Salcantay Trekking Tour

11 days from From $3,750 per person, based on double occupancy

Join us as we explore ruins around Cusco, cruise on mountain bikes around the Sacred Valley, veer off the beaten path on our own Salcantay Trek itinerary, enjoy one day on the Inca Trail to arrive at Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

Salcantay Trekking Tour

Isolated Trekking | Explore Ruins of Cusco | Bike the Sacred Valley

Looking to explore Peru and the Andes apart from the crowds? Explore Peru with us on one of our newest itineraries that allow you to marvel at the Inca ruins that have withstood the test of time, explore the Sacred Valley on a mountain bike, trek the Andes without the crowds and enjoy one day on the Inca Trail that brings you to Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate.

While you get acclimatized to the altitude, we tour around the ruins that are around Cusco with your knowledgeable guide. This is a vibrant city that mixes the cultures of the Incas, Spaniards and modern Peru to combine in an experience that is truly uniquely Cusco.

From Cusco we travel to the Sacred Valley where we will explore the bread basket of Peru on mountain bikes! Customized for all levels of biking, this is one of the best ways to enjoy the Sacred Valley on a high plateau with amazing vistas of the Andes and the Urubamba River rushing below.

In the Andean culture, the “Apus” (Gods) are the spirits that protect life, many are represented by mountains and one of the most important is the impressive Nevado of Salkantay (6,271m/20,569ft). Over five days we will cross landscapes with a spectacular view of snow-capped peaks, colorful lakes impressive mountains, queuñas forests (a native tree), remnants of ancient Inca trails, confluences of rivers, glaciers, among other stunning natural scenes.

This trek has been combined with one day on the Inca Trail that allows you to marvel at their masonry and enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate in the afternoon. This is the time of day when most people have made their way down to Aguas Calientes, so you have time to enjoy the splendor of Machu Picchu almost to yourself! The following day we will take a bus to thoroughly explore the ruins with your local guide, who by now has most likely become a good friend after all the adventures shared!

Itinerary Snapshot

Day 1 Arrive and overnight in Cusco. We will gather in the evening for a trip briefing.

Day 2 Half-day tour of the Inca ruins around Cusco including: Sacsayhuaman, Qenco, Puca Pucara & Tambomachay ruins.

Day 3 Transfer to the Sacred Valley. Incredible cross-country mountain bike ride from Moray to Maras. Explore archaeological sites and visit traditional Peruvian villages along the way.

Day 4 Begin trekking on the Salcantay ! We first drive approximately 3.5 hours to Marcocasa and after 30 minutes of hiking, stop for lunch.  The following 2 hours of hiking to Challacancha are fantastic with views of several peaks looming above us.

Day 5 After breakfast, we trek for 1.5 hours to Soraypamba with views of Humantay (5,917 m), Tucurway (5,910 m) and Salcantay (6,217 m).  Soraypamba to Salcantaypampa (our lunch stop) is another hour’s walk, followed by 1.5 hours trekking to Ichupata.

Day 6 Veering off the main trail for the Inca Trail, we continue towards Salcantay over the Incachiriaska Pass (5,028 m), the highest point on the trek.  Descending the pass we will come to the small community of Pampacawana, our resting spot for the night.

Day 7 As we continue our descent, we trek for 4 hours to the site of Puacarcancha, where we stop for lunch.  After lunch is a 2 hour walk to Hatunchaca for the evening.

Day 8 Waking to the beautiful view of Hatunchaca, we walk just over 1 hour to the archeological site of Llactapata.  Our descent continues for 3.5 hours to Picaucucho.  Tonight you will enjoy a shower and bed before hiking to Machu Picchu tomorrow!

Day 9 After being dropped off at Km 104, we pass the ruins of Chachabamba before ascending to the incredible ruins of Winay Wayna. We reach the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu in the golden afternoon light and enjoy a brief initial visit to the ruins. Overnight in the small town of Aguas Calientes.

Day 10 In the morning, we return to Machu Picchu where we spend most of the day with our knowledgeable guide. In the late afternoon, we climb aboard a first-class train for a ride back to Cusco.

Day 11 Transfer to airport for flight back home.

