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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days

    Recommended
Humantay Lake, Lucmabamba, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Duration 4 days - 3 nights
Travel Style Adventure, hike, Trekking
Difficulty challenging
Group size Min 2 - Max 8

Embark on an unforgettable journey with 69 Explorer as we traverse the breathtaking Salkantay Trail, culminating in the majestic Machu Picchu. This 4-Day Salkantay Trek will immerse you in a world of natural wonders and ancient culture, promising an adventure of a lifetime.

As we set off on this epic trek, the first day we’ll hike through the lush landscapes of the Andes. We’ll witness the dramatic changes in the ecosystem, as we ascend from 2,850 m (9,350 ft) to 3,900 m (12,795 ft) above sea level. The magnificent Salkantay Mountain, standing at an awe-inspiring 6,271 m (20,574 ft), will serve as our backdrop, offering breathtaking views.

On our second day, we will conquer the highest point of the Salkantay Trail, reaching an elevation of 4,630 m (15,190 ft). This challenging ascent rewards us with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks and a sense of unparalleled accomplishment. As we descend into the cloud forest, the scenery transforms before our eyes, showcasing a diverse range of flora and fauna unique to the region.

The third day of our journey is a delightful descent through ever-changing landscapes. We’ll trek from 2,900 m (9,514 ft) down to 2,100 m (6,890 ft), entering the gateway to the Amazon rainforest. This part of the trail is rich in history and biodiversity, offering us glimpses of Machu Picchu from afar as we approach our ultimate destination.

Finally, on the fourth day, the culmination of our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days awaits. We will rise early and make our way to the legendary Inca site of Machu Picchu, standing proudly at 2,430 m (7,970 ft). As we explore this ancient wonder, the mystique and grandeur of the Inca civilization will unfold before us, leaving us in awe of the ingenuity and spirit of the past.

Throughout this journey, we will be accompanied by experienced guides and supported by top-notch equipment and logistics. We’ll ensure your safety and comfort, making this trek not just a hike but a once-in-a-lifetime experience that connects you deeply with nature and history.

Join 69 Explorer for the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days. Together, we will step into a world of adventure and discovery, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

From US$ 377

95% of travelers recommend this experience

Important information

Includes

  • Transportation:
    • Private transportation from your hotel in Cusco to the trailhead at Soraypampa.
    • Return transportation from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco after the trek.
  • Accommodation:
    • Tents for camping, including sleeping mats. (Usually, two people per tent unless a single tent is requested.)
    • One night’s accommodation in a hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Meals:
    • All meals during the trek, starting with breakfast on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day.
    • Hot drinks and snacks.
  • Entrance Fees and Permits:
    • Entrance fee to the Machu Picchu archaeological site.
    • Trekking permits and fees.
  • Guided Tour:
    • Professional bilingual guide (usually English and Spanish).
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu.
  • Train Tickets:
    • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Bus Tickets:
    • Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back.
  • Porter Service:
    • Porters to carry the main luggage (usually there is a weight limit).
  • Additional Equipment:
    • Dining tent with tables and chairs.
    • First aid kit and emergency oxygen.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Briefing before the trek.
    • Bag to store your main luggage during the trek.

Excludes

  • Sleeping Bag: While tents and sleeping mats are usually provided, sleeping bags are often not included and may be available for rent.
  • Walking Sticks: Not provided but can be rented for an additional cost.
  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance is not included and should be arranged independently.
  • Meals in Aguas Calientes: Some meals in Aguas Calientes, particularly the last day’s lunch and/or dinner, may not be included.
  • Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Tickets: If you wish to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, tickets for these are usually not included and must be booked in advance.
  • Tips: Tips for guides, cooks, and porters are not included and are at the discretion of the trekker.
  • Personal Expenses: Any personal expenses, such as snacks, bottled water, souvenirs, laundry services, or other similar costs, are not included.
  • Additional Activities: Any activities outside the standard itinerary, such as visits to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes, are not included.
  • Extra Porters: If you require additional porter services beyond the standard offering, this will likely be an extra cost.
  • Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes: While the bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back is typically included, some packages might exclude this.
  • Extra Nights: Additional nights in hotels before or after the trek are not included.
  • Emergency Horses: Some treks offer emergency horses for tired trekkers at an extra cost, which is not included in the standard package.

