5d4n Salkantay Trek And Inca Trail To Machu Picchu
Moderate to Rigorous
This is a NEW short version of the Salkantay trail designed for mountain lovers who enjoy high passes ending with a hike on the original Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
You will enter Machu Picchu by way of “Inti Punku” or “Gate to the Sun”, the same way the Incas did centuries ago.
DAY 1: CUSCO TO TRAIL HEAD AND BEYOND TO TOCTO.
At 7:30 a.m. in the morning, we will pick you by private vehicle from your hotel and travel for one hour to the Inca remains of Limatambo. We will visit this interesting site adorned with sophisticated stone of the known as the cellular style. This site is located in a lower valley that enjoys year round pleasant weather. We will have the chance to walk around and stretch our legs before we continue by car up this canyon on a small dirt road that leads to Tomacalle a somewhat beyond to our trailhead. After our vehicle is unloaded we will observe the arrieros (mule skinners) pack our horses while enjoy a picnic lunch that will provide the necessary energy for a 4-hour hike in the afternoon to find our campsite (3,780 meters) set up near the “Tocto” pass.Time to organize our tent and relax with a cup of warm Coca tea before we enjoy dinner and settle for the night. Total distance 11Km in 4 hoursL and Dinner.
DAY 2: TOCTO AND INCACHIRIASCA PASSES TO ACCOBAMBA.
A warm cup of coca tea or coffee brought to your tent will help us wake up to begin a beautiful day trekking in the mountains. After a nutritious breakfast, we will hike up and over the Tocto pass (4,850 meters) while enjoying the outstanding views of the snow peaks of the Vilcabamba range. Over the pass, we will slowly descend to our lunch spot. After lunch, wewill soon join an original Inca Trail gracefully built to help walkers gradually climb up to the Incachiriasca pass (5,200 meters). A short rest to take pictures and enjoy the overwhelming vistas of this magnificent high pass at 5,100 meters above sea level and we will start our descent.We will carefully descend following a steep trail that will bring us to Accobamba, on the way we can normally observe Llamas, Alpacas and cattle grazing and with a bit of luck a low flying Condor, often seen in this area. We should reach our campsiteby mid-afternoon to find a warm cup of Coca or regular tea, cookies and crackers to tie us up until dinner is ready. Tonight we will sleep under the spectacular Salkantay sacred mountain. Total distance 12 Km in 6 hours.B, L, D.
DAY 3: ACCOBAMBA TO PAUCARCANCHA.
Now used to a warm cup of tea in our tents, we enjoy getting up early to begin another magnificent day of descend and easy walking. After a hearty breakfast, we will follow the trail down to the small agricultural community of “Pampaccahuana”. On the way you will enjoy observing peasants living and working the land in a similar way their Inca ancestors did centuries ago. Children dressed with their traditional wool ponchos will curiously look and greet you as you walk by or at a distance. We will have a short visit at their local elementary school and have a chance to donate any school articles you may want to give before we follow a trail next to an original stone Inca water channel used for irrigation even at present day. A picnic lunch on the way before we continue descending to our campsite at “Paucarcancha”; the environment will become lusher as we descend and observe the water from the channel above become a stream of rushing white-water on its way to the Urubamba River and later to the mighty Amazon east of the Andes. We reach our camp next to“Paucarcancha”: a set of well-restored Inca remains. This time we camp in a private campsite own by a local farmer with access to hot showers and toilets with indoor plumbing. We will have time to explore this interesting site in the intersection of two valleys thought to be an Inca administrative site for people living in the area and a control post for people traveling to Machu Picchu. A delicious dinner and after dinner table conversation before we settle for the night. Total distance 13 Km in 6 hours.B, L, D.
DAY 4:PAUCARCANCHA TO CAMP KM 82.
Easy relaxed wake up, not as early as previous days before we join the group for breakfast. Afterwards, we will begin another descending day, this time on part of the classic Inca trail but in the opposite direction. We will walk the trail past cornfields following the stream before we meet large number of trekkers going opposite to us, as we descend towards the Urubamba River valley. We will visit a large Inca settlement named “Patallacta” before we come to our lunch spot, this time on the Urubamba River Valley. After lunch, we follow the trail upriver to our final campsite at Camp Km 82. We will have time to rest and recuperate from the trek before the Inca Trail hike and Machu Picchu visit the following day. We will camp with the comfort of toilets, hot showers and a rustic firewood sauna available.
You will participate in the process of cooking a healthy, exotic and delicious ”Pachamanca” dinner, cooked in the ground with hot stones. Total distance 13 Km in 6 hours.B, L, D.
DAY 5: INCA TRAIL HIKE TO MACHU PICCHU.
Early wake up and hearty breakfast with the excitement that today we will hike the original Inca trail to Machu Picchu. We will board the train at the local station a short hike away from Camp Km 82 and travel for about 45 minutes to the Km 104 stop. We leave the train and cross the river by way of a hanging bridge supported on original Inca foundations made of stone. We will check into the trail with the local authorities and visit the nearby Inca remains named “Chachabamba”. Inca engineering and construction are the highlights of the trail we will follow ascending to “Wiñay Wayna” or “Forever Young”, named after a beautiful orchid flower that grows wild in the area. A small waterfall will mark our way to the Inca city laid on the hillside with sophisticated buildings and extensive terraces irrigated with water channels that make wonder about the sophistication of the Inca engineering. After we visit “Wiñay Wayna” and enjoy a box lunch, we will follow a flatter trail entering a sub-tropical environment full of wild plants and flowers that include Orchids, Begonias, bromeliads, giant or tinny ferns and others. Exotic birds like the Cock of the Rock, Violinist, Giant Hummingbird and the shy Cuckoo bird are also present in this part of the trail, as we get closer to Machu Picchu. After a steep stone stairway followed by a well preserved stone paved trail we reach “Inti Punku” from where we get our first impressive view of Machu Picchu. Time to soak in the majestic beauty of this world heritage site and take pictures during this important moment in our trip. Afterwards, we will follow the Inca Trail down to the citadel and enjoy an in-depth guided tour of the Inca ruins at a time when not many tourists remain at the site. We will end the visit at the time when Machu Picchu closes for the day and take a bus down to AguasCalientes, time for a light meal before boarding the train back to Cusco. Arrive into Cusco and transfer to your hotel. You can estimate to be back at your hotel at 11 p.m.B, L.