Enjoy 7 days of challenging trekking in the Vilcabamba Cordillera, on the flanks of Salcantay mountain, and overnight in luxurious mountain lodges on the Lodge to Lodge to Machu Picchu Trek. You’ll awe at this exhilarating range of steep valleys, lacy waterfalls, and towering granite snowpeaks.
Five hundred years ago, the Incas united each valley and pass with a network of exquisitely crafted stone highways; life in these mountains has changed little. The Quechua-speaking peasants scattered througzh these high green valleys nurture their herds, till the soil with traditional tools, and make coca leaf offerings to the powerful Apu (mountain spirit) residing in the sacred peak of Nevado Salcantay (6,271 m/ 20,600 ft).
You start this Machu Picchu trek at the enchanting valley of Soraypampa and spend two nights at Soraypampa Lodge with an open day to become acclimated to the altitude and/or to take an optional hike. Continue trekking, spending a night at each of these trekkers’ lodges: Wayra Lodge at Huayraccmachay, Collpa Lodge at Collpapampa, and Lucma Lodge at Lucmabamba. Each lodge has a shared Jacuzzi and fireplace and offers full-service dining for guests. The cozy bedrooms have eiderdown bedding and a private full bathroom. The rooms, which can hold 2-4 people, also have serene views either of snow-covered peaks or lush tropical hillsides.
The Lodge to Lodge to Machu Picchu trek (also called Mountain Lodges of Peru) offers spectacular views, especially at the highest pass at 15,000 ft where you have views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction. You continue at a leisurely pace, enjoying the change from high peaks to lush forest, then to rural areas passing through coffee plantations and orchards.
On Day 6 you catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu from Llactapata pass, then descend to the Vilcanota River. A short train ride takes you to Aguas Calientes where you spend the night before your visit to Machu Picchu on Day 7.
Day 1 Cuzco to Salkantay Lodge at Soraypampa
Our trek crew picks you up at 8 am at your hotel in Cusco. We travel west, out of the Cuzco valley and across the Pampa de Anta. After descending to the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco), we leave the main highway and begin our climb on an unpaved country road into the high country. We pass through the mountain village of Mollepata, and soon reach the trailhead at Marcoccasa. In today’s acclimation hike, we have 4 hours of hiking on a moderate grade ascending a winding mountain track high above the Rio Blanco. From time to time we reach viewpoints rewarding us with spectacular views to the peaks of Humantay and Soray. Just when you’ve had enough walking for one day, we reach the broad meadow called Soraypampa, and enjoy our first views to Nevado Salcantay. We check into Salcantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (SLAR – 3,600 m/11,800 ft), and enjoy a soak in the outdoor hot tub.
The SLAR takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – the “Salcantay”, the 2nd most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 20,500 ft (6,240 m), the highest in the region.
After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, guests are shown to their rooms and have time to wash-up. A briefing by the fire is followed by aperitifs and dinner.
Day 2 Soraypampa
This day is spent at leisure for rest or activities, depending upon guests’ level of acclimatization. Guests may take local hikes, or a scramble to a view-point to take in the panorama. In the evening the guide will brief the trekking party on gear and the itinerary for the next four days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken at the Lodge. A packed lunch is available for those choosing to venture out for the day.
Day 3 SORAYPAMPA to HUAYRACCMACHAY
This is the big day: the start of the four-day trek to Machu Picchu. The first part is a gentle grade, crossing Soraypampa up to Salcantaypampa, beneath the terminal moraine of the great glacier cascading off Salcantay’s south face. Beyond Salcantaypampa the grade becomes noticeably more demanding, as we switchback upwards toward the pass. We reach the highest point on the trek, Salcantay Pass at 4,600 m (15,000 ft) in late morning. At the pass we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the south face of Salcantay towering above us. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we continue our descent toward the Wayra Lodge (3,650m/12,000 ft)(“Wayra”: wind; the place where the wind lives) our destination for the evening. A hot lunch is taken en route. Dinner and overnight at the Lodge (hiking time: 4-6 hours; total excursion time for day 5-7 hours).
