This challenging trek passes through various ecological zones, alpine meadows, spectacular 20,000ft (6.1 km) glaciated peaks, down through subtropical forest onto the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
It is ideal for travelers wishing to get off the beaten track, but still enjoy the original Inca Trail. It is a wonderful trek, taking you right from the watershed of the Apurimac to the Urubamba. We traverse through beautiful green valleys and camp next to turquoise glacial lakes. We also come across many Inca archaeological sites and enjoy a wide variety of flora and fauna.
Not only will you get to explore ancient Inca sites and discover beautiful mountain landscapes, but you will also have the opportunity to hone your photography skills in these environments, with the help of your expert guide, Flavio. Our special blend of photography master class and challenging trek will give you the experience of a lifetime, enabling you to learn new techniques, explore new viewpoints and share your skills with others. The trek will give you opportunities like no others in terms of night, light painting and Milky Way photography, and you will leave Cusco wishing only that you’d had more time here!
1 – 8 Guests
Experience | Difficulty
- Beginner, amateur, enthusiast and semi-pro photographers
- DSLR, mirrorless, compact or iPhone cameras
- Moderate schedule
- Travel by car or minibus
- Moderate elevation changes and lots of walking and hiking (none of our adventures have difficult hikes)
- (non-photographers also welcome)
Weather | Sun
May – Temps 70/40 F 20/2 C Sunrise 5:24 | Sunset 7:23 (19:23)
September – Temps 75/42 F 24/5 C Sunrise 6:10 | Sunset 6:35 (18:35)
- 7 Days
- Travel, landscape, nature, wildlife and people photography
- Professional photographer | guide
- Photo walks & discussions
- Small group size (1-8 guests)
- All Meals
- National Park Permits
- Local transportation
Arrival Airport:Cusco– Transfer time to hotel 30min
Departure Airport:Cusco – Transfer time to hotel 30min
Our adventure begins in the morning on the first day and ends at and of the last day.
Travel Visa: Note required
- 1 person : US$1950 per person
- 2 people : US$1450 per person
- 3 people: US$1350 per person
- 4 people : US$1250 per person
- 5 people : US$1150 per person
- 6 people : US$1050 per person
- 7+ people : US$ 950 per person
ITINERARY SALKANTAY INCA TRAIL | Photography Hike
Today is a day of moderate difficulty hiking to help us ease into the trek. We pick you up at 4 am from your hotel and take you on a 4-5 hour bus ride to Soraypampa. After packing up all that we need for the day, we’ll begin our trek to the Humantay Lake. The hike to the lake takes about 4 hours, covering a distance of about 4 miles (6.44 km). This part of the day will signify our training for what is to come in the following days. After we reach the lake and enjoy the stunning beauty of this place, we will return for lunch to Soraypampa. In the afternoon, we will continue our hike to Salkantaypampa 4200 m where we will be camping in an “off the beaten path” area, surrounded by the most fantastic views of the snow-capped peak Salkantay 6276 m. It is worth mentioning that hardly anyone camps here, so we will be able to enjoy this beautiful spot in complete peace and tranquility.
We continue our hike to start the 3-4-hour steep climb towards Pampa japonesa, the highest camping site of the entire route, offering impressive views of the Salkantay snow peak. Pampa japonesa, a flat area from which one can observe the Salkantay’s neighboring valleys (it is possible that you will see condors in this area). This place where we set our second camp and spend the night.
We continue our hike to start the 3-4-hour steep climb towards the Incachiriasca pass (4850m/15908ft), the highest of the entire route, offering impressive views of the Salkantay snow peak. After a celebratory rest on the pass, we will then descend towards our lunch spot at Sisaypampa, a flat area from which one can observe the Salkantay’s neighboring valleys (it is possible that you will see condors in this area). After lunch we continue towards the Pampacahuana community, located next to an original Inca canal, where we set our second camp and spend the night.
In the morning you will see that the valley begins to narrow and the river becomes a canal. The Incas frequently cut canals through valleys to increase the agricultural land. From Pampachuana it’s a 3 hour hike down the narrow, steep valley to the Inca fortress of Inkaracay (also known as Paucarcancha). This is a site well worth exploring and little known to the vast majority of visitors to Peru. It’s about another ½ to 1 hour’s walk down to the small village of Wayllabamba which is the point that we join the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As mules are not allowed on the traditional Inca Trail, at this point we say goodbye to our mules and muleteers and welcome our porters who will accompany us for the next few days.
In the afternoon, we leave Wayllabamba behind to start our way up the Warmihuañusca mountain pass (Dead Woman’s pass) through an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km. We only climb part way up the pass, stopping at Ayapata,
Today we continue our trek up to the highest point in the Inca Trail (but not on this trek), reaching the mountain pass of Abra Warmihuañusca (4200m/13776ft) after about 2 hours. Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m/11808ft), from which we then continue to climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3970 m/13022ft), stopping halfway to visit the very impressive archaeological complex Runkurakay. This site, located at 3800 m/12464ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have served the purpose of a watchtower. After going over the pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624 m/11887ft). This is a beautiful complex made up of a semicircular construction. Only 20 minutes away is Chaquicocha, 3400 m (“dry lake” in Quechua), where we will camp.
After breakfast we have an easy climb, to arrive at the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12136ft). Phuyupatamarca is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phyupatamarca means ¨town over the clouds¨. From here we also have impressive views of the Urubamba River valley. We descend to Wiñay Wayna (2650m/8692ft). At this campsite we will find a lodge with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms with hot showers. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Wiñay Wayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector – even if you are tired and enjoying the relative luxury of this campsite, don’t miss this archaeological complex!
This is our last day on the Inca Trail. We rise early, have breakfast, and start walking. We navigate a ridge that affords us magnificent vistas of the surrounding cloud forest below.
Continuing along the original Inca Trail we arrive at Intipunku (the Sun Gate), with a spectacular view of Machu Picchu. Our guide will help us understand the importance and functions of all the temples, and the history behind the Incas and the majestic Machu Picchu! You will have free time to explore Today you have the whole day to explore Machu Picchu at your leisure. This is also a great opportunity to climb the Huayna Picchu Mountain for an amazing view of the Machu Picchu citadel from the top. Considered as a difficult hike, this option is really worth it if you want to challenge yourself. Otherwise, you have plenty of options for hiking and exploring different areas of the Machu Picchu citadel. During the afternoon, we have a transfer back to Aguas Calientes to catch our train service back to Ollantaytambo, or Cusco. End of our SALKANTAY INCA TRAIL | Photography Hike.