Still haven’t decided which one to do? Did you plan to do the Salkantay Trek, but you don’t want to miss the Inca Trail hike, and if you do both in one adventure, would you kill two birds with one stone? These are two of the best hikes in the Cusco region. You will have the opportunity to take a walk along the path that takes you to Salkantay and make a connection to the Inca trail and be able to reach Machupicchu!!
The Salkantay trek combined with the traditional Inca Trail, and it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful trails in the Andes. National Geographic Adventure Travel magazine listed the Salkantay trek as one of the 25 best trails in the world. Salkantay Trek will take you through unique and varied landscapes with nothing less than breathtaking scenery! Photographers will experience sheer ecstasy as they hike ancient and lonely trails – from picturesque grassy highlands to flourishing cloud forests, where lush rain forests meet colossal snow-capped mountains as we learn about the traditional Inca trail. El Salkantay (6,271 masl / 20,574 ft) It is known as «Wild Mountain», or Salkantay in Quechua, is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, which is part of the Andes Mountain Range, which rises 6,271 meters above sea level (20,574 feet). Salkantay is located less than 50 miles (80 km) from the city of Cusco.
Why choose the Salkantay to Inca Trail Tour?
The Inca trail is classified as one of the best treks in Peru as well as being the most popular.
In addition, the Inca trail is one of the places with the most exuberant vegetation and fauna diversity.
Salkantay is definitely one of the best hikes you will find in Cusco and in our country Peru.
Walking on the Apu Salkantay side and taking this route to the wonder of the world «Machu Picchu» will be one of the best experiences you will have in our country.
You will be able to find the most beautiful snowy mountain in the region, beautiful valleys, incredible waterfalls, an incredible ecosystem.
The Salkantay trek was named as the best alternative route to Machupicchu. Are you looking for a different route than the typical path to get to Machu Pichu? Don’t miss this list of the six best alternative routes to this Inca work of art, by Mark Adams. (National Geographic).
DAY 1: CUSCO – MARCOCCASA – SORAYPAMPA
We begin the adventure the first day is the calmest, we will start the trip early to reach Mollepata and hike to Soraypampa very close to the Salkantay mountain.
Pick up early from your hotel in Cusco for a 3-hour trip to Marcoccasa (3550 MASL / 11647 FASL). Along the way we stop at the town called Mollepata, where you will have time to relax, stretch your legs, get last minute supplies and sit down for a nice cup of coffee at one of the local restaurants. At approximately 9:00 am we will continue towards Marcoccasa, the starting point of the trek. We will also meet our support staff, including horses, who will pack everything for the trek and load the equipment. The trail begins with a gradual climb for 3 hours and then levels off for the next 4 hours to the end at Soraypampa (3800 MASL / 12467 FASL) where we spend the night.
- Meals: Lunch – Dinner
- Distance traveled: 12 km (7.4 miles)
- Time: 5 to 6 hours
- Minimum height: 3550 MASL / 11647 FASL
- Maximum height: 3800 MASL / 12467 FASL
- Difficulty: Moderate
DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA – LAKE HUMANTAY – SALKANTAY PAMPA – ICHUPATA
Second day of adventure, this day we will go to the Humantay lagoon, well known for the turquoise green color of its waters and be located at the foot of the Humantay mountain, we will continue towards the foot of the Salkantay place known as Salkantay pampa, and we will begin the Ascent to Ichupata, the views will be incredible from the path of the beautiful snowy Salkantay, we will sleep on a high point so be prepared that it will be very cold.
Early at 6:00 am. We will walk towards the beautiful lake of Humantay approximately an hour, at the top of the mountain we will see some people. On the way back, it is approximately an hour down to Soraypampa (3800 MASL – 12467 FASL). Once we return to the place where we started, we take a hike on a sloping path for an hour and a half towards Salkantaypampa (4200 MASL-13870 FASL) where we stop for lunch. After a delicious lunch and a nap, our journey begins again towards Ichupata (4400 MASL-14436 FASL) for an additional 3 hours until we reach the camp, along a gentle slope. During the walk you will have stunning views of the «invincible» and majestic Salkantay and other snowy peaks. Your tents will be ready and waiting, as well as a delicious dinner that will complete an incredible second day on the Salkantay Trek. This camp will be the coldest of all, so make sure you have warm clothes for the night.
