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6 Days – 5 Nights
Max Guests : 12
Max. Altitude: 2050 – 5200m
Act. Level: Formidable
The Salkantay (6264m/20551f) is the most representative mountain of the Inca, situated in the mountain range of Vilcabamba. The daylight in this region is particularly beautiful and offers a wonderful view of the diverse landscape and the tropical forest. During our journey we will also visit local farmers and get to know their Andean life, customs and traditions.
Therefore Salkantay trek perfectly combines cultural and natural beauty.
We will leave Cusco at 5:45am. After having passed the town Mollepata (3000m/9843f) we will head for Cruz Pata (3400m/11155f), where we will meet the rest of the group. From Cruz Pata we start hiking into a magnificent valley surrounded by impressive snow-capped mountains, such as the Humantay (5217m/17116f) and the Salkantay (6264m/20551f).
Our campsite will be at Salkantay Pampa (3900m/12795f)
After breakfast we will continue our journey around midmorning and head for the highest mountain pass in the park of Machu Picchu: Inca Chiriasqa pass (5200m/17060f).
From there we will have an exceptional view of the snow-capped Salkantay (6264m/20551ft). Thereafter we will descend towards the Pampacahuana and Sisay Pampa (3700m/12139f), next to the evidence of an original Inca Channel. We will camp and have dinner at this place.
We will leave camp at around 8:00am to start a downhill walk along the shores of the Pampacahuana river following its course towards the Wayllabamba community (3000m/9843f).
On the way down we will visit the Incaraqay archaeological complex (Paucarcancha) which is made up of rectangular constructions, plazas, and retaining walls. Wayllabamba, our campsite for this night and also the starting point for the Classic Inca Trail on the next morning.
We will wake up at around 6:00 am and after breakfast we will leave Wayllabamba behind to begin the most difficult part of the trek which consist of an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 Km.
Along this climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna. On the way to the first pass, the Warmiwañusqa (Dead woman’s pass) 4200m/13780ft, from this point we will see the Veronica mountain.
We advise that on this day specially, your day pack is well stocked with candies, chocolates and coca leaves that will keep your sugar level high, and help with altitude sickness. Immediately after the pass, we will descend into the Pacaymayu valley (3500m/11483ft), where we will camp after approximately 6h of hiking.
We begin this day, which will be the prettiest of the trek, with energy after a delicious breakfast. The first place where we are going to arrive is the archaeological site of Runkurakay (3800m/12464ft). Perched on a rocky outcrop, this site was supposed to be a Tambo.
We continue the rise to a pass, at an altitude of 3950m/ 12959ft, before coming down to the ruins of Sayacmarca (3600m/ 11811ft), a small city composed of a maze of narrow streets, plots, houses, terraces, fountains, etc.
The path continues quietly amount and we pass by an Inca tunnel and then walk throughout a forest before reaching the last pass, at an altitude of 3700 meters.
Below the ruins of Phuyupatamarka “town over the clouds” (3800m/12464ft): Inca relay, impresses by its circular walls and its ingenious system of aqueducts that still supplies the baths. We enjoy a superb view on the snow-capped peaks and the Urubamba Valley. The descent of the other side is done under a thick canopy of bamboo.
On the merits appear the extraordinary ruins of Wiñay Wayna (2700m/8829ft) on a rocky spur at the heart of the forest and overlooking the Urubamba Valley. Dominated by a vast array of Inca terraces, the urban complex is separated in two by a grand staircase leading to a ceremonial area. This is where we will spend our last night in tents.
After our breakfast at 4:30am we will head, equipped with our flashlights, to the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) to get the first glimpse of Machu Picchu and watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu.
The last triumphal descent will take almost one hour before visiting the citadel of Machu Picchu (2400m//7874f) around 8.00am. You can enjoy its spiritual charm during a guided tour (about two hours) that helps you to understand the meaning and ancient use of the different buildings.
From Machu Picchu there will be a bus awaiting you to take you down to Aguas Calientes. Here you can soak away your aches and pain in the town’s hot springs (S10). We will leave Aguas Calientes in the afternoon.
All briefings are done at our office at 7:00 PM one or two nights before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Xtreme Tourbulencia office team. Briefings are approximately 40 minutes long.
Xtreme Tourbulencia is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city, we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Smaller hotels and Airbnbs are often located on streets that cars can´t pass through. They also are frequently on hillsides with long steep climbs, making it difficult to carry luggage. We highly recommend that you book accommodations with better access. We have a list of hotels that are all comfortable with easy access to pick up and drop off. HOTEL LIST HERE.
Some treks will allow for pickups in the Sacred Valley, which is outlined below.
Machu Picchu is most beautiful when seen from above, which is why hiking one of the mountains next to the ruins is very popular to do after your tour.
Huaynapicchu is the most popular and must be booked in advance since it sells out very quickly. This hike takes approximately 1 hour to the top, and another 45 minutes back down. Tickets are sold in time sessions stating when you can start this hike. The first session is from 7-8 AM, and the 2nd session is from 10-11 AM. Again, this refers to the timeframe when you can start your hike. We usually book the second session so you can enjoy your tour with your guide first. You will do this hike on your own, but your guide will show you where to begin.
Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit longer and a bit less popular. It takes 2 hours to the top and another 1 hours to the bottom. Again there are two time windows – from 7-8 AM and 9-10 AM and we usually purchase the second time window. 4 Day treks, the Trekkers CAN NOT do this hike and enjoy a tour of the ruins. Time will not allow for this.
Hiking either mountain will allow you to have some extra time at the ruins once you complete, as listed above.
Machu Picchu now has two different time windows of when you can visit: either morning or afternoon. Your entrance ticket will be for only one session, morning session, and when your time window is over, the Rangers will ask you to leave.
MORNING SESSION: 6AM – 12PM
AFTERNOON SESSION: 12PM – 15:00PM
** If you have tickets to hike either Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will need extra time 3:00 hours.
You must be honest with your guide about any health conditions or concerns you might have. While our guides are not medical professionals, they do have first aid training. We also work with a clinic in Cusco that can help assist our team.
You are responsible for assessing whether a Tour is suitable for you. You should consult your physician to confirm your fitness for travel and participation in any planned activities. You should seek your physician’s advice on vaccinations and medical precautions. Xtreme TourBulencia will not provide medical advice. It is your responsibility to assess the risks and requirements of each aspect of the Tour based on your unique circumstances, limitations, fitness level, and medical requirements.
If you develop extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, and you still wish to visit Machu Picchu by train, we will work with you to coordinate this trip. Since this will be a new trip, it may require additional fees. We will use as much of the original itinerary to keep costs low.
If you experience issues while hiking and can not continue, a porter will accompany you to the closest road and wait while a car comes to pick you up and bring you to the nearest health clinic.
Group tours are made up of all different types of people, with various hiking skills and ages. By agreeing to a group tour, you agree that some people might be slower or faster than you are. Everyone can go at their own pace for the trek, and the guide will work with the group to spend time with everyone. Groups might request some modifications to the tour, and the guide will work with everyone to make the best decision for the group.
Unfortunately, strikes are frequent in Peru and can disrupt our tours. Roads are often blocked, and trains stopped. We will make sure your trek continues as planned, even if that means leaving the night before your start date. Under these circumstances, tours might need to be canceled. But our operations department will coordinate with you in this situation. Your safety is always our top concern and will dictate how we decide.
You are responsible for your items throughout the Tour. Please be diligent about where you leave your things and remember to remove all items from our vans, your tents, restaurant, etc. Do not leave anything unintended during your hike. Other trekkers or teams might pick it up not knowing whos it is.
Tipping is part of the tradition of any trek to Machu Picchu. While we pay good wages to our entire team, anything extra is always appreciated. Please know that this is not obligatory and that you should never feel pressured into this.
Typically the participants in a group pool their tipping money together for the porters and chef. The amount recommended is different per trek and listed below. For the guide, this is more personal and needs to be decided based on your relationship with them and done separately from the group. Porters and Chefs prefer soles if possible. Guides are happy with U.S. dollars, Peruvian Soles, or even your credit card 😉
Travel insurance is inexpensive and strongly recommended. With trips being planned months ahead of time, you never can predict what could happen. Adventure travel includes more risk than the average trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this journey. We can help recommend an agent to walk you through this type of insurance if needed.
Of course, the weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December so just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho, and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also, prepare for four seasons. Several of the treks through the Andes involve various microclimates and you will need to be prepared. Layers are always key since they are easy to adjust to different temperature changes. Be prepared with a warm packable down jacket since the evening will be cold.
It’s also important to note that the weather can change a listed itinerary. There are times that routes become impassable, and our guides will be forced for your safety to rework your tour.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. For this reason, we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes. Cusco is a marvelous city with lots to do, so if you have more time to acclimate you won´t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office, and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids that help bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness if they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slow, and it will give your body time to adjust to the elevation.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly and drink lots of water, and enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away. Xtreme Tourbulencia guides are trained to help you get through it.
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air, and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land, and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available, and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
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