Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4D / 3N

The short option to do the Trek in less days visiting the same places but with the same goal, the wonder of the Machupicchu world.

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail that is well known and sometimes saturated. The way to the short Salkantay is a cutting-edge adventure experience for travelers looking for a little more authenticity and adventure in snowy mountains. With more spectacular views, the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu offers tranquility and contemplation of the rich nature of the Machupicchu National Park and the Salkantay Reserve, as well as the different towns along the way that demonstrate great hospitality to our visitors.

In addition to being an Inca route and being very famous for its topographic variety and diversity of ecosystems, the Salkantay mountain is at 6,240 meters above sea level, it is one of the «sacred Apus» in Andean religiosity, even today it is venerated in the local tradition.

This hike is assisted by mules which cross the Mollepata valley and also cross the Salkantay pass through this cold pass and then continue to a subtropical forest with a lot of fog and a variant in the weather when arriving on the banks of the river , which comes from the lower part of our destination «Machupicchu».

Why choose the Salkantay to Inca Trail Tour?

Salkantay is definitely one of the best hikes you will find in Cusco and in our country Peru.

If you did not choose the Inca Trail, the Salkantay trek is the second most popular trek to Machu Picchu as well as being less requested but the most recommended.

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).

QUICK ITINERARY:

DAY 1: CUSCO – MOLLEPATA- CHALLACANCHA- HUMANTAY LAKE- SORAYPAMPA

04:00 to 4:30 a.m. Transfer from hotels.

05.00. a.m. Depart Cusco – Mollepata.

07.30. a.m. Breakfast (NOT INCLUDED).

08.00. a.m. Transfer from Mollepata – Challacancha

09.00. a.m. Hike from Challacancha – Soraypampa (Approximately – 3 hours).

13.00. p.m. Lunch

14.00. p.m. Hike from Soraypampa – Humantay Lagoon. Approx. – 02 hours of walking.

17.00. p.m. Camp and Tea Time.

19.00. p.m. Dinner and overnight. Camp.

DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA- SALKANTAY PAMPA- SALKANTAY PASS – HUAYRACMACHAY – CHALLWAY

05.30. a.m. Breakfast.

06.00. a.m. Soraypampa Hike – Salkantay Pass (Free Time) -Huayracmachay. Approx. 4 to 5 hours.

13.30. a.m. Lunch.

14.00. p.m. Hike from Huayracmachay – Challway.

17.00. p.m. Camp and Tea Time.

19.00. p.m. Dinner and overnight. Camp.

DAY 3: CHALLWAY-PLAYA SAHUAYACO-SANTA TERESA-HIDROELECTRIC-AGUAS CALIENTES

06.00 a.m. Breakfast.

07.00 a.m. Walk towards Playa Sahuayaco approx. 06 hours.

13.00 p.m. Lunch.

14.00 p.m. Transportation from Sahuayaco Beach – Santa Teresa- Hydroelectric.

15:00 p.m. Hydroelectric walk to Aguas Calientes. 03 hours approx.

18.00. p.m. Accommodation in Aguas Calientes.

19:00. p.m. Dinner and overnight.

DAY 4: MACHUPICCHU PUEBLO – CUSCO

04.30 a.m. Climb on walk to Machupicchu Ruins (1 hour and a half approximate).

06.00 a.m. Guided tour for 02 hours.

09.00 a.m. Free time. It is recommended: Climb Cerro Huaynapicchu, visit the Temple of the Moon, the Inca Bridge, etc.

Return to Machupicchu town. Schedule to coordinate with the guide.

Return by Train: Machupicchu Pueblo – Ollantaytambo (According to Availability).

Transfer: Train station – Cusco.

ITINERARY:

DAY 1: CUSCO – MOLLEPATA- CHALLACANCHA-HUMANTAY LAKE – SORAYPAMPA

This day will be full of adventure we will walk through an Inca channel, and we will visit the majestic Humantay lagoon at the foot of the snow-capped mountain of the same name, and we will have the first views of the “Apu Salkantay”, we will spend the night under a starry sky.

