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Day 1: Cusco - Basecamp Salkantay Lodge 12,690'/3869 M.
After an early breakfast, your Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP) guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco. The first stop will be the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo. Next stop is for a short break in the mountain village of Mollepata, before ascending a winding mountain road to a site called Marcoccasa. Here you begin your hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). As you round the final turn of the Camino Real, the Salkantay Lodge will come into view. (6,270 m/20,600 ft). After a warm welcome from the Soraypampa staff, you will settle in your room
before meeting your guide in the lounge for refreshments and a briefing of the next day’s activities.
Hike: 6 hours with stop for picnic lunch / Difficulty: moderate / Lodge altitude: 3,869 m/12,690 ft.
(Hike is optional. You can ride in the van)
Day 2: Basecamp Day Hike to Lake Humantay
Continue with altitude-acclimatization with a half-day hike to Lake Humantay. After breakfast, you begin an ascent up the slopes that border the plateau behind the Salkantay Lodge. An hour and a
half later you will savor the turquoise water of the lake, made even more spectacular by the Humantay glacier looming behind it. Here you will relax, enjoy a snack and soak in the tranquility of this magical spot. After your descent back to the lodge, the staff will be waiting with a hot lunch. The second half of your day is spent at leisure. Choose to soak in our outdoor Jacuzzi, indulge in a relaxing massage or take a long rest.
Note: While the morning hike to Lake Humantay is optional, we strongly recommend your participation in preparation for the strenuous hike on day three.
Hike: Approximately 4 hours / Difficulty: moderate to challenging / Lodge altitude: 3,869 m/12,690 ft.
Optional Activity Available: Horseback riding.
Day 3: Salkantay Lodge to Wayra Lodge 12,812'/3906 M.
Day three is the longest and most strenuous day, but arguably the most magical day of the trek. After an early start, you hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. As you ascend the mountain trails, you will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of your ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take you to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek (4,636 m/15,213 ft). What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog. After a very welcome hot picnic lunch, you will continue down through bucolic rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus as you take your final steps to the Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay. The most remote of our lodges, Wayra sits on a promontory that offers a spectacular view of the “other” side of Mt. Humantay, a reminder of how far you have journeyed that day.
Hike: 6–8 hours (including lunch) / Difficulty: Challenging, crossing 4,638m (15,213 ft) mountain pass / Lodge altitude: 3,906 m/12,812 ft.
Day 4: Wayra Lodge to Colpa Lodge 9414'/2870 M.
After a leisurely breakfast at the Wayra Lodge, you continue the descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through changing scenery of the cloud forest. The cool mountain air collides with warm air rising from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colorful
butterflies and striking orchids. Today you will see more the local people as the trail takes you past their rustic homes and ranches. At lunchtime you will arrive at Colpa Lodge near an amazing zip-line, located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers. You are greeted by the staff with a Pachamanca lunch, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven. After lunch, spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor Jacuzzi while you take in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround you.
Hike: 3–4 hours / Difficulty: Easy to moderate / Lodge altidude: 2,870 m/9,414 ft.
Optional: Guests who do not wish to go through the zip-line, can follow an alternative path.
Day 5: Colpa Lodge to Lucma Lodge 7003'/2135 M.
Today you will hike in the Santa Teresa river valley where you will hop over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and cross through fruit orchards.
After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will walk for one hour before we meet an MLP vehicle for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” that leads us to Lucma Lodge. On the way you will
visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in that area that produces some of the best organic coffee in the world. You will also begin to notice another shift in the climate. Here in Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are even closer to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.
Hike: 5–6 hours (including lunch) / Difficulty: Moderate to challenging (because of distance, not terrain) / Lodge altitude: 2,135 m/7,003 ft.
Day 6: Lucma Lodge to Aguas Calientes 6232'/1900 M.
Your day begins with a 2-3 hour climb on a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps. A lush treeline creates a shady green canopy overhead and the constant sound of rushing water indicates that the river is nearby. Your first milestone will be the top of the peak, the last one before you reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. When you arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974 ft), you will be delighted to see a southeast view of the “back” of the Machu Picchu ruins. A sight few travelers ever get to admire. At this point you will also take a short break to explore Llactapata, and then have lunch a bit farther down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views. The final descent toward the roaring Aobamba River takes you through lush bamboo forests, as well as more fruit orchards and coffee plantations, until you end the day’s hike at the Hidroelectrica train station. A one-hour scenic train ride delivers you to your final stop, the town of AguasCalientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Hike: 4-6 hours / Difficulty: moderate to challenging / Hotel altitude: 1,900 m/6,232 ft
Day 7 - Machu Picchu to Cusco 7872'/2400 M.
