Latin America Vacations
Peru | Salkantay Lodge to Lodge | Adult Only
A lodge-to-lodge journey along the magnificent Salkantay Valley to Machu Picchu
7 days / 6 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Unravel the mysterious culture, enchanting terrain, and magnificent history of the Sacred Valley of the Incas on this exclusive, small group journey to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay Trail. On this all-inclusive Peru vacation package, explore the “back way” to Machu Picchu, kicking off your adventure on a hiking expedition in Soraypampa, following the ancient Salkantay Route. Trek through 15 different ecosystems, changing altitudes and sacred ruins, all the while learning the culture and age-old traditions of local Andean families. At the end of each day, enjoy a well-deserved dip in an outdoor Jacuzzi before indulging in the best in regional cuisine and relaxing in the comforts of an enchanting mountain lodge. Your final morning crescendos in Machu Picchu, the mighty world-wonder citadel resting high above the Urubamba River. A truly magical experience awaits! While some visitors spend a day hiking the Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu, this adventure includes a week-long, lodge-to-lodge trek along the road less traveled. The Salkantay Trail is used by fewer trekkers en route to Machu Picchu but no less scenery and many more bountiful moments of solitude. Throughout this seven-day journey, our expert guides illuminate the secrets behind the intriguing ways of the Inca as you savor the breathtaking vistas of the Andes by day and the exclusive comforts of your beautiful mountain lodgings by night.
- 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
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The trek itself: This 7-day lodge to lodge trekking experience will take you on a historic section of Inca trail through 15 different ecosystems, eventually winding up at Machu Picchu.
The lodges: Each day's trek ends with a hot shower in a cozy lodge, complemented by a massage or a dip in an outdoor jacuzzi.
The meals: Even though the day's journey may be tough, you'll feel pampered at day's end when a chef prepares a fine gourmet meal accompanied by a selection of fine wine.
Cusco, Peru CUZ
Cusco, Peru CUZ
Cusco to Salkantay Lodge
After an early breakfast, your Mountain Lodges of Peru tour guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco. The first stop will be a visit to the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site. Next, you will stop in the mountain village of Mollepata. There you will visit El Pedregal, a beautiful farmhouse where you can learn about local agriculture and local community weavers and have lunch. Then, the transfer will take you through a winding mountain road to a site called Challacancha. Here you will begin your hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path) , which is also a good opportunity to acclimate to the higher altitude. As you round the final turn of the Camino Real, the Salkantay Lodge will come into view.
* 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, traditional sauna, cozy reading rooms, a bar/lounge, and 12 well-appointed private double (or twin/triple) rooms with private bathrooms and hot showers.
A Hike to Humantay Lake
Early start 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! 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 four days. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Lodge.
* Option: Horseback Riding Excursion.
* Short Excursion: 2 hours ride around Soraypampa in the afternoon (after hiking to the glacial lake).
Crossing the Salkantay Pass
This 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 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 at the Lodge.
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.
Descending into the Cloud Forest
Sleep in and enjoy a leisurely breakfast in Huayraccmachay. Begin 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. Enjoy a well-earned soak in an outdoor Jacuzzi and take in the lush mountain scenery. Spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner at the Lodge.
About Colpa Lodge
The Colpa Lodge sits at 9,414-feet above sea level 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.
Following the Santa Teresa River Valley
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 one 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.
First Views of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass
Early start and hearty breakfast before tackling the last leg of your trek. Hike two to three 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. Lunch at the viewpoint, 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 short, scenic train rides 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.
Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary
Morning wake-up 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.
Arrival & Departure
- We recommend that you arrive at the city of Cusco (elevation 11,000+ feet) at least 2 nights prior to the trip start. 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.
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: 3-5 hours, moderate.
- Day 2 – Humantay Lake: 3 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 the site varies, easy to challenging.
Optional activities (subject to extra cost): Chakana Inca Cross Excursion, Canopy Zipline, and Horseback Riding.
Please talk with your travel specialist for additional details.
Crowned by the towering Andes and tucked between the Amazon and the Pacific, Peru offers a captivating mix of adventure, nature, and history. Embedded in every active traveler’s Top Ten List is the great city of the clouds, Machu Picchu. Start and end along the cobblestone streets of Cusco and venture from ruin to ruin across the Salkantay Valley by train and breathtaking footpath to the ancient city of the Inca. 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. Catch a glimpse of the Andean Condor, a vulture with the largest wingspan of any land bird – 10.5 feet! Delight in the traditional Peruvian dish of Pachamanca: lamb, mutton, pork, chicken or guinea pig, marinated in spices and baked with the aid of hot stones in an earthen oven known as a huatia. Did you know that Machu Picchu is called “The Lost City” because when it was “rediscovered” by Yale explorer Hiram Bingham III in 1911, the jungle had literally swallowed the complex ruins? Even a knife blade can’t be inserted between the precise mortarless joints of the stones used in the building of Machu Picchu, and many of these stones weighed more than 50 tons! Come explore Peru with the experts in adventure travel!
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners as indicated in the itinerary are included. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Purified water will be provided and included in the trip price. Alcoholic beverages, bottled water, sports drinks, and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire, and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
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.
- 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, Canopy Zipline & 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.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
Want to know how to fully experience the depth of beauty and culture in a place? Ask Carol Austin. A Montana native who treasures the land and people in her own backyard—be it Yellowstone, the Beartooths, or the family around her dinner table—Carol knows how to embrace any destination she explores, a feat at 40+ countries and counting. And with more than 20 years in the travel industry, she’s really good at helping guests plan—and fully enjoy—their adventure vacation, too. She co-founded Austin Adventures with her husband, Dan Austin.