Trip Overview

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!

Main Attractions

  • 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

  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Handicrafts
  • Historical Sites
  • Local Delicacies
  • Natural History
  • Sightseeing
  • Spa Element
  • Trekking
  • UNESCO Site
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in the Sacred Valley
Welcome to Peru and its legendary Land of the Inca! Sheltered by the soaring peaks of Los Andes, forgotten ruins lie in wait of discovery. Ancient whitewashed villages give a glimpse into mountain life as it has been lived for centuries. The seaside capital of Lima looks ahead into a bright future. Exhilarating, awesome, breathtaking, and unforgettable, Peru is an adventure destination like no other.

During your adventure you’ll get to know your expert Peruvian trekking guide, who 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!

Meet your group at the Cusco airport at 3:00pm. You will be transferred to your beautiful hotel in the Sacred Valley. If you’d like to come to Cusco early, AdventureWomen would be happy to help you make hotel arrangements.

Enjoy dinner as a group this evening, where you’ll get to know your guide and fellow travelers.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hacienda Urubamba

Day 2

Sacred Valley
On the slopes of a mountain, which overlooks the Vilcanota River is the Archaeological Park of Pisac, where you will find different areas and altitudes separated by architectural structures. The most notable of these is the solar calendar Intiwatana. Take a two-hour descending hike towards Pisac town, a beautiful place where Incan and colonial influences have balanced to create the unique local lifestyle. Explore this quaint town, famous for its artisan markets boasting jewelry, textiles, and crafts.

Wayra Ranch allows you to enter the world of the Peruvian Paso Horse, a breed considered to be the smoothest ride on earth. Fine specimens of this national breed, obedient to their horsemen’s reins, will demonstrate the elegance of their lilting and gentle gait to the rhythm of the Marinera, an emblematic Peruvian dance. Afterwards, sample Peruvian creole food for lunch.

Take the afternoon to enjoy the activities that your beautiful lodge offers.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hacienda Urubamba

Day 3

Sacred Valley to the Salkantay Route
Depart for the mountains this morning. The first stop will be the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo. Spend some time there before heading to the mountain village of Mollepata for a delicious lunch.

After a short drive on a winding mountain road, you’ll arrive at Marcoccasa. Here you will begin your hike to Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path), which is also a good opportunity to acclimatize to the higher altitude. As you round the final turn of the Camino Real, the Salkantay Lodge will come into view. Standing like a sentry behind the lodge is the glacier peak of Mt. Salkantay, among the most sacred in Inca mythology and the highest in the region at 20,600 ft. (Trekking time 3.5 hours, approx. 2 miles, 1,689′ elevation gain)

Settle in your room and relax for a few minutes before meeting your guide in the lounge for refreshments and a briefing of tomorrow’s activities.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Soray Lodge

Day 4

Salkantay Route
This morning, go on an acclimatization hike to Lake Humantay. Begin by hiking up the slopes that border the plateau behind the Salkantay Lodge. An hour and a half later, after making your way over the final hill, you will be stunned to see the turquoise water of the lake, made even more spectacular by the sight of the Humantay glacier looming behind it.

Here you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquility of this magical spot, or admire a traditional offering to Mother Earth, getting an up-close view of the majestic glacier. (Trekking time 4.5 hours, approx. 4 miles, 1,155′ elevation gain / 1,155′ elevation loss)

Enjoy a late lunch back at the lodge.

Spend the afternoon at leisure. Soak in the outdoor jacuzzi, enjoy a massage, or just relax!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Soray Lodge

Day 5

Salkantay Route
Today is the longest and most strenuous day, but arguably the most magical day of the trek. After an early start, hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak. As you gradually make your way up these mountain trails, you will encounter expansive plateaus dotted with boulders of varying sizes, the remnants of a valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The final and most challenging part of your ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that take you to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point on the trek at 15,213 feet. Celebrate your accomplishment with your group of amazing women at the top! What follows is a dramatic descent through fields of giant boulders, often shrouded in fog. (Trekking time 7 hours, approx. 8 miles, 2,522′ elevation gain / 2,401′ elevation loss)

Enjoy a hot picnic lunch before continuing your descent through rolling hills and marsh-like plateaus. Arrive at the Wayra Lodge this afternoon. Enjoy a spectacular view of the other side of Mount Humantay, reminding you of how far you’ve come!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Wayra Lodge

Day 6

Salkantay Route
After a leisurely breakfast at the Wayra Lodge, continue the descent along the banks of the Salkantay River through increasingly verdant scenery. The warm air begins to rise from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids. Today you will see more of the local people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences. (Trekking time 4 hours, approx. 6 miles, 3,398′ elevation loss)

Arrive at Colpa Lodge for a special lunch. Your Pachamanca lunch is a traditional Peruvian meal cooked in the earth by hot stones that create a natural underground oven.

