Holy Cow what an amazing adventure! I can't even adequately describe how breathtaking this trail was. The first day we hiked to our base camp (easy) and then to a majestic high mountain lake. Getting up to the lake was challenging, but doable. Tips for the altitude - drink the Coca Tea, stay super hydrated, and try to stay in Cuzco for a few days before your trek. My husband and I did not have time to acclimatize, and wish we had planned to stay in Cuzco for a couple days.
The second day was hard! We hiked up to Salkantay pass at 15,088 ft, and then down down down to our campsite. Before this trek I was not a fan of hiking poles, but there is so much downhill I'd recommend them in a heartbeat. Every single person in my group had poles and were thankful because they saved our knees. The second day is around 12 miles, so bring really good/brake in hiking boots, or you will have sad feet.
The third day to Santa Teresa was easy and mostly downhill. I loved to see the climate changes from high mountain the second day to jungle the third day. After five to six hours of hiking we made it to our campsite, grabbed our swimsuits, and headed to the hot springs. When our guide said we were going to the hot springs I thought OK lets go hang out in little crowded pools... no no, these springs are three gorgeous and spacious pools with a fantastic waterfall right next to them. After the hot springs we went back and there was a big dance party with all of the other groups hiking Salkantay. So Fun!
The fourth day our guide gave us the option of hiking 9 hours or hiking 3 hours and go zip-lining. This was a hard decision for our group... not. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip and a must! There are six zip-lines and they are all so high and fast. The 3 hour hike to Aguas Calientes was easy and flat. The last day was Machu Picchu and the company provides a guided tour. I recommend hiking Huaynapicchu! All food was amazing!