The Salkantay Trek is an alternative to the traditional Classic Inca Trail for reaching Machu Picchu. The trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4600m, descends into the cloud forest and passes through the archaeological place named Llactapata, with one of the wonderful views of Machu Picchu.
The trail starts in Mollepata/Markocasa or Soraypampa, a couple of hours away from Cuzco and ends in Hidroelectrica giving access to town of Aguas Calientes-MachuPicchu. The trek is not as popular as the overbooked Inca Trail but many people find this trek just as beautiful as the Inca trail.
This trek was nominated as the 25 best Trek in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. Salkantay has some outstanding views and the altitude will descend till 1,000 meters above sea level, the lands cape is gorgeous and not too steep.
The purpose of the Salkantay Inca Trail to Machupícchu was religious and ceremonial, a pilgrimage that included rituals to honor the mountains and peaks and lakes of the route, like Salkantay and Humantay.
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.
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.
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.)
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)
Very Important 1: According Machupicchu regulation, Once we enter to the sacred City is not allow to get back by the same paths “there are a lot of sign about which route we should follow, and is just forbidden to stop in some places or just our return for those place we were before”, For that reason we advise you to enjoy every minute you will be in each Inca place.
Very Important 2: According Machupicchu regulation, entrance fees is only one time, it means once you go out from the Inka City, you can’t return, unless you get a new ticket.
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.
Pre-departure briefing: You will meet your Salkantay guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. At this time, we will provide you with the duffle bags which will be carried by our horses. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. In case you can’t come at this time “please let us know” to coordinate another time.
Touristic Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Challacancha, the starting point of the Salkantay trek.
Adventure Experienced Salkantay Tour Guide: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route, including leading your group in ancient ceremonies! He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time along the Inca path and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Tour Guide in Machupicchu Cultural Experienced: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. For visit the sacred city of Machupicchu.
Private campsites: Each campsite is carefully choosed for having a very local experience.
Night 1: Enjoy our 1st night in our Lodge del cielo in Collpapampa campsite. You will find comfortable bed and a thick camping mattress free of charge. Camping is surrounded by the Sacred Mountains.
Night 2: The 2nd night in hotel is not included, which is in the town of Aguas Calientes; it is also known as Machupicchu Village; prices of hotels will vary according to your expectations and budget. However, we can offer you the option of joining us at our local accommodation Hotel Encanto Machupicchu "at no extra cost". www.hotel-encanto.com Our hostel in Aguas Calientes have double or triple rooms, private bathroom, hot shower, Wi-Fi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
Note: It is not usual that the campsites, lodges or hotels change after the confirmation, however it can vary per government regulations and authorization, also for bad weather conditions and maybe because physical condition of our visitors: any changes in this matter ITEP travel will be informing you previously and as soon as possible.
Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our porters and horses).
Entry ticket to Machu Picchu Inka Site
1 Duffle Bag: You can put your personal luggage, up to (5 kgs/11.02 lbs). Including your sleeping bag; this bag will be carried by our horses.
Loading Mules/horses: We will give you your duffel bag at your briefing the night before; to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until you arrive at your evening campsite. On day 1, our mules/horses carry all camping equipment and your allowance of personal baggage (5 kgs/11.02 lbs). On day 2, your luggage will be carried by car or train to your destination until we arrive to Machupicchu.
Professional Trekking Chef: A professional chef specialized in cooking on the trail, with an assistant, will prepare all of your delicious meals along our journey on the Trail to replenish your energy every day. You will never go hungry!
Meals: 2 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners (Vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost) Please be in mind (1st breakfast and last lunch is not included”
Boiled Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Inka Trail Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
Wake up tea: Every morning at the campsite, you will wake up with a cup of coca tea! Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
Tea time daily during the Trek: Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide our tea time with popcorn, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait until dinner to relax, warm up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
Products for hygiene: You will be provided with a small towel before each meal to clean your hands and every morning will be also a bucket with warm water for washes your personal hygiene.
Medical kit and Oxygen bottle: Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle.
Train tickets: From Aguas Calientes “Machupicchu village” to Ollantaytambo train station (departure time is confirmed the day of briefing and it´s subject to availability)
Transfer back to Cusco: Private touristic transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco (Day 3)
24-hour guest service: We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication and preparation with the agency leading up to your trek.
With ITEP “Inka trail Expeditions Perú” every step is a great Adventure!!! We work hard for create a Memorable Lifetime Experience for you.
Sleeping Bags: You can rent one from our company if you do not have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use.
Bus Concetur to Machupicchu inca City: Most of the times the wait to board the bus to Machupicchu is from 1 hour to 1:30 min, So we prefer that you decide a day before your visit to the Inca city of Machupicchu. If you wish to take the bus considering the waiting time. Or if you prefer to do the last stretch of ascent walking up 45 to 1 hour "everything will depend on your physical state, after the trekking done".
Walking Sticks: You can rent a set from our company if you would like.
Day 1: Breakfast: Approx. Usd5 to usd 10.00, Price can vary according your selection.
Last Day: Lunch and Dinner in Aguas Calientes. Approx. Usd 20 to 25.00, Price can vary according your selection.
Personal clothing and gear
Tips for our staff: Please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish “Recommendation usd 6 to usd 8 per day per traveler for all the trek staff”- Once again it is optional and can vary according your satisfaction.
Option: If you feel tired after the trek on day 2, you have the option to take a train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes. (Cost: USD $34.00)
Additional costs or delays out of control of the management (landscape, bad weather condition, itinerary modification due to a safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability/strike, etc.)
Full rain gear or poncho
Gloves (thin riding and warm gloves)
Hiking Socks Sunscreen
Insect repellent Bathing suit
Breathable dry fit top-wear
Long-sleeve fleece/sweater Wool hat
Baseball cap, sombrero and bandana
Hiking Socks Sunscreen
Casual mountains wear for evenings
Photo/video cameras and chargers
Refillable water bottle (hydration bags are recommended)
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