Machu Picchu via the Salkantay Trek in Peru with Lisa – May 20-27, 2023

J O I N  U S  I N  M A C H U   P I C C H U - P E R U !!!

Cross this magical place off your bucket list and join us for an incredible adventure to one the New 7 Wonders of the World - Machu Picchu!!

Our trip begins with two days exploring America's oldest living city, Cusco allowing. you to acclimate to the altitude before our trek begins. Spend time exploring the city's history, indulging in delicious local dishes, meander through shops. local markets and more. After a couple days exploring this beautiful city, we'll set out on our 5 day journey along the Salkantay Trek ending at magnificent Machu Picchu.

The Salkantay Trek is a fully supported 40 mile journey less traveled than its counterpart the Inca Trail. Not only will you encounter rampant beauty along the way, but because it is more rugged and remote, the Salkantay Trek is significantly less populated than the Inca Trail. Day by day you will travel through changing ecosystems and scenery: from sweeping, magical landscapes and snowy mountains to a tropical jungle paradise. Along the way, you will see a wide variety of wildlife, medicinal plants, and flower lol varieties. Witness, with your own eyes, a living, and ancient, culture in remote villages hardly ever visited by foreigners!

After an incredible journey to Machu Picchu, your final evening will be spent in a Cusco hotel to relax before you depart!

Due to her high altude and steep slopes, you will need a reasonable level of fitness to complete the Salkantay Trek. But that should not be a barrier! The most important thing is to be well-acclimated to the altitude. The highest point you will reach on the trek is 15255 ft /4650 m. We will spend the recommended two days in Cusco to acclimate before the journey. This is a women's only trip.

Day 1 - Welcome to Cusco, Peru!

Arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astute International Airport in Cusco, Peru (CUZ). Upon arrival your driver will be waiting for you outside of baggage claim, holding a sign with your name on it. All the airport transfers are on-demand the day our trip starts so don't worry about arriving at a specific time. We do suggest arriving by early afternoon in order to settle in and join a group welcome dinner in the evening (optional).

Tonight you will have the choice to get to know your fellow travelers over dinner at an authentic Peruvian restaurant or you can opt to enjoy dinner at a place of your choice. If you are joining the group, we will meet in the hotel lobby at 6:45 p.m. and walk to the restaurant nearby our hotel together.

After enjoying a delicious dinner out, we will head back to the hotel to get some rest for our big week ahead!

Day 2 - Explore the oldest city on the American continent - Cusco, Peru!

Cusco is the oldest living city on the entire American continent, and today you'll have the chance to leisurely explore this extraordinary place which has been inhabited continuously for over 3,000 years.

Start the day with a cafecito and Peruvian style breakfast at the hotel. We will meet in the lobby at 8:50 a.m. for a tour of Cusco. A local female guide will be taking us around  some of the highlights including the main square, Cathedral, Koricancha temple and finish at the Incan ruins, Sacasayhuman, for a light hike and views of Cusco.

After the tour is over, the rest of the day is yours to spend relaxing and acclimatizing. We recommend making sure to not overdo it today, drink plenty of water and RELAX to best prepare for the amazing journey we are about to embark upon.

Day 3 - Cusco to the Trail - Hike to the Jewel in the Mountains 
Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Humantay Lake - Soraypampa

Rise and's go time! Today we hit the Salkantay Trail. Our guide will pick us up at 4:00 a.m. at our hotel. After two hours of driving, we will stop in a small town called Mollepata for those who would like to grab a quick optional breakfast. Then, we will continue for another hour to Challacancha, the starting point of our trek. Here we will meet our support staff for the trek. Your support staff consists of a head chef, a sous chef, and horseback riders. Day to day, they will strap all the luggage and equipment to mules and ride ahead of us to set up camp and prepare the food. At around 09:30 AM, we will begin trekking to Soraypampa, the first campsite on our journey located at the base of the Humantay and Salkantay Mountain.

After three hours of trekking, we will travel 4.35 miles (7 km) and arrive at the base of camp where we will have lunch. After lunch and a short rest, we will climb up to the stunning and unforgettable Humantay Lake. This is a 3.1 mile (5 km) round-trip hike that leads you to a picturesque lake straight out of a fairy tale!

Afterwards we will enjoy dinner back at camp as the sun sets in the valley behind us creating a peaceful scene leaving you with an energy that can only be felt and not described! AND TO TOP IT OFF… because Soraypampa is located far from the hustle and bustle of any city lights, at night you can lay back and enjoy the pitch-black sky as it  lights up with thousands of stars, constellations, and comets. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for a shooting star so you can make a magical wish!

Tonight’s accommodation: Sky Camp at an elevation of  12861 ft / 3920 m
Walking Distance: 7.45 miles / 11.98 km
Difficulty: Moderate
Highest Elevation: 15091 ft / 4600 m
Day 4 - The Stunning Salkantay Pass and Descent to the Jungle
Soraypampa - Salkantaypampa - Salkantay Pass - Huayracmachay - Chaullay

Wake up with the first daylight at 5:30 a.m. and enjoy a warm cup of coca tea and an energizing breakfast. Today we will begin trekking up to the highest point of the trial: the Salkantay Pass. It is a challenging 4.34 mile ascent traveling through the rocky valley base and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain towering over you at 20,574 ft (6271 m). 

After reaching the top of the pass, we will appreciate the spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains. Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu”. From here we will continue down to Huayracmachay lunch campsite which offers a perfect valley outlook with a stunning view. 

In the afternoon, we will enter the upper part of the Amazon jungle, which is also called “the cloud forest”. This portion of the hike takes you through a thick and magical tropical forest. You will notice a dramatic change in landscape and the earth’s energy as we move from Andes to Amazon! This hike is truly beautiful; the hills are decorated with colorful scenery, wildlife, and nave plants. At the end of this outstanding hike, we arrive at Chaullay Village for a much-deserved reward of rest from our long day of trekking! 

Tonight’s accommodation: Andean Huts at an elevation of  9022 ft / 2750 m
Walking Distance: 13.7 miles / 22 km
Difficulty: Challenging
Highest Elevation: 15255 ft / 4650 m 

Day 5 - Jungle Adventure and Coffee Experience
Chaullay - Collpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba

Today we will continue on our journey towards Machu Picchu at 6:00 a.m. making our way towards the small town of La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. Over the 6 hours of hiking today, you will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, and plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado. You can taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit along the way! We will see a village called Colpapampa, also called the “brow of the cloud forest,” where waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, and flora and fauna can be observed. If we are lucky, we will even be able to see the beautiful bird called “The Cock of the Rocks,” the national bird of Peru! After a hearty lunch at La Playa, we will hike for approximately 1 hour to our base camp called Lucmabamba.

We will explore the tropical forest for a little while and visit an organic coffee farm. If you are a coffee lover, this will be especially heavenly for you – you can taste coffee freshly prepared by the local people! Coffee is the main farming industry of the local people here in the jungle, and they farm many acres of coffee to export to the USA, Asia, and Europe. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, but it wasn’t until the Spanish invaded Cusco that it was brought to this region. We will also explore an orange plantation and an avocado plantation this afternoon.

Dinner will be prepared and enjoyed at camp tonight as we soak in the soothing sounds of the jungle surrounding us.

Tonight’s accommodation: Jungle Domes at an elevation of  7874 ft / 2400 m
Walking Distance: 11.8 miles / 19 km
Difficulty: Easy
Highest Elevation: 9022 ft / 2750 m

Day 6 - The Day of Incan Ruins and Your First Glance of Machu Picchu
Lucmabamba - Llactapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

Like previous mornings, the chef will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea served in your bed. You will get ready for today’s activities while enjoying your last prepared breakfast by your friendly chef.

