Gay Hiking to Machu Picchu – Salkantay Trek

HE Travel: Don’t miss out on this amazing adventure! Pack your bags, grab your friends, and join HE Travel to experience Gay Hiking to Machu Picchu – Salkantay Trek.

At its peak the Inca Empire stretched for hundreds of miles up and down the spine of the Andes, with a complex web of trails connecting villages, cities, and shrines. A haven for serious hikers and explorers, the area surrounding Machu Picchu in Peru offers natural beauty, history and enchanting mystery. Each day our gay hiking group will ascend and descend the Salkantay Inca Trail to witness new vistas, see incredible ruins (only visible by walking the trail) and live in the actual footsteps of those who built this path nearly 600 years ago. Each day the anticipation of seeing the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu itself, will pull us upward into the clouds, then down the forested slopes to the citadel. Before and after our hike we will also spend time touring Lima, Cusco, and the Sacred Valley.

Highlights:

  • Bike around Lima for an introduction to Peru’s colonial sites, world-renowned restaurants and nightlife.
  • Begin your altitude adjustment at 11,000 feet in Cusco, long the center of Andean civilization.
  • Meet our team of experienced Quechua guides and the horses that will accompany us on our hike.
  • Traverse the Salkantay Inca Trail that National Geographic Adventure Magazine named one of the 25 best treks in the world, and is the only Incan trail that visits both a glacier and a lush tropical forest.
  • Wonder at the snow-covered summit of Mount Salkantay.
  • See archeological sites only accessible by hiking during our four days of hiking and three nights of camping along the trail.

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ITINERARY

The exquisite vistas and remarkable sites along the trails of the Incas have attracted intrepid trekkers for the past several decades. The Salkantay Inca Trail provides a physical challenge which rewards hikers with views of Machu Picchu from a rare vantage point. Our ten-day tour offers a taste of Peru with an emphasis on hiking the Incan Trails and discovering the history of the Incas.

Please note exact itinerary for tour days in Lima and Cusco may be subject to change. A special thanks to our clients David, Ryan, Rick, Mike, and Michael for sharing beautiful photos from their journeys! 

 
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Days 1-2: Lima, Peru

Cute couple with Peruvian lady and her llama on HE Travel gay hiking tour to Machu Picchu

Most tour members arriving during the evening of Day 1 or early in the morning of Day 2. For anyone in Lima during the afternoon of Day 1, we offer an optional half-day excursion to the nearby ruins of Pachacamac for an additional charge.

After breakfast on Day 2, we will hop on bikes for take a cycling tour of Lima city including: the Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the Cathedral and Archbishop’s Palace. We will also enjoy a visit to a collection of Inca and Pre-Inca arts and artifacts, and tour the Larco Herrara Museum with its extensive erotic art collection. Our lunch and dinner will be at two of the restaurants that have put Lima on the international culinary map.

 

Days 3-4: Breathe Deep: Cusco, the High Altitude Incan Capital

hikers in the mountains of Peru on HE Travel gay hiking tour to Machu Picchu.

This morning we take a short flight from Lima to Cusco. After arrival in Cusco, we will check into our deluxe Cusco hotel and begin adjusting to the altitude in preparation for our upcoming mountain trek. Cusco is a lovely colonial city with plenty of diversions, and a chance to slow down and enjoy Andean hospitality, after our long days of hiking. On our arrival day, lunch will be on your own, but we will gather for a special dinner in a nearby museum.

During our full day in Cusco, we will have a city tour featuring Santo Domingo Monastery, the Cathedral and the Temple of the Sun. We will also head a bit out of town to visit the ancient walled complex of Sacsayhuaman, known for its tightly formed walls made of massive stones, and held together without mortar.

The evening will be free to check out the hip San Blas neighborhood where you can roam the ancient streets and shop at the square that is filled with native art galleries and craft booths. Cusco’s main square also features lovely shops and tempting restaurants, where you can stop for dinner, which is on your own today.

 

Day 5: Footsteps of History: Hiking the Salkantay Inca Trail

Hiking the trails to Machu Picchu with HE Travel gay group

From approximately 1450 to 1530, the western coast of South America flourished under the vast Incan Empire. At the height of their reign, the Inca were worthy of comparison to the ancient Roman society. Their many achievements include superior roadways, government, and counting systems. Lasting roughly a century, the Inca culture was highly sophisticated, but most information about them was lost during the time of Spanish conquest. Today archaeologists continue to uncover some of the buried mysteries to further our knowledge of the Inca, and during our trek, we will discover more about this fascinating culture. The following itinerary is typical of the trek but may fluctuate based on weather conditions, campsites available and the progress of the group.

We have an early departure today and a half-day drive toward our trailhead at Challacancha (12,690 feet). We’ll stop in Limatambo, an ancient Incan town with fascinating ruins at Tarawasi. We will also pause for coffee in the village of Mollepata before continuing up our winding mountain road to Challacancha We’ll meet our horsemen and the horses that will carry our overnight gear, and begin our hike, gradually ascending to the base of Mount Salkantay. Our campsite tonight is at Soyrococha (13,800 feet) in a dramatic setting with a magnificent view of Salkantay Mountain, the second most sacred peak to the Incas, and its glacier (warm clothing is a must, along with a strudy poncho in the event of rain!).

