5 Day Trek along the SALKANTAY TRAIL to MACHU PICCHU - Travels Blogs


Nearly everyone that visits Peru is bound for the majestic mountain of Machu Picchu.  There are a few options on getting there once you arrive in Cuzco.  You can hire a private car or go with a shared van to take you there directly.  But that misses the real adventure of experiencing the wondrous nature that abounds.  The other option is to trek the many trails the end up at Machu Picchu - the most popular trail being the Inca Trail. I passed on the popular trail because it?s the most touristy way to trek and most expensive of the bunch.  However popular the Inca Trail is, one must reserve well in advance with a cash payment online, which may stifle your flexibility when you want to go once you?re on the ground in Cuzco because the date is fixed. Sacred ValleyA secondary option is the Salkantay Trail.  Now this trek is five days and more challenging, so I?ve been told.  But the reward outweighs the popularity of the Inca Trail, because the views are better and is less crowded.  And I have to say that I was not the least bit disappointed with the Salkantay choice.  Either way you go, you?ll need to get acclimated with the altitude for a few days in Cuzco before you venture off.along the Incan Trail

Quinoa fieldsEucalyptus forest Choosing a tour company is not so difficult, and I suggest you wait until you arrive in Cuzco to do your shopping.  There are uber companies competing for your business.  I went to about five companies after reviewing them on Trip Advisor.  The price ranges anywhere between $200 to $300 US dollars.  All options have their pros and cons.  I wanted the full package, so didn?t mind paying $275.  This package included, zip lining, thermal bath visit, entry to hike Machu Picchu mountain (more on this later), and the train ride back to Cuzco.  The cheaper you bargain, the less ?extras? you get, so be aware of this. DAY ONE
The company's transport arrived early to my hotel for a 6am pickup.  After scurrying around Cuzco picking up the other trekkers from their hotels, we were about fifteen deep with two guides.  We drove about two hours or so to the start of our trek about two hours away from Cuzco.  We were going to cover about sixty kilometers over five days.  It doesn?t sound too challenging but when you factor in the inclines and altitudes then it ends up being closer to about one hundred kilometers of hiking.

We had breakfast at a lodge nearby the starting point, and began the hike at about 2800 meters.  It?s wintertime in the southern hemisphere at this time of year, but with a cloudless sky, bright sun, and the green vegetation, it feels like spring.  We ascended up and along the valley with a deep gorge carved out by a running river below.  The guide Carlos was super experienced and knowledgeable, as he has been guiding this trail for years.  He knew so much about the fauna and his...
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