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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu - Salkantay Trek Peru

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Overview

Embark on an unforgettable journey with Inkas Destination. Let us guide you through the majestic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, a must-experience adventure in Peru. 

This classic Salkantay Trek is popular for its breathtaking scenery and rich cultural heritage. It will take you through diverse landscapes and high-altitude challenges. The journey culminates in the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu.

As we set off on this trail trek, we will conquer the renowned Salkantay Pass, standing at an impressive 4,630 meters (15,190 feet). The crisp mountain air and stunning vistas will invigorate your senses. It will be making every step a memorable part of the hike to Machu Picchu. You’ll appreciate the beauty of the Andes, a testament to the allure of hiking the Inca Trail.

In preparation for this high-altitude trek, we recommend spending a few days in Cusco. This acclimatization will help you adjust to the elevation and reduce the risk of altitude sickness. During your stay, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the historic city. Additionally, you can enjoy local delicacies like coca tea, an Andean staple.

Embracing Cultural Richness and Natural Splendor on the Salkantay Trek Peru

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu isn’t just a physical journey; it’s a plunge into cultural immersion. As we pass through small villages, you’ll witness the vibrant life of the Andean communities. Stops like Santa Teresa offer a chance to unwind in soothing hot springs, a perfect respite after a day’s hike.

Your comfort is our priority. We’ll ensure you have a cozy sleeping bag and access to amenities like a hot shower. While the nights in the Andes can be chilly, the warmth of our hospitality will keep you comfortable.

Understanding the unpredictability of mountain weather, especially during the rainy season, is important. We advise bringing appropriate gear and considering travel insurance for peace of mind. The trail can be challenging, but the reward of reaching Machu Picchu, the iconic Incan citadel, is unparalleled.

Planning your trek months in advance is essential. Salkantay Trek Peru is a sought-after experience for adventurers worldwide. 

With Inkas Destination, you will not just witness the trail to Machu Picchu; you will live it. We’ll navigate through lush forests and cross glacial rivers. Additionally, we’ll ascend to mesmerizing heights, all while ensuring your safety and enjoyment.

Join us on this incredible journey. Here, every step is a story. Every breath is an adventure. Every moment is a memory in the making. 

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu awaits. With Inkas Destination, your dream trek will turn into an extraordinary reality.

Salkantay Trek Peru Highlights

🤝🏻 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 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 11 km. - 6.83 mi. + 4 km. - 2.48 mi.

🕗 Duration: 4 hours + 2 hours

📈 Maximum elevation: 4200m. / 13776ft.

📉 Minimum elevation: 2800m. / 9116ft.

⛺ Lodging: Soraypampa Campsite

Embark on an exhilarating adventure with Inkas Destination. Start the first day of your 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Our journey begins early. 

We will conveniently pick you up from your accommodation in Cusco center at 4:30 A.M.. The air is crisp and fresh, hinting at the exciting day ahead.

Our first leg of the journey involves a 2-hour scenic drive to Mollepata, perched at 2,800 meters (9,186 feet). Here, in the heart of the Andes, we will pause for an energetic breakfast. 

It’s a perfect opportunity to fuel up for the day’s trek and mingle with fellow adventurers. We will then continue for another 40 minutes to the quaint village of Challacancha, sitting at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet). This picturesque village is where we meet our team of muleteers and mules, essential companions for our trek.

From Challacancha, our hiking adventure truly begins. We will embark on a 4-hour walk to our first camp at Soraypampa, which lies at an altitude of 3,900 meters (12,795 feet). As we trek, you’ll be surrounded by stunning landscapes. You will breathe in the pure mountain air and witness the diverse Andean flora.

Upon reaching Soraypampa, we will take a well-deserved break for lunch. The campsite offers breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys and peaks, providing a serene backdrop for our meal. After lunch, we will set off for Lake Humantay, a jewel of the Andes at 4,200 meters (13,779 feet). 

