Salkantay - Machupicchu Photography Expedition 5d/4n
Residence of Andean Ghosts
- Salkantay Mount
- Glacial Lagoons
- Wild life
This trip has been designed for partners and friends who are the mix of birders and non-birders, photographers and non-photographers.
A true Andean odyssey, this 4-days trek through the dramatic Cordillera of Vilcabamba is a wonderful alternative for those who want to take a less-traveled and exceptionally beautiful route to Machu Picchu. Salkantay mountain is the second highest (6,285 m.a.s.l) in Cusco and is known as "Guardian or protector of pilgrimages" that stands among the mountains and the jungle. Crossing over a pass between the peaks of the immense mountains Salkantay and Humantay (5,850 m.a.s.l), you will get to see some spectacular views of the glacial and the sprawling valleys that stand over. The great thing about this particular trek, that none of the other treks can offer (including the Inca Trail) is that you get to see so many different microclimates in such a short amount of time. You will start in the high plateau area of the Andes, then you go up to an altitude of 4,600 meters (fore mentioned pass) and then down into the lush outer rim of the jungle on the other side of the mountains. You can actually see the microclimates changing through your eyes.
In the third day when you are getting deeper and deeper into the cloud and rain forest, you will encounter numerous wild tropical fruits and coffee plantations as well an abundance of wild flowers and exotic birds. Down into the valley, we take an ancient original Inca trail up through a fertile farm lands, orchids, moss, waterfalls and rivers, making a gorgeous tropical atmosphere.
Day 1: Cusco - Salkantaypampa
Leaving Cusco early in the morning, we take 4 hour ride along a scenic route to the small town of Mollepata (2,800 m.a.s.l), located high above the Apurimac river. Here you can have an extra coffee or buy some additional snacks. Then we continue driving to Soraypampa; there we meet up with the mules, horses, and horsemen that will carry our gear during the trek. We will begin with a gentle hike into the green river valley beneath the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, and then we continue hiking steadily upwards to the high plateau. Along the way, we will get our first incredible view of Mount Humantay (5,850 m.a.s.l). As we approach our campsite at Salkantaypampa (4,200 m.a.s.l); the enormous Salkantay peak (6,271 m.a.s.l) will be towering over us making a beautiful sunset, being a good moment to take some of the best photographs on the route. Mount Salkantay is the highest point in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range.
Day 2: Salkantaypampa - Colpapampa
After breakfast we start our hike in direction of the pass where we take one of the most spectaculars pictures on the way. Following a series of switchbacks, we set up to Soyrococcha lagoon, where we will have a break time; after that, our path leads up the west side of the mountain until to summit the top marked by small piles of stones or apachetas, left by locals and travelers in honor to the mountain gods. From this high pass (4,650 m.a.s.l) flanked by Mount Salkantay and Mount Huamantay, we make our way into the Wayraccmachay valley for couple hours (lunch place). Continuing our downhill in direction of our campsite we are going to pass through a polylepis and cloud forest area, finally arriving to Colpapampa (2,800 m.a.s.l).
Day 3: Colpapampa - Lucmabamba
The trail leads us down the eastern slope of the Andes and into a sub-tropical valley, where the temperature is noticeably warmer and we can even see a variety of sceneries. After a morning of downhill walking we continue through the rainforest over the river side, where we will encounter orchids, wild bright flowers, and hummingbirds; butterflies, many species of birds, and lush groves of tropical fruit and coffee plants, until arrive to the small village of Lucmabamba (2,200 m.a.s.l ), where we set up our camp.
Day 4: Lucmabamba - Aguas Calientes
After breakfast we take the bus to Santa Teresa town. Since that place we will continue through the Urubamba canyon until arrive to Hydroelectric. There, you have a walking across the river side over the railways, this section is the most spectacular view of Machupicchu and the biodiversity showed until arrive Aguas Calientes town, where we spend a comfortable night in a hotel.
If you are plenty of energy and with still a good physical condition, we can take the Llactapata route, where is located a spectacular Inca site. From this point, we can enjoy a great view of the left side of Machupicchu and the valley. This trek takes 5 to 6 hours up and down until reach Hydroelectric, for lunch. Finishing we take the train to Aguas Calientes.
Day 5: Machu Picchu - Cusco
After an early wake up and breakfast, we take the bus ride up to Machu Picchu, where we will tour the amazing architecture and mysterious temples left by the andean masters and specialized stone masons. A professional guide will help us to understand the sophisticated technology of this highly-advanced culture. Once the official tour is completed, we will have plenty of time to explore by yourself the Sanctuary on your own before returning to Cusco by train through Ollantaytambo in the afternoon.
Tour Program Includes:
- All transportations
- Round trip bus Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu
- One way train tickets Aguas Calientes to Cusco
- Ozonazed water (you must carry your own canteen)
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes
- All entrance fees
- Professional guide
- Custom assistance
- All meals during the route
- Horses and horse men
- One emergency horse
- Camping equipment
- Train ticket from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes
- Breakfast on first day
- Lunch on last day
- Sleeping bag (-10)
- You can take additional horse for U$$ 100.00
- Other requirements
- Gratuities recommended for staff
List of Trip:
- Water proof bags
- Photography equipments and extra batteries
- Sun block SPF 45 - 90
- Canteen is obligatory
- Extra warm clothes
- Additional Snacks
- Hat or cap (wool hat)
- Hiking and tennis shoes (obligatory)
- Raincoats or rain ponchos (all year)
- Walking poles
- Passport, ISIC Card (students)
- Flash light and batteries
- Sleeping bags (-15 degrees)
- Snacks: Energy bars, chocolate, dry fruits (obligatory).
If you don’t have some of the required equipments, we can rent one