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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Classic 5 Days

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

The popular Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu was listed among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, this Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu forms part of a remarkable and beautiful Inca route located in the same area as the Classic Inca Trail where a massive snow capped mountain collide with the subtropical cloud forest. The amazing Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, allows travelers to experience some of the most exquisite views as you hike through the high mountains and down into the high-jungle.

This amazing Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu can be done in 5 days, 4 nights or alternatively 4 days and 3 nights – mail us for more details. Salkantay trek is the second most touristy route to Machu Picchu, there are some variations of Salkantay trek, depending on the level of fitness and interest of the travelers.

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Highlights:

  • The super Salkantay Mount
  • Amazing mountain scenery
  • High Mountain passes
  • Flora & wildlife
  • Visiting local villages
  • Hiking the famous Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
  • Machu Picchu the biggest religious center of the Incas


Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Overview

  • First day: Cusco – Mollepata -Markju k’asa – Challa cancha- Soraypampa.
  • Second day: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay- Challhuay .
  • Third day: Chaullay- Collpapampa – Lluscamayo – La Playa.
  • Four day: La Playa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes.
  • Five day: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco.


Salkantay Trek to Machupicchu – Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata -Markju k’asa – Challa cancha- Soraypampa.

The Salkantay trek to Machupicchu starts with the pick up from your hotel at 5:30 a.m. in our private vehicle. We will drive for three hours to arrive in the town of Mollepata. At this town travelers can buy breakfast and purchase last minute supplies. From here we will have a bus ride for 40 minutes until we will reach Challacancha, our beginning point of the Salkantay trek.

This is not the classic route and is mostly used by the local people.  We will continue Hiking for 3 hours and 30 minutes to arrive to Soraypampa for lunch.  After lunch there will a walk for one and a half hours to the beautiful Lake Humantay, after to explore this wonderful place, we will hike back down to Soraypampa for the night.

  • Accomodation: Camping in Soraypampa.
  • Meals: lunch and Dinner

Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay-  Challhuay.

We will continue our Salkantay trek after breakfast, there will be a 3 hours uphill walk to the foot of Humantay; we will arrive at a glacial moraine where we can observe Chinchillas, approximately one hour later, we finally reach the Salkantay pass which is the highest point of the whole Salkantay trek (4,650 meters/13451 feet). You will find yourself in the middle of two great mountains – Salkantay (6271m) and Humantay (5850m).

Salkantay is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and at the Pass, the mountain itself looks very close to you. There is also a great view of some of the other mountains like: Humantay and Pumasillo . We then descend to Huayracmachay for lunch (approximately 2.5 hours from the pass).  In the afternoon we will descend to the beautiful campsite at Chaullay (Approximately 4 hours) this part of Salkantay trek is through the cloud forest.

  • Accommodation: Camping, Chaullay 3,250m.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 3: Chaullay- Collpapampa – Lluscamayo – La Playa.

The third day of Salkantay trek starts with a delicious breakfast, we will descend for one more hour to the Collpapampa village.  You will enjoy the beautiful landscapes the trail lead us back into the cloud forest, following the left hand side of the River “Alto Salkantay”. We will be able to observe some species of palms, orchids, bromeliads and typical vegetation of the cloud forest. At this part of Salkantay trek, it is also possible to see different types of birds, insects and butterflies. In comparison to the previous days of the Salkantay trek, this is easier walking as we descend slowly along the Valley to La Playa (2050m).

Camping options: Remember that Salkantay trek  is a popular route that suffers from degradation and over use and is currently un-regulated. The third night´s camping offers a number of options, which you should talk to your guide about. These options are linked to the group´s wishes, and also what you plan to do the next day: La Playa is NOT a remote campsite – for those that want to get away from the crowds you should talk to your guide about camping at Santa Theresa is also not a remote campsite and people can have parties.

  • Accommodation: camping in la playa.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 4: La Playa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes.

You have two options today, depending on your interest and fitness. Discuss each of the options with your guide. Remember that Salkantay trek  is the second most touristic route in the Cusco region and inevitably this means you will encounter other people (it’s not a “wilderness” experience).

