If someone were to ask you the way to Machu Picchu, you’d probably direct them via the world-famous Inca Trail. After all, is there any other way to get there? Indeed the Inca Trail has led visitors in their millions to this iconic site and its enduring popularity will unquestionably continue, yet another route – the Salkantay Trail – is quietly emerging from the shadows and provides a tempting alternative to its celebrity sibling. And for those seeking luxury trekking holidays in Peru as an alternative to hardcore camping, then mountain lodges provide welcome rest for sore feet.
A Quechua word meaning ‘Savage Mountain’, the Salkantay Trail takes its name from one of the most sacred peaks in Inca mythology and winds an ancient and remote path through a contrasting topography of snow-capped mountains and lush, tropical rainforests. Starting in the mountain village of Mollepata, the Salkantay Trail leads directly to Machu Picchu in four to six days and whilst a little tougher than the classic trek, the rewards are immeasurable.
From Mollepata, the Salkantay Trail passes Soraypampa and the Rio Blanco Valley, taking in the magnificent Vilcabamba mountain range at its peak, before descending into more verdant surroundings where colourful butterflies and beautiful orchids abound. Passing bamboo forests, coffee plantations and avocado orchards, the Llactapata Pass and Ruins precede your arrival at Aguas Calientes, the town of Machu Picchu.
Trekking from lodge to lodge, you’ll not fail to appreciate the luxury accommodations complete with welcoming Jacuzzis, gourmet cuisine and comfortable beds adorned with crisp clean linen, providing a welcome alternative to nights spent under canvas. Along the way, you’ll encounter numerous opportunities to meet the local Peruvian communities, with a number of small-scale, self-sufficient cooperatives producing traditional jams, clothing and blankets, supplied in turn to the Mountain Lodges of Peru, whose guests not only gain a greater understanding of the local peoples and culture, but also sustain and bolster their economy.
While the trekking may be challenging, the rewards of Peru’s Salkantay Trail are undoubtedly plentiful.
For more information on Red Savannah's tailor-made luxury trekking holidays in Peru call our South America specialist on 01242 787800 and see our suggested itinerary Machu Picchu-Trek in Style.