Salkantay Pass and Machu Picchu

SALKANTAY PASS AND MACHU PICCHU

  • DURATION
  • 10 – 14 DAYS
  • DIFFICULTY
  • CHALLENGING
  • GROUP SIZE
  • UP TO 12

TEN SPOTS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR A LATE 2021 MAY DEPARTURE – SPECIFIC DATES TBD

The Salkantay Trek is a classic alternative to the often crowded Inca Trail. The hike will take us through varying ecosystems along a less-crowded and unique trek to the famous Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

Considered by many to be the best alternative route to Machu Picchu, this magnificent trail is perfect for travelers who want to experience the vast diversity of the Andean ecosystem. We will walk through breathtaking landscapes, including snowy mountain tops and tropical jungle paradises. Along the way we will see a diverse number of animals, plants and flowers.

TRIP OVERVIEW

Upon arrival, we’ll stay in Lima for a couple of days before heading to Cusco, the capital of the Inca Empire, where we’ll spend the majority of our trip.

While in Lima, we’ll sample a few local restaurants and walk about Miraflores and tour the historic center of Lima. Our two days in the city will only scratch the surface of what this energetic Latin American Capital has to offer, hopefully plenty to wet our appetite and get us ready for what’s to come, those who choose can extend their stay in Lima at the end of the trip to experience other breathtaking locations like Paracas, Ica and Nazca.

Our base in Lima will be in the cosmopolitan center of Miraflores, one of the city’s most affluent sections. Our hotel is only minutes from Larco Mar and the Malecon. Its central location will allow us to venture into different parts of the city to enjoy the sights and sample some of the best food in the world. For the adventurous, we can book a flight (wind permitting) at the “Parapuerto de Miraflores” or even walk down to the shore for some surfing lessons with one of the local surf schools, including Pukana Surf.

Once we transfer to Cusco we’ll spend two days in the Inca capital acclimating to the altitude and visiting some of the local sights, including the fortress ruins of Sacsayhuamán. On our second day we will transfer to the Sacred Valley and venture out on our first hike of the trip, an 8 mile trek from the Moray archeological complex to the famous Maras Salineras, then, on the next day we begin the trek to the Salkantay Pass and ultimately Machu Picchu.

Before we venture to the Sancturay, however, we’ll spend the night in Aguas Calientes to enjoy a well deserved rest from our 4 day hiking adventure.

From Aguas Calientes we’ll return to the Valley and take a day off to recuperate and get ready for the trip back to Lima and ultimately home.

Anitcuchos
Rainbow over Cuzco Airport

TRAVEL DETAILS

Our trip begins and ends in Lima, Peru’s capital.

Schedule flights to/from Lima (LIM)

Arrival Date: TBD
Departure Date: TBD

Pick-up: Once you have your flight arrival information we will coordinate pick-up from the airport and transfer to our preferred hotel in the heart of Miraflores.
Drop-off: We will coordinate transportation from your hotel to the airport once we know your departure information.

The mid portion of our trip will take us to Cusco and the Sacred Urubamba Valley.

We will travel from Lima (LIM) to Cussco’s Velasco Astete Airport (CUZ). We recommend you book your LIM/CUZ flight in the late morning/early afternoon (11:00 am – 1:00 pm) and, your return flight (CUZ/LIM) mid-morning (9:30 am – 11:00 am). We will coordinate transportation in Lima. Transportation to Cusco’s airport for the return flight has been pre-arranged.

The package trip price includes all transfers from and to the airport.

TRIP DETAILS

Day 1 - Arrive in Lima

Arrive in Lima and Transfer to Hotel in Miraflores: Depending on arrival time you will have some time to explore in and around Miraflores. Lots of places to visit near the hotel, including Larco Mar, El Parque Kennedy and el Malecon. You can have a light lunch at La Lucha where they serve traditional Peruvian Sandwiches and excellent milkshakes. Then head over to Manolos, known for its tasty churros and decadent desserts.

