The Qhapaq Ñan (Inca Trail in Quechua “the Inka Language”) - refers to the network of trails) were without a doubt is one of the marvels of Tahuantinsuyo, according to the Peruvian historian, José Antonio del Busto, who explains that the Inca “King” Huayna Capac most increased the network of trails in order to quickly mobilize his army.
The trails varied in quality and size, they could be 6 to 8 meters wide on the coast but, in the mountains the paving was only one meter wide but the path was audaciously steep and climbed over the difficult Andean mountains.
The Salkantay trek and the classic Inca Trail to Machupicchu
The trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4600m, descends into the cloud forest. The trail starts in Mollepata/Markocasa or Soraypampa, a couple of hours away from Cusco and ends in Aguas Calientes town
This trek was named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.
Salkantay has some outstanding views and at the same time the diversity of ecological floors makes this trek an absolutely interesting tour with temperatures descending down to 1,000 meters above sea level is amazing experience and the way is not too steep.
The purpose of the Salkantay Inca Trail to Machupicchu was religious and ceremonial, a pilgrimage that included rituals to honor the snow peaks of the route, like Salkantay and also the Humantay lake
Trekking Time: Approximately 12 hours (including picnic lunch in the route), Approximately 10 hours. Our style is just walk slow, enjoy the scenery, and talk with our tour guide. A local man can make this trail in just 3 hours. But we’re going to do it in 10 hours including the Lunch time.
Walk and Terrain: Walk, on mostly steep trails, and some open slopes.
Overnight at Collpapampa camp site Sky Lodge with 2,870 masl /9,414 ft.
We are going to pass through the mountain village of Mollepata in this place that we are going to stop for a short break before ascending to Soraypampa. If some passengers did not have a chance to have a breakfast this is going to be the perfect moment to enjoy a nice breakfast.
Here in Soraypampa we are going to start our challenge day trek.
We will start our trek climbing the Salkantay Pass “We like to walk in a fresh early morning and before the sun comes out, before it puts on us the strong heat characteristic of the Andes.
We continue our journey towards Machu Picchu, walking up to Rio Blanco valley and circling Humantay Peak across Salkantay Peak.
The highest point of the ride is the Salkantay Pass with 4,638 masl (15,213 ft.) at the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, with the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards the Wayra, (“Wayra”: wind; from the name of the location “Wayracmachay”: ‘the cave where the wind lives’) where we are going to enjoy a delicious lunch, later we will continue a 03 hours trek downhill until we reach our Campsite in the route; dinner and overnight at the Sky Lodge.
A LITTLE OF HISTORY:
The name Salkantay or Salcantay is coming from the Inca´s word Salqa, a Quechua word that means wild, uncivilized, savage, or invincible, and was recorded as early as 1583. The name is often translated as "Savage Mountain".
Directly to the north of Salkantay lies Machu Picchu, which is at the end of a ridge that extends down from this mountain. Viewed from Machu Picchu's main sundial, the Southern Cross is above Salcantay’s summit when at its highest point in the sky during the rainy season. The Incas associated this alignment with concepts of rain and fertility, and considered Salkantay to be one of the principal deities controlling weather and fertility in the region west of Cuzco.
About Our Lodge del Cielo base in Collpapampa: Our camp is located at 10 minutes walking from the village of Chaullay; Chaullay is a very crowded campsite lodge. Our Campsite in Collpapampa this gives us a huge advantage to have a 360 panoramic view of the Salkantay Valley, also it is a perfect place, away from the crowd and where we can know a little of the local family.
Trekking Time: Approximately 5 hours
Car and Train: Approximately 2 hours
Walk and Terrain: Walk on narrow trails
About Our overnight in Machupicchu Village: Hotel in Aguas Calientes will vary according your request and expectations.
This day we will walk along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, passion fruit, avocado orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee grown here is said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world. Our ride takes us to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”.
Then we board a car from “La Playa village” until Hydroelectric village “Train station”, we continue walking next to the rail way until Aguas Calientes also known as Machupicchu Village (approx. 3 hours) to Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu. Upon arrival, we check into the hotel for a celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing for our next day experience!
Note - Those who prefer not to hike from Hydroelectric Village to Aguas Calientes can take the train experiencev40 minutes’ trip “price is not included”. They will meet the rest of the group at the train station in Aguas Calientes together. (The guide confirms your preferences the night before.)
Back to Cusco: You will descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and later board the Expedition train by 4:22pm to the Ollantaytambo Train Station where you will meet our private van and be transferred to your hotel in Cusco arriving around 8:30pm.
Return to Cusco at 3,360 m/11,021 ft.
After a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). Our trip leader will give an introductory guided tour of the Inca city.
Machupicchu Guided Tour: Machupicchu Inca City opens at 6 am. We are going to be in the Inka City between 6 am and 7 am, after we show our entrance ticket we going to climb the best view point for take some Picture “The Guardian House”, after a 30 minutes in free time at your own discretion, Our Guide we will give us a lot of information about the Inka City for around 1 hour.
After the guardian House Guided explanation, you are going to have 02 options.
1. - After the explanation of our Tour Guide from the Guardian´s House. - Climb to the Sun Gate. A trek up for one hour, a really great option for getting best panoramic pictures of all the Andes. Those who arrive to the Inca Trail to Machupicchu arrive trough the Sun Gate; later you can come back to the Inca city and Visit by your own and at your own discretion the Inka City.
2. - After the explanation of our Tour Guide from the Guardian´s House. – We are going to continue into the Inca city by another 1 hour, passing the mean plaza, the temple of 03 windows and much more, once we arrive to the Sacred Rock “very close to the entrance gate for Huaynapicchu Sacred Mountain”, our tour guide will give you some free time in order to explore the Inca city at your own discretion. To climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (not included in the price, spaces are limited, please let us know)
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