Day 1
Arrive in Cusco, Peru. This usually requires departing from North America the previous day. A Bio Bio Expeditions guide will meet you at the airport – look for the Bio Bio logo. Its best to arrive in Lima the night before, we can book a airport hotel for you, and then fly to Cusco after 10AM in day 1 of your itinerary. If you arrive before 10:00 AM, your hotel rooms will not be ready, and most sites in the city are closed. You will be taken to the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection*, a luxurious hotel in a renovated 18th century manor house just a few blocks from Cusco’s historic central plaza. The hotel has a gourmet restaurant and is known as the “best breakfast in Cusco”. Please be sure Bio Bio Expeditions has your flight information. After resting from your trip, acclimatizing to the 11,000 foot altitude and exploring a bit of Cusco we will gather for a trip briefing. The evening is free to dine in any of Cusco’s amazing restaurants. (no meals included this day)

A few words about Cusco…

If the Incas were the Romans of pre-Columbian America, Cusco was their Rome. The Incas built a vast empire that stretched from modern Ecuador and Colombia to southern Chile. The empire, much larger in size than any previous new-world empire, was called Tawantinsuyo (the “Four Quarters of the Earth”). Cusco was the heart of the empire, and its exact center was considered to be the main square of the city. Today, Cusco is still laid out much as it was in Inca times. Seen from above, it takes the form of a puma, with the river Tullumayo forming its spine, the ruins of Sacsayhuaman the head, and the main city center the body. The center, or torso, was a tongue of land bordered on the east side by the Tullumayo and on the west by the Huatanay. These two rivers now run under concrete. Cusco was more than just a capital city to the Incas and the millions of subjects in their realm. Cusco was a holy city, a place of pilgrimage that was incredibly important to the Incas.

Cusco is a thriving marketplace where goods and services of all kinds tempt the eye and the pocketbook. The city has an impact on all the senses: sounds greet the ears and the aromas of spicy local kitchens tantalize the nose. The colorful locals draw our attention as they display their wares and remain in their native Quechua dress. Merchants smile and make a sale with characteristic cheerfulness. A good place to take it all in is the central “Plaza De Armas”, where on the second floor balconied terraces of the many restaurants, you can enjoy a beer or a cup of tea and see the action from above.

Day 2
After a sumptuous breakfast at the hotel we will pick you up and transfer to the south of Cusco. Our goal is to visit archeological sites surrounding Cusco, namely Sacsayhuaman & Qenco. Along the way we take in the Peruvian countryside, enjoy spectacular views of the high Andean snow capped peaks, and get a true sense of how people are living in the villages around Cusco.  We will spend plenty of time on foot exploring the Inca ruins with our knowledgeable guide. From there, we begin a short and easy walk following an old, but well preserved Inca Trail. Gradually we descend from the rural to the urban, passing by the Temple of the Moon to finally reach the main square of Cusco.

In the afternoon we visit the Cathedral and the temple of the Sun called Koricancha. Overnight at the Casa Andina Private Collection Hotel*. (Breakfast and snacks included; lunch and dinner not included)

Day 3
Mountain biking into the Sacred Valley – the perfect, active way to see the Peruvian countryside and have some fun at the same time! We have front suspension Marin mountain bikes, helmets, and gloves. The ride can be tailored to all ability levels as we are followed by a support vehicle. We begin our biking adventure pedaling along the shore of the beautiful highland Lake Huaypo.  We then begin our cross-country cruise at the town of Maras (elev.: 3,500 meters – 11,090 feet) until arriving at the archaeological site of Moray – a very impressive Inca agricultural experimental center.  During the ride you will have ample time to take in the beautiful Andean landscape – including impressive views of the snow-capped peaks of La Verónica (elev. 5,682 meters -18,600 feet) and Chicon (elev. 5,530 meters, or 18,140 feet).  This ride takes us away from the other tourists and allows us to see the less trodden, real Peru, as we bike on dirt roads and footpaths and through traditional villages. Half way through our journey we stop for a gourmet picnic and some well deserved rest in a dramatically picturesque setting. We then begin the downhill portion of the trail, following ancient Inca footpaths, eventually reaching the salt mines of Pichingoto. These are not actually mines, but a rather amazing conglomerate of over 3000 evaporation troughs carved into the hillside where the salt-laden silt gathers and becomes gradually distilled into rock salt. This site is very ancient, but was perfected and developed to a high degree by the Incas. Depending on our time, we can either stop and visit this fascinating complex or continue straight through to the bottom of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. This ride is a true Classic!

For those with no interest in riding bikes, we can arrange a modified walking tour following the same route. We arrive to our beautiful Sacred Valley hotel in the afternoon leaving plenty of time to rest and enjoy the amenities. Before dinner we will pass out the Inca trail duffel bags with instructions on how much weight to pack so they will be ready to go first thing in the morning. Overnight at the Casa Andina PC Valle Hotel* in the Sacred Valley, a beautiful hotel with views of the Andes on all sides and a planetarium for stargazing the Southern Hemisphere’s night skies. (Breakfast, lunch and snacks included; dinner not included)

Day 4
Introduction to Salcantay Exclusive New Route
This route has not been much explored yet by travellers visiting Peru. In the Andean culture, the “Apus” (Gods) are the spirits that protect life, many are represented by mountains and one of the most important is the impressive Nevado of Salkantay (6,271m/20,569ft).

Over five days we will cross landscapes with a spectacular view of snow-capped peaks, colorful lakes impressive mountains, queuñas forests (a native tree), remnants of ancient Inca trails, confluences of rivers, glaciers, among other stunning natural scenes. We will end this trek at the start point of the classic Inca trail

Marcocasa – Challacancha
We will drive for 3.5 hours to Marcocasa. When we arrive we will walk for 30 minutes to the place where we will have lunch. Leaving Marcocasa we’ll carry on along the trail heading for Challacancha. Today is fairly easy going without too much distance to cover. The views today are fantastic and we will see several high peaks looming above us. 2 hours trekking after lunch will arrive at Challacancha (3900 mt/ 12795 feet) to camp for the night.
Meals: L+D

Day 5: Challaqancha – Ichupata
This morning, after breakfast we will walk for 1 hour and 30 minutes to Soraypamba (3880). By the time we get to Soraypampa the 3 main peaks of the region, Humantay (5917m / 19412 ft.), Tucurway (5910m / 19389 ft.) and Salkantay (6217m / 20573ft.) will all be in view. From Soraypampa it’s about another hour’s walk to Salkantaypampa (4100m / 13451 ft.) where we will have lunch and walk for another hour and a half to Ichupata (4430 mt/14534 feet).
Meals: B+L+D

Day 6: Ichupata – Pampacahuana (Inca Channel)
Today once again we leave the main trekking route as we head for the Inca Trail. Continuing up the valley towards Salkantay we take a side path that leads us up and over the Incachiriaska Pass (Frozen Inca Pass, 5028m / 16495 ft.) which is the highest point on the trek. From the pass we carry on down to the small community of Pampacawana (4000m / 13123 ft.) where we will camp for the night.
The views today are once again amazing. Climbing up over the shoulder of Salkantay you feel completely dwarfed by the sheer size of the mountain and can get a sense of why the Inca’s worshipped it as a god. The whole area is dotted with small mountain lakes of varying hues and colours and we will also hopefully see a variety of wildlife such as Viscachas (rabbit-like Chinchillas) and White Tailed Deer and possibly some of the rarer Andean animals like Condors, Guanacos and Vicunas.
Meals: B+L+D

Day 7: Pampacahuana – Hatunchaca
This day we will start our descent to the end of our trek. First for 4 hours to the archeological site of Paucarcancha 3150mt, a beautiful place where the views start to change and we will have lunch. After lunch we will have a 2 hour walk to Hatunchaca, where we will camp.
Meals: B+L+D

Day 8: Hatunchaca – Piscaicucho
We will wake up with beautiful view of the valley of Hatunchaca, walk for 1 hour and 15 minutes to the archaeological site of Llactapata, after the visit we will continue our descend to Picaucucho (2700) for 3 hours and a half to the place where our transportation and lunch we will be waiting for us.

