Salkantay trek & Inca Trail hike, 7 days
Important info: Both the hikers and guides who take this long trek are counted into the 500 people allowed per day on the Inca Trail, so we recommend booking well in advance – six months at least – because the permits are selling out quickly.
Price as of 2017:
US$ 1050 – regular price
US$ 1020 – ISIC card
The 7 day Inca Trail is a more challenging but equally more rewarding option. Passing through unique plant and birdlife, and including visits to a range of Inca sites, it offers tourists the chance to enjoy a combination of the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Trail. We begin on the Salkantay Trek but cross the Incachiriasca pass (Frozen Inca Pass) instead of the Salkantay Pass. This less-trodden path brings us down to the village of Huayllabamba where we meet the Inca Trail and continue on to Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate.
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Departure: Every day, though you need to book well in advance-up to 5 – 6 months at high season (April through September)
Duration: 7 days and 6 nights
Distance: 72 km (44.7 mi.)
Modality: Trekking, adventure and cultural
When to go: Best season from April to September
Location: Andes mountain range
Day temperature: 5°C to 24 °C
Night temperature: -5 °C to 10 °C
Important note: At least 2 days of acclimatization are required. During these days, you can do the Cusco city tour and the Sacred Valley tour.Departure: Every day, You need to book well in advance, 3 – 4 months at high season (April through September)
Unique Salkantay trek & Inca Trail hike, 7 days
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Marcocasa
We begin at a fairly easy pace to ease into the trek. We start with a guided tour of the important Inca site of Tarawasi, a 2 hour drive from Cusco. Next we continue on to Mollepata from where we begin our trek. We enjoy fabulous mountain views and an interesting birdlife. Tonight´s peaceful, lesser-used campsite at Marcocasa (3500m / 11482ft) boasts fantastic views of the snow-capped peak Rayuska (5350m / 17552 ft.).
Day 2: Marcocasa – Salkantaypampa
Again today is fairly easy-going. Enjoying spectacular views of high peaks above, we head to Soraypampa, where we are dazzled by views of the 3 main peaks of the region; Humantay (5917m / 19412 ft.), Tacarhuay (5910m / 19389 ft.) and Salkantay (6217m / 20573ft.). From here we join the main Salkantay route and a further hour´s walk brings us to Salkantaypampa, where we camp for the night, at the high altitude of 4100m / 13451 ft.
Day 3: Salkantaypampa – Pampacahuana
Today takes us away from the main hiking route; up over Salkantay via the Incachiriaska Pass (Frozen Inca Pass, 5028m / 16495 ft.), the highest point of our trek. The scenery is nothing short of breath-taking; the giant Apu Salkantay surrounded by small mountain lakes. The area is also a hotspot for wildlife such as condors, vicunas, the white tailed deer and the rabbit-like creature the viscacha. From the pass we head towards the Inca trail, descending to the little village of Pampacahuana (4000m / 13123 ft.) where we set up camp for the night.
Day 4: Pampacahuana – Llulluchapampa
We continue through the valley to join the Inca Trail at Huayllabamba, passing the Inca site of ‘Paucarcancha’. We continue up to Llulluchapama, remarking upon the varied plantlife of 3 ecological zones: through the low sierra and the cloud forest to the high puna. We camp at the peaceful, lesser-used campsite of Llulluchapama (3800m / 12460ft, close to Dead Woman´s Pass.
Day 5: Llulluchapampa – Chaquicocha
This is the most challenging day but equally the most rewarding. Quickly crossing the first pass, we continue over Dead Woman´s Pass, enjoying some of the most memorable panoramas of the whole trail, immersed in the cloud forest with snow-capped peaks in the distance. After visiting two Inca sites Runcuraccay and Sayacmarca, we arrive in our campsite at Chaquicocha (3600m / 11800ft) to enjoy incredible sunset views.
Day 6: Chaquicocha – Winay Huayna
Today we follow a less demanding path through more stunning Inca trail landscapes. The visits to the 2 Inca sites of Phuyupatamarca and Winay Huayna make this a favorite day of the trek. We follow the trail through more lush cloud forest and stunning valley scenery to arrive at our campsite at Winay Huayna (2680m / 8792ft) by early afternoon, allowing plenty of time for a guided tour of the site.
Day 7: Winay Huayna – Machu Picchu
We arrive in the long-awaited Machu Picchu citadel! When the site opens we enter through the Sun Gate, Inti Punku, where we are greeted by spectacular dawn-time views of the ruins. On arrival to Machu Picchu you’ll have a 2 hour guided tour of the site. We learn much of the Incan culture while immersed in the powerful energies of the citadel walls. Afterwards there is ample time to continue exploring the site, or climb either the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain (pre-booking required well in advance to secure permit). Later in the afternoon we enjoy a picturesque train journey back to Ollantaytambo, where a bus awaits us to return to Cusco.
Huayna Picchu mountain.- If you want to climb up to Huayna Picchu mountain which appears in the background in the classic picture of Machu Picchu, please let us know at booking to check availability, this climb is very popular please book it in advance too, it is about US $85 extra not included in the regular 4 days trek ticket.
It is only allowed 400 people a day for climbing to Huayna Picchu mountain!!, one group of 200 people is leaving at 7:00 am and the other 200 at 10:00 am so please it is better to go in the second group because sometimes this place is cloudy in the morning.
