Mount Salkantay & Humantay Lake
Mount Salkantay or Sallqantay (in Quechua) is an iconic mountain for modern day Cusquenos; standing at 6,271 meters above sea level it is the highest mountain in the Willkapampa range and the 13 highest in Peru. Ancient Incan’s however, held its importance at a higher level, attributing it as a deity and as such it obtained the title of ‘Apu’. An Apu is believed to be a mountain which hosts the spirit of an ancient God. They believed that God that resided within Salkantay controlled the weather. Their belief originated from the fact that from Machu Picchu’s sun-dial, the Southern Cross constellation during the rainy season, presided directly over the top of Salkantay’s peak. The mountains name in Quechua has the meaning of savage or wild due to its difficulty in conquest for mountaineers.
This hidden Lagoon filled with glacial melt creates crystal clear waters with bright hues of blue. Lying 4,200 meters above sea level high in the Andean mountains, this cool blue lagoon is in stark contrast to the bright white snow capped mountains which is found in. It is an outstanding natural phenomenon that begins your journey on the Salkantay Trek.
Due to its beauty, location and hidden stature, it is believed the Incas came to this lake on spiritual business during pilgrimage to lay sacrifices around the foreshore of the lake. To this day there are many Sharmens and spiritual practitioners that internationally travel for such purposes. To carry this tradition on, explorers who visit this site leave piled 3 stones as a symbolic sacrifice. The hike up to the lagoon is considered moderate and gradually breaks you in before attempting the pass.