Salkantay Trek Machu Picchu

National Geographic names the Salkantay trek as one of the top 25 best treks in the world and one of the most famous alternative trekking routes. It is truly a trek of a lifetime, exploring a great Inca citadel which remained hidden until just about 104 years ago. You will be in awe by the majestic beauty and human ingenuity that you encounter on this trek.

The Salkantay trek is considered the best alternative trek to Machu Picchu as there are significantly less people in comparison to the Classic Inca Trail, with just as much beauty, history, and magic. Starting from Soraypampa and ending in Hidroelectrica, you will experience crystal clear lakes, snow capped mountains, cloud forests, the high jungle, ancient Inca ruins, wildlife of all sorts, and of course, the sacred city of Machu Picchu. Join us in this incredible trek and create memories of the Andean mountains that last a lifetime.

Our Package includes one night lodging in a very nice hotel and dinner at finest restaurant in Aguas Calientes on the fourth day of the trek.

Overview

Salkantay Trek – Overview

  • Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Umantay Lake – Soyroqocha
  • Day 2: Soyrococha- Salkantay Pass – Huaraqmachay – Collpapampa.
  • Day 3: Collpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba
  • Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata Ruins – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Overall distance hiked: 50 km / 31 miles

Maximum altitude reached:  4,638 m/15,213 ft.

Itinerary

Salkantay Trek – Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Umantay Lake – Soyroqocha

Our first day, we will begin by a 3 hour drive towards Mollepata where we will enjoy breakfast at a local home and get to know one another. In Mollepata, we are surrounded by beautiful fields of local crops, such as quinoa, trailing vines of lima beans, and much more. We then continue to drive through the powerful and towering Andean mountains to reach Soraypampa (3,850 m/12,631ft.). In Soraypampa we meet our trekking team, load the horses with our equipment, enjoy a snack and then we are off!

We begin with an hour uphill hike to the gorgeous Umantay Lake where we soak in views of the Umantay glacier and take photo opportunities. After, we return back to Soraypampa and then ascend for 2 hours to Salkantay Pampa. It is here we catch our first glimpse of the powerful Salkantay Mountain which is considered by the Incas to the ‘Big Protector and Big Spirit of the Incas’. This is the highest peak of the Cordillera Vilcabamba, Salkantay and holds true to its name in Quechua, Sallka- meaning savage or invincible. Here we will have time to soak in the energy that we are surrounded by and have lunch prepared by our experienced chef.

After a rest, we will continue to 2 hours up towards our first camp Soyrocha (4,485 m/14,715 ft.). Here we will enjoy the views of Mount Humantay and our first night in the Andean Mountains. We will have time to relax, share a delicious dinner prepared by our chef, and sleep under the stars.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,850m/9,350 ft.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,485 m/14,715 ft.
  • Distance Covered: 7 km/4.3 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate: Moderate

Day 2: Soyrococha- Salkantay Pass – Huaraqmachay – Collpapampa.

Today we wake up a little later to rest in your warm tent, savor a hot tea, and enjoy a generous breakfast before we begin a big day! We will start by climbing up 1 hour to the highest part of our trek, Salkantay Pass, towering at (4,638 m/15,213 ft.). Once on the summit we will have time to relax and build an offering to the Apu Salkantay called an Apaccheta. This is a small stone tower, an Incan sign of respect to the sacred mountain or Apus Mountain spirit. We will also take time to learn about the significance of this mountain to Inca culture and history.

After we have soaked in the spectacular view and rich history we will descend to a picturesque lake just beneath the Salkantay glacier. This is the perfect photo opportunity of the Pumasillo Mountain, the blue lake and the majestic Salkantay Mountain.

Then we will descend 2 hours to our lunch spot surrounded by mountains at Huayraqmachay (3,800 m/12,464 ft.). After, we continue on for another 4 hours downhill passing through cloud forest to rainforest with beautiful greenery and vibrant wildlife. We will reach home for the night at Colapampa (2,850 m/9,350 ft.).  We will settle in and enjoy a warm dinner after a hard day’s hike!

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,850m/9,350 ft.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,638 m/15,213 ft.
  • Distance Covered: 14 Km/8 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 8 to 9 hours
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Day 3: Collpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba

Today is a slight less intensive day of the trek, however full of numerous stunning views, diverse wildlife, rivers, and lush vegetation. After we enjoy a nourishing and delicious breakfast we journey alongside the pleasant flowing bank of the Santa Teresa River.

Our hike then takes us winding through forest as well as coffee and fruit plantations. As we pass beautiful waterfalls and descend, we will find ourselves surrounded by more vibrant and green plant life.

Today we hike approximately 5 to 6 hours to our lunch place and campsite for the night at Lucmabamba (2,050 m/6,725 ft.).

At Lucmabamba we will enjoy a fascinating coffee tour guided by the local coffee farmers. We will learn about every stage of coffee production: processing, seed germination, farming, harvesting, and roasting. This tour is in depth, as we explore the environmental, social, and economic contexts as well.

At the end of the tour, you will participate in a coffee tasting session to discover the authentic aroma and essence of Peruvian coffee and gain an appreciation for the intricate process that brings flavor and love into each bean.

After our tour, we enjoy a lovely dinner and get rest in preparation for our adventure the next day!

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,050 m/6,725 ft.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,850 m/9,350 ft.
  • Distance Covered: 15 Km/8 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata Ruins – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes

We wake early with a warm coca tea and breakfast and then begin our journey. As we say goodbye to the valley, we venture through gorgeous forest to the Inca site Llactapata (2,610 m/8,562 ft.).

Llactapata was a site only recently discovered and here we enjoy a tour to learn of its history and significance. Not only do we explore this fascinating site but we have spectacular views of both Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountain.

Then we will be on our way descending toward the Aobamba River to reach the hydroelectric plant. Here in the high jungle we enjoy our lunch before a comfortable and scenic 45 minute train ride that will bring us to Aguas Calientes (2,040 m/ 6,692 ft.).

When we arrive to Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu, we will check you into your comfortable accommodation for the night and have the rest of the evening to explore. Aguas Calientes has many interesting shops, a beautiful river, and hot springs that you can take advantage of. In the evening we will enjoy a delicious dinner at the best restaurant in town.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,040 m/ 6,692 ft.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,610 m/8,562 ft.
  • Distance Covered: 14 Km/8 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco.

Early to rise for our final big day at Machu Picchu (2,430 m/ 7,972 ft.)! We have breakfast at the hotel and head to the bus station to make our way to the citadel itself. As we drive through the cloud forest to reach the sacred city, you will be in awe of the surrounding mountains and lush forest.

Once at Machu Picchu you will enjoy a fascinating 2 hour guided tour of this ancient site. Throughout the tour we explore the Inca culture and history, visiting numerous and spectacular sacred sites and learning of their profound significance.

After your tour, you will have plenty of time to explore or revisit sites of interest. Also, if you have elected you can hike up to Huayna Picchu (The Young Mountain). This majestic mountain gives you an alternative view and fantastic photo opportunities of the impressive sacred city of Machu Picchu.

After our lovely day, we make our way down by bus, winding through the beautiful mountains. Then we take the afternoon train and enjoy a comfortable and scenic ride to Poroy.

At Poroy train Station, you will be met by a Peru Path representative and drive back by private van to your hotel in Cusco. Estimated arrival time in Cusco is 8:00 p.m.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Minimum Altitude: 2,040 m/ 6,692 ft.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2,430 m/ 7,972 ft.
  • Difficulty: Easy

Inclusions

Services Included:

  • Bilingual English speaking tour guide
  • Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your trek.
  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Soraypampa on day 1
  • Four-person tent for each two persons
  • Thermarest Inflatable Mattress and pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent with portable toilet
  • Expert chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
  • Horse to carry 8 kg of your personal belongings
  • Duffle bag to pack your personal belongings
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Five breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners
  • Hot water for washing.
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
  • Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private van transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
  • Ticket for Huayna Picchu mountain
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Coffee plantation tour in the afternoon of day 3
  • Lodging in Aguas Calientes on night 4 of the trek (double occupancy)
  • Dinner in Aguas Calientes on night 4
  • Train ticket from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Calientes

Services Not included:

  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Day 5 lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Tips for the crew (muleteers, chef and guide)
  • Hiking poles (can be rented from us)

What to bring:

  • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
  • Binoculars
  • Book to read (you will have some spare time at every camp to read your favorite book)
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
  • Insect repellent

Prices

Group Service

  • US $690 per Person

Private Service

  • US $750 per Person

Optional

Rentals

  • Hiking poles – US $20.00 (pair)
  • Sleeping bag – US $25.00

Upgrades

  • Hotel Upgrades
    • Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (5 star hotel) – US $460 per night (per person, assuming double occupancy)
    • Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel (4 star hotel) – US $234 per night (per person, assuming double occupancy)
  • Train Upgrades
    • Vistadome train -US $35
    • Hiram Bingham train -US $375 for trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
  • Private lodging
    • Private hotel room in Aguas Calientes – US $45
    • Private tent – US $30
  • Buffet lunch at the Tinkuy restaurant in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu on day 5 – US $45
  • Zipline in Santa Teresa – no charge, but will change the itinerary. See the itinerary on our website for Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu plus zipline 5D/4N

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