Lodge-Based Trek and the Lost City of the Incas

Overview

Enjoy a spectacular Andean trek—without camping! Following ancient Inca trails in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, the precipitous mountain range that cradles Machu Picchu, you’ll hike through an exquisite setting of gleaming glacial lakes, cloud forests full of orchids and waterfalls, and the dazzling peaks and glaciers of Salkantay (20,574') and Huamantay (19,239'). At the end of each exhilarating day, you’ll be welcomed at mountain lodges in dramatic settings, each one featuring private rooms, hot showers, delightful cuisine—and even saunas! Your ultimate reward is an exploration of ethereal Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca world.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Cusco / Salkantay Lodge

After exploring the Incas’ imperial city of Cusco, we head through the Soraypampa Valley to Salkantay Lodge (11,800'), ringed by the snowy peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba. An acclimatization hike to a turquoise glacial lake at 14,000 feet offers stunning views of Salkantay and Huamantay. Feeling adventurous? Go for a refreshing dip!

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Day 4-6
Salkantay Pass / Santa Teresa Valley

Enjoy a stunning backdrop of glaciers and icefalls as you cross Salkantay Pass (15,200'), a dramatic notch between the glacial moraines of Huamantay and Salkantay. Keeping an eye out for Andean condors, descend to Wayra Lodge (12,800'), where you can soak in the Jacuzzi beneath a starlit sky. We pass through delicate cloud forest vegetation on our way to Colpa Lodge (9,414'), and we’ll be treated to a special pachamanca here, a traditional festive Peruvian meal. Hikes in an orchid-draped forest and among the waterfalls and bromeliads of the Santa Teresa Valley bring you to Lucma Lodge (7,000'), a delightful retreat set in its own avocado orchard.

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Days 7-9
Machu Picchu / Cusco

Crossing Pallayacta Pass (8,974'), we arrive at the recently restored Inca ruins at Llactapata, set high on a ridge facing Machu Picchu. After enjoying this rarely seen view of the sanctuary, we descend to the banks of the Urubamba River and head by train to the bustling town of Aguas Calientes. Our riverside hotel offers spacious cottages in a tropical garden setting. We explore the evocative ruins of Machu Picchu with a specialist guide, then return to Cusco and depart on Day 9.

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Highlights

Highlights

Trek in a high Andean realm, but stay in mountain lodges with private rooms and hot showers—no camping!
View ice-clad Salkantay, Huamantay, and the diverse ecosystems of the Cordillera Vilcabamba
Explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu with a specialist guide

Details

Length: 9 days
Cost From: $4195  
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru
Lodging: 3 nights hotels, 5 nights mountain lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners
Activity: Hiking / Trekking, Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
Trip Level:

5-day trek on moderate to steep trails, 6-8 hours a day, altitudes between 7,000-15,200 feet
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