City: Cusco, Mountains/Jungle // Activities: Salkantay trek //
Why you'll love this experience:
Experience a challenging hike with a daily changing flora and fauna.
Stay in comfortable domes instead of rustic tents
We include many extras (duffle bag, sleeping bag, hiking sticks, bus tickets) others charge you for additionally.
Forget about simple food for on the go - enjoy excellent food prepared by professional chefs with years of experience in the mountains.
This 5-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most stunning tours in Cusco and an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail. During this hike, you will experience a constantly changing terrain and environment, characterised by mountains, snow, jungle, sun, thermal baths, humidity and ruins.
Each day, you will hike between 6-10 hours passing the snow-capped Salkantay mountain, the beautiful Humantay lake, the jungle and of course the majestic Machu Picchu!
Compared to a normal hike where you eat simple food and sleep in tents, on the Salkantay trek you eat excellent Peruvian food and you fall asleep in comfortable beds looking at glaciers and the stars. Prepare yourself for a challenging but completely rewarding few days of hiking in the Andean mountains!
We recommend you to have a good level of fitness and that you are acclimated to the altitude.
ONE DAY BEFORE THE START OF THE 5-DAY SALKANTAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU
At 5:00 pm o at 7:00 pm, you will have a short briefing about the tour at your hotel. You will be given recommendations what to bring and you'll have another chance to ask your final questions before the start of the trek.
Total trekking distance: 12 km / 7.5 miles
Trekking time: Approx. 6.5 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Lodging: Shared accommodation in the Sky Camp (3700 m / 12,150 ft)
Early in the morning from 4:00 am onwards, you will be picked up from your accommodation in Cusco. After 2 hours of being on the road, we will stop in the small town of Mollepata for 30-45 minutes to have breakfast. Afterwards, we will continue to the starting point of the trek, from where we hike (8 km/5 miles, 3.5 hrs) surrounded by beautiful mountains to the Sky Camps in Soraypampa.
Once we arrive at the camp facing the impressive Salkantay mountain, we will enjoy lunch and rest for a while so that we can prepare ourselves for the hike to the beautiful Humantay lake (ascent of 2 km/1.25 miles, 2 hrs). For this hike, you can also rent a horse for S/ 70. When reaching the crystal-clear lake, there will be enough time to take some memorable photos and to discover its surroundings. As we hike in the afternoon, most of the tourist groups will be gone already so we will have the lake almost to ourselves! Afterwards, we will descend to the igloos to have dinner and gaze at the night sky full of stars.
Total trekking distance: 17 km / 10.5 miles
Trekking time: 10.5 hours
Level of difficulty: Challenging
Lodging: Shared accommodation in the Andean Huts (Chaullay, 2900 m / 9,500 ft)
At approximately 5:30 am, your guide will knock on your door and wake you up with a hot coca tea. Then, it's time to enjoy breakfast and start hiking towards the trail's most elevated point, the Salkantay Pass. Get ready for hiking on a rocky and steep trail that will reward you with breathtaking views of the snowcapped Salkantay mountain and its surrounding landscape.
As this part is quite demanding, your guide will make sure everyone follows the pace and make enough breaks if necessary. Having passed the Salkantay pass, we will descend to Wayraqmachay to have lunch. Watch how the entire flora and fauna changes while hiking 2.5 hours to the next campsite in Chaullay.
Total trekking distance: 20 km - 12.4 miles
Trekking time: Approx. 6.5 hours
Level of difficulty: Easy
Lodging: Shared accommodation in the Jungle Domes (Lucmabamba, 2000 m / 6,550 ft)
At 6:00 am, we will start the trek (17 km/10.5 miles, 6 hrs) heading towards the small town of La Playa. On the way, we will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, coffee plantations (we will also visit an organic coffee farm) and typical fruit plantations. The climate changes completely and you will feel the heat as we enter the subtropical jungle.
After lunch in La Playa, we will continue 1 more hour to the campsite located in Lucmabamba. You can stay in the jungle domes or visit the hot springs of Cocalmayo. The hot water is perfect for your body to relax after some tiring days of hiking. If you want to add some adventure to your itinerary, you can also do zip line. Both activities depend on the weather conditions as sometimes heavy rains or landslides may not allow it.
Total trekking distance: 29 km - 18 miles
Trekking time: 9 hours
Level of difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Lodging: Shared hotel accommodation (Aguas Calientes, 2060 m / 6,700 ft)
After breakfast, the excursion on the world famous Inca Trail begins. For aprox. 2 hours, we will head towards the archeological site of Llactapata. From here, you get a first glimpse of Machu Picchu and of the Urubamba valley.
After another 2 hours of hiking downhill, we will get to our lunch spot near the Hidroeléctrica train station. From here, it's around 3 more hours of hiking evenly until reaching the town of Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night at a hotel.
On the last day of the tour, you will get up early in order to arrive at Machu Picchu before the majority of tourists come. After the guided tour, you will have the option to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (prior reservation necessary; each hike takes around 3 hours round-trip), from where you will have spectacular views of the archaeological complex and the valley surrounding Machu Picchu.
At the agreed upon time, you will head back down to Aguas Calientes in order to take the return train to Ollantaytambo. From there, you will be picked up and brought to your hotel in Cusco.
- Salkantay trek briefing
- Hotel pickup and drop-off
- Professional bilingual guide
- Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
- Shuttle bus from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
- Return train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo in the Expedition train (train schedule depends on availability) and transport to Cusco
- Accommodation in double or triple rooms at the Sky Camp (1st night), the Andean Huts (2nd night) and the Jungle Domes (3rd night); subject to availability
- Sleeping bag and trekking poles
- Night 4: Shared double or triple hotel room in Aguas Calientes with private bathroom, hot water, wifi, breakfast and luggage storage.
- Camping equipment, such as kitchen and dining tents with tables, chairs, and complete cooking equipment, carried by horses.
- Chef and assistant that will prepare delicious Peruvian dishes every day (buffet style)
- Food: 4 breakfasts and morning tea, 4 lunches and tea time (popcorn, cookies, crackers, coffee, hot chocolate, tea, hot water, etc. 1 hour before dinner), and 4 dinners (dietary or vegetarian/vegan options are available at no extra cost) and daily snacks at the start of every day (local fruits, crackers, chocolates, candies, etc.).
- Boiled water every morning so you can refill your water bottles.
- Bags to carry your personal belongings (including sleeping bag) up to 7 kg / 15 lbs. that will be carried by mules. You will get the bags during the briefing.
- Entrance ticket to the Salkantay Trek (S/ 10)
- Entrance tickets to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (select them in the option above if you want to do either of the hikes)
- Breakfast on day 1 in Mollepata (S/ 20)
- Lunch and dinner on day 5 in Aguas Calientes
- Clothing and personal equipment
- Travel insurance
- Tips for the team
- Train from Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Calientes (optional, $33)
- Additional costs: There could be additional costs, delays, or modication of the itinerary that are not under our control, such as bad weather, safety of health problems, changes in government policies, political instability, strikes, etc.
- Arrive to Cusco at least 2-3 days before the trek starts (unless you are coming from higher ground, e.g. Puno) in order to get used to the altitude and to avoid possible problems related to the altitude sickness.
- Have a good level of fitness (this is a physically demanding hike)
- Bring a portable power bank to charge your devices
- Wear hiking shoes, trekking clothes and a hat
- Bring a small light backpack with a 2l-refillable water bottle, a hat, gloves and a raincoat
- Bring light, coca leaves, bug repellent, sunscreen and a swimsuit and a towel if you want to go to the thermal baths on day 3.
We recommend to bring aprox. 350 Soles (around $100) if you want to rent horses or make use of other services that are not included, such as breakfast on the first day, Wifi, hot water, etc. It’s better to bring Soles and not Dollars due to a much lower exchange rate.
Terms of Reservation:
- Minimum 1 week before
- Maximum group size: 12 people
- Please inform us about your preferred date before booking the trek so we can check the availability.
- If you want to book tickets for Huayna Picchu or Machu Pichu Mountain within 1 month of the tour, please ask us for availability of tickets in advance.
- After the booking has been made, please respond to our automatic email asking about necessary information for the tour, such as pickup spot, food preferences and more.
Terms of Cancelation:
- Once the tour has been booked and you want to cancel, there won't be any refunds.