Day 2 - Lima Tour

Private group tour to the center of Lima: This is a “driving” tour through some of Lima’s most notable neighborhoods with an expert guide highlighting the history of this vibrant city. Our bus will then drop us off at Plaza San Martin  from where we will walk to Lima’s main Plaza de Armas, timing our arrival to witenss the change of Guard, a colorful ceremony at “Palacio de Gobierno.”. Along the way we will visit several sites, including Torre Tagle, The Muralla de Lima, the Jirón de La Unión, The Ucayali Balconies, and, if time permits the Naval Heroes Park or the Numismatic Museum.
9:30 am – 2:30 PM

Free Afternoon/evening in Miraflores: If desired, the group can have dinner Dinner at local restaurant (Panchitas, Las Brujas de Cachiche (best Pisco Sour in Lima) or El Señorio de Sulco (excellent Buffet)). These places offer traditional Peruvian food and are fantastic. But, you are free to do whatever you want once we return from the Lima tour.

Day 3 - Travel to Cusco

Early transport as a group to Lima’s Airport for travel to Cusco and transport to Hotel in Cusco.

Free afternoon in Cusco: Use this time to begin your altitude acclimatization, take it easy and enjoy a mellow walk to Cusco’s main Plaza. There are lots of great places to sample local and international food, some of our favorites are:

Incanto, (Lunch or Dinner) just off the main plaza offers great wood oven pizzas and Italian dishes with an Andean twist.
Cicciolina: (Dinner) just a block away from the main plaza on Calle Triunfo is this little intimate gem. Cicciolina offers a tapas bar and a traditional formal restaurant. The menu is varied and tasty. And their cocktails delightful. Cicciolina is often very busy, so if you plan to dine there it is best to make reservations ahead of time.
Jack’s Café:  (Breakfast)Located in Cusco’s San Blas neighborhood, Jack’s is recommended for their breakfast, although their lunch and dinners are just as tasty.
Fallen Angel: (Dinner) A cozy restaurant featuring art from local artists with a great and varied menu.

Day 4 - Cusco Tour

Private Group Tour of Cusco
8:00 – 12:00

We will visit Qoricancha, The Cathedral, Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Pucapucara, Qenqo

Afternoon/evening is free to do as you wish. Walk around the city, etc. I can recommend some places to go and additional things to do – we should take it easy though…

Day 5 - Transfer to Sacred Valley, Moray - Maras Salineras Hike

Hike #1: Moray/Maras/Salineras/Vilcabamba – 8 miles

Private group tour of Moray before hiking to Las Salineras
7:00 am – 5:00 pm

Itinerary

  • Pick up from hotel and transfer to Moray – 1:45 drive
  • Moray visit – .5 – 1:00 hour
  • Moray to Maras Hike – 2:00 (give or take)
  • Lunch in Maras – 1:00
  • Maras to Salineras Hike – 1:30 (give or take)
  • Salineras to Pichingoto – 1:00
  • Transfer to Sacred Valley hotel – our luggage will be waiting for us there.
  • Dinner and drinks in Hotel restaurant

The Hike: Our “shakedown” hike. This is an easy hike that will give everyone an opportunity to get the feel for their packs. By now your boots should be well worn in. This hike will give you a chance to get the feel of your day pack, it’s weight, and give you an opportunity to decide what you may want to carry on the coming trek. This hike is virtually all downhill and will offer you an opportunity to experience the rural valley and it’s gorgeous vistas in all their glory. We will have a “menu” lunch at a local Maras restaurant. Not, this hike is nothing like what lays ahead in terms of difficulty.

Day 6 - 10 - Salkantay trek, Aguas Calientes, and Machu Picchu!!

