The most well-known trail to the ancient Inca citadel, Machu Picchu, is the Inca Trail but that doesn't mean it's the only option for you to take! Opt for a path less travelled and hike along the higher and more beautiful Salkantay Trail! Our tour will guide you through the challenging four day trek, crossing over a 4,650-metre high pass where you can marvel at the Salkantay and Humantay peaks towering 6,000 metres high! This trail is unspoiled and passes through indigenous mountain communities before bringing you to the 'Lost City of the Incas'.
Day 1: Cuzco to Mollepata to Challacancha, Trek to Soraypampa Camp (3,920m)
Today we pick you up between 5:00 - 6:00 am and travel by tourist-class bus to Mollepata (2,900m) where you can stretch your legs and buy snacks. Continue by car to Challacancha where we will make final preparations and double-check our equipment. Embark on a 3-hour walk that will take us to Soraypampa (3,920m) where we stop for lunch with panoramic views of beautiful snow-capped mountains. Hike up to Laguna de Humantay (approx. 1.5 hours each way) for more incredible views of the Andes mountains and then return to camp for the night. Our first campsite is located at 3,920m and is the highest and coldest campsite of the trip. Take some time to rest up, and enjoy your first night immersed in nature. Have dinner and go to sleep early.
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Day 2: Trek to Challhuay or Colcapampa Camp via High Pass (4,650m)
We will have breakfast at around 6:00 am and begin our 4-hour walk to the highest pass on this trek (4,650m) located halfway between 2 huge mountains; Salkantay on the right and Humantay on the left. (Optional horse rental available to reach high pass for 100 - 120 soles). From the pass, the views of the two snow-capped mountains are incredible with the possibility of snow here. After a 2-hour downhill hike, a well-deserved lunch will be served at Huayracpampa, followed by another 3-hour trek to our campsite at Challhuay or Colcapampa as we near the beginning of the high jungle region at 2,900 metres.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Trek to La Playa, Transfer to Hydroelectric Station, Trek to Aguas Calientes
After breakfast at 6:30 am, we start trekking for the day through the upper jungle crossing the Santa Teresa River and a variety of little brooks. Today we will pass through valleys and have wonderful views of waterfalls, tropical fruits, and plants. We will have lunch at La Playa (2,200m) and continue by car to Santa Teresa town (1,700 meters) with a warmer climate. From here we will take another car to Hydroelectric Station (40 minutes) and then walk 3 hours to Aguas Calientes. There are internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax in the town.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4: Explore Machu Picchu & Return to Cuzco
Catch one of the first buses (5:30 am) to Machu Picchu (25-minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city in the early morning light as the mist dissipates. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this, you can explore the mysterious city on your own. If you still have energy you can also climb Huayna Picchu (to be booked in advance at an extra cost). Return to Aguas Calientes by bus. Take the train back to Ollantaytambo and a bus to Cuzco. You will be dropped off late in the day at the Plaza San Francisco. Upon arrival, you will need to make your own way to your accommodation.
Description of Machu Picchu Guided Site Visit:
The one and only, the most spectacular (and not to mention most popular) archaeological site in all of South America. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu walking you through the most important sites and covering the history of the place. Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure. When you decide to head back down to Aguas Calientes, there are buses departing every 15 minutes from the entrance or you can take the walking trail down if you feel like another 1-hour stair stepping downhill to Aguas Calientes town. Take an OPTIONAL hike up the steep peak named Huayna Picchu, which is located inside the Machu Picchu archaeological site. This sometimes muddy peak takes about 45 - 60 minutes to hike up and awards you with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective. Keep in mind that if you want to take this optional hike, you must now purchase your ticket at least two weeks in advance for an additional cost in order to get one of the 400 passes (200 people are allowed up at 7:00 am and 200 more at 10:00 am).