Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu

About the Experience

The Salkantay experience is a unique opportunity to witness ancient history in the land of the Incas! Discover the most interesting and exotic variety of flora and fauna, all in the company of new friends and like-minded souls.

This lodge to lodge trekking experience will take you on a historic section of Inca trail through 15 different eco-systems, while you traverse a mountain pass at 4600 meters /15090 ft. Explore villages where locals still maintain age-old traditions and re-discover the mystical beauty of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire!

 

 

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Salkantay Lodge to Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu

About the Experience

The Salkantay experience is a unique opportunity to witness ancient history in the land of the Incas! Discover the most interesting and exotic variety of flora and fauna, all in the company of new friends and like-minded souls.

This lodge to lodge trekking experience will take you on a historic section of Inca trail through 15 different eco-systems, while you traverse a mountain pass at 4600 meters /15090 ft. Explore villages where locals still maintain age-old traditions and re-discover the mystical beauty of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire!

 

 

DAY ONE: ARRIVAL

Upon arrival in Cuzco, our guide will meet you at the lobby of your hotel at 2:30 PM for your Wild Women Orientation. Then we’ll participate in a Bean to Bar Chocolate Workshop where you learn to make Peruvian chocolate! At the workshop, you will be able to learn the entire chocolate-making process starting with the cocoa tree from the Peruvian jungle and the beans.

After the workshop, we’ll have a welcome dinner at a nice restaurant.

  • Overnight: Hotel El Mercado

 

DAY TWO: SACRED VALLEY

Immerse yourself in the contemporary culture and outstanding Inca sites of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. You will leave Cusco early in the morning to explore the Pisac ruins. The ruins are some of the finest and largest in the entire valley. Despite the excellent condition of many of the structures, there is little known about the site’s actual purpose. It appears to have been part city, part ceremonial center, and part military complex. It might have been a royal estate of the Inca emperor (Pachacútec). From here we can return by road or if time permits, we can hike down to the village on a well-maintained trail that winds its way through extensive terracing reaching Modern Pisac, a picturesque Andean Village, typical except for the huge, spreading Pisonary tree that dominates the central square.

In the afternoon, the group will drive up a side valley to visit the remote village of Accha Alta. At the weaving cooperative, you’ll meet with women who continue to weave on their backstrap looms, using locally-sourced vegetable dyes with patterns rooted in the landed cultural tradition. Learn how young girls are taught to spin and weave as soon as they are old enough to care for the animals in the fields. Spinning and weaving become, in equal measure, an expression of their individual identity and of their membership in their community.

Before dinner, the group will participate in an offering to the Pacha Mama (Mother Earth) before enjoying local cuisine.

  • Overnight: Casa Andina Sacred Valley

 

DAY THREE: SACRED VALLEY TO SORAYPAMPA

After an early breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco. The first stop will be a visit to the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site. Next, you will stop in the mountain village of Mollepata. There you will visit El Pedregal, a beautiful farmhouse where you can learn about local agriculture and livestock and enjoy a typical lunch. Then, the transfer will take you through a winding mountain road to a site called Challacancha. Here you will begin your hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path), which is also a good opportunity to acclimate to the higher altitude. As you round final turn to the Camino Real, the Salkantay Lodge will come into view.

  • Trekking Time: Approx 3 hours
  • Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate
  • Optional: Guests who do not wish to walk may be taken to the lodge by vehicle.
  • Overnight: Salkantay Lodge

 

DAY FOUR: HIKE TO HUMANTAY LAKE

Day four presents another opportunity to gauge your altitude-acclimatization with a half-day hike to Lake Humantay. After breakfast, you begin an ascent up the slopes that border the plateau behind the Salkantay Lodge. An hour and a half later, after making your way over the final hill, you will be stunned to see the turquoise water of the lake, made even more spectacular by the sight of the Humantay glacier looming behind it. Here you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquillity of this magical spot and be part of a traditional offering to “Pachamama” (Mother Earth).

After your descent back to the lodge, the staff will be waiting with a hot lunch. The second half of your day is spent at leisure. You may opt to soak in the Jacuzzi, indulge in a relaxing massage or even take a long nap.

  • Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours
  • Hiking Level: Moderate
  • Optional activities: (At an additional cost)
  • Chakana Excursion: 5–6 h. horseback/trekking combo to a nearby high viewpoint, where a huge Inca cross (chakana) has been placed (1-2 h. riding on a steep hillside). This excursion will replace the hike to the glacial lake.
  • Short Excursion: 2 hours ride around Soraypampa in the afternoon (after hiking to glacial lake).
  • Overnight: Salkantay Lodge

Note: While the morning hike to Lake Humantay is optional, we strongly recommend your participation in preparation for the strenuous hike on day five.

 

DAY FIVE: CROSSING THE SALKANTAY PASS  

After an early start, you hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. As you gradually make your way up these mountain trails, you will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of your ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take you to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek (4,636 m/15,213 ft). What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog.

After a very welcome hot picnic lunch, you will continue down through bucolic rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus as you take your final steps to the Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay.

  • Trekking Time: 6–8 hours (including lunch)
  • Hiking Level: Challenging, crossing a 4,638m (15,213ft) mountain pass
  • Overnight: Wayra Lodge

 

DAY SIX: INTO THE CLOUD FOREST

After a leisurely breakfast at the Wayra Lodge, you continue the descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through the increasingly verdant scenery. The warm air begins to rise from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colourful butterflies and striking orchids. Today you will see more of the local people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences.

At lunchtime, you will arrive at Colpa Lodge, located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers. You are greeted by the staff with a Pachamanca lunch, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven. After lunch, spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor jacuzzi while you take in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround you.

  • Trekking Time: 3–4 hours.
  • Hiking Level: Easy to moderate.
  • Optional Activity: Afternoon bike from Manchayhuaycco to Collpapampa. You will descend through a beautiful valley in which you will admire the diverse cloud forest vegetation through the slopes of the valley.
  • Duration: 3hrs approximately
  • Level: Easy. This activity has an additional cost.
  • Overnight: Colpa Lodge at 2,870 m/9,414 ft.

 

DAY SEVEN: SANTA TERESA RIVER VALLEY

Today you will hike in the Santa Teresa River valley where you will hop over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and cross through fruit orchards. After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will walk for one hour before we meet an MLP vehicle for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” that leads us to Lucma Lodge.

On the way, you will visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in that area that produces some of the best organic coffee in the world. You will also begin to notice another shift in the climate. Here in Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are even closer to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.

  • Trekking Time: 5–6 hours (including lunch)
  • Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging (because of distance, not terrain)
  • Overnight: Lucma Lodge at 2,135 m/7,003 ft.

 

DAY EIGHT: EXPLORING LLACTAPATA PASS

During a 2-3 hour climb up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps, you will get a sense of what hiking through the rainforest would be like. A lush treeline creates green canopies overhead and the constant sound of rushing water suggests that the river is still nearby. Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects you to Machu Picchu.

When you arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974 ft), you will be delighted to see a southeast view of the “back” of the Machu Picchu ruins, a sight few travellers ever get a chance to admire. At this point, you will also take a short break to explore Llactapata, and then have lunch a bit farther down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views.

The final descent toward the roaring Aobamba River takes you through lush bamboo forests, as well as more fruit orchards and coffee plantations until you end the day’s hike at the Hidroelectrica train station. A one-hour scenic train ride delivers you to your final stop, the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.

  • Trekking Time: 4–6 hours
  • Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
  • Train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes:  1 hour
  • Overnight: Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel

 

DAY NINE: MACHU PICCHU THE SANCTUARY

At dawn, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you.

Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.

  • Huayna Picchu Hike: 10 am (subject to availability)
  • Note: Huayna Picchu Mountain tickets are subject to availability.
  • Overnight: Inkaterra Pueblo

 

DAY TEN: CUSCO

Morning train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and transfer to Cusco. Spend the afternoon exploring the city before your final trip dinner with everybody.

  • Train: 3 – 4 hours approx

 

DAY ELEVEN: DEPARTURE DAY

Book your flights home for any time today. Airport transfer included.  If you are going to stay for the Amazon extension, please book a morning flight to Puerto Maldonado.

