Salkantay & Inca Trail Expedition 7D/6N
- Experience the real adventures of the Andes: amazing views of Salkantay glacier mountain, lush valleys, magnificent rivers and the cloud forest
- Witness amazing flora and fauna, such as llamas, alpacas, condors and orchids
- Continue onto the historic Inca Trail
- Spend time at Wiñay Wayna ruins
- Walk through the Sun Gate for your first view of Machu Picchu
Day 1: Cusco –Marccoccasa – Sorapampa
Your trekking guide, chef and porters will pick you up from your hotel at 4:30 a.m., and you will drive two and a half hours to the trail head, Marccoccasa (3,300 meters). You will meet your horse man and horses, and have some time to prepare for the day and enjoy your breakfast. You will experience the amazing views of the Andes, with the lushness of the valley, covered in green and some lovely waterfalls. Today, the hike will be of moderate difficulty, although it will be a long day of hiking. Until lunch, there will be a gradual uphill climb, lasting about three and a half hours. After lunch, the hike will be less inclined and easier to walk. The views along the way change drastically. The trail head is all green, lush valleys, but in the afternoon, you will be right at the foot of the Humantay snow-capped mountain. You will also experience a large temperature drop from warm to cold. Be sure you have your warm jacket and gloves in your day pack, for the cold afternoon. Upon your arrival at the campsite at Soyapamapa, (3,800 meters) you will be welcomed by your team and provided warm drinks and dinner.
Elevation: From 2,900 to 3,800 m
Walking Distance: 11 km / 6.8 miles
Weather: Warm to hot
Day 2: Sorapampa – Humantay Lake – Ichupata
You will be woken up with hot drinks and breakfast. After you prepare for the day, we will introduce you to the alpines micro-climate and the amazing views of the high glacier peaks. They are considered to be the highest peaks around Cusco and the father of the other mountains by many Andean people (Apus means God). You will begin a two hour climb to the most beautiful blue lake, located at the bottom of Humantay glacier mountain. It’s believed that the Incas used to hold celebration ceremonies for the God of water and the Apus, that surround this peaceful place. You will then begin you return to the main trail and continue towards your lunch spot, at Salkantay Pampa. It will be time to depart from the Humantay peak, and enjoy the views of a higher mountain, Salkantay Mountain (6,215 m). You will arrive here around 1 p.m.and enjoy lunch. After lunch, we will have a two hour, steep climb to our second campsite, at Ichupata or Pampa Japonesa (4,200 m). Today, will be a cold day of hiking, so be sure to have your jacket, warm hat, sun glasses and gloves in your day pack. At the campsite, you will be welcomed by your porters to enjoy hot drinks and dinner. Tonight is the perfect night to spot the constellations and the views of Salkantay peak. This site is the closest camp to Salkantay, so it may be possible to hear some avalanches. However, do not let this scare you, they are not in close proximity to us. This is the highest campsite, so it should be a cold night, close to zero degrees Celsius.
Elevation: 3,500 - 4,300 meters
Distance: 13 km / 8 miles
Considered: Moderate to difficult
Day 3: Ichupata – Inca Chiriasca Pass – Inca Canal
After tea and breakfast, it will be time to embark on the most challenging, yet rewarding hike, to date. Your guide will lead you up the Inca Chiriasca pass (5,000 meters high), following a steady pace to witness the amazing views of the glacier mountains. Once you have reached the top, you will be treated to hot coca tea, and phenomenal views of the valleys, lakes and even some spectacular birds, such as condors and falcons. Following, you will start descending, or you may take an optional hike to a glacier, which only takes 30 minutes. Afterward, we will continue descending to your lunch spot, where your porters will be waiting with the traditional hot tea and a delicious lunch. For the rest of the day, you will walk down hill, through lush green valleys and winding streams, before reaching your campsite, in a little village of 10 families.
Elevation: 4,300 - 5,000 meters, then to 37,500 meters
Distance: 14 km / 8.6 miles
Day 4: Inca Canal – Pauccar Cancha – Wayllabamba – Ayapata
This day will give you a rare glimpse into the past as you wander through hillside paths, used by traditional Peruvian farmers, living the same way since the time of the Incas. Then, you will arrive at the famous Inca ruins, where your tour guide will provide you with some background on the Incas. After the ruins, your tour guide will point out new and different vegetation, as you move into the high, jungle micro-climate. Finally, you will reach the classic Inca Trail where your porters will serve you lunch. The afternoon’s hike will be all uphill, until we reach our campsite. Be sure you have your camera ready, with fully charged batteries, as you never want to miss this opportunity to capture the magnificent views of the mountains and enchanting natural waterfalls in the cloud forest.
