Welcome to Peru! Your journey begins here... a once in a lifetime physical, cultural and spiritual journey that will take you through the magnificent Salkantay Valley en route to the legendary ruins at Machu Picchu. Challenge yourself as you trek through nine different biozones, changing altitudes and varied terrain. Marvel at the exquisite beauty of the Salkantay Peak, Salkantay Glacier and Humantay Glacier Lake. Share in the culture and customs of local Andean families who maintain age-old traditions. Witness environmental and social initiatives to maintain the natural integrity and improve quality of life in the region. Indulge in the comfort of enchanting mountain lodges, the revitalizing salts and minerals of natural hot springs, the innovative local cuisine, the warmth of the people, and your daily retreat to a mind-and-body recovery Shangri-la. Be inspired by the majesty of your surroundings and the knowledge that you are following in the footsteps of the Incas...
Day 1: Cusco- Soraypampa (12, 500 ft)
You will be picked up at your hotel in Cusco starting at 7:00 am and head to the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort in Soraypampa.
En route we will take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approximately 1.5 hours from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a mountain road to a place called Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by car). Here, we will begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for you to get acclimated and enjoy a mild and beautiful 4-hour trek on your first day.
Optional: if you do not wish to trek you can be transported to the lodge in the vehicle.
The Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley- the “Salkantay”, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 20,600 feet, the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by the friendly staff, you will be shown to your rooms and have some time to freshen up. The first afternoon is spent at leisure to adjust to the altitude. Aperitifs and dinner follow an evening briefing by the fireplace.
Hiking level: moderate
Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (L, D)
Day 2: Soraypampa
Today is at leisure, depending on your level of acclimation.
The most popular activity at Soraypampa is a half-day hike (3-4 hours, Hiking Level: moderate to challenging) to a glacial lake where the more adventurous might take a very short swim! This is an excellent way to get acclimated and a first immersion into high-mountain trekking!
In the afternoon you may choose to skip the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi. In the evening, the guide will brief the trekking party on gear and the itinerary for the next four days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served at the lodge.
Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (B, L, D)
Day 3: Soraypampa- Huayraccmachay (12,600 feet)
This is the big day: the start of our four-day trek to Machu Picchu.
After an early start we will hike up the Rio Blanco Valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. The highest point on the trek is a pass at 15,000 feet. At the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the 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 continue our descent toward the Wayra Lodge (Wayra- the place where the wind lives), our destination for the evening.
A hot lunch will be eaten en route and dinner will be served at the lodge.
Hiking time: 4-6 hours; Total activity for the day: 5-7 hours
Hiking level: challenging
Wayra Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 4: Huayraccmachay- Collpapampa (9,200 feet)
Following the long first day we will enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge and then begin our trek by hiking downhill above the Salkantay River through increasingly vibrant scenery. Our arrival at the next lodge encounters a “Pachamanca”- style lunch (subject to availability; traditional underground stone cooking).
The Colpa Lodge is located in an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor hot tub has prominent views of lush green mountains and a small, distant local town. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
Hiking time: 3-4 hours
Hiking level: easy to moderate
Colpa Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 5: Collpapampa- Lucmabamba (6,900 feet)
After an early breakfast we head down the Santa Teresa River Valley through rural areas populated with coffee plantations (said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world!), bananas, ‘granadillas’, and orchards. We stop along the river for a hot picnic lunch.
After another hour of trekking a private vehicle arrives to take us to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” (30 minute drive). From the head of the trail it is a short climb (30 minutes) to the Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. We arrive in time to allow for exploration of the small village of Lucmabamba and possible meeting with members of the local community.
Hiking time: 5-6 hours; Total activity for the day: 6-8 hours
Hiking level: moderate to challenging, due to distance, not terrain
Lucma Lodge (B, L, D)
Day 6: Lucmabamba- Aguas Calientes (6,200 feet)
After an early start and a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata pass (8,900 feet), where we come upon a distant, but very special view of Machu Picchu from the southwest, a view few tourists ever glimpse and an added value of the recently restored Llactapata Ruins. Lunch is provided at the observatory, in view of Machu Picchu.
