The 5 day hike to Salkantay to Inca Trail involves 3 day hike on the famous Salkantay route and 2 day Inca Trail. This hike is the best alternative hikes to the Salkantay Trek 5 days. Not along the typical tourist trail path, this is an innovating adventure for travelers who want a little more solitude and individuality on their journey.
Early in the morning you are collected from your hotel for a 3 hour ride to Mollepata. We stop for breakfast and can buy some last minute supplies. We then carry on to Soyrapampa, the trail head. Here we meet the support staff that help us pack all our gear on to the horses. We then begin our hike. The first few hours are uphill. Vegetation is not natural at this altitude, so the landscape is quite stark apart from some grass that has adjusted to the altitude. Eventually we reach the highest point of the hike, the apacheta path (4590m).
The Salkantay Mountain is at 6271 meters above sea level and a powerful sight from this close. Salkantay is a Quechua word that means "Wild Mountain". The rest of the trekking today is easy, we descend to 2890 meters, where is our campsite.
The route up to Llactapata is on a part of an aged Inca Trail. Firstly it goes through some old villages of coffee and coca plantations, citrus tree orchids before extending to some exquisite high altitude meadows and then entering into an ancient forest close to the top. The scenery on the way up is the most varied and gorgeous than on the entire Salkantay Trek.
Close to the top, the trail changes to seemingly never ending stone steps as tall as park benches! Which you might find strange as the Incas were not known for being tall! The reason behind this was that the Incas were a very forward thinking population and aimed to build constructions that would not fall apart and that people could not destroy! We reach the top in a little over two hours.
The weather is cold and wet in the forest and then we walk down to the Llactapata ruins. In under 10 minutes we arrive at the ruins, the sight will leave you amazed! Beyond the valley you are rewqarded with the majestic sight of Machu Picchu!
On 4 day continue the hike to the Inca Trail - so called Km 104. Then we pass through an Inca Trail checking point and start hiking through lush vegetation of a cloud forest while greeted by local exotic birds such as Andean guan, grey-breasted mountain tucan, etc. and since we can see various wild orchids and bromelias along the path too. Our Tour Guide explains us about the Chachabamba ruins that were rediscovered in 1940. Lunch. Our next stop is in Wiñay Wayna, an Inca complex neighboring to Machu Picchu. The complex, which name means "Eternal Youth, can boosts with a stunning view down at the Urubamba River. In late afternoon, we have descended to the entrance of Machu Picchu - Inti Punku (Sun´s Gate), we continue down to our hotel in Aguas Calientes Town where we have a rest. The following early morning adventure starts with Machu Picchu hiking tour for two hours. Then we enter to the "Lost City of the Incas" and enjoy its guided tour. Hiking the Inca Trail is an unforgettable experience so do not hesitate joining our group.