Our Salkantay Trek Express to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous treks in Cusco Peru and the best alternative route, next to the classic Inca Trail, to get to the Inca Citadel, Machu Picchu.
We have an early start to our day and following pick up at your hotel we will drive for approximately 2 and a half hours to reach Mollepata which is our breakfast stop. After breakfast we will drive 2 more hours to Soraypampa located at ( 3850 meters / 12631ft )and our trailhead. After a short briefing and enjoyment of the views of the snow-covered Mountain of Umantay (5 700 meters / 18700 ft) and the surrounding mountainous landscape, we start a gentle hike. The trail gets steeper and we come to a series of zigzags. As you gradually ascend, enjoy the breathtaking view and continue hiking until we arrive at our lunch stop by a small lake named Soirococha which is at 4 400 mt/ 14435 ft in altitude. Following lunch, we will hike for approximately four hours where we will reach the high pass at (4 600 mt /15091 ft) from where we can get a stunning view and take photos of the sacred mountain in the Peruvian Andes, Salkantay. The views are worth the great effort in reaching the top which is marked by a pile of stones that grows daily as each traveler adds his pebble to thank the Apus (mountain spirits) for a safe trip and good luck. From here we start a gradual descent leading us to a wide-open scenic moraine and valley where we can spot chinchillas, mountain car acara (birds of prey), Andea gulls, and the world’s biggest bird, the Andea condor, on the way down to our campsite at Wayracmachay (3 700 mt /12139 ft) with good views of the mountain ranges.
Today is another early morning start where we will leave behind the beautiful pyramid shaped peak of Salkantay. Here the fauna and flora change as we enter the tropical rainforest and discover its lush vegetation of wild orchids, bromelias and beautiful birds, including rather large hummingbirds as we continue our descent through the groves of bamboos. Don’t forget to keep looking back at the snow peaks behind you, framed by bamboo fronds. We will follow the river bank which flows through the valley, observing increasingly tall trees, some amazing untouched paths where strawberries grow at your feet and passion fruit are above your head in this lush forest full of begonias and purple orchids. Today’s lunch stop is at Colpapampa. After lunch, the trail continues down the valley into the woods where we will see various crops which are farmed on the high steep slopes. As we descend, the weather gradually gets warmer and we suddenly arrive at an area where bananas and avocados are abundant. Once we reach La Playa which is at (1 900 mt / 6233 ft), we have arrived at our campsite for the night. Visit an organic coffee plantation if you wish or just relax and enjoy some down time to prepare for the next day’s uphill and downhill hiking to see the back of Machu Picchu Mountain from the Llactapata Inca ruins.
Today we wake up very early to start an amazing uphill climb on a proper Inca trail, which will give us some impressive views of the valley and the mountains. After approximately three hours of hiking we will arrive at the Llactapata Inca ruins overlooking Machu Picchu. It is a magical view given to us that the majority of tourists will never see! We then descend for two hours into a forest of thick vegetation and great bird watching opportunities. Before reaching the Hydroelectric town for lunch, we will make a stop to enjoy the view of an imposing man-made waterfall. We will then follow the railroad heading up the Urabamba valley to Machu Picchu town and stay overnight in a hostel. You have the option to upgrade your accommodations and pay the difference in price (based on availability and the season).
After an early morning breakfast at the hostel we will head up to Machu Picchu and enter early for the best photo opportunities and a two-hour guided tour. Afterwards, spend as much time as you wish visiting and exploring the site on your own, walk up to the Sun Gate or ascend toward the Huayna Picchu Mountain. There is a fee to climb Huayna Picchu which is not included in your package and is subject to availability. Note that some sections of the climb require ropes and only those travelers who do not suffer from vertigo should attempt it. It is a one-hour trip to the summit and is not recommended during rainfall. Finally make your way down to Aguas Calientes (Machupicchu town). Here you can choose to have lunch before boarding the train back to Cusco or go directly to the train station for the return trip to Cusco .
Pre-departure briefing with your guide
Professional trek guide fluent in English and Spanish (2 guides for groups over 8 people)
Transportation: Private transportation from Cusco to starting point, as well as your train ticket from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco and transfer from the train station to your hotel in Cusco
All entrance tickets and permits for trail and the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu
Pack animals to carry all camping equipment including tents, cooking gear, food, etc. (Days 1 -2)
Two-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu
Two nights camping
Spacious tents with sleeping mats – 2 people in each 4-person capacity tent to allow for greater comfort
Accommodations in Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu
Duffle bag to transport your personal items (maximum of 6 kg per person including sleeping bag and mat) – on Days 1 -2 these will be carried by the pack animals
Boiled water provided from the second day onwards (for drinking during the trek)
All meals cooked on the spot with fresh ingredients by our trained chef.
Cloth snack bag provided to avoid the use of plastic bags
Bowls of hot water for washing in your tent every day, morning and night, and at lunch time if requested in advance
Biodegradable soap and hand sanitizer
1 blanket and 1 pillow per person
Your guide will be equipped with a walkie-talkie as well as an Oxygen tank and first aid kit
Sleeping bag (available for rent at $5 US/day). Our sleeping bags are rated for -200C (00F) and include a sleeping liner.
Walking poles (available for rent at $3 US/day)
Lunch on the last day after the guided tour of Machu Picchu and dinner
Entrance fee to the Santa Teresa Hot Springs in Cocalmayo and the Aguas Calientes Hot Springs
Optional night in Auguas Calientes can easily be arranged
Tips for the staff (guide, chef and porters)
Day pack with a waterproof cover with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature (i.e. layers)
Warm clothes, including a jacket, fleece, gloves, scarf and harm hat or toque. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco for approximately $1.
Trekking/hiking shoes, waterproof is recommended
Micro fiber or wool socks (extra socks are a must)
Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings
Small towel or sarong
Swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in the hot springs)
Sunscreen and sun glasses as well as a hat
Insect repellent (minimum recommended 20% DEET)
Toilet paper (must be carried out with other garbage)
Passport and International Student Identity Card (ISIC – if you have one)
Water purification tablets
Reusable water bottle and water bladder for your day pack
Snacks (energy bars, nuts, chocolate, etc.)
Personal hygiene items
Small first aid kit with any special medications you might require and “Mole Skin” for blisters, etc.
Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sleeping bag (available for rent)
Walking sticks (available for rent).
Cash snacks, tips and souvenirs