- Meals: Breakfast- Lunch – Dinner
- Distance traveled: 11 km -6.8 miles
- Time: 5 hours
- Minimum height: 3800 MASL – 12467 FASL
- Maximum height: 4400 MASL-14.436 FASL
- Difficulty: medium
DAY 3: ICHUPATA – INCA CHIRIASCA-SISAYPAMPA – PAMPACAWANA
Third day and we still continue in the heights, this day will be even of ascent, as it is that we can climb even more on the third day, the adventure begins after breakfast and reach the highest point Incachiriasca, we will have the most spectacular view of the Salkantay get ready to take the best photos, in the afternoon the descent to Pampacawana and have a well-deserved rest.
After our cook serves us a delicious breakfast, we continue our three-hour journey on a steep trek to the highest point of the trek called Incachiriasca (4860 MASL -15945 FASL). We will rest here for a good time, since this pass offers you one of the most spectacular views of the mountains and snow-capped mountains, including the snow-capped mountain of Salkantay, a perfect place for photos and to have the best views of the traveled valley. From the pass we walk for approximately two hours to the lunch point called Sisaypampa. After lunch we will continue the valley in descent, crossing almost the entire valley towards Pampacawana (3650 MASL-11,975 FASL) where we will spend the night.
- Meals: Breakfast- Lunch – Dinner
- Distance covered: 12 km – 7.4 miles
- Time: 7 to 9 hours
- Minimum height: 3650 MASL-11,975 FASL
- Maximum height: 4860 MASL -15945 FASL
- Difficulty: High – demanding
DAY 4: PAMPACAWANA – PAUCARCANCHA – WAYLLABAMBA – LLULLUCHAPAMPA
Fourth day of adventure and it will be still long towards the path that will take us to the Inca Trail, after a good breakfast we will continue towards the archaeological complex of Paucarcancha and then arrive at Wayllabamba where we will meet the groups that make the classic Inca Trail route.
Let’s walk through the narrow valley of Pampacawana for approximately three hours towards the first Inca archaeological group called Paucarcancha (3,150 MASL / 10,335 ft), where we stop for the history lesson given by our guide. Then we walk for half an hour to Wayllabamba for lunch, where we also join the Traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. From this place we take our porters with us who carry all the equipment until the end of the walk, so that the horses leave us here. After a delicious meal, we begin to ascend for approximately three hours towards the camp.
- Meals: Breakfast- Lunch – Dinner
- Distance covered: 12 km -7.4 miles
- Time: 7 to 9 hours
- Lowest elevation: 3,000 MASL (9,843 ft)
- Highest elevation: 3,800 MASL (12,467 ft)
- Difficulty: moderate to demanding
DAY 5: LLULLUCHAPAMPA – WARMYWAÑUSQA – PAQAYMAYU- CHAQUICOCHA
Fifth day and the most demanding on the Inca Trail, after a delicious breakfast we will go to Warmiwañusqa which means Dead Woman’s Pass, the highest point of our journey since we will start at the foot of the mountain, and then begin the descent of the mountain this day We will visit archaeological complexes along the way such as: Paqaymayu, Runkuraqay and Sayacmarca.
The morning they will wake up very early at 5 a.m. M. And we will begin our walk around 6.00 am. This day is especially demanding due to the altitude and the long day. The ascent to the next step on the Inca Trail will take us approximately two hours. Once we reach the top of the Dead Woman Pass in Warmihuañusqa (4215 MASL- 13780 FASL), we will descend to the lunch point in Paqaymayu (3,650 MASL- 11975 feet). We start with a one-hour climb to the next step on the Inca Trail called Runkuraqay (3950 MASL-12959 FASL). After taking some time to rest here, we descend to explore the Inca construction of Sayacmarca before heading to our camp in Chaquicocha (3590 MSNM-11778 FASL).
