Royal Inca Tour
It’s for good reason that the spectacular Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu is one of the places any visitor to Latin America wants to visit. Thousands of travellers make Peru’s tourist gem the highlight of their trip, with many arriving on foot after trekking for days through the Andean highlands.
Price: From £2050 per person
At HighLives, we have discovered an alternative path to Machu Picchu that approaches the site via a less-trodden ancient trail through the hills and valleys of the Cordillera Vilcabamba before resting each night at intimate and comfortable lodges.
For this 7-day adventure, enjoy the comfort and service of four top quality mountain retreats on a journey escorted by experienced guides and with mules to carry bags, you will trek from lodge to lodge, before heading on to Machu Picchu.
The route goes from 3,900m to 2,100m above sea level, traversing magnificent mountain passes between mystical snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and meet local people who still remain closely attached to their heritage.
Book your Royal Inca Tour trip here
- Day 1: Evening Briefing (PM) In Cusco.
Meet & Greet
Important information for a great trekking experience.
- Day 2: Cusco to Salkantay Lodge at Soraypampa (3,800m)
After an early breakfast, guests will be picked up starting at 7am at their hotel in Cusco by a guide and vehicle to the Salkantay Lodge in Soraypampa. The journey includes a visit the Inca ruins of Tarawasi near the town of Limatambo (approx 90 minutes from Cusco) and a coffee break at the mountain village of Mollepata before ascending 30 minutes along a winding mountain road to Marcoccasa.
Here, begin an optional and moderate 4-hour trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the "Camino Real" (Royal Path) to arrive at the lodge, which takes its name from the majestic peak at the head of the valley the second most sacred peak in Inca mythology and, at 6,270m, the highest in the region.
After a warm welcome by our friendly staff, the guests will be shown to their rooms and have time to freshen-up. The first afternoon is spent at leisure to adjust to the altitude. A fireside briefing is followed by aperitifs and dinner.
Note:- Lunch on Day 2 is a box lunch.
- Day 3: Soraypampa
This day is spent at leisure for rest or activities, depending upon guests’ level of acclimatisation. The most popular activity at Soraypampa is a half-day moderate-to-challenging hike to a glacial lake where the bravest could even take a very short swim. In the afternoon, guests may choose a relaxing soak in the lodge’s outdoor jacuzzi. In the evening, the guide will brief the trekking party on the itinerary for the next four days. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are taken at the lodge.
- Day 4: Soraypampa to Wayra Lodge at Huayraccmachay (3,850m)
This is the big day: the start of the four-day trek to Machu Picchu.
After an early start, hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. The highest point on the trek is a pass at 4,600m, where we stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba range in every direction. We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors and descend toward the Wayra Lodge. A hot lunch is taken en route. Dinner and overnight at the lodge. (Hiking time: 4-6 hours. Total excursion time: 5-7 hours. Hiking level: challenging).
- Day 5: Huayraccmachay to Colpa Lodge at Collpapampa (2,800m)
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge then begin our trek by hiking downhill above the Salkantay River, through increasingly fertile landscape. Our arrival at the next lodge offers a “Pachamanca”-style lunch of traditional underground stone cooking (subject to availability). The Colpa Lodge is located at the confluence of three rivers and has an outdoor hot tub with prominent views of lush green mountains. Dinner and overnight at the lodge.
(Hiking time: 3-4 hours, hiking level: easy to moderate).
- Day 6: Collpapampa to Lucma Lodge at Lucmabamba (2,100m)
After an early breakfast, head down the Santa Teresa river valley through more populated rural areas with plantations growing coffee, bananas, passionfruits and other fruits. We stop along the river for a hot picnic lunch. After another hour of trekking, we take a private vehicle for the 30-minute drive to the beginning of the Llactapata Inca Trail. From the head of the trail it is a 30-minute climb to the Lucma Lodge, set in an avocado orchard. We arrive in time to allow for exploration of the small village of Lucmabamba. (Hiking time: 5-6 hours. Total excursion time: 6-8 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging.
- Day 7: Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes (1,900m)
After an early start and a hearty breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. Heading uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata pass (2,700m), where we come upon the recently-restored Llactapata ruins and a distant but quite special view of Machu Picchu, one few tourists ever glimpse. Lunch is provided at the observatory, in view of Machu Picchu before we begin our final 2-3 hour descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations.
The town of Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu are a scenic 30 minutes train ride away. (Total hiking time: 4-6 hours. Hiking level: moderate to challenging). We then arrive in Aguas Calientes to check-in to our hotel for the night.
- Day 8: Machu Picchu (2,450m) to Cusco
An early breakfast at the hotel and a 30-minute bus ride up to Machu Picchu, where a 2-hour guided tour is provided. Guests have about around 4 additional hours to explore the site independently (there is a lot to do and see). Afterwards, we return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch and to go to the train station for an afternoon departure.
The train takes us to Ollantaytambo (90 minutes), where a private vehicle awaits to take us to Cusco (90 minutes).
Please note that HighLives will also arrange flights and accommodation for this experience.