Afterwards, you take a bus down to Aguas Calientes town for lunch and go to hot springs (US$ 3 entrance fee) or visit the handcraft market in town as you wait for the train service.
The way back to Cusco takes 4 hours in total so it is about 2 hours by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and 2 more hours by bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
We will leave Machu Picchu at 4:00 pm at the latest and take a bus down to Aguas Calientes to have time for eating and shopping in town. From there, you will take the two-hour train at 18:20 back to Ollantaytambo, where a bus will be waiting for you. It is about two more hours by bus to Cusco.
You will arrive to Cusco at 22:30. As you will need about four hours to get back to Cusco from Aguas Calientes, if you would like to arrive earlier in the evening in Cusco, we recommend taking a train at 14:55 from Aguas Calientes. Please indicate your preferences regarding this issue.
“OUR PROMISE IS TO PROVIDE YOU A COMFORTABLE HIKE, ASSURING THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF YOUR SOUTH AMERICAN TRIP! NEW EQUIPMENT, SMILING PORTERS, EXPERT COOKS, AMAZING FOOD AND PROFESSIONAL GUIDES WILL MAKE THIS HIKE UNFORGETTABLE FOR YOU.
WE RECOMMEND TRAINING FOR THIS TREK, AS IT IS DIFFICULT BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE
WE RECOMMEND DOING EXERCISES FOR 30 DAYS, JOGGING, WALKING AT HOME PRIOR TO THE HIKING AND ACCLIMATIZING TO THE ALTITUDE FOR AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN CUSCO.
DIFFICULTY LEVEL DEPENDS ON YOUR FITNESS AND ACCLIMATIZATION”.
What is included?
-“Walking tour in Cusco”, 1 or 2 days before your trek.
-Pre-departure briefing, 1 or 2 nights before the trek, introduced by your guides.
-Tourist bus from your hotel to Mollepata, where the hike begins.
-Professional bilingual guide (English and Spanish).
-Assistant guide (groups of over 8 people).
-Entrance fee for the Inca trail and Machu Picchu.
-Boiled-cooled water since day 2 at breakfast time.
-6 breakfast, 6 lunches, 6 afternoon snacks (happy hour), 6 dinners, 6 snacks for walking (day 1 breakfast and day 4 lunch are not included).
-Dining tent, tables and chairs.
-Cook and cooking equipment.
-Four-person tent for two people.
-Horses and a horseman to carry all the equipment. You can leave 6 kilos max. of your belongs to be carried by the horses.
-Porters to carry groceries and camping equipment.
-Bottled oxygen and first aid kit.
-Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes.
-Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Expedition service, notice at 18:20) and bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
-No extra cost for vegetarian food on request.
Optional services not included:
-Upgrade of train service to Vistadome Class, US$ 35.
-Upgrade of train service to Expedition Class at 14:55, US$ 20.
-Renting of sleeping bag – 4 seasons, US$ 40.
-Walking poles – US$ 30 each pair.
-A personal porter carrying up to 16 kilos of your personal belongs – US$ 160 (recommended for those who’d like to enjoy a lighter walk. A porter can be hired between 2 people as well).
-A half porter carrying up to 8 kilos of your personal belongs – US$ 80 (recommended for those who’d like to enjoy a lighter walk).
What do You need to take?
-Original passport (ISIC card if applicable). You must bring the passport or ID you used for booking. If you get a new one, it is essential to bring a copy of the old one at least or send us an email with a scanned copy of the new one to update the Inca Trail permit. Otherwise, you will not get into the Inca Trail.
-Travel insurance is essential.
-A comfortable backpack (you will carry your personal belongs, sleeping bag and mattress too) or daypack if you hired a porter (we’ll provide you with a duffle bag).
-Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits. Our meals are very complete and well supplied, but you will realize after walking a couple of hours that you need to bite into a cookie!
-Sleeping bag for temperatures of at least 0 C or 32 F (not included – you can rent it from us).
-Waterproof gear, rain poncho (just in case during the dry season too).
-Warm jacket and warm clothes (temperature varies from 0 to 24 C – 32 to 75 F ).
-Hat, gloves, and sunglasses.
-Sun protection cream (35 SF recommended).
-Insect repellent (20% DEET – no malaria has been reported).
-Water purifying pills.
-Personal First Aid kit.
-Camera and charger to use it at 3rd night.
-Flashlight and spare alkaline batteries.
-We recommend packing your belongs in plastic bags due the rain and a waterproof cover for your backpack.
-Extra money (300 soles or $110, though it is better to only bring soles. There is an ATM only in Aguas Calientes).
*IMPORTANT: To qualify as a student, you must have a valid ISIC student st card and send a copy at booking.
*Advise us about any allergy or personal health condition (asthma, etc).
*if you require an extra porter or a half porter, you must advise us at booking time in order to buy a ticket for the porter.
-Single tent supplement – US$ 60.
-Extra night in Aguas Calientes – US$60 (2-Star hotel)
-Ask for discounts:
If you are a student (US$40 -ISIC card only, send a copy at booking), teenagers up to 15 years old (US$40), children up to 7 years old (US$80).
*Size of the group: Min. 2 people, max. 8 people.
-Shorts (during the day it is normally warm, so take some sun screen).
-Walking poles with rubber tips.
-Plasters and bandages.
-Bathing suit (hot springs at Aguas Calientes).