Then, we will continue driving to the Sacred Valley where we rest up for the Inca Trail the next day! (B + L)

Day 9: Sacred Valley to Aguas Calientes
In the morning we transfer from our hotel in the Sacred valley to the train station located at the village of Ollantaytambo to Km 104 of the railway, the starting point of our trek. First we pass by the ruins of Chachabamba and then begin a four-hour ascent. Along, we have a spectacular view of the Urubamba Valley to finally reach the magnificent ruins of Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). From this point we continue our tour by one of the best preserved sections of the trail, through a wet cloud forest full of variety of flora and fauna. Finally we cross the entry of Intipunku (Gate of Sun) after which, we find an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry: the magical city of Machu Picchu. Finally we board a bus to the town of Aguas Calientes. (B)

Day 10: Machu Picchu
In the morning, we take a 20 minute bus ride up the twisty road back to Machu Picchu. Those who still have the energy are welcome to hike the steep staircase straight up to the ruins! We spend most of the day at the ruins with our knowledgeable Peruvian guide who will show us all the wonders of Machu Picchu. In the late afternoon, we climb aboard a first class train for a spectacular ride back to Cusco. The train tracks themselves are a miracle of human ingenuity and tenacity. The ride down the mountain will give you ample time to reflect on your journey by foot and provides us with an early evening arrival in Cusco. We will check back into our hotel, the Casa Andina Private Collection*, for our last night in Cusco. (Breakfast included)

Day 11
Transfer to airport for your flight back home, or begin your trip extension. Call for ideas and details on an extension to the Amazon, Lake Titicaca or many other possibilities in Peru!

*The hotels listed depend on availability. If we choose a different hotel, it will be of equal type and quality.

IN CUSCO

Casa Andina Private Collection

A beautifully renovated 18th-century manor house, just 3 blocks from Cusco’s Plaza de Armas, replete with authentic colonial character. It offers the intimacy of a boutique hotel but the comforts and services of a much larger property.The hotel is distinguished by its 3 interior patios with wooden balconies. The principal patio, featuring a gurgling stone fountain, is one of Cusco’s emblematic colonial courtyards. In the hotel’s cozy lounge and reading room is a massive stone fireplace that’s always crackling, while the romantic gourmet restaurant invites guests to dine by candlelight in one of 4 connected salons richly decorated with 18th-century Cusco School paintings. Several rooms in the original structure of the hotel feature surviving colonial frescoes unearthed during renovation.

 

IN THE SACRED VALLEY

Urubamba Boutique Lodge

They say that the valley, the mountains, the farming terraces and the river were all home to the most important of the Inca heritage, with their magic and mysticism. The valley guards this magical sensation which helps you to relax, sharing its magnificent greenery against a shining sky.

With these pleasures in mind, Urubamba Boutique Lodge has reserved a place on our riverside terrace for you so you may enjoy the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Each of our rooms has a balcony, many overlooking the river, and our dining room offers a panoramic view of the lush surroundings.

Urubamba Boutique Lodge has 20 rooms, including 2 Suites. All of our rooms have been designed and decorated to make you feel at home while still offering a link to Peruvian culture and Inca history. With views of the river, mountains or our surrounding gardens, it´s impossible not to relax and enjoy yourself!

Our rooms include:

– One or two twin, double or queen size beds
– Private bathroom with bathtub
– Room Service
– Local handmade decorations
– Personal balconies for rooms on the second floor.


Casa Andina Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley’s most complete hotel: a mountain chalet-styled retreat with panoramic Andes views from every room and every angle. On more than 8 landscaped acres (3 hectares), it breathes an air of tranquility and relaxation. Unique among Sacred Valley hotels – most of which remain isolated in the valley, offering precious little for guests to do – it contains an extraordinary, full-service “Sacred Spa”, a domed Planetarium & Observatory for stargazing in the massive Southern Hemisphere sky, and gourmet restaurant and bar.

The 85 inviting, spacious rooms overlook the property’s extensive gardens and feature either private balconies or sunny sitting areas. Equidistant between Urubamba and Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of Cusco, the hotel is perfectly positioned for easy access to the valley’s abundant attractions and incomparable Inca ruins, including world-renowned Machu Picchu.

IN MACHU PICCHU

Aguas Calientes

Coming soon…

Departure Dates:

May – October

Trip Length: 11 days
Trip Price:

From $3,750 per person, based on double occupancy

Gather your group of 6 or more together and head to Peru with dates that work for your schedule!

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    Paddle the waters of legendary Lake Titicaca and explore the islands and cultures in this unique region of Peru.

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