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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days

    Recommended
Duration 0 days - -1 nights
Travel Style Adventure, hike, Trekking
Difficulty challenging
Group size Min 2 - Max 8

Embark on an unforgettable journey with 69 Explorer as we guide you through the majestic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. This awe-inspiring trail offers a unique blend of breathtaking scenery, rich cultural heritage, and exhilarating adventure. As you set out to hike the Inca Trail, be prepared to immerse yourself in the beauty and mystery of the Sacred Valley, leading up to the iconic Machu Picchu Mountain.

Our Classic Salkantay Trek will take you across diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests to the challenging Salkantay Pass, situated at a staggering 4,630 m (15,190 ft) above sea level. We will guide you through the picturesque Santa Teresa, where the hot springs await, offering a soothing respite after a thrilling day of hiking to Machu Picchu.

Planning this trek requires careful consideration, and we recommend booking months in advance to secure your spot on this sought-after trail to Machu Picchu. The rainy season brings its own unique beauty, but we will ensure that your experience is comfortable and rewarding, regardless of the weather. Expect amenities like hot showers and the comforting warmth of coca tea, which is a local remedy for coping with high altitudes.

As we hike the Inca Trail treks together, the allure of visiting Machu Picchu becomes more tangible with each step. This journey is not just about reaching the destination but also about embracing the journey itself. The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu isn’t just a trek; it’s a journey through the unique landscapes of the Andean Mountains.

Join 69 Explorer on this extraordinary adventure, and let us make your dream of hiking to Machu Picchu a reality. Together, we will traverse the ancient pathways and uncover the secrets of the Inca civilization, creating memories that will last a lifetime.

From US$ 377

95% of travelers recommend this experience

Important information

Includes

  • Transportation:
    • Pickup from your hotel in Cusco.
    • Transfer to the trailhead at Soraypampa.
    • Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back.
    • Return train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
    • Transfer from Ollantaytambo back to your hotel in Cusco.
  • Accommodation:
    • Tents for camping nights.
    • Hotel stay in Aguas Calientes.
  • Meals and Drinks:
    • All meals during the trek (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
    • Drinking water along the trek.
    • Snacks and tea time provisions.
    • Special dietary menus available upon request.
  • Guided Tours:
    • Professional bilingual guide(s).
    • Guided tour of Machu Picchu.
  • Entrance Fees:
    • Entrance fee to the Salkantay Trail.
    • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
  • Camping Equipment:
    • High-quality tents.
    • Sleeping mats.
    • Dining tent, kitchen tent, and toilet tent.
    • Chairs and tables.
  • Porter Services:
    • Porters or horses to carry camping equipment and personal belongings (there’s usually a weight limit per trekker).
  • Additional Activities:
    • Side trips to locations like Humantay Lake 
    • Tour of a coffee plantation in Lucmabamba (if included in the itinerary).
  • First Aid and Safety:
    • First aid kit and emergency oxygen.
    • Emergency horse (depending on the operator).
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Briefing session before the trek.
    • Luggage storage during the trek.

Excludes

  • Travel Insurance: Comprehensive travel insurance is usually not included and is highly recommended for all trekkers.
  • Meals in Cities: Meals in Cusco or Aguas Calientes before and after the trek are typically not included.
  • Personal Trekking Gear:
    • Sleeping bags $15.
    • Trekking poles $10.
    • Hiking boots and other personal clothing.
  • Additional Activities and Entrance Fees:
    • Extra hikes such as Huayna Picchu (69$) or Machu Picchu Mountain (69$), which require separate entrance tickets.
    • Entrance fees to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes ($4).
  • Transportation:
    • Flights to and from Cusco.
    • Any transportation not specified in the itinerary.
  • Extra Costs:
    • Tips for guides, cooks, and porters.
    • Additional personal porter services beyond the provided limit.
    • Extra snacks or beverages not included in the meal plan.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Personal expenses like laundry, phone calls, battery charging, etc.
    • Any additional nights’ accommodation outside of the trek itinerary.
    • Medical or emergency costs.
    • Visa Fees: If applicable, visa fees for entry into Peru are not covered.

