Lodge Trek to Machu Picchu

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7 Days
Availability : March to December
Cusco, Peru
Cusco, Peru
Min Age : 15+

This is an adventure in which you will be able to experience Peru at its best and like never before: trekking from one lodge to another, enjoying the comfort and service of 4 top quality mountain lodges located in pristine areas and finally reaching Machu Picchu (the crown jewels) as a final destination.

In this journey you will trek from 3,900m/12,800ft to 2,100m/6,900ft, traversing across magnificent mountain passes, enjoying enormous and mystical snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and exploring more than 15 different ecosystems from beginning to end. Moreover, the chances for ethnic and cultural exchange are ever-present with local natives who still remain closely attached to their heritage and are very willing to share it with open minds.

This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience you will not want to miss.

Video

Although the company has historically had an active yet private role in the socioeconomic development of the communities to which they neighbor, in 2006 the company sponsored the creation of an NGO named Yanapana Peru.

Yanapana Peru has set two important goals for its first stage of development:

  1. to elevate the level of education for more than 150 families in the area;
  2. to give an incentive to the local population to take an active role in the development of tourism in the area.

Yanapana is committed to improving the quality of life through sustainable community development, in an effort to reduce extreme poverty in the Andean Highlands. Main activities of the association include donations for the enhancement of nutrition and infrastructure at a local public school, funding and training for local entrepreneurs, which include jam and honey, handmade textiles and organic coffee production. Other supportive efforts are directed towards child sponsorship programs, as well as medical prevention, detection and treatment programs.

In the journey through sustainability, it was necessary to take steps beyond what was traditionally being done in social inclusion, which is why in 2012, a joint-venture was born between the community of Huacahuasi and Mountain Lodges of Peru, naming it Kuska Purispa: Walking Together.

Itinerary

Day 0 Preparation

Given the altitude, it is advisable to arrive in Cusco at least two days before the trek begins. During the evening before your trek commences, there will be an evening briefing in Cusco where you will meet your guide, who will provide you important information for a great trekking experience!

Day 1Cusco to Salkantay Lodge

After an early breakfast, we are picked up starting at 7:00 am at our hotel in Cusco by a guide and vehicle for the drive to the Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. En route we take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, we pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where we stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to a place called Marcoccasa (30 minutes from Mollepata by vehicle). Here, we begin our trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for everyone to acclimate, while enjoying a beautiful six hour trek. Salkantay Lodge takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley—Mt. Salkantay, the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270 m (20,600 ft), the highest in the region. After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, we are shown to our rooms and have time to wash-up, before tea and cookies. The trip leader will hold a briefing by the fireplace, followed by aperitifs and dinner.

Trekking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including picnic lunch en route)
Hiking Level: Moderate
Option: Guests who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge by vehicle

Day 2Hike to Humantay Lake

Today we take an acclimatization hike on the slopes above the lodge to Lake Humantay, fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay. The hike is optional, but the views are amazing, and those brave enough can even go for a dip. We return to the lodge for lunch, after which you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in our outdoor jacuzzi. Afternoon at leisure. We spend the night at the Salkantay Lodge with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds. In the evening, the guide briefs us on gear and the itinerary for the following day. All meals are served at the Lodge.

Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging
Option: Horseback Riding

Day 3Crossing the Salkantay Pass

This is the big day! After an early start, we hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay Peak. The highest point on the trek is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 m (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take in views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards Wayra Lodge (“Wayra” means wind; so ‘the place where the wind lives’) our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is served en route; dinner and overnight at the Lodge.

Trekking Time: 6–8 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Challenging, crossing a 4,640m (15,200 ft) mountain pass

Day 4Descending into the Cloud Forest

On this day we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge. Then we continue our descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River, through increasingly verdant scenery. We can feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids. Upon arrival at Colpa Lodge we are greeted with a Pachamanca meal, a traditional festive Peruvian meal cooked by layering meat and vegetables with hot stones, and then covering the whole thing up to bake. Colpa Lodge is located on an open plateau at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor jacuzzi has panoramic views of lush green mountains. We spend the afternoon relaxing or exploring the nearby orchid trail. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Trekking Time: 3–4 hours
Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate

Day 5 Following the Santa Teresa River Valley

Today we hike along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, granadilla, and avocado orchards and coffee plantations (said to be one of the best organic coffees in the world). A hot picnic lunch is served by the river. After lunch, we hike another hour before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” (30 minutes or so). From the head of the newly restored Inca trail we easily make our way to Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Trekking Time: 5–6 hours (including lunch)
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging (because of distance, not terrain)

Day 6 First View of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass

After a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974ft), where we come upon a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travelers ever get a chance to admire. We take a short break to explore the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is served in a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. We then begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu, is a short, scenic train ride away. Upon arrival, we check into our lovely hotel for celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing!

Trekking Time: 4–6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging

Day 7Visit Machu Picchu Sanctuary & Return to Cusco

After a very early buffet breakfast at the hotel, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). Our trip leader will give the group an introductory two-hour guided tour of the ruins, after which we have the rest of the morning to explore the site on our own—there is a lot to do and see! Afterward, we return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a late lunch and to meet our train. The ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes about one and a half hours, and then a private vehicle will drive us back to Cusco (an additional hour and a half ). Upon arrival in Cusco (approximately 7 or 8 p.m.), we are dropped off at our hotel. Option: Climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Permits have to be purchased in advance.

Tour Details

The trek is limited to 6 people and is rated as moderate to challenging and covers approximately 63 km / 32 miles on uneven, rocky terrain with steep uphill and downhill sections. Day 3 is the most challenging with an elevation gain of 1000 meters / 3,000 feet in a span of 5 km / 3 miles to reach a maximum altitude of 4640 meters / 15,200 feet. Prior hiking experience is recommended.

Another option is to take a 5 day or 7 day Cultural Trek through Lares Valley on your way to Machu Picchu.  Embark on a cultural exploration of the Urubamba Valley, the celebrated “Sacred Valley of the Incas,” and the spectacular archaeological site of Machu Picchu, combined with a hike in the less visited and uncrowded Lares region north of Cusco, noted for its rural atmosphere, traditional weavers attired in colorful dress, and roving herds of alpacas and llamas—an authentic slice of Peruvian life.

 

Price Includes

  • All Services From Pickup to Drop Off
  • Transportation from Cusco to Soraypampa
  • Transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
  • Accommodation in Lodges
  • Bilingual Guide
  • All Meals Except Breakfast on Day 1 and Dinner on Day 7
  • Transport of Personal Belongings on Trek by Horses/Mules/Porters
  • Guided Visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary
  • Train Transport (Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes back to Ollantaytambo)
  • Filtered, Sparkling Water, Tea/Coffee, Juice & Soft Drinks

Price Excludes

  • Airfare
  • Optional Excursions
  • Alcoholic Beverages, Sports Drinks, Natural Bottled Water
  • Gratuities
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Local Taxes

Optional Activities

  • Equestrian Vacations
  • Cultural Trek Through Lares Valley (Easier Hiking)
  • Culinary Experience in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu City)