4D / 3N
The Salkantay Trek is an old and remote path located in the same zone as Inca Trail. This route is perfect for those who like to avoid the more crowded Inca Trail and have a unique experience. Compared to the classic Inca Trail, it offers more breathtaking natural beauty. You will experience ruggedly, snow-capped peaks overlooking a subtropical forest, the impressive glaciers Salkantay and Humantay and a wide variety of eco-systems. You will pass through subtropical zones with various varieties of orchids and fauna (parrots, hummingbirds and other birds). You will see mysterious archaeological sites, many still partially covered in jungle growth as if you are discovering them for the first time. On the way, you will meet native Andean people living in their remote villages and even enjoy bathing in any one of various remote thermal baths. On the morning of the fourth day, you will arrive at the amazing citadel of Machu Picchu. Named in 2007 as one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu will take your breath away.
Day 1: Cusco/Rayampata
Your Tour Guide and driver will pick you up very early from your hotel. The drive to the trailhead at Soraypampa will take about three and a half hours. From the moment, you start the trek; you will appreciate the beauty of panoramic views of mountains covered with snow such as Humantay (4,120 m/13,500 ft.) and Salkantay (6,271 m/20,575 ft.). You will have lunch at Wayrac Machay (3.800 m/12,467 ft.) and then continue until the first camp site at Rayampata (2,920 m/9,580 ft.).
Meals: Lunch, dinner.
Day 2: Rayampata/ Playa
After breakfast, you will start hiking towards Chaullay (2,950 m/9,678 ft.), a place where the Andes meet the jungle, where you can expect mild tropical weather. From Chaullay, you continue until Collpapampa (3,000 m/9,843 ft.) where you can take a pause to enjoy the thermal baths. Today will be an unforgettable experience where you will see a large diversity of flora (like various varieties of orchids) and fauna (mammals, numerous bird species, insects and others). You will pass the splendid waterfalls of Waynapoco and witness and interact with the daily life of local people. Finally, you will reach your second campsite in Playa (2,320 m/7,612 ft.).
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3: Playa/ Aguas Calientes
You leave your campsite in Playa early morning. You will pass the community of Cocha Pampa and continue descending towards the edge of the jungle. You will follow the Salkantay River where you will see farms with a variety of crops such as coffee, bananas, avocados, pineapples and the most interesting crop coca. Coca was considered a sacred plant during the Inca times and is still important to the local community in spite of its current bad reputation. Later, you will be able to view Machu Picchu in the distance from a unique vantage point before descending to the train station at the hydroelectric plant.
You will board the train at the hydroelectric plant that will take you to Aguas Calientes where you will spend the night in a comfortable hostel. You will arrive early enough to enjoy dinner in one of the many local restaurants offering typical Andean specialties. And if you brought your bathing suit you may want to visit the namesake thermal baths.
Meals: Breakfast, lunch
Overnight: Aguas Calientes
Day 4: Machu Picchu/Cusco
Today you will have the entire day to explore Machu Picchu. After breakfast, your guide will accompany you for the short bus ride from Aguas Calientes to begin your morning guided tour of the citadel itself. This walking tour will include the terraced agricultural area and the legendary masonry structures of the living and working areas. There is still a lot of mystery as to the purpose of the citadel and why it the Incas abandoned it suddenly. Your local guide will explain the history of the site and also share legends and rituals surrounding the ancient beliefs.
After the guided tour, you will have time to explore and experience Machu Picchu on your own before descending again by bus to Aguas Calientes. After a time to rest and enjoy lunch, you will board the train that will return you to Cusco by way of the station in Ollantaytambo or Poroy. Then you will be transferred to your hotel in Cusco to rest and reflect on the experience of a lifetime.
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