Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu takes you around Mount Salkantay, the second largest mountain in the Cusco region (6271m/20,568ft), On the first night, you’ll camp within clear sight of the snow capped peak of Salkantay mountain. The second day will be the longest day of the tour, and while you work a bit harder to get there, the views at the top are even more rewarding. The walk to reach the famous Apacheta Pass at 4,600m/15,088ft) (the Inca Trail’s ‘Dead Woman’s Pass’ is only 4,200m/13,776ft)) Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is not strenuous neither very steep, afterward it is mainly descent into a more tropical area passing Andenes and Chaullay on the far side of the mountain. We`ll take the forty five minute train ride from the famous Hydro Electric Dam and then spend the rest of the 4th evening relaxing in the town and hotsprings of Aguas Calientes. Early in the morning you take the bus (or walk if desired) up to Machu Picchu for your guided tour, a well deserved reward but many say the trek is a prize in itself!. Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
06.00 am. Departure by our private transport to Mollepata town at 2,850 mts. A beautiful 3 hour scenic journey through Izcuchaca and Limatambo, with a stop for breakfast and panoramic views of the “Mountain of Salkantay” in the Cordillera of Vilcanota. We can see spectacular views of the chains of snow capped Vilcabamba, the colorful village of Mollepata, after breakfast and after 1 more hour we will go still in bus to our begining of the trek Challacancha at 3,800 masl where we meet our Arrieros “horsemen“ and trekking staff (Cook and Assistants). We commence treking with a gradual climb of 250 meters for about 2 and a half hours through a pristine Andean valley landscape before arriving to Soraypampa. There after visiting a spectacular glacial lake we have lunch, after lunch we will have the option to visit the Humantay Lake optional hike, the hike to get there will be about 3 hours round trip hike up and down, then once we will arrive at the camp site we will have happy hour and dinner, after dinner your tour guide will give you, your breafing for the next day.
After an early breakfast we will start our trek approx. at 07:00am with direction to Salkantaypampa then for 2 more hours to reach at the Apacheta Pass at 4,650 masl. From this point we can appreciate spectacular views of Cusco’s second highest peak, the stunning snow capped Mount Salkantay (6,264 mts) and also the snow capped mountains Humantay and Huayanay, white river, small lakes and moraines. In the Apacheta Pass you can leave a piece of rock caried from the bottom as a present from you to the Apacheta. (In Inca times the walkers used to leave at the top their shoes, clothes, jewels or simply a piece of rock as an offering.)
We continue 2 hrs downhill to lunch in Huayracmachay, and then, depending on the group ability, weather and walking conditions, the guide will decide whether to camp 2-3 hrs downhill walk in Rayan-niyoc at 3100 mts or travel a further 3km to camp at Chaullay 2920 mts for experienced trekkers. Very nice camping area, the once you will arrive your tour guide will organize happy hour for you and then dinner.
Today we continue our hike with an easy walk along the Santa Teresa River, enjoying the increasingly lush vegetation, passing waterfalls, passion fruit and coffee plantations. We pass the waterfalls at Coripacchi, the settlement at Wiñaypoko, the bustling small town of La Playa and finally our third camp at Lucmabamba (2,100m/6888ft). On the way we can see plantations of banana, coffee, and avocado, as well as exuberant local flora. We enter spectacled-bear territory and we will probably be accompanied by flocks of parrots as we descend. At dinner we can enjoy a glass of wine by the light of the camp-fire.
After breakfast, we start climbing for 2-3 hours up to El Mirador or Abra Q’elloqasa (2860m/9381ft) from where we have an exceptional view of the Lost City of the Incas, the legendary Machupicchu, from a different angle. We enjoy a last lunch in nature at the lookout point of Llaqtapata (2650m/8692ft) from where we can view both Machupicchu and the Salkantay Mountain and take a good rest, enjoying the added value of the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. A 2-hour descent towards the Aobamba River crossing lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations brings us to the hydroelectric plant of Machupicchu, our Lunch spot, after Lunch We will hike to Aguas Calientes Town ( 2 and half hours hike). then accommodation at the chosen hostel.
Early walk (approximately 1.5 hours uphill from Aquas Calientes) or bus for 25 minutes to the Citadel of Machupicchu, guided tour for 3 hours and plenty of free time for further exploring, photos and optional climb of the mountain Huayna Picchu, Temple of the Moon, or the Gate of the Sun. Generally around 1:00 pm people walk down the steps or take the bus down to Aguas Calientes ($12.00 pp) for lunch and after lunch at approx 16:00 hrs we take our return train to Ollantaytambo with bus connection arriving to Cusco city around 8:00 pm.