length

10 Days

difficulty

Strenuous

trip cost

From $6720 pp

Icons / stylised / time Created with Sketch.

length

10 Days

Icons / stylised / difficulty Created with Sketch.

difficulty

Strenuous

Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

From $6720 pp

Guided Trip

our walk experts

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • trip faqs
  • Similar walks

Overview

Salkantay Lodge 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.

Zoe Rees

Highlights

Get Ready For

  • Visit Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas (private guided tour)
  • Group size on Salkantay Lodge trek from two to 12 people
  • Private arrangements in Cuzco pre and post trek
  • Acclimatise on a two-night pre-trek (private walking tour)
  • Explore the Inca ruins of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman
  • Hike to the mystical Temple of the Moon
  • Deluxe mountain lodge accommodation
  • Explore fascinating Andean villages and their traditional way of life
  • Hike a section of an old Inca trail; a mountain pass of over 4600m
  • Gourmet food and wine, an outdoor jacuzzi and optional rejuvenating massages

Itinerary

Salkantay Lodge Trek

Week 1
Day 1

This trip operates with a minimum of two people. 

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

Week 2
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

Inclusions

What you get

Included
  • Private tour with your own private guide
  • Flexibility to select your own departure date* and travel with your own group of family or friends
  • Airport transfers
  • Experienced English-speaking trek guide
  • Guided walking tour of Cuzco with local guide
  • Guided visit to archaeological sites near Cuzco
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation
  • 2 nights full service camping
  • 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 2 dinners
  • Transport by private transfer, public train and bus while on tour
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu with a local guide
  • Luggage transferred by horses/mules on Lares Trek (max 6kg)
  • RAW Travel luggage tag and buff
  • Emergency contact support in Australia and Peru

The Cuzco arrangements are on a private basis and the Salkantay Trek is a group experience.

Excluded
  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement $750
  • Solo traveller supplement (available on request)
  • Visas
  • Meals not outlined above
  • Beverages
  • Tips for guides, drivers and porters

trip faqs

How fit do I need to be to do this trek?

We have graded our walks on this route as Strenuous. This is more so due to the high altitude than challenging terrain. Trekking will be on mountainous terrain, in remote areas and will include some high pass crossings. The treks themselves are not technical but you do need to have a good level of fitness and health to undertake them. Altitude is an important consideration.. We use several criteria to assess the difficulty of our walks, including the number of hours walking required each day, terrain and conditions underfoot, weather, gradient, altitude, signage and facilities along the trail. These gradings are intended as a guide and will depend on your individual experience, fitness level and mental attitude. The fitter you are, the more likely you are to enjoy your experience.

To prepare for this walk, we recommend completing 2 to 3 walks per week (15km+), increasing distances while carrying an 8kg pack. Regular mountain, hill walking and hill/stair walking is highly recommended. 

At the time of requesting your booking, you ask that you complete and submit a medical and fitness questionnaire. We will use this information in addition to the medical details you have provided us on your booking form to assess your suitability to join this trip.

How can I avoid altitude sickness on the trek?

It is important to be aware of, and well prepared for travelling at altitude. You will fly into Cuzco, a city that sits at 3400m. The response to altitude can be very different for each individual. It can affect even the fittest and healthiest of travellers. However staying hydrated, taking sufficient time to acclimatise pre-trek and also taking your time to ascend at a safe rate when trekking, may help you avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness. 

As a duty of care to our clients, we make sure that we include 2 nights in Cuzco before the trek to allow you time to rest and acclimatise before setting off on your trek. We also encourage you to contact your doctor to ensure that this trip is suitable for you and to also seek advice on how to best prepare for travelling at altitude. In case of extreme altitude sickness, oxygen is carried by the trek crew and available as needed.

How does the Salkantay Trek compare with the Classic Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is the most popular route in Peru so with this means more people on the trail and busier campsites. In comparison the Salkantay Trek gets fewer travellers giving a greater feeling of solitude. The Salkantay Trek is more remote, longer and travels at a higher altitude (4600m) which makes it more challenging than the Classic Inca Trail.  Whilst the Classic Inca Trail is a great walk  with great historical significance and passing many ancient Inca ruins along the way, the landscapes and scenery on the Salkantay Trek surpasses that of the Classic Inca Trail – you’ll experience majestic mountains, green lush valleys, snow-topped glaciers, and jungle.

What are the Lodges on the trek like?

Each of the four mountain lodges has its own charm and character but each offers a warm, authentic and inviting experience with wonderful hospitality provided.  The eco-minded architecture effortlessly mixes traditional Andean building techniques with contemporary design blends perfectly into the natural environment.  All the guest rooms offer great amenities – hot showers, gourmet meals, fine linens, outdoor hot tubs, and highly personalised service and warm hospitality from the local staff who work there

The food is an absolute highlight and is exceptional quality. The lodges use high quality local cuisine to create creative and varied dishes – anything from Peruviann barbeque to multi course fine dining

Will I be joining a group on this tour?

The Cusco arrangements before the trek are on a private basis and the trek arrangements are part of a group of anywhere between 2 to 12 people

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TRIP date selection

when would you like to travel?

Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed

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single occupancy
dates
02/11/2020 - 11/11/2020
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08/11/2020 - 17/11/2020
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