Recommend to carry

  • Backpack:
    • A good-quality hiking backpack (30-40 liters capacity).
    • A rain cover for your backpack.
  • Clothing:
    • Moisture-wicking thermal underwear.
    • Lightweight trekking pants and shorts.
    • Breathable, quick-dry shirts.
    • Fleece jacket or sweater.
    • Waterproof and windproof jacket.
    • Hat or cap for sun protection.
    • Gloves (especially for early mornings and evenings).
  • Footwear:
    • Sturdy, comfortable hiking boots (broken-in).
    • Camp shoes or comfortable shoes for evenings.
    • Hiking socks (plus a few extra pairs).
  • Sleeping Gear:
    • Sleeping bag suitable for temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F) (can often be rented from the trekking company).
  • Health and Hygiene:
    • Personal medication and toiletries.
    • High SPF sunscreen.
    • Lip balm with SPF.
    • Insect repellent.
    • Hand sanitizer.
    • Wet wipes.
    • Toilet paper.
    • Small towel.
  • Hydration and Food:
    • Water bottles or a hydration reservoir (2-liter capacity).
    • Water purification tablets or a water filter.
    • Snacks like energy bars, nuts, and chocolate.
  • Accessories:
    • Sunglasses with UV protection.
    • Headlamp with extra batteries.
    • Trekking poles (can be rented).
    • Camera with extra batteries and memory cards.
    • Portable power bank.
    • Small first-aid kit.
  • Documents and Money:
    • Passport.
    • Cash in local currency (for tips and small purchases).
    • Insurance information.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Plastic bags for trash and wet clothes.
    • A book or journal.
    • Maps and guidebooks (optional, as a guide is provided).

Itinerary

Embark on the first day of the Salkantay Trek, a journey that combines majestic mountain vistas with the original Incan pathways. Our adventure begins early, as we pick you up from your hotel at 4:30 am, setting the stage for an exhilarating trek along the Salkantay Trail.

Our journey to the Soraypampa trailhead will take approximately 3 hours in our comfortable private van. Along the way, w’ll be treated to stunning views of local villages like Iscuchaca and Limatambo. This scenic drive is an important part of the experience, offering glimpses into the breathtaking landscapes and the culture of the region.

Upon reaching the Soraypampa trailhead, we will enjoy a delicious and hearty breakfast. This meal not only fuels our day’s activities but also allows us to take in the spectacular sights of Humantay Mountain and Salkantay Mountain, standing proudly at 5,900 m (19,356 ft) and 6,217 m (20,396 ft) respectively. The stunning glaciers serve as a backdrop, setting a the scene for our adventure.

Next, we will embark on a 2.5-hour hike to the stunning Humantay Lake and back to the trailhead. This natural wonder, with its crystal-clear blue waters, is a sight to behold. You will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of this incredible creation of nature, capturing moments and memories before hiking back to the starting point.

Our trek continues towards Salkantay Pampa, where a hot lunch awaits. This well-deserved meal offers not just nourishment but also a moment to relax and recharge for the next phase of our journey.

The final leg of the day’s trek takes us to our first campsite at Sorococcha, situated at 4,400 m (14,517 ft), right at the foot of the towering Salkantay Mountain. The tents will already be set when we arrive at the campsite allowing us to settle in quickly and comfortably. After you settle in, tea and snacks will be provided before enjoying a delicious dinner

As we conclude the first day of our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we reflect on the day’s achievements and the incredible journey that lies ahead. The first day of the trek covers key statistics:

  • The journey starts with a 3-hour drive to the Soraypampa trailhead.
  • We reach a maximum altitude of 4,400 m (14,517 ft) at our Soroccocha campsite.
  • The highlight includes a 2.5-hour hike to the stunning Humantay Lake.
  • We navigate through diverse landscapes, from valley views to mountain vistas.
  • The level of difficulty is moderate, suitable for enthusiastic trekkers.

Join us on this unforgettable adventure, where each step brings a new discovery and every moment is a step closer to the ancient wonder of Machu Picchu.

