Salkantay Trek Reviews
5 Day/4 night Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Sep 13, 2011
I did the 5 day/4 night Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, rather than the 4 day/3 night classic Inca Trail. This trek is not to be taken lightly, the altitude is very high and there are some points in the trek that reach up to 4600 meters. The Inca Trail is 40km in 4 days, the Salkantay Trek is 70km is 5 days. Overall, this is an amazing experience and one must be fit to complete this trek. I also rate this as cheap because for the price and the service/amenities one gets is very good. There were 7 of us on the trek.
Food: There are 2 cooks on horse-back that go ahead of the group. By the time the group reaches the point of lunch and dinner, the food has already been prepared and cooked for us.
Clothing: Dress in layers, there are some points in the trek where the morning is 20 degrees and by the end of the day, you are at 75 degrees. Be prepared to not shower for 5 days.
What's Inluced in the Cost: ALL food during trekking, including the last night in Aguas Calientes. The hotel in Aguas Calientes on the 4th night. The entrance to Machu Picchu, the train and bus from Machu Picchu back to Cusco on the 5th day. If you add up all the expenses individually, I think it costs more than the price I made. I paid $430 per person for the entire trek, total 7 people
Total of about 8 hours of hiking. Picked up from the hotel at 6am and started the trek at 7am. Stopped for lunch in Mollepata at around 1PM, lunch was ready that included soup, chicken, rice, and coca tea. After lunch, trekked for another 4 hours and made it to the campsite which was in Soraypampa a little after 5. It was very cold at night in the camp. Layer yourself with plenty of clothes.
Woke up at around 5AM, breakfast at 5:30AM and started the hike at 6AM. This was the longest day, about 10 hours of hiking. We opted for riding horses for the first 4 hours up the majestic snow-covered Salkantay mountain. This was the highest peak we reached, 4600 meters, extremely cold. After the mountain we started our descent. Hiked for about 3 more hours, then stopped for lunch. This was an incredible lunch. We stopped on the edge of the rushing Urubamba river with beautiful greenery, mountains, horses, and llama's everywhere. We continued for about 4.5 hours until the base of camp. Another very cold night. I decided to "shower" here. I took 2 bowls of water, that was cold, undressed behind the tents and showered, very cold with no towel, but it was the best shower ever!
Woke up around 5:30AM, breakfast at 6:00AM and started the hike around 6:30AM. This was an incredible day, we started with very cold temperature, and at the end of the hike, we ended up in the jungle, the temperature probably increased by 40 degrees by the end of the day. Total hiking was only 6 hours today. we reached our camp at around 3PM. This was a different types of camp, we stayed in a small village with limited electricity. A camp fire was built and there were beers that you could buy at the village. At the end of the hike, we reached the hot springs, another amazing site. There is hot volcano water coming from the mountains that produces a very warm lake. The site has been built with 3 different hot springs with incredible mountain views.
Day 4: Woke up around 6:00AM, breakfast at 6:30AM, and started the hike around 7:00AM. Another amazing day full of scenary, we walked the railroad tracks that takes the train to Machu Piccu. During the railroad tracks, we crossed the hydro-electric plan. This is an amazing site, we could see the rushing force of the waterfall being converted into electricty. At the end of the trek, we reached the town right next to Machu Picchu, called Aguas Calientes. I absolutely love this town. The town is built with the train right in the middle of town, where it passes about 2-3 times a day. The town is also built above the Urumbamba river. Its such a clean, amazing town, and everybody there seems so happy. Aguas Calientes was one of the best little towns I've ever visited. We actually sleep in a hotel this night (included in the price)
Day 5 - Machu Picchu: The highlight of my trip, I walked for 4 days and 70km to reach this point. We're actually sleeping in a hotel with a real shower, which was amazing. Wake up at 3:45AM and start my walk to Machu Picchu at 4:30AM. At 5:00AM, I reach the gate to Machu Picchu. At this point, there are 1100 stairs to climb to reach Machu Picchu, it takes me about an hour. Oh...bring your headlamp, its very dark. Once I enter Machu Picchu at around 6:30AM, its absolutely breath-taking, I spent all day there, we left at 5:00PM, thats when they close Machu Picchu. I also climbed Hyuana Picchu, which is another mountain located next to Machu Picchu...from there, you can see Machu Picchu from an aerial view (since its higher than Machu Picchu). I got super lucky with the weather, it was very warm, unfortunately, it was cloudy, thats because of the time I went, it was the first week of September, but at least there was no rain.
This is my quick run-down of my 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu...there are so many other things to report on, but that would be too much to write. I'd love to help anybody if they're planning on going, so if you are and want some help...please send me a message.
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