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9-Day Package with Salkantay Hike

If you have more time and want to fully experience what Cusco has to offer but also enjoy a hike with gorgeous scenery that ends in Machu Picchu, then this package is for you. First you get to see not only the main Inca ruins in Cusco, but also the places where the locals go. After that you will visit the Sacred Valley and then start your 5-day Salkantay Hike that ends in Macchu Picchu. This package will let you see and experience all the amazing history and beautiful geography that this region has to offer.

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco, City Tour
Day 2: Sacred Valley
Day 3: Maras, Moray & Community Visit
Days 4-8: Salkantay Hike
Day 9: Departure

Itinerary

Day 1 – Cusco City Tour. We will pick you up at the Cusco airport and take you to your hotel. You will have some time to settle in, and then we will return at 1:00 pm to start the Cusco City Tour. We will begin the tour at the most important temple of the Inca Empire, the Sun Temple, known as the Qoricancha. Here, you can observe detailed and intact architecture, and within the temple you will see smaller temples dedicated to the moon, rainbow, stars, lightning and thunder, among others. Today, the Santo Domingo church stands on top of the temple. From there, we will go to an important religious site called Sacsayhuamán which features immense stones. Although the site was religious, the Spanish considered it a military fortress because of its location and the way it was built. Next, we will visit Qenqo, a site built in a natural rock formation which was created to represent the Andean constellations and the concept of the three worlds, each one representing sacred animals: the condor, puma, and snake. After that we will travel to Puka Pukara, which was a shelter for travelers coming to Cusco from the Amazon. It was also a military center and used to protect the nearby temple located at Tambomachay. Our last stop is Tambomachay, known as the Temple of Water, where the Incas practiced religious traditions tied to water in order to rejuvenate the land. This tradition is known as the fountain of eternal youth. From there, we will return to the city and drop you off at your hotel at around 6:00 pm.

Day 2 – Sacred Valley Tour. We will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at 8:00 am. In our private vehicle, we will drive to the Animal Refuge which has Andean animals such as llamas, alpacas, condors, and pumas. Afterwards, we will head to one of the most important archaeological sites in the region, called Pisac, to see Inca burial grounds, ancient irrigation systems and astronomical centers. We will visit the ruins and terraces for about an hour, and after our tour here will then go down to the town of Pisac located at the bottom of the valley. In this town we will first stop by a local silver factory and will see a demonstration of how they process and form beautiful jewelry. Next, we will walk through the cobble-stoned street to the plaza to see locals selling produce and souvenirs in their stands. You will have some free time to browse and do some shopping here as well. After finishing our visit in Pisac, we will drive to the town of Urubamba to have a buffet lunch which includes both delicious Peruvian and Western cuisine. From there, we will head to Ollantaytambo where we will visit the ruins built up on terraces that features massive stones at the top. This site was an important religious and astronomical center, and was also used as a military fortress in one of the biggest battles the Incas had against the Spanish. After this, we will start to head back to Cusco, and on the way we will stop at another local village called Chinchero where we will see the remaining Inca buildings and terraces here that were important for the administration of farming. We will then return to Cusco and will drop you off at your hotel around 6:30 pm.

Day 3 – Maras, Moray & Community Visit. We will pick you up at 8:00 am and we will drive for about 45 minutes to the town of Chinchero. Here we will visit a weaving co-op where we will learn about the ancient weaving process which is still practiced here. Then we will head to the Andean village called Mahuaypampa where many of our Quechuas (porters for the Inca Trail) live. We will go to visit a local family and be invited into their house. They will serve us a typical lunch which is made from the crops that they harvest from their fields (such as a vegetable soup, boiled potatoes, corn, and lima beans). Inside their house, we will learn about the local family’s traditional Andean culture. Most locals here only speak Quechua, but your guide will be able to translate so that you can talk to the family and get to know them. We will also visit some of the farms and learn about local crops and will also see locals shepherding and tending their livestock including sheep, pigs, cows, and donkeys. Please keep in mind that on the Community Visit the houses we visit are very simple with dirt floors and basic necessities. It is normal for locals to keep small animals inside their houses such as guinea pigs. After thanking our hosts, we will drive down a country road to visit the nearby Moray terraces. These unique and grand circular terraces were made in natural depressions and seemed to have been used as a type of laboratory for growing and testing new varieties of vegetables at different temperatures. We will visit the different terraces and have a thorough tour before we drive to our last site called the Maras salt mines. At this site we will see how the mines are fed with springs saturated with salt and will also learn the important role that salt played during the Inca Empire. Once we finish taking pictures we will head back to Cusco and arrive at your hotel at approximately 6:00 pm. We will then have your briefing for your hike and will go over the itinerary and provide you with your Therm-a-rest air mattress, pillow, and duffle bag that you can fill with up to 8 kg of your personal gear to have the horses carry on the hike.

