Day 1: CUSCO, SORAYPAMPA HUMANTAY LAGOON TO SALKAINTAYPAMPA.
Early in the morning, our friendly crew, led by your knowledgeable guide, will collect you from your hotel for a private transfer to the trek’s starting point. The journey will take approximately three and a half hours, during which we’ll pass through charming farm villages like Iscuchaca in the Anta Province.
Continuing through the picturesque Limatambo valley, renowned for its avocado plantations, we’ll reach Mollepata, where an optional tranquil breakfast awaits. From there, we proceed to Soraypampa at an elevation of 3900 m/12,084 ft. This is our starting point for the Salkantay trek to the breathtaking Machu Picchu. Gazing upon the snow-capped peaks of Salkantay and Humantay, we embark on an ascent towards Humantay Lagoon, a stunning turquoise gem nestled at the base of the Humantay glacier.
After leisurely exploring the area, we return to Soraypampa for a satisfying lunch. Our hike continues for two more hours until we reach our secluded base camp, Salkantaypampa, situated at 4000 m/12,720 ft. This unique camp offers a peaceful atmosphere devoid of crowds, providing the perfect setting to admire the starry night sky as well as the captivating sunsets and sunrises over the Salkantay glacier.
Distance: 10.00 km (6.21 miles), Time: 5 to 6 hours, Elevation: from 3900 to 4000 meters above sea level (12,084 to 13,123 ft).
Day 2: SALKANTAYPAMPA, INKACHIRIASKA PASS TO SISAYPAMPA.
Following a delightful breakfast, we veer off the main Salkantay trail, taking a path to the right side of the mountain. The ascent, lasting approximately five hours, guides us through the “Japanese pampa” and leads to the Inca Chiriaska Pass, standing at an impressive altitude of 5000 meters (16,400 ft). This is the highest point of the entire trek, granting us a panoramic 360° view of the snow-capped Salkantay and Humantay mountains, as well as stunning turquoise lagoons nestled beneath the Salkantay peak. After a restful break to savor the awe-inspiring vistas, we descend along a rocky path for three hours until we reach our campsite in Sisaypampa. Along today’s hike, we pause for a delicious lunch at a picturesque location carefully chosen by our guide.
Distance: 16 km (9.9 miles), Time: 8 to 9 hours. Elevation: from 4100 meters (13,451 ft) to Sisaypampa at 4000 meters (13,123 ft).
DAY 3: SISAYPAMPA TO PAUCARCANCHA.
Wake up to a delightful breakfast with mesmerizing views of the majestic Salkantay Mountain. Today, our journey entails a five-hour descent, during which we pass through the charming local community of Pampaccawa, primarily inhabited by cow and horse farmers. Notice the gradual transformation in the ecosystem as we transition from the high Andes to a verdant green forest, culminating in our arrival at Paucarcancha, our campsite at an elevation of 3000 meters (9,843 ft). Paucarcancha is a small and beautiful archaeological site located on the original Inca Trail.
This restful haven served as a resting place for travelers during the Inca era, and our guide will provide fascinating insights into this tranquil historical site. Enjoy some afternoon free time to unwind amidst this location’s beauty before venturing onto the Inca Trail.
Distance: 12 km (7.6 miles), Elevation: from 4000 meters (13,123 ft) to Paucarcancha at 3000 meters (9,843 ft), Time: 5 to 6 hours.
DAY 4: PAUCARCANCHA TO LLULLUCHAPAMPA.
After a satisfying breakfast, we bid farewell to our horsemen and welcomed our porters. We officially enter the Inca Trail by passing through a checkpoint with the national park rangers. The initial part of our hike involves a gradual descent to the quaint village of Huayllabamba, where traditional trekkers on the classic Inca Trail spend their first night. Departing from the well-trodden path, we turn towards the left side of the mountain, commencing a picturesque ascent through the lush green subtropical valley. Five hours later, we arrive at our campsite, Llulluchapampa, at 3800 meters (12,467 ft). This halfway point to the Dead Woman Pass offers spectacular vistas of the Huayllabamba Valley and the towering Huayanay Mountain.