We start from your hotel from 04:30 am, then we will continue in our tourist transport passing through the towns of Izcuchaca and Limatambo arriving to Mollepata (2900 MASL-9514 FASL) we will arrive at 7:30 am, where we will have time free for our first breakfast and we can leave our 05 kilos for our support group, muleteers and cooks who will be responsible for our extra stuff for 3 days and will carry this luggage on the mules which will go in front of our group, then we will continue with our transport to Challacancha for 1 hour (3380 MASL-11089 FASL), from that point our walk will begin in approximately 3 hours the walk will be 7 kilometers this part of the walk is flat and crosses a glacial valley, in addition to this road It has an Inca aqueduct which, even these days, is used by local people and supplies water to farmers in low-lying areas, reaching Soraypampa (3900 MASL -12795 FASL) where we will be at 1.00 pm there we will take our first lunch and it will be our first camp, after lunch we will hike to the «Laguna de Humantay», the distance to this place is 5 km – 3.11 miles on average the Ascent will take us for 1 hour and 30 minutes and we will arrive at the impressive Humantay Lagoon (4220 MASL-13845 FASL) where we will be able to appreciate the turquoise color of the lagoon and the snow-capped “Apu Humantay”, then beginning to descend for 40 minutes to our camp in Soraypampa at the time of Tea that will be at 18.00 pm and then we will have our exquisite dinner prepared by our experienced chef, finally we will go to our sleeping tents or tents.

  • Meals included: Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner
  • Walking hours: 5
  • Walking distance: 12 KM. 7.45 miles
  • Maximum Altitude: 3950 masl- 12959 FASL
  • Minimum Altitude: 2850 masl-9350 FASL
  • Difficulty: medium.

DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA- SALKANTAY PAMPA-PASO SALKANTAY – HUAYRACMACHAY – CHALLWAY

We will ascend to Abra Salkantay early, remember that it will be challenging, but you will have the best prize when you reach the finish line and enjoy the beauty of the “Apu Salkantay”, before noon everything will change and in the afternoon you will be even more fascinated by crossing the cloud forest on the way to Chaullay and you will be surprised to see almost all day our natural wonder Salkantay.

We will wake up early to continue the adventure and get our luggage ready for later at 5:00 am. We will take a nutritious breakfast and then continue with our walk, we start from the point of Soraypampa to the highest point of our walk of 7 km – 4.35 miles of ascent for about 3 hours through a winding valley at the foot of the snow-capped mountain towards Abra Salkantay (4650 MASL- 15255 FASL) where we can appreciate the imposing snowcapped mountains of Salkantay (6264 MSNM-20551 FASL) which is the second highest mountain in the region, Humantay (5473 MASL-17956 FASL), Tucarhuay (5910 MASL- 19389 FASL ) and Pumasillo (4650 MASL- 15255) passing through Salkantaypampa and Soyrococha where we will appreciate a small lagoon then we will begin the descent through a rocky and gravel area for a distance of 5km-3.1 miles to Huayracmachay (3800 MASL-12467 FASL) where we will take our Lunch then we will continue the walk where you will notice a dramatic change in the landscape, this walk is really impressive and we will cross through a cloud forest for an average of 3 hours and a distance of 10 km – 6.3 miles As this part of the walk is meandering and beautiful as it is full of beautiful landscapes and we will be able to appreciate the wildlife and the diversity of flora in the area we will have the Salkantay all the time behind us until Chaullay (2900 MSNM- 9514 FASL) where will be our second camp, after a long and beautiful day to regain strength and continue the adventure. 

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Afternoon Tea, Dinner.
  • Walking hours: 10
  • Walking distance: 22 KM. 13.67 miles
  • Maximum Altitude: 4650 masl- 15255 FASL
  • Minimum Altitude: 2900 masl-9514 FASL
  • Difficulty: High – Medium. 

DAY 3: CHALLWAY-COLLPAMPA- PLAYA SAHUAYACO-SANTA TERESA- AGUAS CALIENTES (MACHUPICCHU TOWN).

