Stunning Views on the Salcantay Trek in Peru

Alayna Knarian is a student at the Grand Valley State University . She is an ISA Featured Blogger and is studying abroad with ISA in Cusco, Peru.

When I signed up for the five-day Salcantay Trek during my semester in Cusco, Peru, I only had high expectations for day five and the views of Machu Picchu that would come with it. What I didn’t expect were the natural views throughout every day of the trek were just as amazing and breathtaking.

On the first day of our trek we headed to Humantay Lake. While it was a difficult, uphill hike, it was more than worth it. When we arrived at the lake, we were greeted by the most stunning sight I’d ever seen – the clear turquoise lake, the snow-capped mountains behind it, the greenery surrounding it… and it was only day one.

Humantay Lake, which is too breathtaking for a picture to do it justice

Day two proved to be even more difficult as the morning started with a hike up to a point on the mountain that was over 15,000 feet above sea level. However, the unforgettable views of the snow-capped mountains and changes in scenery made it worth it.

As if hiking to Humantay Lake and up a mountain weren’t enough, we then changed scenery again and walked through the rainforest. We saw bright flowers, beautiful waterfalls, and amazing scenery. It seemed like no matter which way I turned, I was met with another view of an indescribable landscape.

Throughout our trek through the rainforest, we saw many beautiful views, including the green mountains like the one seen in this picture.

Finally, after four difficult days of hiking through all kinds of amazing scenery we hiked to Machu Picchu. It was, of course, so remarkable and breathtaking, but so were all the natural elements surrounding it – the beautiful peaks rising up above it, the greenery painting the landscape, and the river below.

Day five: The stunning Machu Picchu and unforgettable views surrounding it.

I live in Michigan, home of the Great Lakes, beautiful waterfalls, the best beaches, and quite possibly the most beautiful sunsets in the world. I knew that Peru’s cities and Inca ruins could trump any man-made structures I’d seen in Michigan. However, I didn’t know if the natural views could even compare to my home. The Salcantay Trek was just one example of how wrong I was. In just five days I saw landscapes containing breathtaking valleys, unbelievable mountains, amazing greenery, crystal-clear lakes, and gorgeous waterfalls.

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