DAY 1 :
Arrive to Cusco: one of the most beautiful places in Peru !
We can have someone meet you at the airport if necessary. This could be Matt, then we can find somewhere to eat/have a coffee, chat over the trip plans, look at the maps, and settle payments etc.
Overnight Cusco – to confirm hotel/own arrangements?
DAY 2 :
Warm up trek in Sacred Valley + homestay
Today, we head down on Inka Trail route into the Sacred Valley. We find some great views and also starting from some superbly restored Inka terraces and eucalyptus forests. The descent should take us no more than 3-3.5 hours to complete. On the second half of the day (the afternoon) we have the opportunity to visit a small Inka palace or hike a little more along a river on an Inka aquaduct for an hour.
Then to our homestay in the community of Chichubamba. Where we can learn the process of how Chicha - local fermented corn-beer – is made and taste if you like!
We then continue into the town of Chichubamba. Tonight we stay with Nerys and her sister Monica who run the accommodation in Chichabamba. They also offer a cacao workshop where you can roast and make artisanal chocolate, along with their neighbour Bernadiño who has his artisanal ceramics workshop where you get to mould clay and paint designs.
Included – Dinner, trek leader, local transport, accommodation in homestay.
DAY 3 :
Salt terraces of Maras + Humantay lake (start of Salkantay trek) + Biodomes accommodation : one of the most beautiful places in Peru !
At around 6.30am we head off from our homestay and go to the viewpoint of the Salineras Salt terraces. We can get to the trailhead by taking local tuk-tuks (known as moto-taxis).
The Salt Terraces of Maras are thousands of small plots of land where salt precipates naturally forming deposits all around, the salt is then taking and process to becoming what we have on our dinner tables in Cusco and elsewhere. Salt ornaments as well as bath-salts, spiced salts and salty chocolate are all for sale at the various shops located on-site. We trek up in around 40 minutes and some time to
explore/take photos, then by around 9-9.30am we have a car meet us there to drive us all the way to our next destination far away.
We then drive another 2.5 hours to get to Mollepata and start the hike to Lake Humanatay. In Mollepata, we can stock up on last minute items plus some water and snacks for the day if needed.
Afterwards we continue off-road to Soraypampa camp, which is approximately a 1-hour journey. You can leave extra belongings here before taking the ascent to the lake. Here, you can have some coca tea and you will be shown your rooms in luxury biodomes with marvellous views to the valley above, where you will have time to get settled in and short rest or ‘siesta’. The domes are fully equipped with comfortable beds and also fully installed site with toilets/washrooms and hot showers, and rooms are with double or triple or quadruple beds.
Individual Viewing platforms with each of the domes towards Salkantay Glacier ! From here (at around 2pm), you will start the hike, which is approximately a 2-2.5 hour walk to the lake. This is a great acclimatisation trek to get to the spectacular Humantay Lake with a stunning backdrop of the glacier. You will also have spectacular views of the Salkantay glacier, one of the most sacred mountains in Inca mythology (Apu Salkantay). This excursion will take approximately 3 hours in total and will help you to acclimatise for the rest of the trek. When you get back to the dome there will be dinner waiting for you.
Total distance: 7.2km / 4.5 miles. Starting elevation: 3,380 metres / 12,729 feet.
Highest elevation: 4,300 metres / 14,107 feet. Altitude of the camp: 3,850 metres / 12,477 feet. Approximate night- time (outside) temperature at the lodge: 0 to - 5°C. / 32°F to 24°F
DAY 4 :
Full day trek + homestay + optional hot springs at Cocalmayo
Today we wake early at our highest camp, around 5.30am we shall have a good breakfast provided by our host cook in preparation for the longest day of the trek and a climb for 2.5 or 3 hours to the pass of Abra Salkantay. (4630 metres/ 15200 feet) where you will be able to appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay y Pumasillo. After some time to rest, take photos, we descend the remaining 5-5.5 hours to the small village of Chaullay, 2850m, on the way we have a quick light lunch stop (such as bread and soup) at the farming village of Wayramachay, a further 2.5 hours after the pass.
Then descending further down into the high cloud forest where the scenery and climate changes rapidly. The path at this stage is a wide track through thick woodland areas. This part of the trek is really beautiful and has stunningly, decorated hillsides, with natural scenic views and a great amount of wildlife, native plants and flowers. The woodlands throughout most of the year are relatively warm, with higher temperatures at certain times of the year. At the end of the hike we hen drive 1 hour to the coffee farms of Lucmabamba. We then get to meet Victoria, Sonia and the rest of the family in Lucmabamba who will service us dinner and breakfast.
Once arriving at the Lucmabamba the family will welcome you and allow you to settle in to your rooms. They have pri-
vate bathrooms and hot or cold showers.
Included – Dinner, trek leader, local transport, accommodation in homestay. There may be time in the late afternoon-early evening to visit Santa Teresa and
go to some natural hot springs before retiring to bed. Extra cost of $50 USD for the round trip + entry fees If for any reason you don’t have the time to visit the hot springs in the evening (due to time constraints or tiredness) you could still have the opportunity to visit before breakfast the following morning.
