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Peru
  • 7 days/6 nights
  • Next Departure: Call (800) 575-1540
  • From $3,090 / person
  • (From $1,795 single supplement)

Experience this amazing Peru hiking tour!

Explore the “back way” to get to Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trail, named after Nevado Salcantay, the highest peak of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, a small mountain range of the Andes. Begin your Peru vacation package on a hiking expedition in Soraypampa, following the ancient Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu. Trek through fifteen different ecosystems, changing altitudes and varied terrain and learn the culture and age-old traditions of local Andean families. After a rewarding days hike, enjoy a dip in an outdoor Jacuzzi before calling it a night in the comfort of an enchanting mountain lodge.

  • Adult Vacations
  • Cultural
  • Hiking

Activity Level: Difficult

About
This Tour

While some visitors spend a day hiking the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu, this adventure includes a weeklong lodge-to-lodge trek along a path much less traveled but by many accounts, more scenic and exclusive than the Inca Trail itself.

  • Acclimate with a hike to a spectacular glacial lake in Soraypampa
  • Circle Humantay Peak taking in 360-degree views of the snow-capped Vilcabamba Range and Salkantay Valley
  • Traverse lush bamboo forests, avocado orchards, and coffee plantations in Santa Teresa River Valley
  • Hike Llactapata pass for jaw-dropping views (that most never see) of Machu Picchu from the Southwest
  • Meet an Andean family and learn the culture and age-old traditions of the locals in Lucmabamba
  • Watch the day break over Machu Picchu and explore the ruins with a private guide
  • Take a well-earned a dip in a natural hot spring and enjoy a restful night’s sleep in the comfort of your enchanting mountain lodge
Hiker photographing the Salkantay Valley
Photo: Hiker photographing the Salkantay Valley

Our trip to Peru exceeded all expectations. As a destination, the country is rich with sights, sounds, culinary delights and extraordinary culture. Atmospheric, top of the line hotels, great food and attention to detail and service throughout. I could not recommend this trip more highly.

Tissa Stein Petaluma, CA

Itinerary
& Map

Tour Itinerary

7 days/6 nights

Cusco, Peru

Day 1: Cusco to Salkantay Lodge
Cusco to Salkantay Lodge
Meals Included:  L, D
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge

Depart for an early morning pick up at your Cusco hotel by a Mountain Lodges of Peru guide and vehicle. Stop en route to visit the impressive Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo.

Pass through the mountain village of Mollepata and stop for a coffee before ascending a winding mountain track to a place called Marcoccasa.

  • From here we will enjoy our first day’s 6 hour trek along the Camino Real into the spectacular valley of Soraypampa, stopping for a picnic lunch along the way
  • After a warm welcome at the Lodge, enjoy an afternoon at leisure, adjusting to the altitude and indulging in a few aperitifs
  • An evening fire is followed by dinner before your overnight stay at the Salkantay Lodge at 12,690 ft.

* Note: A pre-trek briefing the night before your morning pick up by MLP will take place at Hotel El Mercado at 7:00 PM.

* Option: Guests who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge by vehicle.

About the Salkantay Lodge
The Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort, located in the high Andean valley of Soraypampa, sits at 12,690 feet above sea level.

In addition to high-quality Peruvian/International cuisine, the Lodge offers an outdoor hot Jacuzzi, cozy reading rooms, a bar/lounge and 12 well-appointed private double (or twin/triple) rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers.

Day 2: A Hike to Humantay Lake
A Hike to Humantay Lake
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge

Spend your day acclimating to the altitude with a half day hike to Humantay Lake, fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay.

The trek is optional but the views are amazing, and those adventurous enough can opt for an invigorating dip. This hike is excellent for acclimatization and a first immersion into high-mountain trekking!

In the afternoon, relax with a soak in an outdoor Jacuzzi.

In the evening, your guides will brief you on gear and your itinerary for the next 4 days.

Enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Lodge.

