This morning you will be collected from your hotel in central Cusco at 8 am (please ensure you advise your reservations consultant of your pre tour hotel details if you have not booked this with World Expeditions). We leave Cusco and head to the Chinchero Plateau to explore Chinchero, an important town in Inca times. The most striking remnant of this period is the massive stone wall in the main plaza which has ten trapezoidal niches. There are beautiful views overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas, with the Cordillera Vilcabamba and the snow-capped peak of Salkantay dominating the western horizon. Chinchero is believed to be the mythical birthplace of the rainbow. Visit the salt mines of Maras. This village is a salt-producing center that dates back all the way to pre-Inca times. There are over 3000 salt pools all carved into the mountain side. Discover Moray's mysterious concentric circular terraces which, according to some scholars, would be an agricultural research center. Enjoy lunch in the Sacred Valley where we can savour dishes made with locally grown produce. After a leisurely lunch we head for our hotel in the valley. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the beauty of this famous valley. Overnight: Tikawasi Hotel
Another day in the beautiful Sacred Valley. The valley actually follows the course of the famous Urubamba River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. During our time in the valley we visit its enthralling citadels, fortresses and temple ruins including the site at Ollantaytambo. The village itself is a fascinating mixture of Inca and colonial architecture. If the weather is good and we have time we can enjoy some short walks in the valley - a good way to prepare for the trek ahead. The evening is spent preparing for the trek at our hotel. Overnight: Tikawasi Hotel
After an early breakfast we visit the Tarawasi Archaeological Site near the town of Limatambo. Pass through the mountain village of Mollepata, where we stop for coffee before ascending a winding mountain road to Challacancha (3,870m). Here we will meet our mule driver and begin our trek to Soraypampa (3,900m) where we have lunch. Continue the climb towards Humantay Lake (3,869m). Return back to Soraypampa, which will be the first campsite, and from where we enjoy magnificent views of Salkantay Mountain (6,270m). One of the most sacred peaks in Inca mythology. Overnight: camp
This is the main day! After an early breakfast, we hike up to the highest point on the trek which is the Salkantay Pass (4,638m). There we will stop to enjoy the amazing views of snowcapped peaks of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range in every direction, and the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us, where Andean condors can be seen. From the pass we descend towards Wayracmachay to lunch and then continue our descent along the left bank of the Salkantay River. Observe the landscape become increasingly green, changing from highland to jungle or cloud forest. Feel the warm air rising from the jungle, accompanied by colourful butterflies and striking orchids, while arriving to the second camp at Andenes (2,890m), a beautiful spot surrounded with vegetation. Overnight: camp
Today we will hike along the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, granadilla, avocado and coffee plantations. A hot picnic lunch is served along the way. After lunch, we hike for about 2 hours before a private vehicle meets us for a short drive to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail (30min approx). From the head of the newly restored Inca Trail we easily make our way to the last campsite at Lucmabamba. In the evening we try some of the local coffee with our host, a local family. Dinner will be served and then spend the night in the camp. Overnight: camp
After breakfast, we will head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,735m) and descend to the archaeological complex of the same name. Enjoy a distant but spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary from the southeast, a view few travelers get the chance to admire. Lunch is served in a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. Later we begin the final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. Finally, we will get to the Hydrlectric Power Station, to board the train to Aguas Calientes where we spend the night. Overnight: El Mapi hotel
After an early breakfast, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu. The guided tour of the sanctuary lasts 2 hours and at the end, you will have another 2 hours in the company of the guide to explore this fascinating site. In the afternoon or early evening we depart from Machu Picchu for the train ride back to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cusco. Overnight in Cusco hotel. NB - depending on train schedules, we may arrive into Cusco very late at night.