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Immerse yourself in this spectacular route following the Salkantay route for the first 2 days, but on the third day we continue to the alternate route of the Salkantay trails to continue the less traveled path that connects with the classic Inca Trail. You even have the opportunity to hike the first day of the Inca Trail on the third day.
The Salkantay Trek is named after Mount Salkantay (20,574 feet). This spectacular mountain is higher than any mountain in North America. On the Salkantay trek, you will appreciate amazing blue lakes, impressive glaciers, and tropical forests. The last part of this particular trip has the most typical ecosystem of the Inca Trail with lush vegetation and Inca ruins. This trek is a great mix of Salkantay hike and popular Inca Trail hike, with an incomparable variety of flora and fauna.
Your tour guide will pick you up from your hotel at you staying early in the morning and have a beautiful scenic drive of 3 hours duration to Soraypampa from were we will appreciate the first views of Salkantay and Humantay Mountains. At this point we will arrive at Soraypampa (12,467 ft), the trailhead for the Salkantay trek, and meet our support staff, who will pack everything for the trek and load the equipment onto horses. The first thing we will do is hike up to Umantay Lake. After enjoying the beauty, we will hike back down to Soraypampa and begin the trek. The hike today is uphill from Soraypampa to Ichupata (14,104 ft) in the upper valley. This is a 5 to 6 hour hike. Along the way we will pass Salkantaypampa, which is our lunch spot. Ichupata is our camp for the night. When we arrive, we will settle in, have a hearty dinner.
After breakfast, we will continue the 3 to 4 hour steep climb to towards the Incachiriasca pass (15,908 ft), the highest of the entire route. We will have amazing views of Salkantay and glacial moraines during this portion. We will pause at the top of the pass to take pictures and enjoy the views. We will then descend towards our lunch spot at Sisaypampa, a flat area from which one can observe the neighboring Salkantay Valleys. This is a place where we might see Andean condors. After lunch we continue towards the Pampacahuana community (12,136 ft), located next to an original Inca canal. This is our camp for the night
Today we our hike to join the Classic Inca Trail. We begin by hiking downhill for 2 hours from Pampacahuana to Paucarcancha (10,276 ft)). We will visit the Inca site of the same name. After the tour we will hike downhill for 5 hours until we reach Km 82, which is the start of the classic Inca trail. Along the way we will be able to see the Inca site of Llactapata. This is the first site on the Classic Inca Trail. Our chef will make us a delicious lunch at Kilometer 82. After lunch we will be picked up by our private van at Km 82 and transported to Ollantaytambo (9,158 ft) where we will catch the luxury train to Aguas Calientes. When you reach Aguas Calientes you will check in to your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are a great place to relax if there is time before dinner. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a bus to Machu Picchu. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site. After the tour, you will have some free time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus. When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel.