The Hidden Valleys of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

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Overview

This exclusive trek is one we have put together in order to capture the beauty, remoteness, and solitude of the Andes. It is a different, unique, and pristine version of the Classic Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. Discover the southern face of this spectacular Apu Salkantay, “Wild Mountain Spirit”, which is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range. Andean mountain dwellers hold a strong belief that mountains are powerful deities, which guard and protect the communities that live on and near them. The magic and power of the Andes mountains will soak into your bones as you traverse these little-known mountain paths.

This is truly the “road less travelled”. You will absorb the remoteness and solitude of the area, striding across Andean valleys and encountering Inca stone ruins, seemingly a part of the natural landscape. We’ll hike near remote communities and run into the women and children who live their lives in this isolated region, as they watch over their herds. We’ll challenge our endurance by hiking over a spectacular pass to face snow-capped Mt. Salkantay, and finally descend along the edge of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Marvel at the remains of ancient homes, walls, and Inca stairs at the little-known ruins of Huayna Q´ente and Machu Q´ente, apparently one with their natural surroundings. Both sites have been recently restored and get very few visitors. On Day 4, we’ll meet up with our private transportation and head for Ollantaytambo, where we’ll board the train to visit the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu on the last day.

Location

Cusco

Duration

5 Days / 4 Nights

Season

March – December

Departures

Every Wednesday

Private Departures

On Request

Difficulty

1 2 3 4 5

Itinerary

Day 1 Cusco -Sacred Valley - Limatambo - Tinko

From Cusco, we drive toward Limatambo, past the Tika Tika Pass where we will attain our first views of majestic Mount Salkantay and Humantay on the horizon, before crossing the Anta plateau. Driving past breathtaking panoramas of this vibrant agricultural region with views of rugged snowcapped peaks in the background, we will arrive at the ruins of Tarawasi. After a visit to this important Inca ceremonial center, with its long asymmetrical stone walls, we will continue our drive toward the trailhead at the village of Tomacaya, where we’ll begin our trek.

This day’s hiking is all uphill. As we are approaching the heights, we’ll observe how the ecosystem changes with the altitude, starting in a relatively warm, sheltered valley where crops of fruits and vegetables thrive, then onto higher plateaus where native potatoes are grown. Finally, as we reach our campsite, we’ll observe herds of sheep and camelids grazing the high meadows.
Sleep surrounded by a stream and side valleys in our campsite at Tinko (4154 masl / 13,628 fasl).
(L / D)

Day 2Tinko - Tocto Pass - Pampacahuana - Mirador

Leaving Tinkoc, we will head up the valley and take the left side of the trail to begin a long uphill climb toward the pass. As the day warms up during our climb, we may see some Andean bird species, including Condors as they prepare to fly high above the mountains. After 3-4 hours of steady climbing, we will arrive at the Tocto Pass (4,900m / 16,072 ft.) where we will enjoy incredible views of the south face of Mt. Salkantay while enjoying the solitude that comes with knowing that there are almost no other tourists around. We begin our descent along the Pampacahua Valley toward our campsite at Mirador Pampaccahuana at 4,000 m (13,120 ft.) all the time accompanied by amazing views of the eastern face Mount Salkantay. If the weather cooperates, we will have wonderful views of Mount Salkantay up the valley to our left and Mount Veronica down the valley toward our right.

Sleep surrounded by the Mt. Salkantay in our Pampacahuana campsite (3902 masl).
Trekking distance: 14.20km – Time: 8:00 hrs

Day 3 Mirador de Pampacahuana - Paucarcancha - Llactapata - Chamana

We will say goodbye to the views of Mount Salcantay and continue our hike downhill along an ancient Inca canal flowing down the center of the Pampacahua valley, with small settlements of farmers spotting the landscape. At the end of the valley, we start to see more vegetation as we descend past the treeline before arriving in Paucarcancha, remote Inca site at the confluence of the Pampacahua and Q´esca valleys where we will stop for lunch. After a short visit we will continue downhill and join the first stretch of famed Inca Trail down toward Chamana, a private campsite in front of the Llactapata ruins at 2,600m (8,530 ft.).

Campsite at Chamana (2585 masl).
Trekking distance: 17.00km – Time: 7:00 hrs

Day 4 Chamana - Huayna Qente - Piscaycucho - Ollantaytambo

At this point, we will be on the edge of the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary. After visiting the ruins of Huayna Q’ente, with its amazing Inca terraces and impressive landscaping, we will leave the National Sanctuary through the town of Qoriwairachina and head towards Piscacucho, where the main entrance to the Inca Trail is located. The trail will take us alongside the Vilcanota River and through several more ancient archaeological sites. In fact, this is the same path that Hiram Bingham used when he was first led to Machu Picchu by local people living here in 1911. From here, we’ll travel by car to Ollantaytambo, and then take the afternoon train to the village of Machu Picchu, where we’ll spend the night before visiting the magical citadel of Machu Picchu on Day 5. Dinner on your own.
(B / L)

Bus ride: 15.6 km (9.7 mi) – Time: 30 min
Train ride: 32 km (19.9 mi) – Time: 2 hours
Trekking distance: 15.1 km (10.44 mi) – Time: 7 hours

Day 5 Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco

After an early breakfast, a quick, half-hour bus ride brings us up the road to the gates of Machu Picchu where we’ll enjoy a guided three-hour tour of this ancient hilltop citadel. Exploring the various sectors and entering some of the houses and temples will bring these iconic ruins to life for us. As we immerse in this mystical place, we’ll feel that we’ve entered a dream of ancient times. Wandering among these ancient manmade structures blended seamlessly into natural surroundings, will leave us with a sense of wonder and reverence, and gift us with memories to savor for years to come.

In the afternoon, we’ll return to the village where a train will take us back to Ollantaytambo. On-board entertainment, snacks, and hot and cold refreshments are available. Arrival in the Ollantaytambo train station, where we will be picked up and driven back to the city of Cusco.
(B / L)

Bus ride to Machu Picchu (RT): 12.4 km (7.7 mi) – Time: 1 hour
Bus ride Ollantaytambo to Cusco: 79 km (49 mi) – Time: 2 hours
Train ride: 32 km (19.9 mi) – Time: 2 hours
Trekking distance: visit Machu Picchu – Time: 3 hours
End of services

Additional information:
If you wish, you can add the Inca Trail Express to the Hidden Valleys of Salkantay Trek. In this case, you stay in a hotel in Ollantaytambo on day 4 and catch up with our fixed departure of the Inca Trail Express the next morning. You take the train to Km 104 with the new group and guide and walk from there to Inti Punku, the sun gate, where we have the first view on Machu Picchu. We walk down to the citadel and take the bus to Machu Picchu Village. We stay one night at a hotel and the next day we take the bus up to Machu Picchu again, this time for the guided visit. After lunch, we take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where a vehicle picks you up and takes you to Cusco. This combined experience would have a length of 6 days.

B- Breakfast / BL- Box Lunch / L- Lunch / D- Dinner

Gallery
INCLUDED
NOT INCLUDED
WHAT TO TAKE

– Transportation
– Professional bilingual guide
– Bus ticket Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu Village (round trip)
– Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
– Guided tour in Machu Picchu
– Lunch in Machu Picchu Village on day 5
– All meals during trek
– Non-alcoholic drinks
– Kitchen and dining tents
– Cook and field staff
– Horses and drivers
– Entrance tickets
– Solar energy lamps
– Eco toilets
– Adequate garbage disposal
– First aid kit and oxygen tank

– Hotel in Machu Picchu Village
– Train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Village and from Machu Picchu Village to Cusco
– Personal travel insurance
– Dinner in Machu Picchu Village on Day 4
– Laundry service
– Airline tickets
– Sleeping bags (rent available)
– Personal gear
– Alcoholic beverages
– Additional services
– Tips
– Extras

– Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
– Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
– Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
– QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
– Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
– Liner gloves
– Light cap and beany
– Rain jacket (in the rainy season, bring rain pants)
– Breathable sports socks or hiking socks
– Warm socks for nights
– Swimsuit
– Multifunctional headwear (e.g. Buff)
– Waterproof and breathable hiking boots
– Comfortable and lightweight shoes for campsite
– Sleeping Bag (0°/32° to -15°/ 5°) (rent available)
– Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
– Trekking Poles (available to rent)
– Waterproof duffle bag
– Sunglasses
– Headlamp
– Microfiber towel
– Sunblock, lip balm, and insect repellent
– Reusable water bottle or vacuum bottle
– Portable Power Bank (to charge lamps, etc)
– Personal First Aid Kit (recommended)

Personal First-Aid Kit On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.

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Dates
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09/10/201913/10/2019The Hidden Valleys of the Salkantay Trek to Machu PicchuTwo more to open
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08/11/202012/11/2020The Hidden Valleys of the Salkantay Trek to Machu PicchuTwo more to open
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