Salkantay 9 days / 8 nights
We explore ancient Cusco's atmospheric cobbled streets and remarkable Inca sites.
Day 2 The Sacred Valley
The Urubamba Valley is ringed by craggy mountains where the Incas built their most spectacular monuments. We visit the towering Inca fortress at Ollantaytambo, where rebel Manco Inca and his men held out against Pizarro's forces in one of the only battles the Spaniard's lost. We also explore the lovely village below the ruin, with its traditional market. Our camp tonight has panoramic views of dazzling Mt. Veronica (20,275') in the snow-capped Cordillera Vilcabamba.
Days 3-5 Pampaccahuana / Incachiriasca
Pass Hiking up past the extensive Inca ruin of Llactapata on the classic Inca Trail, we branch off into the alpine reaches of the Pampaccahuana Valley, where traditional Quechua bring their herds of alpacas and llamas.
, we cross the spectacular 15,900-foot Incachiriasca Pass, a notch between Salcantay (20,574') and neighboring Huamantay (19,239'. The pathway at the top of the pass is marked by apachetas (rock cairns) left by the Quechuas to honor the mountain apus (spirits). There are amazing views of Salcantay's fabulous icefalls and deep couloirs as we ascend. Here in the high mountains, the beauty of the legendary Vilcabamba is all around us
Days 6-8 Salcantay / Santa Teresa
We cross Salcantay Pass (15,700'), and from this alpine paradise of turquoise tarns and glacial moraines, we begin our descent into orchid-draped forests and subtropical terrain. Our trail leads down through a long valley to the small settlement of Colcapampa, where there is a hot spring. We continue through the subtropical Santa Teresa Valley, with its beautiful botanic displays of waterfalls, bromeliads, and orchids characteristic of the Andean cloud forest.