The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, was recently named among the 25 best Treks in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. The Salkantay Trail is one of the richest trails to Machu Picchu in terms of natural beauty because of its unique geographical position. The elevation of the mountain is 6,264 m above sea level with climatic conditions ranging from arctic to subtropical. This route offers a range of levels for tours of which we offer treks for the more rugged traveler to the traveler who would like a more comfortable tour.
4:30 am We will pick you up from your hotel and travel to Mollepata in a tourist bus. Mollepata is an Andean village where a nice and hot local breakfast will be waiting for us and at 9:00 a.m. We will begin our journey with a hike up to Tres Cruces. We will have lunch with a spectacular view of the Limatambo Valley and then continue our trek to Markokasa.
From this point we will be able to see the Salkantay Mountain and at about 4:30 p.m. we will arrive at Soraypampa which is at 3500 meters (20.671 feet). At our first campsite, the highest and coldest camp site of the trip at 4000m (12750ft), we will be able to take in the beautiful landscape.
We will have a hot breakfast at around 5:30am and begin our walk to the highest pass on this trek (4650m/15200ft) located between two huge mountains: Salkantay on the right and Humantay on the left (Salkantay at 6271m/20575ft and Humantay at 4120m/13500ft). From the pass, the views of both of the snowcapped mountains are incredible. There will also be a possibility of snow here. At this point we will have a small ceremony.
This ceremony is known as Payment to the Earth or Pachamama (Jaywarikuy), in which we leave a few coca leaves in the rocks for Mother Earth asking permission to continue and to have an amazing and memorable trip.
We will continue our walk downhill through a beautiful cloud forest and we will arrive in Huayracpunku, where we will have lunch. We hike again after lunch in the direction of the jungle until we reach our second campsite, Colcapampa (3000m/9800ft). Another possible campsite would be in Challway. Following the course of the Salkantay River, at this point we will have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful Andean scenery in the same place we set up camp (2900m approx.).
After our breakfast at 6:30am, we will pass through several valleys, crossing the Lluskamayo River and a variety of small brooks, appreciating some wonderful views of waterfalls, tropical fruit, colorful birds and various native plants. The path is less demanding with a usually warm climate. We have lunch on the way and, while traveling, we will enjoy more of the vibrant valleys. Eventually we will arrive in Santa Teresa which is our following campsite.
After a rest and a few snacks to help recover our strength, we have the option of visiting the local hot springs and try the well-deserved, soothing water, a real treat after having walked the whole day!
After breakfast we will continue our trip by walking another 3 hours to reach Hidroelectrica. The trail cuts into the old coffee plantation of Mandorpampa and enters the cloud forest, following the sacred river for about one and a half hours until we see the waterfalls from Hidroelectrica. These falls are about twelve meters high and are fed by the crystal clear melt waters of the sacred Mount Yanantin.
From the falls the trail continues up to the ridge, before becoming lost in the increasingly dense vegetation. This is a beautiful, fertile landscape, with coffee, banana and avocado plantations carved from the forest, and pristine areas that are the natural habitat of mammals such as the spectacled bear and hundreds of species of birds and butterflies, some of them endemic to the region. The forest is covered with bromeliads and many varieties of orchids, some of which have only recently been identified by biologists.
We will finally arrive in Machu Picchu village (Aguas Calientes) to overnight in our comfortable hotel.
We will have breakfast and then take the bus (6am) up to Machu Picchu. A walking tour of approximately 2 hours is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city at your leisure. At 10 am there will be time to climb Huayna Picchu (2720m/8890ft). It takes about 45 minutes to reach the top.
We will take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo on the Expedition and a bus to Cusco. We'll be in Cusco at approximately 22:30pm.