Rightly celebrated by National Geographic Adventure Travel magazine as one of the world's greatest treks, exploring Salkantay is an adventurous journey into remote Andean reaches, and gets us up close and personal with the grandest peaks of Peru's Sacred Valley. Topping out at nearly 5000 metres, at the awe-inspiring Inca Chiriaska Pass, the trail descends to join the classic Inca Trail at the ruins of Sayacmarca before culminating in unforgettable Machu Picchu. An adventure that tests the legs as it takes in varied, wondrous landscapes and historical riches, the trip ends with free time to explore Cusco, where Spain's colonial legacy has been built on ancient Incan architecture – a unique sight, and a fitting end to an incredible exploration.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
On arrival at Cusco Airport you are met and transferred to our hotel, close to the centre of the town. Please check the noticeboard at the hotel reception for details of the time and place of your pre-tour briefing. This meeting is generally followed by an optional group dinner at a nearby restaurant. If you arrive early in Cusco, there is plenty to see and do in this former Inca capital. Most of the major attractions are easily accesible on foot and it is easy to while away the time. Please remember to walk slowly and take it reasonably easy upon arrival, as you will no doubt feel the effects of altitude, Cusco is 3350 metres above sea level Cusco is a favourite destination of many visitors to Peru. Its main sites radiate outwards from the Plaza de Armas, which is dominated by the 17th century Baroque cathedral. It was in this very plaza that the Spanish conquistadors put to death the last Inca king, Tupac Amaru I. on Day 2 we take to the surrounding hills and visit the impressive ceremonial ruins of Sacsayhuaman, where massive stone blocks that form the walls of this site give us an awesome picture of how highly developed Inca engineering was. In our free time, it is also possible to visit the Inca Museum, Religious Art Museum, Church of San Blas and Santa Catalina Museum. The Sacred Valley, located between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, was greatly treasured because of its climate, fertile land and the presence of the Urubamba (Sacred) River. On our full day tour of the Sacred Valley, we will see evidence of the Incas engineering skills in the ruins of ancient aqueducts, irrigation canals, dams on the Urubamba River, imposing sets of terraces and centres of worship dedicated to Pachamama (Mother Earth). At the Sacred Valley we visit the Awana Kancha tourist centre where we see llama, alpaca, vicuna and guanaco all in the one place, the ruins at Qenko, the colourful market town of Pisac and the towering Inca citadel at Ollantaytambo. Built on a steep mountainside this grand citadel served as both a temple and fortress. A walk up to the top is rewarded by fine views over the village and out further into the valley.
Meals included: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
This morning we set off by road on the 4-hour journey from Cusco to the village of Mollepata. From here we start walking and ascend through the picturesque valley towards Nevado Salkantay (6271m). Our route takes us over high mountain passes, with magnificent views of Nevado Humantay (5917m), and through landscape dotted with well-preserved remnants of Incan culture. On this trek we pass some of the most spectacular mountain scenery to be found anywhere in the Andes. We camp at nights, surrounded by towering Andean peaks and rocky crags which are home to the Andean condor - the world's largest flying bird. For this section of the trek our luggage is carried on horseback, so you need only to carry a small daypack with your personal items such as water, jacket and camera, whilst walking.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Our trek today meets the Classic Inca Trail at the village of Wayllabamba. Here we say goodbye to our horses and horsemen, as porters carry our luggage for the remainder of the trek. For the next three days we follow the course of an old Inca pathway that will eventually lead us to the impressive Lost City of the Incas - Machu Picchu.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
Today is the most difficult part of the trek as we climb to Warminwanusca, or Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m). Along the way we trek through some of the most spectacular mountain scenery to be seen anywhere in the Andes. This is the first and highest of three Andean passes on the Inca Trail, with breathtaking views over the snow capped Vilcanota and Vilcabama mountain ranges. Ahead of us we can see the ruins of Runkuracay and in the valley below, Rio Pacamayo (Sunrise River). Here the trail changes from dirt to steps and stone pathways, our route takes us through a landscape dotted with rural hamlets, grazing llamas and well-preserved remnants of the Incan culture. Although it's not too arduous we still need to make a steep descent to the valley below, and our camp beneath the cliff tops at Pacamayo (3600m), overlooking the cloud forest.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
We climb up to the oval shaped ruin of Runkurakay, which is believed to have once been an Inca tambo or post house. Pushing on up the Inca staircase and beside two tiny and fast diminishing mountain lakes, we are rewarded at the summit of our second pass (3900m) with spectacular views of Pumasillo (6245m) and the entire snow-capped Vilcabamba range. From here it is a steep descent and then ascent to our third pass and the ruins of Phullupatamarca, where we embark on a long descent into a beautiful orchid-filled cloud forest. The scenery will blow you away! Butterflies flutter across the trail and the air is pure and clean as we head to breathtaking Winaywayna (2650m).
