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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Salkantay Trekking

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Tour Details
Salkantay Trekking

The 5 days Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful treks in South America. Popularly referred to as one of the alternative treks to the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, National Geographic Travel Magazine recognises it as one of the best 25 treks in the world. 

The high altitude experience offers captivating views of the Peruvian highland at every turn. It begins high up in the Andes, closer to the sacred Salkantay peak and takes you down to the cloud forests. 

Unlike the Inca Trail which requires trekkers to book months in advance, Salkantay Trek can be booked 2-3 days before the intended date of travel. 

The highest point of the Salkantay Trek is the Salkantay Pass (Apacheta Pass). It nestles at 4600 metres (15088 feet) above sea level. Altitude sickness can be an issue to most trekkers, we highly recommend you to spend 2-3 days in Cusco before the experience. 

When to do Salkantay Trek?

A vast majority of the Salkantay Trail happens at the Peruvian Andes. It is subject to two seasons – Wet season and dry season. During the rainy season, often the path is quite slippery and there are chances of landslides. Hence it is best to do Salkantay Trek during the dry season – May to October. 

Why Machu Picchu Peru Cusco?

Machu Picchu Peru Cusco is a local tour operator and a trekking company based in Cusco. Travelling with us means adventure, fun and security. We maintain high safety standards. Our guides are trained on first aid and use of Oxygen cans. 

We believe that choosing the right travel company is important to determine your experience in Cusco. We aim to offer a seamless experience that would make your trip unforgettable. Check our reviews in TripAdvisor

Departure & Return Location

Cusco Hotel Transfer

Departure Time

06:30 AM

Price Includes

  • Professional Guides
  • Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing.
  • Mule and Muleteers
  • Emergency Horse
  • 3 Nights camping and 4th night basic hotel
  • Transport from Cusco to the trail head and from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
  • All trekking equipments
  • Food (We do prepare Vegan friendly meals on prior request)
  • Water

Price Excludes

  • Sleeping bag: USD $25
  • Inflatable air mat: USD $20
  • Walking sticks (pair): USD $20
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain $ 35

Salkantay Trek Packing List

  • Passport
  • Valid, GREEN ISIC card (if you booked as a student)
  • Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
  • Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbacks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 litres.
  • Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
  • 2-3 wicking t-shirts
  • 2-3 hiking pants
  • 4 sets of undergarments and 4 sets of hiking socks,1 Fleece
  • 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
  • 1 Rain jacket, pants,1 sun hat,1 wool hat
  • Headlamp: essential
  • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
  • Quick dry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger
  • Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
  • Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
  • Large plastic bags: to help organise and keep clean from dirty
  • Sleeping bag: Recommend down bags for -10C at least
  • Sunscreen, face moisturiser, bug spray, handsanitiser, wet wipes, toothbrush and paste, toilet-paper
  • Personal medication
  • First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc
Salkantay Trekking

Day 1Cusco - Mollepata - Soyrococha

We will be picking you from your hotel in Cusco at 0600 AM. Then in our private transport, we will be driving you to a remote Andean town, Mollepata. Here we will be stopping for breakfast. 

After breakfast, we will continue driving to Sayllapata. This is the starting point of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. We will be meeting the muleteers and our Andean chef here. 

All set, we will begin with a gradual uphill hike through some untouched remote Andean communities. 

For lunch, we will be stopping at Soraypampa. This offers stunning views of the Peruvian Andes. After lunch, we will continue hiking for four more hours to our campsite in Soyrococha. 

Here we will be camping for the night. 

  • Meals Included: Lunch and Dinner
  • Total hiking distance: 15 kilometres
  • Total duration of trek: 6-7 hours
  • Minimum Altitude: 2200 metres above sea level
  • Maximum altitude: 4200 metres above sea level

Day 2Soyrococha - Huayracmachay - Collpapampa

After a nutritious breakfast, we will begin the second day of the Salkantay Trekking to Machu Picchu. We will be hiking up the hill to the highest point of the Salkantay Trek – Salkantay Pass or Apacheta Pass at 4600 metres. 

Although this section of the trek is often referred to as challenging, it does reward trekkers with spectacular views of Mount Salkantay and Humantay. We will be trekking through some small lakes including the iconic Humantay Lake. We will be stopping for lunch at Huayracmachay Campsite. 

