Get back to nature on our 5-day hike through the Classic Salkantay Trek. Spend the night in a dome and be rewarded by the impressive Andean sights, the lush greenery, and snow-capped mountains along one of the most famous trails to the legendary “Lost City of the Incas” Machu Picchu, where you’ll take a complete guided tour surrounded by superb architecture and panoramic views.
Get ready for this once-in-a-lifetime experience! You’ll depart Cusco after an early pickup at 4:00 a.m., for a 3-hour scenic drive to stop at the village of Mollepata for a short brief and have an optional breakfast. We’ll then reach the trailhead of Challacancha. Here you’ll meet the expert horsemen and trek team, and stretch your legs before the hike. Start a moderate walk as you experience this first-day adventure, falling in love with the majestic beauty of the snow-capped mountains that embellish the scenery, and get a first glimpse of the renowned Salkantay (6,264m./20,551ft.).
At Soraypampa you’ll get settled in at the exclusive Sky Camp and have time at leisure for lunch. After a break, you’ll have the option to take a 3-hour hike up to the famed Humantay Lake, tucked away in the bottom of the stunning peak of Humantay Glacier. Camp for the night at one of the Sky Domes, sleeping under a spectacular star show through the glass.
• Difficulty: Moderate • Distance covered: 12 km / 7.45 mi • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Today you’ll wake up with the sunlight to enjoy breakfast and hot drinks, and start the hike towards the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay Pass (4,600m./15,092ft.) reached by a 7-kilometer path and over 3 hours through a steep but rewarding ascent.
On top, you’ll feel blessed to witness the stunning views of the snow-capped Salkantay (6,264m./20,551ft.) towering right in front of you. This is considered a sacred divinity in Andean Culture (Apu) and no wonder why! You’ll spend some time admiring the surrounding views and the Salkantay turquoise water lagoon. After you’ve soaked in the ethereal beauty of nature, you will begin the descend watching the dramatic changes in vegetation and ecosystem. We will set up our camp at the Andean Huts of the village of Chaullay within the premises of the lush Cloud Forest. Enjoy dinner out included at leisure.
• Difficulty: Challenging • Distance covered: 22 km / 13.67 mi • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
The third day will be to admire the region’s unique flora and fauna, walking through the Santa Teresa Valley, loaded with lush forests, rivers, waterfalls, and a wide variety of orchids, bromeliads, and many other endemic plants. You’ll also encounter plantations such a coffee, cocoa, bananas, and fruit trees cultivated by the local families of the area.
At La Playa, you’ll enjoy an open-air lunch before heading to Lucmabamba, the place of our campsite. In the afternoon, you’ll meet a local’s family organic farm to spend time learning about the labor-intensive process of making coffee, on how it comes from the tree to your cup. Feel free to ask the locals as many questions as you can, and delight yourself with the aromatic smell of freshly brewed coffee.
Settle down and relax at the campsite, you’ll spend a restful night after dinner at one of the Jungle Domes overlooking the lush greenery of the Cloud Forest and feel the joy of hearing the exotic music of nature.
• Difficulty: Moderate • Distance covered: 18 km /11.18 mi • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
After enjoying breakfast, you’ll begin hiking through part of the famous Inca Trail in order to arrive at the beautiful archaeological site of Llactapata (2,650m./8,694ft.). Uncovering breathtaking scenery along the way, the hike will feel like it takes no time at all. Enjoy the sights of flora, and be enlightened with a rich history as you find more evidence of the Inca culture. From this point, you’ll have some exceptional and first glance views over the Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu as well as the dazzling Vilcanota Canyon beneath your feet.
Following a 2-hour downhill hike, we will stop for lunch at Aobamba and head in the direction of the Hydroelectric train station for a deserved break. Here, you’ll decide if you’re feeling energetic enough to continue the trail alongside the railway or embark on the train towards Aguas Calientes town where you’ll dine and spend a restful night in a hostel.
• Difficulty: Moderate/Challenging • Distance covered: 18 km /11.2 mi • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
This is the day you’ve been waiting for! You’ll wake up early enough to beat the crowds and board the bus that crosses the famous Hiram Bingham road to Machu Picchu (2,400m./7,874ft.). Arriving at the Citadel at around 6:00 am, you’ll set off with your expert guide and enjoy a complete 2-hour tour of the site, learning about the fascinating secrets of the Inca Empire, and exploring its many nooks such as the famous Sundial, the terrace fields, temples, and much more.
Add more adventure to your tour by taking the challenging but worthy hike to the top of Huayna Picchu Mountain (if reserved your spot in advance), or simply walk the premises of Machu Picchu and make sure to take unforgettable photos at the several lookouts. After your experience in the Citadel, you’ll return to Aguas Calientes to enjoy lunch at leisure, and have some time to relax at the town hot springs. You will then leave Aguas Calientes aboard the late afternoon scenic train to Ollantaytambo and have a final drive back to Cusco.