INCA & SALCANTAY
23rd June - 3rd July 2021
ALTITUDE & EXPEDITION MEDICINE WORKSHOP
The Inca Trail runs between the Sacred Valley of the Urumbamba River and the abandoned city of Machu Picchu. It is one of the most famous treks in the world. Although only 45km in length it manages to traverse a stunning and diverse mix of terrain including the Andean plains, high mountain passes and cloud forest. Along the way it passes many Inca ruins and constructions before culminating in Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
We are combining the Inca Trail with the Salcantay Trail to offer an even greater adventure. The Salcantay Trail is quieter, more rugged and more remote than the Inca Trail. It traverses higher than the Inca Trail and, therefore, affords some truly spectacular views of the big Andean mountains.
We have also allowed time for a full exploration of Machu Picchu on completion of the trek.
INCA TRAIL PERMITS
The increasing popularity of the Inca Trail has resulted in restrictions being placed on the number of trekkers. Each day the Peruvian Government allows 500 people to start onto the trail. These numbers include all guides and porters so it equates to probably around 200 trekkers. Although this seems like a large number the popularity of the trail means that permits are sold out many months in advance. Permits cannot be reserved in advance. They are issued on a strictly first come first allocated basis.
Each permit must be issued to a designated named trekker for a given start date. We can only obtain a permit for a confirmed booking. Therefore, bookings will need to be made early to ensure a spot on this program. this is why we have allowed such a long lead in time for this trip. On all our previous trips to Peru many people have missed out because permits had sold out by theme they registerted. Once all permits are sold we will not be able to take any more registrations.
THE ROAD SOMEWHAT LESS TRAVELLED
The vast majority of those 200 walkers do the trail in a way which aims to arrive at Machu Picchu at sunrise. Once they arrive, they visit the site and catch that afternoon’s train back to Cusco. Those going at this pace on the Inca Trail suffer a couple of disadvantages. Firstly, the campsites are very busy, particularly the last night in Winaywayna which can have over 300 people spending the night. That equates to a lot of tents, a lot of noise and some fairly unpleasant sanitary conditions.
Secondly, your first views of Machu Picchu can be rather compromised as people jostle for a perch in a small viewing area at the Sun Gate. This a quote from one, very good, operator “Almost every group wants to be at the sun gate for sunrise. Sheer numbers require an early start to make sure people are in place for the sunrise.”
Lastly, since Machu Picchu is in a cloudforest, being able to view the sunrise happens probably around 30% of the time. More normal is that the clouds gradually drift clear later. If the weather isn’t good, they will not get to see the site in all its glory as they will be on a train back to Cusco that same afternoon.
Meanwhile…having arrived via Salcantay we are half a day behind the main group of walkers on the Inca Trail. Our guides work hard to make sure that you walk in more peaceful conditions at any time of year. You will hopefully enjoy a quieter trail ahead of you. The places we camp are relatively peaceful. You arrive in Machu Picchu in the twilight when the site is at its prettiest and quietest. That afternoon you stroll down through the site to soak up the atmosphere before spending a welcome night in a
hotel nearby. The following morning you come back up to the citadel - early enough to try and catch sunrise if you like. You will then have your full guided tour before returning to Cusco by train that afternoon. In all you have about 24 hours at Machu Picchu spread over two days, giving you the best possible opportunity to see the site at its best.
HOW FIT DO YOU NEED TO BE ?
Remember that Cusco is located at 3400metres. Most people will arrive there from sea-level and will immediately feel the effects of altitude. That is why we will spend 4 nights in Cusco – this will allow for adequate time for acclimitiisation before the more strenuous trek commences. It is important to rest for the first few days in Cusco, avoid significant exertion and maintain adequate hydration.
The Salcantay and Inca Trails should be achievable by anybody with a moderate degree of fitness who is used to hill walking. The terrain is not technical but does involve significant ups and downs at high altitude. The highest point of our trek will be just shy of 5000 metres.
The pace will be relaxed and there will be plenty of time to complete each day's walk.
Click below to download a PDF with more information regarding the trip