My husband and I recently returned from our adventure vacation in Peru. The highlight of our trip was our six day Salkantay Basecamp trek in the Andes Mountains with Nathan Heald with Sky High Expeditions. The first day of our hike, we crossed a pass that was over 17,000 feet making it higher than any mountain in the US or Europe. This was quite a feat for us and proved to be very challenging however, rewarding. The beautiful lagoon toward the top and the amazing vista from the pass is beyond description. We have traveled quite a bit and been to many beautiful mountainous regions in the states and both agree, we haven't seen anything like the Salkantay trail. The second day was a little less strenuous but again beautiful. We passed through a valley where my husband and Luis, our cook and an arriero, caught trout by hand out of the river! That night we camped near some overgrown ruins that had been untouched for centuries. The next two days were the most challenging and dangerous for us of the whole week. Let me disclose that we are not climbers or mountaineers; we have hiked in the Rockies, Smoky Mountains, Appalachians, and the Ozark Mountains back home. But hiking in the United States does not compare to the danger of hiking in Peru. Having said that, hiking in the United States does not compare to the beauty and adventure of hiking an untouched trail in Peru. The ancient trail was narrow, etched into the side of the mountain, and difficult to navigate in parts. We crossed several landslides, rivers, and a long cable bridge that literally felt like a scene out of Indiana Jones. It was a sheer adrenaline rush and Nathan definitely had more confidence in us then we did in ourselves! The best part was, we got to enjoy this magical place for four days on the trail and we didn't see any other hikers! Unlike the crowded Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trail is only guided by Nathan and his crew.
I would highly recommend Sky High Expeditions, particularly the Salkantay Basecamp Trek, to anyone wanting to take a different route to Machu Picchu. We were very appreciative of the guidance and attention to detail given by Nathan, Luis, Edwin, and Leonardo. The food was amazing and the locations where we camped were beautiful. We could not have asked for a more adventurous route to Machu Picchu. They literally thought of every detail. It is something we will never forget!