Today we will begin the hike early, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy a small part of the famous and highly-acclaimed Inca trail! After a 2 hour climb with amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley, we will arrive at the Llactapata Inca site right in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first archaeological site we will encounter during our tour of the mysterious Lost City of the Incas! It is a very special place to enjoy together and learn a bit more about this land’s roots and history. From here we will be able to not only see the impressive ruins of Machu Picchu, but we will also be able to view Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain.
We will spend time exploring this Inca site with our guide, who will continue sharing the history of the Incas who lived, worked and worshiped this land. Of course, you will have plenty of time to take as many photos as you want to capture these memories to share with your friends and family back home!

After the Llactapata ruins, we will continue our trek with a 2-hour downhill hike. There are magnificent views of Machu Picchu along this part of the hike. Take in the views of this world wonder until we arrive at the Hidroelectrica train station where we will have lunch. Here you will find one of the most impressive sites in this area, a 300-meter-tall natural waterfall which generates electricity for the entire region of Cusco!

After lunch, we will arrive at Inwatana, a famous ancient rock used as a sundial in the Incan era. According to history, Inwatana worked together with the famous sundial stone in the Machu Picchu site. The people used these two stones to measure and read the winter solstice, which was the beginning of the new farming season for the Incas.

After passing through this interesting Inca site, we will reach the train tracks which lead to the town of Aguas Calientes. Here you will have two options: 1) If you are exhausted, you may take the train to Aguas Calientes ($34.00 extra) or 2) If  you are still eager to hike, you may walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the train track. Next to the tracks, there is a nice path through the warm paradise of the cloud forest. This is the same trail used by the American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost to the outside world!

Tonight’s accommodation: Comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes at an elevation of 6561 ft / 2000 m
Walking Distance: 13.7 miles / 22 km
Difficulty: Challenging
Highest Elevation: 8858 ft / 2700 m

Please note: During the rainy season, the hike up the Llactapata Trail is not 100% guaranteed due to safety concerns. When heavy rains are frequent, this trail becomes very dangerous.
Day 7 - Tour the Incredible Incan Fortress: Machu Picchu
Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu

Today is the long-awaited finale of our incredible 5 day trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site - Machu Picchu!!

We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hostel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy the serenity of the soft morning light. We will get up early to take a bus ride to the Machu Picchu entrance checkpoint which opens at 6:00 a.m. Once we arrive, we will set out on a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city visiting temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. You will be amazed at the engineering and ingenuity of the Incas so far ahead of their time that it still remains a mystery today! 

After our tour, you are free to explore on your own for a few hours. If you are feeling up to a hike, you can book a ticket to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. Be sure to book in advance as you are required to have a reserved ticket to access either of these hikes. Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down so please plan accordingly. Another lower-impact option that does not require an extra ticket is the trek to the Sun Gate. This is the main entrance from the Inca Trail and this hike takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round- trip. A final option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for several hours on your own. 

After a full day of taking in the magic of the lost Incan city, you will be able to hike back down to Aguas Calientes or take the bus. Tonight we will be taking a train ride between 01:37 PM and 06:20 PM (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. From here a private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco around 8 p.m. 

Tonight we will enjoy a farewell group dinner at 8:30 p.m. at a nearby local restaurant.

Touring Level: Easy 
Hike Level: Strenuous (if not taking the bus)
Machu Picchu Elevation: 7972 ft / 2430 m

Day 8 - Adios Cusco, Nos Vemos Pronto!

If you are not joining the Rainbow Mountain extension, then sadly today we must say adios to this beautiful country. After enjoying a leisurely morning breakfast, you’ll have time to pack up your bags and check out. A driver will be available to pick you up at a pre-arranged time at your hotel and will drop you off at the airport in time for your departure flight.

TRIP EXTENSION - RAINBOW MOUNTAIN ADVENTURE (+2 Days/2 Nights) - Available for booking below!
Join us for this 3 day/2 night extension where you will have a free day to explore the city, learn about the local cuisine with a hands-on cooking class, and explore Rainbow Mountain on ATVs!

Day 8 - Explore Cusco & Cooking Class

Wake up slow and enjoy a warm breakfast at your hotel. The rest of the morning is yours to explore the streets of Cusco. Pick up last minute souviniers, enjoy a local cafecito or Pisco Sour, visit the San Pedro market and more!

