Discover a different side of the great Andes mountain range by taking this alternative route to Machu Picchu ascending to the highest pass at 4,650 meters above sea level for up-close-and-personal views of massive Salkantay and Humantay mountain peaks in the Cordillera Vilcanota range which are among the highest in Peru. This pristine trail is the perfect opportunity to get away from the crowds and get into nature to see abandoned Inca sights little visited by tourists and revel at the wondrous mountain peaks towering overhead as you breathe fresh mountain air.
Departure TimesTuesday Friday Sunday 05:00
Duration 0 hrs.
Departure Point Hostel Pick-Up
Arrival Point Bus Station Drop-Off
PRE-DEPARTURE BRIEFING: Please visit our Cuzco office at Milhouse Backpackers & Hotel for your mandatory brief one day prior to your departure at 6:00 pm. You will receive detailed information on your excursion, a list of what to bring and confirm your departure details.
Milhouse Backpackers & Hotel is located at:
Calle Quera 270, Cuzco, Peru, (1.5 blocks from Avenida del Sol)
Hours of Operation: 9:00 - 19:00 hrs Daily
Tel: +51 84 232151, Emergency Tels: 984285801 Darwin, 984280529 Ruth
SUGGESTED PACKING LIST: Bring or Rent in Cuzco: sleeping bag, hiking poles, rain pants, rain poncho, trekking boots, sandals, warm socks, sweater, thermals, hat, gloves, sun hat, sun block, sun glasses, flashlight/torch, camera, extra batteries and memory card, (there is no electricity available during the trek), waterproof bags for your camera, hand sanitizer, personal first aid kit, water bottle, water purification tablets or filter. Bring extra cash for snacks, water, gatorade which doubles or triples in price along the trail. Bathing suit for hot springs in Santa Teresa and/or in Aguas Calientes town (these activities are available at an additional price).
DON'T FORGET THE ESSENTIALS: original passport, visa (if applicable), insurance card, personal medications.
Arrive to Cuzco anytime and please make your own way to Milhouse Backpackers & Hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day to walk around town and make last minute preparations for your big trip ahead. Attend your pre-departure briefing and get a good night's sleep at Milhouse Backpackers & Hotel.
Today we pick you up between 4:30 - 05:00 am and travel by tourist-class bus to Mollepata (2,900m) where you can have breakfast. After making final preparations and double checking our equipment, a 4-hour walk will take us to Sayllapata where we will have lunch with panoramic views of beautiful snow-capped mountains Humantay; (5,900m) and Salkantay; (6,267m) - this is just the beginning! We will begin our ascent towards Soraypampa, our first campsite (3,920m; the highest and coldest campsite of the trip) taking in the beautiful landscape along the way arriving around 5:30pm. Enjoy a snack upon arrival to your campsite and enjoy being immersed in nature. Have dinner and go to sleep early. (19 kilometers, 7.5 hours approx)
We will have breakfast at around 6:00 am and begin our 4-hour walk to the highest pass on this trek (4,650m) located halfway between 2 huge mountains; Salkantay on the right and Humantay on the left. (Optional horse rental available to reach high pass for approx. 100 - 120 soles). From the pass, the views of the 2 snow-capped mountains are incredible with a possibility of snow here. After a 2-hour downhill hike, a well-deserved lunch will be served at Huayracpampa, followed by another 3-hour trek to our campsite at Challhuay or Colcapampa as we near the beginning of the high jungle region at 2,900 meters. (22 kilometers, 9-10 hours approx.)
After breakfast at 6:30 am, we start trekking for the day through the upper jungle crossing the Santa Teresa River and a variety of little brooks. Today we will pass through valleys and have wonderful views of waterfalls, tropical fruits and plants. We will have lunch at La Playa (2,200m) and camp in Santa Teresa town (1,700 meters) with a warmer climate. After a rest, we have the option to visit the hot springs in Santa Teresa town (20 soles extra) and enjoy the well-deserved soothing water, a real treat after 3 hard days of trekking! (15 kilometers; 5.5 hours approx.)
After having breakfast at 8:00 am, our last day on the trail will take us from Santa Teresa (1,700m) along a relaxing path for 3 hours to reach the hydroelectric station (1,880m) where a box lunch will be served. (*Optional bus transfer from Santa Teresa to the hydroelectric station is available for 10 soles). From here Aguas Calientes (2,010m) is another 3 hour slight uphill walk where we finally have time to relax and recharge our batteries and getting ready for our visit to Machu Picchu. Dinner at a local traditional restaurant. Optional: In Aguas Calientes, you can soak your sore muscles in the thermal springs in town (entrance fee 10 soles). (18 kilometers; 6 hours approx.)
We will catch the one of the first buses (05:30 am) to Machu Picchu (25-minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city as the mist dissipates at sunrise. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. If you still have energy you can also climb the optional Huayna Picchu Peak inside the archaeological site (2,720m/8,890ft)!!! In the afternoon we will return by train to Ollantaytambo and take a tourist bus to Cuzco. Upon arrival you will need to make your own way to your hostel.
*If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes town can be arranged. (Please let us know whether you would like to stay an extra night when booking your tour.)
MACHU PICCHU GUIDED SITE VISIT:
The one and only, the most spectacular (and not to mention most popular) archaeological site in all of South America. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu walking you through the most important sites and covering the history of the place (if you haven't already heard it all during the Salkantay Trek). Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure. When you decide to head back down to Aguas Calientes, there are buses departing every 15 minutes from the entrance or you can take the walking trail down if you feel like another 1 hour stair stepping downhill to Aguas Calientes town.
Machu Picchu was (relatively recently) "discovered" by American historian, Hiram Bingham, in 1911 while searching for the legendary "lost city of the Incas". Hiram Bingham and his local guides stumbled across the site which was then covered in thick vegetation which was later cleared revealing the magical mountain-top archaeological site and opening up the possibility for archaeologists to conduct research on the site by 1915. Whether arriving via Inca Trail or entering from Aguas Calientes don't miss the excellent photo opportunities from the following spots: Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock (a restored building with a thatched roof), Sacred Plaza with views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba in the distance and Rio Urubamba below. Take a short walk out to the Inca Drawbridge (30 minutes) and Inti Punku (45 - 60 minutes) for great views of the site as dawn breaks and the clouds lift over Machu Picchu.
Take an OPTIONAL hike up the steep peak named Huayna Picchu, which is located inside the Machu Picchu archaeological site. This sometimes muddy peak takes about 45 - 60 minutes to hike up and awards you with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective. Keep in mind that if you want to take this optional hike, you must now purchase your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance for an additional 30 soles in order to get one of the 400 passes (200 people are allowed up at 7:00am and 200 more at 10:00am). Please send us an email directly to request this extra ticket.
Departs: Sunday, Tuesday & Friday (Daily departures with a group of 4 or more)
Day 1: Dorm, Single, Double Accommodation
Days 2-4: Single travelers will share a tent with 1 other traveler, couples will have a tent to themselves
Day 5: Single travelers will share a room with 1 other traveler, couples will have a private room