The Classic salkantay trek is considered the best alternate trail to machu picchu, since other tourist circuits are trying to get more hikers, this trail offer a wide amount of landscapes and ecosystems that makes it especial, while the salkantay trek is becoming famous, we have an itinerary that allow us to enjoy the trail without seeing many hikers as in the usual itineraries of other operators.
The salkantay trek, is a 5 days adventure to visit machu picchu, the trail runs about fifty miles northwest Cusco city, passing by the Vilcanota Mountains which are impressive range of mountains, where the salkantay is the name of the highest mountain who’s summit reaches “6,271m”, Salkantay means “holly and savage mountain”, considered with Ausangate, the Cusco protector mountains, the trek should be called sacred trek. The Salkantay, is one of the nicest mountains from the Cordillera Vilcanota. The trail shows changing landscapes that makes attractive for those who loves adventure, in this trek you will see different ecosystems that spreads across its different zones of altitude and climate that runs, from high valley up to the mountains that descends into a lush high jungle territories. Hike this fantastic classic salkantay trek leaded by expert professional tour guides organized completely by our company.
Salkantay Trek: available in private service, and small groups: Daiy departures.
Day 01: Cusco – Marco Ccasa – Salkantay Pampa Camp: Our Classic Salkantay Trek program starts with the transfer from your hotel in cusco city at at 05:00 am and drive to the trail start point, along the way we can stop at Mollepata “the last town on the way” the drive to this point takes about 2 hours, then we continue by our transport to marco ccasa which has an impressive landscape view (only few people start at this point, 99% of hikers will start at mollepata and follow different path). At the beginning we start with slight climb, it’s very common to see on the way various plants, native birds, then the trail arrives in to a section where we will by a gentle path that is mostly level walk beside an irrigation canal, further on we arrive in to a view point that will amaze you with the view of Salkantay mount, at 13:00 hours we arrive to Soraypampa where we lunch. After lunch the trail continues by a valley and we arrive to Salkantay pampa, it is a quiet camp ground where we set up our tents and spend the night at 400m. We dinner and spend the night in a quietest camp where may not be other groups.
Day 02: Salkantay pampa – summit – Collpapampa: Early morning after breakfast we re-start our hike at approximately 07:00 hrs, the trail goes an uphill zigzagging path right in front of the salkantay mount. After 03 hour we finally summit the salkantay pass 4657m, at the summit we celebrate by sharing hugs and taking pictures for the memory (we may be one of the first groups arriving to the summit because other hikers had camped an hour far), from here we descend by an inca trail, then arrive on a small plateau where we’ll stop for our snacks, then continue banking a white water river and stop at wayracpampa for lunch. From lunch we keep descending the trail that will soon arrive in to the cloud forest, this is the nicest section for those who loves plants, lush forest will make our walk more pleasant, after approximately 3 hours from lunch we will arrive to collpapampa 2,980 m. which at the union of 03 rivers, we camp in the nicest ground.
Day 03: Collpapampa – La playa – Lucmabamba. We will wake up with the natural alarm clock “birds and roosters from the village”, have breakfast and walk an interesting section banking the santa Teresa river, the area offer dense vegetation, numerous birds on the trees, flowers, orchids and also the local fruits. We will walk by lluscamayu which is home of a family, they grow passion fruits and avocados, we’ll try their fruits for as little price than you will not fine better price ever for an avocado. We continue the walk and we may see the Peruvian national bird (gallito de las rocas, rupicola peruviana) then arrive to la playa 2200m (river beach), where our trekking chef wil provide us with the delicious meal to recover our energy. La Playa is a camp site for some hikes, we will continue one hour far and spend the night at lucmabamba in the middle of coffee plantation, we can make our coffee degustation, then after dinner we spend the night in a quiet private camp ground at 2100m.
Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidro – Aguas Calientes. After breakfast, we re-start our hike, an inca trail will lead us to the archaeological site of llactapata, this is located at 2 hours from the camp on uphill trail. From the we can have a view of machu picchu, then arrive to the site and see on the same way how it has being been discovered, form this point a large switch-back trail will take us down to the river bank, in about 6 hours of walking we get hydroelectric, place for lunch and take local trail to arrive in aguas calientes at around 5.00 pm. (as an optional alternative if you do not want to climb up the mountain we take a local van and drive to hydroelectric, place from where we walk by a trail next to train tracks to aguas calientes, it is an easy path that takes about 3 hours, we still can see machu picchu from the back side, we arrive earlier to aguas calientes “Machu Picchu Town”, our guide will take you to your hotel where you can take shower and relax). At dinner time our guide will meet you and take you to a restaurant where we have dinner in group and after that you return to your hotel and spend the night (nice hotel with hot shower, private bath).
Day 05: Machu Picchu Tour – Back to Cusco. Early departure is needed and after that we take bus for 30 minutes, once we enter in to the archaeological park, we have the opportunity to have the sun rise. the guided tour will take you to visit all the most important sector of the place, the usual guided tour takes 2 hours in a rush time, our guides will do it in 03 hour, we’ll learn about the importance, religious and historical of the place, place to appreciate the fine architecture of the incas after tour if have a ticket for the huayna picchu mountain you can climb up the mountain, this mountains is on the saddle high over the Urubamba River that offers a good overview of the whole area. Another possibility is to walk to the inca bridge. After a great tour in machu picchu it is time to catch bus to aguas calientes, in order to catch train back to Ollantaytambo from where we catch bus to Cusco where our fantastic classic salkantay trek ends.
Average General Estimation: (Trek Difficulty: Medium. Distance: 15kms, walking time: 6 – 7 hours).