We then begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. (2-3 hour descent). Aguas Calientes and Macchu Picchu are a short 30 minute scenic train ride away. We then arrive at Aguas Calientes to check in to our hotel for the night.
Total hiking time: 4-6 hours
Hiking level: moderate to challenging
Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel (B, L, D)
Day 7: Machu Picchu- Cusco
We wake up early to have breakfast at the hotel and then make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu (30 minutes). A complete guided tour of Machu Picchu will be provided (2 hours). You will then have about 4 additional hours to explore the site on your own- there is a lot to do and see!
Afterwards, we return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch and go to the train station for an afternoon departure. The train takes us to Ollantaytambo (1 ½ hours), where a private vehicle awaits to take us to Cusco (1 ½ hours). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7-8 pm) you will be dropped off at the hotel of your choice.
End of Services- Bon Voyage!
*** THIS IS A PROPOSAL ONLY AND IS SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY AT THE TIME OF CONFIRMATION. WE ARE NOT HOLDING ANY SPACES FOR THIS ITINERARY AT THIS TIME. ***
Depart any day March- December. Contact an iExplore expert for details!
$3948 April 1–October 31, December 15–December 31
$3499 March 1–March 31, November 1–December 14
Rates are per person for the 7-day/6-night lodge trek program, based on shared accommodations in a twin, double or triple room.
Requested Single Room: 50% supplement of the retail cost per person
- All services from pick up in Cusco on Day 1 to drop off in Cusco on Day 7.
- Transportation from hotel in Cusco to Soraypampa on Day 1 and from Ollantaytambo back to hotel on Day 7.
- 6 nights lodging (5 nights in MLP lodges and 1 night in Aguas Calientes in a 4-Star hotel)
- All meals except breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7
- Service of a bilingual guide (Spanish/English) from Day 1 to Day 7. Tours are led in English.
- Transportation of personal belongings on the trek by pack horses/mules and/or porters
- Guided visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary (includes entrance and transportation to the site)
- Train transportation(Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes, and Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo)
- At the lodges we provide filtered and sparkling water, tea and coffee, juice and soft drinks free of charge. Alcoholic and sports drinks, and natural bottled water are not included. Only filtered water and tea are available free of charge at the Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel.
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.
Options and Extras
VIP Lounge at Jorge Chavez International Airport (Day 6)- $50 (4 hour max)
Optional Second day at Machu Picchu:
Make a second visit to Machu Picchu: visit the Sun Gate, climb Huayna Picchu, go to Intipunka and enjoy many other marvels the site has to offer!
Spend a relaxing day enjoying nature walks (birdwatching, orchid gardens) or visiting the hot springs!
Optional Horseback riding:
Activity 1: Coronilla Ranch to Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort
* Optional 4-hour ride on Day 1 of the program.
* This activity would replace the 1st day hike to the lodge.
* Sure-footed U.S. pedigree quarter-mile horses, specially trained for rugged high mountain terrain.
* Combination of trail riding, trotting and galloping from valley settings to views of glacier mountains.
* Fully guided activity.
Activity 2: Horseback trekk to Humantay Glacier Lake
* Optional 4-hour ride on Day 2 of the itinerary, exploring the surroundings of Soraypampa.
* Ride up the Humantay glacier mountain and hike (30 minutes) the last section to the glacier lake.
* Sure-footed U.S. pedigree quarter-mile horses, specially trained for rugged high mountain terrain.
* Mostly trail riding.
* Fully guided activity.
Pre-trek optional Whitewater River Rafting:
* Explore the Apurimac River on this 4 day/3 night adventure prior to your trekking experience.
* No previous rafting experience required. hands-on instruction from the best rafting guides in the region.
* Experience the thrill of rafting through class III, IV and V rapids! Please note the class IV and V rapids are optional.
* Cross plunging valleys, gullies, canyons and feel the rumbling waters while you enjoy the stunning views of Apurimac Canyon.
* Luxury tent camping, high-quality meals and accommodations for your comfort with an all-inclusive system. Campsites are fully set up at each day's end, prior to your arrival.
Notes: Please request a day by day itinerary for this program when making your reservation. Participants must be in good physical condition.
Please contact an iExplore Adventure Consultant for details and pricing on these activities.
