This Salkantay hiking tour to Machu Picchu is designed for you to enjoy the most beautiful sites in Peru. You will visit Cusco City and the Sacred Valley, amongst other spots. Spend your days hiking through the Peruvian mountains, which are rich in energy, magic, and power. A final visit to Machu Picchu will allow you to fully understand how and why the Incas decided to build a city perched in this inaccessible and inspiring place.
DAY 1: Cusco: City Tour & San Pedro Market
Upon arrival at the airport in Cusco, you will be welcomed by a representative who will drive you to your hotel in Cusco. You will explore the amazing and historical city of Cusco, which was the capital of the great Inca Empire and surrounded by the beautiful Andes Mountains. In the afternoon, you will begin your city tour, visiting the Plaza de Armas (Main Square). You will continue your tour by exploring the Cathedral and admiring its exquisite vestibules and priceless paintings from the Cusco School of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Just a few blocks away, you will visit the famous 12 angle stone and Loreto Street. Then, visit the nearby Qoricancha (or Temple of the Sun in Incas time), whose interior walls were said to have been covered in gold. As you return to the lower part of the city, you will stop off at the San Pedro Market, where you will be delighted by the variety of unique and traditional local products and discover new aromas and tastes.
DAY 2: Sacred Valley: Cotahuasi Zoo, Pisaq, Ollantaytambo, and Moray
On day two, you will take a guided excursion to the enigmatic Sacred Valley of the Incas. Your tour will start at 8 am with a drive to Pisaq, passing through the animal sanctuary of Cotahuasi where you can see pumas, condors, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and guanacos. It’s then another 30 minute drive to Pisaq, where you will visit the archeological site and the local market. After seeing and visiting the handicraft market, you will continue our journey, passing the Sacred Valley until you arrive at Ollantaytambo, “The Last Living Inca Town”. It is an old Inca fortified village where you will observe some of the best examples of Inca architecture in the region. Then, on your return, you will visit the unique archeological site of Moray, where you will learn about the ancient Inca farming technology.
Then, it's time to return to your hotel in Cusco for dinner and sleep.
DAY 3: Cusco – Soraypampa – Huayracpunku (15Km – 8 hrs)
Today begins with a pickup from your hotel in Cusco between 4 am - 5 am. Then, you will drive to Soraypampa (3900m), arriving at approximately 8:30 am. After your first breakfast, you will start your Salkantay trek. It’s a 4-hour walk up to Soyrococha (4400mts – 14430ft.) where the tour chefs will be waiting for you to enjoy our highest lunch ever. Along the way, you will see a variety of flora and fauna like the Andean goose (the love birds), deer and vizcachas.
After the lunch, you will continue climbing for one hour more to reach Salkantay Pass (4,650 m/ 15255 ft). Once at the summit, you will explore a beautiful lake at the base of this majestic mountain. From the top, it will be another 3-hour hike downhill until you reach your campsite called Wayracmachay (3,800 m/ 12467 ft.). Upon arrival, your tents will be all set up. Your night will end with tea time, dinner and sleep.
DAY 4: Hayracpunku – Challway – La Playa (24Km – 9hrs)
Before the sunrise, your guide will wake you up with a comforting cup of coffee or tea for a proper start to the day. Once you come out of the tent, you will find yoga mats ready and waiting for you. At 3,900 metres above sea level, this will be the highest yoga session of your lifetime, which is something to be proud of. You will stretch and breathe and meditate, surrounded by the tallest peaks of the largest mountain range in the world.
Then it's time for breakfast, followed by the longest day of your trip. Today is downhill almost the entire day, with some short uphill sections. The landscape throughout the day goes from the high Puna, covered by Ichu grass, to the warm and lush cloud forest. Along the way, you will see a variety of flora and fauna. After walking for four hours, you will arrive at your lunch spot.
After lunch, you will say goodbye to your horseman, and if you want to give then some tips, you can do it (it is not mandatory). After that, you will hike for four hours on a gradual downhill until you get to La Playa. Along the way, you will see how the climate is changing from the cloud forest to the tropical forest, where farmers farm coffee and different kind of fruits such as passionfruit, oranges, bananas, avocados, etc. There will be great sights of the lush valley and the fantastic waterfalls. Once you arrive at the campsite, you will enjoy tea time and dinner.
DAY 5: La Playa – Llaqtapata (10km – 5hrs)
Today, you will wake up among coffee trees, cocoa bushes, avocado, yucca and banana plants. After breakfast, you will visit the local coffee farms to learn the production process from planting until the beans become a steaming expresso. You will then hike a portion of the original Inca trail, built in the XV century. In the Inca time, this road connected Vilcabamba with Machu Picchu. You will climb the mountain for three hours until you arrive at Llaqtapata. This site was rediscovered recently, and you will learn all about the history of the Incas and the geography of the Andes while there. E
Enjoy the landscapes around you and feel the energy of Machu Picchu before returning to your campsite for lunch. You will have the whole afternoon to enjoy the site. Right before the sun sets, you and your group will lay out your yoga mats for a unique yoga experience in the sister mountain of Machu Pichu. After that, eat dinner and enjoy a peaceful sleep.
DAY 6: Llaqtapata – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes (14km- 6 hrs.)
Llaqtapata is a unique place where you can take photos of Machu Picchu from a different angle. The sunrise is worth experiencing, so after you wake up you should take your cup of coffee and find a seat with a view so you can observe Machu Picchu and the surrounding mountains as the clouds rise from the valley, revealing the sacred and lost City of the Incas. After breakfast, you will hike for two hours downhill on a path with great views of the tropical forest until you arrive at the hydroelectric power station. Along the way, you will see hundreds of orchids, avocados, bananas, birds and more.
Once at the hydroelectric station, eat lunch before hitting the road for three hours until you reach Aguas Calientes town. This path was used by the American professor Hiram Bingham, who rediscovered Machu Picchu. As you hike, you will see different species of flora and fauna including the Peruvian national bird called Cock of the Rock, parrots, toucans, hummingbirds and more. Once you are in Aguas Calientes, enjoy a hot shower in your hotel. At night, you will experience the last dinner prepared by your chef and porters before saying thank you and goodbye to them.
DAY 7: Machu Picchu (Lost City of the Incas) – Cusco
On your final day, you will have to get up very early to prepare for the highlight of your Salkantay trek - visiting Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. You will go straight to the line to wait for the first bus going up to Machu Picchu at 5:30 am. Arriving as the sky brightens, you will walk for an hour to the Sun Gate, taking in the stunning views along the way. On a clear day, you can watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu, which is a truly unforgettable sight.
Your guide will take you on a 2 to 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore on your own or climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (must be booked as far in advance as possible). Your guide will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch and take the train and bus back to Cusco. Once there, your guide will ensure you are returned back to your hotel.
DAY 8: Depart Cusco
After having breakfast in the hotel, you will be transferred to the airport according to your departure flight.