This adventurous itinerary takes the intrepid hiker from lodge to lodge along the Andes Mountains, on a route that will end at the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. You will pass through fruit orchards and coffee plantations run by local farmers, as well as mountain passes and glacier lakes, along with lesser-known Inca ruins. Each lodge along the way is warm, clean and comfortable, and will offer you welcome respite from the high altitudes and chilly weather!
Day 1 - Cusco - Salkantay Lodge
Early this morning you will be picked up in Cusco by a guide and driver, and you will drive to Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. En route, you will visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near Limatambo, and the mountain village of Mollepata before being dropped off at Marcoccasa.
From Marcoccasa, you will begin your trek to Soraypampa via the "Camino Real," or Royal Road. During this six hour trek, you will have the chance to acclimitize to the altitude while enjoying magnificent views of the surrounding Andes Mountains. Upon arrival at Salkantay Lodge, you will be met by its warm staff and you will be shown to your rooms, where you will have the chance to rest and relax before tea and cookies. Here, the trek leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by drinks and dinner.
Trek time: 6 hours
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 2 - Salkantay Lodge: Humantay Hike
Today you will hike along the slopes above Salkantay Lodge to Lake Humantay, which is fed by the glaciers of Mt. Humantay. Those who are not up to diving into the frigid waters of the beautiful lake can sit back and enjoy the views here. After lunch back at the lodge, you may want to enjoy a soak in the outdoor jacuzzi. Enjoy this afternoon at your leisure.
This evening, enjoy a gourmet dinner while your guide briefs you on the gear and the itinerary for your next day's trek.
Trek time: 4 hours
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 3 - Salkantay - Wayra Lodge
You will begin your trek up the Rio Blanco valley early this morning, circling Humantay Peak. The highest point you will reach today is along this pass at 15,213ft above sea level. Here you will stop to take in the view of the snowcapped peaks around you. Keep your eyes open for Andean condors, often sighted around this pass. From here, you will descend to Wayra Lodge, your accommodations for the evening.
Trek time: 6-8 hours
Overnight: Wayra Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 4 - Wayra Lodge - Colpa Lodge
After breakfast at Wayra Lodge, you will descend farther along the left bank of the Salkantay River. You will begin to feel the warm air rising from the jungle below you, accompanied by more verdant scenery and colorful butterflies. Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge, you will enjoy a traditional Peruvian meal, "Pachamanca." This will be prepared by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones underground and letting it bake naturally.
Colpa Lodge sits on a plateau, overlooking the confluence of three rivers. Enjoy this afternoon with a soak in the lodge's jacuzzi, or exploring the nearby orchid trail.
Trek time: 3-4 hours
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Overnight: Colpa Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 5 - Colpa Lodge - Lucma Lodge
Today you will hike through the Santa Teresa river valley, through slightly more populated rural areas. Banana, granadilla and avocado orchards, along with coffee plantations will line your way as you trek. After a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will hike one more hour before reaching your private vehicle. You will be driven to the head of the "Llactapata Inca Trail," around 30 minutes away. From here, you will make the easy trek to Lucma Lodge for dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Lucma Lodge (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)
Day 6 - Lucma Lodge - Aguas Calientes
After breakfast this morning, you will begin your final day of trekking with an uphill climb of 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass. From here, you will enjoy your first, distant views of Machu Picchu. After a short break at the Llactapata Ruins, you will continue to an area with scenic views of Machu Picchu for lunch. You will then begin your final descent to the Aobamba River through bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations.
You will finally reach Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of the Machu Picchu ruins after a short train ride. Upon arrival here, you will enjoy a celebration dinner at your hotel with your guide, who will go over one last briefing for the next day's tour of Machu Picchu.
Day 7 - Machu Picchu & Return to Cusco
Very early this morning, you will take a short shuttle bus ride up to Machu Picchu. Enjoy a two-hour guided tour of the ruins before being set free to explore the area on your own for the rest of the morning. This afternoon, you will return to Aguas Calientes, where you will board a train to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley. From here, a private vehicle will meet you and transfer you to your accommodations in Cusco.
Additional Day at Machu Picchu: we highly recommend spending an extra night at Machu Picchu. Even though you have enough time to see the core of Machu Picchu during the regular itinerary, most visitors realize they would have liked to stay longer since there is so much to explore! By spending an extra day at Machu Picchu, you will be able to explore parts of the site that are unknown to the common tourist, like climbing up Huayna Picchu or visiting the Sun Gate, visit the town of Aguas Calientes and soak in the natural hot springs which give the town its name or treat yourselves to a relaxing end to your vacation and fully enjoy all the amenities and services of your beautiful hotel.
Named after the peak at the head of its valley, the Salkantay Lodge is the perfect resting place for hikers along the Peruvian "Camino Real." Featuring an outdoor jacuzzi and spectacular dining, this lodge will usually serve as a starting point for much longer treks. However, it remains a magnificent lodge to spend a few days in and explore the surrounding mountain passes and river valleys.
"Wayra" means wind, and this lodge is named as the Place Where Wind Lives or Rests. For most hikers trekking the Andes Mountains, that is what this place will truly feel like after a long day's hike. Clean, comfortable rooms will greet you along with warm and friendly staff, who will prepare delicious dinner and breakfast for you daily.
At Colpa Lodge, the staff is continuously cooking magnificent Peruvian-style meals for any trekkers who might come and go. The outdoor jacuzzi offers stunning views of the surround snowcapped peaks. Nearby the hotel, orchid trails and river walks are available for any hikers that are not fully exhausted from their day's hike!
Set in a beautifully kept avocado orchard, this lodge offers a rare luxury in an alpine environment near Llactapata Pass, on the recently restored Llactapata Inca Trail. This lodge offers warm, comfortable beds for weary travelers, and delicious meals to accompany them.