Days – 6 – 10

Moderate Salkantay Trek! Private group

5 days/4 nights
70 km – 43.5 miles
Elevation 6,233’ – 15,091’

Includes

  • Transport from Valley to Hike start (apprximately 1.5 hour drive)
  • All meals with the exception of breakfast on the first day (we will take a bag lunch from hotel)
  • Coca tea served every morning (highly recommended, helps with altitude acclimatization – If you cannot or prefer not to have it, we recommend you bring a tea of your choice. There will be alternatives, including chamomile, mint and Muña, and Andean mint)
  • Boiled H20 and snacks
  • Bilingual Guide
  • All camping gear (tents, sleeping bags, camp pillow, air mat, etc.) Recommend you bring a liner for the first couple of nights since it will get cold.
  • Large dining tent
  • Andean toilet – highly recommended you bring TP with you. while it will be provided at our camps, TP is not always available during the hike or in remote restrooms
  • Horses/mules to carry equipment
  • A Dry Bag for your belongings – will will provide you with a duffle bag (limit 8 kilos per person) to stash the items you will need at our campsites, including changes of clothing, toletries, etc.
  • First Aid kit, including O2 monitor and O2 bottle
  • Access to private property along the way
  • Train transport to Aguas Calientes or Vertikal zipline ticket
  • Entry to Machu Picchu
  • Guided visit to Machu Picchu Sanctuary
  • Bus to and from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket back to Ollantaytambo

Does not include

  • Breakfast on 1st day
  • Lunch on the last day
  • Trekking poles (can be rented or purchased isn Cusco – recommend you bring your own)
  • Entry to Huayna Picchu (We recommend you purchase this even if you think you may not climb the peak)
  • Horseback Riding (Additional Cost)
  • Tips (Cook, guide, driver)

Day 6, Hike # 1- Valley – Soraypampa, Laguna Humantay, Slakantay Base Camp

Meals: Includes Lunch and Dinner
Accommodations: Camping
Max altitude: 12,000ft
Min altitude: 9,300ft
Distance: 8.5 miles

We will get picked up at around 5 am from the hotel for a 1.5-hour drive to Soraypampa. During the drive we will see the Salkantay and Veronica snow peaks, both important ancient Inca Apu (mountain in quechua) Gods. We will also get some spectacular views of the sacred valley below. Our first stop will be in the small town of Mollepata, where we can have some last minute snacks and a simple breakfast at La Casona De David. The drive will continue to Soraypampa, the starting point of the trek. From Soraypampa we will head out on the first leg of our trek, an arduous hike to Lake Humantay (13,800ft). Once at the lagoon we’ll have an opportunity to see the Humantay Glacier before continuing to our first to camp for dinner. Our camp site is located in a glacial valley just below Salkantay. If we are lucky we will be able to see the Milky Way in all its glory.

Day 7, Hike #2 – Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayramachay – Chaullay

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accomodations: Camping
Max Altitude: 15,000ft
Min Altitude: 9,500ft
Distance: 14 miles

We’ll start very early to head to highest point of our trek. This will be the most difficult part of our hike, but likely the most rewarding, reaching the 15,000ft Abra Sakantay is a tremendous accomplishment! For those who want it, we’ll get some coca tea early in the morning along with a hearty breakfast. The distance to the highest point of the hike is approximately 7km and will take around 4 hours to complete. Along the way we’ll have some spectacular views of the Salkantay peak. We’ll also get to see “chinchillas” (local squirrels) running around us. Once we get to the highest point we’ll get to see several peaks, including Salkantay, Umantay, and Pumasillo. Salkantay is the second highest peak in the region and an important Inca God, “Apu Salkantay”. After we summit, we’ll take a side trail and climb a little more to get a glimpse of the Salkanty Lagoon, a spectacular turquoise lake below the snowy Salkantay peak. From there we will begin our descent to Huayramachay (approximately 3 hours) where we will have lunch before continuing on for another 3 hours to Chaullay Village (9,500ft), where we will camp for the night. During the second part of the day we will begin to see dense forests punctuated by colorful flowers, including Orchids. The temperature will also rise dramatically as we descend into the “Ceja de Selva”.