Day 4 – Salkantay Hike. On the first day of your hike, we will pick you up at 6:00 am from your Cusco hotel and will drive 4 hours to the start of the hike. On our way, we will stop at the Inca archaeological site called Killarumiyoq, and your guide will give a short history lesson. We will also enjoy breakfast here before driving the rest of the way to the starting point of the trail, called Soraypampa at 3,883 meters or 12,740 feet. If it is a clear day, we will already be able to see the majestic Umantay and Salkantay Mountains before us. Our chef will begin to prepare lunch, and if you are feeling fine with the altitude, we can do a short hike up to see the turquoise Umantay Lake which will take 1 and a half hours. We will have lunch in Soraypampa and then will start our uphill hike for 8 km (5 miles) to the first campsite which takes 3 hours. Our campsite is called Soyrococha and is located at 4,400 meters or 14,435 feet and is one of the highest campsites in the Cusco region. Here, it is essential to have warm clothing, thermals, and a sleeping bag good for at least -20°C (-4°F) since the temperature can reach below freezing and sometimes it can snow.

Day 5 – Salkantay Hike. The next day, we will hike for a total distance of 16 km (10 miles) and will get to see a variety of ecological zones. We will start by hiking uphill for about 40 minutes until we reach the Salkantay Pass at 4,635 meters or 15,200 feet. Here, we will stand right below the towering Salkantay Mountain which is the highest peak in the area at 6,264 meters or 20,551 feet. If we are lucky we might see condors or other animals such as the viscacha which is related to the chinchilla. We will then descend for 3 hours to our lunch site located at Rayanniyoc. On the way, we will be able to see the changing geography, as we start in the grassy highlands and end in the green cloud forest. After lunch, we will continue descending for 2 hours and will enter the tropical cloud forest where we can see wild orchids and other native flowers, as well as hummingbirds. We will continue our descent through the bamboo groves, until we arrive at the village of Collpapampa which sits at 2,855 meters (9,366 feet), and here we will have dinner and camp for the evening.

Day 6 – Salkantay Hike. On this day we will hike for a total of 16 km (10 miles) and will get to enjoy a cultural afternoon with a local farming family. After breakfast, we will continue down the valley for about 6 hours into a forest that contains bamboo groves and great bird watching opportunities. Flocks of colorful tropical birds roam the forest and warm water cascades down nearby cliffs. The trail here gradually descends, and on the way our guide will point out the various flora and fauna in the area. We will reach our campsite located at the small village of Lucmabamba which is at 2,008 meters (6,588 feet), and here we will also have lunch. In the afternoon, we will do some farming activities that will depend on the time of year but may include collecting and roasting coffee beans, picking avocados, oranges, passion fruit, and also we may be able to harvest some honey. We will also have the option to eat guinea pig for supper!

