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Day One Wednesday March 25th
CUSCO | ARRIVE AND ACCLIMATE
During your acclimation days, take time to explore the city of Cusco. We recommend you spend your first days in Cusco resting, eating light, drinking plenty of water, and avoiding alcohol, tobacco or any substances that might interfere with good delivery of oxygen to the body or cause dehydration.
You may also want to try our delicious coca leaf tea, a Peruvian beverage, which is known to help with altitude sickness.
Meet and greet dinner with other guests and your coaches.
Day Two Thursday March 26th
CUSCO | ACCLIMATE AND ENJOY CUSCO
Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture.
Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework.
Enjoy breakfast at your leisure in the hotel. We will enjoy lunch and dinner as a group at a selection of some of Cusco’s most recommended dining establishments.
Day Three Friday March 27th
CUSCO | ON THE WAY TO SORAYPAMPA
After an early breakfast, your Mountain Lodges of Peru (MLP) guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco.
Visit the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site on the way to the town of Mollepata.
Next you will stop in the mountain village of Mollepata for a short break before ascending a winding mountain road to a site called Marcoccasa. Here you will begin our hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path), which is also a good opportunity to acclimate to the higher altitude.
As you round the final turn of the Camino Real, the Salkantay Lodge will come into view. Standing like a sentry behind the lodge is the glacier peak of Mt. Salkantay, among the most sacred in Inca mythology and the highest in the region (6,270 m/20,600 ft).
After a warm welcome from the Soraypampa staff, you will settle in your room and recharge energy before meeting your guide in the lounge for refreshments and a briefing of the next day’s activities.
Day Four Saturday March 28th
SORAYPAMPA | HIKE TO LAKE HUMANTAY
Day four presents another opportunity to gauge your altitude-acclimatization with a half-day hike to Lake Humantay. After breakfast, you begin an ascent up 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 stunned to see the turquoise water of the lake, 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 into an overwhelming kayak ride in the Lake Humantay, getting an up-close experience of the majestic glacier.
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 leisure. You may opt to soak in our outdoor jacuzzi, indulge in a relaxing massage or even take a long nap. (Please let us know ahead of time if you would like to book a massage.)
Note: While the morning hike to Lake Humantay is optional, we strongly recommend your participation in preparation for the strenuous hike on day three.
Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours. Hiking Level: Moderate to challenging.
Overnight: Salkantay Lodge at 3,869 m/12,690 ft.
Day Five Sunday March 29th
SORAYPAMPA | CROSSING THE SALKANTAY PASS
Day five is the longest and most strenuous day, but arguably the most magical day of the trek. After an early start, you hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. As you gradually make your way up these mountain trails, you will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river.
The final and most challenging part of your ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take you to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek (4,636 m/15,213 ft). What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog.
After a very welcome hot picnic lunch, you will continue down through bucolic rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus as you take your final steps to the Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay. The most remote of our lodges, Wayra sits on a promontory that offers a spectacular view of the “other” side of Mt. Humantay, a reminder of how far you have journeyed that day.
Trekking Time: 6–8 hours (including lunch).
Hiking Level: Challenging, crossing a 4,638m (15,213 ft) mountain pass.
Overnight: Wayra Lodge at 3,906 m/12,812 ft.
Day Six Monday March 30th
WAYRACCMACHAY | DESCENDING INTO THE CLOUD FOREST
After a leisurely breakfast at the Wayra Lodge, you continue the descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through increasingly verdant scenery. The warm air begins to rise from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids.
Today you will see more of the local people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences. At lunchtime you will arrive at Colpa Lodge by an amazing zip-line, located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers.
You are greeted by the staff with a Pachamanca lunch, 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.
Trekking Time: 3–4 hours.
Hiking Level: Easy to moderate.
Overnight: Colpa Lodge at 2,870 m/9,414 ft.
Day Seven Tuesday March 31st
COLLPAPAMPA | FOLLOWING THE SANTA TERESA RIVER VALLEY
Today you will hike in the Santa Teresa River valley where you will hop over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and cross through fruit orchards.
After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will walk for one hour before we meet an MLP vehicle for a short drive to the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail” that leads us to Lucma Lodge. On the way you will visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in that area that produces some of the best organic coffee in the world.
You will also begin to notice another shift in the climate. Here in Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are even closer to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.
Trekking Time: 5–6 hours (including lunch).
Hiking Level: Moderate to challenging (because of distance, not terrain).
Overnight: Lucma Lodge at 2,135 m/7,003 ft.
Day Eight Wednesday April 1st
LUCMABAMBA | EXPLORING LLACTAPATA PASS
During a 2-3 hour climb up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps, you will get a sense of what hiking through the rainforest would be like. A lush treeline creates green canopies overhead and the constant sound of rushing water suggests that the river is still nearby.
Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. When you arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (2,736 m/8,974 ft), you will be delighted to see a southeast view of the “back” of the Machu Picchu ruins, a sight few travelers ever get a chance to admire. At this point you will also take a short break to explore Llactapata, and then have lunch a bit farther down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views.
The final descent toward the roaring Aobamba River takes you through lush bamboo forests, as well as more fruit orchards and coffee plantations, until you end the day’s hike at the Hidroelectrica train station. A one-hour scenic train ride delivers you to your final stop, the town of Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Trekking Time: 4–6 hours.
