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Trekking Through the Andes With My Friends: A Small Group Tour for the Ages

As a doctor, my life is often confined to the sterile walls of a clinic or hospital, focused on healing the ailments of those who come seeking aid. But there’s an innate desire within me to break free from the monotony of everyday life, to challenge my physical and mental limits, and to immerse myself in the raw beauty of nature. It was this longing that led me to embark on the small group tour to Salkantay Trek, a five-day adventure that promised to push me to my limits and beyond.

Day 1: Soraypampa Camp, Peru

Salkantay View in Peru - Inca Trail trekking

The journey began with a rendezvous at the crack of dawn, where a small group of adventurers, including myself, gathered for an unforgettable expedition. 

Thanks to the expertise of our local travel expert, we were whisked away on a tourist-class bus to Mollepata, our first stop on the journey. From there, we continued by car to Challacancha, where final preparations were made before setting foot on the trail.

The first day’s trek was a challenging yet exhilarating ascent to Soraypampa, situated at a breathtaking altitude of 3,920 meters. 

Surrounded by majestic snow-capped mountains, we dined on a simple yet satisfying meal, nourishing both body and soul. As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting a golden glow over the landscape, I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the opportunity to experience such natural beauty.

Day 2: Colcapampa Camp

snow mountains salkantay trek peru

Waking up to the crisp mountain air, we fueled ourselves with a hearty breakfast before embarking on the next leg of our journey. 

The highlight of the day was undoubtedly the awe-inspiring ascent to the highest pass on the trek, nestled between the towering peaks of Salkantay and Humantay. Despite the physical exertion required to reach such heights, the panoramic views that greeted us at the summit made every step worth it.

Descending into the lush valleys below, we were greeted by the sights and sounds of the high jungle region, a stark contrast to the barren landscapes we had traversed earlier. Our campsite at Colcapampa provided a welcome respite from the day’s exertions, as we reflected on the wonders of nature that surrounded us.

Day 3: Santa Teresa Town

santa teresa peru

As we journeyed deeper into the heart of the jungle, the landscape transformed once again, revealing a tapestry of vibrant greenery and cascading waterfalls. Crossing the Santa Teresa River and meandering through verdant valleys, we couldn’t help but marvel at the sheer diversity of life that flourished in this remote corner of the world.

Arriving in Santa Teresa town, we indulged in a well-deserved rest and relaxation, soaking our weary muscles in the soothing waters of the local hot springs. It was a moment of pure bliss, a chance to unwind and recharge before the final leg of our journey.

Day 4: Aguas Calientes, Peru

hot springs in aguas calientes

With the end of our adventure in sight, we set out on the last stretch of the trail, following a gentle path that wound its way through the Andean foothills. Arriving in Aguas Calientes, we were greeted by the tantalizing aroma of traditional Peruvian cuisine, a fitting reward for our perseverance and determination.

As night fell over the bustling town, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation building within me. Tomorrow, we would finally set foot in Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan citadel that had captured the imagination of explorers and adventurers for centuries.

Day 5: Machu Picchu, Peru

kid staring at machu picchu

The dawn of a new day brought with it the promise of adventure and discovery as we embarked on the final leg of our journey. Boarding one of the first buses to Machu Picchu, we arrived at the ancient citadel just as the morning mist began to dissipate, revealing the majestic ruins in all their glory.

Guided by our knowledgeable tour guide, we explored the intricate stone terraces and labyrinthine passageways of Machu Picchu, each step unearthing new mysteries and wonders. As I stood atop the sacred peaks of Huayna Picchu, overlooking the vast expanse of the Andean mountains, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of gratitude for the experiences that had brought me here.

Final Word

The Salkantay Trek was more than just a physical challenge; it was a journey of self-discovery and exploration. 

From the snow-capped peaks of the Andes to the lush valleys of the jungle, each step brought me closer to nature and closer to myself. I am grateful to have experienced this incredible adventure with a small group of like-minded individuals, guided by the expertise of a local travel expert.

As I reflect on the memories forged along the trail, I feel an overwhelming sense of wanderlust stirring within me. 

The call of the wild beckons, and I know that I will return to the mountains someday, ready to embark on a new adventure and embrace the unknown. Until then, the memories of the Salkantay Trek will remain etched in my soul, a testament to the power of nature to inspire, challenge, and transform us.

frank rowe headshot

Guest post written by Frank Rowe

While he possesses an unwavering dedication to healing and helping others, his passion extends far beyond the walls of the hospital. Frank is a wanderlust at heart, finding solace and inspiration in the far-flung corners of the world.