AAPT05     Mount Salcantay – Machu Picchu       5D/4N


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 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 have to 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 (trek time: 3 hours)


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 2 hours drive, we will arrive at Mollepata town (2950m/9676ft) where we stop for a short rest and have a 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. Enjoy the first views of the impressive Mount Salcantay. LB, D.

Day 2: Salcantaypampa – Huayracmachay – Chaullay (7 hours).

From Salcantaypampa we start our trek towards Soyrococha at 4400m/14432. From here, we will enjoy great views of the impressive west face of Mount Salcantay (6264m/20546ft). Our hike will 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 bird known as the "King of the Andes". During our descend from Salcantay pass we will also have the opportunity to observe the remains of an ancient Inca Trail, a road approximately 6m wide, and also observe the beautiful Salcantaycocha Lagoon. Later on, 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). B, LB, D.

Day 3: Chaullay camp – Lucmabamba Camp (trek time: 7 hours).

After a hearty breakfast, at 08:00 a.m. we will be ready to continue our 7 hours trek down 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 soak in the nearby hot water springs. Then 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. From here, 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 flock of parrots will accompany us during the hike, and above the river perhaps we can observe the fast fly of king fisher's. 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. (B, LB, D).

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapacta – Aguas Calientes (trek time: 5 hours).

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, we will then continue our trekking (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 later on 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. B, LB.

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

In our last day, breakfast in the hotel follows an early breakfast. Then, a public bus transport 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. Transfer to your hotel in Cusco. End of our program. B.

 Gross Rates per Person in US$:

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Included: Private transport from Cusco to Soraypampa, noted meals during the trekking (B= Breakfast, LB= Lunch Box, D= Dinner), Complete camping equipment, emergency horse, mules for the transportation of heavy equipment, muleteers, professional bilingual English/Spanish speaking guide, cook, helpers, first aid kit, local train from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes, hotel accommodations in Aguas Calientes based in double or twin bed rooms, local public bus Aguas Calientes-Machu Picchu-Aguas Calientes, transfer from the train station to the hotel in Cusco.

Not included: one-way train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Vista Dome: $130. - pp; Expedition Class train: $115.-pp), entrance fee (us$110. - pp); international and domestic flights, airport taxes, extra horse (us$110. - can carry up to 30 kgs), tips, personal trekking gear, extras, and personal travel insurance.

Grading: Moderate - hard

Personal weight allowance per passenger: 10 kgs (this to be carried by horses





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