Hiking Level: Moderate to challenging.
Overnight: Hotel in Aguas Calientes at 1,900 m/6,232 ft.
Day Nine Thursday April 2nd
MACHU PICCHU | THE SANCTUARY
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 Watchtower, 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.
After the visit you will have lunch in Aguas Calientes.
Day 10 Friday April 3rd
AGUAS CALIENTES | INCLUDED EXTRA DAY
One additional night at the Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel with dinner on day 9, breakfast and lunch on day 10. Enjoy an extra day to rest and recover in the beautiful town of Aguas Calientes at our lovely hotel. Explore the grounds or play tourist in the town and transfer back to Cusco from Ollantaytambo. Train ticket is included in your program cost.
Cusco / Chinchero / Lamay
GROUP ACTIVITY Depart from Cusco. Guided visit of the archaeological site of Chinchero.
Moray – Maras Salt Mines – Sacred Valley Extended visit to Chinchero
Guided tour of Moray Inca Agricultural Site Lunch by the Maras Salt Mines
Visit to the Salt Mines with optional hike to Pichingoto Arrive at Lamay Lodge. 3 hours. Easy to Moderate
Lamay / Pisaq / Viacha
Visit to the community of Viacha and the archaeological site of Pisaq.
Walk around Viacha and learn more about the agricultural activities of the community.
Enjoy a traditional meal cooked under hot stones called Pachamanca Guided tour of the archaeological site of Pisaq.
Optional Hikes from the ruins to the town of Pisaq. Drive to Lamay Lodge.
OVERNIGHT: Lamay Lodge (el. 9,705’ – 2,958 m.) BRIEFING: before dinner
Optional HIKE 1 : Chinchero to Urquillos: From Chinchero to Urquillos: 3 hours Easy to Moderate: Lunch en route
Optional HIKE 2 : Amaru – Viacha
From the local community of Amaru to the local community of Viach 2.5 – 3 hours Moderate
Mountain pass at an elevation of 14,200’ – 4,328 m.
Lamay / Lares / Huacahuasi
GROUP ACTIVITY: Lamay to Ancasmarca and Lares. Depart from Lamay Lodge. Walk around the small town of Lamay.
Drive to the archaeological site of Ancasmarca and guided tour of the ruins.
OVERNIGHT: Huacahuasi Lodge (el. 12.585’ – 3,835 m.) BRIEFING: before dinner
Drive to the small town of Choquecancha. Guided tour of Choquecancha with
the imposing Inca ruins. Lunch in Choquecancha. Arrive at Huacahuasi Lodge.
HIKE 1 Quelquena to Huacahuasi, 2 – 2.5 hours,Easy to moderate
HIKE 2 Cuncani to Huacahuasi, 3.5 – 4 hours, Moderate
Explore the village & cooking class. Depart from Huacahuasi Lodge.
Visit the community of Huacahuasi and meet local people in their homes. Return to the lodge
Cooking class. Lunch and afternoon at leisure
Opitonal HIKE 1: Huacahuasi Waterfalls. Visit to the community of Huacahuasi and walk to nearby waterfall
1 – 2 hours, Easy
HIKE 2 Quiswarani to Huacahuasi, 6 – 7 hours, Challenging
Day Seven March 30th
Huacahuasi to Ollantaytambo
CULTURAL ACTIVITY, Huilloc – Pumamarka – Ollantaytambo. Depart Huacahuasi Lodge by vehicle to Huilloc. Visit a local church in Marcacocha.
Participate in a ceremony for the good health of the community’s flock. Visit the archaeological site of Pumamarka and lunch on site. Visit to the “Half-Moon” terraces. Visit to the town of Ollantaytambo
Optional HIKE 1: In the morning. From Huilloc to Pumamarka. 3 hours. Moderate
HIKE 2 In the afternoon From Pumamarka to Ollantaytambo 3 hours Moderate
OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Enjoy a visit to an artisanal brewery in which many of their beers are being made with local products (This activity has an additional cost)
Day Eight March 31st
Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Pueblo
GROUP ACTIVITY, Ollantaytambo Archaeological Site and Machu Picchu Pueblo Guided tour of the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo. Free time to explore the town and market on your own. Walk to train station. Board the train to Machu Picchu Pueblo with box lunch.
Arrive at Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes) and check in at the Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel.
HIKE 1 (optional – early morning)Lower Pinkuylluna Ruins. Lower Pinkuylluna mountain above Ollantaytambo,1 – 1.5 hours, Moderate.
HIKE 2 (optional – early morning)Higher Pinkuylluna Ruins Higher Pinkuylluna mountain above Ollantaytambo 2 – 2.5 hours Moderate to challenging
Day Nine April 1st
Machu Picchu Sanctuary
Machu Picchu Sanctuary guided tour and hike
Depart from the hotel for the bus ride to Machu Picchu Sanctuary. Guided tour of the Inka citadel.
Optional activities (A & B).
Free time in Machu Picchu
Free time to explore the ruins on your own. Recommended excursion to the Sun Gate.’
Huayna Picchu (subject to availability)Guided hike of Huayna Picchu mountain, 2 – 2.5 hours
Moderate to challenging, Mountain pass at an elevation of of 8,924’ – 2,720 m.
Day Ten April 2nd