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.
This is a unique version of the Classic Salkantay Trek.
The first two days follow one of the common Salkantay trails, but on the 3rd day we depart the Salkantay trails to enjoy a less trodden path that connects with the Classic Inca Trail. You even get the opportunity to walk a portion of the Classic Inca Trail on the 1 rst day.
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, thanks to 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! Then
a shorter version of the Inca Trail leaves from KM 104, 2100 m (104 kilometers along the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes) and involves a four-hour walk uphill to the Wiñay-Wayna Complex at 2700 m followed by a couple of hours further to Machu Picchu, to experience this last part of the Classic Inca Trail. This 2-Day Tour covers a 16-km Inca Trail in the first day, joining the Classic 4-day trail at the impressive archaeological site of Wiñay-Wayna. (Only Inca Trail hikers get to enjoy these ruins!!!) The name means “Forever Young” in Quechua, the indigenous language, and is taken from that of the pink and purple orchid that grows here. Farming terraces, “Andenes”, surrounding the whole side of a mountain decorate this ancient Inca castle that includes temples, buildings and water channels. The stonework is high in quality with fine masonry and includes a magnificent sequence of fifteen ritual fountain baths. It was a religious centre, probably associated with the ritual worship of water. Chachabamba is another very fascinating Inca complex that you will visit, from where you will also have views of Inti-pata and Choquesuysuy, other ruins hiding in the middle of the beautiful mountains and the lower part of the subtropical valley.
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)
- 6 Days
- Travel, landscape, nature, wildlife and people photography
- Professional photographer | guide
- Photo walks & discussions
- Small group size (1-8 guests)
- 3 or 4-star hotels
- 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
ITINERARY SALKANTAY TREK | Photography Trail
We will collect you early in the morning from your hotel and take private transport to the village of Mollepata (2.5 hours) where we will have breakfast (not included) and have a look around the village. This is the traditional starting point for the Salkantay trek. If you want to buy last-minute supplies, you can do so in Mollepata, thus supporting the local economy. We continue in our vehicle for 1.5 hours to Soraypampa (3800 m/12464ft). Here you will have magnificent views of Nevado Humantay (5917m) and it is also our lunch spot. The hike from Soray to the camp of Salkantaypampa in the upper valley requires about two and a half hours. This campsite is freezing, year round, and you should be prepared for below freezing temperatures. Also, as this is a high campsite you should have acclimatized for at least 3 days before departing on this trek.
Alter a cold night, 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. After a celebratory rest set at 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.
Early in the morning we will leave our campsite at Pampacawana and make our way down the valley to join the Inca Trail at Wayllabamba. Along the way, we will visit many Incas sites that correspond to the greater Inca trail system, such as ‘Paucarcancha, Wayllabamba, and Patallaqta, Our guides will make sure you explore these ancient sites and give you the proper historical and archaeological information about them. Our goal for the day is to visit the most stunning Incan site of the Machupicchu Sanctuary called Wayna Qente. This beautiful place is a secret jewel hidden in the furthermost area of the Sacred Valley within the national park, which is barely visited by tourists. After lunch, We will continue our hiking for another 5 miles (ca. 8 km) until we reach our campsite at Piscacucho.
We’ll pick you up from your Hotel at 06:00am to transfer you to the train station for a 4-hour journey. In high season this may be with private transport, to Ollantaytambo, then we’ll board a Tourist Backpacker Train with reserved seats for 1 hour and 45 minutes to kilometer 104 – the start of the hike. As soon as we arrive at this point we will cross a bridge to the check-out point and show your passports, then we will start with an easy walk. On the other side of the Vilcanota river the trail heads off to the right towards the ruins of Chachabamba. After a visit in Chachabamba, we’ll continue along the trail heading south, climbing the mountain, before entering the cloud forest. Then the trail leaves the forest and goes west while continuing the uphill hike in open grassland. After hiking in the sun for about three hours, the trail descends into a shaded forest. This is where trekkers can enjoy a beautiful waterfall. After leaving the waterfall and forest, we will arrive at the lower part of the incredible ruins of Wiñay-Wayna. It is recommended that you start the trek with at least 2 litres of water.
After lunch in Wiñay-Wayna we continue through a cloud forest full of bromelias, orchids and fern trees. You will walk the last part of the original trail with amazing features including stone steps and tambos “resting places”. To arrive at Intipunku (Sun Gate) we will climb 60 Inca steps. From this point you will be able to contemplate and observe this marvelous place, where you can feel a breathtaking inner peace. We will have a break for photos before heading down to Aguas Calientes. A visit to the hot springs is optional or you can enjoy spare time to chill out at this small village.
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2-hour walking tour of the site. You will begin your hike of Huayna Picchu mountain at 10 AM. If you are not climbing the mountain, or after you hike the mountain, you will have spare time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus. When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket. Our SALKANTAY TREK | Photography Trail ends.