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Salkantay Lodge-to-Lodge trek to Machu Picchu

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Salkantay Lodge-to-Lodge trek to Machu Picchu

  • Days: 7

Highlights

A challenging and rewarding hike but done in luxury and style. Enjoy the break-taking scenery as you hike along original sections of the Inca Trail, and through sharply contrasting ecosystems, from lush cloud forest, to icy mountain passes. You’ll pass through authentic Andean villages where little has changed over the centuries, and of end the journey at the iconic Machu Picchu citadel.

Each night you’ll stay at a beautiful mountain lodge offering gourmet meals, hot showers, Jacuzzis and massages – the perfect end to a long day of hiking.

Itinerary In Brief

  • Day 1: After transferring by car to the town of Mollepata, visiting Inca ruins and a local farmhouse along the way, begin the gentle acclimatization trek along the Camino Real. Your accommodation for the night is at Salkantay Lodge.
  • Day 2: Enjoy a gentle half day hike to Lake Humantay – another chance to acclimatize to the altitude. Spend the afternoon relaxing at Salkantay Lodge, your accommodation for the night.
  • Day 3: The toughest day, you’ll tackle the Salkantay pass, the highest point for the trek, before a dramatic descent to Wayra Lodge where you’ll spend the night.
  • Day 4: Today, descend along the banks of the Salkantay river, through lush vegetation, arriving at the Wayra Lodge, your accommodation for the night, in time for a traditional Inca Pachamanca lunch.
  • Day 5: Trek through warm and tropical cloud forest, following the Santa Teresa River. Transfer by car to the Llactapata Inca Trail and visit a coffee plantation on the way to your accommodation for the night – Lucma Lodge.
  • Day 6: A 2-3 hour upward climb brings you to the Llactapata pass and the ruins with the same name, before descending through bamboo forests. Take a short train ride to Aguas Calientes where you’ll spend the night.
  • Day 7: Enjoy a full guided tour of the incredible Machu Picchu citadel, taking in all the sights, with the option of climbing Huayna Picchu mountain. At the end of the tour, have lunch in Aguas Calientes, before transferring back to Cusco.

Itinerary In Detail

Day 1: Cusco – Salkantay Lodge
You’ll start your Salkantay journey with a road transfer to the mountain village of Mollepata, visiting the Tarawasi Inca ruins along the way. You’ll also visit El Pedregal, a local farmhouse to learn about local agriculture. From here you’ll begin the trek along the Camino Real (Royal Path). It’s a gentle hike, giving you a chance to acclimatise to the altitude. Your accommodation for the night is Salkantay Lodge, named after Apu Salkantay at the head of the valley. At the lodge you’ll find aperitifs, jacuzzis and a warm fire awaiting you.
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (12,690 ft / 3,869 m)
Approx. trekking time: 3 hrs

Day 2: Salkantay Lodge – Lake Humanity – Salkantay Lodge
Today is another opportunity to test your acclimatization to the altitude, with a gentle half-day hike to Lake Humantay, known for its stunning turquoise waters. At the lake, you can relax, meditate in the tranquillity of the surroundings and participate in a traditional offering to Pachamanca (Mother Earth). Returning to the lodge for a delicious lunch, you’ll then have the afternoon at leisure to soak in the jacuzzi, indulge in a massage or just enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (12,690 ft / 3,869 m)
Approx. trekking time: 4 hrs

Day 3: Salkantay Lodge – Wayra Lodge
The toughest but also most rewarding day starts early as you hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. The ascent continues with challenging switch backs taking you to Salkantay pass, the highest point of the trek at 15,213ft / 4,636m above sea level. This is followed by a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog. After a break for a welcome hot picnic lunch, you’ll continue down through the rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus towards Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay.
Overnight: Wayra Lodge (12,812 ft / 3,906 m)
Approx. trekking time: 7 hrs

