Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa (Humantay Lake)
Trailhead Elevation: 3850 meters / 12477 feet
Walking Distance: 4km return hike
Highest Elevation: 3850 meters / 12,477feet
Campsite Elevation: 3920 meters / 12861 feet
Hiking difficulty level: Moderate
Accommodation: sleeping tents
Meals: Lunch, Dinner (Snack and afternoon tea)
Adventure: Absolutely, completely satisfactory
Today’s Highlights: Walking from Soraypampa to Humantay Lake and views of the enigmatic ‘Apu’ Salkantay. The campsite is exclusively just for our group (Click Here to see our SORAYPAMPA CAMPSITE)
Early in the morning, we pick you up from your hotel, and you are transported to Soraypampa (3850mt), after an energetic breakfast, we set out on our journey towards a lake located at the bottom of Mountain Humantay, astonishing views of the glaciers come into sight. Back at the campsite your long-awaited Andean wedding ceremony is already set up in an amazing natural environment, having the towering Mountain Salkantay high up ahead the valley. The ceremony is in charge of an Andean priest, which conducts the ceremony according to the Andean rituals, and laws. After the ceremony the couple, and guests sit a table to enjoy lunch, this lunch meal is called Pachamanca (roasted beef, alpaca, sheep, and potatoes, in an underground stone-built oven). Free afternoon. Afterwards we enjoy dinner sitting by a campfire.
Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Wayracpunku - Chaullay
Walking Distance – 22 km / 13.7 miles
Starting Elevation – 3800 meters / 12467 feet
Campsite Elevation – 2750 meters / 9022 feet
Maximum Altitude: 4650 meters / 15255 feet
Difficulty: Challenging - Moderate.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Snack and afternoon tea)
Highlights of today: Hiking along the Salkantay trail with the top view of the biggest peak. Views of the Salkantay Mountain and incredible views of the cloud forest and tropical jungle in Chaullay. Around midday we stand on the middle of the South America Andes mountain range.
After an early wake up with the first daylight at 05:30 am. and a quick breakfast we soon start hiking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL – 15,255 ft). The distance is a 7km (4.34miles) tough ascent in 3 hours, between the rocky valley bottom and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6200 MASL– 20,341 ft). When we finally reach the top we can and definitely will appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and the imposing snowy peaks of the Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo. The Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca Gods called “Apu”. After reaching the top of the pass there is a 5km (3.1miles) and 2 hours downhill hike towards the camp for our lunch. The walk downwards is on a serpent shape trail and a rocky gravel path to get to the Huayracmachay lunch spot. In the afternoon we will enter the upper part of the amazon jungle, which is also called “the cloud forest”. This is a 10 km (6.2miles) hike in 3 hours on a wide trail in the thick forests. This hike is truly beautiful, there are decorated the hills with colorful sceneries and a lot of wildlife and native plants. The forests are most times of the year warm or have a temperate temperature. When finishing this magnificent hike we finally arrive at Chaullay Village (2900 MASL – 9,514 ft), our base camp in the jungle.
Day 03: Chaullay - Collpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba
Walking Distance – 18km / 11.2 miles
Starting Elevation – 2750 meters / 9022 feet
Campsite Elevation – 2400 meters / 7874 feet
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Highlights of today: We leave as early as possible to enjoy an empty trail and appreciate the landscape, scenery and wildlife. While trekking through the jungle you can find loads of different wild fruits like: banana, avocado, passion fruit, etc. There are also waterfalls and water streams where you can refresh your feet in. Lunch in La Playa, afterwards we will have a short hike to our base camp Lucmabamba where we will visit an organic coffee plantation.
