Peru: Mt. Salkantay to Machu Picchu
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Destination for this trip:
Cusco, Peru; Lima, Peru; Machu Picchu, Peru; Peru
Length of trip:
Approximate price of this trip per person:
from $ 0 to $ 3000
Best travel dates to go:
April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Detailed Description of this trip:
This itinerary starts in Lima, then on to Cusco for two full days of exploring the culture and history of Cusco while acclimatizing to the high mountain elevation. Then, on to Sacred Valley to begin trekking along ancient Inca trails where the road heads past highland plateaus with views of the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. The trail slowly ascends to a camp below Mt. Salkantay and over a high pass on a back-country trail, rocky in places, until it joins the famed Inca Trail leading to Machu Picchu. The support crew of pack animals is exchanged for porters who carry gear for the remainder of the trek. This obscure trail through cloud forests and Intipata, arrives at Machu Picchu where there is ample time to explore before returning to Lima via Cusco. This itinerary is an exciting adventure of modern Peruvian culture, spectacular mountains and ancient Incan ruins not to be missed.
This Trip is Recommended for:
Day 1 - Lima
Arrive in Lima.
Arrive in Lima, transfer to and overnight at a hotel in Lima.
Next day, transfer to the airport for a flight to Cusco.
Day 2 - Cusco
Arrive and transfer to a local hotel in Cusco, enjoy an afternoon tour of the city and nearby ruins of Sacsayhuaman, Kenko and Pucara to learn about the culture and history of this astonishing town. Lunch and dinner on your own.
Overnight in Cusco.
Day 3 - Cusco
On day 3 you are free to explore Cusco on your own, visiting restaurants, markets, archaeological sites and museums.
Overnight Cusco.(B) (optional day trips are available)
Day 4 - Cusco
Cusco / Sacred Valley.
With a guide, depart from Cusco driving through Sacred Valley to spend a day visiting the Pisac market and in the afternoon visit the Ollanta ruins.
Dinner on your own. Overnight at a local hotel. (BL) (other options available)
Day 5 - Peru
Sacred Valley / Tomacaya / Tocobamba.
By vehicle and with a guide, the journey continues on; over Tika-Tika pass with the first views of Mt. Salkantay and Humantay on the horizon, and then across the plateau of Anta (Antapampa), the "Breadbasket of Cusco", an area important for the production of grains and cattle. The road then crosses Limatambo pass with amazing views of both the mountains and a panorama of the lush agricultural valley below. A visit to the ruins of Tarawasi, with its long asymmetric Inca stone wall, is a must before leaving Limatambo. The drive continues up a side-valley to the farming village of Tomacaya and the trailhead. From Tomacaya there are great views of the Limatambo Valley and down the Apurimac Valley towards Curawasi.
A short hike uphill ends at Tocobamba (3400m/11,152 ft) where camp is set up near a small stream. (Time: 2 hours; Distance: 4km) (BLD)
Day 6 - Peru
Tocobamba / Tinkoc / Collpa.
Upon leaving the campsite the trail ascends toward Muyuhorko Pass (3,950 m/12,956 ft). This four-hour hike to the pass ends with a lunch break and tour of a pre-Inca ceremonial site. From here there is an astounding circumspective view of Mt. Salkantay, Humantay, Yanantay and Palcay and beyond Ausangate, Ninaparayoc and Qoylluritiy as well as the Pampa de Anta and the Pass of Huilki. Over Muyuhorko pass the trail descends to the Tinkoc River and Collpa (3500m/11,480 ft), where the next camp located. (Time: 6 hours; Distance: 11 km) (BLD)
Day 7 - Peru
Collpa / Tocto / Sisaypampa.
The hike continues up the Tinkoc Valley to the confluence of another river, (3,800m/12,464 ft) then up the left fork and up to Tocto Pass (4,900m/16,072 ft). This long slow ascent uphill finally reaches the Pass with breathtaking views of Mt. Salkantay, Yanahorco and Palcay directly opposite and views of the Pampaccahua valley and our Sisaypampa campsite below at 4,200m/13,690 ft. The decent, steep at first, drops to the valley floor for an easier hike down the valley. (Time: 8 hours; Distance: 12 km) (BLD)
At the campsite there is a dominating view of the eastern face of the mountains.
Day 8 - Peru
Sisaypampa / Pampacahua / Paucarcancha.
The trail continues to the end of the valley, turns north and enters the wider valley of Pampacahua. Along the Incan canal running through the middle of the valley are small farming settlements. At the end of the Pampa the trail begins to get steeper as it passes the tree line and continues to the campsite near Paucarcancha, and the confluence of the Pampacahua and Keska valleys (3,150m/10,260 ft). (Time: 5-6 hours; Distance: 10 km) (BLD)
Day 9 - Peru
Paucarcancha / Huayllabamba / Llulluchapampa.
The day begins at low altitude with a visit to the village of Huayllabamba. From here it is a progressively steep ascent to Huayruro stream (3,400m/11,084 ft) and Yunkachimpa . At Yunkachimpa the trek is joined by a new crew of porters. From here the trail crosses over to Llullucha gorge and traverses a unique forest of Unca trees, a native species, which nowadays is hard to find except in isolated areas.
As the trail enters the Machu Picchu Sanctuary there are fewer people living in the area, and once out of the forest at Llulluchapampa, there is a view of Mt. Huayanay that overlooks the campsite (3,750m/12,225 ft). (Time: 5-6; Distance: hours, 8 km) (BLD)
Day 10 - Peru
Llulluchampampa / Runkuraqay/ Sayacmarca / Phuyupatamarca.
A steady ascent on the Inca Trail up toward Warmiwañusca pass (4,200m/13,692 ft) affords a magnificent view of both the ascent and the trail ahead. A reconstructed trail descends to the Pacaymayo River and ascend again to the ruins of Runkuraqay and a second pass (4,050m/ 13,200 ft). From here the trail drops down to Sayacmarca ( 3,850m/12,551 ft) on the original Inca Trail, passing a dry lake and the first signs of the cloud forest. The trail in this beautiful location overlooking the Aobamba Valley becomes more leisurely as it winds through imposing scenerie and continues along a ridge through amazing landscapes, including views of Mt. Salcantay and Mt. Pumasillo. The rolling flagstoned trail arrives at Phuyupatamarca, " village on the edge of the clouds", where the campsite is nearby. (Time: 7-8 hours; Distance 14km) (BLD).
Day 11 - Machu Picchu
Phuyupatamarca / Intipata / Wiñay Wayna / Machu Picchu.
This day begins with a traverse along a ridge with magnificent views of the expansive cloud forest below. This little known trail goes past the newly opened site of Intipata and then ends at Wiñay Wayna, a great place to stop for lunch. From here another walk along the original Inca Trail arrives at Intipunku, "door of the sun". with a spectacular view of Machu Picchu below. (Time: 6-7 hours; Distance 10km) (BL)
Dinner on your own, overnight at a local hotel in Aguas Calientes.
Day 12 - Cusco
The whole day can be dedicated to exploring these extraordinary Inca remains, including a visit to Wayna Picchu, the mountain overlooking the site.
At mid-afternoon return to Cusco by train.
Transfer to and overnight at a local hotel. Lunch and dinner on your own. (B)
Day 13 - Cusco
Cusco / Lima / Departure.
Transfer to airport for your ongoing flight to Lima or elsewhere. Assistance with connections anywhere in Peru are available. (B)
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