Option: Horseback Riding Excursions

  • Chakana Excursion: 5 – 6 hours horseback/trekking combo to a nearby high view point, where a huge Inca cross (Chakana) has been placed (1 - 2 hrs riding on a steep hillside). This excursion will replace the hike to glacial lake.
  • Short Excursion: 2 hours ride around Soraypampa in the afternoon (after hike to glacial lake).
Day 3: Crossing the Salkantay Pass
Crossing the Salkantay Pass
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Wayra Lodge

Today is the big day: we leave Soraypampa Valley for our continuing trek to Machu Picchu!

Wake up early and hike the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. Trek to the pass (15,213 ft) and take in 360-degree views of the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range and the towering, glaciated south face of Salkantay.

Hot lunch will be provided en route.

From the pass, descend toward Huayraccmachay and the Wayra Lodge, your home for the evening, keeping your eyes peeled for Andean condors.

Dinner served at the Lodge before you spend the night at the Wayra Lodge.

* Option: You may also choose to trade day three’s hike up to Salkantay pass for a horseback ride (entirely or partly). Subject to extra cost.

About the Wayra Lodge
Wayra Lodge (“Wayra” meaning ‘the place where the wind lives’) sits at an elevation of 12,812 feet in Huayraccmachay. Relax in the outdoor Jacuzzi in the central courtyard.

Day 4: Descending into the Cloud Forest
Descending into the Cloud Forest
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Colpa Lodge

Sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Huayraccmachay before beginning your trek by hiking downhill above the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery.

Arrive at the Colpa Lodge for a “Pachamanca,” a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones (subject to availability).

Enjoy a well earned soak in an outdoor Jacuzzi and take in the lush mountain scenery before spending the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail.

Dinner at the Lodge.

About Colpa Lodge
The Colpa Lodge sits at a 9,414-foot elevation in an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor Jacuzzi has prominent views of lush green mountains and a small village nestled in a valley below. Feel free to explore the grounds in search of the magnificent orchid garden.

Day 5: Following the Santa Teresa River Valley
Following the Santa Teresa River Valley
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Lucma Lodge

Enjoy an early breakfast before setting off on a trek to the Santa Teresa River Valley.

  • Hike through banana plantations, ‘granadillas,’ and orchards and visit a coffee farm (where some of the best organic coffees in the world are grown!)
  • Break along the river for a hot picnic lunch
  • After lunch, we hike 1 more hour before a private vehicle picks us up to shuttle to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail (30 min)

From the head of the trail, it’s a short climb to the Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard.

On the way we visit an organic coffee plantation where we join the owner on a short tour of the farm and learn how coffee is grown, harvested, dried and processed.

About Lucma Lodge
The Lucma Lodge is set in an avocado orchard and sits at an elevation of 7,003 feet. Here you’ll have time to explore the coffee plantations and see a demonstration of coffee roasting.

Day 6: First Views of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass
First Views of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass
Meals Included:  B, L, D

Get an early start and a hearty breakfast before tackling the last leg of your trek.

Hike 2-3 hours uphill towards Llactapata pass (8,500 ft), for a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu from the southeast (a view most never see).

Explore the recently restored Llactapata Ruins followed by lunch at the view point, with more views of Machu Picchu.

Begin your final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations (2-3 hours descent). Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a short, scenic train ride away (approx. 1 hour).

Enjoy your stay at your award-winning hotel.

About Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel
Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel’s private 12-acre cloud forest inside the Machu Picchu Sanctuary offers a scattering of cottages, streams, gushing waterfalls, gardens and wild forest interspersed by stone pathways.

Day 7: Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary
Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary
Meals Included:  B, L

Grab an early morning wakeup call before ascending to Machu Picchu by bus (30 min) for a private guided tour.

Your trip leader will give an introductory 2 hour guided tour of the ruins, after which you have the option of climbing the steep staircase of Huayna Picchu, a steep and vertically quite challenging hike that takes about 2 hours, providing great views of Machu Picchu.

Return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch and an afternoon train ride in the Vistadome car back to Ollantaytambo (1.5 hours).

From here you will be escorted by private vehicle for your transfer to Cusco (additional 1.5 hours). Upon arrival in Cusco (approx. 7 or 8:00 pm, you will be dropped off at your hotel.

