Surprising comfort that takes you on an ancient Inca trail called the “Salkantay Inca Trail”, the road less traveled to the lost city of the Incas. The route winds through the Cordillera Vilcabamba, a spectacular Andean mountain range, before plunging into forested canyons. Discover a world surrounded by magical moments which will stay with you far beyond your return home. See why the majestic peaks with their emerald-green glacial lakes inspired awe among the natives who consider them gods.
In a way, we are all like the Inca chaskis, the relay runners who delivered messages along the vast web of footpaths that linked Cusco to the far flung corners of the empire. Following in their footsteps, we too are on a mission, though perhaps a more personal, spiritual one.
En route we take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to a place called Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by vehicle). Here, we begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for everyone to acclimate, while enjoying a beautiful six hour trek. Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – Mt. Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270 m (20,600 ft), the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, we are shown to our rooms and have time to freshen-up, before tea and cookies. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner. Trekking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch en route)
Hiking Level, Moderate Option: Guests who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge by vehicle.
Overnight: at Salkantay Lodge at 3,869 m/12,690 ft
Note: On the evening before this day there will be a briefing with your guide in Cusco. After an early breakfast, we are picked up starting at 7:00 am at your Cusco hotel by a MLP guide and vehicle.
Today we take an acclimatization hike on the slopes above the lodge to Lake Humantay, fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay. The hike is optional, but the views are amazing, and those brave enough can even go for a dip. We return to the lodge for lunch with your afternoon at leisure, after which you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in our outdoor jacuzzi. We spend the night at the Salkantay Lodge with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds. In the evening, the guide briefs us on gear and the itinerary for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge.
Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
Overnight: at Salkantay Lodge at 3,869 m/12,690 ft
This is the big day! After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point on the trek is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 m (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards Wayra Lodge (“Wayra”: wind; from the name of the location “Wayracmachay”: ‘the cave where the wind lives’) our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is served en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge.
Trekking Time: 6–8 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Challenging, crossing a 4,638m (15,213 ft) mountain pass
Overnight: at Wayra Lodge at 3,906 m/12,812 ft
On this day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge. Then we continue our descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery.
and striking orchids. Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge we are greeted with a Pachamanca, a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones. Everything is then covered with hot stones, plantain leaves, high Andean grass and local herbs and the contents are baked in this underground oven. Colpa
jacuzzi has panoramic views of lush green mountains. We spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Trekking Time: 3–4 hours
Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate
Overnight: at Colpa Lodge at 2,870 m/9,414 ft.
Today we hike along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, granadilla, avocado and coffee plantations (said to be the one best organic coffees in the wordl!). A hot picnic lunch is served by the river. After lunch, we hike another hour before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” (aprox. 30 minutes). From the head of the newly restored Inca trail we easily make our way to Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard plantation. On the way we visit and organic coffe plantation where we join the owner on a short tour of the farm and learn how coffee is grown, harvested, dried and processed. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Trekking Time: 5–6 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging (because of distance, not terrain)
Overnight: at Lucma Lodge at 2,135 m/7,003 ft
After a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we come upon a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travelers ever get a chance to admire. We take a short break to explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is served at a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. After which we begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. We then board a train for a scenic ride (approx. 1 hour) to Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, we check into an award-wining hotel for a celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing!
Trekking Time: 4–6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
Overnight: in Aguas Calientes at 1,900 m/6,232 ft
After a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). Our trip leader will give an introductory 2 hour guided tour of the ruins, after which we have the option of climbing the steep staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically quite challenging hike that takes about 2 hours which affords great views of Machu Picchu. Afterwards, we meet up with our guide again and return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch and to catch our train. The ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about 1½ hours, and then a private vehicle will drive us back to Cusco (an additional 1½ hour). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7 or 8 p.m.), we are dropped off at your hotel.
Return to Cusco at 3,360 m/11,021 ft
We recommend that our guests spend at least 2 nights in Cusco prior to departure. This helps with acclimatization to the altitude and also provides an opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Cusco. Travelers can feel the effects of higher altitudes as low as 6000 feet (2000 meters) above sea level. They differ in their tolerance for high altitude conditions and how their bodies react to the changes in air pressure and oxygen level. Therefore we encourage our guests to undergo appropriate preparation by regular cardio-vascular exercise, even if conducted at low elevation, and to adopt a healthy, balanced diet prior to the trip. The best type of training includes aerobic activities like walking, running, swimming or cycling. You need to start out slow and for short periods if you have not trained before.
