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Peru

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

5 days | 4 nights
Shared tour
From 709USD per person
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Counting among the best walking trails in the world, the Salkantay trek is an excellent alternative and a more scenic hike to Machu Picchu than the world-famous Inca Trail. Crossing changing landscapes and unique ecosystems, this trek offers more than the physical feat of conquering the 15,250-foot (4650m) Salkantay Pass. From snow-capped giant peaks to the depth of the cloud forest where tropical fruit and coffee plantations abound, this trek is also a way to discover rich ecosystems and local cultures, past and present. After 4 days hiking along the Vilcabamba mountain range, fuelling your stomach with tasty fresh Peruvian food and resting under the southern skies in unique glass igloos, Andean huts or jungle domes, you will reach Aguas Calientes, the closest town to the site of Machu Picchu. The last day includes the guided visit of the Inca citadel with plenty of time to discover the surrounding area before making your way back to Cusco by train, along the Sacred Valley.

Destinations

Peru

Trip at a glance

Visits

Humantay Peak, Salkantay Peak and Pass, one night in a Glass Igloo, one night in an Andean hut, Organic Coffee Fam Tour, Hot Spring of Cocalmayo, Machu Picchu citadel, Llactapata Archaeological Site

Accomodation

2 nights in transparent igloos (glass domes) with bed, 1 night in an Andean hut, 1 night in a 3* hotel

Transportation

Train from Hydro Electric Station to Aguas Calientes on day 4 and from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on day 5

Round trip Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu on day 5

Collective transfer from Cusco to Mollepata (Marcoccasa) on day 1, collective transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to Cusco on day 5

Horseman and mules will carry the group equipment including up to 15 lbs (7kg) luggage / person

Dates and Prices

Arrival date

Trip details

Itinerary

Day 1 CUSCO, MOLLEPATA, SORAYPAMPA

Morning

Your driver will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco around 5.00 am to take you to the starting point of the Salkantay trek.

On the way through you will pass through the village of Mollepata at an altitude of 9,843 feet (3000m) where the porters and the equipment for the trek will be waiting for you and where you will pay the s./10 fee to enter the Salkantay park.

After a 30-45 min stop with some time to have breakfast (not included) you will drive on to Challacancha at 12,150 feet (3700m) to start walking. The first part of the hike goes through an enchanting valley surrounded by snow-capped mountains such as the Humantay at 17,116 feet (5,217m) and the Salkantay towering at 20,551 feet (6264m). It takes about 3.5 hours on average to reach the camp in Soraypampa at 12,795 feet (3900m) where you will have lunch early in the afternoon.

Afternoon

Take a 2-hour digestive hike to the turquoise waters of the Humantay lake at 13,845 feet (4220m) with unrivalled views of the snow-capped Humantay peak.

Enjoy the peaceful views before walking back down to the camp.

Evening

Dinner and overnight in your glass igloo at the Sky Camp in Soraypampa.

MEALS
  • Lunch included
  • Dinner included

Day 2 SORAYPAMPA, SALKANTAY PASS, WAYRAQMACHAY, CHAULLAY

Morning

Start your day with a hearty breakfast before hiking towards the Salkantay Pass, the highest point of the trek at 15,250 feet (4650m).

The 3-hour hike on a steep rocky path will unveil unique views of the Salkantay peak (6264m). Take time to rest and adapt to the altitude while trying to spot the occasional condor flying by.

Afternoon

As you hike down the slopes on the other side of the pass you will notice a radical change in vegetation as you enter a cloud forest ecosystem before stopping in Wayraqmachay to have lunch at 12,800 feet (3900 m).

Hike for another 2 hours downhill to reach the camp in Chaullay.

Evening

Dinner and overnight in your Andean hut in Chaullay.

MEALS
  • Breakfast included
  • Lunch included
  • Dinner included

Day 3 CHAULLAY, COLLPAPAMPA, LA PLAYA, LUCMABAMBA

Morning

Today will be spent discovering the region's abundant flora and visiting local plantations.

The first part of your hike will take you through a thick forest rich with rivers and waterfalls where many species of orchids and bromeliads thrive. The area is known for the coffee, banana, avocado and tropical fruits plantations. The track will go through Collpapampa, known as “the peak of the cloud forest” before reaching La Playa.

Afternoon

After lunch, it will take you an hour to reach the Jungle Domes in Lucmabamba where you will relax with a guided visit of an organic coffee farm.

The rest of the afternoon will be free to explore the tropical forest or relax in the hot springs of Cocalmayo.

Evening

Dinner and overnight in your jungle dome in Lucmabamba.

MEALS
  • Breakfast included
  • Lunch included
  • Dinner included

Day 4 LUCMABAMBA, LLACTAPATA, HIDROELECTRICA, AGUAS CALIENTES

Morning

After breakfast, hike up on the famous Inca trail to the archaeological site of Llactapata at 8,694 feet (2650 m) through extraordinary scenery, lush vegetation and archaeological evidence of the great Inca culture. From this vantage point you will have outstanding views over the Machu Picchu Mountain and the Urubamba valley.

Afternoon

Hike down to the Hydroelectric train station at 6,398 feet (1950 m), where you will take a nice break before walking on to Aguas Calientes at 6,726 feet (2050 m), the closest town to Machu Picchu. You have the option to ride the train for an additional cost.

Evening

Check in and overnight at your hotel Aguas Calientes.

MEALS
  • Breakfast included
  • Lunch included
  • Dinner included

Day 5 AGUAS CALIENTES, MACHU PICCHU, OLLANTAYTAMBO, CUSCO

Morning

Today might be THE day you have been expecting from the moment you landed on Peruvian soil.

In Aguas Calientes your guide will accompany you to the bus station (5 min) to take the 5.30 am shuttle up the hill to the entrance of the Machu Picchu archaeological site at 7,972 feet (2430 m). The abandoned stronghold was rediscovered in 1911 by the American archaeologist Hiram Bingham, Macchu Picchu is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Learn about every secret this ancient Inca citadel holds and grab every opportunity to take amazing photographs before enjoying some free time to linger on the edge of the citadel or climb up Wayna Picchu at 9022 feet (2570 m).

Afternoon

At the end of the tour, you can choose to hike back down to Aguas Calientes (1 hour) or take the shuttle back (20 min - extra cost) with time to go discover the quaint little town, with lots of great lunch options and hot springs to relax before catching your train to Ollantaytambo either early in the afternoon or in the evening.

From Ollantatytambo a vehicle will be waiting for you for your transfer back to the main square in Cusco.

Evening

Transfer back to your hotel in Cusco. 

MEALS
  • Breakfast included

Services

What's included

Accommodation

Nights
2 nights in transparent igloos (glass domes) with bed, 1 night in an Andean hut, 1 night in a 3* hotel

Meals

Bed & Breakfast plan
4 breakfasts + 4 lunches + 4 dinners + daily snacks

Transportation

Train
Train from Hydro Electric Station to Aguas Calientes on day 4 and from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on day 5
Shuttle
Round trip Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu on day 5
Bus
Collective transfer from Cusco to Mollepata (Marcoccasa) on day 1, collective transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to Cusco on day 5
Horse
Horseman and mules will carry the group equipment including up to 15 lbs (7kg) luggage / person
Vehicule

Orientation

Guide
Professional English-speaking local guide

Entrance Fees

Entrance fee to Machu Picchu

What's not included

  • Domestic flights
  • International flights
  • Breakfast on day 1
  • Lunch and dinner on day 5
  • Salkantay Park entrance fee (10 PEN)
  • Hot shower on day 2 and 3 (10 PEN/shower)
  • Hot water springs 
  • Sleeping bag
  • Extra porter
  • Huayna Picchu entrance fees: 70 USD/Person
  • Travel insurance
  • Extra meals
  • Drinks
  • Tips

Important notes

We strongly recommend you to get a travel insurance policy that covers hiking up to 15,000 feet (4500m) above sea level.

Trekking packing list:

  • 50 liters backpack
  • 15/20 liters backpack
  • hiking shoes
  • hiking poles
  • full length hiking pants
  • hiking shorts
  • waterproof pants (x1)
  • long and short sleeves synthetic tops
  • medium-weight fleece jacket
  • sun hat or cap
  • woolly hat
  • water and windproof parka jacket
  • waterproof gloves
  • hiking socks (1 pair/day)
  • sunblock SPF 50+
  • binoculars
  • flashlight
  • multi-tool knife
  • toilet paper
  • medical kit with: insect repellent, painkillers, anti-inflammatories, diarrhea treatment, band aids, blister plasters, knee braces, personal medication
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