Location

Cuzco to Cuzco

Difficulty

7-8

Strenuous

Length

10

Trip Cost

From $6720 pp
twin share

Overview

Highlights

  • Acclimatise on a two-night pre-trek stay in Cuzco, with a private walking tour
  • Explore the fascinating Inca ruins of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman and hike to the mystical Temple of the Moon
  • Hike a historic section of an old Inca trail, traversing a mountain pass of over 4600m
  • Enjoy deluxe mountain lodge accommodation at the end of each trekking day, featuring gourmet food and wine, an outdoor jacuzzi and optional rejuvenating massages
  • Explore fascinating Andean villages and their traditional way of life
  • Visit Machu Picchu — the Lost City of the Incas — on a private guided tour
  • Group size on Salkantay Lodge trek from two to 12 people
  • Private arrangements in Cuzco pre and post trek

This adventure offers a high-altitude trek combined with the comforts and style of exclusive mountain lodge accommodation.

We begin with two nights in Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire, to acclimatise, with a day exploring the ancient ruins of Tambomachay, Sacsayhuaman and The Moon Temple.

The six day lodge-based Salkantay Trek follows a historic section of the Inca Trail, and includes traversing a high mountain pass of over 4600m, encountering 15 different eco systems and encountering fascinating Andean communities where local life is steeped in old-age tradition. 

We hike to the stunning turquoise waters of Lake Humantay and cross the challenging yet rewarding Salkantay Pass.

To finish this rewarding journey we explore Machu Picchu.

 

This trip operates with a minimum of two people. The Cuzco arrangements are on a private basis and the Salkantay Trek is a group experience.

Are you a first-time or solo traveller?

We’ll support you all the way! View our preparation and training resources.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Cuzco 

After arriving at Cuzco’s airport, walkers are welcomed by our local representative and transferred to the hotel. Join a welcome meeting with our local guide (look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place) followed by a guided walking tour exploring this city’s intriguing blend of cultures. 

We’ll check out some of Cuzco’s main attractions including the main square, the Stone of Twelve Angles, Regocijo Square and San Blas. The tour ends with a visit to the Chocolate Museum to sample hot chocolate made from local cacao beans and mate de coca (coca tea). There’s also a small store selling handicrafts and artisanal chocolate products.

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel (3400m)

Meals: None

Day 2: Explore Cuzco 

We begin today with a drive to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cuzco. Tambomachay was a temple dedicated to water. We visit the fort of Puka Pukara and the large Inca ceremonial centre of Sacsayhuaman. This enormous structure overlooks the city of Cuzco. Its construction is amazing, with its huge rocks perfectly fitting together. It is said that it took over 10,000 workers 50 years to build it. The origin of the temple of Sacsayhuaman is still today unknown. We also visit another important Inca site known as Qenqo, with subterranean passages and carved stone channels in a zigzag pattern. Inside there is a carved stone table where it is said the Incas mummified their dead. Next is a visit to the Temple of the Moon. After a picnic lunch, we walk a beautifully-preserved section of The Royal Inca Trail into the old San Blas district, home to the city’s artists.

  • Altitude Sacsayhuaman: 3700m
  • Duration: 5-6 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel (3400m)

Meals: B L

Day 3: Transfer from Cuzco, Hike Challacancha to Soraypampa (4km)

After an early breakfast, we will be driven to the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site. Next stop is in the mountain village of Mollepata and a visit to a beautiful local farmhouse with the opportunity to learn about the local agriculture and livestock. We are then transferred along a winding mountain road to Challacancha, where our hike begins. This hike takes us along a picturesque path called the Camino Real (Royal Path) to Soraypampa. After rounding the final turn of the Camino Real, our first lodge comes into view.

  • Max trek altitude: 3869m
  • Ascent: 217m
  • Trek duration: 3 hours

Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (3869m)

Meals: B L D

Day 4: Circuit Hike to Lake Humantay (6km)

A half-day hike to Lake Humantay provides an opportunity to gauge our altitude acclimatisation while seeing one of Peru’s most magical lakes. After breakfast, we begin ascending up the slopes that border the plateau. An hour and a half later, we will be looking out over the turquoise water of the lake. Here we have the chance to relax, enjoy a snack and perhaps meditate in the tranquility of this magical spot and be part of a traditional offering to Pachamama (Mother Earth). Lodge staff will be waiting with a hot lunch after we complete our descent back to our accommodation. We can spend the rest of the day as we choose, perhaps soaking in the lodge’s outdoor jacuzzi, enjoying a relaxing massage or even taking a long nap.

  • Max trek altitude: 4221m
  • Ascent: 352m
  • Descent: 352m
  • Trek duration: 4.5 hours

Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (3869m)

Meals: B L D

Day 5: Soraypampa to Wayraccmachay via the Salkantay Pass (13km)

After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. As we gradually make our way up these mountain trails, we encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of our ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take us to the Salkantay Pass (4640m), the highest point on the trek. What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders that are often shrouded in fog. After a very welcome hot picnic lunch, we continue down through bucolic rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus as we take our final steps to the second lodge of the trek at Wayraccmachay.

