This new alternative trek to Machu Picchu through the Inca Trail includes a condor sight tour to watch the Andean birds and hike a mountain trail through breath-taking sceneries of the mountains that surrounds you. Some condors were soon soaring upwards, coming closer and closer, some gliding only a few meters over our heads. An authentic Andean journey to “Savage Mountain”, which is the translation for Salkantay that is attributed to the clouds which hang from the jungle lowlands and encompass the peak. At a height of 6271 MAMSL (20573 ft) Nevado Salkantay the tallest summit in the Cordillera and one of the tallest in the Andes, is the starting point for the hike. This has become popular with hikers who want a more peaceful, less walked path and includes a visit to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. For the first 4 days, you will be surrounded by glorious landscapes and won’t see many other groups. On the third day, you will connect to the Inca Trail and continue towards Machu Picchu where you will be arriving early on the seventh day. This hike is just a little more challenging than the Inca Trail. Horses are used for the first 4 days to carry food and equipment until you join the Inca Trail where you swap horses for porters (horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail). Trek permits are necessary for this tour so it’s important to reserve months in advance
Condor + Salkantay trail
Day 01: Cusco - Chonta - Condor Sight - Sayllapata
Day 02: Sayllapata - Salkantay Pampa
Day 03: Salkantay Pampa - Pampacahuarina
Day 04: Pampacahuarina - Llullucha Pampa
Day 05: Llucha Pampa - Chaquicocha
Day 06: Chaquicocha - Wiñayhuayna
Day 07: Wiñayhuayna - Machu Picchu
Crew: A Salkantay Trek Machu Representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guide, a Cook, a Horseman and Porters for the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights).
Meals: 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner, 6x afternoon tea.
Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train
Group Available: Mix: 2 Max: 8 Trekkers
We drive from Cusco by bus to Chonta, we travel through the highlands of Anta. A dirt road will take us over the Puna highlands to the scenic mountain hamlet of Chonta near the Apurimaq Canyon. A 3km trek along the mountainside brought us to the Condor viewing platforms and the view of the canyon (double the depth of the Grand Canyon in places) and Apurimac river way down below is extraordinary. We will be 2 hours to see the condors and - some flying right overhead! Continuing our tour, we drive to head trail, Challacancha, where our hike begins. We start trekking up to Tillka from where we take the road to Marcocasa (3,500 m/11, 482 ft.) passing forests and steppes on the route. We can enjoy beautiful vistas of the snowcapped peak of Rayuska (5,350 m/17,552 ft.). Finally we get to our first campsite at Soraypampa (3,600m/10,200 ft.), lunch. After lunch we will climb the Humantay Mountain for 2 hours to visit the Humantay Lake, a superb lake in the mountains and we then descend back to camp at Soraypampa. There you will find the dining tent set up for afternoon tea with tea, mate de coca, coffee, chocolate etc. You can rest and later are served dinner.
Estimated Trekking Time: 7 hours
Condor Sight: 2 Hrs
Trekking Distance: 14 Km
Max. Elevation: 3,600 m (10,200ft)
Min. Elevation: 2,803 m (9, 196 ft)
After an early breakfast we start hiking. We get to Soyrapampa (3, 850m/12,600 ft.) where we join the main Salkantay Trek. From there it takes about an hour to reach Salkantay Pampa, the place of our second campsite. Before that we have the chance to take in the stunning sight of the sacred mountains of Huamantay (5,917 m/19,412 ft.) and Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft.). In the Andean culture these mountains are considered to be “Apus” (mountain spirits) of great significance. When in Salkantay Pampa (4,100 m/13,451 ft.) we set up camp and are later served dinner. We are in high altitude so the night will be cold, don’t forget to bring lots of warm clothes.
Estimated Trekking Time: 6 hours
Trekking Distance: 10 km
Max. Elevation: 4,100 m/13,451 ft.
