Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu
Day 1 : Cusco – Mollepata - Salkantay Pampa:
We will be picking you up from your hotel at 05.30 am, from there we wkill travel by private transportation to Mollepata (4 hours) and start a scenic morning bus ride to our trail's starting point at Challacancha. During the four-hour drive we cross the town of Limatambo (2,100m/6,888ft), an important point of access to the city of Cusco during the time of the Inca Empire. We leave Limatambo and drive up a beaten track along the right shore of theApurimac River, to reach Mollepata ( 2,800m/9,184ft ), then Cruzpata (3,100m/10,168ft) and finally Challacancha, where we meet our horsemen and horses. After a short introduction we start our hike, following the paths of the locals on a soft ascent towards the base of Salkantay Mountain. We continue our sometimes steep 2-hour ascent to our camp at Soyroccocha, after that 4 hours up hill to get the fisrt campsite Salkantay Pampa just next to the impressive glacier of Salkantay ( 4,200m/13,776ft ). This will be a cold night so very warm clothes are essential.
Walking distance: 9 kms
Day 2: Salkantay Pampa - Salkantay Pass -
We depart early after breakfast and start a 1.5-hour ascent, which brings us up to the Salkantay Pass (4,525m/14,842ft). Besides enjoying stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range with the south face of Salkantay towering above us, we may also observe chinchillas and condors in their natural habitat. From this point, we start descending towards a more tropical climate and into the so-called cloud forest. Along the route, we can see the remains of an ancient Inca path, which is approximately 6 meters wide. A long though easy descent along the Salkantay River brings us late afternoon to our second camp at Qollpapampa (2,890m/9,479ft), a beautiful spot with some natural hot springs to relax in.
Walking distance: 18 kms
Day 3: Qollpa Pampa - La Playa:
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 and the Andean community of Lucmabamba. In the afternoon we arrive at our camp at the village of La Playa (2,155m/7,068ft), where we can refresh in the river before dinner.
Walking distance: 12 kms
Day 4: La Playa - Llaqtapata - Hidrolelectrica -
After breakfast, we cross the river and start climbing for 2-3 hours up to El Mirador or Abra Q'elloqasa (2,860m/9,381ft) from where we have an exceptional view of the Sacred City of the Incas Machu Picchu, from a different angle. We enjoy a last lunch at the lookout point of Llaqtapata (2,650m/8,692ft) from where we can view both Machu Picchu 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, more orchards and coffee plantations brings us to the Hydroelectric Plant of Machupicchu. From here we board a train that takes us to Puente Ruinas, a campsite located just at the basement of the Machupicchu Mountain. We camp and dinner at this place.
Walking distance: 15 kms
Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco:
We wake up early and board a bus to Machupicchu where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately 2 hours. You will then have free time to walk around and climb up the Huaynapicchu Mountain where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it. Or it is possible to visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can relax in its hot springs. From here we take the train back to Cusco City, where we arrive after nightfall.