Relax this afternoon. Lounge in the sun or unwind in the outdoor jacuzzi while you take in the panoramic views of the green mountains surrounding you.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Colpa Lodge

Day 7

Salkantay Route
Today you will hike in the Santa Teresa River valley where you will hop over small streams fed by waterfalls descending from the glaciers and cross through fruit orchards. After breaking for a hot picnic lunch by the river, you will walk for an hour where you will meet a vehicle for a short drive to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail, which leads you to your lodge. (Trekking time 5.5 hours, approx. 10 miles, 387′ elevation gain / 2,798′ elevation loss)

Visit a local organic coffee plantation. You will notice a shift in the climate – the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are getting close to the edge of the Amazon.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Lucma Lodge

Day 8

Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu
For those who have the energy, depart early this morning for an optional hike. During a two to three hour climb up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps, you will get a sense of what hiking through the rainforest would be like. Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you reach the Aobamaba River valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. When you arrive at the ruins of Llactapata at the Llactapata Pass (8,974 feet), you will be delighted to see a distant southeast view of the “back” of the Machu Picchu ruins, a sight few travelers ever get a chance to admire. At this point you will also take a short break to explore Llactapata, and then have lunch a bit farther down the trail in a meadow with panoramic views. The final descent toward the roaring Aobamba River takes you through lush bamboo forests, as well as more fruit orchards and coffee plantations. (Trekking time 6 hours, approx. 7 miles, 1,971′ elevation gain / 3,165′ elevation loss)

If your knees need a break, you can hike 30-45 minutes down to a vehicle and drive one hour to the Santa Teresa hot springs. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the springs and some relaxation time.

Take a one-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes at the base of Machu Picchu.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Day 9

Machu Picchu
Begin your journey to Machu Picchu with a short uphill bus ride. As you enter the “Sanctuary” (as locals refer to it), the morning sun rises over the iconic Sun Gate and washes the structures and terraces with resplendent light. Prepare to be awed by the imposing and skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among many others. Take a moment to quietly sit and listen to the wind or to meditate and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. Your imagination will soar as you contemplate the history of Machu Picchu and its mysterious origins.

You have the option to hike Huayna Picchu, the iconic towering mountain often seen in photographs, for dramatic views. If you’ve had enough steep trails for one trip, hike up the more moderate trail to the Sun Gate for a different view! (Trekking time 4 hours)

Huayna Picchu permits are extremely limited. If you register too close to departure, we are not able to guarantee that you will be able to hike Huayna Picchu.

Enjoy lunch at Sanctuary Lodge by the entrance. In the afternoon when the crowds dissipate, explore on your own.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Day 10

Machu Picchu to Cusco
Take the train this morning from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Drive back to Cusco.

Visit a weaving project led by a master weaver. Textile production has profound historic and cultural significance in the Andes, and this project is part of a highly successful initiative to rescue and revive this way of life. Women are the owners and drivers of this activity, and you will see how their gregarious processes of spinning, gathering and use of natural dyes, setting up of looms, and the creation of designs, are fundamental to the family and social bonds of these highland communities.

Explore Cusco: Explore Cusco on your own this afternoon.

Have a farewell dinner with your new AdventureWomen friends. Reminisce over all of the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an incredible trip!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Palacio del Inka

Day 11

Depart Cusco
Explore Cusco on your own this morning. Pick up some last-minute souvenirs, or just walk around this unique town.

Enjoy one last lunch as a group before transferring to the Cusco airport for your flights home.
Breakfast, Lunch

Please note: AdventureWomen will attempt to adhere to the itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, and cultural) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. AdventureWomen reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participants. 