- Meals: Breakfast- Lunch – Dinner
- Distance covered: 13 km – 8.1 miles)
- Time: 8 to 9 hours
- Lowest elevation: 3,650 MASL- 11975 FASL
- Highest elevation: 4,200 MASL 14,000 FASL
- Difficulty level: demanding
DAY 6: CHAQUICOCHA – WIÑAYWAYNA – MACHU PICCHU – AGUAS CALIENTES
Almost finishing our great adventure, this early day after breakfast we will continue towards Wiñaywayna which means always young and we will take the path that will take us to Machupicchu this path is of ascents and descents but it will take us to the well-known Puerta del Sol OR INTI PUNKU and have the view of the Wonder of the Machupicchu world, in the afternoon we will descend to Aguas Calientes and be able to sleep and have a good night.
We will start the trek from the camp early after enjoying another wonderful sunrise over the mountains. Then we walk to the Inca archaeological group of Phuyupatamarca, where we will visit for a short time, explore and take photographs. Then we walk a steep descent, for approximately three hours to Wiñayhuayna (2650 MASL- 8694FASL), a place with a wonderful Inca construction along the Inca Trail. Here we will have a guided tour of the Inca construction and the last lunch of the trek. Afterwards, we say goodbye and say goodbye to our porters and chef, we begin our three hours walk to Machu Picchu (2400 MASL -7874 FASL), we will cross Intipunku (2720 MSNM- 8923 FASL) and we will arrive at the wonder of the world before sunset. Once we reach Machu Picchu, we will have the opportunity to take excellent photographs because at this time most of the people have already left Machu Picchu. Then we will take a bus (optional) to Aguas Calientes (2040 MASL- 6692 FASL), where we will spend the night in a hotel and enjoy dinner together.
- Meals: Breakfast- Lunch – Dinner
- Distance traveled: 15 km -9.3 miles
- Time: 8 to 9 hours
- Maximum height: 3590 MASL-11778 FASL
- Minimum height: 2040 MASL- 6692 FASL
- Difficulty: Medium – Moderate
DAY 7: MACHU PICCHU!!! – RETURN TO CUSCO.
We have a scheduled meeting with a wonder of the world, we start very early with the walk to the sanctuary of Machupicchu, we will have a day full of history, architecture, culture, mystery and spirituality. Get ready for a natural meditation where your emotions will be organized and you will feel a spiritual encounter, while you contemplate the ancient Inca city of Machupicchu! In the afternoon return us to Cusco after this incredible adventure.
We start the last day of our adventure to one of the 7 wonders of the world, we will have breakfast early remember that we still have a walk of around 2 hours ascending some steps to the sanctuary, or we can take the bus that will take us to the Inca city of Machupicchu (optional), The archaeological park is open from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We will make the visit at the time coordinated with the guide, we will have approximately 2 hours a visit to the most important sites with your guide through the most important places: viewpoint of the guardian’s house, the Inca palace, the priest’s house, the main square, Intihuatana or sundial, the industrial sectors and the cultivation terraces. You will be amazed at the size of Machupicchu because it will still have many places to explore because later you will be able to explore the mysterious city at your own pace. If you still have energy you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2720 MSNM / 8923 FASL) It takes 45 minutes to reach the top, this tour is additional and optional and you may have to leave the Machu Picchu tour to be able to get a Permission to climb this mountain needs to be booked well in advance (not included). The way back is the same 1 hour and 30 minutes’ walk back to Aguas Calientes or we can take the bus to the town of Aguas Calientes (optional) You will have free time to have lunch there (not included) according to the train schedule ( appear 30 minutes before) which we will take to Ollantaytambo where the transport will wait to move to Cusco as it was coordinated and organized according to the chosen program and itinerary.
- Meals: Breakfast.
- Walking hours: 3 -5
- Walking distance: 14 KM. 8.7 miles
- Maximum Altitude: 2430 MSNM-7972 FASL
- Minimum Altitude: 2040 MSNM- 6692 FASL
- Transportation to and from your hotel in Cusco
- Foods 6 Breakfast – 6 Lunch – 6 Dinners
- Inca Trail and Machu Picchu tickets (does not include Huayna Picchu, but can be arranged for an additional fee)
- Horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc.) from day 1 to day 3
- Porters to carry the equipment from day 4 to day 6
- Personal porter for the Inca Trail that will carry some of your belongings such as a sleeping bag, sleeping pads, night clothes up to 6 kilos / 13 pounds
- Emergency horse in case we need it until day 3
- 01 cook plus kitchen assistant
- Boiled water from day 2 onwards until the end
- Trekking guide, connoisseur of history, tradition, fauna and flora
- First aid kit, carried by your guide
- Equipment (sleeping tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, table, chairs, air mattresses)
- Duffle bag if needed
- Round-trip tickets from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
- Train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Expedition, but can be upgraded to the Vista Dome service at an additional costs
- Overnight hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (if you have hotel preferences, we can arrange it at an additional cost)
- An agency suitcase will be provided, so you can carry 5 kilos / 13 pounds so that the horses carry only the first 4 days.
- Sleeping bag (can be rented from us for USD 20)
- First Breakfast -Lunch on the last day in Aguas Calientes
- Tips for muleteers and guides
- Entrance fees to Huayna Picchu
Passengers must personally carry the following: Toiletries, a small first-aid kit containing a pair of bandages, cream for muscle pain, pills for: altitude sickness, fever, upset stomach, pills to purify water; sunscreen , mosquito repellent, bottled water, flashlight, plastic rain ponchos, dark glasses, binoculars, camera, walking stick, trekking shoes, thermal clothing for the night, light clothing for the day, money at your discretion do not forget to bring your Original Passport.
Students must carry the valid Student card.
We offer for rent sleeping bags for the 04 days: Fiber $ 15.00 and pen $ 20.00.
Likewise, for passengers who carry extra (excess) load horses during the 03 days in the US $ 90.00 each.
1.- In the case of students with Student card (ask in advance if you get the discount) and Children up to 07 years old, the rates are reduced in the following amounts: Students: USA $ 20.00, and Children: USA $ 60.00.
2.- To climb Cerro Huaynapicchu the cost of admission is US $ 20.00 and must be purchased in advance. Spaces are limited, at different times from 06:00, 07:00 to 08:00 am and 10:00 to 11:00.
3.- Rates are subject to any increase or readjustment that the Ministry of Culture of Peru, Peru Rail SA or Inca Rail may determine and are subject to change depending on the Peru Rail schedule and availability, The local train is only for Peruvians and the purchase of this is in person and with a copy of the DNI.
4.- In the pool system the group is made up of a minimum of 10 and a maximum of 16 passengers.
5.- The camps can vary depending on the climate and the state of health of the travelers.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why I should Book Salkantay Trek to Inca Trail in advance?
The entrance tickets for this adventure are very limited, just there are 500 entrance tickets per day and 300 are used by travel agencies staff like porters, tour guides, cookers, etc and just 200 are used by travelers.
That is the main reason to book your tickets in advance (4-6 months in advance), and please note that during the high season (May – September) it is recommended to book min. 8 or 10 months in advance.
What happens if I get sick and need to go back?
This does not happen very often; However, if it happens, our guides are very experienced and know how to act in the event of any emergency or unexpected occurrence; They will do everything possible to help you complete your walk. In addition, first aid kits and oxygen tanks are carried for emergencies. However, if you become seriously ill and need to return to Cusco, you will be treated quickly and arrangements will be made for you.
I’m worried about being too slow for mygroup
The hike along the Salkantay Trek to Inca Trail is considered among the best in the world and if you want to enjoy it, do not see it as a race. «Go at your own pace», enjoy the views, take photos and catch your breath. Even the most leisurely walkers arrive in the camp areas before nightfall.
The guide will always go with the last person in the group, giving instructions to the fastest walkers, so that they know where the stop and encounter points are located along the route, so keep calm and enjoy hiking with us!
When is the best time to travel the Salkantay Trek to Inca trail?
The high season on the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is from May to September, because this time coincides with vacations in the Western Hemisphere. These months probably offer the best trekking conditions with a dry and sunny climate. However, as we said before, you must reserve the permits many months before. April, October and November are also great months to make the Inca Trail; there are fewer hikers, although it is likely that at least one day will rain during the trek.