This three-day trek is the perfect alternative hike for those who were unable to book the Inca Trail. The Vilcabamba area was the holdout for the crumbling Inca rebellion. This adventure trail traverses a high Andean plateau, crossing passes as high as 4,613mt-15,130ft for an up-close view of the sacred Inca peak, Salkantay (6,280mt-20,598ft). The path then descends into the beautiful Aobamba Valley with its tropical climate and vegetation. Along the way there are native Andean villages that time seems to have passed by. On the third day enjoy a marvelous train ride to the village of Aguas Calientes. The following morning we´ll visit the mysterious, Seventh Wonder of the World, Machu Picchu, hidden under the dense foliage of the highland jungle.
Day 01: Cusco – Soraypampa – Huayracmachay
We will pick you up in the early morning from your hotel and in private transport drive west bound towards the Anta Plateau, where the legendary Inca Pachacutec defeated the Chanca tribe thus starting the Inca Empire expansion. The journey continues to the Huillque pass where we catch panoramic views of the east side of the Vilcabamba Mountain range as we descend to the warm Limatambo Valley, passing through the typical Andean Village of Mollepata (2,842mt-9,350ft). Finally arriving to Soraypampa where we meet our “arrieros” (horse handlers) to start our hike in one of the most impressive areas of the Vilcabamba Mountain range. Our hike will take us to the base of the south face of Salkantay, one of the Inca’s sacred mountains (6,264mt-20,545ft). We climb up on the southwest side of the Salkantay moraine to the high Salkantay pass (4,613mt-15,130ft).. It will be very close to the huge south face of Salkantay, almost within touching distance. Our route descends towards the Amazon basin and the Andean valley of Huayracmachay where we will set up camp for the night. (4,100mt/13,45ft).
Meals: B, L
Hiking – 7 to 8 hours
Day 02: Huayracmachay- Arrayanniyoc – Challhuay-La Playa
Today we’ll follow the route that the last Incas used to escape the Spaniards. The trail continues along the left bank of the Sunchucata River. On the way down toward Rayanpata we’ll observe how the landscape changes from arid highlands to tropical jungle. Further down, we see where two streams meet to form the Santa Teresa River. We proceed on to the community of Collpapampa (2,814mt-9,229ft) as our path continues along the left bank of the Santa Teresa River. As we lose altitude, the weather warms but remains at a comfortable temperature. The trail crosses several creeks and passes by a delightful waterfall. Vegetation becomes more abundant and we’ll see lots of multicolored flowers, butterflies and noisy little green parrots called «Cordilleranos». Our lunch break will be on the riverbank before continuing to our campsite near the village of La Playa, (2,148mt-7,045 ft.). From la Playa we are going take our transportation to Santa Teresa hot springs where will be our campsite.
Meals B, L, D
Hiking- 8 to 9 hours
Day 03: La Playa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes
After a delicious breakfast in the calming hot springs, we´ll board a bus for driving to the Hydroelectric Station. From there we will walk for about 3 hours to Aguas Calientes town. We’ll overnight in a comfortable hostel below the Machu Picchu Sanctuary.
Meals B, L
Hostel in Aguas Calientes (upgrade to a hotel at an extra cost)
Day 04: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
We will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning to take the first bus for a 25 minute ride up to the amazing, Machu Picchu. Enjoy a professional historical guided walking tour of the magnificent archeological site. Visit the extraordinary Temple of the Sun with exceptionally carved stones, Temple of the Three Windows features huge trapezoidal windows, Intihuatana the solar clock which translates to the, Hitching Post of the Sun, Funerary Rock Hut believed to be a place where the Inca nobility were mummified, and the many temples, terraces, and corridors. After a glorious, eye and mind opening visit with your guide enjoy some time at leisure to further explore the mystical grounds feeling the positive energy that abounds the area which has withstood time.
Optional: (extra cost) Head over to the entrance of Wayna Picchu to climb a narrow path for about 1.5 hours to catch terrific vistas of the Machu Picchu ruins and the valley below. Then return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch (on your own) before boarding the train to Ollantaytambo. You will be met at the train station by our staff and private transfer to your hotel in Cusco.
End of Adventure!
Optional (extra cost): Wayna Picchu Climb
UPGRADE: Hostel to a Hotel at an extra cost
- Trip briefing before Trek with guide.
- Trilingual (English / Spanish/Quechua) guide and assistant guide accompanies groups 9 and above.
- Cook to prepare your meals during the trek and assistant cook accompanies groups 9 and above.
- Horse wrangler and horses
- Private bus to the trailhead, return tourist train to Cusco and hotel transportation.
- Camping equipment: double 4 season tents, sleeping pad, kitchen tent and dining tent. Tables, stools and all kitchen gear.
- First-class trekking services including: hot water, soap and towels for washing, camp cook and assistant(s).
- Maximum weight per passenger: 7kg/15lbs.
- Toilet Tent
- Duffle bag so you can put your trekking items and return at end of trek.
- All meals indicated on the itinerary (B= Breakfast L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Vegetarian, gluten free or vegan meals on request at no additional cost.
- Hostel in Aguas Calientes with private bath and hot water. (upgrade to higher category hotel at an additional cost)
- Entrance fees to Machu Picchu ruins.
- Round trip bus ticket to Machu Picchu ruins/Aguas Calientes.
- Train ticket to Ollantaytambo station. (upgrade to other train services at an additional cost)
- First-aid kit.
Services NOT Included:
- Hotels in Cusco.
- Domestic flights.
- Any unexpected situations occurred during the journey and which are beyond our control, including changes in scheduling trains or flights, delays, strikes, cancellations, missed connections, etc., shall be covered by the passenger as a whole. Also if you, or for physical reasons of health cannot continue the trek or walk, and emergency evacuation needed all charges incurred such as transportation, hotel, ambulance, doctors, medication, hospitalization, etc. will be at passenger´s expense. For all of these reasons, we recommend taking out travel and health insurance to be able to cover these costs. This is money well invested! Of course, Trekperu will help you to obtain all necessary documents for you to be refunded in full by your insurance company.
- Personal items like individual gear, sleeping bag (Peruvian Andean path rents sleeping bags: $25 per person for entire trek), medicines, laundry, phone calls, etc.
- Single tent available: $25 per person for entire trip
- Entrance Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
- First breakfast, Dinner on 3rd night in Aguas Calientes and Lunch on last day in Aguas Calientes.
- Travel insurance
We highly recommend at least 2 days acclimatizing to the high altitude before doing the trek in the high Andes.