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For this year 2017, I found out tickets to the Classic 4-day Inca Trail are sold out until late October! But don’t worry, I know there are many best alternative hiking tours available! This time I will tell you about my unforgettable journey on the challenging 5-day, 4-night Salkantay Trek, so take note!

Itinerary Overview

The Salkantay is a high, majestic snow-capped mountain (6.372 meters), which, like all nature for the ancient Incas, was thought to have sacred energies; my tour began in beautiful Cusco city early in the morning, with a bus ride until the Mollepata village. Day 1 trek began there (5 hours on rocky terrain, with low temperatures and snow on the mountain sides), until our arrival at the typical Soraypampa village; in this place, later in the afternoon, we visited the amazingly beautiful Humantay lagoon, with its shining, turquoise waters. What a wonderful sight indeed, the still, glass-like lagoon! I really wasn’t missing the Classic 4-day Inca Trail with this Salkantay trek alternative!

the laggoon of Humantay was a great addition to my Salkantay Trek

A beautiful lagoon is waiting for you in the Salkantay Trek

The next day, we had a 7-hour trek, on rocky ground and snow, until our arrival at the huge Salkantay mountain! It is a great, defiant adventure indeed, and luckily I was in good shape, both physically and psychologically, because you will need a strong body and a strong mind to defeat this challenge of nature. Other good things I did were to pack really warming clothes, and have spent some days acclimatizing myself at lower altitudes because lack of oxygen due to high altitudes was an issue; strong hiking boots and a walking stick were also very useful. I would categorize the Salkantay trek as a very demanding tour, which provides the same adventure you have in the Classic 4-day Inca Trail!

On day 3 the trek turned downwards and we hiked on across the wonderful cloud forest until the Santa Teresa village, where we found the Cocalmayo thermal pools, another must included in the Salkantay trek; Santa Teresa is a really wonderful place, with a much warmer weather and mountains covered with vivid green. At Cocalmayo we enjoyed beautiful, comfortable thermal pools, whose temperature go from 30°C to 38°C; the thermal waters were really soothing and relaxing, a well-deserved break after such a mighty hiking effort!

The best of my Salkantay Trek only with TOUR IN PERU

Salkantay Trek – Day 3

From the Santa Teresa village we hiked on a new, different route that had changed from snowy and rocky to somewhat muddy and surrounded by green, along the Vilcanota river; after 4 hours we arrived at the village of Aguas Calientes, a small and cozy place which is the previous stop for the Machu Picchu citadel. In Aguas Calientes there is the possibility of ziplining (not included in tour packages); I really felt like Superman flying and hanging from long cables above the lush vegetation and wide landscape at a thrilling speed! It was really a great addition to my Salkantay trek!

Finally, the last day of the tour began early in the morning with the trek to the Machu Picchu site, where there was a 2-hour, professionally guided tour, after what I had free time to keep exploring the site at my own pace; I took many more pictures and revisited spots that had really caught my attention, like the Intihuatana which was used by the Incas as a solar clock that marked seasons and agricultural planning! My return began back in Aguas Calientes for a train ride to the Ollantaytambo station, and from there on a relaxing, closing bus trip until Cusco city.

Overall Review

The Salkantay trek was really the best traveling experience for me! Wonderful hikes, challenging routes at really high, demanding Andean sections, amazing landscapes that varied from snowy and mountainous to green and with plenty of subtropical jungle vegetation; the campsites were also great and adventurous, the first two days they were set up at very high and cold spots, with snow from high and around, while for the rest of the trek campsites were placed over green plains and on warmer weather. I did get the same satisfaction I got while doing the Classic 4-day Inca Trail!

How about packing? Now it is very useful and advisable to pack windproof and waterproof jackets, your own sleeping bag, your own bottled water and canned food, sun block, mosquito repellent, good sunglasses, warm gloves, some over-the-counter painkiller (sometimes your knees or other parts of the body can hurt a little). And of course bring a good camera, otherwise you won’t forgive yourself for not taking lots of pictures to see and show back home!

I really found my Salkantay Trek a best alternative to the Classic 4-day Inca Trail, it was a great traveling experience, totally worth the time, effort and money! Contact us here at TOUR IN PERU if you want to have the same unforgettable travel adventure high at the defiant Peruvian Andes in 2017 and/or 2018!


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