Mountain Lodges: Salcantay – Machu Picchu Trek (6n/7d)

Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa

Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa

Pre-Tour : Meet & Greet
In the afternoon, we’ll meet with a guide from Mountain Lodges, who will be with us during our trek, and will provide us with important information that will make our trekking experience something truly extraordinary.

Day 1: Cusco-Salkantay Lodge (3869 meters (12694 feet) above sea level)
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel at 07:00 a.m. and transported in private vehicle to the Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. On the way, we’ll make a stop in the town of Limatambo to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi (about 1.5 hours away from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we’ll drive by the Andean town of Mollepata, where we’ll stop for coffee before starting our ascent up a winding road leading to Marcoccasa (a 30-minute drive from Mollepata). From here we’ll start our trek to Soraypampa, on an ancient road known as the Camino Real (Royal Road). This is an excellent opportunity for acclimation, as we enjoy this six-hour journey. Salkantay Lodge is named after El Salkantay, the majestic snow-capped mountain that dominates the valley. It is the second most sacred mountain in the Andean worldview, and is also one of the highest in the region at 6270 meters (20570 feet) above sea level. Upon our arrival we’ll meet the staff from the lodge, who will welcome us and show us to our rooms. We’ll have some free time for a refreshing shower and some well-deserved rest. Before dinner, we will meet by the fireplace with the guide, who will give a brief informative talk along with some appetizers. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. We will walk for approximately 6 hours (including lunch en route). Trekking level: Moderate. Optional: Guests who do not wish to trek may go to the lodge in private vehicle.

Day 2: Trek to Lake Humantay
Today’s trek is for acclimation purposes, through the mountain slopes near the lodge, until we reach Lake Humantay (3869 meters (12694 feet) above sea level), which is fed by the ice melting from Mount Humantay. This trek is optional, but worth it, since the landscape is incredible and brave souls can even bathe in the ice-cold waters of the lake. We will return to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, relax with a dip in our open-air hot tub. We’ll have the rest of the afternoon free. After enjoying a gourmet dinner we’ll spend the night in our cozy bedrooms with warm, comfortable beds. Tonight our guide will provide us with a summary of our route and we’ll get the itinerary for the following day.  All meals will be served at the lodge. We’ll walk for approximately 4 hours. Trekking Level: Moderate to Demanding Option: Horseback riding

Day 3: Salcantay Pass Crossing
This will be our great day. Starting early in the morning, we’ll go on an excursion through the Blanco River valley, going around Mount Humantay through the Salcantay peak. The highest point on our trek will be the Salcantay Pass, at 4638 meters (15216 feet) above sea level. We’ll cover the Salcantay from all sides, and from the south side it appears very imposing before us, and provides us with an unforgettable view. If we’re lucky, we’ll be able to enjoy the amazing sight of condors flying overhead on their frequent visits to this area. From this vantage point we can also take in a beautiful view of the snow-capped peaks of Vilcabamba. From the Pass, we’ll start our descent to Wayra Lodge (Wayra means wind), where we’ll spend the night. On the way there we’ll be served a hot lunch, and we’ll have dinner at Wayra Lodge. We’ll walk between 6 and 8 hours (this includes the time allotted for lunch). Trekking Level: Demanding, crossing a mountain pass at 4640 meters (15223 feet) above sea level

Day 4: Descending to the cloud forest (2870 meters (9416 feet) above sea level)
Today we’ll enjoy breakfast outdoors. Then we’ll continue out descent down the left bank of the Salcantay River, through increasingly greener landscapes. On our journey, we’ll feel the warm air coming up from the jungle, as we enjoy the company of colorful butterflies and beautiful orchids. Upon arriving at Colpa Lodge, we’ll be greeted with delicious pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian dish served at feasts, in which several types of meats and vegetables are cooked within layers of leaves on hot rocks inside a hole, which is completely covered until the meats are ready.  Colpa Lodge is located in an open plateau where three rivers converge. The open-air hot tub has an extraordinary panoramic view of the mountains covered with lush vegetation. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon, or visit the orchid path near the lodge. Dinner and overnight at Colpa Lodge. We’ll walk for about 3 to 4 hours. Trekking Level: Easy to Moderate.

Day 5: Down the Santa Teresa River Valley (2135 meters (7005 feet above sea level)
Today we’ll go hiking along the Santa Teresa River valley, through the more populated rural areas. We’ll pass by banana, granadilla and avocado groves, and coffee plantations featuring some of the best organic coffee in the world. We’ll have a warm-food picnic by the river, and after lunch we’ll trek for an hour before meeting up with the private Vehicle that will take us on a short 30-minute trip to the starting point of the Llactapata Inca Trail. Once we start on our trek through the recently restored Inca Trail, it will be easy for us to continue our path to Lucma Lodge, located in an avocado grove. Dinner and overnight at the Lodge. We’ll walk for about 5 to 6 hours (this includes the time allotted for lunch). Trekking Level: Moderate to Demanding (due to the distance, not the terrain).

Day 6: First View of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass (1900 meters (6234 feet above sea level)
After a nutritious breakfast, we’ll start on the last day of our trek. We’ll be going uphill for 2 or 3 hours, until we reach the Llactapata Pass (2736 meters (8976 feet) above sea level), which offers a distant but spectacular view of the southern side of the Machu Picchu sanctuary. This is a view that very few travelers get to appreciate. We’ll rest briefly to explore the recently restored ruins of Llactapata, and then we’ll have lunch at a lookout point with an amazing view of Machu Picchu. Then we’ll begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through exuberant bamboo Groves and coffee plantations. Finally we arrive in Aguas Calientes, the city located at the foot of Macchu Picchu. Upon arrival, we’ll check in at a charming hotel and later we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner with our guide and one last information meeting. We’ll walk for about 4 to 6 hours. Trekking Level: Moderate to Demanding

Day 7: Visit to the Machu Picchu Sanctuary
Very early in the morning, after a buffet breakfast, we head to the bus station to go to the Machu Picchu sanctuary, a 30-minute trip. We usually arrive in Machu Picchu at about 07:00 a.m., and at this time you can enjoy a peaceful visit to the citadel before most visitors arrive. After a guided visit through the complex, you will have time to explore it on your own. The more adventurous types can climb Huayna Picchu* and enjoy incredible views of Machu Picchu. At the scheduled time, we will go down to Aguas Calientes, where we’ll board our return train. Upon arrival, a private vehicle will be waiting to take us to our hotel in Cusco. * Please note that the ascent to Huayna Picchu is restricted to a maximum number of visitors per day, therefore an admission ticket must be purchased in advance.

Please note: This schedule is for reference only and is subject to change. Lunch is not included this day.

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