Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu - a Classic Alternative Trek to the Inca Trail
Ultimate Salkantay Trek 5D/5N Includes Humantay Blue Lagoon + Camp Overlooking Machu Picchu!
Ultimate Salkantay Trek - 5.5D/5N to Machu Picchu
Tour Type: Trekking/hiking, cultural, adventurous
Price:$650USD per person
AFTERNOON 1: Transfer to the GLASS CABAÑAS
You will start this Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu on the afternoon of Day 1. We will pick you up at 3 p.m. from your hotel, where you will meet your Alpaca trekking team. From here, we will head in our private van for a 3.5-hour drive to the Glass Cabañas in Soraypampa, located at 3,800 m.a.s.l. We will arrive just on time to take photographs of the sunset over the glacier peaks.
At the Glass Cabanas, your guide will settle you in your rooms before enjoying your dinner, along with some hot drinks. Your night will also have many stars in the night sky.
**Because you will likely be checked out from your hotel before the departure time, the meeting point for this trek is at our office located close to the main square.
NO HIKING TODAY
Elevation : 3800 msl
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
**When you book this trek, please choose the day you want to start the hike (so Day 1). Departure is the night before where you will stay at our private camping site and enjoy your first dinner prepared by your Alpaca Expeditions chef.
Day 1: (Hiking Begins) SORAYPAMPA CAMPSITE – HUMANTAY LAGOON – SALKANTAY PASS - WAYRACPUNKO
After a good night’s rest, you will have early wake up to enjoy your breakfast before your trek. During this morning, there will be a short team introduction between all trekkers and the Alpaca Staff to ensure a positive, family-like experience. Following the introduction, you will give your duffel bag to the muleteers for carrying. The day´s hike will begin by visiting Humantay Lagoon. You will hike approximately 1.5 hours along a steady uphill. Once at the lagoon, you will enjoy the serene views of the crystalline-blue water of Humantay Lagoon. If the skies are clear, you will see the first sun rays peeking through the snow-covered peaks. If you are brave, you will also have the chance to touch the almost-frozen water so that you may stay young forever! The advantage of visiting Humantay Lagoon in the early morning hours is the quiet surroundings with no other trekkers besides those in your group. Due to the popularity of this location, this is not something everyone can enjoy!
After breathing in the beauty of such a magical place, you will begin making your way back down to the starting point to continue with your hike to the lunch spot in Soyroccocha. This hike will be approximately 3 hours on gradually ascending terrain. On your way, you will pass places such as Salkantay Pampa and will enjoy the outstanding views of the surrounding peaks and snow-covered mountains. After lunch and well-deserved rest, you will continue with your hike for about 1 hour more until Salkantay Pass at 4,650 m.a.s.l.- the highest point of the trek. You will be rewarded once here with hot drinks before continuing!
From Salkantay Pass, it will only be a remaining 3 hours of hiking downhill to our last campsite for the day, Wayracmachay. Upon arrival at the campsite, the trekking staff will have your tents set up and with your duffel bags ready. They will provide you with warm water to get washed up, so that you may change into something warm. We will have a happy hour with hot chocolate and coffee, followed by dinner. If the weather allows, you will get to enjoy the blue sky, along with a brief introduction to the visible Inca constellations.
Walking Distance: 18km
Elevation Gained: 850 meters
Elevation Descended: 850 meters
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
Day 2: WAYRACMACHAY – CHAULLAY – CCOLLPAPAMPA LORETA (HOBBIT HOUSE)
Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. Hopefully, as you open your tent, you will see the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds, lifting from the green cloud forest. You will have time to pack up and enjoy a nice breakfast prepared by your trekking chef.
At around 7 a.m., you will begin the day´s hike by hiking for approximately 4 hours downhill until reaching the lunch spot at Ccollpapampa (2,700 m.a.s.l.). In this hike, you will begin to notice the micro-climate and fauna & flora changes. You will go from cold glacier views to warmer green jungle surroundings. There will be many different species of orchids to see, as well as ferns, begonia flowers, and Hummingbirds.
