Day 1 – CUSCO – SORAYPAMPA – HUMANTAY LAGOON – SALKANTAY PAMPA – ICHUPATA
We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco between 4:00 am to 4.30 am in our private transportation before embarking on a 3.5-hour car drive to the trail head at Soraypampa (3800 m.a.s.l). Once in Soraypampa, you will enjoy your first breakfast along with your trekking group´s chef, guides and support team. Your will also meet your group´s muleteers and give your duffle bags to them.
After breakfast, you will begin your trekking adventure to Machu Picchu by hiking up to Humantay Lagoon. This hike will be approximately 1.5 hours and will take you to the skirts of Humantay Mountain where the beautiful, crystalline-blue waters of the Humantay Lagoon lay. After breathing in the beauty of such magical place, you will begin making your way back down to the starting point to continue with your hike to the lunch spot. This hike will be approximately 2 hours of gradual ascent until reaching Salkantaypampa (4,000 m.a.s.l) – with an estimated arrival time of 1 p.m. Salkantaypampa is located on the skirts of the Salkantay glacier mountain and has some unmatched views of the Salkantay Mountain.
After lunch and a well-deserved break, you will take continue along gradually ascending terrain for approximately 3 hours until the campsite at Ichupata (4,400 m.a.s.l ). Needless to say, this campsite will have you closer to the magnificence of Salkantay Mountain and will make your overnight stay an unforgettable night under the stars.
Day 2 – ICHUPATA – INCA FROZEN PASS or CONDOR PASS – INCA CANAL – PAUCCAR CANCHA
After a crisp, early wake up accompanied by amazing views of the surrounding glacier peaks and mountains, you will enjoy your breakfast and get ready for the day´s hike. From Ichupata, you will hike for approximately 3 hours until reaching the pass known as Inca Chiriaska, located at 5,100 (m.a.s.l.). Just as its name in Quechua implies, this place is cold (almost frozen depending on the time of year) but has the best views of the mountains by the Salkantay glacier peak. You will enjoy the breath-taking scenery with your hot tea drink before continuing on. The hike from the pass will be to the lunch spot at approximately 3.5 hrs downhill. At this spot, you will see yet another glacier beauty – the Paltayoc peak.
After lunch and a well-deserved break, you will continue hiking for another 3.5 hours downhill to the campsite at Pauccar cancha. Pauccar cancha is located near the Inca ruins of Pauccar Cancha at 3,300 m.a.s.l ).
Day 3- PAUCAR CANCHA – LLACTAPATA – KM 82 – OLLANTAYTAMBO – AGUAS CALIENTES
After breakfast, you will visit the Inca archaeological site of Pauccar Cancha before continuing on with your hike. Today´s highlight will be entering to the Inca Trail for a section of the original path. On this hike, you will be mesmerized by the stunning views of the surrounding valleys and mountains. In addition, you will also get a taste of the Inca Trail by visiting the famous Llactapata Inca archaeological site. This site is known for having been an Inca village characterized by its houses, water channels, and many farming terraces gently bordering the mountain side. From Llactapata, you will hike for about 1 hour until your lunch.
After lunch and a well-deserved break, you will hike for another 2 hours until Km 82 where you will meet our private van Ollantaytambo-bound. Once in Ollantaytambo, you will enjoy your dinner and will take a train to Aguas Calientes town for your overnight stay.
Day 4 – MACHUPICCHU – ( HUAYNA PICCHU / MACHU PICCHU MONTANA OPTIONAL ) – RETURN TO CUSCO
After early breakfast at the hotel, you will walk to the bus station alongside your guide to take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. The bus service is first come, first served basis, departing every 5 minutes and lasting approximately 25 minutes to Machu Picchu. Upon arrival to Machu Picchu, you will walk into Machu Picchu with your guide to the main lookout point. Here, you will be able to take your post card pictures of Machu Picchu. After enjoying the sunrise (weather dependent), you will begin your 2 to 3 hrs guided tour of Machu Picchu. During your guided tour, your guide will explain and take you to the most important sections of the citadel.
Following your guided tour, you will get to explore Machu Picchu with your tour guide. You will also have free time to explore the site on your own. If you have booked the extra hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain, you will climb it at this time. If you do not book this extra hike, you will still have the option to climb to the Sun Gate (an hour and a half) or to the Inca bridge (45 minutes).
After your visit to Machu Picchu, you will be required to take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes town to enjoy your lunch (not included). You return train from Aguas Calientes town to Ollantaytambo will be in the afternoon – those who have not booked either extra hike will have train tickets for the service at 2:55 pm and those who have booked either extra hike will have train tickets for the service at 4:22 pm.
In Ollantaytambo, our driver will be waiting for you to transfer you back to Cusco. We will drop you off at your hotel.
Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters, while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Porters: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items. There is no additional fee for this. We will give you your duffel bag at your briefing the night before, to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until your arrive at your evening campsite.
Hotel: The alternative treks all end in, or before Aguas Calientes. The last night is spent at a hotel in the village, rather than camping. This 2 star hotel is included in the trek cost, and is based on a shared room. If you would like to upgrade your hotel, or prefer a single room, there will be an additional cost.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m., and brought to the start of the trek, to the trail head. Your guide will hand out your bus ticket to make your way down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Clientes, and you will be booked on the expedition train leaving that afternoon. If you prefer, you can upgrade your train leaving Aguas Clientes to the Vistadome train for $75 per person. Once you arrive to the train station, we will bring you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Equipment: Alpaca Expeditions has the best equipment. We use four man, Eureka, Timberline tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Food: The Alpaca Expeditions chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning, for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Alpaca Expeditions will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
Entrances to Machu Picchu and Inca Trail permit.
First Aid: Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single Alpaca tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
Extras: We believe it’s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mat for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients have on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.
Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping Bag: $20
Inflatable Air Mattress: $15
Walking Sticks (Pair): $15
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $35 per person. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Since you are hiking the Inca Trail, you will experience a similar view from the Sun Gate. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
Day packs: Day packs are not provided by Alpaca Expeditions. You must bring your own. Be sure you don’t being anything too large, as you don’t want it to be too heavy while you’re trekking. Plus, Machu Picchu will not allow you to bring in a bag larger than 25L, so if you have a large backpack it will need to be stored before your tour. Only essentials are needed while trekking: water, snack, camera, sunhat, warm layer, rain layers, insect spray, sunscreen, and a first-aid kit.
Headlamps: It is strongly encouraged to bring a headlamp for your night camping. There will be no lights at the camping sites and it is hard to get to your dining tent or you bathroom tent without one. Flashlights are acceptable, if you don’t have a headlamp, but make some tasks more difficult.
Flights: Flying to Cusco can be tricky. Delays occur often and it is not uncommon for flights to be cancelled. Please be sure to arrive in the city at least two days before your trek start date. LAN Peru is the most reliable of the airlines. Avianca and Peruvian Airlines are acceptable companies, as well. You will not return from your trek until around 8 p.m. on the last day, so be sure your flight is not until the next day, when leaving Cusco.
Gratuities: Tipping is always appreciated and should be based completely on your satisfaction. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Travel Insurance: This is not required, but always recommended. For those of you who live at sea-level, landing in Cusco will take an adjustment period. Most people need one or two days to adjust. In case you have a hard time adjusting to the altitude, it is suggested to have protection for missed tours.