Day 4 HUAYRACCMACHAY to COLLPAPAMPA
We continue hiking downhill above the Salkantay River, through increas¬ingly verdant scenery. Cold snack en route. The Collpa Lodge is located in an open promontory at the conflu¬ence of three rivers. We arrive for a late lunch at the lodge, and in time for an optional excursion to a nearby hot spring (day’s hiking time, excluding hot spring, 3-4 hours). Dinner and overnight at the lodge (3,150m/10,300 ft).
Day 5 COLLPAPAMPA to LUCMABAMBA
After an early breakfast we head down the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas with coffee plantations (said to be one of the best coffees in the world!) and orchards. We stop along the river for a hot picnic lunch. From the river it is a short climb to Lucma Lodge (2,000m/6,600 ft), set in an avocado orchard. We arrive in time to allow for exploration of the village and meeting with members of the local community. (hiking time: 4-6 hours/total excursion time for day 5-7 hours).
Day 6 LUCMABAMBA to AGUAS CALIENTES
We head uphill for two hours towards Llactapata pass (2,600 m/8,500 ft), where we are rewarded for our efforts with a distant but quite special view of Machu Picchu from the southwest. Our viewpoint is the Llactapata ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is provided at the observatory, in view of Machu Picchu. We then begin our final descent to the Vilcanota River through lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations (1 hour descent). Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a short, scenic train ride away. (Total hiking time: 4-6 hours). We then arrive in Aguas Calientes to check-in to the hotel. Overnight at hotel. (2,000 m/6,600 ft)
Day 7 Machu Picchu
We wake up very early to have breakfast at the hotel and then make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu (30 min). A complete guided tour of Machu Picchu (2,350m/7,708 ft) will be provided. Guests will have about 4 to 6 hours to tour the ruins (there is a lot to do and see). Afterward, we will return by bus to Aguas Calientes for a hot buffet-style lunch and to go to the train station for the afternoon departure. The train will arrive in Cusco and MLP will drop passengers at their hotels.
Included: This price includes all services from pick up in Cusco on day 1 to drop off in Cusco on day 7. Price includes transportation from hotel in Cusco to Soraypampa on Day 1 and back to hotel on Day 7, all lodging (5 nights in MLP lodges, 1 nights in Aguas Calientes in 4-star hotel); all meals (except breakfast on Day 1 and diiner on Day 7), non-alcoholic beverages: water, tea, coffee, soft drinks, fresh fruit juices free of charge at MLP lodges (only filtered water and tea are available free of charge at the hotel in Aguas Calientes;) the services of a bilingual guide, trains and the transportation of personal belongings on the trek by packhorse/mules and/or porters; guided visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary (includes entrance, transportation to/from the site and Huayna Picchu permits.) $50 gratuities for service staff (MLP lodge staff, mule drivers and route chefs) excluding guides. Wi-Fi at all lodges and hotels; activities at the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (except horse riding, river rafting and others on special request) are included. Pricing is subject to change up until time of booking.
Not included: Tips to trekking guides; massage & spa services; laundry; alcoholic beverages; optional activities: Chakana Inca Cross Excursion, canopy zipline, horseback riding (subject to change.) Bottled water and sports drinks are not included. Local taxes (18% IGV) on meals and lodging applicable to Peruvians, foreign residents in Peru and tourists traveling in Peru for 60+ days.
Do you need permits for this trek? This route is not within the boundary of the Machu Picchu National Sanctuary, and therefore the 500-person limit on trek permits on the Inca Trail does not apply to this route.
How difficult is this trek?
This is a high-altitude route, requiring at least two days of acclimation prior to commencing the trek. Trekkers should be in good physical condition. While a saddle horse is available for those who need a break from walking, each participant is expected to walk the majority of the route.