Location

Cuzco to Cuzco

Difficulty

7-8

Strenuous

Length

9

Trip Cost

from $2995 pp
twin share

Overview

Our 8-day group guided Salkantay camping trek will have you gushing over the majestic snow-capped mountains, beautiful glacial lakes and lush cloud forest.

Highlights

  • Explore the ancient capital of the Incas, Cuzco, on a guided walking tour
  • Discover the ancient Inca archaeological sites of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman
  • Hike through striking mountain scenery and through 15 different ecosystems on the magnificent Salkantay trail
  • Experience original Inca pathways and discover ancient Andean culture
  • Camp, fully-supported, for three nights under the Andean stars, waking each morning to mountain vistas and fresh alpine air
  • Small group size of maximum 12 people

Starting and ending in the great city of Cuzco, allowing time to acclimatise to the high altitude, there will be ample time to explore the city as well as see the nearby Inca ruins of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman. Take a hike around the Temple of the Moon before embarking on the magnificent Salkantay Trail.

One of South America’s great hikes, this group guided trek of the Salkantay Trail provides the company and comradery of a group under the guidance of an experienced trekking guide and crew.

The 4-day trek takes us through majestic snow-capped mountains crowned by the Nevado Salkantay (6271m). We’ll see beautiful glacial lakes and lush cloud forest and jungle with unique flora and fauna. We walk in the footsteps of the Incas, taking ancient pathways, and camp for three nights.

The crescendo of this journey is a visit to the UNESCO World heritage site of  Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most prominent archaeological sites.

Please note: the trip is guaranteed to depart with a minimum of six people. 

 

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Itinerary

DAY 1: ARRIVE CUZCO 

Today is an arrival day. You will be met by a RAW Travel representative at Cuzco Airport and transferred to your hotel. The day is free to explore the city at your leisure before an evening group welcome meeting at the hotel. This will be a chance to meet your fellow travellers and tour leader and to discuss the trip ahead. Your tour leader will be able to provide suggestions for great restaurant options for dinner.

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel (3400m)

Meals: None

DAY 2: EXPLORE CUZCO 

In the morning, a guided group walking tour explores vivid examples of the mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures. We see the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace and visit the most sacred Inca building: the Temple of Qoricancha. Qoricancha was the most important temple of the Inca Empire. According to archaeologists, it housed over 1000 priests and attendants. It was built over an Inca palace dedicated to the worship of the sun. 

Next is a visit to the heart of the city, the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by colonial arcades and four churches. You will see the beautiful Cathedral of Cuzco facade, a fine example of colonial Baroque art. Explore the San Pedro Market with its vegetables, meats, local cheeses (which we recommend trying) as well as chocolates, herbal medicines and local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase souvenirs. The market is also where locals go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken though the most popular amongst the locals are usually the more unusual ones like frog soups or soups that contain “nose to tail” of various animals. Our lunch is at Museo del Cafe (Coffee Museum), with its free museum. We sample hot chocolate made from local cacao beans, and recommend trying the mate de coca (coca tea).

  • Altitude: Cuzco 3400m
  • Duration: 2.5-3 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B L

DAY 3: 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 huge rocks perfectly fitting together. It is said that it took over 10,000 workers 50 years to build it. We also visit another important Inca site known as Qenqo, with subterranean passages and carved stone channels with a zigzag pattern. Inside 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

Meals: B L 

DAY 4: TRANSFER CUZCO TO MAROQASA, HIKE TO SORAYPAMPA (11KM)

An early morning transfer takes us to Tarawasi Inca site. After a visit, we continue by vehicle to the checkpoint at the mountain town of Mollepata, a few hours’ drive from Cuzco. A little further on is the beginning of the trek.

Our trek begins on the southwest facing slopes of the Andes, an area of coarse bushes and gnarly trees, and where small parrots can be heard. We gradually climb northwards towards the broad snowy peak of Humantay (5917m), following an Inca canal which is still in use today. Our first night of camping is at Soraypampa (3900m). Tents will be already set up for us, and camp staff will prepare a delicious hot meal while we relax. Camp facilities include a dining tent and toilet tent.

  • Max trek altitude: 3900m
  • Ascent: 515m
  • Trek Duration: 5 hours

Overnight: Camping Soraypampa (3900m)

Meals: B L D

DAY 5: SORAYPAMPA TO ICHU PATA (12KM)

We start the day with a three-hour circuit walk to Humantay Lagoon. This magnificent, beautifully-blue water mirror sits perfectly with its snow-capped background. We head back to the previous evening’s campsite for an early lunch, before resuming our ascent towards the massive bulk of Salkantay (6271m) which soon dominates our view. We camp at around 4400m in the high grassy meadow of Ichu Pata, below the south face and glaciers of the impressive peak.

  • Max trek altitude: 4400m
  • Ascent: 500m
  • Descent: 1030m
  • Trek duration: 6.5 hours

Overnight: Camping Ichu Pata (4400m)

Meals: B L D

DAY 6: ICHU PATA TO PAMPA CAHUANA (12KM)

The high point of the trek and this morning’s goal is the Inca Chiriasqa pass at almost 5000m. Climbing more steeply now, we walk close to the spectacular glaciers and ice walls of Nevado Salkantay. Passing through Pampa Japonesa (base camp for a Japanese mountaineering expedition) we finally top the pass and gain some excellent 360° panoramic views. Inca Chirisaqa means ‘the Inca fell ill from cold’, and the exposed situation makes it easy to see why. Descending from the pass, we drop down into the upper reaches of a broad valley where Salkantay reappears in a new profile. After passing a huge ridge of terminal moraine, once the snout of the East Salkantay Glacier, the river suddenly becomes dead straight, having been turned into a canal by the Incas centuries ago. We spend our last night of camping pitched alongside the canal close to Pampa Cahuana (3870m).

  • Max trek altitude: 4900m
  • Ascent: 500m
  • Descent: 1030m
  • Trek duration: 7 hours

Overnight: Camping Pampa Cahuana (3870m)

Meals: B L D

DAY 7: PAMPA CAHUANA TO PISCACUCHO, BUS TO OLLANTAYTAMBO (18KM)

After setting off from camp we follow the canal as it drops into a steep-sided valley. The path follows the side of the valley all the way to the Paucarcancha Ruins. We will have time to explore this small site before continuing walking down to Piscacucho (2700m). From here we take a 45-minute bus ride to our hotel in Ollantaytambo (2800m).

  • Max trek altitude: 3000m
  • Ascent: 100m
  • Descent: 1270m
  • Trek duration: 8 hours

Overnight: Ollantaytambo Hotel

Meals: B L D

DAY 8: MACHU PICCHU AND TRANSFER TO CUZCO

An early morning train takes us to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we board a bus for the short 30-minute journey to the 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Here we walk up to the guard house to enjoy a panoramic view of the site. We follow this with a private guided tour to explore what makes up Machu Picchu: ruins with perfect masonry and architecture that has baffled many since its “discovery” in the early 1900s. We return via the same method as we arrived: bus to Aguas Calientes town, then train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Our journey continues with a private vehicle transfer back to Cuzco.

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

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B

DAY 9: DEPART CUZCO

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

Meals: B

Please note that distances and times are approximate and do vary depending on the pace of the group or if alternate routes need to be taken due to inclement weather.

Dates

Please note that submitting a booking form does not guarantee a booking confirmation. Please do not book other travel arrangements until you have received a formal confirmation from the sales team.

Start date
03 Oct 2020
End date
11 Oct 2020
Price
$2995
Availability
Available

Inclusions

  • Airport transfers 
  • Experienced English-speaking trek guide and trekking crew
  • Guided walking tour of Cuzco with a local guide
  • Guided visits to archaeological sites near Cuzco
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation in twin-share rooms
  • 3 nights full-service camping in twin share tents
  • Sleeping bags and camping equipment
  • 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Transport by private transfer, public train and bus while on tour
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu 
  • Luggage transferred by horses/mules on Salkantay Trek (max 6kg)
  • RAW Travel luggage tag and buff

EXCLUSIONS

  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement $555 (limited single supplements available)
  • Visas
  • Meals not outlined above
  • Beverages
  • Tips for guides, drivers, horsemen and camp staff

Map & Guide

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Trip Grading

This trip is rated as Strenuous