One of the best non-traditional routes leading to the famous Inca city of Machu Picchu is the trail known as the Salcantay-Machu Picchu Inca route, or Alternative Inca Trail. This remote path leads us through an amazing variety of landscapes and habitats varying from green, rich valleys full of blossoming forests and trees of different species to highland fields and glacial moraines flanked by steep rocky and icy peaks of impressive beauty. During our trip, we have to cross a high pass below the spectacular glaciers of the Humantay (5,917m – 19,414ft) and Salcantay (6,270m -20,572ft.) peaks. Crossing awesome mountain and lush cloud forest landscapes, from our last campsite we trek down to the shores of the Urubamba River and from there by train transport to the small town of Aguas Calientes for a well-deserved rest in a comfortable hotel. Next day we will enjoy a full day tour to visit the amazing “Lost City” of the Incas: The fabulous Machu Picchu.
At 07:00 a.m. starts our expedition with a private transport from the city of Cusco. We will pass the localities of Izcuchaca and Limatambo, and after 02 hours drive, we will arrive to Mollepata town (2950m/9676ft) where we stop for a short rest and have a coffee. Afterwards we continue our drive (2 hours) towards the area known as Soraypampa (3850m/12628ft), a beautiful Andean valley located at the foothills of the impressive Mount Tucarhuay (5910m/19385ft) from where we start our first day trek (3 hours) to our camp at 4000m (13120ft) at the place known as Salcantaypampa. Enjoy first views of the impressive Mount Salcantay. B, LB, D.
From Salcantaypampa we start our 4 hours trek towards Soyrococha at 4400m/14432 where we will have our first lunch while enjoying great views of the impressive west face of Mount Salcantay (6264m/20546ft). After lunch a 3 hours hike will take us down to our camp at Huayracmachay. On the way on, we first reach the Salcantay pass at 4750m/15580ft and then we trek down to our camp at Huayracmachay settlement. During our hike, we will have the permanent view of the amazing Mount Salcantay. With luck, we can also observe the flight of the amazing Condor bird known as the “King of the Andes”. During our descend from Salcantay pass we will also have the opportunity to observe the remains of an ancient Inca Trail, a road of approximately 6 meters wide and also observe the beautiful Salcantaycocha Lake. Camp at 3800m/12464ft. B, LB, D.
After a hearty breakfast, at 08:00 a.m. we will be ready to continue our 7 hours trek heading northeast down to the Colpapampa´s Valley (3200m/10496ft). Leaving the Huaracmachay plain very soon we will start an impressive descend into the deep canyon of the Salcantay river. The highland landscape suddenly turns into an amazing cloud forest with the typical grass, bushes and trees covered with beautiful bromelias. After 2 hours we will reach the small settlement of Chaullay and from here another 40 minutes-1 hour hike will take us to Colpapampa village where we will enjoy a hot lunch. From Colpapampa the Salcantay River turns into the Santa Teresa River. After a rest, we will continue our descent down to the shores of the Totora River where we can enjoy a soak in the nearby hot water springs. Then following along the north side of the Santa Teresa River we will continue (3 hours) until we reach the place known as La Playa. This trek takes us along the north side of Santa Teresa River. On the way down, we will observe plantations of banana, coffee, granadillas (a typical fruit from the area), avocado trees, etc. The sound of flock of parrots will accompany us during the hike and on the river perhaps we can observe the fast fly of king fisher birds. After our arrival at La Playa, we cross the river to reach Cochapampa and then go to the small settlement of Lucmabamba where we will place our last camp (1700m/5576ft). B, LB, D.
Our last trek day, will take us following an Inca road, (3 hours) from Lucmabamba towards the Inca Ruins of Llactapacta (2800m/ 9184ft) where we will spend about 1 hour visiting this interesting archaeological site with terraces, agriculture storage areas, etc. From here and weather permitting, we can observe the northwest side of the Machu Picchu citadel and the summit of Huayna Picchu hill. After having our box lunch and following a steep mountainside, we will then continue our trekking (2 hours) down to the place known as La Hidroelectrica (operation area of the hydroelectric power plant). Here we will have time to rest and later on board the local train to the town of Aguas Calientes (2012m/6600ft) where we will arrive after a 1-hour ride. Then our guide will take you to your hotel for a well-deserved rest. B, LB, D.
After having our box lunch and following a steep mountain side, we will then continue our trekking (2 hours) down to the place known as La Hidroelectrica (operation area of the hydroelectric power plant). Here we will have time to rest and later on board the local train to the town of Aguas Calientes (2012m/6600ft) where we will arrive after a 1 hour train ride. Then our guide will take you to the hotel for a well deserved rest.
On our last day, after an early morning awake will follow a breakfast in the hotel and then, a public bus transport will take you up to the main entrance of the Machu Picchu City. A guided tour will show you this beautiful Inca City, one of the most famous in the world. You will visit the Intihuatana, the temple of the 3 windows, temple of the moon, the terraces, the ceremonial fountains, the sun gate and other sectors of the impressive citadel. In the afternoon, we take the public bus down to Aguas Calientes and by train, you will return to Ollantaytambo from where our transport will take you back to Cusco. Transfer to your hotel in Cusco. End of our program. (B).
For further information, rates or booking inquiries please contact Sacred Earth.
Departures are guaranteed with minimum 2 participants.
Note: during the trek baggage weight allowance per passenger is 8kgs (this to be carried by our horses)