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Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (4)


The Salkantay trek is an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The sacred road is an avant-garde adventure experience for travelers looking for a little more privacy and authenticity. With more spectacular views, the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu offer tranquility and contemplation of the rich nature of the Machu Picchu National Park.


Duration 4 days and 3 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


We will pick you up at your hotel at 05:00 hrs. - 05:30 hrs. With the transportation of the agency to travel for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, during the route we will observe beautiful views of the mountains that surround the Cusco Valley including the mountain of Salkantay and several high Andean towns and extensive areas of potato and corn cultivation . We will arrive at the town of Mollepata (2,900 m / 9,514 ft) in this town we will have the option to have breakfast if you have not already done so and also make the last minute purchases (ponchos, batteries, sunscreen, etc.)


Then we will take the transport again to travel for an hour to Challacancha (3,675 m / 12,057 ft) during this short tour you will observe the impressive valleys of Mollepata. In Challacancha we will meet all our road team (cook, muleteers, horses) will give us a warm welcome and then prepare for our adventure in the mountains we have the option of putting the backpack on the horse, we will give a brief explanation before the walk , we will walk for 3 hours during our hike, we will observe the Snow Peak Mountain Humantay (5,917 m / 19,413 ft), the place to walk is andean flat to acclimatise better for the rest of the way.


Arriving at our campsite Soraypampa (3,850 m / 12,631 ft) we will observe the impressive mountain of Salkantay, in the camp our team will be waiting for us and then proceed to have a new Andean lunch, after enjoying lunch we will have a siesta for 30 minutes and then start our hike to the beautiful lagoon of Humantay about an hour and a half up to the Humantay lagoon, we will have time to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the lagoon and the glaciers in the mountain, then descend for 1 hour to the camp, we will arrive to Tea time where we can talk with the group, then enjoy dinner and finally rest.


The day starts early at 05:00 hrs, then enjoy a good breakfast we will prepare to undertake the most difficult walk of the way, we will put our luggage in order and start walking for about 1 hour to the site called Salkantaypampa (4,100 m / 13,451 ft), here we will have a short break and continue walking uphill for 1 hour to the place of Soyrococha (4,400 m / 14,436 ft) ideal time to rest, rehydrate and enjoy the snack.


The road continues for 1 more hour to the highest point of the Salkantay trek Pass (4,632 m / 15,197 ft) the highest point is located between the 2 imposing snow peaks of Humantay (5,917 m / 19,413 ft) and Salkantay (6,271 m) / 20,574 ft) - "The wild Mountain" in the Quechua native language, on this site we will observe the snow-capped glaciers of Salkantay, the magnificent view of the entire mountain range and observe an original Inca Trail, which over the years It was collapsing.


Then, we will descend for approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to Wayracpampa where our team will be waiting for us with lunch. After enjoying lunch we will start the descent to the cloud forest and observe the change of weather and vegetation, we will go down to Chaullay where our camp will be, here we will have tea time and dinner. And so ends the longest and hardest day of the walk.


We will get up at 06:00 hrs., Have breakfast and start our walk. This day will be unforgettable because along the way we will see a lot of flora and fauna, the road is Andean flat; by parts we will climb no more than 100 meters and the rest of the way is lowered.


We start from the place of the camp, we will walk for 40 minutes to the Town of Collpa (2,850 m / 9,350 ft), from this place, we will observe the beginning of the Santa Teresa Valley, the Totora Valley, the road we walked the previous day, the mountain chain and you will feel another kind of weather. And the road continues for 2 hours and a half to the town of Wiñaypoco, during the walk we will have beautiful views of waterfalls, natural formations of thermal waters, as well as orchids and strawberries. In Wiñaypoco people harvest "Granadilla" a tropical fruit of the area that you can taste.


After a while, we will continue descending through the jungle edge to the place of the beach (2,200 m / 7,218 ft), where we will have lunch. After a short break we will take the transport to Hydroelectric, for about 1 hour. Once there, we will start walking again for approximately 3 hours to Machu Picchu Town, the road is totally flat. Upon reaching the town of Aguas Calientes or Machupicchu town, the Guide will take you to the Hostel and will coordinate the time and meeting point for the dinner. Finally proceed to rest.


This day will be dedicated only to visit the wonder of Machu Picchu (2,490 m / 8,169 ft) we will have a guided tour of approximately 2 hours and then enough time to explore on our own or visit Huayna Picchu (not included in the tour).


After visiting Machu Picchu we go to the town of Machu Picchu. In the village you will find many restaurants and can choose to your liking, you will have to go to the train station and board for about 2 hours to Ollantaytambo station, there the transport will be waiting for you with your name and you will be transferred to the City of Cusco the trip lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes approximately.


  • Early morning transfer by private tourism bus to Soraypampa (headtrail)
  • Accommodation: Camping (02 nights) and Hostel with private bath (01 night)
  • Local guide throughout to Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Meals: 03 Breakfast, 03 Lunches, 03 Dinners and 03 afternoon hot drinks
  • Horses for carry all heavy gear and 5kg backpackers
  • Muleteer
  • One cook
  • Camping equipment: Double tent, Therma-a-rest mattress
  • Communal dinner tent, cooking tent and toilet tent.
  • All eating and cooking stuff, stools and tables
  • Sleeping bag (-5 grades)
  • Return ticket by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Tourism bus Ollantaytambo - Cusco

Not included:

  • First breakfast and last lunch
  • Bus up and down to Machu Picchu U$ 24 and one way U$ 12
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain 
  • International and Domestic flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Tipping your trek stuff is optional 

What to bring?

  • Original passport
  • Sleeping bag (not included, but can be rented in our offices)
  • Walking shoes
  • Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
  • Wool jacket for warming, hat and gloves
  • T-shirts
  • Comfortable pants
  • Sun hat
  • Sunscreen cream (factor 35 recommended)
  • Insect repellent
  • Hygiene items
  • Personal medications
  • Photo camera and movies
  • Flashlight with spare batteries (headlights are useful)

Frequent Questions:

Where is located the Salkantay?

The "Salkantay" snowy is the highest peak of the Vilcabamba mountain range, part of the Peruvian Andes. It is located 60 km at the northwest of Cusco city. It is the 38th highest peak of the Andes and the 12th highest peak in Peru.


Altitudes in Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:

During the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we will find the following altitudes:

  • Starting Elevation “Mollepata” 2,803 m.a.s.l.
  • “Soraypampa” at 3,850 m.a.s.l.
  • "Huamantay Pass" at 4,550 m.a.s.l.
  • "Humantay" at 5,917 m.a.s.l.
  • "Salkantay" at 6,271 m.a.s.l.
  • "Los Andenes at 3,400 m.a.s.l.
  • "Abra Q'elloqasa" at 2,860 m.a.s.l.
  • "Llaqtapata" at 2,650 m.a.s.l.
  • "Hydroelectric Plant" at 2,050 m.a.s.l.
  • "Machu Picchu" at 2,430 m.a.s.l.

How many kilometers is walked during the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and how many hours do we walk per day?

The total distance involves about 74 km, climbing about 1 800m through glaciers, snow, and some rock; that´s why accessing the route typically involves three days of travel from Cusco.

  • Soraypampa to Los Andenes: 14 Km (Trekking time: 7 - 8 hours)
  • Los Andenes to The Beach: 18 Km (Trekking time: 10 hours)
  • The Beach to Hot Springs: 15 Km (Trekking time: 7- 8 hours)

What does "Salkantay" and "Machu Picchu" mean?

The name "Salkantay" comes from "Salka", a Quechua word meaning "wild", uncivilized. So, the name is often translated as "wild mountain". "Machu Picchu" means 'Old Mountain' in the indigenous Quechua language. "Machu Picchu", the lost city of the Incas, is an unprecedented historical, natural and architectural complex, a tourist destination that has earned the category of inescapable.



How difficult is the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu?

This path has a moderate to strong difficulty, it is recommended to have good physical preparation, and arrive in Cusco at least 2 days before starting the tour for acclimatization.


Is it possible to do the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu on my own?

The trekking of Salkantay unlike the traditional Inca Trail, in which it is mandatory to hire an agency and is difficult to adquire a ticket for entrance, the Salkantay trekking allows its realization on your own. The trekking begins in the village of Mollepata, where you have to pay a registration at the checkpoint in the main square, that has an approximate cost of 130 soles or 40 dollars.

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
USA: +1 213 342 8370
Address: Recoleta Street C1, Zaguan del Cielo, Cusco, Peru

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