Min. elevation: 3,600 m/10,200 ft.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Today we leave the path of the Salkantay Trek and join the Inca Trail route. First we go through a charming valley with domestic flowers and dramatic vistas of the Salkantay Mountain to our left as we pass the indigenous villages of Qhesqa and Paucarcancha. We then ascend to the Incachiriaska Pass (4,880m) (the highest point of the trek), which translates as `the place where the Inca cools down´. From here we get the closest view of Salkantay, this whole area is dotted with small mountain lagoons and old glaciers of diverse shades of blue! Around this region, in the rocky cliffs, dwells the Andean Condor, the world’s largest bird. If we are lucky we might also see some viscachas (chinchillas), white tailed deer and also some rare animals such as guanaco, and vicuña. After we descend to the Cusichaca Valley until the tiny village of Pampacawana (4,000m/13,123 ft.), here we can observe some old Incan channels. We set up camp nearby and have our dinner.
Estimated Trekking Time: 7 hours
Trekking Distance: 13 km
Max. Elevation: 3,855 m/12,650ft
Min. Elevation: 3,000 m/9,842 ft
A hard day of trekking awaits us today. We hike for 3 hours to get to Paucarcancha (3,205 m/10, 515 ft.). There you have a guided tour of the Inkaracay ruins. After that you will descend for a couple of minutes to the town of Wayllabamba (3,000m/9,842 ft.) where we say goodbye to our horses and horsemen and welcome our porters. We enjoy lunch before we continue climbing.During the hike we pass a cloud forest with native trees, orchids, mosses, ferns and birds. We finally get to the next campsite, Llullucha Pampa (3,855m/12,650 ft.).
Estimated Trekking Time: 7 hours
Trekking Distance: 13km Max.
Elevation: 3,855 m/12,650 ft. Min.
elevation: 3,000 m/9, 842 ft.
Early after breakfast you start descending to Abra Warmiwañusca (dead woman’s pass) at 4,200 meters passing through cloud forests of Yunkachimpa and Corral Punku which offers some wonderful views the surrounding snowcapped summits. From Warmiwañusqa you descend to the Pacamayo Valley (3,300 m) where you have a lunch break. You then continue the hike through the valley to the Inca ruins of Runkuracay where a guided tour follows. Then you get over the second pass – Abra Runkuracay (3,860 m) and follow the Royal Incas Highway down to the Inka ruins of Saycamarca passing Lake Yanacocha. Camp in Chaquicocha (3,670).
Estimated Trekking Time: 7-8 hours
Trekking distance: 12 km
Max. Elevation: 4,200 m (12,630 ft.)
Min. elevation: 3,500 m (11,480 ft.)
We continue on the trail and pass through charming semi tropical vegetation and many archaeological sites. Before reaching the first site we get over the Phuyupatamarca Pass (3,670) and just behind it we can see the Phuyupatamarca Inka complex (3,600m), one of the best preserved and completed sites of the Inca Trail. It is located on top of a mountain and corresponds with its Quechua name that means `the town above the clouds´. After a guided tour we have lunch there. We then begin a steep descent via cloud forest where we can see delightful orchids and different bird species on the way to our last campsite at Wiñay Wayna (2700 m). A guided tour of the Winaywayna archaeological site follows. After that we have dinner and camp there.
Estimated Trekking time: 5-6 hours’ time
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. Elevation: 3,670 m (12,040 ft.)
Min. elevation: 2,700 m (8,860 ft.)
Another early start. We climb the prehistoric steps to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) to see the sunrise over the long awaited sight of Machu Picchu. We enter the site in the early morning, where you have the best photo opportunities. You then enjoy your 2 and a half hour guided tour of the `Lost City of the Incas´. After that you can explore the ruins by yourself. When you’re finished you can meet the other from the group in Aguas Calientes for lunch or visit the hot springs. In the afternoon we return to Cusco by tourist train from Aguas Calientes.
Estimated trekking time: 3 hours
Trekking distance: 4 km
Max. Elevation: 2700 m/8,850 ft.
Min. elevation: 2, 400m/7,875 ft.
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single room" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent for all nights.
Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!