Salkantay inca trail, salkantay inca trail machu picchu! is not same than the classic inca trail hike, it is more. Many countries have mountain ranges with beautiful scenery and Peru itself is richly blessed in this respect with many other areas for hiking. However in the salkantay inca trail the scenery is only one of the elements responsible for the magic of the Salkantay to inca trail. We join two famous treks in Peru in one trek. Can there be a walk anywhere in the world with such a combination of natural and archaeological beauty.
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa.
You will be collected from your hotel early in the morning in a private vehicle, and within two hours we will arrive the small village of mollepata, where we will have breakfast (not included) and can buy some last minute supplies where we will start to hike from the (marqoqasa); the tour guide will explains about the route and also he will introduce all our staff, after start walking about the way that day is will walk up some time, the view is nice from the town to the lunch is 4 hours (sayllapata) and after lunch is another 3 hours to the campsite (soraypampa 3900 msnsm).
Dia 2: Soraypampa – Challhuay.
After climbing 2 – 3 hours on zigzagging switchback up the mountain we will arrive at top, where we can appreciate vizcachas (Andean chinchilla) and a very small lake. After 3 hours you finally arrive at the pass which is the highest point of the trip (4,600 meters / 13451 feet). Here you will find yourself in the middle of two great mountains – Salcantay (6271 m) and Humantay (5850m). Salcantay is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region, and at the pass the mountain itself is very close to you. From here you can also see the mountain Pumasillo (5850m) opposite you, a mountain that can be seen from a different glacial, when you are at Machu Picchu. We descend to Huayracmachay (or Huayrapampa) one hours from the pass to the lunch.
Day 3: Chaullay – La Playa.
(sahuyaco).- After breakfast we descend for an five hours more to the high jungle (known in Spanish as the eyebrow of the jungle, enjoying the landscapes which offer us much natural beautiful. We cross the river and as we are walking along the left hand side of the river “alto Salcantay”) to the “eyebrow of the jungle”, where we can see orchids, bromeliads, typical vegetation of the area and we will see different types of birds, insects and butterflies. In comparison to the previous days of the trek, this is easy walking as we descend slowly for 3 hours to la playa (2050m). As we lose altitude we will see citrus fruit trees, avocados, banana, and coffee plants. 5 hours hike to an altitude of 1900 metres / 6232 feet; after hiking we will get lunch in la playa, after that will get car to Santa Teresa.
Dia 4: Playa Sahuyaco – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes.
You have two options here, depending on your interest and fitness. You should discuss each with your guide. You should also be aware that Salcantay is the second most touristic route in the Salcantay region and inevitably this means you will encounter other people (it’s not a “wilderness”).
Important note: the following options are decided by “group majority” – if you are joining a “trekkers wanted” group then decisions will be made by the group at your briefing or on the trail. An advantage of forming your own, private group is that you can nominate ahead of time which option you wish to select.
1. Will go in by car to Santa Teresa in there you will enjoy in the hot sprint (aguas calientes) and sleep in that place; in the next day commtinios walk to aguas calientes.
2. Adventurer’s option. We leave early and climb for about three hours through the jungle before descending to the interesting, but largely covered ruins of Llactapata. Don’t let your guide talk you out of this! Yes, its three hours climb, but it is also a very interesting introduction to Machu Picchu! Originally discovered by Hiram Bingham at the same time that he discovered Machu Picchu, modern day explorers Vincent Lee and Gary Ziegler recently established that these ruins are much bigger and more important than previously thought. From here we have our first view of Machu Picchu, in the saddle of the mountain opposite. We descend very steeply on a muddy track for two hours to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric System where we will have lunch and visit an Inca ruin. After this, we will walk for 2.5 hours more along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.
3. We no include in the price of your tour a train ticket from the hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes ($25) but the train leaves at 4: 30 pm, and you arrive in Aguas Calientes about one hour later, when you are transferred to your hotel. If you want to walk all the way to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) its 2.5 hours more along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Caliente. Some people like this option, because it’s the closest you can get to walking to Machu Picchu (apart from the actual Inca Trail) and it’s also nice to walk along, looking up at the ruins of Machu Picchu. Other people prefer the train. You need to talk to your guide and decide what is the most appropriate option for you is. If you decide to walk along the tracks, your $18 pays for your duffel bags to go on the train.
Dia 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco.
Early in the morning (before dawn) we will take a bus up to the ruins of Machu Picchu. (Bus included in price) so that you can appreciate this famous city in the dawn light and before the crowds arrive. You will then have a 2.5 hour guided tour of Machu Picchu with your guide. After your tour you can further explore the ruins by yourself or climb Huayna (WaynaPicchu) for that classic photo of Machu Picchu. (You need to specify if you would like to climb Huayna Picchu at the time of booking, it costs $10 extra) also try to fit in a visit to the temple of the moon or Huayna Picchu while visiting Huayna Picchu.
If you don’t get to do Huayna Picchu, other options are:
1. Inti Punku (Gate of the sun) this is the location where the classic Inca trail arrives.
2. Inca Bridge
3. Machu Picchu Mountain.
We highly recommend walking down from Machu Picchu to get a feeling for the vegetation and also the audacity of its builders. It’s a 1.5 hour walk back to the village of Aguas Calientes. We return to Cusco in the afternoon by the backpacker train (leaves either at 2.30pm or 6pm) and are met by a driver at Ollantaytambo who will transfer you directly back to your hotel. You will arrive in Cusco approximately 4 hours after your train’s departure from Aguas.