Early breakfast at the hotel and then board the bus for the 30 min ride to the Machu Picchu National Park Entrance. Your guide will provide a 2-hour private tour of the ruins. You return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch, then take the train to Ollantaytambo, where a private vehicle will continue the journey to Cusco. Arrive at the hotel of your choice between 7-8 pm. The conclusion of our service.
For 10 day trip, we include 2 days in 3* hotel & guided tours of Cusco prior to start of 7-day trek and 1 day hotel and free day in Cusco after the trek
7 Days High Season Rates: $3990 USD pp in dbl or triple / Add 50% in single
April 1-Oct 31 and Dec 15-31
7 Days Low Season Rates: $2990 USD pp in dbl or tripl / Add 50% in single
March 1-30 and Nov 1-Dec 14
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get altitude sickness? It's common for most people coming from sea level to experience at least mild symptoms of altitude sickness when they arrive in Cusco, which is 11,000 ft/3430 m above sea level. Age is not a factor for the severity of symptoms one can experience. But fitness can be. Symptoms vary from person to person, but can include:
- -loss of appetite
Treatments may include:
- -OTC pain reliever - bring your own favorite remedy for pain relief
- -Oxygen. Most hotels have oxygen tanks in their lobbies and guides will carry small tanks of oxygen on hikes. Some local pharmacies sell an individual size O2 tank for personal use.
- -Coca Leaf. Locals believe that drinking coca leaf tea will help and you will find the tea leaves readily available in hotel tea bars as well as restaurants.
- -Water. Drink extra to keep your blood flowing freely. Dehydration leads to sludgy blood and may contribute to your discomfort.
- -Diamox. (AKA "Acetazolamide" is a diuretic or "water pill") can be purchased by prescription in some western countries or over the counter in Peruvian pharmacies.
- -Treatments may alleviate the symptoms as you adjust in the first 24-48 hours. But you cannot expect the sense of breathlessness to completely disappear, no matter how you treat it. If symtoms do not show signs of improvement within 24 hours of your arrival, please notify your travel companions or guide so s/he can monitor your progress. In rare occasions, individuals may need to seek medical attention.
Is it safe to drink the water?
Tap water in Lima, Cusco and other larger cities is consumed by local people every day. But is it safe for you? There's only one way to find out and we suggest that you not drink the tap water or use it to brush your teeth. Bottled water is cheap and available everywhere including small towns and villages. We support Travelers Against Plastic to reduce the use of disposable water bottles and encourage you to bring a purification device to make your own safe drinking water. The device should be rated to purify water from microbes and viruses, not just for taste. Purified drinking water is provided on all the multi-day hikes and during your stay in the Amazon jungle lodges. Please bring your own water to begin the activity.
What equipment do you provide for hikes?
Porters will carry tents for sleeping, cooking, dining & urinating (we provide a special tent for "pee pee" which has biodegradable toilet for #1. We could call it the "girls'" tent, but we won't). And we provide all kitchen and cooking supplies including the food that is served. We do not provide sleeping bags, trekking poles or big, fluffy pillows. With advance notice, sleeping bags can be rented for $20 pp. Trekking poles are available to rent for $20 pp for multi-day hikes and $8 pp for 1 day hikes. Our sleeping bags are Sierra Designs/North Face/Mountain Hardwear brand mummy bags rated to 20 degrees or 30 degrees F. If you choose to rent a sleeping bag, we ask you to provide your own bag liner. We also provide Therma-rest Basecamp regular-size mattresses. If you are over 6' 4/190 cm, please bring your own mattress or let us know & we'll tape 2 mattresses end to end (just kidding - like the big, fluffy pillows). We provide duffle bags for multi-day hikes.
How do I know if I'll need an extra porter for my hike?
All multi-day hikes with Adios Adventure Travel include 2 porters per hiker. This is our standard. We do this as much for the porters as for the hikers. One way to protect porters from abuse is to ensure that there are enough porters to distribute the load. And another way to show appreciation for porters is to pay them living wages. Which we do. It's at your discretion to tip porters. Customary amount is $25-$35 each after the hike. You are free to tip any amount you can afford.
Should I travel to South America if I have a life-threatening allergy?
We've learned that there are different kinds of allergies; from hayfever to insect stings. IF YOU HAVE A LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGY TO ANY FOOD, INSECT, MEDICATION OR NATURAL ELEMENT, WE REQUIRE WRITTEN, ADVANCE NOTICE WITH FULL DESCRIPTION OF THE ALLERGEN AND THE TREATMENT. We reserve the right to require a doctors written approval for you to travel or ask you to provide your own treatment remedy and plan. And we ask you to notify your guide during your first meeting. In rare circumstances we may choose to reject your reservation if we feel that your condition is beyond the scope of the training of our guides or may negatively impact other travelers. Epi-pens are only useful in areas where you are close to medical services like Lima or Cusco.
What is the best way to travel between Lima and Cusco?