Elevation: 3,750 - 3,000 meters, then to 3,300 meters
Distance: 14 km / 8.6 miles
Considered: Moderate to difficult
Weather: Cold in the morning, warm in the afternoon
Day 5: Ayapata – Warmi Wañusca- Chaquicocha
This is the longest, but most interesting day, due to the Inca ruins and the cloud forest. After an early breakfast, we will start with a two hour climb, uphill in the Puna area. It is a dry place, with little vegetation at the Andean ichu. Some llamas can be seen here. When we reach the peak of the Dead Women Pass (4,200 meters high), you will have some time to rest and enjoy some glacier peaks and spectacular mountains, near by. Afterwards, we will start descending on the rock-paved trail, towards our lunch spot. Along the way, you will observe some flowers or orchids. Please try to walk slowly and be cautious of nature. This section is a perfect spot to watch hummingbirds. After lunch, we will begin climbing uphill for two hours, to reach the second peak. Half way through your journey, you will visit the Inca ruins, called Runcu Raccay.
This place has been said to function as a watchtower because of its oval shape, and its overtaking of the valley. After crossing over the second peak (4,000 meters high), we will start descending for one hour to the lake called Yanaccoha, where the Incas organized ceremonies for the Goodness of the water. Then, you will arrive at the famous cloud forest, and also one of the most beautiful Incan ruins, called Sayacmarca. Sayacmarca is where you can observe the original Inca houses, water fountains, water channels and the most spectacular views of the valley.
After the ruins, it will take you about 30 more minutes to reach our campsite, called Chaquicocha Once again, you will have an opportunity to see different types of flora and fauna, since you will be in the high jungle.
Elevation: 3,300 - 4,200 meters (the pass), 3,600 meters (the lunch) and again, 4,000 meters (the pass), 3,600 meters (the camp)
Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
Weather: You will experience the four seasons, all in just one day
Day 6: Chquicocha – Phuyupatamarca – Wiñay Wayna
Today is the easiest day of the tour. In the morning, you will have views of the surrounding mountains, the Andes Mountain and the Pumassillo glacier peaks. There will only be about five hours hike, including the three Inca ruins to our campsite. The first ruin called Phuyupatamarca (cloud level-town), is two hours from the campsite. It is impressive to observe the lovely platform and houses where Incan nobles studied astronomy. The second ruin is nestled in the hillside of many terraces. It was perhaps, an Incan agricultural experiment station. You will also have views of the sacred valley, and the river of Urubamba. Finally, you will reach the last campsite, called Wiñay Wayna (2,600 meters), where you will leave your day packs and walk for five minutes to reach the most beautiful Incan ruins, along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This place is close to a village, where you can enjoy the beauty of the water channels, terraces, and temples. Religious ceremonies used to occur here.
After lunch, you will have an opportunity to take a hot shower, followed by a free afternoon to explore the most beautiful Inca site, Wiñay Wayna. Later in the afternoon will be your last happy hour and dinner, topped with a small presentation from your porters to say a final good bye. They will head back to Cusco the next day, while you continue your journey to Machu Picchu.
Elevation: 3,600- 2,600 meters
Distance: 10 km / 6.2 miles
Considered: Warm and humid
Day 7: Wiñay Wayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Today is the most important, so you will wake up earlier than usual. After breakfast, you will walk two more hours to Machu Picchu, where you will pass through the Sun Gate to experience some spectacular views of the stunning mountains, valleys, rivers and the Incan ruins. Upon your arrival, your tour guide will inform you about Machu Piccu for two hours. Following, you will have time to explore, by yourself. Be sure that you visit all the sacred places, temples, palaces and the famous Inca bride. When you are ready to make your way back to Aguas Calientes, there will be buses that depart on a regular basis, with a journey of approximately 30 minutes. After spending time in the town of Aguas Calientes, you will need to be at the train station 30 minutes before our train departs back to Cusco.
Walking Distance: 5 km /3 miles
Note: Before the government enforced the new legislation about protecting the Inca Trail, horses were the main transport to carry equipment from the trail head to Wayllabamba. Since they banned the horses, we have replaced them with out porters (on the Classic Inca Trail). You will have the same tour guide and cook throughout your tour. All meals are prepared on site, so that you will always have fresh food.