 


 

AMAZON RAINFOREST LODGE EXTENSION (4 DAYS)


Want to stay on for a few extra days of adventure to explore the Amazon? Stay in Peru for 4 more days based at an eco-lodge by Tambopata National Reserve! Cost is $895USD per person. Space subject to availability.

Our Amazon lodge is located four hours by motorized canoe from the Puerto Maldonado airport. The Refugio Amazonas lodge is located in a 200-hectare private reserve within the buffer zone of the Tambopata National Reserve. Please note that flights are not included in the Amazon extension price. You will have to purchase a morning flight from Cusco to Puerto Maldonado on the last day of your Inca Trail trip. On the fourth day of your Amazon extension, you will have to book an afternoon flight from Puerto Maldonado-Cusco. Your extension will be a “choose your own adventure” trip. There will be an À la Carte menu of different activities each day.

 

DAY ONE: JOURNEY TO TAMBOPATA

Upon arrival in Puerto Maldonado, you will be greeted by one or more of the guides from Rainforest Expeditions and then taken to a waiting vehicle.

After taking care of luggage, we take a 40-minute drive (with our boxed lunch) to the Infierno Community Port where we board long, sturdy canoes equipped with outboard motors and head upstream to Refugio Amazonas.

The three-hour boat ride is pleasant and often includes our first sightings of macaws, heron, caiman and capybara. Once the boat arrives at the lodge dock, you will have officially arrived into the wild rainforests of Tambopata!

Settle into your room and relax before dinner.

  • Overnight: Twin Superior Room

 

DAY TWO-THREE: AMAZON RAINFOREST

Immerse yourself in the Amazon Rainforest! Choose daily from the options below:

  • Claylicks – Take a boat trip to the Chuncho Clay Lick inside the Tambopata National Reserve to see macaws descend to eat clay lick on clear mornings.

 

  • Discover a New Species  – Join the lodge resident and help him collect insects that will be genetically sequenced. Every month, a lucky guest discovers a new tiger-moth, scorpion-wasp, caddisfly or treehopper species that are new to science!

 

  • Canopy Tower – The 30-meter scaffolding canopy tower gives you spectacular views of the vast expanses of standing forest. You will have good chances of spotting toucans, parrots, macaws or mixed species canopy flocks.

 

  • Camera Trapping at a Mammal Clay Lick – Configure camera traps at a nearby mammal clay lick and download wildlife photos from the past few days to help scientists find out what is present at The Big Grid, our 288-kilometre trail system experiment.

 

  • Life in the Rainforest – Visit a working jungle farm and a real Brazil nut concession to learn about the way of life in the rainforest. You will taste exotic tropical fruits and discover medicinal plants from the neighbouring local families that we are helping integrate into the ecotourism industry.

 

  • Ox Bow Lake – We will paddle around the Lake Condenado on a catamaran, looking for wildlife such a hoatzin, caiman or horned screamers.

 

  • Natural Construction Rooms – Bedrooms open out onto the surrounding rainforest, allowing you to enjoy this diverse ecosystem even during downtime, with wild animals, including monkeys, often visible from the lodge. The dining room is a huge open building with a loft on the second story for an eye-level view of the surrounding rainforest canopy.

 

  • Adventure in Nature – Kayak and Stand-Up Paddle on the Tambopata River and rappel to a Canopy Platform.

 

  • Wired Amazon Science Lab – You will be able to hang out with resident biologists as they peer through a stereoscope to properly identify insect specimens before mounting them and sending them off to the University of Guelph for genetic sequencing.

 

  • Wellness Centre – Enjoy massages and aromatherapy at the wellness centre.

 

  • Overnight: Twin Superior Room

 

DAY FOUR: DEPARTURE

Catch either the 7:00 am or 8:00 am departure from the Lodge to Puerto Maldonado. Load up the canoe and motor back to civilization. You will be driven to the airport where you will retrieve your luggage and catch your departing flight to Lima or Cusco.

  • Overnight: Not included

 

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