Day 8, Hike #3 – Chaullay – Collpapampa, Lucumabamba, Santa Teresa

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accommodations: Camping
Max Altitude: 9,500ft
Min Altitude: 6,900ft
Distance: 10 miles

The hike will take us toward La Playa along the banks of the Slakantay river and the Rio Blanco through a dense jungle along a gradual path, for many this is the highlight of the Trek. The trail descends narrowly on the side of the mountain offering breathtaking views of the river below and the surrounding Andean peaks. Along the way we will stop by several local family settlements to sample some local fruits and vegetables (Banana, passion fruit, coffee, aguacate, mango, orange and papaya). If we are lucky, we’ll get to see a famous bird known as the “rooster of the rocks”. Our campsite for the night is located in Lucmabamba, a small town surrounded by coffee fields and home to several local families. Once we arrive we can walk around the area and purchase some souvenirs from the locals. We will also have the opportunity (HIGHLY recommended) to take a short drive to the thermal waters. Upon return we’ll be treated to a full dinner.

Day 9, Hike #4 –
Option A: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes
Option B” Vertikal Limit Ziplining – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Accommodations: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
Max Altitude: 6,700ft
Min Altitude: 9,500ft
Distance: A: 14.9 miles, B 8 Miles

Option A: Today’s hike will take us along several coffee plantations and past a craft coffee mill along a broad and well conserved Inca trail that once reached Quito! Along the way we will also get to sample some of the local craft coffee and see butterflies, orchids, rocky streams and stunning views of the Santa Teresa Valley. We’ll also start to see the first hints of Machu Picchu. Our descent will take us to the Aobamba river and finally to la Hidroelectrica where will will have our final lunch with our cook (we should tip him/her ;-). After lunch we will continue along the railroad tracks to Aguas Calientes. We’ll register at our hotel and then head out for a group dinner at a local restaurant. Birthday party included ;-). This is an arduous hike with a long ascent before descend got la Hidroelectrica.

Option B: After a “late” breakfast we will get picked up by a transport and taken to Vetikal Zipline where we can experience some exhilarating canopy runs on some of the area’s best zip line cables. Fear not, for those that do not want to take part, they can take a break or hike a series of valley trails while the group plays above the valley. AFter everyone’ has had a chance to fly and taken a hearty snack, the group will be transported to la Hidroelectrica for the final Hike of the trek, an 8 mile relatively flat walk along the Peru Rail train tracks to Aguas Calientes, formally known Machu Picchu Pueblo, where we will check into our hotel for the night before venturing to Macchu Picchu early in the morning.

We will convene as a group at a local restaurant for dinner before calling it a night.

Day 10 – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu Tour – Ollantaytambo

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Valley Hotel

We will take the first bus (6:00 am) to Machu Picchu and we will get to see the sun rise over the Sanctuary. Our expert guide will give us a comprehensive 2 hour tour of the ruins. If you opted to climb Huayna Picchu you’ll have the opportunity to do so now. For those that did not opt to hike up to Huayna Picchu you will have ample time to visit and explore the ruins on your own or return to the Sanctuary entrance for a beverage at the hotel restaurant. A hike to the Sun Gate is encouraged. Finally, we will return to Aguas Calientes, pick up our duffle bags and board the train to Ollantaytambo to our Valley hotel for the night.

Day 11 - Free day in Ollantaytambo

Urubamba and Ollantaytambo

Free Day!

Ollantaytambo is a small town within the sacred Valley. It has several ruins, including a set of terraces, storehouses (difficult hike to reach them) and other interesting places. The town is much mellower than Cusco. Walking around the old city, along its narrow streets is a wonderful treat and highly recommended. You can see the ruins from below as you experience the local vibes. This is a day to decompress from the hike and rest, maybe get some laundry done at the hotel prior to heading out for the day. That said, if you want, we can also arrange individual trips to other parts of the sacred valley – this can be done on site.

