So, anyone who knows anything about Peru knows about the Inca Trail, and with good reason. It is an amazing way to get to Machu Picchu, while making the most of what this ancient path has to offer: fascinating Inca ruins, cloud forests, subtropical jungle, not to mention the amazing llamas and alpacas you will meet on the way and the local flora you will marvel at. As far as Salkantay goes, it used to be only an alternative to the Inca Trail when this was sold out, but nowadays it has become a choice in itself. And so, it should be, as it has been classified as one of the top 20 treks in the world. And because we know it would be a hard choice between these too, we have carefully designed an amazing trekking tour, that gets you the best parts of both: the 5-day, 4-night Salkantay Trek with Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
With this trek, you will enjoy the stunning scenery offered by the Salkantay trek the first 2 days, and on the third day you will get off the beaten track, on a path that will connect you with the Inca Trail, which you will then follow on the fourth day, in order to reach one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu, on foot.
The Salkatanay part of the trek comes with the whole package: stunning glaciers, crystal clear lakes, cloud forest and rain forest, which on the last part transforms into rich vegetation and enigmatic ruins, this way giving you the best of nature and culture. With this trek, only offered by Action Peru Treks, you get to camp in the middle of nature, surrounded by the majesty of the mountains, for 2 nights, while on the other 2 you will sleep in hotels, in Ollantaytambo and Aguas Calientes, respectively. You also get a very pleasant train ride, on day 4, from Ollantaytambo to km 104, dinner in a nice restaurant on the fourth day in Aguas Calientes, horses that carry 8kg of your personal belongings, the permit to hike the short Inca Trail and much more.
Pre-trek briefing: We provide a full pre-trek briefing at our office in Cusco. This gives you the chance to ask questions about the trek itinerary and you will also be given your duffle bag so that you can pack your gear for the trek. Briefings are generally scheduled for the morning or afternoon of the day before your trek starts. If your trek begins on a Monday then the briefing will be scheduled for the Saturday before. Please take this into consideration when booking your travel plans to Cusco, ensuring you arrive in time for the briefing.
We will pick you up early in the morning at your Cusco hotel and have a very pleasant, 3-hour drive to Mollepata, where we will have breakfast in one of the rustic houses. Along the way, you most certainly will not get bored, as you can observe the sumptuous Salkantay and Humantay Mountains, plenty of vegetation, and farmers working on their potatoes, quinoa and lima beans fields. Once we arrive at Soraypampa (3800m/12467 ft), we will get off the van and you can leave everything in the hands of our professional staff who will pack all your belongings onto horses; all you need to do is get ready with excitement to start the amazing trek. To start with a bang, we will hike up to the stunning Humantay Lake, where we can take in the beauty, take the pictures to remember and then go back to Soraypampa, where we can finally begin the trek. The part done today will be from Soraypampa to Ichupata (4300m/14104 ft), which will take around 5 to 6 hours and along which we will pass through Salkantaypampa, where we will have a delicious and nutritious lunch. Before getting ready to sleep in Ichupata, our camping place for the night, we will have a hearty dinner.
In order to get ready for a challenging and steep hike up to Incachiriasca Pass (4850m/15908 ft), we will have a delicious breakfast. On the way we will be able to marvel at the amazing Apu Salkantay and appreciate the unique glacier moraines in this area. After all this encounter with heights, we will descend to a flat area, where we will have lunch and we can observe the Salkantay Valleys; if we are lucky, we might see the Andean condor. Next, it is time to get a taste of the local life, as we will head down to the Pampacahuana community (3700m/ 12136 ft), where we will camp for the night.
On this day, we will switch things up a bit, as we walk downhill, in order to join the Classic Inca Trail. We will get from Pampacahuana to Paucarcancha (3133m/ 10276 ft) in about 2 hours. Here we will visit the Inca site that bears the same name.
In order to finally link up with the Inca Trail, we will walk downhill for 5 hours, to km 82. Here we will be rewarded with a lovely view of the Inca ruin of Llactapata. After succeeding in seeing this first site of the Classic Inca Trail, our professional chef will cook us a delicious lunch at the end of our trekking day at KM 82.
After lunch, a local transportation will take us from km 82 to Ollantaytambo (2792m/ 9158 ft), where you will sleep in the comfort of your hotel room. You will have dinner at a local Restaurant in town.
We will pick you up at your Ollantaytambo hotel around 7:00 in the morning and have a short, 10-minute walk to Ollantaytambo train station.
We will enjoy the views from the train, down to km 104, where the train will make a special stop, just for you, where we will start our Inca Trail trekking.
After passing the Inca Trail checkpoint we can already admire the first ruins on this path, the Chachabamba ruins. You will hear from the guide its fascinating story: how they were the last shelters used by the Inca before reaching Machu Picchu; how they were used for centuries as a religious and administrative center. All the while you will be able to appreciate its enigmatic buildings.
Further on, while we ascend for 3 hours, you will be in awe at the different ecosystems that you will encounter during such a short period of time, while you will learn and observe the specific local flora and fauna.
Since this is the Inca Trail, magnificent ruins will keep appearing. The next ones will be the ruins of Winay Wayna, which means “Forever Young”. Up there we will enjoy the stunning views of the Andes while we have a nutritious lunch.
You will see for yourself that Winay Wayna has different experimental terraces for the growth of different types of crops. Although you might have heard of the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon, here you will get to experience a temple dedicated to the rainbow, with 7 windows.
Further on, we will walk for 1-2 hours, until we reach the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) of Machu Picchu. From here you will already feel the amazing energy that only Machu Picchu gives you, by having a first glimpse of this wonder of the world.
Afterwards, we will take you to Aguas Calientes, where you can enjoy this colorful and busy city. A great way to spend the evening would be to visit the hot springs, where you can get well-deserved rest and relaxation. We will then enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant, filled with excitement for the great day to come.
After a heart breakfast early in the morning, around 5:30, we will pick you up by bus to head to the enigmatic Machu Picchu. On the way we will see the glorious sunrise over the Lost City of the Incas.
You can be sure that our local professional and knowledgeable guides will transport you into the Inca times with their exciting stories, during which you will get to know all about the history and importance of Machu Picchu. Of course, you will have enough time to take the photos of a lifetime.
If you have chosen to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain, you will do so at 10:00a.m. Kindly remember that Huayna Picchu tickets are not included in this tour and you must book them well in advance. If you´d rather not climb the mountain, there is nothing to lose, as you will have more time to freely explore Machu Picchu on your own.
After coming back to Aguas Calientes, you will board the return train to Poroy or Ollantaytambo, from where we will transfer you in our van to your hotel in Cusco. Depending on your train ticket, you will arrive in Cusco more or less between 8-9:00p.m.
* nb. batteries run down faster at high altitudes