On the second day of our the trek we’ll continue through some of the most stunning landscapes the Salkantay Trail has to offer. This day is filled with awe-inspiring views, cultural insights, and a transition from the Andean highlands to the lush environment of the high Amazon.

Our day begins early, as your guide gently wakes you with a hot mug of coffee or tea, a perfect start to a day of hiking. Enjoy this warm beverage in the comfort of your sleeping bag before rising for breakfast.

After breakfast, we’ll start a 1-hour hike upwards, leading us to the breathtaking Apacheta Pass at an impressive elevation of 4,650 m (15,367 ft). Here, we will be surrounded by the majestic presence of three snow-capped mountains: Salkantay, Humantay, and Huayanay. These peaks, called Apus, are revered by the Quechua people and are considered sacred. Your guide will share fascinating insights about the traditional Andean beliefs associated with these Apus, enhancing your understanding of the region’s rich heritage.

Our journey then takes us on a 2-hour descent to Huayracmachay, where a hot lunch awaits. Following lunch, we’ll continue our descent for 3-hours towards the rural community of Challway. During this part of the trek, the environment and vegetation will change drastically. As we move from the dry Andean highlands and into the humid climate of the high Amazon. This transition is marked by lush green valleys and spectacular waterfalls, a refreshing change that brings a new dimension to our trek. We’ll end the day at Lucmabamba, where our second campsite is located.

Key statistics for the second day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu include:

  • Starting our day at the Apacheta Pass with an altitude of 4,650 m (15,367 ft).
  • A 2-hour descent to Huayracmachay for lunch.
  • A further 3-hour descent to the community of Challway.
  • A dramatic transition from the Andean highlands to the Amazon.
  • A moderate to challenging level of difficulty, with both ascents and descents.

This day of the trek is not just a journey through diverse landscapes but also an exploration of Andean culture and the rich biodiversity of the region. Join us as we continue our adventure towards the mystical Machu Picchu, immersing ourselves in the beauty and history of this remarkable trail.

The third day of the trek offers a blend of Incan history and breathtaking natural scenery. As we follow the remote and famous paths of the Salkantay Trail, we’ll delve deeper into the heart of the Peruvian Andes and the rich cultural heritage of the Incas.

Our morning starts with another comforting hot drink enjoyed in your sleeping bag, followed by the last delicious breakfast prepared by our private chef. This hearty meal sets the tone for a day filled with exploration and discovery.

After breakfast we’ll start a 3-hour uphill hike along a portion of the Inca Trail, leading us to the Puncuyoc Pass at an altitude of 2,700 m (8,858 ft). As we ascend, the trail reveals stunning views of mountain valleys dotted with fruit plantations, a testament to the region’s agricultural richness and diversity.

Upon reaching the Llactapata Inca Ruins, we find ourselves in a location of immense historical significance. Directly across the valley from Machu Picchu, these ruins offer the first views of the Incan CItadel and provide a unique perspective of the Citadel and its surroundings. Here, we will take time to absorb the panoramic views of iconic mountains such as Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu, and the Aobamba Canyon. This moment at Llactapata serves as a poignant bridge between the past and present, allowing us to connect with the Inca civilization’s enduring legacy.

Our journey then takes us on a 2-hour descent to the hydroelectric plant, a crucial power source for the region of Cusco. This descent marks a transition from ancient trails to modern infrastructure, showcasing the diverse facets of the Peruvian landscape and society.

After reaching the hydroelectric plant, we will enjoy a well-deserved lunch, a moment to refuel and reflect on the day’s experiences. After lunch, we’ll take a half-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes. This train ride offers a relaxing and scenic transition from the rugged trails to the comforts of civilization.

In Aguas Calientes, we will conclude our day with dinner after which you will check into your hotel. Get a good night’s rest and prepare yourself to see one of the seven wonders of the world.

Key statistics for the third day of the Salkantay Trek include:

  • A 3-hour uphill hike to the Puncuyoc Pass at 2,700 m (8,858 ft).
  • Exploration of the Llactapata Inca Ruins with views of Machu Picchu.
  • A 2-hour descent to the hydroelectric plant.
  • A half-hour train ride to Aguas Calientes.
  • The day’s journey combines moderate uphill hiking with easier downhill and train travel.