Google “Visiting Ollantaytambo” or just “Ollantaytambo” (view images) to get a sense for the place. Here’s a post I found on the web that does it a little justice…

We can also visit Urubamba as a group and have lunch at a local favorite, Paca Paca

Day 12 - Travel to Lima

Ollantaytambo – Cusco – Miraflores

We will get picked up early to transfer to Cusco’s airport for our return flight to Lima. And, from the Lima airport we will transfer to Miraflores and back to our original hotel. The rest of the day is free until dinner, where we will go to a local hacienda for a farewell bash and traditional dance and Paso Horse show.

Day 13 - Free Day in Lima

Miraflores/Lima

Our final day in Lima/Miraflores 🙁 and Peru…

The day is yours to do as you wish. Recommendations provided upon request.

If you choose to extend your trip in Lima, Anda Llama can arrange a trip to either the north of Lima to visit the ancient city of Caral, a UNESCO WOrld Heritage Location, or a trip to the south of Lima to enjoy the Ballestas Islands in Paracas and other activities, including a dune Buggy ride in Ica, a flight over the Nazca Lines and lunch at a local vineyard. Let us know and we can organize something for you.

Day 14 - Travel Home

Farewell Peru

Transfer to the airport and head back home…

IS IT FOR ME?

The Salkantay Trek is an arduous hike. Adventurers who wish to complete this trek should have a reasonable level of fitness and be able to hike for extended periods of time, during our second day we will hike for nearly 8 hours. The biggest hurdle in completing this adventure is its altitude, at one point we will walk high above 15,000′ above sea level (4,600m). Our two initial days in Cusco should provide ample time to get ready for this arduous but highly rewarding adventure.

If you have any concerns related to altitude and how it will affect you you should consider talking to your Dr. to ensure you will be ok.

WEATHER

Because of the high altitude of this trek there is always a chance we can encounter snow along the way, especially at 15,000′. Temperatures will range from around 20 degrees F (in the middle of the night) to 40 – 60 F during the day.

The intense sun and effort you will be putting into the hike, however, will make it feel much warmer. Because of that you will be shedding some layers while you are active. Morning and evenings can get very cold and you will want to be prepared with additional layers ensure you are warm.

Below is a recommended list of items you should bring along to maximize your enjoyment.

PACKING LIST

CLOTHING:

Base/Core Layer:

  • Long sleeve thermal Shirt
  • Thermal form-fitting pants/long-johns

Middle Layer:

  • Fleece pull over
  • Trekking pants (convertible to shorts)
  • Thick or breathable wool socks

Outer Layer:

  • Waterproof/Insulated Jacket
  • Waterproof pants (optional)
  • Scarf
  • Cold weather hat/knit cap
  • Gloves
  • Buff/ handkerchief
  • Sun hat

ACCESSORIES:

  • Backpack 20-30 L
  • Waterproof cover for backpack
  • Trekking shoes (waterproof and firm)
  • Sport shoes/ sandals for campsites
  • Camping pillow
  • Sleeping bag liner (optional)
  • Sturdy water bottle or Camelback
  • Trekking poles
  • Headlamp/flashlight
  • Plastic bags for wet items
  • Toiletry kit (toothbrush, wet wipes, etc)
  • Swimsuit/ towel
  • Sunscreen (SPF 50+ recommended)
  • lip balm/protector
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent

OTHER:

  • Personal Medications
  • Motion sickness tablets for van ride
  • Camera/ Extra battery
  • Snacks (Powerbars, gels, gummies, powdered drink mix)
  • Hand warmers (optional)
  • Leisure book for evenings
  • Cash and small coins
  • Baby Wipes
  • Ziplock bag for wet items
  • Instant coffee/tea
  • Small solar panel to recharge phone/camera