Today we will be learning about Peruvian cuisine with a "hands-on" cooking class. Your culinary experience starts with a visit to the local San Pedro market, where you’ll have an introduction to a great and diverse number of ingredients from the 8 Natural Regions of Peru. These ingredients compose an important part of the local diet. Then, you will head to a beautiful cooking studio, located in the center of Cusco, where you’ll learn to prepare nutritious and healthy dishes using Peru's most representative ingredients under the guidance of our Peruvian Professional Chef. A refreshing drink, a four course tasting menu and, of course, the famous Pisco Sour will be included.

After a lovely day of learning about and indulging in local cuisine, the rest of the day is yours to explore the streets of Cusco. Pick up last minute souvenirs, enjoy a local cafecito or Pisco Sour, check out a museum or wander the streets taking in the history and ambience of this beautiful Incan city.

Dinner is on your own tonight giving you the option to choose from one of the many delicious and local restaurants within walking distance from your hotel.

Day 9 - Adventure to Rainbow Mountain on ATVs

Today we are in for a grand adventure! We are heading to Rainbow Mountain which is situated in between 2 provinces (Quispicanchis and Canchis) and also surrounded by the beautiful sight of the colored mountains. The hues of the mountain will depend on the weather, they tend to be much brighter on a sunny day.Our guide will be picking us up from our hotel between 3:30-4:00am. After 2 hours and 30 minutes, we will stop for breakfast while we have a briefing the use of ATVs. We will continue on for another 1 hour and 30 minutes to Qosqopata where the ATV portion of our tour will begin.

After a guided tour and some free time to take pictures, we will start the return to Qosqopata and then on to Japura for lunch around midday. Once we finish with lunch, we will return by our land transportation to Cusco arriving around 5:00 pm.

Spend your final evening wandering the streets of Cusco indulging in local dishes and delicacies, enjoy a Pisco Sour or enjoy local dancing at a salsa bar.

Day 10 - Adios Cusco, Nos Vemos Pronto!

As they say…sadly all good things must come to an end, even magical vacations. After enjoying a leisurely morning and warm breakfast, you’ll have time to pack up your bags and check out of your room. A driver will be available to pick you up at a pre-arranged time at your hotel and will drop you off at the airport in time for your departure flight. 

Rainbow Mountain Extension Inclusions:
- 2 days stay in Cusco in a historic 4-star accommodation in a desirable neighborhood with in walking distance to Plaza De Armas. Double occupancy. Single occupancy is available.
- Cusco Cooking Class & Market Visit with local guide/chef
- Rainbow Mountain ATV Adventure including your own ATV, safety gear, and guide
- Local transportation to/from Rainbow Mountain
- Airport transfer to CUZ on designated date
- Meals: 3 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
- Small group; maximum of 13 women plus your trip host

Rainbow Mountain Extension Exclusions:
- Entrance to Rainbow Mountain (25 soles/$6.25 USD); must be paid locally
- Tips and gratuity for guides (at the discretion of the guest)
- International flight to/from Cusco (CUZ) and airport transfers outside of designated date
- Alcohol, additional beverages, snacks and meals (one lunch and one dinner)
- Any other additional excursions and activities not included above
- Peru Visa & Traveler's Insurance (required for all international travelers)- Medical expenses, immunizations and any required Covid-19 testing
- Personal expenses including additional accommodations, meals, souvenirs, etc.

*Please note the Rainbow Mountain Extenstion can only be booked by guests registered for our Salkantay Trekking Trip.