Recommend to carry

  • Clothing:
    • Waterproof jacket/rain poncho.
    • Warm jacket (down or similar for cold nights).
    • Hiking pants and casual pants for evenings.
    • Moisture-wicking T-shirts and long-sleeved shirts.
    • Thermal underwear.
    • Sun hat and woolen hat for cold nights.
    • Gloves, especially for the higher, colder altitudes.
    • Comfortable underwear and sports bras for women.
  • Footwear:
    • Sturdy hiking boots (waterproof and broken-in).
    • Comfortable shoes or sandals for camp.
    • Woolen or hiking socks and lighter socks for evenings.
  • Backpack and Daypack:
    • Backpack (if not using porter service).
    • Lightweight daypack for personal items.
  • Sleeping Equipment:
    • Sleeping bag (appropriate for temperatures as low as -10°C / 14°F).
    • Inflatable pillow (optional).
  • Hydration and Snacks:
    • Water bottles or hydration bladder (minimum 2 liters).
    • Water purification tablets or filter.
    • Energy bars, snacks (nuts, dried fruit, chocolate).
  • Health and Personal Items:
    • Personal medication.
    • First aid kit (band-aids, antiseptic wipes, blister plasters).
    • High SPF sunscreen.
    • Lip balm with SPF.
    • Insect repellent.
    • Hand sanitizer.
    • Toilet paper and small shovel (if needed for nature calls).
    • Personal hygiene items (toothbrush, toothpaste, small soap).
  • Accessories:
    • Trekking poles (optional but recommended).
    • Headlamp or flashlight with extra batteries.
    • Camera with extra batteries and memory card.
    • Portable power bank.
    • Lightweight, quick-dry towel.
  • Documents:
    • Passport and necessary visas.
    • Travel insurance information.
    • Emergency contact information.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • Plastic bags (for wet clothes and trash).
    • Earplugs and eye mask.
    • Small notebook and pen.
    • Maps and guidebooks (optional).

Itinerary

Start your exhilarating Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with an early rise. We will embark on this adventure at 5 am, picking you up from your hotel in a comfortable private van. Our journey to the trailhead at Soraypampa is not just a drive; it’s a scenic tour through the heart of the Andes. We’ll pass through Iscuchaca and Limatambo, two charming remote villages, offering a glimpse into the local culture and lifestyle. The drive also promises spectacular views of valleys and the magnificent, snow-capped Salkantay Mountain, a sight to behold and a perfect start to our trek.

Upon arriving at the Soraypampa trailhead, we’ll fuel up with a hearty breakfast. The stunning mountain glaciers of Humantay and Salkantay, standing at 19,356 ft and 20,396 ft respectively, provide a majestic backdrop to our meal. Energized from our delicious breakfast, we’ll embark on a 2.5-hour round-trip hike to the mesmerizing turquoise waters of Humantay Lake, the highlight of the day that promises breathtaking views and photo opportunities.

The adventure continues as we ascend for about one and a half hours to Salkantay Pampa. Here, we will be greeted by a delicious lunch in front of the imposing glacier. This is truly a moment where dining meets awe-inspiring natural beauty.

Our final stretch for the day leads us to our first campsite at Soroccocha, nestled at the foot of the towering Salkantay Mountain. At the campsite, we’ll be welcomed with afternoon tea and appetizers, a perfect way to relax and recharge. Your tents will be ready for you to settle in comfortably before we gather for dinner under the stars, surrounded by the serene beauty of the Andes.

Key Statistics of Day 1:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 12 kilometers (7.5 miles)
  • Highest altitude: 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) at Soroccocha campsite
  • Lowest altitude: 3,900 meters (12,795 feet) at Soraypampa
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate, with gradual ascents

This first day on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu sets the stage for an unforgettable journey, blending physical challenge with the awe of natural wonders and cultural richness.

