The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (or Salkantay Trek) is one of the most interesting and important Inca Trail's alternatives due to its wide range of flora diversity, various ecosystems, remote Andean villages, view of the snow-capped Salkantay Mountain as well as for its Incan site laid on top of a mountain, just in front of the back side of the Machu Pichu Mountain! This trail finally reaches Aguas Calientes, located at the foothill of the historical and archaeological site of Machu Picchu, from where we hike in early morning up to Machu Picchu to observe the sunshine above it!! After that, our English speaking and knowledgeable Tour Guide explains us about this incredible Incan citadel!!!
Lake Titicaca, South America's largest lake is also the world's highest placed navigable lake!! The air seems magically clear there as dazzling high-altitude sunshine suffuses the highland´s Altiplano and it sparkles until its deep water. Horizons stretches almost to infinity. Surroundings of the lake boasts with ancient funerary towers and colonial churches. The port at Puno is a convenient base to visit remote islands dotted across the Titicaca Lake, including those artificially made of totora reeds. On these islands, you can see rural life of their villages that have not change for centuries.
Day 1: Cusco
Day 2: Sacred Valley of the Incas
Day 3 - 7: Trekking to Salkantay to Machu Picchu
Day 8: Bus to Puno
Day 09 - 10: Lake Titicaca
Day 11: Departure Day
On arrival to Cusco you will be met by a representative and taken to your hotel. The rest of the day you are free to relax or explore the ambient city streets of Cusco. The cathedral of Cusco is in the main square, Plaza de Armas; from there you can walk down to Avenida el Sol, where you can visit the monumental Qoricancha temple. If you are in the mood for more you can then take the road to the hills overlooking Cusco where you can visit the colossal sites of Sacsayhuaman, Qenko, Pukapukara and Tambomachay.
This morning we head from Cusco to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. We arrive at Pisac and visit the vibrant market, where you can practice your bargaining skills. You can get a variety of goodies here, especially artisan materials. There are also impressive ruins in Pisac worth seeing, higher up overlooking the valley. Then we head to the small Andean village of Chinchero situated high up on the windswept plains of Anta at 3762m, where you get a fantastic vista of the valley with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the glacial topped summit of Salkantay. The village preserves its traditional ways, the locals still wear the classic Andean clothes and the mud brick houses (adobe), remains the norm. Then back on the bus till Urubamba where we have lunch, before heading to Ollantaytambo, a town with ruins hanging high on the valley walls, overlooking the town. After we return to Cusco
Early morning you are taken from Cusco to Mollepata, where there are tropical valleys with citrus groves, there you have breakfast and then continue till Soyrapampa where we start our hike till we reach the Salkantay (6,271m)and Huamantay (6,217)pass. We have lunch at the small Soirococha lagoon and then descend to our first campsite at Wayracmachay.
After an early breakfast we say goodbye to Salkantay Mountain, and enter the tropical cloud forest where we observe the flora and fauna changing. Hike for 4 hours till we reach our second campsite, the tiny settlement of Collpapampa. There we have lunch and relax or take a wander around.
After a hearty breakfast we continue descending deeper through the forest following increasingly tall trees and bamboo groves, observing birds and the Santa Teresa River, following an untamed path with wild fruits, adorned with colorful flowers, until arriving at our third campsite La Playa.
An early start, followed by a 3 hour hike which leads us to El Mirador overlooking the legendary Machu Picchu. Next is Llactapata where we view the Inca ruins, followed by lunch at the Hidroelectrica plant before continuing our trek through bamboo groves, orchards and coffee plantations till we reach our Hotel in Aguas Calientes town, the foothills of Machu Picchu
Continue up the city of Machu Picchu where you have your guided tour. You are then free to explore Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu on your own In the afternoon we return by train back to Ollantaytambo. From there we are transported back to Cusco.
Transfer to bus station for your bus ride to Puno. On your bus tour you will visit four significant archeological sites, including Raqchi, the church of Andahuaylillas which is known as the "Sistine chapel of America". It is famous for being one of the most well preserved Andean religious art. Pukara, contains the litho-scupltures of the civilization named Pukara, and La Raya at 14234m, being the highest point between Puno and Cusco, where you can enjoy the view of the glacial capped mountains. Lunch will be had at a buffet restaurant in Sicuani. Tonight will be spent in Puno.
You get picked up from your hotel, taken to the port to take a boat to have your lake Titicaca tours from Puno Lake Titicaca, the highest navigatable lake in the world (3800 meters/9000 feet). Then you discover the floating island of Uros occupied by a small community including traditional fishermen and their families who have lived on these reed islands for decades. Centuries ago the small indigenous Uros tribe conceptualized of the islands as a means to isolate and defend themselves from the rival tribes, the Collas and the Incas. The Uros people harvested the reeds from the shallows of the lake and built floating island platforms with reed houses and canoes. Then we take a boat to the Amantani Island where we will be welcomed by a group of native families, and stay the night. Here you can walk up to the highest point of the Island to explore ancient ruins on a mountain the locals called Pachamama (mother earth), from here, the vista and the sunset is incredible. In the evening start the festivities.
Lots of joyous dancing performances in to the evening, dinner included. On the second day we say goodbye to the families and go down to the harbor where we continue our tour on lake titicaca the tour continues on to Taquile Island, ( an hour and a half approx.) The Quechua name for Taquile Island is Intika. This is a traditional Quechua speaking community with ancient farming terraces and ruins from pre Inca times. The inhabitants of Taquile were rather isolated from the rest of the world up until the 50s. Today they still uphold their strong family and community values and maintain their ancestral traditions, which they have upheld for centuries. The aspect that Taquile is most famous for is their weaving. The people of the island learn to weave before learning to read or write. They also use weaving as a means of expression, traditionally they use certain types of symbols on their waistband ( the calendar waistband) to represent their yearly activities. The other famous piece of clothing is the chullo, a knitted hat with earflaps. You then have free time to explore the island. We have lunch on the Island and later back to the harbor for your boat to Puno.
The tour ends in Puno. From here you can make your way back to Lima to get your flight home, or extend your visit to see more of Peru.
Meal budget: Please allow USD 100-150 for meals not included.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single Room" option for this tour, you receive your own single room for all overnights and a single tent for the Salkantay Trek.
Local flights: There are two local flights included in the cost of your tour. It is very important that we have got your passport details at the time of booking in order to process all air tickets! Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to each flight departure!
Many people include Peru Treks in their “Things to do”, the main reason being to trek the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, although what most people don’t know is that there are various Inca Trails Trips to Machu Picchu to pick from in the Cusco region. The difference lies in what kind of an experience you want, hiking the Inca trail and how challenging you like your treks.
If you want to say that you’ve hiked the famous hike to Machu Picchu, then the Classic Inca Trail is for you. But usually you will need to book in advance, in case it is fully booked, we recommend other good alternative treks:
During the day it is recommended Hiking pants and T-shirts, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the third day (if sunny) and in Machu Picchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machu Picchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.