  • Max trek altitude: 4640m
  • Ascent: 769m
  • Descent: 732m
  • Trek duration: 7 hours

Overnight: Wayra Lodge (3,906m)

Meals: B L D

Day 6: Wayraccmachay to Collpapampa (9km)

After a leisurely breakfast at our lodge, we continue the descent through cloud forest and along the banks of the Salkantay River. We’re passing through increasingly verdant scenery. Today we’ll see more local people along the trail as it takes us past their simple homes with makeshift fences. We arrive at our next lodge, located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers, at lunchtime. Lodge staff will greet us with a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven. After lunch, we can spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor jacuzzi while taking in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround us.

  • Max trek altitude: 3494m
  • Descent: 1036m
  • Trek duration: 4 hours

Overnight: Colpa Lodge (2870m)

Meals: B L D

Day 7: Collpapampa to Lucmabamba (22km)

Today we hike the Santa Teresa River Valley, hopping over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and crossing through fruit orchards. After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, we walk for one hour before taking a short transfer to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail. This leads us to tonight’s lodge. On the way we’ll visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in that area that produces some of the best organic coffee in the world. In Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that we are close to the edge of the Amazon rainforest.

  • Max trek altitude: 2514m
  • Ascent: 118m
  • Descent: 853m
  • Trek duration: 6 hours

Overnight: Lucma Lodge (2135m)

Meals: B L D

Day 8: Lucmabamba to Aobamba River Valley, Train to Aguas Calientes (12km)

During a 2 to 3-hour climb up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps we will get a sense of what hiking through rainforest is like. Our first milestone today is the top of the peak, the last one before we reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects us to Machu Picchu. When we arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (2736m) we will be able to see a southeast view of the back of the Machu Picchu ruins.

We’ll settle for lunch a bit further down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views. The final descent takes us through lush bamboo forests, to the Hidroelectrica train station. A one-hour scenic train ride delivers us to Aguas Calientes, the location of our four-star hotel.

  • Max trek altitude: 2736m
  • Ascent: 601m
  • Descent: 965m
  • Trek duration: 6 hours

Overnight: Aguas Calientes Hotel (1900m)

Meals: B L D

Day 9: Machu Picchu, Transfer to Cuzco 

At dawn, a short and rollicking uphill bus ride takes us to Machu Picchu (2430m). Here we can explore the imposing and skillful architecture of buildings including the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. After our guided tour we will have time to explore on our own.

Lunch is back at Aguas Calientes, before we catch the train back to our hotel in Cuzco. We arrive at our hotel amidst and hustle and bustle of the evening, no doubt reflecting on the peace and mystery of that early morning spent at Machu Picchu. 

  • Altitude Machu Picchu: 2400m
  • Duration: 4 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B L

Day 10: Depart Cuzco 

Our tour ends today after breakfast with transfers provided to the airport for onward flights.

Meals: B

Dates

Prices listed below are per person, based on double/twin share.

Looking for other dates that are not listed below? Contact RAW Travel for details.

From May 8th to October 1st 2020 our special offer of $1 deposit applies to new bookings made in this period for website trips*. $1 is all you will pay in 2020 for trips departing in 2021.

From January 1st 2021 we will invoice you the remainder of the standard deposit ($499*) and the remaining balance payment at the standard 2 months before departure. All your arrangements will be fully confirmed then, as per usual. The $1 deposit offer does not apply to private groups or significant tailormade trip requests, please speak to one of our consultants if you have any questions.

If Government restrictions don’t allow for any travel in your chosen destination at that time (when the balance is due at 60 days prior to departure) then we will either postpone your trip or allow you to transfer to another destination and trip that has availability instead.

*Note - the standard deposit for Peru Lodge trips is $1000.

Start date
26 May 2020
End date
04 Jun 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
29 May 2020
End date
07 Jun 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
07 Jun 2020
End date
16 Jun 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
16 Jun 2020
End date
25 Jun 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
28 Jun 2020
End date
07 Jul 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
06 Jul 2020
End date
15 Jul 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
31 Jul 2020
End date
09 Aug 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
30 Aug 2020
End date
08 Sep 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
20 Sep 2020
End date
29 Sep 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
29 Sep 2020
End date
08 Oct 2020
Price
$8750
Availability
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Start date
06 Oct 2020
End date
15 Oct 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
15 Oct 2020
End date
24 Oct 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
25 Oct 2020
End date
03 Nov 2020
Price
$8750
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Start date
02 Nov 2020
End date
11 Nov 2020
Price
$6720
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Start date
08 Nov 2020
End date
17 Nov 2020
Price
$6720
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Start date
11 Nov 2020
End date
20 Nov 2020
Price
$6720
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Inclusions

  • Airport transfers 
  • Experienced English-speaking trek guide
  • Walking tour of Cuzco with local guide
  • Guided visit to archaeological sites near Cuzco
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation
  • 5 nights mountain lodge
  • 9 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners
  • Filtered water, coffee, tea, soft drink and juice at the lodges on the Salkantay trek
  • Transport by private transfer, train and bus (on non-trekking sections)
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Tour of Machu Picchu with a local guide
  • Luggage transferred by horses on Salkantay Trek (max luggage limit 6kg)
  • Tips for Salkantay Trek lodge staff
  • RAW Travel luggage tag and buff
  • Emergency contact in Peru and Australia

Exclusions

  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement from $3,200 (shoulder season)
  • Solo traveller supplement (available on request)
  • Visas
  • Meals not outlined above
  • Beverages not listed above
  • Tips for guides, drivers and porters

Map & Guide

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Trip Grading

This trip is rated as Strenuous