The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu it´s an alternative route to the traditional Inca Trail to reaching Machu Picchu.
The trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4600m, descends into the cloud forest and passes the Inca ruins of Llactapata, with a view of Machu Picchu.
The trail starts in Mollepata, a couple of hours away from Cuzco and ends in Santa Teresa or hydroelectric power station, giving us access to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.
The trek is not as popular as the overbooked Inca Trail but many find it just as beautiful because of its great sceneries.
This trek (also sometimes called the Salcantay Trek), was named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.
The part around Mount Salkantay has some outstanding views and the descent later down to 1,000 m above sea level is quite gorgeous and not too steep.
Day 1: Cusco, Soraypampa to Soyroccocha lake
We leave Cusco very early in the morning in a private transportation.
Start a scenic morning ride to Mollepata which is a small chanting village for a break,
later a drive to our starting point Soraypampa (3,850mts), where we meet our wrangler and mules,
from there we´ll hike uphill for 1 hour to the most beautiful lake Humantay, after that climb, we get back to Soraypampa for lunch, after this break from there we will begin with a hike up ( 3hours arox.)
A gentle slope with fine views of the southern face of the Salkantay massif (6271 meters / 20,568 feet), dominating the skyline directly in front of us.
After about an hour the ascent will become steeper, as the trail takes us up rapidly to Lake Soyrococha which is our 1st campsite ((4,350 mts), right in front of the impressive glacier of Salkantay (6,264mts/ 20,560 ft) ).
This will be the only one cold night, so bring very warm clothes.
Trekking distance: 6 kilometers / 3.12 miles
Altitudes: Soraypampa: 3864 meters / 12,677 feet; Soyrococha 4485 meters / 14,714 feet
Meals: Lunch, dinner
Day 2: Soyroccocha to Collpapampa
We depart early after breakfast and start a 1 hour hike up to the very top, which brings us up to the Salkantay Mountain Pass (4,525m/14,842ft) where, besides enjoying stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range with the south face of Salkantay towering above us, we may also observe chinchillas and condors in their natural habitat.
From this point, we start descending towards a more tropical climate and into the so-called cloud forest.
Along though easy descent along the Salkantay River, brings us late afternoon to our second camp at Qollpapampa (2890m/9479ft).
Trekking distance: 15 kilometers / 9.56 miles
Altitudes: Soyrococha 4485 meters / 14,714 feet; Salkantay Pass 4622 meters / 15,164 feet. Colpapampa: 2831 meters / 9288 feet
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 3: Collpapampa to Lucmabamba
This day’s hiking will take us down from the high Andes into a cloud forest environment.
Less than an hour after leaving camp in the morning we will find ourselves amid tropical vegetation, with temperatures much higher than those experienced on the first day.
These forests are the habitat of many species of orchids and a number of endemic bird species, including hummingbirds.
After lunch we will continue through areas of fruit and coffee plantations as far as Lucmabamba, further down the valley, where we will make our next camp at Lucmabamba by 2-3pm, there is a chance to get to the Hot Springs which optional, you have to deal with the tour guide to organizing a private transportation.
Trekking distance: 16 kilometers / 9.94 miles
Altitudes: Colpapampa: 2831meters / 9288feet Lucmabamba 1947meters / 6387feet
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 4: Lucmabamba / Llactapata / Aguas calientes
This day we´ll hike over an original Incan paved road, after a 3 hours uphill with extraordinary scenery we will arrive at Llactapata Inca archeological site,to enjoy the outstanding views first view of Machu Picchu from an exclusive angle , our tour guide will escort the group on a tour of the extensive Llactapata archaeological site, explaining its relevance as one of the series of settlements built by the Incas in a strategic location.
We will descend further for about 2 hours into the valley to the hydroelectric station where we´ll have lunch, venturing deeper into the cloud forest environment that is home to abundant wildlife, and passing through the plantations and smallholdings of local farmers.
From here we will have the last hike of 3 hours through the jungle (level ground along the railway)to the town of Aguas Calientes located below the ruins of Machu Picchu.
OPTION. a 40 minutes train ride through jungle from hydroelectric to Machupicchu town $35 in this afternoon instead of hiking the last 16 km.
Trekking distance: 13.2 kilometers / 8.35 miles (7.7km /4.78m. uphill)
Altitudes: Lucmabamba 2060 meters / 6758 feet. Llactapata Pass 2705 meters / 8874 feet; Llactapata ruins 2588 meters / 8490 feet; Hydroelectric station 1782 meters / 5846 feet; Aguas Calientes 2020 meters / 6627 feet
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Day 5: Aguas Calientes / Machupicchu to Cusco
We wake up early and board a bus to Machupicchu where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours.
You will then have free time to walk around, or the option to climb up the Huaynapicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machupicchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it (please note that there are only 400 visitors allowed per day), impressive Inca Bridge.
In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs.
From here we take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall.
Included / Not included
- Private transportation to head of trail Challakancha-Soraypampa.
- Professional, English-speaking guide and camp staff
- Plentiful, nutritious meals and snacks (Vegetarian option available)
- Drinking water throughout trek / Hot water for washing in the morning
- Double-occupancy tents and camping equipment (includes dining tent, kitchen tent, and latrine tent)
- Pack animals to carry camping gear and food
- 7 kilos of your personal luggage to be carried by our mules.
- Overnight hotel stay in Aguas Calientes (3-star)
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
- Officially-guided tour of Machu Picchu
- Bus shuttle to and from Machu Picchu
- Backpacker train ticket back to Cusco
- Transfer from Ollantaytambo to hotel in Cusco
- Licensed tour guide, Entrance Tickets, Transportation.
- Breakfast on the 1st day; and Lunch for last day.
- Train from hydroelectric to Machu Picchu
- Sleeping Bag: $20
- Inflatable Air Matt therma-rest: $20
- Walking Sticks (Pair): $15
- $695 Group service 2021
- 2 people US$ 885 per person
- 3 people US$ 810per person
- 4 people US$ 775 per person
- 5 people US$ 740 per person
- 6 people US$ 710 per person
- 7 people US$ 685 per person
- 8+ people US$ 655 per person
Important: Prices includes up to 7 kilos of your personal belongings to be carried by the mules.
- Appropiate clothing along the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.
- Hiking pants and T-shirts are commonly used during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets.
- It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the fourth day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, and can be switched into shorts if necessary.
- Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night.
- The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
What we recommend that you bring:
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Original Passport, YOU NEED TO BRING THE SAME PASSPORT THAT YOU USED FOR BOOKING THIS TREK. (plus the new one in case it has expired)
- Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount)
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
- Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces. Gloves,Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping
- Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied.
This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning. Optionally: water -sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu town)
- Cash in soles and/or US$
- Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage the Inca Trail)