Day 7 – Salkantay Hike to Aguas Calientes. On the last day of the hike, we will trek for 8 km or 5 miles and will need to get up early. From Lucmabamba to our lunch site we will hike for about 5-6 hours. We will start ascending through the lush rainforest for about 2 and a half to 3 hours to the Llaqtapata Pass which is at 2,700 meters or 8,910 feet. Then we will then descend for 15 minutes and arrive at the archaeological site of Llaqtapata where we will stop and have some snacks. This site provides our first view of Machu Picchu from the other side of the valley, and we will learn about how Llaqtapata was an important astronomical center. After resting, we will begin our descent for 2 and a half to 3 hours down the mountain until we reach the hydroelectric station, where we will enjoy a well-deserved lunch. After eating we will say good bye to our chef and before continuing our hike, we will stop at another important Inca site called Inti Wutana, which was a sun dial used by the Incas. Then we will hike for about three hours to Aguas Calientes (2,040 meters or 6,692 feet), the town located at the bottom of Machu Picchu. We will follow a flat route next to the train tracks and will get to see Machu Picchu from afar from different angles as well as nearby farming terraces. At Aguas Calientes we will check into our hotel and then will have some free time to visit the hot springs before meeting for dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 8 – Machu Picchu. After having an early breakfast at your hotel, you will meet your guide and take the 25-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu. You will have a 3-hour tour with your guide where you will see and learn about the most important sites including the Temple of the Sun, the main plaza, Intiwatana, and the Temple of the Condor. After your tour, you will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, and in the afternoon you will take the train back to Cusco where we will pick you up from the train station and drop you off at your hotel.

Day 9 – Departure. We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco and take you to the airport for your departure flight.

Services Included

Food: We include lunch in the Sacred Valley (drinks are not included), a traditional lunch on the Maras, Moray & Community Visit, and all meals during the hike (lunch on the eighth day in Aguas Calientes is not included). Breakfast will be provided by your hotels.

Accommodations: We include the first, second, third and last nights in a hotel in Cusco (Cusco B&B or Hotel Montecristo), camping during the entire hike, and your hotel in Aguas Calientes (Killa Inn or Panorama B&B). Please note that all hotels are subject to availability. For hotel upgrade options, please see the “Additional Options” tab.

Guide: Your guide will be with you for the Cusco City Tour, Sacred Valley, Maras, Moray & Community Visit and the multi-day hike. All our guides are licensed and speak fluent English, Spanish, and Quechua.

Transportation: We will provide you with private transportation to and from the airport, as well as to and from our tour destinations. We also include your round trip bus tickets to Machu Picchu and back to Aguas Calientes, as well as your train ticket from Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes and return train ticket in the Expedition service from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco.

Entrance Fees: The entrance to Machu Picchu is included, as well as the general tourist pass that will admit you into all major archaeological and historic sites in Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

Camping Equipment: We include 2-person North Face Mountain 25 tents, Therm-a-Rest mattress and pillow for each hiker, and all other camping equipment such as a kitchen tent manned by a professional cooking staff, a dining tent with table and chairs, and a bathroom tent. Please note that sleeping bags and trekking poles are not included, although they can be rented from us.

What to Bring

  • Original passport
  • Sleeping bag (or you can rent one from us)
  • A small day backpack to carry your personal belongings (the horses will carry the items that you do not need during the day)
  • Trekking poles (or you can rent a pair from us)
  • Bathing suit (if you would like to enjoy the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
  • Good sneakers or light hiking boots, and one pair of flip-flops or light sandals
  • Camera and extra batteries
  • Flashlight
  • Rain gear (especially if traveling in the wet season, from October to March)
  • Comfortable hiking clothes
  • Bug repellent
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses
  • Cap for the sun
  • Warm clothes for the nighttime including thermals, warm hat, and gloves
  • Travel towel
  • Toilet paper
  • Water bottle and about 1 liter of water for the first day until lunch, and after that we will supply you with boiled water for the rest of the hike
  • Tips for your guide, chef, and horsemen (optional)

Price

Number of People You Book With Price per Person in US Dollars
1-2 people $1,220 USD per person
3-5 people $1,120 USD per person
6-8 people $1,020 USD per person
9+ people Please contact us for a special price!
Discounts:

  • Children 8-17 years old – $40 USD off
    Children 7 years old and under – 50% discount
  • *To receive the child discount you must send us a copy of the child’s passport.
*We need a minimum of 2 people to run the tour. We guarantee that your tour will be limited to a maximum of 8 people. To ensure a private tour with us, our price increases $100 per person.