Distance: 10 km, Time: 6 to 7 hours, Elevation: from 3000 meters (9,843 ft) to 3800 meters (12,467 ft).
DAY 5: LLULLUCHAPAMPA TO PHUYUPATAMARKA.
Indulge in a healthy breakfast to fuel your day ahead. We resume our ascent for two hours towards the Dead Woman Pass, reaching an altitude of 4200 meters (13,780 ft). Here, you will relish a 360-degree view of the Huayllabamba valleys and the snow-capped Huayanay mountains. Take advantage of your spare time at this breathtaking vantage point to capture ample photographs. From there, we descend toward the Pacaymayo Valley, where we enjoy a well-deserved lunch amidst the mountain’s foothills. Continuing on the original ancient pathway, we encounter the circular Inca remains of Runkurakay, where Andean and Amazonian vegetation converges.
Our ascent leads us to the Runkurakay Pass at 3900 meters (12,795 ft), offering ample opportunities to appreciate the pure beauty of nature and capture memorable photos. Descending from the pass, we arrive at the Sayacmarka archaeological site, where our knowledgeable guide will unveil its secrets. As the trail traverses this well-preserved section, take note of the remarkable construction techniques that harmoniously incorporate the natural landscape and geography.
We cross the Chaquiccocha, a dry lagoon, and pass through an Inca-adapted tunnel, offering outstanding views of the snow-capped Salkantay and Pumasillo peaks, nestled within the Vilcabamba mountain range. Our camp for the night awaits us in Phuyupatamarka, a significant ceremonial center in Incan history.
Distance: 14 km, Elevation: from 3600 meters to 3700 meters (11,811 to 12,139 ft), Time: 8 to 9 hours.
DAY 6: PHUYUPATAMARKA, SUNGATE, MACHUPICCHU TO AGUAS CALIENTES.
Nestled along the Inca Trail, the Phuyupatamarca campsite offers an exceptional and picturesque setting for observing sunrise and sunset. Immerse yourself in the captivating ambiance as you take in the 360-degree view of the Urubamba mountain range and Vilcabamba. The towering peaks of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu also grace the horizon, making it a haven for photography enthusiasts and families alike.
Following a delightful sunrise and a nourishing breakfast, we descend to explore the Phuyupatamarca Inca site. Afterward, we continue our descent for three hours, arriving at Wiñayhuayna at an elevation of 2600 meters (8,530 ft). This segment of the Inca Trail showcases the high-level engineering prowess of the Inca builders.
As we descend further, we encounter Intipata, terraced farming platforms offering a magnificent view of the Urubamba River. Our journey culminates at the Wiñayhuayna Archaeological site, where you can enjoy some free time to explore. Following our final lunch together, we express our gratitude to the trekking crew. From here, we press onward to Inti Punku (Sun Gate) at 2700 meters (8,858 ft). As we pass through this threshold, the majestic sight of Machu Picchu unfolds before our eyes, granting us ample time to revel in its splendor and capture cherished photographs. Our descent leads us to Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in a comfortable hotel.
Distance: 10 km, Elevation: from 3700 meters (12,139 ft) to 2400 meters (7,874 ft), Aguas Calientes town at 2000 meters (6,562 ft), Time: 6 to 7 hours.
DAY 7: EXPLORE MACHUPICCHU, AND RETURN TO CUSCO IN THE AFTERNOON.
Begin your day with a hearty breakfast before your guide picks you up from your hotel for a short bus ride to the entrance of Machu Picchu. Spend three hours delving into the wonders of this magical Inca city as your guide imparts fascinating insights. Afterward, you have leisure time to wander and explore, and if you have a ticket for Wayna Picchu, you can ascend this iconic peak.
Note: Only 400 visitors are allowed each day, so booking your entrance in advance with us is crucial to secure your permit.
In the afternoon, we regroup in the town of Aguas Calientes. From there, we board the train back to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, depending on availability, and then enjoy private transportation back to your hotel in Cusco.