We recommmend flying between the cities because other means requires more time or is not practical for short vacations. There is no train service between Lima and Cusco. And while there is bus service, the drive is almost 24 hours long over paved, but winding mountain roads. There is no speedy highway. The cost of round-trip air tickets varies from around $250 pp on the domestic carriers, including STAR PERU AIRLINES and PERUVIAN AIRLINES, to $450 pp on LAN AIRLINES and somewhere in-between on TACA (recently merged with AVIANCA) AIRLINES. The majority of the flights between the cities occurs in the morning to mid-day hours. Afternoon flights taper off by 5 pm and there are no evening flights in either direction due to mountain weather conditions.
Where should I stay if my international flight arrives in Lima in the evening?
There is only one hotel at the Lima airport. The Wyndham Hotel is connected to the arrivals terminal by a skybridge on the 2nd floor. It takes literally 2 minutes to walk from the terminal to the lobby of the hotel. The hotel is expensive by Peruvian standards (in excess of $250 per double room per night). We've seen good rates on booking.com and hotels.com The hotel will accommodate as many as 3 to a room, but not 4.
This hotel is best for groups who arrive in Lima late evening and plan to depart again by air the next day. For groups planning to stay in Lima, it's best to pre-arrange a transfer to a hotel outside the airport, unless you don't mind paying the "gringo rate" when you negotiate on your own. The travel time is about 45 minutes each way when the traffic is moderate. And the cost ranges from $35 each way and up. If your group is larger than 3 persons, you may need a transfer in a mini-van or two taxis.
Do I need vaccinations to visit Machu Picchu?
The altitude of Machu Picchu is 8000 ft/2440 m and higher. Disease-carrying vectors do not thrive at higher elevations. US passport holders are not required to get Yellow Fever vaccinations or prophylactic Malaria treatments. Although there have been no recent cases of Yellow Fever in Peru, some countries, including the US, recommend that visitors get Yellow Fever vaccinations prior to visiting the Amazon Rainforest including Tambopata Reserve or Manu National Reserve. We recommend that travelers check the regulations for re-entry for any countries they will pass through after leaving Peru, Bolivia or Ecuador. Bolivia requires all foreigners to have proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry if you plan to travel to the Bolivian Amazon jungle. (Some countries including Australia, require their citizens to get yellow fever vaccination if they enter Peru, even if they are only visiting the higher elevations)
This Adventure Includes
- All services from pick up in Cusco on Day 1 to drop off in Cusco on Day 7
- Transportation from hotel in Cusco to Soraypampa on Day 1 and from Ollantaytambo back to hotel on Day 7
- 6 nights lodging (5 nights in MLP lodges and 1 night in Aguas Calientes in a 4-Star hotel)
- All meals except breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7
- Service of a bilingual guide (Spanish/English) from Day 1 to Day 7. Tours are led in English
- Transportation of personal belongings on the trek by pack horses/mules and/or porters
- Guided visit to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (including entrance and transportation to site)
- Transportation (Train to Aguas Calientes, and Ollantaytambo)
- At the lodges we provide filtered and sparkling water, tea and coffee, juice and soft drinks free of charge. Alcohol, sports drinks and natural bottled water are not included
- Please note that rates do not include the mandatory $50 entrance fee to the Salkantay Trail, payable on day 1 in cash only
- Single Occupancy: Add 50% for requested single supplement Add 25% if willing to share (we will try to find a roommate)
- Travel insurance required, icluding specific coverage for adventure travel activities in Peru
- Tips are included in the tour price for all lodge and logistic staff. Not included are those for the trip leader and assistant guide. We suggest $5-10/per day, per guide, at your discretion
- High Season: April 1-October 31 & December 15-31
- Low Season: March 1-31 & November 1-December 14
- Not available any dates in January or February
- Hotel in Cusco available on request
- We appreciate no hard suitcases; soft duffel bags and /or backpacks (“soft” luggage) are recommended
- Trains have limit of 18 lb/8 kg per bag. You will only need a day-pack for the hikes and your duffel will meet you upon arrival at each lodge
- It is recommended to use the duffel we provide. However you can bring your own bag if it meets the size limitations on the train
- Your luggage will be stored in your hotel in Cusco until you return
- Sleeping bags are not required as the lodges provides linens
- Hair-dryers available in limited supply at each lodge due to energy consumption and environmental concerns
- Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel is provided at each lodge
- Group size averages 10/Minimum age 12 - maximum age 50 (over 50 must be fit)
- Guaranteed departures from Cusco several days a week
- Meet your guide at pre-hike briefing in Cusco the night before you begin your trek
- Availability: March 1 through December 31 including both high and low season
- Lodges offer: 12 rooms, bar/lounge, internet access, sat phones with phone cards, dining room, outdoor jacuzzi, private bath/hot showers