8 Days
OneSeed Expeditions
base price per person

Hike to Machu Picchu

Trek into the Andes on this less-crowded alternative to reach Machu Picchu. Visit local markets, temples, and a coffee farm while marvelling at the beautiful scenery.

Machu Picchu is perhaps the most famous archaeological site in all of South America—and with good reason. The smooth stone walls of this historic Inca citadel remain almost untouched; undestroyed by the Spanish Conquest. The Spanish never found Machu Picchu, though it stands atop a hill a mere 80km away from the Inca capital Cusco.

The fact that it was hidden away for so many years gives this ancient Andean city an unparalleled aura of mystery and grandeur. Trek through the Andes to take the road less travelled to this UNESCO World Heritage site, visiting local homes and coffee plantations along the way.

Expert guides will ensure a smooth journey from the moment you land in Cusco, a modern tourist spot steeped in Andean culture. This 8-day trip has been carefully curated by OneSeed Expeditions—a company that chooses to invest in people by loaning 10% of their profits to local entrepreneurs in need of capital. Don’t just visit local communities, empower them.

Trip Highlights:

  • Hike up and over Salkantay Pass for breathtaking views of the valley below
  • Stay overnight with a family in Lucmabamba to learn about their local coffee farm
  • Explore Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and the stunning archaeological site at Machu Picchu



Day 1: Cusco (11,155ft/3400m)

Upon your arrival at the airport in Cusco, a OneSeed staff member will greet you and take you to our partner lodge, located in the historic district of San Blas. The lodge is centrally located and only a few minutes’ walk from the Plaza de Armas, the beautiful and bustling town center. Meet your expedition group at 5:00pm.


Day 2: Cusco (11,155ft/3400m)

In order to acclimate to the altitude, head to the Sacred Valley. Get a chance to visit the village of Pisac, where you will stop by a traditional market and see the Citadel of Pisac on a guided tour. Check out the Ollantaytambo ruins, which consists of enormous blocks of rock perfectly carved and polished to fit together seamlessly. We’ll head back to Cusco around 6:30-7:00pm.


Day 3: Cusco to Salkantay Pampa (13,451ft/4100m)

In the morning, take the 3-hour trip to Mollepata, a small village located at the edge of the cloud forest.  From here, we will be able to enjoy our first views of Salkantay, which reaches 20,691 ft. Take a break to enjoy the landscape before continuing on to Challa’cancha, our trek departure point. In Challa’cancha, meet the assistant guides and begin the 2-hour hike to Soraypampa, where you will eat lunch. From there, continue hiking another 3½ hours to Salkantay Pampa, where you will camp for the night. Total distance: 7.5 miles. Approximately 5-7 hours of trekking.


Day 4: Salkantay Pampa to Colcapampa (9,240ft/2816m)

Today is the hardest trekking day. Eat an early breakfast before beginning the hike to the Salkantay Pass (15,246 ft).  Take a break at the pass to enjoy the breathtaking views before continuing downhill to the lunch spot, Huayrac Machay. After lunch, continue the descent to Colcapampa, our second campsite location. Total distance: 12 miles. Approximately 8-10 hours of trekking.


Day 5: Colcapampa to Lucmabamba (6,562ft/2000m)

Continue descending into the high jungle.  During the walk, hike along clear streams and rivers and visit impressive waterfalls.  Observe the change in your surrounding environment as it becomes increasingly lush. Pass small coffee and fruit farms before stopping in the small town of Lucmabamba, where you will spend the night in a homestay with a local coffee farming family. Learn about the coffee roasting process and explore the family’s coffee farm. Total distance: 9.5 miles. Approximately 6-8 hours of trekking.


Day 6: Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes (6,693ft/2040m)

In the morning, drive for two hours toward the Hydroelectric station. From there, hike for three hours to Aguas Calientes, stopping halfway on the trail for some lunch. Check into your room for a shower and some rest before a celebratory dinner at a local restaurant. Total distance: 4.5 miles. Approximately 2-3 hours of trekking.


Day 7: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu to Cusco (11,155ft/3400m)

After an early breakfast, depart for Machu Picchu. The bus takes about 20 minutes, with the option of hiking (1½ hours). The goal is to get to Machu Picchu as early as possible to avoid the crowds and have the best chance to enjoy its beauty, mystery, and magic in peace. You will receive a guided tour for about 2½ hours followed by free time to explore the site on your own. There is time to climb Machu Picchu Mountain (*based on availability) for views of the ruins from above. Meet in Aguas Calientes in the afternoon to board the train back to Cusco, arriving by 9:30pm. Total distance: 5 miles. Optional 2-3 hours of trekking.


Day 8: Cusco (11,155ft/3400m)

International flights depart. 


*All itineraries are subject to change based on local conditions and the judgement of the guide. We reserve the right to modify the itinerary due to medical considerations or the ability of participants as judged by the guide.

Trip Dates 14 – 21 September 2018

29 September – 6 October 2018

6 – 13 October 2018

New dates for 2019 coming soon

Arrival/Departure Location Cusco, Peru
Included Medical/evacuation insurance for all participants confirmed 30 days or more prior to their expedition start date
Airport transfers
3 nights accommodation in Cusco
1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the trek
Trekking permits and entry fees
Farewell dinner
Guide and porter services
All ground transportation to/from trail
3 nights camping
Not Included  Personal items (laundry, clothing, snacks, etc)
Trip cancellation insurance (offered as an option)
International airfare and meals during travel
Snacks during trek
Beverages outside of designated mealsSingle room fee $250

Packing List 

Expedition Gear

  • Change of clothes for Cusco – to be kept in storage during expedition
  • Down jacket
  • Fleece jacket or vest
  • Synthetic hiking pants (zip-away shorts are a great option)
  • Rain Jacket
  • Waterproof Pant
  • Synthetic long underwear (top and bottom)
  • Synthetic T-shirt
  • Wool or synthetic hat
  • Gloves
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Nylon-wool blend socks (3)
  • Sandals (for walking around the camp in the evening)
  • Day pack
  • Duffle bag to be carried by mules (provided by OneSeed)
  • Water bottles (1-2 to carry 2 liters)
  • Headlamp
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Personal toiletries and medicine
  • Sleeping bag -15º C 5º F
  • Casual clothes for city
  • Toilet paper in ziplock bag
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper in ziplock bag
  • Ditty Bag and extra ziplock baggies for toilet paper waste on the trail

Other (optional)

  • Reading material for the trail
  • Hand sanitizer or wet wipes
  • Collapsible hiking poles (recommended – may be rented in Cusco)
  • Hotel reservations for extended time in Cusco (if applicable)
  • Guidebooks
  • Camera
  • Zip-lock bags for waterproofing passport and other valuables

Note: This expedition includes pack animals for bag transport. You are only responsible for carrying a daypack. A duffle bag will be provided for your carried bag. Carried bag weight limit: 15lbs/7kg

Why Choose OneSeed Expeditions?

OneSeed Expeditions was founded with a simple goal: Explore the world. Invest in people. They have been recognized as a leader in socially minded travel.

They Hire Local Guides

OneSeed hire professional, experienced guides from local communities.

They Invest in Local Economies

OneSeed invest 10% of total revenue in the form of microcredit to local small-scale entrepreneurs. They partner with small businesses to maximize local benefit from tourism.

They Protect Local Environments

OneSeed practice ‘Leave No Trace’ principles on all of their expeditions and incentivize environmental best practices among their partners.

They Respect Local Customs

OneSeed operates with respect and mindfulness everywhere they travel.

Read about OneSeed’s accolades in the Press:

Meet the Guides

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This is a multi-day trip with fixed departure dates. Some trips have different itineraries or lengths, so please check that you've chosen exactly what you want, and the correct trip start date. If you have any questions at all, please use the chat feature and we'll answer as quickly as possible.

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