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 array of landscapes and habitats varying from green, rich valleys full of lush 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. From our last camp site, crossing awesome mountain terrain and lush cloud forest landscapes, we trek down to the shores of the Urubamba River and from there by train we will be transported to the small town of Aguas Calientes for a well deserved rest in a comfortable hotel. On the following day we will enjoy a full day tour to visit the amazing "Lost City", of the Incas: The fabulous Machu Picchu.
Leaving Cusco early in the morning, we take a scenic drive of approximately 6 hours to the small village of Marcocasa, located high above the Apurimac River. Here, we meet up with the mules, horses, and arrieros (wranglers) that will carry our gear during the trek. We begin our gentle hike into the green river valley of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, hiking steadily up towards the high plateau. Along the way we get our first views of the high Andean peaks: Mount Tucarhuay (5910m/19385ft. As we approach our first campsite at Soraypampa, the enormous Mount Salcantay (6264m/20546ft) dominates our skyline.
Following a series of switchbacks our path (in this place known as Siete Culebras) leads up the side of a mountain and levels out beneath the shadows of the grandiose Mount Salcantay. With Salcantay looming above, we come to a summit of a high pass marked by small piles of stones or apachetas, left by locals and travelers to honor the mountain gods. From this high pass (4750m.) flanked by mounts Salcantay and Humantay, we make our way towards the valley below to camp for the night at the village of Chaullay.
B, LB, D.
Our trail leads us down the eastern slope of the Andes into a sub-tropical valley, where the temperature is warmer and we see a variety of orchids, flowers, and hummingbirds. After a morning of downhill walking, we arrive to the natural hot springs of Colpapampa. Continuing through the "Ceja de Selva," or "Eyebrow of the Jungle", we encounter bright flowers, butterflies, parrots, and lush groves of tropical fruit, cocoa, and coffee. At the small village of Playa, we set up camp for the night.
B, LB, D.
Early in the morning, today we continue through sub-tropical vegetation to the village of Lucmabamba, where an original Inca trail remains. A gradual uphill climb brings us to Llactapacta (2700m.), from where we enjoy a brilliant backside view of Machu Picchu and great vistas of the surrounding peaks. 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.
Early in the morning we take the first bus up to the stunning archeological complex of Machu Picchu for a full tour of these magnificent Inca city. We will visit the Intihuatana, the agricultural terraces, the different living areas, etc. Later on we will descend to Aguas Calientes from where we will take the train back to Cusco. End of ours services.
Rate per person: US$790 - based on two people sharing a tent, (single supplement US$50)
For our 5 days Salcantay - Machu Picchu Trek we offer fix departure tours starting from Cusco every Sunday & Thursday.
Departures are guaranteed with minimum 2 participants.
Note: during the trek baggage weight allowance per passenger is 8 kgs (this to be carried by our horses)
Minimum number of participants: 4
Weight allowance per passenger: 8 kg (this to be carried by horses)
For further information or booking inquiries please contact Sacred Earth.