One of the best non-traditional routes leading to the famous Inca city of Machu Picchu is the trail known as the Salcantay-Machu Picchu Inca route, or Alternative Inca Trail. This remote Inca path leads us through an amazing variety of landscapes and habitats varying from green, rich valleys full of blossoming forests and trees of different species to highland fields and glacial moraines flanked by steep rocky and icy peaks of impressive beauty. During our trip, we should cross a high pass below the spectacular glaciers of the Humantay (5917m / 19414ft) and Salcantay (6270m/20572ft.) peaks. Crossing an awesome mountain area and lush cloud forest landscapes, from our last campsite, we trek down to the shores of the Urubamba River and from there by train, we go to the small town of Aguas Calientes for a well-deserved rest in a comfortable hotel. Next day we will enjoy a full day tour to visit the amazing “Lost City” of the Incas: The fabulous Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Salcantaypampa
At 07:00 a.m. starts our expedition with a private transport from the city of Cusco. We will pass the localities of Izcuchaca and Limatambo, and after a 2-hour drive, we will arrive at Mollepata town (2950m/9676ft) where we stop for a short rest and coffee. Afterwards we continue our drive (2 hours) towards the area known as Soraypampa (3850m/12628ft), a beautiful Andean valley located at the foothills of the impressive Mount Tucarhuay (5910m/19385ft), from where we start our first day trek (3 hours) to our camp at 4000m (13120ft) at the place known as Salcantaypampa. Here we can enjoy the first views of the impressive Mount Salcantay. Lunch Box and Dinner included.
Trekking time: 3 Hours
Day 2: Salcantaypampa – Huayracmachay – Chaullay
From Salcantaypampa we start our trek towards Soroycocha at 4400m/14432. From here, we will enjoy great views of the impressive west face of Mount Salcantay (6264m/20546ft). Our hike will then continue to take us to reach the Salcantay pass at 4750m/15580ft, with a permanent view of the amazing Mount Salcantay. With luck, we can also observe the flight of the amazing Condor, known as the “King of the Andes”. During our descent from Salcantay pass, we can observe the remains of an ancient Inca Trail the beautiful Salcantaycocha Lagoon. We continue our hike down to the place known as Huayracmachay, and then descending into the deep canyon of the Salcantay River on our way to the small village of Chaullay where we set up our camp at 3500m (11480ft). Breakfast, Lunch Box and Dinner included
Trekking time: 7 Hours
Day 3: Chaullay camp – Lucmabamba Camp
After a hearty breakfast, at 08:00 a.m. we will begin our 7-hour trek. We start with a downhill for about 1 hour until we reach the Collpapampa Valley (3200m/10496ft). The highland landscape suddenly turns into an amazing cloud forest with typical grass, bushes and trees covered with beautiful bromeliads. From Collpapampa the Salcantay River turns into the Santa Teresa River. After a rest, we will continue our descent down to the shores of the Totora River where we can enjoy a fun dip in the nearby hot water springs. Following the north side of the Santa Teresa River we will continue (3 hours) until we reach the settlement known as Wiñaypoko (2800m/5904ft), where we will have lunch. After a nice meal, we continue our descent (3 hours) down to the place known as La Playa. On the way, down, we will observe plantations of banana, coffee, granadillas (a typical fruit from the area), avocado trees, etc. The sound of flocking parrots will accompany us during the hike, and above the river perhaps we can observe the fast flight of the king fisher. After our arrival at La Playa, we cross the river and we make our last hike until we reach the small settlement known as Lucmabamba where we will set up our last camp (1700m/5576ft). In the evening at our camp, we will enjoy a good meal with some wine around a campfire. Breakfast, Lunch Box and Dinner included
Trekking time: 7 Hours
Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapacta – Aguas Calientes
Our last trek day will take us following an Inca road, (3 hours) from Lucmabamba towards the Inca Ruins of Llactapacta (2800m/ 9184ft) where we will spend about 1 hour visiting this interesting archaeological site with terraces, agriculture storage areas, etc. From here and weather permitting, we can observe the northwestern side of the Machu Picchu citadel and the summit of Huayna Picchu hill. After having our box lunch and following a steep mountainside trail, we will continue our trek (2 hours) down to the place known as La Hidroelectrica (operation area of the hydroelectric power plant). Here we will have time to rest and board the local train to the town of Aguas Calientes (2012m/6600ft) where we will arrive after a 1-hour ride. Then our guide will take you to your hotel for a well-deserved rest. Breakfast and Lunch Box included.
Trekking time: 5 Hours
Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
In our last day, after breakfast in the hotel, we will board a public bus transport which will take you up to the main entrance of the city of Machu Picchu. A guided tour will show you this beautiful Inca City, one of the most famous in the world. You will visit the Intihuatana, the temple of the 3 windows, temple of the moon, the terraces, the ceremonial fountains, the sun gate and other sectors of the impressive citadel. In the afternoon, we take the public bus down to Aguas Calientes and by train, you will return to Ollantaytambo from where our transport will take you back to Cusco and a transfer to your hotel after your arrival. End of our program. Breakfast included.
Transfer from Cusco to trek start point, professional English/Spanish speaking guide, noted meals, complete camping equipment (tents for 2 persons, dining tent, kitchen tent), complete food services while on the trek, cook, helpers, horses, horse keepers, first aid kit.
International and domestic flights; entrance fee (approx. us$ 60 per person); one-way train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco Poroy Station (estimated prices: Vista Dome Class Train: us$ 125.-), extra personal horse (us$ 100. – carry up to 30 kgs), tips, personal trekking gear, extras, personal travel insurance.
During the trek, baggage weight allowance per passenger is 5 kgs (horses will carry this.)
Guarantee departures with minimum 4 participants.