  • Option: Spend an extra day at Machu Picchu. Subject to extra cost – inquire about details with your travel specialist.
  • This trip is operated in partnership with Mountain Lodges of Peru.

*** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, trail conditions, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and MLP.

Dates, Rates
& Details

Start planning your next adventure now. See the information below for the rates and selection of available dates. For additional information on dates and availability, please contact our travel specialists.

  • 7 days/6 nights
  • Next Departure: Call (800) 575-1540
  • From $3,090 / person
  • (From $1,795 single supplement)

Additional Trip Information

Departure
  • We recommend that you arrive to the city of Cusco (elevation 11,000+ feet) at least 2 nights prior to the trip starting. This will help you acclimate better for your lodge to lodge trek.
  • The night before your trip begins, a pre-trip briefing will be held at a specified time and place in which you’ll have a chance to meet your guides and receive important information about your upcoming trekking experience.
  • On Day 1, a Mountain Lodges of Peru guide will pick you up from your hotel starting at 7:00 am.
  • On day 7, you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo, where a private vehicle will transport you to Cusco.
  • Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7-8 pm) you will be dropped off at the hotel of your choice.
Activities

Hiking: Moderate to Challenging. This trek covers approximately 32 miles of uneven, rocky terrain. Prior hiking experience is recommended as this is not a novice hike.

  • Day 1 – Cusco to Salkantay Lodge: 6 hours, moderate.
  • Day 2 – Humantay Lake: 4 hours, moderate to challenging.
  • Day 3 – Crossing Salkantay Pass: 6 – 8 hours, challenging.
  • Day 4 – Descending into Cloud Forest: 3 – 4 hours, easy to moderate.
  • Day 5 – Following Santa Teresa River Valley: 5 – 6 hours, moderate to challenging (due to distance, not terrain).
  • Day 6 – Llactapata Pass: 4 – 6 hours, moderate to challenging.
  • Day 7 – Visit Machu Picchu: time spent at site varies, easy to challenging.

Optional activities (subject to extra cost): Chakana Inca Cross Excursion and Horseback Riding. Please talk with your travel specialist for additional details.

Meals

The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners– as indicated in itinerary – are included. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages, bottled water, sports drinks and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.

Included in Trip Price
  • 6 nights lodging (5 nights in MLP lodges, 1 night in Aguas Calientes in 4-Star hotel).
  • All meals except Breakfast on Day 1 and Dinner on Day 7.
  • Guided visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary (includes entrance, transportation to the site, & Huayna Picchu permits).
  • Service of a bilingual guide (Spanish/English) from Day 1 to Day 7. Tours are led in English.
  • US $50 gratuities for service staff (MLP lodge staff, mule drivers and route chefs), excluding guides.
  • Wireless internet access (Wi-Fi) at all lodges and hotels.
  • Transportation of personal items on the trail by pack horses/mules and/or porters.
  • All services and transportation (vehicles & trains) from pick up in Cusco on Day 1 to drop off in Cusco on Day 7.
  • Water, tea, coffee, soft drinks and fresh juices are free of charge at the MLP Lodges. Only filtered water and tea are available free of charge at the hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Austin Adventures T-shirt & luggage tags.
  • Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
  • Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
  • Tips for lead and assistant guides.
  • Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
  • All types of personal insurance and expenses.
  • Optional activities - Chakana Inca Cross Excursion & Horseback Riding.
  • Optional extra day at Machu Picchu/Aguas Calientes.
  • Massage, spa, & laundry services.
  • Breakfast on Day 1 and dinner on Day 7.
  • Alcoholic beverages, bottled water and sports drinks.
Photos

Regions we visit in South America: , , ...

A few more reasons why you've gotta go…

  • 1. The lodges! There's no better feeling after hiking Machu Picchu than finding an exclusive lodge waiting for you around the final bend.
  • 2. The gourmet Peruvian cuisine: your own personal chef accompanies you on the trail from lodge to lodge.
  • 3. The local Indian market in Pisac: it offers the region's most impressive display of handmade textiles and crafts.
  • 4. Cusco: for a true taste of culture, spend an evening dining and dancing with the locals.
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