|Range of Altitude
||2,380m to 4,600m / 7,800ft to 15,092ft
One of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu needs no further introduction. Visit Peru’s most renowned attraction and one of the most important archaeological sites in the world on the Salkantay Trail.
While less famous than the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trail is no less amazing. The trek runs beneath the breathtaking Mount Salkantay (6,271m/20,574ft), the 12th highest mountain in Peru, while passing through local Quechua communities and Inca ruins, allowing one to experience both adventure and culture.
The Salkantay Trail is quieter and less busy than the Inca Trail, which serves as a nice alternative for those who are looking for something more remote and pristine.
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- We depart Cusco early in the morning by private transportation for a nice scenic morning ride to Soraypampa (3,800m/12,464ft), the starting point of the trek. Along the four hour drive, we drive through the town of Limatambo (2,100m/6,888ft), an important point of access to the city of Cusco during the time of the Inca Empire, where the archaeological remains of Tarawasi are located
- We start our hike towards the base of Mount Salkantay (6,271m/20,569ft), crossing Salkantaypampa, and then ascending for 2 hours to Soyroccocha, located next to the impressive glacier of Salkantay (4,200m/13,776ft)
- Continuing uphill, we reach Abra Huayracmachay (4,600m/15,088ft), the highest mountain pass of the Salkantay Trail. Enjoy stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range with the south face of Salkantay towering above us
- We then descend towards a more tropical climate to our first campsite at Andenes (3,500m/11,480ft)
- Total hiking is about 18km or eight to nine hours
- We begin with an easy downhill walk along the Salkantay River, enjoying the increasingly lush vegetation, passing waterfalls, passion fruit and coffee plantations
- We pass the settlement of Chaullay and reach the town of Collpapampa after approximately three hours
- After a rest, we continue our descent to the banks of the Totora River, pass the waterfalls at Coripacchi, the settlement at Wiñaypoko, the bustling small town of La Playa and finally our second camp at Lucmabamba (2,100m/6,890ft)
- Total hiking is about 20km or eight to nine hours
- After breakfast, we start climbing for two to three hours to El Mirador or Abra Q’elloqasa (2,860m/9,381ft) from where we will be greeted with exceptional views of the Lost City of the Incas, the famous Machu Picchu, from a different angle
- Enjoy lunch at the lookout point of Llaqtapata (2,650m/8,692ft) from where we can view both Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain
- Descend for two hours towards the Aobamba River to reach the hydroelectric plant of Machu Picchu, from where we board a train that takes us to Aguas Calientes. Check in at your chosen hotel
- Total hiking is about 12km or five to six hours
- We board a bus in the morning to take us up to Machu Picchu for a guided tour of Machu Picchu that will take approximately two hours
- You will have free time to walk around, climb up the Huaynapicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it (note that there are only 400 visitors allowed per day), visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge
- In the afternoon, we reconvene in the town of Aguas Calientes where you can visit and relax in its hot springs if you like. We then take the train back to Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall