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Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort - 9 Nights Itinerary

The grand Andean experience of Machu Picchu is the culmination of this 10-day holistic journey through ancient history, living culture and the magnificent landscape of Cusco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This unique exploration of life in the Sacred Valley is a physical journey but at the same time a cultural and spiritual one. This is a journey of knowledge and transformation that you will come alive within you as you walk, bicycle and enjoy the warmth and comforts of high mountain lodges.

This tour’s daily expeditions will take you along less-traveled mountain trails bordered by exquisite snowcapped peaks. You will pass by roving herds of llamas and alpacas, as well as turquoise lakes and towering waterfalls. Your excursions will include visits to fascinating archaeological sites, agricultural Andean cooperatives and bustling markets that offer the flavors of the region and the handicrafts of skilled artisans (keep in mind that expert guides are also able to adapt to your preferences by providing “à la carte” experiences and daily cultural meetings. At night, you will stay in comfortable mountain retreats associated with local communities. In short, this is a chance to experience the best of Peru …but without the hassle!

The trip begins and ends in vibrant Cusco, Peru where you can enjoy the intriguing blend of Spanish and Inca culture. The expedition itself is one of pristine natural beauty that envelops you throughout the seven days of the trip. Your trek will take you through 15 unique ecosystems, changing altitudes, varied terrain and picturesque hamlets populated by Andean families who maintain centuries-old traditions. At the same time, you will be introduced to local environmental and social initiatives created to maintain the integrity of the culture and improve the quality of the local people’s lives. Once reaching the town of Aguas Calientes, a short snaking bus ride will take you up to Machu Picchu, the 15th-century citadel that sits high on a hillside amongst rising Andean peaks. Handpicked certified multilingual guides will point out the highlights of Machu Picchu and ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable adventure.

Testimonials

“The trip was excellent from beginning to end. The Isabella II was a fine ship and the crew and guides were all of the highest quality. I would recommend them to others. For us, the ship was the perfect size – not too small and not too large.”Walter Squire

Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort: Highlights

Peru, Explorando Pisaq, Pueblos y sitios Incas, Caminata por auténticos caminos Incas, Sitio arqueológico Ollaytantambo, Cruce del paso Salkantay, Bosque nublado, Machu Picchu

Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort: Itinerary at a Glance

Day 1: Cusco + Exploring Pisaq Market + Lares Valley Exploring + Viacha Village Tour
Day 2: Lares Valley Exploring + Ancasmarca Archaeological Site + Choquecancha Weavers' Village or Huacahuasi Village
Day 3: Sacred Valley of the Incas Exploring (various activity options)
Day 4: Discovering the Ollantaytambo Archeological Site + Quillarumiyoc Archaeological Site + Mollepata Village
Day 5: Soraypampa + Hike to Lake Humantay + Kayaking + Salkantay Lodge Relaxing
Day 6: Salkantay Lodge + Crossing the Salkantay Pass + Wayra Lodge
Day 7: Wayra Lodge + Descent into the Cloud Forest + Colpa Lodge
Day 8: Santa Teresa River Valley Route + Inca Llactapata Trail + Lucma Lodge
Day 9: Llactapata Pass + View of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary + Aguas Calientes
Day 10: Experiencing Machu Picchu + Return to Cusco
Itinerary Map

Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort: Detailed Itinerary

Day 1
Cusco + Exploring Pisaq Market + Lares Valley Exploring + Viacha Village Tour

AM: Throughout this region, city markets are generally the main centers of activity, and none is more vibrant than the famous Pisaq market. A morning visit will allow you to discover the unique variety of area products and to sample the rich culture of the Peruvian Andes. Travelers looking for inspiration from nature can also go on an invigorating morning walk while surrounded by incredible views of the Andean mountains that have historically protected this magnificent valley.

PM: Later, you will be able to enjoy exclusive access to the isolated village of Viacha, where you will learn about the artisan farming and enjoy a traditional “Pachamanca” meal, cooked beneath hot stones.