Q: What is the weight limit for luggage/clothing/equipment that each traveler can take?
A: The weight limit for the trek is 35 pounds per guest, as it is the maximum weight that the mules and porters can carry. It is also important to note that "hard" luggage poses a problem: soft "duffel-bags" are recommended.
Q: What should guests do with their extra bags?
A: Excess luggage can be stored in Cusco at your pre-trek hotel.
Q: How is luggage transported from lodge to lodge?
A: Guests should carry a day pack with everything you will need for the day. Mules and porters carrying the luggage will not walk with the group. Your luggage will meet you upon arrival at each lodge.
Q: What is the weather like on the Salkantay trek during the year?
A: Here is a rough guideline:
December to March: rain/cold
April to June: Fair
July- August: Dry/cold
September- November: Occasional rain/fair
Q: How may guides will be with the group on the trek?
A: There will be one guide for groups of up to 7 travelers. For groups of 8-14 there will also be an assistant guide. However, the cooks and horsemen know the area and the trek very well and are able to assist the guides at all times; even in case of emergency.
Q: What kind of emergency procedures are in place if a guest injures themselves in a way that disables them from continuing on the trek? What is the nearest hospital and how can they get there? Does the rest of the group continue without them or must they all turn around?
A: There is basic medical attention and equipment at all the lodges. Personnel traveling with the group are trained to handle emergencies. The lodges also work with a medical rescue helicopter for emergencies. For minor medical attention that cannot be taken care of at the lodges, but which require the nearest medical center, in the worst case, are only a one day distance by horse or mule. Guides carry first aid kits and portable oxygen with them at all times.
Q: Do the guides have naturalist training of any kind?
A: We work with the best guides in Cusco. These guides are also trained in the route "Mountain Lodges of Peru" style and in full operation of the lodges. We can have specialist guides available on request (bird specialists, history specialists, etc.).
Q: Do guests carry their lunch in their day packs?
A: On Days 3, 5 and 6, which call for a picnic lunch en route. Lunch will be prepared fresh on site by the cooks and will consist of hot soup, gourmet sandwiches or a hot lunch, snacks and salads. Additionally , guests will be handed a "snack pack" to carry in their day packs with dry fruits, peanuts, chocolates and fresh fruits.
Q: What is the electrical current at the lodges if a guest wants to use their own electrical appliances?
A: The lodges have an electrical current of 220v. If you have electrical devices that work with 111v, you should bring your own adaptors since there is a limited supply of these in the lodges.
Q: When do we meet our group and guide? When and where will we be picked up on Day 1?
A: There is a pre-trek briefing the night before your trek departure with your guide and the group at a local Cusco hotel. We will contact you at your Cusco hotel to give you the exact time and place of the briefing.
Q: What is the terrain like? How challenging is it?
A: The trek is rated as moderate to challenging and covers approximately 32 miles of uneven, rocky terrain. Day 3 is the most challenging with an elevation gain of 3,000 feet in a span of 3 miles to reach a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet. Prior hiking experience is recommended as this is not a novice hike.
Recommended Equipment List
· Day Pack
· Broken in, comfortable hiking boots
· Rain gear (poncho or full rain gear)
· Lightweight hiking pants or shorts (pants recommended)
· Breathable, lightweight top gear
· Comfortable shoes/flip flops
· Cold-weather jacket
· Long-sleeve fleece or sweater
· Wool hat
· Sports hat
· Comfortable hiking socks (4 pair at least)
· Insect repellent
· Bathing/swim suit
· Casual wear for evenings
· Photo/video cameras & chargers
· Re-fillable water bottle
· Lightweight, small binoculars
· We appreciate no hard suitcases or carry ons; soft duffel bags and or back packs are recommended
· Sleeping bags are not required as the lodges provide ample bedding.
· There are a limited number of hair dryers at each lodge, due to limitations in energy supply and environmental concerns.
· At the first lodge you will be provided with an "amenity kit" that includes bath gel, shampoo, conditioner, moisturizing cream and shower cap. This amenity kit will be given at the first lodge and you should pack the kit in your luggage, as there are no additional kits once you leave the first lodge.