In the past decade, hiking has increased a lot in the Cusco area and the main reason for this, is our visitors´ interest for its beautiful landscapes and picturesque places, on the way to the most attractive site this country has to offer. Starting in the city of Cusco, passing by typical Andean villages, such as Izcuchaca, Ancahuasi, Limatambo and Mollepata, on the way to the hike´s starting point, to meet with our team of muleteers and start the hike from Soraypampa to Santa Teresa, while experiencing the amazing company of Mount Salkantay, close to the trail, as we´ll go over a mountain pass of more than 4,800 m./15,840 ft. above sea level, to then descend to Chaullay, where the vegetation and temperature start to change due to the lower altitude and later on, arrive at Lucmabamba. From there, have a visit to less uncover Llactapata ruins and later have a transportation by train to Aguas Calientes town to finish the Day 5 visiting Peru’s New Seven Wonder, Machu Picchu.
Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa
After an early start in Cusco, even before sunrise; our van or bus will be heading northwest. With a few stops along the way, in the village of Izcuchaca, on the Huillque Mountain Pass, at the archaeological site of Tarawasi and in the village of Mollepata. After almost a four hour van ride from Cusco, we´ll arrive at Cruzpata where we´ll meet with our team of muleteers and their burden animals our first part of hike will start close to a water aqueduct built by Incas and renewed in colonial time. This short trek for today is going to be until Soraypampa (3,850 m./12,705 ft.), , in clear conditions is possible to see the Mount Soray (5,950 m./19,635 ft.) and the majestic Salkantay (6,270 m./20,691 ft.).
Lunch and Dinner.
Leaving behind our Soraypampa campsite, we will climb to get a small flat land this is Salkantaypampa, from this point our ascend will be hard until Salkantay pass, from it will start our walk down through the Huayraqmachay Valley, with abundant Andean grass (Ichu) in its first part and if we are lucky, we might sight a Peruvian mountain viscacha (A rabbit-like mammal, with a long tail). There, the trail is full of gravel and very steep and on the way, we´ll go by a small community called Rayampata. From there on, the landscape will change, as we´ll be appreciating more vegetation. Going down the trail, we´ll be walking on the left side of the Sunchuccata River and further downstream, it will fuse with the Santa Teresa River and our campsite will be located nearby this river junction, in a small community called Chaullay, at 2,900 m. / 9,579 ft. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Today, our hike will start going downhill, along the left side of the Santa Teresa River, as there will be more vegetation and the temperature might get very hot. On the way, we´ll observe many farming fields where corn and broad beans grow and we might sight some crops from the jungle area, like sugar cane, banana and passion fruit plantations. Then, later in the afternoon, we´ll arrive in Lucmabamba, at 2,000 m./6,600 ft. above sea level; a good place to relax and have the opportunity to interact with locals, at our campsite. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
Llactapata – Aguas Calientes
After having wished farewell to our trekking staff, we´ll hike uphill for almost four hours, to the Llactapata Mountain Pass and just a few minutes from it, on the way down, we´ll get to the archaeological site of Llactapata, and as we´ll look at the mountains around, we might be able to sight Machupicchu, in the South-east. Then, we´ll descend on a very steep path, across extensive farming lands, with passion fruit, avocado, banana, coffee bean, orange, yucca or manioc and sugar cane plantations, to get to the Aobamba Valley and after a one hour hike in that valley, we´ll get close to a village called Hidroelectrica, where we´ll take the train, for almost thirty minutes, to the village of Aguas Calientes, where we’ll spend a night at a hostel. Breakfast and Lunch.
Machupicchu – Cusco
Today, we´ll have a very early start, to try to be the first in Machupicchu, to contemplate the sunrise there and also have more time to explore the site, before most people who will arrive by train from Cusco. We’ll first have a guided tour in the morning, after which you will still have some time to wander about Machupicchu, on your own and in the afternoon, we´ll board the train back to Ollantaytambo and later transfer to Cusco city. Breakfast.