After lunch and well-deserved rest, you will continue with your trek to the next private campsite called La Loreta at 2400 m.a.s.l. This hike will be approximately 4 hours on gradually downhill terrain. Along the way, you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, flora and fauna. Here you will have another tropical forest micro-climate, where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges, and avocados. Upon arrival at the campsite, your trekking staff will welcome you. You will have time to enjoy a free hot shower, hot Jacuzzi, and perhaps even swim in our swimming pool. There will also be time to walk around our ecological garden to see some of our coffee, avocado, chilies, tomatoes, and pineapples. Dinner tonight will be at our building with views to the Salkantay River, which you will hear below as you fall asleep at night.
Walking Distance: 18 km
Night Elevation: 2,400 meters
Elevation Descended: 1,400 meters
Weather: Warm and hot
Day 3: LORETA – LA PLAYA SAHUAYAKU – LUCMABAMBA COFFEE FARM – LLACTAPATA (Camp in front of Machu Picchu)
After a delicious breakfast, you will start the shortest but most exciting day of the trek. Today you will experience the most beautiful sights along your trekking route to Machu Picchu. You will explore the tropical forest and will have a visit to a local, organic coffee farm. Here you will have the opportunity to explore some of the orange and avocado plantations and taste some of the freshly-brewed coffee. There will be a brief introduction to the region's coffee and its importance as the main farming product. You will then learn that coffee in this region was introduced after the Spanish conquest, and most of the coffee is exported overseas to North America, Asia, and Europe.
After the coffee farm visit, you will continue with your trek to Llactapata by hiking along a section of the Inca trail for approximately 2.5 hours. On your way to the Llactapata Inca site, you will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley. At Llactapata, you will get the first glimpse of Machu Picchu, including the main archaeological sites Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. You will also have the opportunity to explore the Llactapata Inca site along with your guide and take photographs for the books! From here, it will be an additional 15 minutes downhill to your lunch and campsite area. Owned by a local family, only Alpaca Expeditions has permission to stay at this campsite.
You will find the campsite to be a great place to enjoy the sunset and sunrise over Machu Picchu. After lunch, you will have some free time to enjoy the views and relax from hiking. Again, we will serve a lovely happy hour with tea and coffee, and your chef will prepare a delicious meal for dinner. Once the stars come out, you can enjoy the Milky Way and the Inca constellations – just like the Incan astronomers did to predict the weather.
Walking Distance: 12 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,700 meters
Elevation Gained: 400 meters
Weather: During day time hot and humid, chilly at night
Day 4: LLACTAPATA LOOKOUT – WATERFALLS AT HIDROELECTRICA – MANDOR HIRAM BINGHAM FARM – AGUAS CALIENTES
Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. You will get ready for today’s activities and enjoy your last breakfast prepared by your trekking chef. The day´s hike will begin with a 2 hour, downhill path, with views of Machu Picchu, until Hidroelectrica Station. The most impressive part of this area is the natural 300 meters high waterfall, which generates electricity for the region of Cusco. From Hidroelectrica Station, you will then continue to the famous Intiwatana (sundial rock). According to history, this Inca stone used to work with the legendary sundial rock in Machu Picchu during the winter solstice, which was the beginning of a new farming season for the Incas.
Following the Intiwatana, you will continue to the path on the train tracks. The hike along the train tracks will be approximately 3 hours and will lead to the town of Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the valley of Machu Picchu. This part of the hike will be interesting as it was the trail used by the American professor, Hiram Bingham, when rediscovering Machu Picchu.
On his way to Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham met with local farmer Melchor Arteaga, who eventually guided him to Machu Picchu. On your trek, you will hike past Melchor Artaega´s farm. Here you will see many species of flora and fauna, the national bird called cock of the rock, Tucanes, Oropendolas, Parrots, and Orchids. Finally, upon your arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy your packed lunch.
