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Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu (5D/4N)


The famous Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay Trek), named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits (at least for now). Connecting the city of Mollepata, Cusco with Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is an ancient and remote footpath located in the same region as the Inca Trail where massive snowcapped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests.

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights is the most popular of the alternative treks to Machu Picchu. The trek is located in the Vilcabamba mountain range and passes through stunning landscapes varying from the cloud forest to the high mountains.So if you are a natural lover and really want adventure this is the best option for you!


Duration 5 days and 4 night
Season From January to December (Also February when Inca Trail is closed)
Departure Daily
Return Back Packer Train
Important Small physical preparation before the trek to avoid the altitude sickness

Day 1 : Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha– Humantay Lake – Soraypampa

About 5:30 a.m. your funny and knowledge tour guide is going to pick you up from your hotel. A two-hour ride will take you through beautiful landscapes until you arrive at the Andean town of Mollepata, about 9180 feet above sea level. Where you will enjoy breakfast.
After that, we are going to continue our journey to CHALLACANCHA, our trek starting point. We will meet with our staff, who will load the equipment on horses and mules. Around 10:00 a.m., we will begin our hike toward Soraypampa (3850 meters above sea level). During the hike, we will have panoramic views of the majestic Salcantay, other mountains covered with snow. Around 1:00 p.m., we arrive at the campsite where we will have a great Peruvian lunch. After lunch, we will visit Humantay Lake, an amazing lake in the mountains, (1 hours and 20 minutes hike) and we will come back to our campsite where our personal chef will be ready whit our happy hour (chocolate, coffee ) some hours late we have our special dinner.

Day 2 : Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass –Wayraqmachay -Challway

After a powerful breakfast at about 6:30 a.m. we will start the longest day of the trek. Four hours and a half hike we are going take us to the highest point, Abra Salcantay, about 14760 feet above sea level. It will be cold and windy, and the landscape will take you to a surreal world.
Here our tour guide is going to Make a special ceremony to the Pacha Mama (mother earth ) where all the group is going to participate making this special offering that comes from the Andean times.
Another hour and a half more of trek will take us to our lunch point (wayraqmachay) During the hike after lunch, you will have one grand view off another of the majestic mountains, the towering forests, and the creeks that are the origin of the White River. After two and a half hours of hiking, we will arrive at our camp, Challway, at about 9512 feet above sea level. (Here Insect repellant will be needed.) Tea will be served upon your arrival, and super dinner will be served at about 7:30 p.m.

Day 03: Challway – Playa Sahuayaco – Santa Teresa Hot Springs

Around 7:00a.m., we will start our trek. We will walk for about 5 hours toward Playa Sahuayaco and during this period; we will observe a town called Collpabamba, also called the "Forest Cloudy Brow" where waterfalls, fruit-bearing trees, varied flora, and birds can be observed. If we are lucky, we will be able to observe the famous bird called the "Cock of the Rocks". At 12:00 p.m. a local bus will take us to Santa Teresa Hot Springs, where we will have lunch. You will enjoy and relax at the hot pools in the afternoon. Around 7:00p.m., we will have dinner and camping in Santa Teresa.

Day 4: Santa Teresa - Llactapata - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes

After to recharge our energies the night before!!!!
Today, our breakfast will be served at 6:00 am. a private transfer will take us to the Llactapata entrance. This day is one of the top days that Salkantay trek has because we will be hiking through coffee plantations. On the way, you might try the fresh coffee at a local house. In about three hours filled with amazing views, you will arrive at the archeological site of Llactapata, 8890 feet above sea level, where we will enjoy whit a beautiful view of Machu Picchu. We take our time here to relax and enjoyed with the views and the landscape after that we are going to walk down to hydroelectric throw the Santa Teresa River where we are going to have our lunch after that we are going to continue by walk to Aguas Calientes, where you will be staying in a hotel. About 7:00 p.m. your tour guide will pick you up from there in order to go to the restaurant to enjoy our dinner.

Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Today is our big day!!!!
The day that we were waiting for a long. We are going to have an amazing breakfast at our hotel around 4:30a.m., after to enjoy our breakfast we are going to the bus station to take the firs bus up to Machu Picchu that is going to arrive about 15 minutes before that it will be open. In Machu Picchu, we are going to be one of the firs group to see the sun shine and to take pictures when nobody is there we are going to have a guided tour for about two hours and a half, in this time we are going to see all Machu Picchu area and after that you will be free to explore the Citadel and take pictures, or if you desire, ascent to the Waynapicchu Mountain. . (You need to reserve in advance because there is a limited place to climb), after you enjoyed in Machu Picchu you will be taking a train to Ollantaytambo and from there; a bus will drive you to your hotel.
End of our services.