Important note: The following options are decided by “group majority” – if you are joining a “trekkers wanted” group then the decisions will be made by the group at your briefing or on the trail. An advantage of forming your own, private group is that you can nominate ahead of time which option you wish to select.

  1. Relax option

    After breakfast you will take a local transport to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric System (not included in the price) where we will have lunch and in a little while we will start an easy walking for 3 more hours along the train tracks to arrive at the town of Aguas Calientes.

  2. Adventurer´s option

    We leave early and climb for about three hours through the cloud- forest to the top of the mountain, where is located a very interesting Inca town (ruins) called Llactapata. Don’t let your guide talk you out of this!! This will be one of the hardest sections on the Salkantay trek, but it is also a very interesting introduction to Machu Picchu! From here we have our first view of Machu Picchu, in the saddle of the opposite mountain. We then descend very steeply for three hours to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric System for lunch and later we will walk for 3 more hours along the train tracks to arrive at the town of Aguas Calientes the end of Salkantay trek.

Hostal in Aguas Calientes:

  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machupicchu – Cusco

In the morning after breakfast at the hotel, our guide will pick you up and you will board the bus that will take you to the citadel of Machupicchu.  A guided tour is provided visiting the Main Plaza, the Sun Temple, the Sacred Sun Dial (Intihuatana), the Royal Palace, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Main Temple, Sacred Rock.

It will be an unforgettable experience at this mysterious and charming place, considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. After the guided tour, you will have free time to explore the zone on your own or you can take the hiking options:

  1. Climb to Wayna Picchu; for the most adventurous people, we suggest goint to Wayna Picchu, where you can observe the immensity of Machupicchu. (We suggest you book in advance).
  2. Walk to the Sun Gate; you will have an opportunity to walk (approx. 1 hour) up to the Sun Gate (IntiPunku)

In the afternoon at the scheduled time, you will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes, and then take the Train back to Cusco. The journey by train takes approximately 3.4 hours.
In the evening, upon arrival to the Train station of Cusco, you will be received and transported to the hotel.

  • Meals Included: Breakfast


What includes in the Salkantay Trek?

  • Pick up from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
  • Transport from Cusco to the beginning point of Salkantay trek  in private car.
  • Entry fee to Machu Picchu.
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide.
  • Tents – 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
  • Inflatable sleeping mattress.
  • Cook and cooking equipment.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food).
  • Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7 kg per person). If you wish to take more, you can hire an extra mule at a cost of $20 per day.
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals.
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.
  • Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • Train ticket (Expedition class) from Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo.
  • One night hostel stay in Aguas Calientes in. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostal with breakfast included and private bathroom.
  • Bus up and down to Machupicchu (valued at $26 US).
  • Dinner in the town of Aguas Calientes .

What is not included in the Salkantay Trek?

**** Airfare is not included. You need to arrange your own flight.

  • Breakfast on the first day morning.
  • Entrance fee to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes.
  • Entrance fee to Wayna Picchu.
  • Sleeping bags (can be hired from us for US$5 per day).
  • Tips for the guide, cook and horseman.
  • Additional horses for passenger’s luggage. If there are any substantial items or backpacks, passengers will need to hire an additional mule at a cost of $20.00 US per day.

You should bring to the Salkantay Trek:

  • Original Passport.
  • Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount).
  • Walking sticks (rubber covers required in order not to damage archaeological sites).
  • Change of clothes for the whole period of Salkantay trek.
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Optional 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 been reported as a health problem. Salkantay trek has many springs and streams a long the way.
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to take a bath in the Hot Springs of Machu Picchu).
  • A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature.
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho, which you can buy it in Cusco.
  • Waterproof trekking shoes are recommended for Salkantay trek.
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk.
  • Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you – see below).
  • Headlamp or Flash light.
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold.
  • Sun block, Insect repellent – minimum recommended 50%.
  • Toilet paper, pack in & pack out.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
  • Cash in soles for your final lunch in Aguas Calientes, tips and souvenirs.
  • Walking sticks or poles (you can hire these from us. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day).

Note: Wayna Picchu Mountain ticket, we suggest you to book it in advance. it cost $20.00 USD additional.

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