Take the road less traveled to Machu Pichu, staying with Refugios Salkantay -- a team of 12 independent families who live along the Salkantay Trekking Route. These local families will show you a side of the region that few trekkers get to see, helping you to experience true Andean culture from their family-run eco-lodges. The first night, you will stay in Salkantay Lodges with privileged views of the majestic Salkantay glacier. The second night, you will stay in a local house, immersed in culture and tradition. The third night, you will spend in Llactapata lodges, situated just in front of Machu Picchu. In the evening, you can appreciate the sun set over Machu Picchu and the following morning, the spectacular sunrise. This tour concentrates on combining essential amenities with the natural rustic authenticity which instills comfort, tranquility and simplicity. Traveling with Refugios Salkantay assures that your journey directly helps local families that live along the route and is in total harmony with the natural environment. Machu Pichu is a classic for a reason.
My name is Edwin Espinoza Sotelo, along with my parents (Marino Espinoza, Mercedes Sotelo) and my sister, Flor de María Espinoza Sotelo, we belong to the community of Mollepata, Soraypampa, where we begin to hike the Salkantay trek. In total, we are a community of 12 local families, from the start of the Salkantay route of the Peruvian Andes to the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. You will have the added bonus of understanding the culture and traditions of each family en route. Even though we do not speak English perfectly, we are able to interact and communicate with our customers to the best of our ability. In one way or another, we make sure that our clients understand us and the details of the trek. Despite our cultural differences and language barriers, we have spent many an evening having a wonderfully, entertaining time with many laughs and good times at the dinner table!
DAY 1: CUSCO - MOLLEPATA – CHALLACANCHA – SORAYPAMPA (HUMANTAY LAKE) You will be picked up from your hotel from 5:00 to 5:30 a.m. in a private vehicle, which will take you to the community of Mollepata, this is a journey of approximately 2 and a half hours. In Mollepata, you will be greeted by my family, where we will have breakfast (Marino, my husband and /or my children- Flor or Edwin), who will give you all the necessary information about the trek, the map of the route you will take, plus some water and snacks for the day. We also have a store to buy any last minute items that you may need for the trek. After breakfast, you will be driven in our private vehicle to Challacancha, which is approximately a 1-hour journey. From here, we will start to hike to our first lodge in Soraypampa, which is approximately a 2 hour walk. Here, you will be greeted with a coca tea and you will be shown your rooms, when you will have time to get settled into the first night’s accommodation. Our lodges are fully equipped with private bathrooms, a hot shower, and we have a choice of rooms with double beds, twin rooms or triple rooms with 3 beds for bigger groups. After you are settled in, you will be able to try some delicious and nutritious local cuisine. Vegetarians or anyone with food allergies are also welcome, we cater for all dietary needs. After a hearty lunch, you will have a short, acclimatisation trek to the spectacular Tukarhuay Lake with the stunning backdrop of the Tukarhuay glacier, also more commonly known as the Humantay 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 lodge there will be an appetizer waiting for you and then a delicious dinner. Total distance: 12km /7.45 miles. Starting elevation: 3,380 metres /11,089 feet. Highest elevation: 4,300 metres / 14,107 feet. Altitude of the lodge: 3,850 metres / 12,631 feet. Approximate night- time(outside) temperature at the lodge: 0 -5°C. Accommodation: private rooms at the lodge (Soray - Lucmabamba - Llactapata) Meals : Lunch, dinner and afternoon tea and snacks) Walking time : 4-5 hours WIFI Signal Fresh towels face towels, and soap provided. Transfer of your personal items for the duration of the trek. Dificulty level: Moderate Adventure level: satisfactory.
+ DAY 2: SALKANTAY LODGE.- SALKANTAY LAGOON – LUCMABAMBA FAMILY HOME. Today is the big day! We will wake up and have a coca tea at 5am. At 5:30am our host Marino, will serve a delicious breakfast. The ascent to the Salkantay pass at (4,660 metres - 1,5288,71 feet), is 7km (4.34 miles) in approximately 3 hours. When we reach the pass we will have a coca tea and take some time to appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo. Before you continue on for another 30 minutes along the mountain range to enjoy to Salkantay Lagoon. This is a blue lagoon located right in the bottom of the Salkantay mountain. Make sure your camera is ready – the photos of the lagoon with the reflection of the glacier peaks is outstanding. . Finally, there will be a 3 hour downhill hike to get to our Huayrac Machay Refuge located at 3800m right in the cloud forest, prepare for a delicious lunch. In the afternoon, you will enter the high part of the Amazon jungle, which is also known as a cloud forest. It is approximately a 10 km (6.2 miles) downhill walk, taking approximately 3 hours. The path 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, sometimes with quite hot temperatures. After finishing this stage of the hike, we will arrive at our lodge in CHALWAY (2,900 metres - 9,514 feet). On arrival, there will be a private vehicle to take us on the 1 hour journey to Lucmabamba. This is where we experience the tropical jungle area. You will arrive at the Lucmabamba lodge where the local family will welcome you and allow you to settle in to your rooms. Distance walked: 22km /13.67 miles. Starting elevation: 3850 metres /12631 feet. Highest altitude reached: 4660 metres / 15,288 feet. Altitude of the lodge in Lucmabamba: 2400 metres / 7874 feet. Meals : Breakfast, lunch, dinner and an afternoon snack Available rooms at the lodge: private rooms with private bathrooms. Fresh towels. Walking time: 8 -9 hours. Private transfer: (Chalway – Lucmabamba). Mules and horsemen to carry your personal items for 70 % of the route with the exception of (Huayracmachay -Chalway ) and (Hidroelectric – Aguas calientes) Difficulty level: Challenging – difficult. Adventure: Satisfactory Refugio Lucmablamba has renewable energy to charge your cell phones.
