Most visited alternative trek after the Traditional Inca Trail 4 days, named among the 25 best walks in the world, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine Make the tour to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu walking through the Salkantay snowy, it is undoubtedly a different journey to traditional routes. This hike offers you to enjoy a spectacular landscape during the trek, appreciating the Andean landscape, snowy streams, camping under the starry sky, enjoying plantations typical of the tropical jungle; in itself this tour offers a varied landscape during the tour to reach the Sanctuary of Machupicchu, where we will appreciate the mystery, which makes it a very special place, which surprises each of its visitors and will continue to make those who visit.
Both the trekking fanatics and the adventurers who go for the first time will recognize the majesty of the sacred snowy Salkantay and its 6271 meters of altitude. Its snow-capped peaks and the Andean landscape are worthy of any cover photograph. The highest pass during the road is 4650 meters of altitude. Conquering such a height is a privilege for the most intrepid and challenging. Do you dare to go through rough roads and a lagoon to get to Salkantay?
Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha (head trail) - Soraypampa (camping)
Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Colpapampa (camping)
Day 03: Colcapampa - La Playa - Aobamba camping
Day 04: La Playa - Llactapata, Inca Ruins - Hidrolectrica - Puente Ruinas (camping)
Day 05: Puente Ruinas - Km 104 - Wiñaywayna - Aguas Calientes (hotel) Day 06: Machu Picchu - Cusco.
Start altitude: 4650m / 15,200ps.
Highest altitude: 4217m / 13,780ps.
Walking distance: 60.5 km / 37.5 miles
Longest day: Day 2, approximately 18km / 11 miles
Longest night: Day 1 around 0º Celsius
The bus to Mollepata departs from Cusco at 5 am, arriving in the village at 7:30 for breakfast (optional and not included) and any last minute supplies, which are also not included. From here, at 2.9 km above sea level, the bus goes uphill for another hour to the trail head, Challacancha. The rocky trail goes up and down through the mountains, with impressive views of snowy mountain peaks including the giant, Salkantay, and the Apurimac Valley and River. The first campsite, Soraypampa, which is at 3850 meters above sea level, is reached by lunchtime, after which there is a 2 hour hike up to the beautiful Humantay Lake, perched high in the mountains. Hikers return in time for afternoon tea, which consists of coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and mate de coca, after which there is free time to rest until dinner.
Day two is the hardest and longest day of the trip and starts with an early, nutritious breakfast. The first one hour of hiking is relatively easy, and then once the trail reaches Soyrochoca, the next three hours are all uphill to reach the high pass, which at 4,800 m.a.s.l. has incredible views of the Salkantay and Humantay peaks, which stand at 6,271 and 6,100 meters high. In addition to the breathtaking views from this site, there are also Apachetas, which are piles of stones of uncertain origin that are commonly seen along this trail and the Inca trail. From this pass, there is a 1 hour hike down to Wayracmachay for lunch and a quick break before another 3 hours of hiking to the final campsite of the day, Collpapampa.
This is another early morning, starting hiking shortly after breakfast along a narrow mountain trail, which passes wild orchids, cornfields, grasses and flowers, and fields of fruit, as well as an incredible waterfall. 5 hours of hiking brings the trip to La Playa, which is a fork in the road of sorts. Travelers can chose to take a 45 minute bus ride to the town of Santa Teresa, where there are hot springs that the hikers can relax in before dinner. Alternatively, there is an option to visit the Llactapata ruins, in which case the hikers travel two hours to set up camp at Aobamba.
Day 4 depends on which route was decided on. The Llactapata ruins route takes a 4 hour hike, after breakfast, up to 2,860 m.a.s.l. to the restored ruins, which also provide an incredible vantage point for seeing Machu Picchu and Salkantay Mountain. After a tour of the ruins, there is a 4 hour decent through bamboo groves, orchards, and coffee plantations to the Aobamba River. This stretch of the trail is good for spotting a wide variety of species of birds. The trail continues along to the Hydroelectric Plant, where the group stops for lunch before continuing onto the final campsite at Puente Ruinas. After breakfast, the Santa Teresa route starts with a short bus ride, then continues with a 2 hour hike along the Urubamba River to the Hydroelectric station for lunch. Another approximate 3 hours of hiking – through the valley and along the train tracks – brings the group to Puente Ruinas to camp for the night by the Vilcanota River.
Another early morning start along the trail soon brings the group to Km 104, and Inca Trail checkpoint. After about two or three hours along the Inca trail, hikers reach the Incan site Chachabamba for lunch and a rest, and then a guided tour of the site. After a few more hours of hiking through cloud forest and cacti, and a quick stop at a beautiful waterfall, a second Incan site, Wiñay Wayna, is reached and toured. Finally, the trail reaches the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) to watch the sun set over Machu Picchu. Since it is too late to enter the city, the hike descends to Aguas Calientes to sleep in the comfortable hotel beds, which after 5 days of hiking is a welcome break.
A 2 hour hike up to the city of Machu Picchu in the early morning, after breakfast, brings the group to the city early enough to get sunrise pictures of the city and to miss most of the crowds. There is a guided tour of the Incan city, explaining the rich history of the site, after which hikers have the option of hiking to the peak of either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu, two mountains with incredible views of the city from above, another good photo opportunity. Finally, there is time for individual exploration of the city of Machu Picchu. At the end of the day, there is a train ride from Aguas Calientes to either Ollantaytambo or Poroy, from where a bus will continue the rest of the way to Cusco. Machu Picchu is currently one of the most well-known Incan sites in Peru, but was not mentioned in any documents from the Spanish. At this point in time, archeologists can only speculate on the purposes of the city. Centuries before Hiram Bingham was brought to the site – by a local child, while the American explorer was searching for Vilcambamba – the local Quechuans had known about the city. Mr. Bingham exposed the site to the rest of the world, and since then, much effort has gone into restoring and studying the mysterious city. Despite this, there are still many questions about which historians and archeologists are uncertain. What is known for certain, though, is that the city of Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”, is a truly magical destination.
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!