MTS expertise plus a spectacular lodge-to-lodge trek make for a Peru experience like no other
Enjoy the challenge and rewards of a high-altitude mountain trek by day and the luxurious comforts of a remote alpine lodge at night! No crowds or camping, just your small group (max. 12) on a lightly traveled trail, accompanied by your experienced MTS guide—steeped in local knowledge and history—and a support staff of an assistant guide, cooks and porters. Wind your way from inn to inn through the snow-capped peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, the mountain range cradling the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Explore the richly diverse Incan hinterland, from sparkling glaciers and stunning azure lakes to lush cloud forests filled with orchids. End each day at a well-appointed lodge, complete with hot tub, fireplace, and fine cuisine. The grand finale will find you standing above the mist-shrouded stone ruins of Machu Picchu—guaranteed to send shivers down your spine.
Unlike our competitors, MTS offers two nights at Machu Picchu, extra time to explore the ancient capital of Cusco, and the expertise that comes with over 40 years of bringing travelers to Peru. No wonder this trip was selected as one of National Geographic Traveler Magazine's “Tours of a Lifetime”!
6 days moderate to strenuous hiking at medium elevation (max. 15,340')
- Journey to iconic Machu Picchu through the diverse ecosystems of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, whose glacial peaks feed the Amazon
- Enjoy the challenge of a high-altitude trek—but with a full support staff and the welcome comforts of mountain lodges at the end of every day
- Get deep insights about the flora, fauna, and history of the region, from the adventure company with over 40 years of experience in Peru
- Take in panoramic Andean views including spectacular Mt. Salkantay, with its dazzling snowfields and ice cliffs
- Enjoy time to explore the ancient Inca capital of Cusco—a UNESCO World Heritage site
Duration: 10 days Start Location: Lima End Location: LimaDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Cusco
Morning arrival in Lima. You will be met by a Mountain Travel Sobek representative who will assist you with your connecting flight to Cusco. Your trip leader will meet you outside the baggage claim area in Cusco, after which we’ll transfer to our hotel. The afternoon will consist of a guided walk through the city, once the capital of the vast Inca Empire. The city is predominantly Indian, and Quechua is the language of choice for most of the inhabitants here. Cusco is a charming city, with red-roofed houses, ornate cathedrals, carved balconies, and hidden courtyards. You can choose from one of the many fine restaurants in town and then afterwards stroll around the central square where artisans display many fine Quechuan handicrafts.
Day 2 : Salkantay Lodge
You will be picked up at your hotel this morning (7:00 a.m.) for the 3½-hour drive to the Salkantay Lodge (12,750'), where we’ll be spending this evening. Along the way we’ll stop in Limatambo to visit the ruins of Tarawasi, built from impeccably polished granite and believed to have been one of the critically important sites of the Inca culture and religion. After leaving Limatambo we’ll pass through the mountain village of Mollepata for a short coffee break, before ascending a winding track to Marcoccasa. Here we will begin our trek to Soraypampa on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for us to acclimate and enjoy a mild and beautiful four hour trek on the first day. (Those who do not wish to trek may be transported to the lodge by vehicle).
The views from the spectacularly situated valley of Soraypampa are panoramic, and from the Salkantay Lodge we’ll have an unimpeded view of Salkantay, at 20,574 feet the highest peak in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, and considered by climbers to be one of the most difficult. We'll anjoy a warm welcome by the staff of the Salkantay Lodge, and a quick wash-up in the room before our evening briefing, which will be followed by aperitifs and a hearty dinner. (3 hours optional hiking.)
Day 3 : Salkantay Lodge
Today you have the choice to spend the day resting up, or to join us for a half day hike—one of the most popular activities at Soraypampa—depending on your level of interest and acclimatization. The morning hike will take us to a high glacial lake where the more adventurous might take a very short swim (it’s glacier water, after all!), and all can enjoy a panoramic view of the high Vilcabamba Range. Not only is this hike excellent for acclimatization, it is a first immersion into high-mountain trekking!
After lunch, trade in your glacial swim for a relaxing soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi. We’ll meet up again in the evening for a briefing on gear and the itinerary for the next four days of trekking. (3-4 hours optional hiking.)
Day 4 : Soraypampa to Wayra Lodge
Today begins our four-day trek to the famed city of Machu Picchu. After an early morning start, we’ll hike up the Río Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay. We’ll reach the highest point of our trip today (15,340') where we’ll pause a moment in the thin air along the and take in the views of the glacial moraines and the surrounding Vilcabamba Range. From there we’ll descend to Wayra Lodge (12,000') where we can wash away the trail dirt and relax in the Jacuzzi. (5-7 hours hiking.)
Day 5 : Huayraccmachay Lodge to Collpa Lodge, Collpapampa
Following our long first day of trekking, we enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge. We then begin hiking, heading downhill above the Salkantay River through an increasingly verdant landscape to the Collpapampa Valley. The change in scenery is dramatic, from the harsh alpine territory above to pastureland and lush vegetation below.
On arrival at the next lodge we are met with a Pachamanca-style lunch (traditional underground stone cooking, subject to availability). Our rest spot for the evening, Collpa Lodge, is located on an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers. It sits in this relatively lower region (10,300') in the cloud forest, with orchids and butterflies all around. The outdoor hot tub in this lodge has prominent views of lush green mountains and a small, far-away, local town. (3-4 hours hiking.)
Day 6 : Collpapampa to Lucma Lodge, Lucmabamba
After an early breakfast we’ll continue downhill through the Santa Teresa River Valley. This is a more populated area, and also quite a bit lusher than anything we have seen. Here we’ll encounter coffee plantations and tropical fruit orchards as well as dazzling wildflowers of all sorts. We’ll rest alongside the river for lunch, and from there it is a short climb upwards to Lucma Lodge (6,600'), hidden away in a wooded tropical enclave. (6-8 hours hiking.)
Day 7 : Lucma to Aguas Calientes
After another early start—and a hearty breakfast—we’ll begin the final day of our trek. We’ll start by heading uphill towards Llactapata Pass (8,900'), where we come upon a distant but quite special view of Machu Picchu from the southwest, a view few tourists ever glimpse. As an added bonus, we’ll also see the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. Lunch is provided at an observatory, with views of Machu Picchu.
We then begin our final descent to the Urubamba River through lush bamboo forests, more orchards and coffee plantations, and diverse mountain terrain. At the end of the trek, we’ll board the train for the village of Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, a short (30-40 minutes), scenic train ride away. After checking in to our hotel, you can explore the orchid gardens, check out the hummingbird feeders, enjoy the hotel's spa, or shop for the alpaca-wool hats, sweaters, and blankets for which the region is well known. (4-6 hours total hiking.)
Day 8 : Machu Picchu
We’ll have the privilege of spending the entire day inside Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas.” Built in the mid-15th century, Machu Picchu was a sanctuary or retreat for Inca royalty. The landscape here is stunning, with orchids on the grounds and a massive cliff face known as Huayna Picchu towering overhead. The city is divided into three sections—the Sacred District, the Popular District, and the District of the Priests and Nobility—and our knowledgeable guides will help us understand the significance of the many temples, sanctuaries, and parks found here. We won’t be rushed at all, instead spending a leisurely day exploring the vast city that was once at the heart of one of the world’s most powerful empires. Lunch at the Sanctuary Hotel within a stone’s throw of the ruins.
Day 9 : Return to Cusco
The morning will be free to explore more of Aguas Calientes, or simply relax at the hotel. After lunch we’ll take the afternoon train back to Cusco, and you’ll be on your own to relax or do some last minute shopping.
Day 10 : Lima, departure
Transfer to the Cusco airport for the short flight to Lima. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to the Hotel Casa Andina Private Collection, where dayrooms will be available. The remainder of the day is free to relax before the flight home (most U.S.-bound flights depart in the evening) or to shop and explore on your own. You may want to visit the exceptional Gold Museum with its numerous gold artifacts, from earplugs to dazzling jewelry. Evening transfer to the airport and depart on homeward-bound flight. (Dayroom at Casa Andina Private Collection)
If you are traveling on one of our late June departures, we recommend that you extend your stay to enjoy the pageantry of the spectacular Inti Raymi festival, a colorful celebration of the winter solstice. Call us for details.
DATES: Best time to go: March - December Departures: Nov 2 - 11, 2014 Low Season price! Dec 21 - 30, 2014 Mar 29, 2015 - Apr 7, 2015 Apr 12 - 21, 2015 May 3 - 12, 2015 May 26, 2015 - Jun 4, 2015 Jun 9 - 18, 2015 Jun 28, 2015 - Jul 7, 2015 Jul 12 - 21, 2015 Aug 4 - 13, 2015 Aug 9 - 18, 2015 Aug 25, 2015 - Sep 3, 2015 Sep 13 - 22, 2015 Sep 22, 2015 - Oct 1, 2015 Oct 11 - 20, 2015 Nov 1 - 10, 2015 Nov 17 - 26, 2015 Dec 13 - 22, 2015
$5,195 (10-12 members)
Low Season (Mar 1- 31 & Nov 1- Dec 14)
$4,895 (10-12 members)
$5,395 (9-12 members)
Low Season (Mar 1- 31 & Nov 1- Dec 14)
$4,995 (9-12 members)
Palacio del Inka-CuscoCusco
Facing the Sun Temple "Koricancha," this romantic, personalized hotel is a traveler's favorite, reaching 11th place on Condé Nast Traveler's list of top South American hotels. Rooms furnished in a classic, traditional style ensure the hotel maintains its serene character despite its central location.
Nestled in the Andean valley of Soraypampa, at 12,500 feet, Salkantay Lodge is designed as a harmonious blend of nature and comfort. Enjoy excellent organic Peruvian cuisine, an outdoor Jacuzzi, and well-appointed rooms.
This charming lodge hovers on a secluded windy stretch of valley beneath Humantay mountain. The stone and thatch structure, in characteristic Andean style, houses comfortable, elegant quarters managed with care by the owners, a local family.
In an open promontory at the confluence of three rivers, Collpa Lodge sits in a cloud forest, with orchids and butterflies all around. The outdoor hot tub in this lodge has prominent views of lush green mountains and a small, far-away, local town.
Built at the head of the Inca trail, this elegant lodge sits amid avocado and coffee orchards within the archeological reserve. The walls of windows in the sitting area and dining room open the space to the grandeur of the rainforest's natural surroundings.
Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel
A luxury boutique hotel just steps from the train, but a secluded natural paradise. Located in the small town of Aguas Calientes on the banks of the Urubamba River, the Pueblo Hotel was rated by Travel + Leisure readers as a top 500 hotel of the world in 2006. Rustic elegance distinguishes the private bungalows, each with its own fireplace, and the lush gardens are home to orchids, exotic birds and other flora and fauna.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Expert leadership is the key to an exciting, unforgettable experience. Our trips feature gifted leaders for whom leading trips is a true vocation. Besides showing you wonders you’d never find on your own, they make sure everything runs smoothly and safely without a hitch. They are knowledgeable about all aspects of your trip, and take great pleasure in sharing their insights with you. More than just guides, they positively elevate your experience by being teachers, companions, and the best of friends. You’ll be in good hands with them every step of the way.
Manolo Lazo is one of Peru’s most experienced adventure travel guides, with more than 15 years of experience leading treks and whitewater rafting trips. A resident of Cusco, Manolo is well versed in the rich history of the Andes as well as the classic trekking routes that follow the ancient Inca trade paths. His knowledge of the country, its people, and traditions add immensely to your appreciation of the trip. Manolo is fluent in English as well as Spanish, and conversant in Quechua—the historic language of the Incas, and he has a gift for instilling confidence in every trekker.
A British/Peruvian and fluent in English and Spanish, is an outdoor enthusiast with many interests, including photography, archaeology, and trekking in the Andes. His spirit, enthusiasm, and knowledge extend well beyond the borders of Peru. He’s the ideal guide for your Peruvian adventure, and we’re confident he’ll enrich your experience in one of the world’s most interesting countries.