DAY 3: LUCMABAMBA FAMILY HOME - LLACTAPATA INCA TRAIL- LLACTAPATA (LODGUE IN FRONT OF MACHU PICCHU) The local family will wake you early in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, or coca tea at 7am. You will be able to prepare yourself for the day’s activities and then you will head out. You will pass through the banana, granadilla (passion fruit family), avocado and yucca plantations as well as the coffee plantations where the traditional methods are still used by local farmers to toast and grind the coffee beans. The organic coffee from this region is considered, one of the best in the world. You will be able to prepare yourself for the hike and enjoy a hearty breakfast from all of the products you have collected from the area, an unforgettable experience! After this beautiful experience we will have the opportunity to go to the best thermal waters of the whole region that has Cusco (hot springs of Cocalmayo), we can enjoy a couple of hours and then a delicious lunch awaits us. You will start to hike quite early in the day and you will have the opportunity to enjoy hiking on part of an original Inca trail. After a 3 hour ascent with incredible views of the Santa Teresa valley, you will arrive at the Inca site of LLACTAPATA, situated just in front of Machu Picchu. Not only can you catch your first glimpse of the Machu Picchu archaeological site, but also the amazing view of Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain. We will then spend the night at the LLactapata Lodge. Distance walked: 8.km / 4.97 miles. Starting elevation: 2450 metres / 8038 feet. Altitude at The Llactapata Lodge: 2600 metres /8530 feet Walking time: 5-6 hours Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner Transfer of your personal items with porters: The entire route Accommodation in the Llactapata lodge: Private rooms with private bathroom Fresh towels, soap and shampoo provided Difficulty level: Easy
+ DAY 4: LLACTAPATA LODGE – HYDROELECTRIC – AGUAS CALIENTES. A Special day! You will have the opportunity to see the sunrise over Machu Picchu from your room and you will be able to have breakfast in the panoramic dining room. You will then start hiking for 2 hours, on a slight descent, until you arrive at a small family home, where the family will be waiting for you with fresh water (bottled) to rehydrate and show you this impressive site. You will then continue to the hydroelectric train station, which is your lunch spot for the day. After lunch at the Hydroelectric train station, this is where we say GOODBYE and where the services of “Refugios Salkantay” end. You may then continue for another 2 and a half hours walk, until you reach the town of Aguas Calientes. This is a very popular route along the train tracks to get to Machu Picchu and it is virtually impossible to get lost. Distance Walked: 18 km / 11.2 miles. Startingelevation: 2,450 metres / 8,038 feet. Elevation in Aguas Calientes: 1900 metres /6233 feet. Walking time: 5-6 hours. Starting elevation: 2,600 metres – 8,530.184 feet. Meals: Breakfast and lunch. Adventure: Absolutely! Dificulty Level: Easy
DAY 5: MACHU PICCHU The most outstanding experience today: Arrive early in the morning to Machu Picchu, for which you will have to wake up really early in your hotel. The entrance to Machu Picchu is open from 6am until 5pm. You may want to walk up to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu or you can take the shuttle bus to the entrance This will give you more time to experience the amazing site before the trains start to arrive from Cusco. In addition, arriving before the trekkers from the Inca trail get to Machu Picchu plus you have the bonus of the amazing sunrise. If you would like the services of a guide, there are many at the entrance to the site. The cost is usually around s/20 per person for a group tour and around s/150 soles for a private tour. A guided tour usually lasts 2 hours for this mystical site. There is also the option to climb the Huayna Picchu mountain or the Machu Picchu mountain (be aware that you need to reserve permits with anticipation to climb these mountains). Both mountains take around 3 hours to climb up and down. Also for the more adventurous you can hike to the “Inti Punku “ or Sun Gate which is where the Inca trail trekkers see their first view of Machu Picchu. You may stay and enjoy this magnificent site for 7 hours more, until 5 pm.
Private departures, for just you and your friends or family