Adventure with climate change, let’s keep warm clothes, greet mosquitoes and continue the walk through the jungle. This day we will leave Salkantay to continue to the Sahuayaco beach to have a delicious lunch, the day will be to descend the mountain that we have just met and continue to our next goal Machupicchu Step by step we reach our goal, we will cross the Santa Teresa valley and we will arrive towards hydroelectric, in the afternoon we continue calm towards “Aguas Calientes” to have the afternoon free and knowing the town, we will sleep at the base of our destiny, the energy fills us and the emotion overwhelms us.

Any change the warm weather wakes us up, we will have our breakfast at 06.00am, then we will walk for the time 6 hours towards the small town of Sahuayaco beach (2200 MASL-7218 FASL) all by our jungle with flat ascents and descents, in This route we will appreciate coffee plantations since most of the People of this area are dedicated to growing coffee, we will also see the diversity of flora, orchids, begonias, bromeliads and many natural plants used for natural medicine, not without before also be able to taste the products that this beautiful place gives us such as Passion Fruit, Orange, Tangerine, Granadilla, Avocado, Pacay local fruit and Mango, with a little luck we could even get to see the national bird of Peru the Cock of the Rocks and soon We will arrive at our lunch point, Playa Sahuayaco, where we will have a “buffet” lunch and board a bus which is included from the lunch point to the camp in Santa Teresa (155 0 MASL- 5085 FASL) then we will continue our trip towards Aguas Calientes also known as Machupicchu Pueblo, our goal will be to reach this town, it will take us approximately 45 minutes more in a vehicle, passing through the well-known rest center of the hydroelectric power station, and we will start the 9 km-5.6 miles walk that will take us 3 hours to Aguas Calientes where we can simply appreciate the landscape and its environment full of waterfalls with impressive falls which come from the glaciers, we will also have the first views from the terraces of Machu Picchu and Huaynapicchu; we will arrive in the afternoon to the mentioned town that is popularly known as «Aguas Calientes» we will have free time to get to know this beautiful town visit the squares, parks and the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes (the name comes for that) (optional), there we will pass the night at the foot of the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu between huge mountains and feeling the energy of the mountains around us. Our guide will give us the last details of our visit the next day and will give us all the guidelines of the tour.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Walking hours: 9
  • Walking distance: 23 KM. 14 miles
  • Maximum Altitude: 2900 Masl- 9514 FASL
  • Minimum Altitude: 1550 Masl- 5085 FASL
  • Difficulty: medium 

DAY 4: MACHU PICCHU!!! – RETURN TO CUSCO.

We have a meeting scheduled with a wonder, 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. 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 Masl / 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

INCLUDED:

  • Previous meeting with the guide prior to the departure of the Trek.
  • Transportation Cusco –Mollepata-Challacancha.
  • Transportation from Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric.
  • Professional guide service.
  • Chef.
  • Kitchen assistant.
  • Food: 03 breakfasts, 03 lunches and 03 dinners.
  • Pack horses and muleteers: For three days. (5 kilos per person).
  • Entrance ticket to Machupicchu.
  • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes.
  • Return train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Transfer Ollantaytambo / Cusco train station.
  • Camping equipment: dining tent, kitchen tent, quadruple sleeping tent for double use, mat, table, chairs.
  • Emergency medical kit: Oxygen bottle and first aid kit.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Breakfast on the 1st day and Lunch on the 4th day.
  • Sleeping bag (necessary) and walking sticks.
  • Bus up and down in Machupicchu.
  • Entrance to the Salkantay in Mollepata s / 10.00 soles.

Recommendations:

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.

Optional:

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.

Important:

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 your Identification.

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 in advance?

The entrance tickets for Machu Picchu are very limited, just there are 2,500 entrance tickets per day and it sold out very faster.

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 my group

The hike along the Salkantay Trekis 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 hike the Salkantay Trek?

The best season to hike the Salkantay Trek 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.

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