You will then go to your hotel to enjoy a hot shower, and a visit to the famous hot springs (10 soles, not included), of Aguas Calientes. In the evening, you will enjoy your final dinner with your trekking chef and say goodbye.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 meters
Accommodations: inti punku (or similar)
Day 5: MACHU PICCHU – RETURN TO CUSCO
Today will be the most important day of your expedition. To get the most out of the day, we encourage every group to have an early breakfast before catching one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu (starting at 5:30 a.m.). The hotel will hold your bags for you while in Machu Picchu. This way, you will only be required to take your backpack with all essentials up to Machu Picchu. The bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will take approximately 30 minutes.
Once in Machu Picchu, your guide will introduce you to the beauty of Machu Picchu. You will head directly to a well sought out location from where you will watch the sunrise and take photographs. Your guide will then guide you around the main sectors of the citadel, for a total of 2.5 hours. During this guided tour, you will learn some more about the history and culture of the Inca Empire.
At the end of the tour, you will have some time to yourself or, if you arranged to hike Huayna Picchu* (must be booked in advance, as it sells out and costs $75 per person), your guide will show you where to begin this hike, which will take no more than 2 hours round-trip.
For your return from Machu Picchu, we recommend heading back to Aguas Calientes no later than 2 hours before your train departure. The train return from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo will take approximately 2 hours. In Ollantaytambo, our Alpaca Staff will be waiting for your right by the station´s exit door, ready to bring you back to Cusco by car. The car ride to Cusco will be approximately 2 hours and will have you dropped off at your hotel in Cusco.
- Machu Picchu Mountain may be hiked as well, instead of Huayna Picchu Mountain. This hike is more challenging and takes three hours minimum, round-trip (at an extra cost of USD $75 per person).
Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters, while you hike. Your bag cannot exceed 7 kg/14 lbs and needs to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in the Cusco region, and are committed to teaching others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Porters: We include a personal porter who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag. There is no additional fee for this. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your evening campsite.
Hotel: The alternative treks all end in, or before Aguas Calientes. Your last night will be in a hotel in the village instead of camping. Your 2-star hotel is included in the trek cost and based on a shared room. If you would like to upgrade your hotel or prefer a single room, there will be an additional cost.
Transportation: You will have transportation included in this trek. You will be picked up at 3 p.m. from your hotel or our office, where you will meet your Alpaca trekking team. From here, we will head in our private van for a 3.5-hour drive to the Glass Cabañas in Soraypampa, located at 3,800 m.a.s.l. Also included will be the Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes. You may also upgrade to the Vistadome Train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, we will take you back to your hotel in Cusco. Additionally, your round trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will be included.
Equipment: Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Food: The Alpaca Expeditions chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have loved. We honor all food restrictions, so be sure to add any that you have on your booking form and let your guide know at your briefing. Food is typically all served family-style.
You will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day for the trek along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. A snack will be provided each morning for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Alpaca Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water is boiled, filtered, and then cooled before distributing. You must bring your water bottles and or camelback. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. You will be able to refill your water at each meal.
First Aid: Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single Alpaca tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
Extras: We believe it´s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking, and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While all our guides are prepared and trained to deal with most issues clients have on the mountain. Being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.
Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping Bag: $25
Inflatable Air Mattress: $20
Walking Sticks (Pair): $20
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45-minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep if you are scared of heights. You would do this after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $75. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance due to popularity. Please understand that the weather is out of our control.
Day packs: Day packs are not provided by Alpaca Expeditions. You must bring your own. Be sure you don't being anything too large, as you don’t want it to be too heavy while you're trekking. Plus, Machu Picchu will not allow you to bring in a bag larger than 25L, so if you have a large backpack it will need to be stored before your tour. Only essentials are needed while trekking: water, snack, camera, sunhat, warm layer, rain layers, insect spray, sunscreen, and a first-aid kit.
Headlamps: It is strongly encouraged to bring a headlamp for your night camping. There will be no lights at the camping sites and it is hard to get to your dining tent or you bathroom tent without one. Flashlights are acceptable, if you don’t have a headlamp, but make some tasks more difficult.
Flights: Flying to Cusco can be tricky. Delays occur often and it is not uncommon for flights to be cancelled. Please be sure to arrive in the city at least two days before your trek start date. LAN Peru is the most reliable of the airlines. Avianca and Peruvian Airlines are acceptable companies, as well. You will not return from your trek until around 8 p.m. on the last day, so be sure your flight is not until the next day, when leaving Cusco.