Additional Options

Huayna Picchu: If you are interested in climbing Huayna Picchu, the mountain overlooking Machu Picchu, there is an additional fee of $20 USD per person for us to buy your entrance ticket. Spaces are limited, so please let us know when booking whether you would like to hike Huayna Picchu, and we will reserve it for you. For information about this hike, please visit our Huayna Picchu page.

Hotel Upgrade: Included in this tour are accommodations in comfortable B&B Hotels in Cusco and Aguas Calientes. However, if you would like to upgrade to 3, 4, or 5 star hotels, we offer the following prices and options:

  • 3 Stars: $240 USD total for double rooms and $210 USD total for single rooms (Tambo del Arriero or Rumi Punku in Cusco and Hotel Ferre or La Cabaña in Aguas Calientes)
  • 4 Stars: $780 USD total for double rooms and $600 USD total for single rooms (Costa del Sol or Casa Andina Premium in Cusco and Casa del Sol in Aguas Calientes)
  • 5 Stars: $2,260 USD total for double rooms and $2,200 USD total for single rooms (Inkaterra La Casona or Belmond El Monasterio in Cusco and Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo or Sumaq Hotel in Aguas Calientes)

*Please note that all hotels and room types are subject to availability, and that we will confirm them once your reservation is made. Prices may be modified during holidays or the peak tourism season. Also, we work with many hotels in Cusco and Aguas Calientes, so if there is a specific hotel not listed that you prefer, please let us know and we can provide you with a price, or you can also reserve your hotels directly.

Sleeping Bags: If you would like to rent a sleeping bag from us, the price is $25 USD per person in total for the hike.

Trekking Poles: We recommend taking trekking poles on the hike especially when hiking downhill. If you would like to rent a pair for the whole hike, the price is $15 USD per person.

Private Tent: In our service we include North Face Mountain 25 tents that are 2-person tents. However, if you would like to reserve a private tent the price is $40 USD.

Vistadome Train: Our price includes a return train ticket in the Expedition train, however, if you would like to upgrade to the Vistadome train the price is an additional $50 USD per person.

Cuy (Guinea Pig): On the third day of your hike you may try eating guinea pig which is a typical Peruvian dish. If you would like to try this dish, the cost is 40 soles for one guinea pig.

Customized Itinerary: Although this is our suggested itinerary for this 9-Day Package, we can personalize your itinerary to better fit your preferences. For example, please let us know if you will be spending more or less than 9 days in Cusco, if there are additional tours you are interested in, and if there are any other services we can help organize for you.

Additional Information: For more information on rules and regulations of Machu Picchu, please see our Rules and Regulations page here. To see information on cancellations and other policies, please see our Cancellations page here.

How to Book

We only require a minimum of 2 people to start this package, so if there are at least 2 people total in your group we can organize this package for the start date that you choose. If you are traveling by yourself, please email us to check the availability and let us know the package that you are interested in and the dates when you are available to start.

To reserve your package, please email us at info@cusitravel.com with the package you want to do, the date you want to start, and how many people are in your group. We will also need the following information for each traveler:

  • Full name
  • Passport number
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Gender
  • Food restrictions (if any)
  • Would you like to climb Huayna Picchu for an additional $20 USD per person?

If you would like tickets to climb Huayna Picchu after your tour of Machu Picchu, we will reserve a ticket for you as long as there is availability.

After sending your personal information, the next step is for each person in your group to make a deposit of $500 USD to reserve your package. To make your deposit, please pay by selecting the correct amount below or by visiting our Book Now page. To receive the child discount, you must email us a copy of the child’s passport at the time of making your reservation. The remaining balance is due in Cusco. The remaining balance is due in Cusco. You may pay in cash (either in US dollars or Peruvian soles) at your briefing, or if you prefer you may pay with a Visa credit card at our office. To pay with a credit card, before your briefing please visit our office which is located at Calle Union #140 in the reception of the Cusco B&B Hotel.

 

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