“This trip changed my life!” – that’s what most clients say. You will ride on an ancient Inca trail, only accessible on foot or by horseback. Seeing the plains and high mountains offers you not only a firsthand experience with the lovely Quechua people and the ancient Incan traditions, but an intimate portrait of life and travel on the Inca Trail as well as a tour of the ancient city of Machu Picchu.
During the ride you will pass through lush valleys, cross gurgling streams and pass between the peaks of Humantay and Salkantay mountains, the highest elevation on the ride rounding out at 15,000 feet. You’ll see Quechua villages, llamas, alpacas and if you look up, the mighty condor.
The horses are Peruvian Quarter Horses and you will find them to be the only suitable mount for this rugged terrain. Each night your accommodations on the ride are in private, well appointed luxury eco lodges.
Dates and Rates: (7 day / 6 night program)
2021: March 26-April 1, Nov. 6-12, Nov. 8-14 – $3,125.00 USD per person sharing
April 8-14, April 17-23, April 30-May 6; June 30–July 6; Aug 26-Sept. 1; Sept 4-10, Sept. 25-Oct. 1, Oct 7-13, Oct. 25-31, Nov. 6-12 and Nov. 8-14 – $4, 125.00 USD per person sharing
***Other dates available on request for a minimum of 2 riders.
(Single Supplement: 50% of total trip price listed above. If you are willing to share a room and we cannot find a same sex roommate for you, the fee is reduced to 25%)
- 6 nights accommodation
- 6 days riding/touring
- All meals
- Horse and all tack
- Luggage transfers
- Entrance to and tour of Machu Picchu
- Train ticket to Cusco at end of the ride
- All local taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Alcoholic beverages
- Gratuities for the team at the end of the stay
After an early breakfast, you will be picked up at 7:00AM at their hotel in Cusco by the guide. and will be driven by vehicle to the start of the trail – on your way to the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort (SLAR) in Soraypampa.
En route you will take a short break to visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx. 1.5 hrs from Cusco). After leaving Limatambo, you will pass through the mountain village of Mollepata where you will stop for a short coffee break before ascending a winding mountain road to the Coronilla Ranch.
Here, after a short period of familiarization with your horse, you will begin your ride to Soraypampa. This is a good opportunity to acclimate and enjoy a mild & beautiful 3-4 hour trek with fun long trots and canters in the mountains.. The SLAR takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley – the “Salkantay”, the 2nd most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 20,600 ft (6,270 m), the highest in the region.
After a warm welcome by the friendly staff, you will be shown to your room and have time to wash-up. The first afternoon is spent at leisure to adjust to the altitude, taking advantage of the outdoor jacuzzi or just walking in the beautiful surroundings. An evening briefing by the fireplace is followed by aperitifs and dinner.
Today you will ride out for three hours in the surrounding area of Soraypampa to visit the Humantay Lake, fed by glaciers far above on the slopes of Humantay. A short walk on foot of about thirty minutes is necessary in order to reach the lake, but the view is well worth it and those brave enough can go for a swim. This activity is excellent for acclimatization.
After returning to the lodge for lunch, you will have the option to ride out again for around three hours in the surrounding area, or you may choose to trade the glacial swim for a relaxing soak in the outdoor jacuzzi. You will spend the night at the Salkantay Lodge and Adventure Resort with gourmet food and warm, comfortable beds.
In the evening, the guide will brief the group on gear and the itinerary for the next four days.
Today you continue your ride (about five hours) towards Machu Picchu, riding up the Rio Blanco valley and circling Humantay, which stands grandly opposite of Salkantay. In the process of today’s ride, you will reach the highest part of the ride, a pass at 4500 metres (14,800 ft) where you will keep your eyes open for Andean condors, common to the area.
At the pass you stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, the south face of Salkantay towering above you. From the pass you continue your descent toward the Wayra Lodge (“Wayra” means 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.
After breakfast, your ride continues downhill above the Salkantay River, descending into the cloud forest, through increasingly verdant scenery. You will be amazed at how the landscape changes from the high mountain terrain with its rocky outcroppings and low lying shrubs to tall and full trees resplendent with all types of orchids and other flowering species.
The trail follows the winding river and you will pass through several small areas that contain villages made up of two to three homes. Laughing and energetic school children walking the 7-10 miles to school may greet you along your route.
Upon arrival at Collpa Lodge you are greeted with a Pachamanca (subject to availability), a traditional underground stone cooked meal. This traditional meal is famous for its cooking method which consists of layering meat with hot stones and then covering the whole thing up to bake. After observing the uncovering of the Pachamanca, which consists of a variety of meats (chicken, lamb, beef, pork and guinea pig) and vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes and yucca) you have a chance to relax and enjoy your meal with the wonderful views over the valley.
Collpa Lodge is located on an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers. The outdoor jacuzzi has almost panoramic views of lush green mountains. It is the perfect place to spend the afternoon relaxing or walking in the surrounding area. In addition, behind the lodge, on the hillside, is a wonderful orchid garden with several good sized paths for exploring – be careful to look up, down and all around as the orchids may grow in surprising places!
The ride today heads down the Santa Teresa river valley, through banana and passion fruit orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee grown here is said to one of the best organic coffees in the world.
Along the way you will stop for a picnic lunch. Afterwards, the ride continues (a total of around five hours) to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail, which is where you will be a very fond goodbye to your horse.
A short thirty-minute walk through an avocado orchard brings you to Lucma Lodge, your home for the night. You will arrive in time to allow for exploration of the small village of Lucmabamba and the possibility to meet with members of the local community.
After breakfast, you are transferred to the train station by van in order to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu town. Those who wish can hike this distance instead. (The guide confirms guests’ preferences the night before.)
Description of OPTIONAL hike
Leaving the lodge around 9:00AM, you will head uphill for around two hours towards Llactapata pass (2600 metres/8500 feet). After catching your breath, you then have the welcome chance to head downhill for about ten minutes before coming upon the recently restored Llactapata Ruins from where you have a distant but very special view of Machu Picchu from the southwest, a perspective that few tourists get to enjoy.
After taking some time to explore the ruins and then to snap some photos of Machu Picchu, you will walk another ten minutes or so to your lunch spot where you will enjoy a picnic lunch with the same view of Machu Picchu. Afterward, you descend to the Vilcanota River through bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations, a descent of between two and three hours.
Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu, is a short train ride away and we check into our hotel for dinner and a well-earned rest.
This morning has a very early start in order to make the thirty-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu and arrive before sunrise. Being at this “lost city” and experiencing the sun as it must have looked the the ancient Incans as it ascended over the mountains is truly majestic and well worth the early rising.
You will then enjoy a private guided tour of the city, followed by several hours in which you are free to explore the ruins by yourself. Afterwards you will return to Aguas Calientes by bus for lunch and then take the afternoon Vistadome train to Ollantaytambo (about an hour and a half), where you are transferred by car to Cusco (about one hour) to a hotel of your choice (this nights’ lodging is at your discretion).
***SPECIAL NOTE: For those that want to do so, you may have your passport stamped at the entrance to Machu Picchu with a special Machu Picchu entry stamp.