Day 4: Wayra Lodge – Colpa Lodge
After a leisurely breakfast, you begin the day’s trek, descending along the banks of the Salkantay river, as the scenery changes and becomes more lush and verdant. You’ll see more signs of civilization passing local homes and agricultural fences. Arriving at Colpa Lodge in time for lunch, you’ll be greeted with a traditional Pachamanca lunch, an ancient Inca meal prepared underground with hot stones. After lunch, enjoy a relaxing afternoon in the outdoor jacuzzi or lounging in the sun, taking in the beautiful green mountains around you. There is an optional activity for a bike ride from Manchayhuaycco to Collpapampa, descending through a beautiful valley with lush cloud forest vegetation.
Overnight: Colpa Lodge (19,414 ft / 2,870 m)
Approx. trekking time: 4 hrs

Day 5: Colpa Lodge – Lucma Lodge
Today’s trek takes you along the Santa Teresa river valley, hopping across streams fed by waterfalls formed by melting glaciers. The warm ecosystem includes fruit orchards and coffee plantations. After enjoying a hot picnic lunch near the river, you’ll transfer by vehicle to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail that leads to your accommodation for the night – Lucma Lodge. Along the way, visit an organic coffee plantation. You’ll notice the hot and humid climate, as you’re close to the edge of the Amazon rainforest.
Today, if you’d like a break from the hiking, there are optional full day activities (at an additional cost) including zip lining and biking.
Overnight: Lucma Lodge (7,003 ft / 2,135 m)
Approx. trekking time: 6 hrs

Day 6: Lucma Lodge – Aguas Calientes Lodge
During a scenic 2-3 hour climb up mostly Inca steps, you’ll get a feel for what it’s like hiking through the rainforest, due to the sub-tropical cloud forest climate. Your goal is the Llactapata Pass (8,974ft / 2,736m) and the beautiful Inca ruins with the same name. From here there’s a view of Machu Picchu mountain, your first glimpse of tomorrow’s target. Enjoy a picnic lunch further along the trail, in a peaceful meadow, before descending through bamboo forests to Hidroelectrica train station, where you’ll board the train to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll spend the night.
Overnight: Aguas Calientes Lodge (6,332 ft / 1,900 m)
Approx. trekking time: 5 hrs

Day 7: Aguas Calientes Lodge – Machu Picchu – Cusco
Today finally, you’ll arrive at the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Rise early for the bus ride to the entrance of the ruins. You have the option to hike Huayna Picchu mountain with stunning views down at the ruins. Enjoy a full guided tour, taking in all the highlights – including the terraces, temples, burial sites and other sacred places. Your guide will show you the best spots for those classic Machu Picchu photos. At the end of the tour, you’ll return to Aguas Calientes for lunch, before transferring back to Cusco by bus and train.
Approx. trekking time: 4 hrs

From Our Happy Travelers

Good Life Expeditions prides itself on crafting unforgettable journeys for travelers from around the world. Don't believe us? Hear it from the travelers themselves!

I would recommend Good Life Expeditions. Everything was taken care of for me and it was nice to not have to worry about much. USA – Machu Picchu, Peru – 1/17/2015

- Cassandra Garcia

EVERYTHING it was all incredible. Puma was our tour guide, he is great. The TRAIN was breathtaking. I would recommend GLE it was overall a wonderful experience. USA – Machu Picchu, Peru – 4/7/2015

- Rylee Bennett

The overall experience with GLE was good, I had fun. USA – Baños, Ecuador – 3/28/2015

- Alexandra Sarris

I would recommend Good Life Expeditions to others because it was very simple and I did not have to worry about anything – they had all the transpiration and guide and money sorted out for me. USA – Machu Picchu, Peru, 3/14/2015

- Lauren Truwit

The hiking and views were incredible. I really liked trying different foods as well. The transportation was great. The tour guide was friendly and personable. I would recommend GLE. The guides are really friendly and catered to our personal interests. USA – Baños and Pailon del Diablo Waterfal, Ecuador – 4/7/2015

- Priyanka Pitroda

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