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.
The itinerary and hiking journey were fantastic and the quality and luxury of the lodges far surpassed our expectations, as did the food provided at the lodges. A nice combination of strenuous trekking with luxury at the end of the day.
— Edwin W., Kingsport, TN
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!
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.
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.