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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Briefing

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of the alternate treks to the Inca Trail that in recent years has become very important for visitors and adventure lovers, especially when National Geographic announced it among the 25 best new treks in the world. this tour normally takes place in 5 days and 4 nights but now Inkas Destination adapted the Salkantay trek to be able to do it also in four days so that our travelers who do not have many days in Cusco have the opportunity to do the Salkantay trek in a four day guided trek it without losing the visit to the main attractions of the Salkantay trek, such as the Laguna Humanata 4200m/13776m., and the Salkantay Pass 4617m/15143m., that are part of the main attractions to visit on this hike, a guided trek in which you will enjoy unique and diverse landscapes such as snow-capped mountains, Andean villages, tropical forests and even a lit of bit of dense jungle, and it is not uncommon to do it on four days and ending in Machu Picchu.
If you want to relax in the thermal baths of Cocalmayo and you have one more day you can take the 5-day Salkantay trek


🤝🏻 Meeting and briefing

Some days before the tour, our team will contact you via E-mail or WhatsApp and will coordinate the meeting time at your hotel to provide you the all tour details and answer all your questions.

🏁 Starts from your accommodation in Cuzco at 04:30 A.M.

🔚 Ends to the center of Cuzco at about 7:00 P.M.

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa – Humantay Lake

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 11 km + 4 km

🕗 Duration: 4 hours + 2 hours

📈 Maximum elevation: 4200m. – 13776ft.

📉Minimum elevation: 2800m. – 9116ft.

⛺ Lodging: Soraypampa

Starts From your accommodation in Cuzco at 04:30 A.M. The guide will pick you up at your accommodation in Cuzco center from 4:30a.m. in the morning. When the whole group is gathered, we will 2 hours drive to Mollepata 2 800m./9 116ft., where you have the opportunity to have an energetic breakfast, and then continue driving 40 min. to the small village of Challacancha 3600m./13680ft., where we meet our muleteers and mules, in this place begins the 4-hour walk to the first camp of Soraypampa 3900m./12792ft., lunch.

After a delicious lunch the hike to Lake Humantay 4200m./13776ft., begins 1h30 minutes uphill walk and the same time down to the camp, dinner and overnight.

💡 To keep in mind

At the Mollepata stop you will separate your stuff and you may send 5Kl. by horse, also will pay for the access to the Humantay Lake, this ticket costs 20 soles that is not included in the tour.


Day 2 : Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Wayracpampa – Chaullay

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 22 km.

🕗 Duration: 10 hours

📈 Maximum elevation: 4617 m. – 15137ft.

📉Minimum elevation: 2800m. – 9116ft.

⛺ Lodging: Colpapampa

This second day of the trek, we will wake up early and after energetic breakfast begins the hike up to the Salkantay pass 4615m./15137ft., approx 3 hours 30 minutes to reach the highest point of the trail high pass Salkantay, from this place you have a panoramic view of the snowy Salkantay 6370m./20893ft., and spectacular views of the valleys and the imposing snow-capped peaks of the Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains. You won’t know where to look!, after the guide explanación we will continue descent to the Wayracpampa 3900m./12792ft., lunch place, after lunch the landscape will change from the Andes to the high jungle all gonna be green, to continue walking down to Colpapampa 2800 m./9184 ft., camp site.

💡 To keep in mind

-This second day is the most difficult so it is highly recommended to use walking sticks.
-The weather in the Andes is very changeable so it is recommended to bring a rain poncho or rain jacket.


Day 3: Chaullay – Playa Sawayaco – Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 7 km. + 12Km.

🕗 Duration: 7 hours

📈 Mínimum elevation: 1950 m. – 6396ft.

📉 Mínimum elevation: 1550 m. – 6232ft.

🏠 Lodging: Machu Picchu town

This day start early morning, after breakfast we continue our descent walk downhill  to the small village  Playa Sawayaco 1900m./6232ft., continuing through the tropical jungle, in this place we will have the lunch  and say goodbye to the muleteers and horses, after our lunch we will take a transport to the town of Santa Teresa 1550m./5084ft., and from there it continues to Hydroelectric  from here we will continue on foot for about 3 hours. Following the path left by the train track, we will finally reach Aguas Calientes 1950m./6396ft., (Machu Picchu town) where we will spend the night.

💡 To keep in mind

In hydroelectric you will receive their 5Kl. that you have to carry this section of the walk, but if it is very uncomfortable or very heavy you may sending it by train (coordinate with the guide) this is not free it has an extra cost that depends of the weight of the luggage .


Day4: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 6 km.

🕗 Duration: 1 hour 1/2

📈 Maximum elevation: 2400m. – 7872 ft.

📉 Minimum elevation: 1950m. – 6396ft.

🚉 Train back: 1 hour 45 minutes

We will get up about 4:00am. and start the hike up to the archaeological park of Machu Picchu  2400m./7872 ft.,  about 1h / 30m, at the control of Machu Picchu the whole group meets, will register showing your ticket and passport then the guide begins the guided tour for about 1h 1/2 hours and then you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu, will return to Aguas Calientes 1950m./6396ft. (Machu Picchu town) catch your luggage of the hostel and take the train to Ollantaytambo where our transport awaits them to transfer them to Cusco.

💡 To keep in mind

– To go down from Machu Picchu to the town you can do it walking 1 hour 1/2 or take the bus down 25 minutes cost of 12.00 dollars.
– In Ollantaytambo train station our driver will wait for you with a sign with your name and he will return you to Cusco.


What’s included

   ✔  Informative briefing the day before we coordinate with you the time
   ✔  Duffle bag to carry 5kl. on horses during the trekking
   ✔  Pick up form the Hotel in Cusco
   ✔  Van transportation from Cusco to Mollepata
   ✔  Muleteers and mules to carry the equipment
   ✔  Professional chef and cooking equipment
   ✔  2 nights camping
   ✔  3 breakfasts / 3 lunches / 3 dinners
   ✔  Transportation from Playa Sahuayaco to Hidroelectryc
   ✔  1 night acomodación in Aguas Calientes
   ✔  Machu Picchu Ticket Llaqta Machu Picchu Route (Circuit 1, 2, 3 or 4)
   ✔  Train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
   ✔  Professional guide (English & Spanish-speaking)
   ✔  First aid kit and oxygen bottle
   ✔  Return bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco

Not included

  ❌ First breakfast, last lunch in Aguas Calientres
  ❌ Sleeping bag
  ❌ Entrance to Humantay lake 20.00 soles
  ❌ Walking poles

Group size

👁 From 2021 onwards the government introduced new circuits and schedules for this reason in case of unavailability of Llaqta Machu Picchu tickets compatible with the tour schedule, the booking will be processed with an alternative route subject to availability.

💡 Important to know

From 2021, the Ministerio de Cultura (Peruvian Ministry of Culture) has created 4 types of official entrances to visit Machu Picchu those circuits were created in order to better organize the traffic of travelers inside Machu Picchu, reduce the risk of infection by Covid 19, preserve and protect the constructions of the archaeological site for the future.

Machu Picchu Solo (Circuits 1, 2, 3 or 4)
This ticket includes the entrance Llaqta of Machu Picchu (all citadel) (Circuits 1, 2, 3 or 4) this ticket sellout fast.

Machu Picchu Circuit 3 + Machu Picchu Mountain (U$D. 20.00 extra)
This ticket is the only one that has re-entry and first the guiding tour to Machu Picchu from the bottom part and after the guiding tour you go up the Mountain.

Machu Picchu Circuit 4 + Huayna Picchu Mountain (U$D. 20.00 extra)
Machu Picchu Circuit 4 + Huchuy Picchu Mountain
With these tickets you will receive the guided through the lower part of Machu Picchu about 1hour 1/2 until the check point of Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu where you walk up the mountain on your free time.

The availability of entrance tickets to Machu Picchu is very limited and it is recommended to book as far in advance as possible. Especially if you are traveling in high season.

🚫 Cancellation policy

If you cancel more than 96 hours before the start of the tour you will receive a refund of the total amount of the reservation except 50 USD per person (cost of the entrance to Machu Picchu). The entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are nominative and non-transferable. After this time, or in case of no-show for the tour, you will not be entitled to a refund.

Extras: Entrance Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu / Entrance Machu Picchu + Huchuy Picchu / Entrance Machu Picchu + Machu Picchu Mountain are non-refundable.

What to bring for the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu tour

   ➖  Sleeping bag (-15°C)
   ➖  Passport.
   ➖  Hiking shoes or boots
   ➖  Walking sticks
   ➖  Thermal clothes
   ➖  Light clothes
   ➖  Mosquito repellent
   ➖  Water bottle
   ➖  Waterproof jacket
   ➖  Cap or hat
   ➖  Small backpack
   ➖  Sunblock
   ➖  Sunglasses
   ➖  Medication and personal higiene products
   ➖ Chocolates, candies or another snack
   ➖  Camera (optional)
   ➖ Extra money but in nuevos soles (Peruvian national currency)




Is there a vegetarian, vegan or glute-free food option? 

Yes, we have menu available for any special diets: vegetarian, vegan, food allergies, etc. If you are vegetarian or gluten-free simply send us a message advising what are your specification on the food and we will do.

There are restroom along the trek?

In each camping site are toilets those are free and also along the way are some specially in the luch points and some rest points but are not free the cost is 1 or 2 soles, important each traveler has to carry their own personal hygiene products, including toilet paper.

Is the Salkantay trek 4 days worth do it?

The Salkantay trek is normally done in 5 days, but Inkas Destination saw the need of many passengers who do not have enough time to do it in the 5 days and adapted the tour in 4 days with an itinerary that makes you enjoy and do not miss The most impressive thing about the trek, doing the 4-day or 5-day trek is 100% recommended and worth it.

What to do with my luggage during the Salkantay trek?

Most places where you might stay (hotel, hostel or boarding houses) can store your luggage for free during the Trek. We also gladly can save it; all you have to do is bring it to our office the day before the Trek.

What is the difference between the 4-day Salkantay trek and the 5-day trek?

Both tours do not have much difference until the 3rd day after lunch, normally in the 5-day Salkantay trek on the 3rd day you spend the night in Santa Teresa and visit the thermal baths of Cocalmayo for the 4th day walk from Santa Teresa to the hydroelectric plant and then to Machu Picchu unlike the 4-day Salkantay trek that on the 3rd day after lunch we take the transport to hydroeléctric and continue walking to Machu Picchu, in summary you do not visit the town of Santa Teresa and the baths but do not worry that in Machu Picchu town you can also visit the thermal baths of Machu Picchu.

What about the water and snack on the Salkantay trek?

At breakfast, lunch and dinner you will receive boiled water to drink tea, coffee, etc. For the walk we normally recommend buying bottle water because it is safer for travelers, along the walk there are local people who sell and you can buy the cost It is from 2.00 soles per bottle, in case no one sells, our chef will provide them with cold boiled water, for the hiking you can bring the snacks that you prefer normally we recommend to bring seeds, cookies, sweets, nuts.

What about the altitude sickness?

Like all tours that are over 3500 meters high, we recommend taking a minimum of 1 or 2 days of acclimatization before the tour so that the body is oxygenated and it is less likely to have altitude sickness, as well as drinking coca tea since this plant oxygenates blood and help to avoid altitude sickness, all our guides carry a first aid kit which includes an oxygen balloon in case it is necessary to use it at any time.

When is the Salkantay trek closed?

The Salkantay trek is not closed during the year and government permission is not needed, but during the months of January and March, which is the rainy season, we recommend taking precautions and taking into account that there may possibly be changes in the route since the rains on the route vary and some landslides may occur that may change the tour plan, of course our guides are professionals and very knowledgeable about the route that they will make the best and safest decision.

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