Duration: 9 days/8 nights
Acclimatization days: 3 days
Distance trekked: about 40km
Elevation range: 1900-4600m
The itinerary below is a sample. Hiking times are an average and will vary depending on the group. Additionally, lunch and camp sites may change to meet the needs of the group and conditions.
Your Peru tour begins as Apu Andino guides pick you up at the airport, stopping for a quick tour of the colonial Plaza de Armas. From there, you will be taken to your hotel and be free for the rest of the day to explore the city and acclimatize to the altitude (10,856 ft).
Overnight in Cusco City.
This city tour involves visiting Cusco´s highlights. We start off by visiting the huge Inca ceremonial center of Sacsayhuaman, which overlooks the city of Cusco. Next, we visit another important Inca site known as Qenqo, which houses subterranean passages and a mummification site. Then we will make a short visit to the archaeological Inca site of Tambomachay, a temple dedicated to the God of Water
After exploring these sites, we will return to the city centre, where we will visit one of the most sacred Inca buildings, The Temple of Qoricancha. Within its walls religious ceremonies were constant and offerings to the Gods and the Inca’s mummies were made each day. Finally we will visit the beautiful Cathedral of Cusco, which holds many archaeological artifacts and relics. Among them is a famous painting of the Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, showing Christ and the apostles eating a guinea pig. Overnight in Cusco City.
Pre-Trek (6pm at accommodation)
Before the trek, your guide will meet you at your hotel for an in-depth briefing. This provides an opportunity to ask questions and do any last-minute shopping before leaving Cusco.
We will pick you up from the hotel at 8:15 a.m. and drive to the town of Pisaq (approximately an hour) stopping at natural viewpoints along our way where we’ll be able to see the entire Sacred Valley from above.
Once in Pisaq, we will drive up to the ruins (2,950m / 9,678ft), where you will see and learn about different aspects of Incan culture. You will be able to view intricate stone workings and impressive agricultural terraces all over the place. After touring around the ruins, we will get back into the bus and drive down to Pisaq´s town centre, where there is a unique market that deserves to be visited.
At the market you will have free time to walk around and do some shopping. Afterwards we will meet for lunch in a nice local restaurant to enjoy delicious Andean cuisine.
After lunch we will continue with the tour by driving along the Urubamba River towards the town of Ollantaytambo (2,700m / 8,858ft). Once there we will visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo, a significant construction built during the pinnacle of the Incan civilization. This is an extraordinary place where besides the ruins you may also see an amazing rock formation representing the Inca god Wiracocha. Afterwards we visit the famous ruins of Chinchero (3,762m / 12,343ft).
Finally, we will drive back to Cusco and drop you off at your hotel, arriving at approximately 6:30 p.m. Overnight in Cusco City.
We leave Cusco early in the morning and take the Panamerican Highway through the province of Anta, Cusco’s dairy region. Following steep-sided river canyons, we descend into the rich and fertile valley of Limatambo before climbing again to the town of Mollepata, where we will stop for breakfast. We continue on to Soraypampa (3700m) where we meet our wranglers and pack animals and begin our Salkantay Trek. After an hour’s walk our first stop will be Laguna Umantay where we will have lunch. From here we continue across Salkantaypampa, just below glacial morains, before starting a fairly steep section of switchbacks known as the the 7 vueltas , which will take us up to 4300m. From here the path is almost flat to Soyroccocha, where we will camp just below Salkantay mountain. This campsite offers spectacular views of the glacier and, if the weather is clear, an unparalled view of the southern sky, but is high and usually very cold. 3 hours walking, 3700-4300m
After an early breakfast we will conquer the Salkantay Pass at 4600. As you take in the panorama you will be able to see not only Salkantay but also the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, Pumasillo, and the Huayracmachay valley. There is also the option to do some alpine scrambling and to visit a second lake near the base of the Salkantay glacier. From the pass we start our descent into the valley alongside a stream. As we travel, the vegetation changes from the sparse grasses of the puna and mountain passes to lush cloud-forest home to butterflies, hummingbirds, and a wide-variety of flora. After lunch we will veer away from the standard trekking route and head down to the river before climbing the ridge on the other side. From here we can look down on the Santa Teresa valley before an easy walk to our campsite at Unuyuq.
