11,021 ft
Meals: Breakfast Distance: 6kms/3.7mls
After a very early buffet breakfast at your hotel, we’ll take the bus to get to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (around 30 min). Our trip leader will give us an introductory guided tour of this place.
Machu Picchu Tour: We’re going to be in the Inca City between 6 am or 7 am. The visit on this place starts with the best views on “The Guardian House” after 30 minutes of free time, our guide will give us a lot of information about the Inca City for around 1 hour and a half.
We’ll continue into the Inca city by another 1 hour more passing the mean plaza, the temple of 03 windows and much more, then we’ll arrive to the Sacred Rock “a very close to the entrance gate for Huayna Picchu Sacred Mountain”, Our tour guide will give us some free time to explore the Inca city by our own.
Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain is a choice that depends of you before starting the whole trek (not included in the price, spaces are limited, please let us know)
Very Important 1: According to Machu Picchu regulations, once we enter to the sacred city we aren’t allowed to get back by the same paths “there are a lot of signs about which route we should follow and is forbidden to stop in some places”, For that reason we recommend you to enjoy every minute that you will be here on each inca place.
Very Important 2: According to Machu Picchu regulations, entrance fees have only one paid; it means once you go out from the Inca city you can’t return, unless you get a new ticket.
Back to Cusco: You will descend to Machu Picchu town by bus (included) and later you’ll board the expedition train at 16:22 hrs. to arrive Ollantaytambo Train Station where you will meet our private transport to get at your hotel in Cusco.
About Salkantay and Inca Trail Campsites:
Please note: Campsites may change (be different from this itinerary) depending on booking time and availability, weather conditions or restrictions undertaken for safety reasons by Peruvian Government.
Pre-departure briefing: You will meet your Salkantay and short Inca trail guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. In case you can’t come at this time “please let us know” to coordinate another time.
Touristic Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Challacancha, the starting point of the Salkantay and Short Inca Trail trek.
Adventure Experienced Salkantay Inca Trail Tour Guide: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route, including leading your group in ancient ceremonies! He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time along the inca path and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Tour Guide in Machupicchu Cultural Experienced: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. For visit the sacred city of Machupicchu.
Private campsites: Each campsite is carefully choosed for have a very local experience.
Night 1: Relax on your soft bed in our Lodge del cielo in Soraypampa Campsite under the watchful eye of Apu Sacred mountain Humantay and Salkantay. Spend as many hours as you would like star-gazing through your elegant glass ceiling!
Night 2: Enjoy the 2nd night in our Lodge del cielo in Collpapampa campsite. You will find comfortable bed and a thick camping mattress free of charge. Camping is surrounded by the Sacred Mountains.
Night 3: Experience the 3rd night in our “Lodge del Cielo”, in your dome, you will find a comfortable bed, twin or double (depending on your stated preferences). Raw surrounding landscape of the cloud forest. We going to be very close to the local Families, they are heirs of the Inka culture and are very happy to share their lands with us.
Night 4 and 5th: The prices of hotels will vary according to your expectations and budget. However, we can offer you the option of joining us at our local accommodation Hotel Encanto Machupicchu "at no extra cost". Our hostel in Aguas Calientes have double or triple rooms, private bathroom, hot shower, Wi-Fi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
You can rent one from our company if you do not have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use.
Walking Sticks: You can rent a set from our company if you would like.
Day 1: Breakfast: Approx. Usd 5 to usd 10.00, Price can vary according your selection.
Last Day: Lunch and Dinner in Aguas Calientes. Approx. Usd 20 to usd 25.00, Price can vary according your selection.
Personal clothing and gear
Tips for our staff: Please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish “Recommendation usd 6 to usd 8 per day per traveler for all the trek staff”- Once again it is optional and can vary according your satisfaction.
Option: If you feel tired after the trek to and from Llactapata, you have the option to take a train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes. (Cost: USD $34.00)
Additional costs or delays out of control of the management (landscape, bad weather condition, itinerary modification due to a safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability/strike, etc.)
Full rain gear or poncho
Gloves (thin riding and warm gloves)
Hiking Socks Sunscreen
Insect repellent Bathing suit
Breathable dry fit top-wear
Long-sleeve fleece/sweater Wool hat
Baseball cap, sombrero and bandana
Hiking Socks Sunscreen
Casual mountains wear for evenings
Photo/video cameras and chargers
Refillable water bottle (hydration bags are recommended)
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