On the second day of your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, awaken to the serene beauty of the Andes with a warm mug of tea or coffee served right in your tent. This personal touch sets the tone for a day filled with awe-inspiring sights and memorable experiences. After the hot beverage we’ll have a hearty and delicious breakfast to prepare us for a day of adventure and exploration on the Salkantay Trail.

Our journey begins with an invigorating climb lasting about an hour, taking us to the trek’s highest point, the Apacheta Pass. Standing at an impressive 4,650 m (15,367 ft), this is a moment of triumph and wonder. At the pass, we’ll pause to capture this achievement with photos, soaking in the views of the massive snow-capped mountains of Huayanay, Humantay, and Salkantay. The panoramic vistas of the surrounding lakes and rivers from this vantage point are truly breathtaking.

Adding to this day’s highlights, we’ll take a 30-minute side trip to the exquisite and panoramic Salkantay Lake. Its turquoise waters offer a peaceful and reflective moment amidst the massive mountains.

Next, we continue our descent to Rayanniyoc, where a delicious lunch awaits. This part of the trek offers a change in scenery, with the landscape changing the lower we go. After lunch, our journey takes us on a couple of hours of trekking to our final stop for the day, near the quaint village of Colpapampa. Here, nestled in the heart of the Andes, our camp awaits with the familiar comfort of hot drinks and appetizers.

Key Statistics of Day 2:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 22 kilometers (13.7 miles)
  • Highest altitude: 4,650 meters (15,367 feet) at Apacheta Pass
  • Lowest altitude: 2,850 meters (9,350 feet) at Colpapampa campsite
  • Level of difficulty: Challenging, with steep ascents and descents

This day on the Salkantay Trek is a blend of physical challenge and natural beauty, offering a true sense of accomplishment as we inch closer to the mystical Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu.

On the third day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we’ll hike through the heart of the trail, passing the midway point. Our destination for the day is the picturesque Lucmabamba, a route that promises an array of natural wonders. As we walk, we’ll be immersed in an ever-changing landscape, teeming with birds and lush fruit plantations. The flowering orchards and fields of cacao and coffee trees provide a delightful sensory experience. We’ll reach Lucmabamba in time for lunch, giving us some time to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

After lunch, we’ll delve into the world of Peruvian coffee with a visit to a nearby coffee plantation. This relaxing tour is not just informative but also interactive. We’ll start by exploring the fields, learning about the various types of coffee beans. Then, we’ll engage in the process of picking, roasting, and grinding the beans. The highlight of this experience is brewing and savoring our own coffee, a treat for any coffee enthusiast. This unique experience is complemented by the sight of fields dotted with tomatoes and avocados, showcasing the region’s rich agricultural diversity.

Around 3 pm, we’ll take a short local transportation ride to the renowned Cocalmayo hot springs. Here, you can indulge in a rejuvenating bath, surrounded by the tranquil beauty of nature. This is a perfect way to unwind and recharge. After our time at the hot springs, we’ll return to camp, ready to enjoy a dinner made prepared by our private chef.

Key Statistics of Day 3:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 15 kilometers (9.3 miles)
  • Highest altitude: 2,100 meters (6,890 feet) at Lucmabamba
  • Lowest altitude: 1,550 meters (5,085 feet) at Cocalmayo hot springs
  • Level of difficulty: Moderate, with a focus on cultural and natural exploration

Day three of the Salkantay Trek is a blend of cultural immersion, natural beauty, and relaxation, offering a deeper connection with the land as we journey towards Machu Picchu.

On the fourth day of our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we continue our journey enriched with history and natural beauty. We’ll start the day by traveling along a remote section of the ancient Inca Trail. This uphill trek of about three hours to the Puncuyoc Pass is a journey through time, surrounded by the spectacular scenes of fruit plantations and distinct valleys.

Our destination for the morning is the fascinating Inca Ruins in Llactapata. Here, you’ll be treated to a unique view of the Citadel of Machu Picchu from across the valley. The vista also includes the Aobamba Canyon and neighboring mountains, Machu Picchu, and Huayna Picchu, offering a perspective few travelers get to see.

Next, we embark on a two-hour descent to the hydroelectric plant, a vital source of renewable and ecologically produced electricity for Cusco. This part of the trek leads us to our lunch spot, where another hearty and delicious meal awaits.

The final stretch of our day involves a trek to Aguas Calientes via the National Park of Machu Picchu. This path takes us through a lush sub-tropical jungle, brimming with orchids and epiphytes that adorn the trees.

Upon our arrival in Aguas Calientes, you’ll have time to check into your hotel, offering a well-deserved rest. We’ll then gather for dinner at a local restaurant, reflecting on the day’s adventures and looking forward to the highlight of the tour – visiting Machu Picchu.

Key Statistics of Day 4:

  • Distance covered: Approximately 16 kilometers (10 miles)
  • Highest altitude: 3,600 meters (11,810 feet) at Puncuyoc Pass
  • Lowest altitude: 2,040 meters (6,690 feet) in Aguas Calientes
  • Level of difficulty: Challenging, with significant uphill and downhill trekking

The fourth day of the Salkantay Trek is a blend of historical exploration and natural splendor, setting the stage for the grand finale of our journey to the iconic Machu Picchu.

The fifth day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the most important day of the tour. This day is what you’ve been eagerly anticipating – the day you visit the majestic Incan CItadel of Machu Picchu. After an early breakfast at your hotel in Aguas Calientes, we’ll catch one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. Arriving early allows us to witness the breathtaking sunrise over this wonder, a truly extraordinary sight not to be missed.

Your experienced guide will lead a two-hour tour of the Machu Picchu Citadel. You’ll explore the most important parts of this iconic site, learning about its division into three sectors: agricultural, residential, and religious. This comprehensive tour offers deep insights into the rich history and architecture of this ancient Inca city.

For those who have pre-booked an additional hike to Huayna Picchu, time will be allocated for this exciting excursion. The views from Huayna Picchu are exceptional, offering a different perspective of the Machu Picchu ruins.

After soaking in the magnificence of Machu Picchu, we’ll take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes. Here, you’ll have time for lunch (not included), along with opportunities for shopping, sightseeing, or visiting the museum or hot springs, depending on your train departure time.

Our return journey begins with the Expedition train back to Ollantaytambo. Departing at either 2:55 pm or 3:20 pm, this train ride follows the spectacular Urubamba River, with the canyon narrowing and the river showcasing beautiful sections of whitewater. Along the way, be sure to look out for the ruins of Wiñay Wayna, perched high on the steep canyon wall.

Upon arriving in Ollantaytambo, our private vehicle will be waiting to take you back to your hotel. You can expect to arrive at your hotel by 7:00 pm, bringing an end to this unforgettable adventure.

Key Statistics of Day 5:

  • Distance covered: Minimal walking in Machu Picchu
  • Highest altitude: 2,430 meters (7,972 feet) at Machu Picchu
  • Lowest altitude: 2,040 meters (6,690 feet) in Aguas Calientes
  • Level of difficulty: Easy, focused on exploration and sightseeing

Day five is a rewarding culmination of the Salkantay Trek, filled with awe and wonder as you explore one of the world’s most extraordinary archaeological sites.

FAQs

The Salkantay Trek is a popular alternative to the Inca Trail, leading hikers through diverse landscapes to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. It’s named after Mount Salkantay, the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range.

The trek typically covers about 75 km (46 mi) and is usually completed in 5 days and 4 nights.

The best time to hike the Salkantay Trek is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. The weather is generally clearer and paths are in better condition.

Unlike the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek does not require a permit, making it a great alternative for those who are unable to secure Inca Trail permits.

The trek is considered challenging due to its high altitudes, long distances, and varying terrain. It’s advisable to be in good physical condition and to acclimatize to the altitude before starting.

Accommodations typically include camping in tents, with the last night often spent in a hotel in Aguas Calientes.

Essential items include hiking boots, warm and waterproof clothing, a sleeping bag suitable for low temperatures, a daypack, personal medication, water purification methods, and sun protection.

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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.