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Peru



Arrival and Departure Information

Arrive in Cusco, Peru (CUZ) on November 3, 2021 in time for a 3:00pm transfer. Flights from Lima are frequently delayed, so if you are flying from Lima on the 3rd, we recommend a morning flight.

Depart Cusco, Peru (CUZ) on November 13, 2021 after 4:00pm.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Activity Level

We rate this trip as Challenging. Our Challenging adventures get your heart rate pumping, these are demanding yet deeply rewarding and designed for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts. You should be in excellent physical condition, and be able to hike up to 10 miles, in steeper, more rugged terrain. Please note that this is a general description of what you might encounter; for specific details about your trip, please consult the itinerary.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission!) to make the most of your adventure. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more on the FitForTrips website.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to Peru, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about Peru.

Altitude Symptoms

At high altitude, it is typical for trekkers to feel some physical effects such as loss of appetite, fatigue, or headache. Symptoms become more severe if you experience acute altitude sickness. Symptoms of acute altitude sickness can include troubled breathing while resting, severe coughing, confusion, impairment of motor skills, and irrational behavior.

Notify your guide immediately if you believe you are experiencing any of these symptoms. As a highly trained professional, your guide makes your safety his/her top priority.

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Preparation and Packing

Once you register for your adventure, we will send you a comprehensive preparation guide including weather information, gratuity suggestions, and a packing list.

As a reference, AdventureWomen typically suggests $200-250 for gratuities on most trips. Detailed information will be provided to you prior to departure.

Forms and Final Payment

The deposit for this trip is $800, and is nonrefundable and nontransferable. Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Supplemental Trekking Release Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (Photo Page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer). A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes your deposit.

Final Payment Due Date: August 5, 2021

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • Accommodations as per itinerary based on double occupancy
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing and activities as indicated in the itinerary
  • Entrance fees
  • Professional English-speaking trekking guide throughout the trip
  • One group transfer on arrival and departure
  • Drinking water provided in large jugs to refill personal bottles
  • Gratuities for baggage handlers, drivers, and hotel/lodge staff

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Peru
  • Domestic airfare if required
  • Excess baggage charges
  • Optional activities
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages (unless otherwise specified)
  • Fees for passport, visas, immunizations, or travel insurance
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for guides

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

Hacienda Urubamba

Hacienda Urubamba is a contemporary hacienda-style hotel in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Immersed in the countryside in a gorgeous area, Hacienda Urubamba spans approximately 100 acres surrounded by imposing green mountains. All the rooms feature breathtaking views of the valley, immersing you in open space, serenity, and relaxing solitude.

Amenities:
Soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer; electricity; Wifi

Mountain Lodges (Soray, Wayra, Colpa, and Lucma)

At the end of each day, in these intimate six-room lodges, you will enjoy hot showers, fine gourmet meals, select wines, goose-down bedding, massages, outdoor jacuzzis, and highly personalized service from local staff. Each room is warmly presented with down comforters and amenities. The eco-minded architecture effortlessly mixes traditional heritage with contemporary design. Indulge in inventive menus, which provide a refreshing take on the region’s most iconic dishes. All offerings are locally sourced – from organic coffee blends to healthy snacks.

Amenities:
Soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer; electricity; Wifi

Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel

Located in the heart of Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, Inkaterra’s boutique Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel is an Andean Garden of Eden—one of the world’s most appealing boutique hotels. A fusion of calmness, comfort, Andean style and architecture, its natural beauty spreads over 12 acres of low-rise cottages, plantations, and wild forest interspersed by stone pathways. Waterfalls and streams gently cascade through acres of orchids. Hummingbirds frolic in a private cloud-forest paradise, while you experience an authentic barefoot luxury hotel at the foot of Machu Picchu, within an idyllic enclave of whitewashed casitas.

Amenities:
Soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer; electricity; Wifi

Palacio del Inka

A storied mansion dating back nearly five centuries, Palacio del Inka stands in the historic center of Cuzco. Directly across from the Koricancha, it is a five-minute walk from the main square and less than a mile from an array of museums, markets, and restaurants.

Amenities: Soap, shampoo, conditioner, hair dryer; electricity; Wifi

Please note that all amenities were current when written and are subject to change at any time.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686