 

Day 6: High Mountain Pass

inside the dining tent on the HE Travel gay Inca Trail tour

We depart early after breakfast and start a 1.5 hour ascent to the Salkantay Mountain Pass (4,638 meters/15,213 feet), the highest point of our hike. Here, in addition to the stunning views of the surrounding glaciers of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, we can observe chinchillas and condors in their natural habitat. From the pass we start our long, gradual descent toward the Urubamba River valley, with the tree line below us. We move slowly, not only to maintain our breathing and walking rhythm, but also to enjoy the outrageous mountain views. We will pause for lunch at Wayracmachay, then continue hiking along the flowing water of the Salkantay River.

At lower altitudes we will find a more tropical climate and a cloud forest where white slips appear out of nowhere, only to dissolve like a magic handkerchief and leave us with a perfect patch of blue sky. As the air warms, we will also see more butterflies and the occasional orchid. In the late afternoon we reach our camp at Andenes (9,481 feet). This is a beautiful spot surrounded by vegetation. We may also catch a glimpse of the very rare que-ua tree found only here in the Andes.

 

Day 7: A surprising range of climates in the Andes

hacienda on the HE Travel gay Inca Trail tour

Today’s hike is an easier walk through the Santa Teresa River valley, a more populated area with small villages of farmers who grow bananas, granadilla, avocados and some of the best organic coffee in the world. Along the trail we will have a hot picnic lunch. After another hour of hiking, we will take a vehicle for a half-hour or so to the trailhead for the new “Llactapata Inca Trail. We will follow this trail to our last campsite of Lucmabamba, where a local family will host us for a demonstration of the local coffee.

 

Day 8: Our first view of Machu Picchu

our group at machu picchu on the HE Travel gay Inca Trail tour

After breakfast, we begin our last trekking day. We hike mostly uphill for 2-3 hours to Llactapata Pass (8,974 feet), where we pause to explore the Incan Llactapata Ruins. And when we head up a short distance further to El Mirador, we will be treated to a rarely seen perspective of the legendary Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu from downriver, along with an incredible view back toward Salkantay Mountain.

We enjoy a final picnic lunch here, then begin a two-hour descent to the Aobamba River valley with its bamboo forests, coffee plantations and orchards. Our destination is the hydroelectric plant of Machu Picchu. Depending on timing, we will take a train for the last stretch of our trek, or walk along the tracks to the village of Aguas Calientes. There we will check into our hotel for the night, shake the dust off our clothes, enjoy a hot shower, and replace our sleeping bags with soft hotel beds at one of the finest hotels in the village.

 

Day 9: Exploring Machu Picchu

Hiker at his destination on HE Travel gay hiking tour to Machu Picchu

We wake up early and board a bus up to Machu Picchu itself. The ancient city atop the mountains at 8,000 feet seems untouched since being inhabited by the Incas. Because of its remote location, the Spanish conquistadors missed Machu Picchu and it became a refuge for the escaping Incas during the time of conquest. Amazingly preserved temples still stand with huge walls of artistically carved white granite. Every turn offers another view, another photo opportunity, or another chance to absorb the magic and the history that make this place so special.

Upon arrival our guide will give us a tour of the Inca citadel for about two hours. We will then have free time to walk around or climb up the rocky pinnacle of Huayna Picchu Mountain (pending availability of tickets) where one can appreciate spectacular views of all of Machu Picchu, the valleys and the surrounding mountains. Alternatively, you can visit the Temple of the Moon, the Sun Gate, and/or the famous Inca Bridge, or just relax and meditate.

In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes to collect our luggage, board our train toward the Sacred Valley then transfer in a bus to our hotel.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a beautiful stretch of villages and ancient ruins spread across a broad plain beneath the gentle mountain slopes northwest of Cusco. The area is home to several grand haciendas, Inca temples, and quaint villages. It is also a fertile valley and major center of agricultural production for the region. With the Urubamba River as its source, native Andean crops such as white corn, coca, potatoes, and other fruits and vegetables flourish in expansive fields and along spectacularly terraced mountain slopes. We will have dinner at our hotel in the Urubamba Valley then get a good rest in our warm beds.

 

Day 10: Touring the Sacred Valley

horsemanship in highlands of peru on HE Travel gay hiking tour to Machu Picchu

Today is our last day, and we’ll make the most of it! This morning we visit the Ollantaytambo ruins, a massive Inca fortress. We’ll have a picnic lunch today in order to allow time for a special visit to Moray. Here we’ll marvel at the enormous terraced pits (theories suggest that these pits were dug to allow experiments with agriculture in varying conditions – but all in one place). We next visit the nearby Maras Salt Pans that look like a series of rice paddies aligned on a hillside – but the intricate irrigation system is actually to leave salt residue behind instead of irrigating rice crops as would be found in Asia.

Afterward, we will transfer to Cusco to head to the airport. An afternoon flight to Lima is included in the tour fee. (If you have a flight home from Lima between noon and 6 pm, please be sure we book an earlier flight for you.) For those with late-night flights, we are happy to arrange a room at a hotel by the airport for resting before heading to the airport.

Extension: You may extend your trip with additional time in Lima or Cusco or by adding on a private tour to the Amazon or Lake Titicaca. Please check with us if you are interested in a adding a post-tour expedition to your Peru adventure.

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PRICE

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DATE

 Future Dates  To Be Announced! Stay Tuned!

 

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