Gratuities: Tipping is always appreciated and should be based completely on your satisfaction. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Travel Insurance: This is not required, but always recommended. For those of you who live at sea-level, landing in Cusco will take an adjustment period. Most people need one or two days to adjust. In case you have a hard time adjusting to the altitude, it is suggested to have protection for missed tours.
The Salkantay Trek can leave any day of the week, from March through December. We do not run this trek in January or February.
$650 per person
A group tour means that it is open for other trekkers to join you. This means that your group will have varying hiking and fitness abilities. All our guides are experts on how to keep the trek moving and happy no matter how fast you hike.
Private tours are available and priced by party size.
2 Trekkers: $980 per person
3 Trekkers: $925 per person
4 Trekkers: $870 per person
5 Trekkers: $815 per person
6 Trekkers: $760 per person
7 Trekkers: $705 per person
8 or more Trekkers: $650 per person
* All our tours are priced in US Dollar.
$25 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using an university student card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 17-years-old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to firstname.lastname@example.org.
More Information about STUDENT CARD
The alternative treks all end in, or before Aguas Calientes. The last night is spent at a hotel in the village, rather than camping. This 2 star hotel is included in the trek cost, and is based on a shared room. If you would like to upgrade your hotel, or prefer a single room, there will be an additional cost.
There are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Huayna Picchu: $75 per person
Montana: $75 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
EQP & FOOD
Another highlight of booking with Alpaca Expeditions is getting top equipment and probably the best food you will eat while in Peru.
Every camping tour includes a spacious 4 man tent that will be shared by only two people so you can spread out a bit. These are all Eureka Timberline Tents made for all seasons. Our rentals are top of the line: Black Diamond Adjustable Walking Sticks and Thermarest Luxury Air Matts. Sleeping Bags rented from us are mummy style down bags for -15C and liners are always included.
For more information on our equipment, CLICK HERE.
Every trek includes a chef that has been trained in culinary school. They have learned the magic of mountain cooking and you will be amazed. You will enjoy full breakfast, lunch and dinner all served hot and tasty. We also include Happy Hour with snacks and some hot tea before dinner. The key to feeling good on a trek like this is eating well and staying hydrated.
Meals are all served family style - large plates for everyone to take what they like. And all food restrictions are honored. No matter if you are vegetarian or gluten free, you will always be well fed.
Water is provided by Alpaca Expeditions at every meal. We will boil, filter and cool down all water before distributing out to our clients to ensure that its healthy for drinking. Because of this process, you do need to provide your own water for the very first morning of your trek. We won't have a chance to get you clean water until lunch on Day 1.
You should always begin your hike with 2-3 liters of water - so make sure you have a large enough water bottle or camelback to store this.
For more information on our Food & Water, CLICK HERE.
PORTERS & HORSEMEN
While our Salkantay trek does include horses, they will only be able to join you for the first day and a half of the trek. The rest of the time, our porters will be responsible for all the heavy lifting. It is also during this first day and a half that an emergency horse will be available. After this, you are responsible for hiking on your own.
Our porters, who we lovingly call the Green Machine, are the pride and joy of our company and what separates us from others. We are dedicated to making a difference in their lives and their family's life and for that we are rewarded with the hardest working team in the mountains.
Alpaca Expeditions Porters:
Raul Ccolque Ccolque, the owner & general manager of Alpaca Expeditions, worked as porter from 2000 to 2003. While he saw some companies treating their porters better than others, he felt there was not enough being done for them and their families. We could not have a company without our porters and because of that we want them to be part of our family. We want to know them, listen to them and follow through on our promise to make their lives better.
Our porters range from 18 years old until 55 and come from several different villages in Cusco region. We employ approximately 250 porters from the following villages:
- Comunidad wakatinku 25 porters, located at 3800 meters
- Comunidad Llullucha 20 porters, located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Choquekancha 25 porters , located at 3400 meters.
- Comunidad Pumapunko $ 25 porters located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Kachin 25 porters located at 3700 meters
- Comunidad Anparaes 25 porters located at 3500 meters
Quechua is their main language and farming is their main economic activity. Being a porter is a second income for them.