This day of the trek is not just a walk through the mountains; it’s a journey through time, connecting the ancient pathways of the Incas with the vibrant life of modern Aguas Calientes. Join us as we continue our adventure on the Salkantay Trail, stepping closer to the awe-inspiring destination of Machu Picchu.

The fourth and final day is the moment you’ve been waiting for. On this day you’ll finally get to visit the Incan CItadel of Machu Picchu!

Our day begins early with breakfast at the hotel in Aguas Calientes. We will catch one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu, ensuring that we arrive in time to experience the breathtaking sunrise over this wonder. Witnessing the sun’s first rays illuminating the citadel is a magical and unforgettable experience, one that embodies the spirit of our journey.

At Machu Picchu, your guide will lead you on an in depth 2-hour tour. This exploration will cover most of the significant parts of the citadel, allowing us to delve into its history and marvel at the Incas incredible stonework. Your guide will tell you about the three distinct districts of Machu Picchu: the agricultural, residential, and religious districts. This guided tour provides not only historical context but also insight into the ingenuity of the Inca Empire.

For those who have pre-booked an extra hike up Huayna Picchu, this is the time to embark on that adventure. Huayna Picchu is the most popular hike in Machu Picchu and offers a unique perspective of Machu Picchu and the surrounding landscape.

After the guided tour and exploring the citadel, we’ll take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. Here, you’ll have time for lunch (not included) and perhaps some shopping, sightseeing, or a visit to the museum or hot springs, depending on your train departure time.

Our return journey begins on the Expedition train, departing either at 2:55 pm or 3:20 pm. This train ride along the spectacular Urubamba River offers great scenery. The river’s beautiful sections of whitewater and the narrow canyon near Aguas Calientes add to the sites. Be sure to look up at the steep canyon wall to catch a glimpse of the Wiñay Wayna ruins from the train!

Your driver and private van will be waiting for you once you arrive in Ollantaytambo. The private van will take you back to your hotel in Cusco, expect to arrive by around 7:00 pm.

Key statistics for the fourth day of the Salkantay Trek include:

  • An early morning bus ride to Machu Picchu, witnessing the sunrise over the citadel.
  • A two-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu, exploring its main sectors.
  • Optional hike up Huayna Picchu for pre-booked participants.
  • Return train ride to Ollantaytambo, followed by a private vehicle transfer to Cusco.
  • The level of difficulty is moderate, focusing more on exploration and enjoyment.

This final day of the trek is not just a conclusion but a highlight, offering a profound connection to one of the world’s most extraordinary archaeological sites. Join us on this incredible journey as we explore the mysteries and marvels of Machu Picchu on the Salkantay Trail.

FAQs

The Salkantay Trek is considered challenging. The high altitudes and the length of daily hikes make this hike suitable for people in decent to good shape.

The highest point is the Salkantay Pass, which reaches an altitude of 4,650 m (15,255 ft).

Unlike the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek does not require a specific permit, but you do need an entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.

The best months are from April to October, during the dry season.

Book your trek at least 6 months in advance in order to ensure availability.

Essential items include:

  • Passport: You must bring your passport in order to enter Machu Picchu
  • Day Bag: For you daily essentials
  • Good Footwear: Hiking boots or trail shoes with good tread
  • Rain Gear: Weather conditions can change at any moment
  • Sun Protection: Sunscreen, hat and long clothing to protect you from the sun
  • Personal Medication: Take your permit with you and tell your guide about your medication

Yes, meals are typically provided by the tour operator from breakfast on Day 1 to lunch on the last day.

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Why choose us

These popular destinations have a lot to offer

At 69 Explorer, we are committed to providing an exceptional experience. Your safety, comfort, and enjoyment are our top priorities. We continuously strive to exceed expectations and ensure that every trip with us becomes a cherished memory.

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Local Experience

Our guides are locals with extensive knowledge about the history, myths, and secrets of the region.

Small personalized groups

Our groups never exceed 10 people, giving you an unforgettable experience

Our experience

Our With seven years of experience and more than 20 packages to Machu Picchu alone, our team knows how to carry out a successful expedition.

Sustainable Travel

We believe in responsible tourism. Our tours are designed to respect the local communities and environment, ensuring a positive impact.