One of the most thrilling sights of the Andean skyline is snowy Salkantay peak, which reaches a height of 6,372m. In the time of the Inca Empire, the mountain was sacred, a deity in itself. Some of the trails along Salkantay are original Inca trails. From the scenic town of Mollepata, we´ll hike along trails affording you impressive views of the surrounding glacial walls and snow-covered mountaintops. We´ll cross to the other side of the mountain, passing through the tropical Vilcanota River Valley before ending our trip at Peru´s most famous landmark and one of The New 7 Wonders of the World, the mysterious Lost City of Machu Picchu.
At 5:00am we depart for our hike´s starting point, Mollepata, about an hour´s drive through the Apurimac River Valley along paved and unpaved road. On the first day we´ll journey about 5 hours through the Rio Blanco Valley, whose icy water falls from the thawed glacial peaks of Salkantay and Humantay.
We´ll set up camp in Soraypampa and have a well-earned night´s sleep.
Low Point: 2,985m (Mollepata)
High Point: 4,200m (Soraypampa)
Hike Duration: 5 hours
From Soraypampa to our high-point, Humantay Pass, we´ll ascend mountain following the trail, which climbs ever higher while winding back and forth. From here we´ll have a superb view of Santa Teresa, lakes, and snowy mountain peaks. Afterwards, there´s a 45 minute walk downward through the valley to our next campsite, Challhuay.
Low Point: 3,900m (Challhuay)
High Point: 4,800m (Humantay Pass)
Hike Duration: Approx. 7-8 hours
On this day we continue our descent through the valley, en route to the village of Santa Teresa alongside the banks of the Vilcanota River. You´ll notice a distinct shift- our descent has taken us into a tropical zone. Nearby orchards flourish with brighten the scene with oranges, plantains, and other tropical fruits. This night we will camp in Santa Teresa.
Low Point: 1,600m (Santa Teresa)
High Point: 3,900m (Challhuay)
Hike Duration: 4-6 hours
The trip from the Vilcanota River Valley to the hydroelectric plant is about a 2 hour walk along flat ground. From the Hydroelectric Plant we´ll trek for four hours until we reach Aguas Calientes. In the evening you´ll have free time which you can use to visit the natural hot springs for which Aguas Calientes is named. This night we´ll stay in a local 2-star hotel, basic but clean and comfortable so that you can enjoy a night´s rest.
Low Point: 1,600m (Santa Teresa)
High Point: (Aguas Calientes)
Hike Duration: 6 hours
We´ll wake early on this final day to beat the crowds. It´s approximately a 1 hr hike to the Lost City of Machu Picchu. There´ll be a two hour guided tour of the famous Citadel. Afterwards, you´ll have free time to explore Machu Picchu and take photos. Later you´ll return to Aguas Calientes to catch the train to Ollantaytambo, from where you´ll take a bus back to Cusco. (The bus will leave you in Plaza Regocijos, the small plaza right next to the larger Plaza de Armas, Cusco´s main square).
Today, August 30th, Peru celebrates a national holiday honoring St Rose, the Americas' first saint. Even if you're not Catholic, you'll find plenty of entertainment- like most of the other religious festivals of Peru, the festivities include drinking, feasting, and dancing, with street vendors bustling about adding color and excitement to the proceedings...
Continuing with the photo theme from last post, here's a look at the activity-oriented parts of Pirwa Colonial Backpackers in Cusco, Peru, which is packed with things to do, ways to relax and to meet fellow travelers…
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