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Salkantay trek 7 days is a magnificent adventure that we combine 2 very important and famous roads in Cusco, the Salkantay trek and Inca Trail that will take you through impressive mountains covered with snow and beautiful lakes, during this adventure you will have the opportunity to see beautiful lakes and wild animals, until arriving at Machu Picchu on the way we will see Inca buildings located in the mountains and a road made of stone.
We start the day by picking you up at your hotel at approx 04:00 AM. We will drive for around 4 hours, crossing Anta and Mollepata and ending up at Challancha. Through the windows of the bus you can clearly see the white, snowcapped mountains of Apus Salkantay and Humantay: two colossal gods of the Incas. You will also see spectacular scenery of high peaks and low valleys in a colorful and contrasting panorama filling every direction you turn your eyes! After the first two hours of driving, we will stop quickly in Mollepata to take advantage of the toilet facilities, souvenir shops, and an optional, short breakfast. We will then continue to Challacancha, the starting point for our trek. We will meet our support staff, and they will organize all of the equipment and cargo mules. Around 09:30 AM, we will begin trekking to Soraypampa (3850 MASL – 12631 FASL), the first campsite on our journey.
The first section of the path takes us over a few deep valleys along the side of a mountain. At some parts of the trail, an old aqueduct can still be seen which still supplies water to farmers in the lower valleys. We will travel 7 km (4.35 miles) in 3 hours to Soraypampa where we will have our lunch at the base camp of Salkantay. After lunch and a short rest, we hike up to the unforgettable Humantay Lake (4200 MASL – 13779 ft). This is a 5 km (3.1miles) round-trip which we will walk in a total of 3 hours. This place one of the most beautiful sights in all the Andes with unbelievable blue-green water reflecting the mountain glaciers of Apu Humantay. It seems like something out of a dream or fairy tale! Back at our camp, the background of the valley at sunset creates the most peaceful scene with an energy that can only be felt and not described! Because Soraypampa (our camp) is located in the middle of the glacier valleys, the sky is so immensely clear at night that you can truly appreciate the stars, constellations, and even comets shooting across the pitch blackness, uninterrupted by the hustle, bustle, or lights of the city. Take a moment this night to re-center your spirit and consider all the deep things of life in the profound silence and tranquility of Soraypampa!
After an early wake up and hearty breakfast, we start on a gentle uphill to Salkantaypampa as we enjoy the views of this imposing mountain in front of our eyes all morning! Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu”. As we ascend, we will make stops along the way to enjoy the outstanding mountain scenery of the Vilcabamba range. After lunch, we will gradually continue ascending to our campsite in Pampa Japonesa.
Today, we will conquer the last stretch to the pass (Incachiriasca, 5338 MASL – 17513 FASL). Be amazed about the incredible forthcoming views of Salkantay! From the pass, we will make our way down to our lunch camp in Sisaypampa, where the highest-living Andean rodent, the chinchilla, can be seen. After lunch, we continue heading downhill and, as we near the campsite, the valley narrows and the river becomes a canal. Our campsite this night is at the Inca canal.
Today, we will start with a 3-hour steep downhill trek to the Incan ruins at Inkaracay (also known as Paucarcancha). It is an archeological site well worth exploring! Afterward, we will continue hiking down to the small village of Huayllabamba where we join the traditional Inca Trail. After making a lunch stop, we will head up to our campsite, through a steep, but very scenic, climb. Our campsite tonight is at Ayapata.
Today, we will reach the highest point on the Inca Trail (dead woman pass) (Warmihuañusca) (4200 MASL – 13776 FASL). After a two-hour descent, we will arrive at Pacaymayo Valley (3600 MASL – 11808 FASL) where we lunch. We then continue up to the second pass (Runkurakay) (3970 MASL – 13022 FASL), stopping halfway to visit the impressive archaeological site of Runkurakay. Going over the pass, we descend toward Lake Yanacocha and enter into the cloud forest to arrive at the Sayacmarca Inca ruins (3624 MASL – 11887 FASL). Our campsite is at Chaquicocha (3400 MASL – 11154 FASL).
Today, we will take an easy climb in the morning to the last pass with its Incan ruins of the same name (Phuyupatamarca, 3700 MASL – 12136 FASL). Here, we will also have remarkable views of the Urubamba River Valley. Afterward, we descend to the Wiñaywayna campsite (2650 MASL – 8692 FASL) and visit another archeological site there after lunch.
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! After an early start to our day, we arrive at the campsite exit gate where we must wait in line until 5 AM. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. Subsequently, we will hike one hour until we arrive at the Sun Gate (Intipuncu) which looks down onto Machu Picchu. Arriving at the Sun Gate we will feel so jubilant that we have finally arrived! We will arrive early to beat the crowds to this viewpoint and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. From there, we will walk downhill on a stone path to enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas with impressive panoramic views all the way down.
After we register in the site, we explore this amazing and world-famous location. We will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes (or riding the bus for $12.00 USD) to catch our train at 16:22 hrs (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 20:00 hrs. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!
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