Our Promise to Our Porters:
We understand clearly that we could not be successful without our team of porters. They have promised us that they will work endlessly to make each trekker have a magical journey, so we have made an equally important promise to them to do what we can to make this difficult job a little less daunting.
As we explained earlier, most of our porters live in a village outside of Cusco – typically 2 to 4 hours away. We cover all entrance fees (45 soles – $15 US per porter) and transportation to and from the trek for our porters, separate from their salary. They are paid directly after the trek preventing them from traveling back to Cusco before heading home. This is unfortunately not common. They receive better wages, health insurance and all their equipment for free. This includes hiking boots, pants, jerseys, fleeces, jackets, hats, flashlights, sleeping bags, sleeping bags, and amazing food to eat. We make sure they have a comfortable bed in a lovely room to sleep before (and after if needed) the trek instead of crashing on a floor like others. We visit the communities they live in and supply toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap and other needed supplies to their families. Books for their students.
This is just the beginning for us and we are always looking for ways to do more.
How much does the Alpaca Expeditions Porter Carry?
While the government allows each porter to carry up to 25kg, we keep our limit at 20kg. Each porter will carry up to 15kg from the company and 5kg of their own personal stuff. This is why its so important to keep your personal duffel down in weight and not exceed our allowed 7kg. You will see other companies carrying clearly more than the allotted weight – we will not allow our porters to carry this burden.
Keeping them Comfortable…
Every year Alpaca Expeditions provides a new sleeping bag and sleeping pad for each porter. Our jackets are all lined and warm and our boots that are provided are all waterproof.
What do the Porters Eat?
Our porters will eat the very same amazing meals you have. Our chef buys enough food to cook for all our trekkers and porters and makes enough for everyone to be too full at the end of the day. While you will notice that we always serve huge portions, none of this is wasted. Whatever is leftover after you and our team eats will go directly back home to the families of the team for them to enjoy themselves.
Helping Their Families…
All our porters are quechua language speakers who come from farming villages where they take only advantage of the seasons to grow their crops but Alpaca Expeditions will help them in many ways to keep growing their comunity especially in education, health and culture. We have different ongoing projects and hope to add many more. Some of the projects we have completed or continue doing are:
Every 3 months, we take a kit of toiletries to Wakantinku elementary school for 204 quechua speaking children. They range from 3 – 12 years old from kindergarden to 6th grade. When we arrived to this village for the first time a few years ago, kids had trouble keeping up with daily hygiene. We make sure they always have toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, and hand sanitizer.
We planted more than 3,000 native trees, Queuña (andean polylepis), in the community of Wakatinku to reforest their village. This tree will be more sustainable than others they have used and will eventually be a fertilizer for their village to help grow more grass for their Alpacas which are the most common and typical annimals located at this village.
We covered the 2015 salary of a full time teacher in the High School of Wakatinku to teach math, art and english. This teacher has done amazing work and helped to graduate the first class from the village. We plan to continue this sponsorship and supply another years salary.
Every February we invite our porters and their families to come with us to visit Machu Picchu. Sadly, this was their first time to the ruins and a really special experience for us. Last year we went with families from Wakawasi village, a community we visit on the Lares Trek. We plan on doing this trip every February with new families to help them enjoy their own history.
In October 2015, we helped celebrate the end of the school year with 17 students and their parents and some of our porters for a trip through the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. This 2 day trip followed the same itinerary that our clients enjoy.
Often our clients have asked how they can help. Some Alpaca Expeditions trekkers raised money back at home to buy some computers to donate to a local village. We matched their donation and went together to donate 4 computers to the school in Wakatinku village for the kids to enjoy. This was their first experience on computers and something that has been really successful. Of course its hard for 204 students to share 4 computers, so we hope to bring some more in 2016.
To help celebrate the anniversary of Llulucha village this last July, we booked and provided transpiration for an amazing local band, Alicia de Acomayo, to play. It was a great party for everyone to enjoy.
We are working with a local clinic in Cusco to provide dental care and provide skin examinations for the children of each of our porters villages.