After lunch, we will be descending for three hours to Collpapampa campsite where we will spend the night camping. 

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Total hiking distance: 15 kilometres
  • Total duration of trek: 6-7 hours
  • Minimum Altitude: 2600 metres above sea level
  • Maximum altitude: 4600 metres above sea level

Day 3Collpapampa - La Playa - Santa Teresa

We will begin the third day of Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with a downhill hike for three hours to the cloud forest. This region is popular for cocoa and coffee plantations. 

The region is also home to some waterfalls and hot springs. So while you will be taking a refreshing bath to beat the heat, our crew will prepare your lunch. Here you will also have the opportunity to spot the Peruvian national bird – Andean cock of the rock. 

After lunch, we will be driving you for 45 minutes to our campsite in Santa Teresa. 

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Total hiking distance: 12 kilometres
  • Total duration of trek: 4-5 hours
  • Minimum Altitude: 2250 metres above sea level
  • Maximum altitude: 2600 metres above sea level

Day 4Santa Teresa - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

The most easiest day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Our crew will be serving breakfast at our campsite in Santa Teresa. We will then hike to Hidroelectrica. Here we will be serving lunch. 

After lunch, you will be hiking for three hours, along the railway tracks to Aguas Calientes. This is the same route that the noted American professor, Hiram Bingham III took when he rediscovered Machu Picchu. 

At Aguas Calientes, we will be accommodating you in a basic ensuite hotel room. 

  • Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
  • Total hiking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Total duration of trek: 5-6 hours
  • Minimum Altitude: 2100 metres above sea level
  • Maximum altitude: 2250 metres above sea level

Day 5 Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

As you will be leaving the hotel early in the morning, the hotel staff will be handing you over a snack box. You will then be taking a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Our tour guide will be meeting you at the main entrance of Machu Picchu. We will assist you in crossing the security control to enter the citadel. 

Once inside the citadel you will witness the sun rising on the walls of the ancient citadel of Incas. We will then give you a detailed tour of the citadel. You will be visiting the main plaza, the ceremonial centre, remains of Inca temples and more. 

After the half day Machu Picchu tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own. If you want to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, our guide will be directing you to the respective entrance. 

Alternatively, you can hike to the Sun Gate. It offers a beautiful view of the citadel. This view is exclusive at sunrise to those on Inca Trail trek

We will then be taking the bus back to Aguas Calientes. Here you will be boarding the train to Ollantaytambo train station. Our representative will meet you and will transfer you back to Cusco. We will return to Cusco by 09:00 PM. 

  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Total hiking distance: 12 kilometres
  • Total duration of trek: 4-5 hours
  • Minimum Altitude: 2100 metres above sea level
  • Maximum altitude: 2250 metres above sea level
Salkantay Trekking

How high is Salkantay Trek?

Salkantay Trek is a high altitude experience. The highest point of Salkantay Trek is Salkantay Pass or Apacheta pass at 4600 metres (15091 feet) above sea level. 

Do you need to book Salkantay Trek in advance?

Although you don’t have to book Salkantay Trek in advance as Inca Trail, it is recommended to book your Salkantay Trek at least 2-3 days before. 

Is the Salkantay Trek hard?

Yes, Salkantay Trek is quite challenging. Primarily because of the high altitude. It is highly recommended that you spend at least 3-4 days in Cusco and acclimate before the trek. 

3 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Necter Benjamin

Solo Traveller

I was excited for this and i am very convinced the way the tour was conducted. The guide was amazing and very well organised from start to end. The porters did a great job and so did the chef who prepared delicious food at with minimum logistics. Certainly look forward to doing more trips with them on my future visit to Peru

January 16, 2020

Sreeram Hariharan

Solo Traveller

I went to the trek with Machu Picchu Peru Cusco and it was fantastic. All the views, food, accommodation and everything was perfect. Our guide, Carlos The Mountain King was so good. His knowledge about the territory, plants, history and sense of humour was amazing. 100% recommended to everyone

November 21, 2019

Nelson Frankkinson

Solo Traveller

This trip was efficiently planned and organised by Karen and her team. They were very helpful and coordinated well. They conducted a briefing the night before advising us what to carry for the trek which was very helpful. The guide was very well prepard with first aid kits and trekking gears. We felt very safe, even as we did this with our 12 year old boy.

October 9, 2019