The Salkantay Trek that leads to the ruins of Machu Picchu is the best option for those who wish to be in contact with great Andean nature and visit remote villages less known and seldom visited by tourist. By taking this excursion visitors will really get off the beating track, avoiding less crowded environments and will enjoy along the way wonderful landscapes and fine Inca buildings. Without a doubt the trek of Salkantay is the best alternative to reach the great Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, after the famous Inka Trail. Walk back in time and feel the magic of Machu Picchu exploring its temples and don't leave Machu Picchu without climbing the popular Wayna Picchu Mountain, a gigantic rock that appears in every classic photo of Machu Picchu.
Photo Gallery: Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.
Program: 5 days - 4 nights
Day 1°: Bus ride from Cusco to Mollepata – Camping at Soraypampa.
Our customers are picked up from their hotels at 5:00 hrs, and then are conducted for about 4 hours northwest towards the Apurimac Valley, till we reach the little village of Mollepata, located at 2800 metres above sea level. During the ride visitors will have the chance to see the sunrise over the Salkantay Snow Mountain (6271 m), an impressive view you will never forget. Once we had reached Mollepata zone hikers will have lunch and then will get ready to start this unique journey towards the lost city of Machu Picchu. From this point we will start to ascend winding valleys full of shrub vegetation, where hummingbirds are seen frequently. The expedition will be supported by a group of porters and horses at this point. After approximately 5 hours we will reach the zone of Soraypampa (3850 m), where we will pitch our tents, have dinner and spend the night. This will be the coldest place on the trail, so we strongly suggest bringing warm clothes for this chilli night.
Day 2°: Soraypampa - Colcapampa.
Soon after breakfast, we leave the campsite of Soraypampa and continue our hike. On this day we will walk up hill for a few hours, seeing along the way the impressive Umantay Snow-capped Mountain and a beautiful lagoon called Yanacocha. Eventually we will reach the highest pass of the trail, at 4600 metres above sea level, located between the Salkantay Mountain and the Tukarhuay Mountain. From this point we will be able to see the Andean Mountain Range, with a series of glaciers around. Afterwards we will descend, stopping along the trail for lunch, and later on we will continue descending towards Colcapampa, an area with a tropical climate, located at 2850 metres above sea level. At this point we will pitch again our tents, and afterwards we will have dinner. Overnight in Colcapampa.
Day 3°: Colcapampa – The Beach – Santa Teresa.
Early in the morning our porters will wake you up, and then you will have breakfast. Later on we carry on our hike towards Lluscamayu. The scenery on this section of the trail offers lush vegetation, passing native communities, beautiful waterfalls, agricultural fields of coffee, and some fruits, typical of these regions. After at the place called La Playa (The Beach), where visitors will have some free time to refresh at the shore of the river. Later on we will take a truck that will take us from La Playa to Santa Teresa. Overnight at the campsite of Santa Teresa.
Day 4°: Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric Station – Aguas Calientes
After breakfast, we will start with a short walk of approximately one hour till the zone called La Oroya, where we will cross the Urubamba River. On the other side of the river there will be a truck waiting for our group, this truck will take to the hydroelectric station of Machu Picchu modern town, also called Aguas Calientes (a town located beneath the ancient Sanctuary of Machu Picchu). At this tropical spot our group will have lunch, and afterwards will head to the rail road to wait for the train that will take us to Aguas Calientes. This is a popular resting place for those who do the Salkantay Trek, here you may recover in the hostel provided by our Agency, or go up to relax at the Hot Springs ( thus it’s name Aguas Calientes) located on the upper section of the town. Aguas Calientes has developed quite well in the last years, thus, today you can find here internet access, bunch of restaurants and pubs, ATM machines and souvenirs shops utterly everywhere. Overnight at the designated hostel at Aguas Calientes.
Day 5°: Welcome to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
At around 5:30 am, soon after breakfast we will take the local bus that will take us up to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. In a matter of 20 minutes we will have arrived in Machu Picchu. (It is a good idea to come to the ruins early, as there are no many people, only a few groups, the ruins get very busy at around 11:00 am, when the local train arrive with more visitors).
Once here, our guide will show us the most important sectors of this great Inca City, such as the Intiwatana (Solar Clock), the Sun Temple, The urban sector, the agricultural sector, among others.
Machu Picchu was long thought to be legendary. Then in 1911, the explorer Hiram Bingham stumbled upon it remains. But while the walls and chambers have been extensively studied in the years since, the purpose of this ancient site remains unclear.
Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
The guided tour in Machu Picchu will last about 2 hours, and afterwards you will have free time to explore the ruins on your own, and if you wish, you might climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain, the huge mountain that appears on the background in every classic picture of Machu Picchu. It takes about one hour or so to get to the top, following very steep stairs, though is a little hard, at the top you will be rewarded with one of the most impressive views in your lifetime. Later on, we will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, where we will have lunch and also where we catch the train back to Cusco. At Aguas Calientes, if you wish, you can go to relax in the thermal baths. The hot springs are located on the upper section of the village; visitors may ask their local guide how to get there. Finally, at around 4:00 pm, we take the train to the city of Cusco, arriving there after nightfall. Overnight at the designated hotel in Cusco. End of the tour.
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