Sacred Mountains High Trail

Sacred Mountains High Trail information and booking

from
$2390
  • Duration
    14 days
    Days
  • Group size
    4-16
    Persons
  • Difficulty
    Moderate
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Schedule Details

Summary
  • 14 day trip
  • 7 day trek
  • 7 nights hotel
  • 6 nights camping
Equipment Required
Specialist gear required include walking boots and day pack (a comprehensive gear list is provided in the pre-departure information provided on booking).

Highlights

  • Visit Machu Picchu on two occasions and at the best times of day
  • The splendor of Cusco with its churches, cathedrals, plazas, markets and cultural heritage
  • Walking in the beautiful Sacred Valley to view ancient Inca salt pans
  • Explore the stunning Andean wilderness with dramatic mountain views whilst trekking on remote trails, before joining the final day of the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • 3 hearty meals a day on trek prepared by our cooks

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

We spend a few days in the wonderful city of Cusco to acclimatise and to explore the architecturally fascinating churches, palaces and Incan stonework that this city is known for. Leaving Cusco we head to the Chinchero Plateau to discover the rich tradition of back-strap loom weaving, visit the Inca salt pans of Moray and to experience the village of Ollantaytambo which offers a lovely mix of Inca and colonial architecture. We visit the Inca archaeological site of Limatambo before heading off on our trek. Over the course of the next seven days we trek beneath the flanks of two stunning Andean peaks - Humantay (5950m) and Salcantay (6270m) with great views of their sister peaks Pumasillo (5991m), Veronica (5820m) and Ausangate (6384m). We take a remote route over a number of high passes and through a handful of wonderful traditional Quechua villages. Our last days are spent exploring the enigmatic ruins of Machu Picchu and soaking in the hot springs at Aguas Calientes. If you are a keen trekker and you want to trek away from the main tourist tracks along remote and stunning trails to gain a real insight into the traditional lifestyle of the Andean people then this trek is for you!

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 7 lunches and 7 dinners
  • Airport transfers if arriving/departing on first or last day
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Group medical kit
  • Comfortable and central hotels, primarily casa andina classic hotels
  • Private internal transportation
  • Sleeping bag, fibre filled jacket and sleeping mat
  • Group camping equipment & porters to carry personal gear
  • Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including machu picchu entrance fee)

Itinerary

Day 1 Join Cusco
On arrival in Cusco we will be met by our guide and transferred from the Cusco airport to our hotel for a short initial briefing and then a few hours of rest, essential to initiate successful acclimatisation. In the evening we'll have a longer briefing to discuss aspects of the itinerary and, in particular, the trek.
Day 2 Cusco city tour and leisure time
After breakfast we take a three-hour tour of the city and nearby ruins. Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise or enigma in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro's men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. Before lunch we also visit the spectacular monolithic fortress/citadel of Sacsayhuaman set high on a hill overlooking the city. In the afternoon we may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craft work on sale in open air stalls.
Day 3 Drive to the Sacred Valley of the Incas via Chinchero
Leaving Cusco in the early morning, we enjoy very impressive views and a spectacular drive up onto the Chinchero Plateau, to the famous agricultural centre of Chinchero 3750m. We spend time visiting a weaving cooperative and then drive further across the plateau to the amazing Inca salt pans below the archaeological site of Moray. We walk down through the salt pans into the deep Sacred Valley carved out by the great Urubamba River - the main source of the mighty Amazon. We end up in the wonderful village of Ollantaytambo 2790m with its fascinating mix of colonial and Inca architecture.
Day 4 Pacchar valley to Mollepata, trek to Challacancha
Today we drive along the narrow Pacchar valley to Huarocondo on the Pampa de Anta. From here we continue to Limatambo and stop to explore its superb Inca archaeological site before leaving the main road to head up a dirt road to the village of Mollepata at 3400m. Here we meet up with the muleskinners and their pack animals. After a picnic lunch we start hiking (3 to 4 hours) steadily upwards towards our first night's campsite below Soraypampa 3750m and Salcantay's sister peak - Humantay 5950m.
Day 5 Trek to Ichupata
Today's trek is up the valley between Salcantay and Humantay! Early in the morning we have a wake-up call with a cup of tea brought to our tent. A relatively early start to the day's hiking begins just after breakfast. Up to the lunch spot will involve about three hours of hiking steadily gaining altitude. We stop for lunch at Salcantaypampa at 4150m, set at the foot of an enormous glacial moraine. Two or three more hours of steady hiking after lunch brings us to Ichupata at 4400m, set on the flanks of the great 6270m peak, Salcantay ('The Maker of the Skies'). This camp tends to be fairly cold because of its proximity to the Salcantay massif, but since our pack animals and cooks will have set out earlier, we should find the camp already set up and a fresh pot of tea awaiting our arrival!
Day 6 Trek to Toqto
After a hearty cooked breakfast we set off for the first and, at 4870m, the highest pass - Incachiriasca. Superbly set on one of Salcantay's ridges, this 'classic' mountain pass affords wonderful views of the dramatic surroundings. After a relaxing photo stop and rest at the pass, we start to head down to follow the ancient trail to our next camp. Our camp tonight is set on a lovely little plateau Toqto.
Day 7 Trek to Milpo
With a very early morning wake up call, we have an early breakfast and start the longest day of our trek, which takes over three high alpine passes - Ollantaytambocasa 4780m, Cruzcasa 4400m and finally Qellocasa 4350m. During this long day we find ourselves looking back at the ever changing views of Salcantay that dominates the skyline. We end our day at our camspite at Millpo above the lovely Qesqa. In the far distance we see views of the passes on the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Day 8 Trek to Chancachuco
Enjoy wonderful views of the dramatic surroundings! From Millpo we start another wonderful day of high Andean hiking up into the Huayanay mountains to the Huayanay Pass 4640m which offers tremendous views of nearby lakes and snowpeaks. From here we traverse along the side of a vast glaciated valley and onto a high rock covered plateau where we cross the Aqocasa Pass 4660m to camp above Chancachuco.
Day 9 Trek to Huayraspuncu
Today we can take our time as we do not have a huge distance to hike but since it is at a fairly high altitude we get the most spectacular views to a series of mountain ranges and distant forested hills. We also get a chance to see one of the most impressive snowpeaks in the area - Mount Veronica 5820m - set high above the sacred Valley of the Incas. We spend our last night camping on a small pampa below the aptly named Huayraspuncu - the Gateway of the Wind set high on a ridgeline. It is also often called the Gateway of the Sun.
Day 10 Trek to Ollantaytambo
Our last day of trekking is all downhill and takes us through the famous Inca quarries above Cachicata and across the great Urubamba River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River, on a bridge whose foundations date back to time of the great Inca builders. We spend a night in our hotel in Ollantaytambo before the next stage of our adventure - the journey to Machu Picchu!
Day 11 Train to Machu Picchu
Today we take the train to the 'lost city' of Machu Picchu! Your first view of the ruins really does take your breath away! From our hotel we walk down the short distance to the railway station from where we take an early morning train to Aguas Calientes and then a short bus ride up to the monumental site, Machu Picchu, and explore this remarkable and truly enigmatic site. After a professionally led tour of the site we're free to further explore before taking the bus back down to Aguas Calientes (for a soak in the nearby hotsprings!) for the night.
Day 12 At Machu Picchu and return to Cusco
Today you have a free morning with the option of returning to further explore the site at Machu Picchu (at your expense) or simply explore the markets of Aguas Calientes before taking an extremely pretty train ride in the early afternoon back to Ollantaytambo. From here we transfer to our vehicle and drive to Cusco.
Day 13 Free day in Cusco, farewell meal
Today is a free day in Cusco. Enjoy a full free day to explore the historic city and perhaps do some shopping! A good day to relax, do your washing and re pack after the trek and perhaps a chance to do some 'tourist shopping', selecting from a great variety of expertly made craft work - including alpaca sweaters and hats, ceramics, weavings and traditional Andean instruments. This evening we have a farewell buffet in a lovely restaurant on the main square with live traditional music and dancing.
Day 14 In Cusco, trip concludes
After breakfast, we will be transferred to the airport, where our trip concludes.