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Lunch - Dinner
Day 2
Lares Valley Exploring + Ancasmarca Archaeological Site + Choquecancha Weavers' Village or Huacahuasi Village

AM: Today you will have a chance to delve deeper into the heart of Lares Valley. A beautiful journey in the mountains, along the famous Camino del Tejedor de los Incas (“Path of the Inca Weavers”) will allow you to visit the unique and uninhabited Ancasmarca archaeological site in the village of Lares.

PM: After lunch, you can choose between visiting the traditional and ancient weavers' village of Choquecancha or taking an excursion to get closer to the turquoise-blue lakes and see the high peaks of the remote village of Huacahuasi. There, your group will spend the night at the Huacahuasi Lodge, which is managed jointly by the local community with a prime objective of protecting cultural heritage and the environment.

Accommodations: Huacahuasi Lodge

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 3
Sacred Valley of the Incas Exploring (various activity options)

AM: This morning, the Huacahuasi community will be spotlighted, as you will have a chance to learn about its heritage and its peoples’ day-to-day activities. You can also choose among several exploring options. You can go on a spectacular hike along a high mountain pass leading to the ancient city of Ollantaytambo; go on a quiet walk from Lares, crossing an impressive Inca trail to the local community of Totora; or you can see more of the Sacred Valley by returning to visit an ethnographic museum that reveals the history of the rich Peruvian civilizations of the past.

PM: Afterwards, we will enjoy a lunch in the countryside of the Urubamba River while en route to Ollantaytambo, where you can explore its charming maze-like streets.

Note: This afternoon, you can also go on an optional 2-hour bicycle tour (extra cost), returning to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas, from Urubamba to Pachar. This activity is of an easy to moderate level of difficulty. Later, you can enjoy a visit to a craft brewery that uses local products. (The brewery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)

Accommodations: Hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 4
Discovering the Ollantaytambo Archeological Site + Quillarumiyoc Archaeological Site + Mollepata Village

AM: The Ollantaytambo temple was originally a royal estate of the Inca emperor Pachacútec, and later became an Inca fortress against the Spanish conquerors, though the Incas always considered it one of their most important ceremonial centers. As your guide leads you on this tour of the temple and explains the strategic planning of its architecture, you will gain a deeper idea of ​​the mystical history of this site, which is a perfect introduction to the wonders of Machu Picchu. En route, we will stop at the fascinating Quillarumiyoc archaeological site to enjoy a picnic lunch and explore the surroundings.

PM: Afterwards we will pass through the mountain village of Mollepata, stopping for coffee and a visit to Yanapana, where a Mountain Lodges of Peru NGO of traditional weavers produce beautiful textiles as well as insight into their age-old techniques. After this visit, you can choose to continue on to the Salkantay Lodge by vehicle or go on an easy hike up to the lodge from Challancancha.

Accommodations: Salkantay Lodge

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 5
Soraypampa + Hike to Lake Humantay + Kayaking + Salkantay Lodge Relaxing

AM: After breakfast, you will begin a half-day hike to Lake Humantay by ascending the slopes that border the plateau behind the Salkantay Lodge. An hour and a half later, after making your way over the final hill, you will be delighted by the sight of the lake’s turquoise water, made even more spectacular by the sight of the Humantay Glacier looming behind it. Here you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquility of this magical spot, admire a traditional offering to Mother Earth or immerse yourself into a kayak ride on Lake Humantay, getting a chance to experience the majestic glacier up-close.

PM: After your descent back to the lodge, the staff will be waiting with a hot lunch. The second half of your day is spent at your leisure, as you can opt to soak in the lodge’s outdoor Jacuzzi, indulge in a relaxing massage or even take a long nap.

Accommodations: Salkantay Lodge

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 6
Salkantay Lodge + Crossing the Salkantay Pass + Wayra Lodge

AM: Though today is the longest and most strenuous trek, it’s also the most magical. We will start early, walking through the Río Blanco Valley and rounding the Humantay peak. As we gradually ascend the mountain trails, we will find several plateaus in the middle of the remains of a valley that was once was crossed by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of the ascent will be to conquer the mountain slopes that take us to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point of the trek (15,213 ft. / 4636 m). What follows is a demanding descent through often fog-shrouded fields of giant boulders.