Salkantay Trek Reviews


  • Courtesy transfer from the airport to your hotel in Cusco (Please provide us your flight information)
  • Pre-departure Salkantay trek briefing, presented by your tour guides at our downtown Cusco office.
  • Collection from your hotel in Cusco and transfer to head of Salcantay trek at Challacancha (trek starting point).
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
  • Hotel night in Aguas Calientes.
  • Weight Allowance: 8kg per trekker (weights to be carried by horses).
  • Visit different Inca archaeological sites during the Salkantay trekking.
  • Tickets to the Hot Springs
  • Bus ticket Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
  • Expedition train ticket on day 5 from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Collection from train station and transfer to your hotel.
  • Professional multilingual Salcantay trek guides and leaders.
  • Assistant Tour Guide (for groups of 9 or more people).
  • Professional cooks and cooking equipment.
  • Well treated local horsemen
  • Horses service (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment)
  • 4 Nutritious Breakfasts, 4 High-energy Lunches, 4 Delicious Dinners.
  • 4 Tea times.
  • Vegetarian food available upon request with no extra charge.
  • Nutritious Snacks.
  • Hot tea kindly brought to your tent first thing in the morning.
  • One liter boiled water every day after breakfast to refill your bottles, from second day.
  • Clean and spacious 4P-capacity Tents – only 2 people per tent.
  • Comfortable Personal foamy pad (double foam), given to you at the beginning of the trek.
  • 24 hours emergency oxygen assistance.
  • First aid equipment.
  • Biodegradable personal hand soaps.
  • Biodegradable detergents to dishwashing, used by our kitchen staff
  • Accommodation, food, transport, permits for our horsemen and cooks.
  • Safe storage of your belongings at our office in Cusco while you are on the trek.
  • Salcantay trek survivor certificate.
  • High-quality service and support.

What is not included?

  • Sleeping bag (If you don’t have a sleeping bag, you can rent with us).
  • Lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense.
  • Tip.

Frequent Questions:

What does Salkantay mean and where is it located?


The Salkantay is a snow mountain whose name translated from Quechua would mean 'Wild Mountain'. This summit is known as 'Apu' ('Lord') for its majesty and elevation. The 'Apu' Salkantay is located in the  Vilcanota mountain range in the Andes of southern Peru. This snow is the second largest in Cusco, after the Ausangate (Mountain of the 7 Colors) and to this day is venerated by the local population.


How high is the snowy Salkantay?

The snowy Salkantay reaches 6,271 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). The trek route that leads to Machu Picchu has its highest point in the 'Abra Salcantay', at 4,650 m.a..s.l From there you can see the snow peak and also is where you will take unique photos.


How's the weather?


The snowfall itself has an extremely cold climate (several degrees centigrade below 0º).The climate during the Salkantay trek, on the other hand, is varied. The intense sun and the cold night in the first days change for the tropical environment of the last.


Can I hike Salkantay Trek without a tour operator?

Yes, you can do without problems, as it is not yet regulated by the Peruvian government, if you are encouraged to carry out this adventure without a guide. Keep in mind respect the regulations of how to use the road, to conserve the environment and that the government does not set standards, to charge the entrance, as happens with the classic road. To go without a tour operator, you must inform yourself the bus departure times, from Arcopata avenue, the cost is minimum of s /. 12 soles, either combis and public service bus. Arriving in Mollepata you can take a muleteer so you can carry your backpacks. You should know that there are no restaurants from the first camping so you must take your food for four days.


Is there electricity in Salkantay?

No, only the fourth day in Aguas Calientes, you can charge your battery, on the way some provide service, but you must pay an additional amount between 5 to 10 soles for the charged, in the Santa Teresa campsite.


How many people make up the group in salkantay?


Our groups are from 1 to 16 people, with assistant guide and cooks with assistants, as the case may be, but if you want less people it is better to hire a private service, even if you are with your family visiting.






What to bring?

  • Hat 
  • Trekking shoes
  • Trekking backpack.
  • Waterproof coat.
  • Trekking pants
  • Poncho for the rain.
  • Canteen with water.
  • Water purifying tablets.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Personal toiletries.
  • Snacks
  • Cash.
  • Warm clothes

Tips for the Salkantay trek

  • Acclimatize one or two days in the city of Cusco before performing the Salkantay trek.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages or foods with a lot of fat. Altitude sickness or soroche in Salkantay and Machu Picchu is one of the greatest difficulties.
  • Perform a little exercise prior to the Salkantay trek. You do not need to be in excellent physical shape but a little exercise will help.
  • No matter what part of the year, she wears warm clothes during the Salkantay trek. The nights are especially cold in the first two days.
  • Plan up to the smallest detail the Salkantay trek on your own.

More Info:


Inca Trail Programs

We organize tours for small groups, including families, friends, students and volunteers. Our tour leaders speak English, Spanish & Quechua (Andean Language) and will dedicate themselves to giving you the best independent tours in Cusco as well as Machu Picchu.

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Phone: +51 84 255 305
Cellphone: +51 955 925 507
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Address: Recoleta Street C1, Zaguan del Cielo, Cusco, Peru

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