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Salkantay – Santa Teresa – Machu Picchu Trek 5D/4N

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This trek is the most popular alternative trek to the Classic Inca Trail 4D/3N. It has less emphasis on seeing ruins and more on trekking through stunning mountain scenery that Nevado Salkantay and the Cordillera Vilcabamba has to offer. The highest pass on the route, Abra Salkantay is 4,650m = 15,252ft. Then the trail descends into the high amazon jungle in the zone of Machu Picchu. This trek is a walk in the park compared to the other more extreme treks and climbs that we offer, but nonetheless it is very beautiful and comfortable, especially because we stay in cabins instead of tents!

The itinerary is as follows:

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Marcocasa – Soray Pampa (3,888m/12,752ft)
You will be picked up at your hotel early in the morning by our transport and we will take a two and a half hour ride to the town of Mollepata. Here we will have breakfast and buy any last necessities. Afterwords we will continue in our transport for one more hour to Sayllapata, where we will begin the start of our trek. We will arrive at Soray Pampa for lunch and stay here for the night in cabins. In the afternoon you may rest and acclimatize or take a short hike to a glacial lake at the foot of Nevado Tucarhuay. At night we will relax, eat dinner and take in the views of Salkantay.
Day 2: Soray Pampa – Abra Salkantay (4,650m/15,252ft) – Collpapampa (3,850m/12,628ft)
After breakfast we will trek to the highest point of our journey, the pass of Abra Salkantay located at an elevation of 4,650m = 15,252ft. From here we can appreciate the spectacular views that the Cordillera Vilcabamba has to offer. We will then descend the other side of the pass to Huayracmachay, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon we will start descending into the high amazon jungle where we can observe the environment change and a large quantity of plants and animals of this zone. In the evening we will arrive to Collpapampa where we will stay for the night in cabins.
Day 3: Collpapampa – La Playa (2,046m/6,710ft) – Santa Teresa (1,500m/4,920ft)
In the morning we will trek 5 hours to the town of Playa. Along the way we can observe the variety of flora and fauna as the climate becomes more tropical. In Playa we will go by taxi to Santa Teresa where we will have lunch. Here we will stay at a hostel in the town. In the evening we may visit the thermal baths of Ccocalmayo.
Day 4: Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes
After our breakfast we will take a local transport to Hydroeléctrica. From here we will walk for about two and a half hours along the train tracks and arrive to Aguas Calientes. We will check in to a hotel and relax before our day at the Ruins. At a convenient time we will meet together with our guide to have dinner and discuss the next day on Machu Picchu.
There is an alternative option if you want to change day 3 & 4, you will have to read them to see the difference. The alternative would be like this:
Day 3: Collpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba (11.2 miles)
In the morning we trek 5 hours to the village of La Playa and have lunch. Another hour hiking brings us to our cabins among coffee farms. Where we will stay for the night.
Day 4: Lucmabamba . Llactapata - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes (11.5 miles)
After breakfast we will hike up to the Archeological ruins of Llactapata, which lies on a mountain ridgetop across the valley from Machu Picchu. the hike is 3.5 hours up and 2 hours down to Hydroelectric. In Hydroelectric the group has lunch and then hikes the final 2.5 hours to Aguas Calientes and checks in to the hotel.
Day 5: Machu Picchu – Return to Cusco
We awake at the hour of your choosing and go by bus to Machu Picchu. In the afternoon or night we will go by train to Ollantaytambo and then by collective transport to Cusco.

Included in the package:

  • Transportation (Cusco to start of trek, Playa-Hydro and Aguas Calientes to Cusco)
  • All camping equipment
  • Official Tourist Guide
  • Food from Breakfast Day 1 until Breakfast Day 5. (Lunch and Dinner Day 5 Not Included)
  • Cabins with beds
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Entrance and Guide in Machu Picchu
  • Roundtrip Bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu site

Not included in the package:

  • Dinner day 4 and food day 5 (on Machu Picchu)

You will need:

  • clothing for cold and rain
  • waterproof hiking boots
  • headlamp
  • backpack
  • sunglasses
  • sunscreen

A client should be acclimatized (at least 3 days in Cusco) and in good physical condition. You should have a good backpack and pair of trekking boots (preferably waterproof), along with clothing for rain, cold and hot climates. There are no climbing elements involved but rugged terrain is crossed and unnecessary risks should not be taken.

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