Itinerary subject to change based on discretion of trip leader or tour operator, due to weather or other extenuating circumstances. 
- Private 5-day Salkantay Trek ending at Machu Picchu with superior trail accommodations in sky domes, Andean huts, jungle domes, etc. Double occupancy only
- 3 nights' hotel stay in Cusco in a historic 4-star accommodation in a desirable neighborhood with in walking distance to Plaza De Armas. Double occupancy. Single occupancy for the hotel portion is available
- Fully supported 40-mile trek with the highest paid local guides. Support staff includes a head chef, a sous chef, and horseback riders
- Luggage transport between accommodations throughout the 5 day trek, only carry your day essentials.
- Private airport transfers from Cusco to your hotel and vice versa on the trip start and end date(s)
- All local transportation to and from the Trek and hotel
- Bus transportation to and from Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
- Open ceiling train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Private briefing with your guide team before the Trek at the hotel
- Local city tour featuring the highlights of Cusco, Peru; the oldest city on the entire American continent with a local female guide
- Welcome dinner and farewell dinner in Cusco and all other meals as noted in the itinerary; in total this includes 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
- Pre-Trip Q&A via Zoom with a Peru travel expert who has hiked the trek before
- Trip checklists, trip packing list and pre-travel support
- WWE Swag to show off on the trail!
- Small group; maximum of 13 women plus your 2 trip hosts and local guide team

- International Flights: arrive and depart from Cusco International Airport (CUZ). You may want to look at options for Lima (LIM) as there are typically more options from your home city. From Lima you can book a domestic flight to Cusco.
- Tips and gratuity for guides and porters (at the discretion of the guest)
- Airport transfers outside of designated times
- Alcohol, additional beverages, snacks and meals as noted above
- Sleeping bags and trekking poles (available in Cusco for rent for $25 each; rentals will be coordinated ahead of time)
- Any other additional excursions and activities not included above
- Transportation during the trek if needed/desired (take a train ($31) or horse ($25), paid locally in cash as needed)
- Peru Visa & Traveler's Insurance (required for all international travelers)
- Medical expenses, immunizations and any required Covid-19 testing
- Personal expenses including additional accommodations, meals, souvenirs, etc.

All meals will be provided as noted above. This equates to 7 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners. Once the trip is confirmed we will be in touch to discuss any food allergies/sensitivities and will do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions but are unable to make any guarantees.

Trip Confirmation:
This trip requires a minimum of 7 guests booked by March 15th, 2023 in order for it to be confirmed. Once the trip reaches the minimum participant number, you will receive a trip confirmation email and a link to be added a private Facebook group just for trip guests. Please do not purchase flights or make any additional travel arrangements until the trip has been confirmed. If for any reason the minimum number of travelers is not met, by March 15th, 2023, you will have the option to transfer your trip balance to another Women Who Explore trip or receive a refund.

$2,595 per person for double occupancy. Single occupancy is available for hotels in Cusco for $200 at booking. The on-trail accommodations are very limited and solo accommodations are not allowed by the tour operator on the trail. If there is an extenuating circumstance, we may be able to make special arrangements but there are no guarantees. If you would like to inquire about solo arrangements during the trek, please reach out to prior to booking. There will be an additional cost (TBD) if the request is granted by our operator.  

Our Cancellation Policy: Please see our Terms & Conditions*
*Please note that for our Peru trip there is a non-refundable fee of $500 once this trip reaches the confirmed status.

Covid-19 Travel Policy: Peru's current Covid Policies as of May 31, 2022
“Foreigners must present proof of being fully vaccinated 14 days prior to boarding at their point of origin.   Non-resident foreigners who are not fully vaccinated must present a molecular test with a negative result (within 48 hours) prior to boarding an incoming flight to Peru.” Up-to-date information can be found here: Peru Travel.

Questions? Please reach out to Lindsey Egan at

*Images may not reflect the exact places, views, or vistas being visited during this trip itinerary


You missed out!


Meet Your Trip Host - Minnesota Ambassador - Lisa Chambers 

Lisa first became involved with Women Who Explore in 2018 on a leap of faith and a plane bound for Iceland. Since then, she hasn’t looked back on her pursuit of new adventures. 

For as long as she can remember, the desire to spend time outdoors and travel to new places has always been rooted within her. After raising her 3 children and focusing on her family, Lisa has since reignited her passion for adventure. 

Lisa lives in Minnesota but will say yes to hiking, downhill skiing, or trying new outdoor experiences anywhere. She feels most alive challenging her comfort zone and encouraging women of all ages to do the same. 

Join Lisa in Peru on this bucket list journey and experience the magic of traveling with Women Who Explore!