At 6:00 am. we will start our trek to La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. We will be hiking for approximately 6 hours. During the hike we’ll see waterfalls, wild orchids, but also coffee, banana and avocado plantations. Here you can taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit. We will see a village called Colpapampa, also called the “forest cloudy brow” where waterfalls, thermal hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, varied flora and birds can be observed. If we are lucky, we will be able to see the famous bird called “the Cock of the Rocks” this bird is the national bird of Peru. After lunch at La playa, we will hike for approximately 1 hour to our base camp called Lucmabamba (2400 MASL – 7874 ft). We will explore the tropical forest for a little while and have a lovely visit at an organic coffee farm. Here you can taste the coffee prepared by the local people. Coffee is the main farming industry of the local people here in the jungle and they farm many hectares of coffee to export to the USA, Asia and Europe. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, but it wasn’t until the Spanish invaded Cusco that it was brought to this region. We will also explore an orange and an avocado plantation.
Day 04: Lucmabamba - Llactapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes
Walking Distance – 18 km / 11.2 miles
Starting Elevation – 2450 meters / 8038 feet
Campsite Elevation – 2000 meters / 6561 feet (Aguas Calientes hostel)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Highlights of today: The best day of the trek! We will try to get as early as possible to Llactapata. We hike up through a part of the original Inca trail and get some experience of the native people who live here in the area. Have a chance to harvest several fruits and have one of the best views of the Urubamba valley. See The Salkantay Mountain in the background and have your first glance on Machu Picchu!
The chef of the trek will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea served in your bed. You will get ready for today’s activity while enjoying your last prepared breakfast by the trek chef. We will begin the hike early and you will get the opportunity to enjoy a small part of the famous Inka trail! After a climb of 2 hours with amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley we will arrive at the Llactapata Inca site right in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first archaeological site we will see of the Lost City of the Incas and a very special place to enjoy and spend time. We will be able to see not only the Machu Picchu ruins from this spot, but also the Huaynapicchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain. We will explore this Inca site with the guide and he will continue the history lessons about the Incas of this beautiful country and of course you will have plenty of time to take as many photos as you want.
After the Llactapata ruins, we will continue our trek with a 2 hours downhill hike. At this hike you’re always able to have views of Machu Picchu until we arrive at the Hidroelectrica train station which is our lunch place. The most impressive part of this area is the natural waterfall of 300 meters high which generates the electricity for the region of Cusco. We will then arrive at the famous Intiwatana. Intiwatana is an ancient rock used as a sundial in the ancient Inca times. According to history, this old Inca stone used to work with the famous sundial stone in Machu Picchu. These could measure and read the winter solstice which was the beginning of the new farming season for the Incas. After we pass this small Inca site we will reach the train rails. Next to the rails there is a nice path to walk on; this path will take us approximately 3 hours. After the 3 hours we will arrive at Aguas Calientes, which is located at the foot of Machu Picchu. This section is very interesting because it is the trail that was used by the American Professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost.
Day 05: The Most Important Day - Machu Picchu!
Highlights of today: Early morning arrival at Machu Picchu so you will have more time to explore this truly magnificent World Wonder with not as many tourists. You will even be there before The Inka Trail trekkers arrive! Enjoy the beautiful sunrise. Two hours guided tour of the mystical Machu Picchu ruins. Plus an optional climb to Huayna Picchu or the Machupicchu Mountain (if you have pre-booked tickets.)
The highlight of the trek, Machu Picchu! We will wake up early at the hotel. This is better for visiting Machupicchu, before the mass of people arrive. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 6:00 am. until 17:00 pm. We will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the city really early with a lot fewer tourists than during the midday. Here we will have a 2 hours guided tour through this incredible ancient city. We will visit temples, palaces, priest houses, a sundial, the industrial sector and the farming fields. After this guided tour you are free to climb up to Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain (book in advance to get your tickets!). Both mountains take approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Or for the less adventurous you can trek to the sun gate, which is the main entrance of the Inka Trail. You’ll stay and enjoy the city for more than 7 hours in the afternoon. We will organize the train ride at 16:22 hrs (subject to availability). back from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and then a bus ride to Cusco to arrive at approx. 20:00 hrs. The bus will drop you off at your hotel/hostel in Cusco.