PM: After enjoying a hot picnic lunch, we will continue descending rolling hills and swampy plateaus as we make our way to the Wayra Lodge in Wayraccmachay. The most remote of our lodgings, Wayra is located on an outcrop that offers a spectacular view of the other side of the mountain. This demanding 6-8 hour walk reaches an altitude of 15,213 ft. / 4636 meters.

Accommodations: Wayra Lodge (situated at an altitude of 12 812 ft. / 3,906 m)

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 7
Wayra Lodge + Descent into the Cloud Forest + Colpa Lodge

AM: After a breakfast at the Wayra Lodge, we will continue our descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through increasingly green landscapes. You will begin to feel the warm air and see colorful butterflies and striking orchids as we approach the jungle. This will be a chance to meet and interact with local people, as we come upon their simple houses and makeshift fences.

PM: At lunchtime, we will arrive at Colpa Lodge via an amazing zip-line located on a high outcrop at the confluence of three rivers. You will be greeted by the lodge’s staff with a “Pachamanca lunch,” which is a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven. After lunch, spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor Jacuzzi while you take in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround you

Accommodations: Colpa Lodge (situated at an altitude of 9,414 ft. / 2,870 m)

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 8
Santa Teresa River Valley Route + Inca Llactapata Trail + Lucma Lodge

AM: This morning we will walk along the Santa Teresa river valley, a more populated rural area. We will hike through banana plantations, granadillas and avocado orchards.

PM: After hot picnic lunch served by the river, our hike will continue for another hour before we come to a private vehicle that will drive us for about 30 minutes to the beginning of the “Inca Llactapata Trail.” From the beginning of the newly restored Inca Trail, we will arrive at the Lucma Lodge, located in the middle of an avocado orchard. There, the owner will take us on a short tour of the farm, to show how the coffee is grown, harvested, dried and processed here.

Accommodations: Lucma Lodge

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 9
Llactapata Pass + View of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary + Aguas Calientes

AM: After a succulent breakfast, we will head uphill for two or three hours to the Llactapata Pass (8,974 ft. / 2,736 m), from there we will have a distant but spectacular view of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary (towards the southeast) – a landscape that few travelers have the opportunity to witness. We will also take a short break to explore the recently restored Llactapata archaeological site.

PM: Afterwards, we will enjoy a lunch served at a beautiful lookout point that overlooks Machu Picchu. From here, we will start the final descent towards the Aobamba River through exuberant bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. We will finish the hike near the river, where we will board a train for a short trip (approximately 1 hour) to Aguas Calientes, the town beneath Machu Picchu.

Accommodations: Hotel in Aguas Calientes

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Breakfast - Lunch - Dinner
Day 10
Experiencing Machu Picchu + Return to Cusco

AM: At dawn, you begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short and rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the guard tower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins. Some may even choose a hike to Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.

PM: After the visit, you will have lunch in Aguas Calientes.  At that point, a private vehicle will pick us up to take us back to Cusco (an hour and a half more). Upon arrival in Cusco at approximately at 7:00 p.m. or 8:00 p.m., you will be driven to the hotel of your choice.

Accommodations: Cusco hotel of your choice

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Breakfast - Lunch

Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort: Prices

Included in the price:
  • Shared accommodations, in double or triple occupancy
  • All meals (except breakfast on the first day and dinner on the last day)
  • Transfers
  • Guided tours throughout the trip
  • Entrance fees and permits to all tourist and archaeological sites
  • Tips for staff members (except for guides) US $ 5-10 per day is suggested
Not included in the price:
  • Single accommodations
  • Guide services in languages ​​other than Spanish and English (upon request)
  • Medical and travel insurance (highly recommended)
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