Today is a relaxing day. We start with a small descent and then walk along a newly built road to the house of Don Paulino. Here we will get a look at rural life in the valley, and, if in season, we can harvest some granadilla, a member of the passion fruit family, or maybe some of the region’s incredible avocados. If we are lucky, Doña Presentacion will prepare a local specialty for lunch. After lunch, we cross the river and head through the upper edges of the rainforest. After about a 2 hour walk we will arrive at the town of Sahuayaco, also known as La Playa. We will either camp here or further down the trail at Lucmabamba.
We start early to avoid the mid-day heat with a walk through coffee plantations and past an artisan coffee mill on the way to Lucmabamba. Here we follow a wide, well-preserved Inca road which once ran to Quito. Following the trail up the side of the ridge, we may see a multitude of butterflies, citronella, rocky streams, and stunning vistas of the Santa Teresa valley. From the pass there is a view of Machu Picchu just a fabulous as that from Intipunko, the famed Sungate. From the pass it is a short walk to Llactapata. We will explore the site, still covered in vines and jungle vegetation, before descending to the Rio Aobamba and on to the train station at Hidroelectrica. From there, we will catch the train to Aguas Calientes and check into our hotel. In the evening, there are plenty of restaurants, markets, and the hot springs to enjoy, or simply relax in your hotel. 5 hours walking, 2150-1900m
Overnight in Aguas Calientes.
We will get up early in order to catch the bus up to Machu Picchu in time to watch the sunrise over the mountains. After enjoying the views, we will have a two hour tour of the city. Afterwards, you have free time to explore the ruins, hike Huayna Picchu, climb to the Sungate, go to the Temple of the Moon and Inca Bridge, or simply relax and soak in the atmosphere. In the afternoon we will return to Aguas Calientes to catch the train to return to Cusco.
Overnight in Cusco City.
In the morning you’ll be taken to the airport for the return flight to Lima and your connecting international flight, marking the end of Apu Andino’s services on your Peru tour.
Much of this Salkantay Trek is isolated and rugged. It is advised that trekkers acclimate by spending a few days at Cusco (3400m) or similar before attempting the trek. Trekkers should be in good physical condition and be experienced hikers. Additionally, weather and trail conditions can vary. Temperatures range from warm and humid to below freezing.
Trekkers should be prepared for changes to the itinerary and to meet unexpected challenges with an open-mind and sense of adventure. Climbing Huayna Picchu is an excellent addition to a trip to Machu Picchu. It offers superlative views, but is a steep climb that can take about three hours. Entrance to Huayna Picchu is limited and at scheduled times; visitors must sign up for a spot in advance.
If you would like to consider doing the climb, it is important to book it in advance. Salkantay is becoming increasingly popular. A more challenging and less crowded alternative route goes along the eastern flank of the mountain and down to Ollantaytambo, ending with a train journey to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Alternatively, trekkers can follow part of this eastern route to Huayllabamba and join the classic Inca Trail, a route known as the High Inca Trail.
For all our private services, price depends on the number of people.
Train upgrade to Vistadome: US$55.00 one way (Departing from Aguas Calientes)
Train will be according to availability and Peru Rail schedules, if train route ends at Ollantaytambo, we will be there waiting for you in order to go to Cusco City. (Our service ends once you are at your accommodation at Cusco City)
However, if you would like to have other place in mind just let us know the accommodation of your preference and we will let you know how much the extra fee will be.
4* & 5* Hotels extra fees are applicable to for group services too.
If you need more details about pricing do not hesitate to ask!