Meals included: 1 breakfast
On our final morning we make an early start to reach the Sun Gate for sunrise. Here we enjoy our first views of the complex of Machu Picchu, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. On a clear morning the view from the Sun Gate can be quite stunning and creates a lasting impression that will stay with you long after you return home. Built around 1450 the city was deserted less than a century later following the Spanish invasion and lost for hundreds of years before it was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. The architecture of Machu Picchu is quite extraordinary, with the mortar-free design particularly earthquake resistant and the stones so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. We tour the site with our guide and then have some free time to explore by ourselves, before taking the bus down to the small town of Aguas Calientes. There are some small shops and restaurants in the town where we can while the time away. Alternatively you may choose to wash away the dust and grime of the trail in the hot thermal baths located on the edge of town. In the late afternoon we take the train back to Cusco.
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Our Adventure ends in Cusco this morning after breakfast. you may decide to stay on in Cusco, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the western hemisphere, Cusco is a wonderful place in which to stroll aimlessly or participate in an outdoor activity. If you are feeling energetic there are a myriad of adventures available in and around town, such as cycling and horse riding. There are plenty of opportunities to shop for handicrafts or wander around the cobblestone streets and visit museums, churches and colonial sites. You may just wish to relax with a cerveza or a pisco sour in one of the restaurants and penas(traditional local bars) surrounding Plaza de Armas. We are able to organise additional accommodation in Cusco for you if you wish to stay on after your trek, please contact us for details.
Local tour leader, local guides, arrival transfer, transport, porterage on Salkantay Trek, sightseeing, entrance and park fees.
International flights, airport departure taxes, visas, meals not included in the itinerary, insurance, laundry, any optional tours or activities during free time, tips and items of a personal nature.
This trip ventures over 4500 metres, so there is a potential risk of being affected by altitude sickness. Our itineraries are designed to enable travellers to acclimatise to these altitudes, but it is still possible for you to be affected. Your alibility to acclimatise has little to do with fitness or health, and most people travel without problems, as long as they take the time to acclimatise properly. We take this very seriously; have over 30 years experience and one of the best safety records in adventure travel.
Our leaders are experienced trekking guides, and will brief you fully, prior to the start of your trek. The general consensus is to drink plenty of water as soon as you reach altitude, avoid alcoholic drinks for the few days prior to your trek, walk slowly rather than hurrying and enjoy the scenery, wear sunglasses during the day, avoid sleep during the day, and wear adequate warm clothing.
Symptoms may include shortness of breath, headaches, general lethargy and a reduced appetite. Although rare, prior medical conditions such as heart or blood pressure problems, could affect your performance at altitude, and make you susceptible to altitude sickness. We recommend that you seek medical advice prior to booking. In addition, if you plan to take any medications during your trek (Diamox is often recommended by doctors), you need to let us know before you depart and it is a good idea to discuss this with your leader before you begin the trek. Be aware that many trekkers have no need for such medication.
We strongly recommend all participants prepare physically for this trip, commencing many months prior to departure. Running, swimming and cycling are good examples of aerobic exercise, and gym work will also assist in your training program. A high level of fitness will assist you with acclimatisation, as your body will be working more efficiently. To prepare for the trek, full day hikes with a weighted pack are also great idea. Whilst our porters will be carrying your kitbag, you will need to carry your day pack (camera, water, waterproof/windproof jacket & pants, sun cream etc). Although you may start the day in full sunshine, you can experience rainfall a few hours later, so it is essential to prepare for all kinds of weather.
Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region. We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.Visas and Permits
Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay. We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders do not currently require a visa for Peru. For all other nationalities please reconfirm your visa requirements with your travel agent.
You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.Responsible Travel
Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.
Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.
Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.
Cut Stones and Crossroads - R Wright Exploring Cusco - P Frost The Incas and Their Ancestors - M Moseley
Itinerary changes: Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control such as weather, trail conditions or changes to transport schedules. These can occur with little notice.
Very Important - Correct Passport Details: In order to obtain your permit to trek the Inca Trail it is vital that you provide Peregrine with accurate details of the passport you will be travelling on in Peru. If you are travelling on a different passport from what is shown on your permit, you will be refused entry at the entrance to the trail.
Book Early: The Peruvian Government has introduced strict quotas on the number of permits issued for hiking the ‘Classic’ Inca Trail route. These can often be sold out months in advance. To apply for your group’s permits, we will need your deposit and your passport details, so we ask that you book your holiday early.
Public Holiday Inconveniences: Please be prepared for the inconvenience of sights such as museums and churches being closed to tourists on public holidays (ie. Christmas Day and New Years Day). Throughout Latin America, quite a few museums are closed on Mondays.
Meals during trek: Please note that we are unable to cater for those with a gluten intolerance (Coeliac) during the trek. Food labelling standards vary quite dramatically from country to country so it is not always safe to rely on ingredient labels in another country. Secondly, due to the remote nature of the trek and available cooking facilities, cross-contamination cannot always be fully avoided.
Typical meals during the trek: Breakfast (toast, fruit salad, ground corn tortillas, vegetable omelette, fried plantains), Snack (biscuits, tea, pop corn, chocolate bars, hot chocolate), Lunch (Vegetable soups, steamed trout, roast beef, quinoa grained, mashed or scalloped potatoes), Dinner (Chicken, rice, goulash, rosemary potatoes, chicken wrapped in tomato sauce)
Hotel Breakfasts: Breakfasts in Latin America are simple affairs. They consist of tea or coffee, fruit juice, bread rolls, butter and jam. Eggs and fruit are sometimes available on request, for a small charge.
The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
2 May 2013