Lodge-Based Trek and the Lost City of the Incas

Overview

Enjoy a spectacular Andean trek—no camping! On the fantastic trails of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, the mountain landscape that cradles Machu Picchu, we’ll hike past gleaming alpine lakes, into delicate cloud forests draped in orchids and bromeliads, and below the dazzling snow-capped peaks of Salkantay (20,574') and Huamantay (19,239'). At the end of each hiking day, we are welcomed at a trailside mountain lodge in a dramatic setting, with each lodge featuring private rooms, hot showers, delightful cuisine—and even saunas. The grand finale is our exploration of ethereal Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca world.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
Cusco / Salkantay Lodge

After exploring Cusco, the Incas’ imperial city, we head out into the mountains for a hike through the gorgeous Soraypampa Valley to our first trailside accommodation, Salkantay Lodge (11,800'), ringed by the peaks of the Cordillera Vilcanota. We enjoy an acclimatization hike from this beautiful lodge, scrambling up to a turquoise lake at 14,000 feet for vistas of Salkantay and Huamantay.

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Days 4-6
Salkantay Pass / Santa Teresa Valley

Stunning glaciers and icefalls are the backdrop as we hike over Salkantay Pass (15,200'), a dramatic notch between the glacial moraines of Huamantay and Salkantay. Keeping an eye out for Andean condors, we descend to Wayra Lodge (12,800'), where we can soak in a hot tub beneath a starlit sky. We hike through cloud forests on our way to Colpa Lodge (9,414'), and here we’ll enjoy a pachamanca, a traditional Peruvian barbecue. Trails through the lush Santa Teresa Valley bring us to lovely Lucma Lodge (7,000'), surrounded by its own avocado orchard.

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Days 7-9
Machu Picchu / Cusco

Crossing Pallayacta Pass (8,974'), we arrive at the restored Inca ruin site 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, end our trek, and take the train to the bustling town of Aguas Calientes and our lovely riverside hotel. On Day 8, we rise early to explore legendary Machu Picchu with a specialist guide, then take the afternoon train 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: $4595  
Arrive: Cusco, Peru
Depart: Cusco, Peru
Lodging: 3 nights hotels, 5 nights mountain lodges
Meals: All meals included except 1 lunch and 2 dinners (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
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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