The hike to this glacial lake is a 1h30 minute uphill walk. This journey promises awe-inspiring vistas and an up-close encounter with the raw beauty of the Peruvian Andes.

After spending time at Lake Humantay, where the vibrant blue waters contrast beautifully against the rugged mountains, we will begin our descent. We’ll head back to our camp at Soraypampa. The evening will be spent enjoying a delicious dinner. Then, we’ll settle in for the night, surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the Andes.

Key Statistics of the First Day of Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu:

  • Total Distance Covered: Approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles)
  • Highest Altitude: Lake Humantay at 4,200 meters (13,779 feet)
  • Starting Altitude: Mollepata at 2,800 meters (9,186 feet)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, with challenging uphill sections

As you drift to sleep in the heart of the Andes, anticipate the adventures that await on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. The journey we will embark on together promises to be filled with stunning sights, challenging treks, and unforgettable experiences.

💡 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.

salkantay-trek-to-machu-picchu-trek

Day 02: Soraypampa – Wayracpampa – Colpapampa

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 22 km. / 13.67 mi.

🕗 Duration: 10 hours

📈 Maximum elevation: 4617 m. / 15137ft.

📉Minimum elevation: 2800m. / 9116ft.

⛺ Lodging: Colpapampa

On the second day of your 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with Inkas Destination, we will embrace the heart of the Peruvian Andes. Rising early at 5:00 am, we will start our day with a delicious, energizing breakfast at Soraypampa. As the sun peeks over the mountains, we will prepare ourselves for an invigorating day ahead.

Our trek begins with a challenging yet rewarding 3 and a half hour hike to the Salkantay Pass, standing at an impressive 4,650 meters (15,091 feet). This part of the hike is both exhilarating and demanding, taking us to the highest point of our journey.

As we reach the pass, we will be greeted by the stunning sight of the majestic Salkantay, towering at 6,271 meters (20,574 feet), along with other snow-capped peaks like Humantay and Tucarhuay. Here, amidst the awe of nature, we will pause to absorb the magnificence of these glaciated giants, possibly witnessing the dramatic sight of avalanches in the distance.

After spending time at the top, with our guide sharing valuable insights into the landscape, we will begin our descent to Wayracmachay, our lunch spot at 3,900 meters (12,792 feet). The descent offers a change in scenery, as we leave the alpine environment and enter the lush high jungle. This part of the trek allows us to experience the rich biodiversity of the Vilcabamba mountain range.

The day’s journey ends at the Colpapampa campsite, located at 2,800 meters (9,184 feet). Here, in the heart of the high jungle, the vegetation becomes more abundant, and wildlife sightings become more frequent. The evening will be spent enjoying a well-deserved dinner and resting amidst the serene sounds of the jungle.

Key Statistics of the Second Day of Salkantay Trek Peru:

  • Total Distance Covered: Approximately 22 kilometers (13.7 miles)
  • Highest Altitude: Salkantay Pass at 4,650 meters (15,091 feet)
  • Lowest Altitude: Colpapampa at 2,800 meters (9,184 feet)
  • Difficulty Level: Challenging, particularly the ascent to Salkantay Pass

As night falls on the second day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we will reflect on the day’s achievements and anticipate the continued journey through the diverse and captivating landscapes of Peru. The adventure we are sharing is not just a trek; it’s a journey through the heart of the Andes, connecting us to the rich heritage and natural beauty of this remarkable region.

💡 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

salkantay-trek-pass-4615m

Day 3: Colpapampa – Playa Sawayaco – Lucmabamba

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 14 km. (8.69 mi.)

🕗 Duration: 5 hours

📈Maximun elevation: 2000 m. / 6562ft.

📉 Mínimum elevation: 1900 m. / 4920ft.

⛺ Lodging: Lucmabamba

On the third day of our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with Inkas Destination, we will delve deeper into the stunning landscapes of Peru. Awakening in the serene Colpapampa campsite, we will start our day early with a hearty breakfast at 6:00 am, energizing ourselves for the journey ahead.

Our trek will take us through the enchanting high jungle of the Santa Teresa Valley, situated at an elevation of 1,500 meters (4,920 feet). This part of the hike is a mesmerizing experience, where the trail is more about descent than ascent. As we walk, we will be surrounded by a lush landscape, rich with rivers, small streams, and captivating waterfalls. The trail is a feast for the senses, adorned with orchids and abundant plantations, including banana, coffee, and avocado trees.

The hike will last approximately 5 hours, offering ample opportunities to soak in the breathtaking environment and capture memories with your camera. Our destination for lunch is Playa Sawayaco, located at 1,900 meters (6,232 feet). Here, we will enjoy a delicious meal, taking the time to relax and recharge for the afternoon’s activities.

Post-lunch, we will head to the Lucmabamba campsite, our resting point for the night, situated at 2,000 meters (6,562 feet). The afternoon offers a unique opportunity for you to explore the area, immerse yourself in the local culture, and perhaps learn about the traditional agricultural practices of the region.

The evening at Lucmabamba will be spent enjoying a sumptuous dinner and a peaceful overnight stay. This campsite provides an intimate connection with the Andean environment, allowing us to appreciate the tranquility and beauty of the Peruvian jungle.

Key Statistics of the Third Day of Salkantay Trek Peru:

  • Total Distance Covered: Approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
  • Highest Altitude: Starting point at Colpapampa, 2,800 meters (9,184 feet)
  • Lowest Altitude: Lucmabamba campsite at 2,000 meters (6,562 feet)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, with more downhill walking

As we conclude the third day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we will rest in the knowledge that each step brings us closer to the legendary Inca site. Our journey through the diverse landscapes of Peru continues to be an unforgettable adventure, filled with new discoveries and enriching experiences.

💡 To keep in mind

This day is optional to visit the thermal baths of Cocalmayo which is not included but the guide coordinates with the group to visit this beautiful place, does not include transportation and entrance to the thermal baths.

colpapampa-salkantay-trek

Day 04: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 11 km. (6.83 mi.) + 12 km. (7.45 mi.)

🕗 Duration: 4 hours + 3 hours

📈 Maximum elevation: 2800 m. (9186 ft.)

📉 Minimum elevation: 1900 m. (6270 ft.)

🏠 Lodging: Aguas Calientes

On the fourth day of your 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with Inkas Destination, prepare for a day rich in history and breathtaking views. After waking up in the tranquil Lucmabamba campsite, we will start our day with a nourishing breakfast, fueling up for the trek ahead.

Our journey today includes a special highlight: walking along a segment of the original Inca trail. This historic path, steeped in centuries of history, will lead us on a 2 and a half hour uphill hike. The trek will be challenging, but the rewards are unparalleled. As we ascend, we will be treated to fascinating views that encapsulate the beauty of the Andes.

Our destination is Llactapata, an ancient Inca archaeological site located at 2,800 meters (8,858 feet). This site offers a unique perspective of Machu Picchu, allowing us to see the iconic Inca citadel from a distance. Here, our guide will share insights into the historical significance of Llactapata, deepening our connection to the Inca civilization.

After exploring Llactapata, we will embark on a 2-hour downhill walk to Hidroeléctrica, situated at 1,900 meters (6,270 feet). This part of the trek allows us to witness the diverse landscape transitions, from the high Andes to the lush cloud forest. At Hidroeléctrica, we will pause for a nutritious lunch and some well-deserved rest.

The afternoon will see us continuing our journey on foot for about 3 hours, following the train line towards Aguas Calientes, also known as Machu Picchu Town. This leg of the trek is a serene experience, walking alongside the railway, surrounded by the rich vegetation of the cloud forest.

We will reach Aguas Calientes, located at 1,915 meters (6,396 feet), in the evening. This small town, nestled at the base of the majestic Machu Picchu, will be our resting place for the night. We will enjoy a delightful dinner and have the opportunity to explore the town, reflecting on the day’s journey and anticipating the culmination of our trek at Machu Picchu the following day.

Key Statistics of the Fourth Day:

  • Total Distance Covered: Approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
  • Highest Altitude: Llactapata at 2,800 meters (8,858 feet)
  • Lowest Altitude: Aguas Calientes at 1,915 meters (6,396 feet)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate to Challenging, with significant uphill and downhill sections

As we settle in for the night in Aguas Calientes, excitement builds for the final day of our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. This journey through the heart of the Peruvian Andes has been a testament to the enduring beauty and mystery of this ancient land.

💡 To keep in mind

Once in Hidroelecrica you have 2 options 1) To continue with the normal itinerary enjoying the last strech of the trek, enjoy with the flat hike along side of the train track to Machu Picchu town about 3 hours. or 2) if you are tired out after the trekking, you can opt to board a train to aguas Calientes (U$D.34.00).

In hidroelectrica you will receive your 5Kl of your stuff. 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.

llactapata-view-of-Machu-Picchu

Day 05: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco

🚶‍♂️ Walking distance: 6 km.

🕗 Duration: 1 hour 1/2

📈 Maximum elevation: 2400m. – 7872 ft.

📉 Minimum elevation: 1915m. – 4969 ft.

🚉 Train back: 1 hour 45 minutes

🚐 Van back: 1 hour 30 minutes

The fifth and final day of your 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with Inkas Destination is the climax of our unforgettable journey. As the dawn breaks in Aguas Calientes, we will rise early at 4:00 am, filled with anticipation for the day ahead.

Our ascent to the iconic Machu Picchu begins with an invigorating 1 and a half hour walk. As we approach the entrance of this ancient Inca citadel, perched at 2,400 meters (7,874 feet), the excitement will be palpable. Upon arrival, we will register and present our tickets, ready to explore one of the world’s most awe-inspiring archaeological sites.

Our guided tour of Machu Picchu will last approximately 2 hours. Our knowledgeable guide will lead us through the most significant parts of the citadel, offering insights into its history, architecture, and the mysteries that surround this Inca masterpiece. This immersive experience will allow us to connect deeply with the spirit and legacy of the ancient Inca civilization.

Following the guided tour, you will have the opportunity to explore Machu Picchu independently. This is your chance to wander through its terraces, temples, and corridors, taking in the breathtaking views and capturing memories that will last a lifetime.

After our exploration, we will descend back to Aguas Calientes, situated at 1,515 meters (4,970 feet). Here, we will collect our belongings and make our way to the train station. The train journey to Ollantaytambo is a scenic and relaxing experience, offering one last look at the beautiful Andean landscape.

Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, a bus will be waiting to return us to Cusco, marking the end of our incredible Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and the services provided by Inkas Destination.

Key Statistics of the Fifth Day:

  • Total Distance Walked: Approximately 6 kilometers (3.7 miles)
  • Highest Altitude: Machu Picchu at 2,400 meters (7,874 feet)
  • Lowest Altitude: Aguas Calientes at 1,515 meters (4,970 feet)
  • Difficulty Level: Moderate, primarily uphill to Machu Picchu

This final day of our trek is not just the end of a journey, but the beginning of a lifetime of memories and stories to share. As we part ways in Cusco, we carry with us the spirit of the Andes, the mysteries of the Inca, and the pride of conquering one of the world’s most famous treks.

salkantay-trek-machupicchu-peru

💡 To keep in mind

-The exact train schedule and access to Machu Picchu are subject to availability and will be indicated with the confirmation of your reservation.
-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 our driver will wait for you with a sign with your name and he will return you to Cusco.

Salkantay Trek Peru Includes

   ✔  Informative briefing the day before we coordinate with you the time
   ✔  Pick up from your hotel in Cusco
   ✔  Private transportation from Cusco to Km. 82
   ✔  Professional cook
   ✔  Kitchen and dinner tents, mattresses, chairs, tables
   ✔  Two-person sleeping tents
   ✔  Porter for camp equipment
   ✔  Entrance ticket to Inca Trail
   ✔  Entrance ticket to Machu Piccchu
   ✔  Professional bilingual guide (English & Spanish-speaking)
   ✔  3 breakfasts / 3 lunches / 3 dinners
   ✔  Bus Down to Aguas Calientes
   ✔  Train ticket from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo
   ✔  Bus transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
   ✔  First aid kit and oxygen bottle

Salkantay Trek Peru Does Not include

  ❌ First breakfast, last lunch in Aguas Calientes 
  ❌ Sleeping bag
  ❌ Entrance to Humantay lake 20.00 soles
  ❌ Hiking 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 Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu

   ➖  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
   ➖  Flashlight
   ➖  Personal medication and personal higiene product 
   ➖  Chocolates, candies or another snacks
   ➖  Camera (optional).
   ➖  Extra money but in Nuevos Soles (Peruvian national currency)

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu Map

salkantay-trek-map-4-days

🙋🏻‍♂️ QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

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.

What to do with my luggage during the 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.

How many people is allowed to be in group?

We open the group with mínimum 2 people and maximum size of the group in the Salkantay trek is 15 people,  we have considered 15 people, so is to have better communication and attention with  our 2 guides.

What if altitude sickness affects me?

When traveling along the Andes in Peru some people will suffer some effects of altitude sickness (Soroche). If you plan to hike the Salkantay trek is recommend arriving 2 or 3 days before to acclimatize and rest. We also recommend taking  Coca tea which is very good to oxygenate the blood.

Can I apply vegetarian, free gluten feeding Salkantay route?

In case you are a vegetarian, there is no problem, just inform us at the time of booking and indicate that you are 100% vegetarian. In the case of being allergic or “free gluten”, please indicate which products or foods can not be in your diet.

What is the best time to do Salkantay Trek?

The dry season lasts from May to November and usually the time when more is recommended. However, this is also the coldest time of year. Nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing. June, July and August are the most popular months to visit Machu Picchu

In the rainy season (December to April), you can expect to rain in some days of the week. For travelers who do not mind a bit of drizzle and muddy trails, at this time of year it offers fewer people and very green landscapes with wildflowers and orchids.

Is it possible to deliver part of my luggage by horse?

The horses carry the equipment of camping and the food. For our clients it is allowed to send up to 5KL of luggage on horse, without any additional cost. The horses accompany the group until the lunch of the third day, from that moment each one is in charge of carrying his luggage.

If you wish to rent an additional saddle horse (To mount) the cost is 100 soles per day.

Can I buy snacks and water along the trek?

Every year this route of the Salkantay has been improving and implemented, so in each camp there is a small shop where you can buy some snacks and water, when making your purchase in these small shops we are contributing to the improvement of the economy of these families.

What is the best footwear to carry Salkantay trek?

The Salkantay trek is a demanding tour, it is highly recommended to have hiking shoes, water resistant, strong for areas of stone, and much better if they are model boots, as it protects the ankle and optimizes the hike for the enjoyment of your journey to Machu Picchu. We also recommend wearing sandals to relax your feet after the trek.

Huayna Picchu Mountain is included in the package?

No, it is not included the entrance to Huayna Picchu, but if you are interested in climbing we recommend to make the reservation in advance mínimum 4 months, since the spaces are limited and they are exhausted quickly.

To add this mountain to the Salkantay trek package you have to add $ 20.00 to the cost of the tour.

How long should I book in advance?

Every year this trek becomes more famous, as well as the Inca Trail, which is why we recommend making the reservation with 2 or 3 months in advance to have no problem with the income to Machu Picchu and the train tickets that are sold out quickly.

What if you get sick and couldn’t continue the trek?

These cases of abandoning the tour for a disease are very rare, but if this happens our guides are prepared for any emergency, they have a kit of first aid and oxygen, and in the extreme case that you have to leave the group, our guides will see the best way tohelp and advise to return or continue to the nearest health center.

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