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Conquering the mountain peaks

Salcantay Trek

13 Day Sample Tour
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Within the majestic Vilcabamba range, the glacier-capped summit of Mount Salcantay rises grandly above the neighboring peaks. Local Quechua Indians consider Salcantay to be sacred, worshiping the mountain as their ancestors have for thousands of years. After exploring colonial Cusco and the Sacred Valley we begin our 7 day trek, making our way through mountain passes, glacier-carved valleys, and over hillsides decorated with a colorful array of wildflowers. We then join the classic Inca Trail, arriving at the Intipunku Sun Gate for our first magnificent view of Machu Picchu. This journey combines the most popular route in Peru with the road less traveled, making it a perfect two-week alpine adventure!

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Lima
Day 2 : Fly Cusco
Day 3 : Explore Cusco
Day 4 : Sacred Valley
Days 5-11 : Andean Trekking and Inca Trail
Day 12 : Machu Picchu/ Cusco
Day 13 : Fly Lima and Return Home

Places Visited

  • Peru
  • South America
  • Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo)
  • Cusco
  • El MaPi Inn
  • Inca Trail
  • Inca Trail Day 1: Huayllabamba
  • Inca Trail Day 2: Pacaymayo
  • Inca Trail Day 3: Phuyupatamarca
  • Lima
  • Machu Picchu
  • Ollantaytambo
  • Sacred Valley

Activities

Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level

Challenging

Trip Snapshots

Conquering the mountain peaks We couldn't get enough of the rainbow! Hiking the Cachiccata Trek Machu Picchu...exceeds every expectation. Buy lovely handmade goods from the local people at the market in Raqchi during your Peru travels The 12 corner stone in Cusco Snow along the trail

Day 1 Arrive Lima

Overnight.

Day 2 Fly Cusco

An early morning flight brings you to the Inca capital of Cusco where Quechua speaking descendents of the Incas bustle back and forth in the busy plazas and markets. Colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the arrival of the Conquistadors. The church walls have fallen many times throughout the years, but the Inca walls remain. The morning is yours to explore Cusco's narrow streets and bustling markets. In the afternoon, you can tour Cusco's traditional markets, talking to the women selling natural medicines and charms for curing heartache and other afflictions. You will visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions. (If visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, you will visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.

Day 3 Explore Cusco

Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. Travelers can go on a city tour of the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of SUVs!). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife.

Day 4 Sacred Valley

This morning you'll wind your way past snowcapped mountains, which tower above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. At Pisac, Inca terracing climbs the steep valley walls, and the ruined temples command panoramic views of the sharp granite mountains. In the pueblo you'll test your bargaining skills with the locals and enjoy one of the best textile markets in the Andes. After lunch take a short walk through the countryside to the seldom-visited town of Maras and its pre-Columbian salt mines (still in use today with salt being collected in traditional fashion) as well as the Inca agricultural terraces of Moray, thought to have been a nursery to experiment with and modify different varieties of crops. Eventually, you will make your way to the living Inca city of Ollantaytambo where you can relax for the night.

Day 5-11 Andean Trekking and Inca Trail

  • Hotels
  • 7 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
Early this morning you'll board a van for the five hour trip to the trailhead. To your right as you crest Tika-Tika pass, the imposing peaks of Salcantay and Humantay are visible in the distant horizon. Continuing along the dusty road, you'll arrive in the mestizo farming village of Mollepata where you'll meet your arrieros and load your gear onto their mules. From here you'll begin your trek into the glacially sculpted terrain of the Andes. The steep slopes and jagged peaks are a testament to the young geologic age of these snow-capped mountains. Your trail through the Vilcabamba range leads you through magnificent mountain scenery, past glacial lakes and down through the lush greenery and colorful orchids of an Amazon cloud forest. Cresting Incachiriasca pass, you'll reach the highest point of our journey at 15,252 feet and are rewarded with breathtaking views in all directions. On Day 9 you'll pass through the small community of Huayabamba and join the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Falling into step with fellow pilgrims from around the world, you'll pass by ever larger Inca ruins that bring to life the rich history of the area. The carefully laid stonework trail gives way to a well-trodden path as you approach the Sun Gate for your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. After exploring the ancient city, you'll relax in the village of Machu Picchu Pueblo (town formerly called Aguas Calientes) below the ruins.

Trek Details

Day 5 - Trek length: 2 hours - 4 kilometers; Camp elevation: 10,496 ft
Day 6 - Trek length: 6-7 hours - 11 km; Camp elevation: 12,815 ft
Day 7 - Trek length: 7-8 hours - 12 km; Camp elevation: 13,776 ft
Day 8 - Trek length: 5-6 hours - 10 km; Camp elevation: 10,332 ft
Day 9 - Trek length: 5-6 hours - 8 km; Camp elevation: 12,300 ft
Day 10 - Trek length: 7-8 hours - 14 km; Camp elevation: 11,972 ft
Day 11 - Trek length: 5-7 hours - 10 km; Overnight in Machu Picchu Pueblo

Day 12 Machu Picchu/ Cusco

Today is your chance to watch the sunrise at Machu Picchu and to listen to the spirits of the city's past inhabitants before the hikers from the Inca Trail arrive. You can choose to book a permit to climb the sacred peak of Huayna Picchu or take a walk through the lush cloudforest to the Temple of the Moon. In the afternoon, you'll return by train to Cusco with your guide. (Let us know if you would like help arranging entrance fees or hiking permits for today – these are not included and sell out in advance!)

Day 13 Fly Lima and Return Home

  • 1 Breakfast

Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) - Hotels

Cusco - Hotels

Lima - Hotels

Sacred Valley - Hotels

Per person starting at
$3,595

Notes

$606 single supplement

Included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
    • 6 Nights Hotel
    • 6 Nights Camping
  • 11 Days Private Guide Service
  • Gear Rental
    • All camping gear EXCEPT sleeping bags

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $425 Lima-Cusco-Lima
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are excluded.
  • International Flights

Recommended Budgeting

  • $140 Meals not Included
  • $43 Airport Departure Tax
  • $80 Optional Excursions
    • $60 for second day's return to Machu Picchu
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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Jessica L

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Beyond expectations! Then again we weren't sure what to expect. Lovely stay at the lodge, met other like-minded travelers (many had their trips planned by Adventure Life) and the owner was a gracious hostess. It felt like you were one happy family, visiting with a favorite aunt.
Nancy Sin

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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