Join AdventureWomen in 2021 for this breathtaking lodge-to-lodge trek to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu. Take the quieter, challenging Salkantay route and hike in the footsteps of Incan farmers, master stone cutters, chieftains, and the Incan emperor himself.
If you’ve ever wanted to trek to Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Route is the way to do it! Far less crowded than the Inca Trail, the Salkantay boasts spectacularly varied scenery, peaceful trails, and comfortable lodges where you can rest your weary feet in outdoor hot tubs at the end of long trekking days. The Andes evoke a sense of wonder and spiritual connection; one can easily imagine how this location once attracted the empire’s king.
Hike four to nine hours a day alongside your fascinating AdventureWomen companions, catching exhilarating views by day and sharing your high-altitude triumphs at night in the comfort of your lodges. Your expert trekking guide will lead the way and help you reach your goal at the end of your trek: Machu Picchu! You are also accompanied by an AdventureWomen Ambassador, committed to helping make your experience a fun and personally rewarding adventure, and cheering you on as you reach beyond your comfort zone to take on new challenges in your own unique way!
Fly into Cusco at just over 11,000 feet and drive to the Sacred Valley with its wealth of Incan ruins, where you’ll spend two nights at just below 10,000 feet to help you acclimatize to the altitude before your trek begins. Explore the Pisac ruins and take a short acclimatization hike to the Pisac market, famous for fine jewelry, ceramics, and textile work. Take in a Peruvian horse show over lunch before heading back to your stunning lodge to take advantage of the spa, or just rest up before your trek.
Lace up your boots and start your trek on the Camino Real! The first day’s trek is a slow, steady climb, which helps you get used to the altitude. It’s not a long day, but the first glimpse of your lodge for the next two nights, sitting in a panorama with the sacred Mount Salkantay as a backdrop, is a welcome sight. On an acclimatization hike to the turquoise Lake Humantay, prepare for the demands of the climb ahead by hiking up nearly 2,000 feet in elevation, and then heading back down to your lodge; the hike high, sleep low method helps your body acclimatize for the big push to get over the Salkantay Pass!
Cheer each other on as you hike, because trekking the Rio Blanco Valley and the Siete Culebras switchbacks (Seven Snakes) will test your stamina as a hiker. Reach the top of Salkantay Pass at 15,213 feet with cheers – the hardest climb is over! Take some photos to document your accomplishment, and then descend from the rocky barren pass into a cloud forest where the sudden sight of butterflies, orchids, mosses, and other plant life along the trail are quite uplifting. The moment you think you can go no further, you’ll turn a corner and find your warm, welcoming lodge and your scrumptious dinner. You’ve earned it!
Continue your descent, marveling at how rapidly the landscapes change; you’ll feel like you’ve walked through multiple different countries all in one day on the trail in Peru. Arrive at your lodge in time for a traditional hot Peruvian Pachamanca meal, followed by time to unwind and soothe sore muscles in an outdoor jacuzzi surrounded by views of the surrounding forest. A day’s hike among orchards and coffee plantations in the Santa Teresa River Valley ends sweetly with an evening in a 12-acre cloud forest paradise.
Take a scenic train ride into Aguas Calientes, your base for exploring the Machu Picchu citadel. Rise early and head into “The Lost City of the Incas” as the morning sun paves your way into the city. Imagine this once vibrant society as you walk among the perfectly constructed plazas and chambers, climb the hewn stone stairways, and visit the royal Inca residences of the Watchtower and the Temple of the Sun. Crown your trip of hiking with an optional summit of Huayna Picchu, the iconic peak that towers above Machu Picchu. Take plenty of photos with your fellow adventurers to celebrate this incredible moment!
Returning to Cusco, visit female master weavers in their workshop and explore the city’s ancient beauty. In the evening, gather for a jubilant farewell dinner celebrating your incredible journey together and the friendships you made along the trail.
On this lodge-to-lodge trek to Machu Picchu on the Salkantay trail, walk in the footsteps of ancient Incan civilization – and push your body to the limit – on an unforgettable journey to one of the world’s true wonders!
- Take the route less traveled all the way from Cusco to Machu Picchu on an active trekking challenge
- Explore some of Peru’s natural treasures from the Sacred Valley to Mount Salkantay to Huayna Picchu on foot
- Stay in delightful mountain lodges at night enjoying the best of Peruvian cuisine and comfort after challenging days of hiking
- Discover Cusco’s colorful displays of textiles and Peruvian culture
What You'll See and Do
- Cultural Exploration
- Historical Sites
- Local Delicacies
- Natural History
- Spa Element
- UNESCO Site
- Women-To-Women Exchanges