The Salkantay Trek is an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail for reaching Machu Picchu. The trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4600m, descends into the cloud forest and passes the Inca ruins Llactapata, with a view of Machu Picchu.
The trail starts in Mollepata/Markocasa or Soraypampa, a couple of hours away from Cuzco and ends in Santa Teresa or Hidroelectrica giving access to Aguas Calientes for Machu Picchu. The trek is not as popular as the overbooked Inca Trail but many people find it just as beautiful.
This trek (also sometimes called the Salcantay Trek), was named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. The part around Mount Salkantay has some outstanding views and the descent later down to 1,000 m above sea level is quite gorgeous and not too steep.
The purpose of the Salkantay Inca Trail to Machupícchu was religious and ceremonial, a pilgrimage that included rituals to honor the mountains and peaks of the route, like Salkantay Mts.
Overnight at Soraypampa Sky Lodge “Sky Perú Lodge” at 3,869 m/12,690 ft
Note: On the evening before this day there will be a briefing with your guide in Cusco. After an early breakfast, we are picked up starting at 5:00 am at your Cusco hotel by a ITEP guide and vehicle.
After Lunch time, our excursion takes us to Humantay Lake, fed by glaciers far above on the slopes of the impressive Humantay. Our 1-hour walk there is followed by another short 20-minute, which is necessary in order to reach the lake, but the view is well worth it and those brave enough can go for a swim!, performed by our local Tour Guide, in full view of the awe-inspiring Mt. Salkantay, tops off this unique experience. Return to the Lodge.
Today we continue our journey towards Machu Picchu, walking up the Rio Blanco valley and circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak.
The highest point of the ride is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 meters (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilca- bamba Range in every direction,with 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 de- scend towards the Wayra, (“Wayra”: wind; from the name of the location “Wayrac- machay”: ‘the cave where the wind lives’) where we going to enjoy a delicious lunch, later we continue a 03 hours trek downhill until we reach our Campsite en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge.
Trekking Time: Approximately 10 hours (including picnic lunch en route) approximately 10 hours
Walk and Terrain: Walk, on mostly steep trails, and some open slopes.
Overnight at Lucma Bamba Sky Perú Lodge at 2,870 m/9,414 ft
This day we walk along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, passion fruit, avocado orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee grown here is said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world.
Our ride takes us to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”, which is where we say goodbye to our horses and equestrian staff. A short 30-minute walk through an avocado orchard brings us to Lucma Lodge. Dinner and overnight at the lodge
Trekking Time: Approximately 5 hours
Walk and Terrain: Walk on narrow trails
THE COFFEE TRAIL TO MACHUPICCHU
Peru is quickly building a global reputation for producing traditionally cultivated, shade grown, high quality coffee beans.
Coffee production came to Peru in the 1700s. After two centuries, the heirloom typical variety still comprises 60 percent of the country exports. There are more than 110,000 coffee growers in Peru, most of whom are indigenous to these landscapes and speak Spanish as a second language.
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 Machupicchu, at a height of 2026 as.l. is an idea of 15 families.
These families found an opportunity to improve their quality of life through touristic activities, sharing their ancient knowledge inviting tourists to live the experience of flavours and knowledge of the Coffee Tour (Ruta Del Cafe).
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 spec- tacular 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 Llactapata archaeological place, 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.
Then we will 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!
Note - Those who prefer not to hike can go to the train station by van after a leisurely morning including breakfast at the lodge. They will meet the rest of the group at the train station for the ride to Aguas Calientes together. (The guide confirms your preferences the night before.)
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.
You will also have time to indulge in a few of the following activities on your own if you choose (not included in the price)
Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain and appreciate the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu.
From there other optional activities in Aguas Calientes include a visit to the new local museum or bathe in the hot springs.
Back to Cusco: You will descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and later board the Expedition train by 4:22pm to the Ollantaytambo Train Station where you will meet our private van and be transferred to your hotel in Cusco arriving around 8:30pm.
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