Eventually work your way up to doing one of these exercises 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes to an hour at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220. While doing this aerobic type of exercise you can throw in one minute intervals of higher intensity in order to push your limits. The lodge-to-lodge trek itinerary is designed to allow everyone to hike at their own pace, with plenty of breaks throughout the day. This is in essence what leads to a successful and enjoyable trek.
Please contact your physician to assess your physical conditions and for his advice on how best to prepare to fully enjoy your trekking experience.
Please, no hard suitcases or wheeled bags
Soft duffel bags and / or backpacks (“soft” luggage) are recommended.
We provide a limited amount of hair-dryers at each lodge, due to limited energy supply and environmental concerns.
Shampoo, conditioners and bath gel are provided at each lodge. • Bathrooms are equipped with drying lines.
Any additional clothing and luggage that you will not be needing on the trek can be stored at your hotel in Cusco.
If you do not have an appropriate sized duffel bag, we can provide a duffel bag on loan at the pre-trek briefing (the night before departure from Cusco). Please return it to your trip leader after the trek.
Though we do not establish a weight limit for luggage or charge for excess baggage, we inform guests that luggage is mainly transported by mules and/or porters along the trail.
We kindly ask that you consider restricting the weight of your luggage on the trail up to 10Kg/22Lbs.
All four mountain lodges have been designed and built in accordance with traditional building techniques, Inca architectural & mythological concepts, and respect for the surrounding environment. The Salkantay Lodge has 12 private double, twin or triple rooms with private bathroom facilities, while the other lodges (Wayra, Colpa, Lucma) have 6 private double, twin or triple rooms, all with private facilities. Salkantay, Wayra, and Colpa lodges have an outdoor jacuzzi. Every lodge guarantees an ample supply of hot water for showers; there are no bathtubs in any of the lodges. Heating ensures the temperature remains a comfortable 68° F (20° C).
Massage Services. We offer professional massage services at all lodges. The cost for a 50-minute massage service is US$60.
Check-In: Signature Account At check-in at the Salkantay Lodge, you will be asked to open a voucher on your credit card for potential extras to be purchased during the trip, such as alcoholic beverages, massage, souvenirs, and others items of personal nature. At the Lucma Lodge (last day of the trek) you will need to settle your bill by charging the credit card previously presented or by paying in cash. If paying in cash, please take note that we only accept notes of US$5, US$10, US$20, and US$50 dollar bills; we do not accept notes of US$1, US$100, or coins. We accept Peruvian currency. If paying with a credit card, please note you will not be able to present a new credit card when settling the bill.
Communications. We offer satellite-based communications at all four lodges along the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu. Due to the satellite-based nature of the system, signal reception may not be guaranteed in cases of continuous or extremely bad weather conditions.
Rural Satellite Phone. Each Lodge has a stationary rural satellite phone which our guests can use. These phones require phone cards that can be purchased at the lodges. International calls can be placed and received. However, we kindly ask to refrain from receiving incoming calls unless in case of an emergency, as a sign of respect and courtesy for other guests. As a reference, a US$10 phone card provides 10 minutes to the US/Canada and 5 minutes to Europe.
Rural Satellite Internet. We believe it’s important for our guests to fully immerse themselves in the unique outdoor and nature experience provided by this trek. However, we understand that the Internet has become a necessary service for some of our guests. Thus, we provide rural wi-fi internet service at all four lodges free of charge. If you decide to bring any electronic devices like laptops, iPads, or others, please keep in mind that you are responsible for their protection.
We recommend appropriate covers for such sensitive devices (water proof, and anti-impact). Also, tell your guide that you are carrying the device so that extra measures can be taken for its protection.
Low Season: US$3,200 (March 1 – 31, November 1 – December 14)
High Season: US$3,700
(April 1 – October 31, December 15 – 31)
Rates are per person for the 7-day/6-night lodge trek program, based on shared accommodations in a twin, double or triple room.