The Inca Heartland & Salkantay Trek

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Run by: Rainbow Tours

Reference number: ITN-PER019

From: £4330.00

This Peru holiday is perfect for those who want an iconic trekking trip whilst enjoying the creature comforts of luxurious mountain lodge accommodation. Immerse yourself in the intriguing history of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley where you can see Inca sites as well as Andean markets and surrounding villages.

On the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, spend six days surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range and the towering south face of Apu Salkantay. Luxury mountain lodges are warm, comfortable and perfect for cold evenings in the Andes. After a long day of trekking, take a soothing dip in the lodges hot tub. Reach Machu Picchu and experience a view very few tourists will experience from the restored ruins at Llactapata. Meander dowhill through lush forest to reach the end of the trail. After this life-changing experience, spend a day  at the citadel, exploring the different areas and ancient farming terraces, with plenty of opportunity for photography. 

Depart the Inca capital of Cuzco and travel through the magnificent Andean Mountains, the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River, the Andean Plains and a short scenic stop in La Raya, the highest point on the route to the town of Puno on the shores of Lake Titicaca. Sail on the highest navigable lake in the world to the tortora reed islands of Uros people before continuing to Taquile Island where the people are famous for their colourful, fine weavings and their hospitality. 

Itinerary

Day 1 Depart London Heathrow for your flight to Cuzco via Bogota.

Day 2 On arrival you will be met and taken by private transfer to your hotel. El Mercado Tunqui is the hotel offering from the Mountain Lodges of Peru, a wonderful base for exploring the historic city of Cuzco.

Day 3 Enjoy a half day city tour of Cuzco, the amazing colonial city built on the foundations of the Inca palaces. You will visit the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun, where you can appreciate the incredible masonry of the Incas, the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral with its carved woodworks, altars and paintings. Then you will be driven to the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuamán, to the underground cave and temple of Kenko and to Tambomachay, known as the Baths of the Inca.

Day 4 Today you can further discover the city and prepare for your trek. The pre-departure meeting for the trek is held at the El Mercado Tunqui.

Day 5 An early morning start with a 7am pick up from Cuzco and 3.5 hour transfer to the Salkantay Lodge & Adventure Resort. En-route take a short break at the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo and onwards through the mountains to the village of Molllepata. Your starting lodge, in the valley of Soraypampa, is reached via a winding mountain track. Spend your first afternoon at leisure to acclimatisation and enjoy the fresh mountain air. As the sun sets , warm yourself by the fire as the following days activities are explained before tucking into a hearty dinner.

Day 6 At Soraypampa the most popular choice is the half day hike to the glacial lake where you can take a short swim. For most this will be their first experience of trekking at high altitude! Afternoon is at leisure – take a relaxing soak in the outdoor Jacuzzi or just read your favourite book. In the evening, the guide will run through a full brief of the forthcoming days itinerary.

Day 7 Early morning start to hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from Salkantay. Here you will traverse the highest point on the trek at 4,600m (15,000 ft) where at the top you can enjoy the spectacular views of the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction and the south face of Salkantay towering above you. At this point you may spot Andean condors as they are often visible in this area. From the pass continue the descent towards Wayra Lodge.Total trek time is around 4-6 hours. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Day 8 After the previous days long trek enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the lodge before setting off downhill and onto the next lodge. As your venture to lower altitudes the landscape becomes increasingly lush and green. Your next overnight stop at Collpa Lodge overlooks the verdant mountains, a small town in the distance and a small town in the distance. For lunch you will enjoy a pachamanca-style meal (subject to availability) and learn about this traditional underground stone cooking method. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.

Day 9 Today's trek is through the Santa Teresa River Valley and more populated rural areas with plantations of coffee, bananas, granadillas and orchards. Lunch is served along the river picnic style. From this spot you will be transferred to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail. From the head of the trail it is a short climb (30 minutes) to Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. On arrival you will have time to visit the small village of Lucmabamba and meet members of the local community.

Day 10 Another early start for the final day of your trek to Machu Picchu. Uphill trekking for around two hours takes you to Llactapata pass (2600m/8500ft) where there is a distant view of this iconic wonder of the world from the southwest. Very few tourists will experience this special view and the recently restored ruins at Llactapata. Lunch is provided at the observatory with a view of Machu Picchu. The final descent to the Vilcanota River takes around 2-3 hours, downhill, through lush bamboo forests. Finally take the scenic train to Aguas Calientes, the closet village to the ruin and overnight at the Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo hotel.

Day 11 Following an early breakfast at the hotel take the bus up the switchback road to Machu Picchu. Your local guide will provide a full guided tour of this extensive site followed by around 4-6 hours of free time to explore the citadel at your own pace. Return to the town of Aguas Calientes by bus for lunch before taking the Vistadome train to Ollanta or Poroy, and transfer by road to your hotel in Cuzco.

Day 12 A spectacular journey begins today to Puno. Travel through the magnificent Andean Mountains, towering over the deep valleys of the meandering Huatanay River, the Andean Plains and a short scenic stop in La Roya, the highest point on the route. Early evening arrival to Puno and the Casa Andina Private Collection hotel which is located on the shores of this shimmering lake.

Day 13 Today you have a full day group tour to Uros & Taquile Islands. A 3 hour boat trip on Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, will take you to the Island of Taquile. To reach the hub of the island one must make a walk of stone steps but the effort is well rewarded by the views of the Lake and its surrounding mountains. The people of Taquile are famous for their colourful, fine weavings and their hospitality. On the return trip to Puno you will make a stop on Uros Island, built on layers of the totora reeds, hence the name "floating island". Here the Uros Indians live as they have done for generations, seeking out a living by fishing and selling handicrafts.

Day 14 Today you will be transferred to the airport for your return flight to London via Lima and Bogota. Whilst in Lima you may wish to visit the famous Huaca Pucllana ruins or enjoy lunch in Miraflores or Barranco overlooking the Pacific Ocean

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

** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown

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