DAY 5 :
Coffee tour + half day trek on Inca trail + mountain lodges for Machu Picchu view
In the morning, we start with an interactive coffee tour with the native people of the area and demonstrate the traditional methods of which they organically cultivate their coffee plantations. There will be opportunity for everyone to toast and grind the coffee beans as well as try their organic coffee. You can buy products from them if you wish.
We will then continue through the coffee and banana plantations, we can also look out for granadillas - a member of the passion fruit family, yucca and avocados. Around mid-day, we walk uphill through beautiful garden-like scenery.
Fruit trees, flowers, coffee and banana plantations are in abundance. Some of the path is ancient Inka trail and just over 3 hours with stops you should arrive to the most wonderful view over to Machu Picchu. Here there are some Inka Tambos (Small rest houses) known by the name as Llactapata. We walk from here down until 15 minutes to our rustic mountain lodges. Llactapata was supposedly an Inka site or religious temple with incredible energies. We try to appreciate this remarkable site and view point to Machu Picchu by getting there when there are no groups and it will be peaceful. We then descend with another 30 minutes to our simple lodges but incredible viewpoint that offer what is hopefully an amazing panoramic for both the sunset and sunrise.
Ascent: 3-3.5 hours/4.5 mile’s – 6900ft to 8950ft. Descent: 0.5 hours/1 mile 8950m – 8530ft
Included – Breakfast, box-lunch, coffee tour, Dinner, trek leader, transport where applicable, accommodation, towels and showers.
Hot springs are optional depending on time. Do not include the entry tickets
DAY 6 :
Trek the railway + afternoon Machu Picchu tour + good hostal in Machu Picchu town
After an early breakfast, we hike downhill for 2 hours to the start of the railway known as ‘hidroelectrica’. Around 9, we can continue on a flat section along the
railway for 2.5-3 hours. A quick lunch or snacks can be taken in town before taking a 25 minute shuttle bus to the main entrance where you can find meet our guide and go inside to explore and some personal time with photos. The tour of the main citadel with the guide and the most important parts of this Inka city normally last up to 2 hours.
If you want, you can take the shuttle bus back down to the village ($12) or walk down for free in around 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Trek Stats: Descent: 2 hours/3.5 miles – 8530ft to 6590ft + Level walking: 3 hours/6.5 miles
Suggested accommodation: Aguas Calientes decent hostal. Mantu Boutique 3 star or similar.
Included – Breakfast, trek leader, transport where applicable, accommodation, towels and showers.
Not included – entry to waterfalls, lunch, dinner.
DAY 7 :
Morning train to Ollantaytambo + afternoon 3-4 hours trek + homestay
We start after breakfast around 7.30am and board our train at 8.53am, to get you back to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley in 1.5 hours before starting the first stage of the Lares trek. For lunch, we can either have something in a local restaurant or pack snacks for a picnic along the journey.
In the second part of the day, we would start around 1pm from the main square of Ollantaytambo town. We need to climb about 2 hours to get to the small Inka fort of Pumamarka. Along the way we take a gradual path, steeper in some places passing through Inka terraces, a few river crossings and some remote farm-houses. With of course some splendid viewing.
Time to take in the views and have some snacks at the ruins. From there it is an easy 1 hour quick descent down zigzag pathways and steps to the village of Pallata in Patacancha valley and onto or homestay community of Huilloc around 1 hour or less if we get a taxi or local van. Here we can learn local cultures as part of a workshop provided by our homestay hosts Pablo and Bacilia, and in the evening try traditional dinner made by the family.
DAY 8 :
4-5 hour trek to Chaullacocha village, afternoon Alpaca ceremony or other activities + homestay
We start by trekking from Patacancha to the pass (around 3 hours) and then on to a gravel road (that is more level) that we can follow to Chaullacocha village to this first high Andes community in around 1 hour more hour. The entire trek takes about 4-5 hours of trekking on rolling gradients. We can stop for snacks.
When we arrive to Chaullacocha we will meet our local homestay familia Agustin, Disia and their 4 children and enjoy a traditional lunch.
DAY 9 :
5-6 hour trek to Lares + Lares hot springs + 3.5 hour drive to Cusco end of services
After breakfast, we say goodbye to the families and we will start climbing gradually uphill to the Colquepata pass, approximately 4500m, and a strong climb straight up for about 2.5 hours. We will go slow and enjoy truly spectacular views of the mountains and lakes including one that is shaped like a mermaid and named so.
We then are up and down on a ridge for around 45 minutes to 1 hour. From there its downhill for about 2 hours more until we reach the village of Vilcabamba, this will be tough as the there is very little trail and trekking on rough ground at times inclding a small section where we need to scramble down for around 10-15 minutes. We will arrive in time for lunch at Lares Hot springs and the end of our trek.
We will have a well deserved soak in the hot springs of Lares before dinner and rest. We transfer back to Pisac (2.5 hours) or Cusco 3.5 hours.
This itinerary allows you to visit the most beautiful places in Peru by going off the beaten track!