This is a very unique version of the Classic Salkantay Trek. The first two days follow one of the common Salkantay trails, but on the 3rd day we depart the Salkantay trails to enjoy a less trodden path that connects with the Classic Inca Trail. You even get the opportunity to walk a portion of the Classic Inca Trail on the 3rd day.
The Salkantay Trek is named for Mount Salkantay (6,271 m / 20,574 feet). This Sacred Mountain is higher than any mountain in North America. On the Salkantay trek you will see gorgeous blue lakes, stunning glaciers, cloud forest and rain forest. The last portion of this particular trek has the ecosystem more typical of the Inca Trail with lush green vegetation and many archeological ruins. This trek is a great blend of the two very popular hikes, with an incomparable variety of flora and fauna.
The trek includes two nights of camping and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes. It also includes a luxury train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes on day 3, dinner on day 3 at the best restaurant in Aguas Calientes, horses to carry 8 kg of your personal gear and your permit to hike Huayna Picchu mountain.
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your trek. Your guide will meet you at our office in Cusco and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
We will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning and have a beautiful scenic drive of 3 hours duration to Mollepata. At Mollepata we will have breakfast at one of the local houses. During this portion of the drive we will have our first views of the magnificent Salkantay and Humantay Mountains, as well as observe lush vegetation and the fields of local families growing potatoes, quinoa, lima beans, etc.
At this point we will arrive at Soraypampa (3,800 m/12,467 ft), the trailhead for the Salkantay trek, and meet our support staff, who will pack everything for the trek and load the equipment onto horses. The first thing we will do is hike up to the magnificent Umantay Lake. After enjoying the beauty and taking pictures, we will hike back down to Soraypampa and “officially” begin the trek.
The hike today is uphill from Soraypampa to Ichupata (4,300 m / 14,104 ft) in the upper valley. This is a 5 to 6 hour hike. Along the way we will pass Salkantaypampa, which is our lunch spot.
Ichupata is our camp for the night. When we arrive, we will settle in, have happy hour and a hearty dinner.
After a savory breakfast, we will begin the 3 to 4 hour steep climb to towards the Incachiriasca pass (4850m/15908ft), the highest of the entire route. We will have amazing views of Apu Salkantay and glacial moraines during this portion. We will pause at the top of the pass to take pictures and enjoy the magnificent view.
We will then descend towards our lunch spot at Sisaypampa, a flat area from which one can observe the neighboring Salkantay Valleys. This is a place where we might see Andean condors.
After lunch we continue towards the Pampacahuana community (3,700 m / 12,136 ft), located next to an original Inca canal. This is our camp for the night.
Today we change pace as we join the Classic Inca Trail. We begin by hiking downill for 2 hours from Pampacahuana to Paucarcancha (3133 m / 10,276 ft)). We will visit the Inca site of the same name.
After the tour we will hike downhill for 5 hours until we reach Km 82, which is the start of the classic Inca trail. Along the way we will be able to see the Inca site of Llactapata. This is the first site on the Classic Inca Trail. Our chef will make us a delicious lunch at Kilometer 82.
After lunch we will be picked up by our private van at Km 82 and transported to Ollantaytambo (2,792 m/9,158 ft) where we will catch the luxury train to Aguas Calientes.
When you reach Aguas Calientes you will check in to your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are a great place to relax if there is time before dinner. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.
You will begin your hike of Huayna Picchu mountain at 10 AM. If you are not climbing the mountain, or after you hike the mountain, you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.