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Permits: As soon as we receive your details and a deposit, we will purchase your permits (pending availability, check our Inca Trail Availability link). These permits are for a specific date and in your name. They can’t be changed, once confirmed. Only your passport number is allowed to be updated. The permit includes an entrance to Machu Picchu.
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. This bag should not exceed 7kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
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.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo) and brought to KM 82, to begin your trek. The train back from Aguas Calientes is included. This is Expedition class but can be upgraded to the Vistadome train for $65 per person. Once you arrive to the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is also 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 raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style.
You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day seven. 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 will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters 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 mat 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.
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: $35
Inflatable Air Mattress: $30
Walking Sticks (Pair): $30
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. This is done 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 weather is out of our control.
We can depart any day of the week, as long as permits are available. Please remember, permits are needed for your fourth day.
Price (Based on total group size):
Two or three people: $1,150 per person
Four or five people: $1,100 per person
Six or more: $1,000 per person
$35 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid Green ISIC card at the time of the trek or who is 16-years-old or younger. For those using an ISIC card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 16-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 ISIC STUDENT CARD
As you see in our Additional Options for several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices:
Huayna Picchu: $75 per person
Vistadome Train (one way): $75 per person
While it may seem early to be thinking of a trip for next year, it is actually quite a good idea. To enter the Inca Trail, you need a permit from the Peruvian government, which we secure for you - but these permits are extremely limited and sell very quickly. Only 500 permits per day are issued, and that also includes permits for all of the support staff for trekkers – guides, cooks and porters (horses are not permitted on most of the Inca Trail). Permits for the next season are not on sale quite yet, they will be released in January, but once they are many dates will be sold out within the first few hours, so getting your reservation in very early is a great idea.
How to Get Started
So please, start thinking of when you would like to trek with us. Get your reservation in early. Give us a few options of your start date and list them in your order of preference.
Fill in our Booking Form with all of your details – we must have your accurate passport information as well to secure your permit (if you are in the process of renewing your passport, send us your old passport information and we can later update it with your new passport number). On the Booking Form we will need your first, second and third choices for dates to start your Inca Trail hike. With your deposit of $200 per person, we will put your reservation in a queue for your requested dates and on the day that the permits are released we will be in the Permit Office.
When will you know your start date?
We will keep you up to date with where we are in the process at all times and will confirm your start date when permits are in our hands. And we will do everything we can to secure your #1 choice.
Permits are released in January and when we know the official date, we will list on our website and social media sites. You will always know where we are in the process and will move as quick as possible.
When should you book?
Now. There is no reason to wait and we are busy taking reservations already. If you need to choose your preferred start date, we can adjust this until Christmas time. After New Years we may close off reservations to make sure we are organized and ready for the release of permits.
We are so excited to take you on this journey and will do everything we can to make it your best vacation yet.
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.
Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the Alpaca Expeditions deposit while you trek. We will grab from you the morning of your trek and return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
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.
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.
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. In fact, we work with a great agency in the United States that has helped to make it easy and affordable. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
If interested in booking through our trusted partner, Ahart, Frinzi & Smith, CLICK HERE.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs and drivers. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as the guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more for our partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
Personal Porter Included
All of our treks include porters, who are responsible for carrying and setting up all equipment. They will also carry your personal duffel, which you will receive at your briefing the night before your trek. This duffel can not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs, and must include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Each Alpaca Expeditions porter is given a proper uniform, salary and insurance. They are the backbone of our company.
Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. While this hike is done on your own, your guide will direct you to where this hike begins. This is an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you with an advance notice.
The ticket is $75 per person.
Machu Picchu Mountain
Machu Picchu mountain is the other mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu, but takes an hour and a half to reach the top. This is an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you.
This ticket is $75 per person.
All our tours include the Expeditions (Tourist) Train. This train is normally booked at 4:22 p.m., leaving Aguas Calientes. The Vistadome train is an upgraded train, that offers slightly larger seats, windows and even some entertainment. Normally, the Vistadome train is booked for 3:20 p.m. and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco. While this is an upgraded fee, we will still include your transportation back to your hotel.
This train is $75 per person.
- Valid, GREEN ISIC 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.
- 6-7 wicking t-shirts
- 4-5 hiking pants
- 7 sets of undergarments.
- 7 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
The Journey is the Destination
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