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Pie Experiences / Salkantay Independent trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay Independent trek to Machu Picchu

per person

On the Salkantay independent trek you will eschew the customary guide who does everything for you and you will go it alone. In this way you’ll put the adventure in your hands, give to and sustain the local community and get closer to what it means to walk with the Inka.

All food and accommodation will be pre-arranged with local families that live along the Salkantay route. You’ll be given a map and directions and it will be up to you to follow the route and make it to each upcoming family.

The first day will be mostly about acclimatisation, meeting your host family and seeing some of the natural beauty that the Andes can offer. The second day will test you much more as you ascend the Salkantay Pass and trek the Andes mountains without a guide. Day three will take you to Amazonian cloud jungle and some awe-inspiring Inca ruins, and on day four you will crown it all with a visit to Machu Picchu.

Highlights:

  • With our Salkantay independent trek, you can hike completely at your own pace and lose yourself in the beautiful landscapes of the Sacred Valley.
  • Hike up to the beautiful Tukarhuay lake, and be blown away by the majestic Tukarhuay glacier.
  • The Salkantay trail will take you through a wide range of microclimates and discover a myriad of diverse flora and fauna over the course of your three day hike.
  • Walk along authentic Inca trails, and explore some of the “hidden cities” that surround Machu Picchu.
  • Top it all off with a once in a lifetime visit to Machu Picchu, a wonder of the world!

Salkantay Independent trek Itinerary Overview:

Click through to “Tour Plan” to see the full itinerary 

 

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa Family Lodge – Laguna Tukarway

You’ll head to the Sacred Valley for breakfast and your trip briefing, before beginning your first hike from Challacancha to Soraypampa Lodge, which will be your accommodation for tonight. After checking in, you will leave on your next hike: a beautiful three-hour trek to Tukarhuay Lake, which boats a spectacular view of Tukarhuay glacier.

Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Challway – Lucmabamba

Today, you’ll climb Salkantay Pass. The ascent is challenging, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Vilcabamba mountain range, the last refuge of the Incas! Descend to Huayracmachay for lunch, before heading into the cloud forest. You’ll spend the night in Lucmabamba Lodge, and will have the opportunity to visit the nearby tropical fruit plantations.

Day 3: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes

Today, you will hike along an authentic Inca trail, towards your very first Inca ruin: the beautiful archaeological site at Llactapata. From here, you’ll be able to get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu! You’ll finish your hike at Hidroelectrica, and after a quick rest you’ll take the train to Aguas Calientes. Here, you’ll check into your hotel and get an early night ahead of your sunrise visit to Machu Picchu!

Day 4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco

Catch the first bus up to Machu Picchu to see the sunrise and beat the crowds! Nothing beats the feeling of walking through the gates of this wonder of the world for the first time. Spend the morning exploring the highlights of the awe-inspiring citadel. Those who still have the energy can hike up Huayna Picchu for breathtaking views of Machu Picchu itself, and of the surrounding mountains. Travel back to Cusco in the afternoon, full of wonderful memories of your Salkantay independent trek!

Important Information:

We recommend you book this tour at least 3 weeks  in advance.

 

 Why  book with us ?

In-depth local expertise

No middleman commissions

Friendly booking platform

Secure payment  system

Comprehensive customer support

Certified Sustainable Travel Operator

 

Travel voucher & contact details:

You will receive an electronic voucher via e-mail once your booking is confirmed.

Book Now Pay Later

Simply pay an initial deposit per person and pay the rest later.

You must pay the balance no less than 45 days before the departure date. If booking less than 45 days before departure, you must pay in full at the time of booking.

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  • Include
    Activities described in the itinerary
    Meals
    Tour guide
    Accommodation
    Entries
    Transport
  • Not Included
    Tips
    Travel Insurance
    Domestic flights
1

Day One : Cusco – Mollepata - Soraypampa Family Lodge – Laguna Tukarway

The purpose of this day is primarily acclimatisation to the altitude and environment. You will be picked up from your hotel at 6am in a private minivan, which will take you to the community of Mollepata where a local family will greet you and treat you to breakfast. Here you will be briefed on the upcoming trek, including the route you will take and what to expect. You will also receive your map plus some water and snacks. After breakfast you will be driven in our private vehicle to Challacancha, which is approximately a 1-hour journey. From here, you will start to hike to the first lodge in Soraypampa, which is approximately a 2 hour walk. On arrival you will be greeted by the local family with a coca tea and shown to your rooms. This will be the first night’s accommodation.   After a hearty lunch, you will have a short acclimatisation trek to the spectacular Tukarhuay Lake, with a stunning backdrop of the Tukarhuay glacier, also more commonly known as the Humantay glacier. This excursion will take approximately 3 hours in total and will help you to acclimatise for the rest of the trek. When you get back to the lodge there will be an appetizer waiting for you and then a delicious dinner.   Total distance: 12km / 7.45 miles. Starting elevation: 3,380 metres / 12,729 feet. Highest elevation: 4,300 metres / 14,107 feet. Altitude of the lodge: 3,850 metres / 12,477 feet. Approximate night- time temperature at the lodge: 0 - 5°C.   Included:
  • Accommodation: private rooms at the lodge.
  • Meals : Lunch, dinner and afternoon tea
  • Walking time: 4-5 hours.
  • Fresh towels face towels, and soap provided.
  • 2 litres of bottled water.
  • Difficulty level: Moderate.
 
