Royal Inca Route

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Run by: HighLives Travel

Reference number: WAN-151

From: £2050.00

Overview

For this 7-day adventure, enjoy the comfort and service of four top quality mountain retreats on a journey escorted by experienced guides and with mules to carry bags. You will trek from lodge to lodge, en route to Machu Picchu. The route goes from 3,900m to 2,100m above sea level, traversing magnificent mountain passes between mystical snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and meeting local people who still remain closely attached to their heritage.

Itinerary

Day 0

EVENING BRIEFING (PM) IN CUSCO.

MEET & GREET

Important information for a great trekking experience.

Day 1

CUSCO to SALKANTAY LODGE at SORAYPAMPA (3,800m).

After an early breakfast, guests will be picked up at 7am from their hotel in Cusco by a guide and vehicle to travel the Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. The journey includes a visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx 90 minutes from Cusco) and a coffee break at the mountain village of Mollepata, before ascending 30 minutes along a winding mountain road to Marcoccasa.

Optional and moderate 4-hour trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the "Camino Real" (Royal Path) to arrive at the lodge, which takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley- the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270m, the highest in the region.

Day 2

SORAYPAMPA

The most popular ativity at Soraypampa is a half-day moderate-to-challenging hike to a glacial lake where the bravest could even take a short swim. In the afternoon, guests may choose to take a relaxing soak in the lodge’s outdoor jacuzzi. In the evening, the guide will brief the trekking party on the itinerary for the next four days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken at the lodge.

Day 3

SORAYPAMPA to WAYRA LODGE at HUAYRACCMACHAY (3,850m).

This is the big day: the start of the four-day trek to Machu Picchu.

After an early start, hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. The highest point on the trek is a pass at 4,600m, where we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba range in every direction. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors and descend toward the Wayra Lodge. A hot lunch is taken en route. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

(Hiking time: 4-6 hours. Total excursion time: 5-7 hours. Hiking level: challenging.)

Day 4

HUAYRACCMACHAY to COLPA LODGE at COLLPAPAMPA (2,800m).

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge then begin our trek by hiking downhill above the Salkantay River, through increasingly fertile landscape. Our arrival at the next lodge offers a “Pachamanca”-style lunch of traditional underground stone cooking (subject to availability). The Colpa Lodge is located at the confluence of three rivers and has an outdoor hot tub with prominent views of lush green mountains. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

(Hiking time: 3-4 hours, hiking level: easy to moderate.)

Day 5

COLLPAPAMPA to LUCMA LODGE at LUCMABAMBA (2,100m).

After an early breakfast, head down the Santa Teresa river valley through more populated rural areas with plantations growing coffee, bananas, passionfruit and other fruits. After another hour of trekking, we take a private vehicle for the 30-minute drive to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail. From the head of the trail it is a 30-minute climb to the Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. We arrive in time to allow for exploration of the small village of Lucmabamba. (Hiking time: 5-6 hours. Total excursion time: 6-8 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging.)

Day 6

LUCMABAMBA to AGUAS CALIENTES (1,900m).

After an early start and a hearty breakfast we head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata pass (2,700m). Here we come upon the recently-restored Llactapata ruins and a distant but quite special view of Machu Picchu, one few tourists ever glimpse. Lunch is provided at the observatory, in view of Machu Picchu, before we begin our final 2-3 hour descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations.

The town of Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a scenic 30 minutes train ride away. (Total hiking time: 4-6 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging). We then arrive in Aguas Calientes to check-in to our hotel for the night.

Day 7

Machu Picchu (2,450m) to Cusco

An early breakfast at the hotel and a 30-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu, where a 2-hour guided tour is provided. 4 additional hours to explore the site independently. Afterwards, return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch and to go to the train station for an afternoon departure.

The train takes us to Ollantaytambo (90 minutes), where a private vehicle awaits to take us to Cusco (90 minutes).

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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