What To Expect
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Peru: Lodge to Lodge Salkantay Trek is rated 4+, moderate to strenuous, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The moderate acclimatization hikes on this trip are 3-5 hours at 11,150-13,625' on Days 1-3, with vehicle support on Days 1 and 2. During the trek (Day 4-7) we will have no vehicle support. The hikes during this time are more strenuous due primarily to altitude through Day 5 (9,414'-15,213') combined with overall length (5-7 hours per day). The trails are generally in good condition, with some loose rocks, mostly gentle ascents and descents, with some steeper sections.
Traveling To and From
Most Convenient Airport:
Jorge Chavez Lima-Calleo International Airport, Lima, Peru, for international arrivals (airport code LIM)
Cusco Valazco Astete Airport, Cusco, Peru, for domestic arrivals from Lima (airport code CUZ)
Meeting Time and Place:
12:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Novotel in downtown Cusco
We strongly recommend arriving a day early to have more time to acclimatize to Cusco's altitude (11,150') before trekking higher.
Departure Time and Place:
Cusco airport in time for your departing flights to Lima on the last day of the tour
Boundless Journeys operates this trip in partnerhip with Mountain Lodges of Peru, who operates the trekking portion of your journey. In Cusco, you will have a local Boundless Journeys guide, specializing in the city's history, culture, and surrouding area. On your trek, you will have a trekking specialist with extensive mountain experience guide you throughout your journey until returning to Cusco on Day 8. Boundless Journeys guests will be included in a group of up to 12 trekking guests throughout the stay in the mountain lodges.
The mountain lodges offer extensive comfort and service to enhance your Andean trekking experience. The lodges provide private rooms in authentic Andean style with full bedding, hot showers, and electricity (powered by generators turned off at nighttime). Some lodges offer the luxury to soak your muscles in an outdoor hot tub with incredible Andean views, or a soothing sauna. Purified drinking water and spring water are provided, in addition to tea, coffee, juice and soft drinks. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at the bar/lounges. A limited Wi-Fi connection is available at each lodge, also equipped with a satellite phone (for emergency purposes only).
We are supported in the trek by a team of pack horses and their handlers, or arrieros. They will carry our luggage, except for the items packed in your backpack (for example, water, camera, and an extra layer of clothing). Our luggage will be delivered to the next lodge before our arrival each day.
Peru's geography is as diverse as its culture, with altitudes from sea level to over 22,000'. Our trip begins and ends in Cusco, which is situated at 11,150', in the foothills of the Andes. Our first night in the mountain lodges immediately following your stay in Cusco is located at 12,690', where the trek begins, then ascends up to 15,213' before descending into the Santa Teresa River Valley. Elevations are noted along with each day's description. Our sixth hotel, in the town of Machu Picchu Pueblo, is located at about 6,500'. There is time to move at a comfortable pace, while taking regular breaks, allowing ourselves to adjust to the mountain air. Keeping well hydrated, avoiding excessive alcohol, eating lightly but frequently, and getting plenty of rest will help with any effects of altitude that you may feel.
We highly recommend spending at least one additional pre-tour night in Cusco to help acclimatize to the altitude before beginning your trek. You may request additional nights at Hotel Novotel through Boundless Journeys.
The mountainous areas of Peru have pronounced rainy and dry seasons, which are more responsible for the prevailing weather conditions than seasonal temperature fluctuations. The dry season lasts from May through September and the most significant rains fall from January through March. Temperatures do not fluctuate much throughout the year, although nights do tend to be colder from May through September, and nighttime frost and some snow is possible at higher elevations in July. Any time of year, dressing in layers is a good strategy, so that you can shed or add layers as the day heats and cools.
The Salkantay trek passes through nine different bio-zones and reaches elevations of more than 15,000 ft. (4,572m). For this reason, it is important to be prepared for all kinds of weather, from cold weather of 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0° Celsius) to temperatures of up to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (30° Celsius). Average daytime temperatures in and around Cusco generally range from 55°-75° F (13°-24° C) with evenings cooling down into the 40s and 50s (5°-10° C). Jackets are necessary at night any time of the year in Cusco and surrounding areas.
You may obtain more detailed weather information by visiting www.weatherbase.com.
When to Go
Peru is generally delightful for hiking from late April through December, with the clearest skies from May-September. We avoid scheduling trips from January through March as this is the height of the rainy season. That being said, the hillsides and valleys tend to be greener in April, May and June. Later in the dry season the fields turn golden, and the campesinos harvest their crops.
Dinners in Peru feature generous portions of beef, lamb, chicken, or fish, potatoes or rice, and fresh vegetables, such as locally grown avocados, summer squash, and olives. Delicacies such as roasted cuy (guinea pig), alpaca, and ceviche (chilled marinated fish) are available on some menus. Breakfast generally features common continental offerings, cereals made from quinoa, as well as scrambled eggs and sausage. Delicious hearty soups are also a staple of Peruvian meals, and are often available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Vegetarians can be accommodated with advance notice, though choices tend to be more limited.