2

Day Two: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass – Challway – Lucmabamba

Today is the big day! You will make the arduous 3-hour ascent to the Salkantay Pass and the equally arduous descent to Huayracmachay. When you reach the pass, you will be able to appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo. The Salkantay peak is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and revered as an important God of the Incas. These were called “Apus” or Sacred Mountains. After you arrive at the highest pass, you will then descend for approximately 2 hours until you arrive at Huayracmachay, where you will have your lunch. This is also when the horsemen will return your personal items to you.   In the afternoon, you will enter into the high part of the Amazon jungle, which is also known as a cloud forest. It is approximately a 10 km (6.2 miles) downhill walk, taking approximately 3 hours. After finishing this stage of the hike, we will arrive at your family lodge in CHALWAY (2,900 metres / 9,514 feet) for lunch. After lunch, there will be a private vehicle to take us on the 1 hour journey through the tropical jungle of Lucmabamba. You will arrive at the Lucmabamba lodge where the local family will welcome you and allow you to settle in to your rooms. You have the option to participate in a cultural experience with the native people of the area, including farmers who organically cultivate their coffee plantations and which are considered to be among the best organic coffees in the world. The organic coffee plantations still use traditional methods to toast and grind the coffee beans. We will then continue through banana plantations where they also cultivate “granadilla”, a member of the passion fruit family, yucca and avocados. We will finish a day of activity with a delicious dinner. If for any reason you don’t have the time to visit the coffee plantations (due to time constraints or tiredness) you will have the opportunity to visit before breakfast the following morning.   Distance walked: 22km /13.67 miles. Starting elevation: 3850 metres /12631 feet. Highest altitude reached: 4660 metres / 15,288 feet. Altitude of the lodge in Lucmabamba: 2400 metres / 7874feet.   Included:
  • Meals : Breakfast, lunch, dinner and an afternoon tea.
  • Available rooms at the lodge: private rooms with private bathrooms.
  • Fresh towels.
  • Walking time: 8 -9 hours.
  • Private transfer: (Chalway – Lucmabamba).
  • Transfer of personal ítems by mule: to Huyraqmachay ( 70% of the day ).
  • Difficulty level: Challenging – difficult.
3

Day Three: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hydroelectric Plant – Machu Picchu

The local family will wake you early in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, served in bed. You will be able to get ready for the day’s activities and enjoy a hearty breakfast. You will start to hike quite early in the day and you will have the opportunity to hike on part of an original Inca trail. After a 3 hour ascent with incredible views of the Santa Teresa valley, you will arrive at the Inca site of LLACTAPATA, just in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first archaeological site you will see on the trek, and you will be able to visit this lost city of the Incas, which is an amazing and very special place with spectacular views. Not only can you catch your first glimpse of the Machu Picchu archaeological site, but also the stunning view of the Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain. You will explore this amazing site and a local family will bring us a refreshing drink of bottled water before you continue on the hike. Lunch in Llactapata. After the ruins of Llactapata, we will continue to descend for 2 hours, all the time appreciating the stunning views of Machu Picchu on route, until we arrive at a small family home where the family will be waiting for us with fresh water (bottled) to rehydrate and show us around this impressive place. We will then continue to the hydroelectric train station which is our lunch spot for the day and where your personal items will be waiting for you from Lucmabamba. From here you will take the train service to Aguas Calientes.
  • Distance Walked: 18 km / 11.2 miles.
  • Elevation: 2,450 metres / 8,038 feet.
  • Elevation in Aguas Calientes: 1900 metres /6233 feet.
 Inclusions:
  • Transfer of your personal item by mules: (Lucmabamba - Hidroelectric) 80% of the total distance.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch.
  • Train service Hydroelectric  - Aguas Calientes
  • Accommodation in a hotel in Aguas Calientes with private bathroom and hot water
 
  • Dificulty level: Moderate
4

Day Four: Aguas Calientes -Machu Picchu –Ollantaytambo – Cusco

You will get an early rise today to take the first bus to Machu Picchu at 5:30a.m. Arriving at the majestic ancient complex just before dawn, you will have a great chance to witness an out of this world sunrise of the mountains and valleys below. Afterwards, you can explore the ruins on your own and discover this wonder of the world with a guide for two hours. You will leave no stone unturned as you learn about the ancient city and its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Afterwards you have free time to hang out with the llamas and try to capture the pure beauty of the site with your camera. Those who still have the energy can set off for Huayna Picchu, which actually looks down on Machu Picchu. As your adventure comes to an end, you will retrace your steps bus then by train to Ollantaytambo. Taking a private bus to Cusco you will be dropped off at your designed accommodations
  • Hiking Time: Approximately 3 hours 
  • Hiking Level: Easy
   Included:
  • Meals:B
  • Entrances to Machu Picchu
  • Bus up & down to Machu Picchu
  • Professional tour guide in Machu Picchu
  • Train service Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo
  • Transfer Ollantaytambo - Cusco
 

Tour Location

Salkantay Independent Trek

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