We have recently bought land in Cusco that is currently being constructed to create a dormitories, classrooms and teaching kitchens for our team. This is for those who do not live in Cusco to have a nice, warm place to sleep before their treks. We will have english classes, computer classes and cooking classes here for any member of our team and their family to use, free of charge. This is a huge project for us that we are really excited about.
This is a touch of the projects we have done and continue to do. We are a small local company here in Cusco who promises to be as dedicated to our team as they are to us. We are lucky enough to have the best porters in the region and we feel responsible to make sure they are healthy, strong and capable of providing their families with the best life possible.
THE GREEN MACHINE
All briefings are done at our office at 6:30PM the night before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Alpaca Expeditions office team. Briefings are approximately 30 -45 minutes long. This is where you will receive your duffel bags.
* 2D/1N Inca Trail Trek with HOTEL does not include a briefing. Our office staff will review all details at your check-in time.
You will receive your duffel bag at your briefing. These bags will be carried by the porters and returned to you at each campsite. They measure 66 cm long X 36 cm wide/2ft long X 1ft wide.
Every duffel has a maximum weight of 7kg. 4kg will be for your clothes and other personal items, the other 3kg will be for our logistics such as your sleeping bag and pad.
Alpaca Expeditions is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city,we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 - 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Very small hotels and Air BNBs are often located on streets that cars can not pass through. They also are often located up on the hillside, with long steep climbs to the property, difficult to maneuver with luggage. We highly recommend that you do not stay at one of these places. We have a list of hotels that are all lovely and easy to pickup from. HOTEL LIST HERE.
Some treks will allow for pickups in the Sacred Valley, which is outlined below.
The following chart refers to possible locations we can pick you up from when beginning the tour.
|Trek||Possible Starting Locations|
|Inca Trails||Cusco, Urubamba, Yunahuara & Ollantaytambo|
|Salkantay Treks||Only Cusco|
|Lares Trek||Only Cusco|
|Huchuy Qosqo Trek||Only Cusco|
|Ausangate and Rainbow Treks||Only Cusco|
|Day Tours||Cusco, Urubamba & Ollantaytambo|
RETURNING TO CUSCO
Leaving Machu Picchu requires a lot of logistics, which are all included in your tour.
- From Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes, you will take a 25 minute bus down to the village. Buses are first come, first serve and run all day.
- You will take a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. Your guide will give you your train tickets with train time. Make sure you get to the platform 30 minutes ahead of time.
* Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo is 2 hours
* Train from Aguas Calientes to Poroy is 3.5 hours
- Once you arrive to the train station, look for a gentlemen wearing green with an Alpaca Expeditions sign. He will then drive you to San Francisco square, Cusco
* Van ride from Ollantaytambo to nearby San Francisco square is 2 hours
* Van ride from Poroy to nearby San Francisco square is 30 minutes
- Once you arrive nearby San Francisco square, you will separate into separate pre-paid taxis and driven back to your hotel.
MACHU PICCHU ENTRANCE TIMES
Machu Picchu now has two time windows of when you can visit: either morning or afternoon. Your entrance ticket will be for only one session, morning session, and when your time window is over, the Rangers will ask you to leave.
MORNING SESSION: 6AM - 12PM
AFTERNOON SESSION: 12PM - 5:30PM
** If you have tickets to hike either Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will have some extra time until 2:30PM.
If you would like to spend the whole day at Machu Picchu, we can add an afternoon session ticket to your booking for $50 per person.
HUAYNAPICCHU/MACHU PICCHU MOUNTAIN
Machu Picchu is most beautiful when seen from above, which is why hiking one of the mountains next to the ruins is very popular to do after your tour.
Huaynapicchu is the most popular and must be booked in advance...sells out very quickly. This hike takes approximately 45 minutes to the top and another 45 minutes back down. Tickets are sold in time sessions dictating when you can START this hike. The 1st session is from 7-8Am and the 2nd session is from 10-11AM. Again, this refers to when you can begin your hike and we normally book the second session so you can enjoy your tour with your guide first. This hike is done on your own, but your guide will show you where to begin.
Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit longer and a bit less popular. It takes 1.5 hours to the top and another 1.5 hours to the bottom. Again there are two time windows - from 7-8AM and 9-10AM and we normally purchase the second time window. 4 Day and 7 Day Inca Trail Trekkers CAN NOT do this hike and enjoy a tour of the ruins. Time will not allow for this.
Hiking either mountain will allow you to have some extra time at the ruins once you complete, as listed above.
It’s important that you are honest with your guide about any health concerns you may suffer from. While guides are not medical professionals, they are trained in First Aid. We also work with a clinic in Cusco that can help assist our team.
You are responsible for assessing whether a Tour is suitable for you. You should consult your physician to confirm your fitness for travel and participation in any planned activities. You should seek your physician’s advice on vaccinations and medical precautions. Alpaca Expeditions will not provide medical advice. It is your responsibility to assess the risks and requirements of each aspect of the Tour based on your own unique circumstances, limitations, fitness level and medical requirements.
If you develop extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, but you wish to still visit Machu Picchu by train, we will work with you to coordinate this trip. This will be a new trip and may require additional fees. We will use as many of the purchased logistics from the original tour to keep fees low.
If you experience issues while hiking and can not continue, a porter will accompany you to the closest road and wait while a car comes to pick you up and bring you to the nearest health clinic.
Group tours are comprised of all different types of people, with various hiking skills and ages. By agreeing to a group tour you are understanding that some people might be slower or faster than you are. Everyone can make their own pace for the trek and the guide will work through the group to spend time with everyone. Groups might request some modifications to the tour and the guide will work with everyone to make the best decision for the group.
Unfortunately strikes are very common in Peru and can cause a lot of disruption to our Tours. Roads are often blocked, trains stopped. We will do everything possible to operate your Tour including leaving the night before your start date. Tours may need to be cancelled under these circumstances. Our Operation Department will coordinate with you in this situation. Your safety is always our top concern and will dictate how we decide.
You are responsible for your personal items throughout the Tour. Please be diligent about where you leave your things and remember to remove all items from our vans, your tents, restaurant, etc. Do not leave anything unintended while hiking. Other trekkers or teams may pick it up not knowing who it belongs to.
Tipping is part of the tradition of any trek to Machu Picchu and while we pay good wages to our entire team, anything extra is always appreciated. Please know that this is not obligatory and that you should never feel pressured into this.
Typically the participants in a group pool their tipping money together for the porters and chef. The amount recommended is different per trek and listed below. For the guide, this is more personal and needs to be decided based on your relationship with the guide. This is done personally and not as a group together. Porters and Chef prefer soles if possible. Guide is happy with US, soles or even your credit card 😉
|Inca Trails (4, 5 and 7 Days)||60 - 80 soles||150 soles|
|2D/1N Inca Trail with Camping||50 soles||100 soles|
|Salkantay Treks||100-120 soles||200 soles|
|Lares Trek||100-120 soles||200 soles|
|Huchuy Qosqo Trek||50 soles||100 soles|
|Ausangate||100-120 soles||200 soles|
* These numbers refer to what each member of the Green Machine should receive after the group pools their money. This is just a reference guide.
Travel insurance is inexpensive and strongly recommended. These trips are planned months ahead of time and you can never predict what will happen. Adventure travelling includes more risk than your normal trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this amazing journey. We can help to recommend an agent to walk you through this type of insurance if needed.
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm, winter-weight jacket.
It’s also important to note that weather can change a listed itinerary. There are times that routes become impassable and our guides will be forced, for your safety, to rework the itinerary.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
GETTING TO CUSCO
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
- Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
FOR YOUR DUFFEL:
Porters will carry up to 7 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts
- 2-3 hiking pants
- 4 sets of undergarments.
- 4 sets of hiking socks
- 1 Fleece
- 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
- 1 Rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
- Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
- Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.
- Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Bug spray
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and paste
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc.
INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.
- Water: we supply clean water at each meal. You are responsible for your first morning of water only as we won't have time to filter water until your first lunch.
- Rain gear
- Music (IPhone)
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips