The Other Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

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Explore the Salkantay region on this off the beaten track trek to Machu Picchu. Step away from the crowds and discover the southern face of this spectacular mountain as you walk through Andean Valleys. Encounter Inca sites, remote indigenous communities and shepherds caring for their livestock.

Challenge yourself hiking over high altitude passes to face breathtaking Apu Salkantay and descent along the end of Machu Picchu Sanctuary. It is possible to connect with the one-day Inca Trail and enter the Machu Picchu citadel via Intipunku, the Sun Gate. This short tour includes a fully guided overview of Machu Picchu to discover the different sectors and learn about the Inca traditions, an important era in Peruvian history.

 

Overview

Duration

5 Days / 4 Nights

Season

March – December

Departures

Every Wednesday

Itinerary

Day 1 – Cusco or Sacred Valley – Limatambo – Tinko

Depart from either Cusco or the Sacred Valley and drive towards the Pampa de Anta, with great views in the distance of Salkantay and the Cordillera Vilcabamba. Descend to the Limatambo Valley, a tributary of the Apurimac river with a visit to the site of Tarawasi. Continue to the community of Tomacaya (3410m/11,190ft) for the start of our trek.

The first day is mostly uphill with the ecosystem changing from a warm and bushy valley that produces fruit and vegetables to the overnight campsite in the high meadows surround by sheep, llamas and alpacas. Sleep in Tinko surrounded by snow clad mountains at an altitude of 4155m (13,630ft). (L/D)

Trekking distance: 11.4 km – Time: approx. 5 hours

Day 2 – Tinko – Cruzqasa or Tocto Pass - Mirador de Pampacahuana

Early departure for the morning trek towards the Pass of Cruzqasa at 4580m (15,025ft). Trek through high pampas to the pass with a slow descent towards the Pampaccahua Valley traversing a high valley to our campsite for the night with spectacular views towards Apu Salkantay.

Depending on the group and the guides judgement, we may take a more strenuous, alternative route via Tocto Pass (4830m/15,850ft) which involved a steep ascent through a canyon valley. Here a group of condors normally fly from their nest at Rumipunku (Stone mountain) to Moyo-Moyo as they search for the warmth of the sun and food.

At the pass we have a spectacular view of Salkantay mountain. A gentle trek along the Sisaypampa river, on the border of the Machu Picchu National Park takes us to where our picnic lunch awaits. Our campsite for the night is at Mirador de Pampacahuana (the Balcony) at 4000m (13,125ft). (B/L/D)

Trekking distance: 14.2km – Time: approx. 8 hours

Day 3 – Mirador de Pampacahuana - Paucarcancha - Llactapata - Chamana

Wake up to views of the snow-capped mountains of Salkantay and La Veronica and enjoy a hearty breakfast. Today’s trek is mostly downhill towards the Sacred Valley with a stop at Paucarcancha for lunch. Paucarcancha is an important Inca tambo at the confluence of the Q´esca and the Sisaypampa rivers.

In the afternoon, we will arrive at our campsite in Chamana (2630m/8,630ft), in front of Llactapata, an important archaeological complex of ancient agricultural terraces and strategic storage point for corn. Relax at the campsite before the final day of trekking. (B/L/D)

Trekking distance: 14km – Time: approx. 7 hours

Day 4 – Chamana – Piscaycucho – Machu Picchu

After a relaxed breakfast and enjoying the sounds of nature, we visit Llactapata archaeological site and then continue our hike behind the Vilcanota river towards Piscaycucho (2750m/9020ft), where we will have our picnic lunch.

After lunch, arrive at the train station for an afternoon train to Machu Picchu, a scenic ride along the Urubamba Valley. Arrive at Aguas Calientes train station (2580m/8465ft) and walk to our hotel for the evening. (B/L/D)

Trekking distance: 8.5km – Time: approx. 3 hours

OPTIONAL, DAY 4 – From Chamana campsite, cross the Urubamba River bridge for an early pick up at Qoriwayrachina by train to Chachabamba, KM104, the start of the short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Hike slowly uphill for about 5 hours passing Wiñay Wayna ruins before reaching Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) for a spectacular view over the magical citadel of Machu Picchu.

Day 5 – Machu Picchu – Cusco or Sacred Valley

As the sun rises over the magical citadel of Machu PIcchu, soak up the spectacular view of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the different sectors, as you guide explains the importance of each area alongside an insight into Inca history. The tour takes approximately 3 hours, followed by lunch at either the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge or in Aguas Calientes village.

Afternoon train to Ollantaytambo or Poroy with transfer to your next hotel. (B/L)

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SERVICES INCLUDED
NOT INCLUDED
  • All transportation
  • Meals as specified
  • Tents and thermarests
  • Bilingual Guide
  • All entrance fees
  • First Aid Kit and Oxygen
  • Emergency horses.
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Tips
  • Any extras not specified.
  • Why should you tour with us?

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