Salkantay Inca Trail Trek involves a 5 day hike on the famous Salkantay route and 2 days along the original Inca Trail. This hike is the best alternative hikes to the 7 day Salkantay to Inca Trail trek. Not along the typical tourist trail path, this is an innovating adventure for travelers who want a little more solitude and individuality on their journey. With impressive views, the Salkantay to Machu Picchu Trek gives you the privacy for peaceful reflection that such a sacred path deserves.
This is one of the most interesting and enjoyable Inca Trail alternatives due to the wide range of plant diversity, various ecosystems, remote Andean villages, and views of the snow-capped Salkantay Mountain as well as of the Llactapata Incan site on the peak of a mountain, just behind the Machu Picchu 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 lost city of the Incas to see the sunrise above it. Then our English speaking tour guide takes us around this incredible Incan citadel.
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.
Crew: A Tierras Vivas Representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guige, a Cook, and Horseman for the Salkantay Inca Trail.
Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights).
Meals: 5x breakfast, 5x lunch, 5x dinner, 5x afternoon tea.
Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train
Group Availiable: Mix: 2 Max: 8 Trekkers
The Inca Trail starts on the fiveth day of the Salkantay to Inca Trail! if you like to start the tour on the 10th of May, you need to check Inca Trail availability on May 14th!. If there is still availability of the Inca Trail on your date requested in the time of your booking.
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.
Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing. Our guide will provided the duffel bag for your personal belonging,
Note: It is very important let us know, where you will be staying in Cusco;
Experienced bilingual Tour Guide. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Note: A group up to 8 participants has 1 Tour Guide, a groups over 8 participants receives 2 Tour Guides
Camping (5 Nights) and Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 Night)
Our tents are of the brand Eureka Mountain double designated for 4 seasons. We provide with 3 person capacity tents; however, just 2 trek participants use it! In this way, we provide you more space and comfort. In case of a single traveller, we provide with a 2 person capacity tent.
Hotel in Machu Picchu: with private bathroom and hot water (Single, Double or matrimonial room)
We provide with inflatable mattresses of the brand Therm-A-Rest. The mattresses are 3 cm heigh that will ensure you a sufficient isolation from the cold earth!
This inflatable mattress for more comfort to sleep in the trail
We use only feather sleeping bags that are suitable up to minus 16°C. This means you do not need to be worry about cold as temparature at night at each trek reaches just up to 0°C (maximum -5°C)!!
Included the Salkantay, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
5x breakfast, 5x lunch, 5x dinner, 4x afternoon´s hot beverages and Snack every morning
The Tierras Vivas chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. If you are a vegetarian or have any restrictions, our chef will prepare special food, please advise us in advance. A vegetarian meal option is for NO extra cost. Food is typically served and buffet.
Excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own, Tierras Vivas will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
Our horses will carry the all camping equipement for your trek and 7 kg for your personal beloging + Sleeping bag;
An emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower;
Muleteer is responsible to take the horses;
Tierras Vivas DOES NOT permit this exploitation!! We guarantee that our horses carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!!
From Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo, there are two companies train (Incarail and Perurail),you can choose two time of your train return to Cusco
If you take the train return at 14:55, you will be in Cusco at 18:00
If you take the train return at 19:00, you will be in Cusco at 22:00
On the high season, it is very important let us know in advance, because it is very difficult find spaces available.
Tables and chairs, cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas
A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town
Early morning transfer by private bus to Challacancha - the initial point of the trek;
The train service is finishing in Ollantaytambo Train station, then our driver is waiting for you and he will take to Cusco;
Our guide has received training in first aid from a physician. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen.
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!
It’s very important to take EXTRA MONEY. You need to take at least 200-300 soles emergency money:
Camping and Hotel Accommodation
The camping along this trip is full service, which means that the employees will set up and strike tents, cook, and clean, and hikers only have to carry their day packs. There are also dining and toilet tents, and warm bowls of water each morning and evening for washing up.
The hotel for the final night is not a three star hotel. However, it is clean, comfortable, and safe, and the staff are friendly and helpful. It has hot water and small private bathrooms, and is located close to the train station and 10 minutes from the hot springs. In order to best fit budgets, this was the included hotel, but upgrading hotels is possible. For either changing hotels or getting a single room, communicate with the office while booking and we will do our best to accommodate, although it will cost more.
IMPORTANT: You will need to show both your passport and TAM immigration slip upon checking into the hotel. Peruvian nationals and foreigners staying over 60 consecutive days will be charged the 18% national sales tax. This will be applied to the whole room even if it doesn’t apply to both guests. Take care to not lose this immigration slip, and it is also recommended to make a copy.