Salcantay or Salkantay, Sallqantay in Quechua is the tallest summit of the Willcapampa mountain range, part of the Peruvian Andes. It is situated in the Cuzco district, about 60km northwest of the city, in south central Peru by the Cordillera Vilcabamba. The famous Salkanta Trek Peru is named among the 25 best treks in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine is a hike accessible to everyone with no constraints on available spaces (at the moment). Joining the city of Mollepata, Cusco with Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is an old and out-of-the-way pathway situated in the same area as the Inca Trail where colossal glacialtopped mountains meet with abundant tropical rain forests.
Salkantay Mountain reaches to 6271 meters above sea level (20574 ft). Mt Salkantay is a striking snow-topped peak, honored for thousands of years by native Indians. The name "Salkantay" means savage mountain in Quechua.
Our classic Salkantay Trek is a customized alternative to the usual Inca Trail. Not on the usual tourist path, this is an innovating experience for adventure travelers seeking a little solitude and credibility.
Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa - Chaullay
Day 02: Chaullay - Playa
Day 03: Playa - Llactapata - Aguas Calientes
Day 04:Hike to Machu Picchu
Salkantay Trek Peru included the double tent, mattress inflatable, Blanket, pillow and Sleeping bag, please click here
Early morning, we pick you up from your hotel to take you by private transport for a 3 hour ride from Cusco (3,400 m) to Mollepata (2,803 m) where we have breakfast. Then, we continue our ride for one and half an hour until we reach Soraypampa(3,850 m), a starting point of the trek. So we start a gentle hike there through a valley. The trek goes steeply uphill first, then follows a serie of zigzags. After a 4 hour climb, we reach the highest point of the trek - Salkantay and Huamantay Pass (4,550 m). There, we have an opportunity to observe a breathtaking scenery of the sacred mountains Humantay (5,917 m) and Salkantay (6,271 m)!! These views quite compensate our big effort reaching this top marked by a pile of stones growing daily as each traveler adds his/her pebble to thank this "Apus" (a god of Salkantay Mountain) for a safe trip and good luck! To catch a breath after that, we drop down gently towards the small Soirococha Lagoon, a place where we stop for lunch. After that, we start descending for about 2 and half an hour to Los Andenes (3,400 m) where our first campsite is placed. We are served dinner there and then we enjoy well-deserved sleep.
Estimated trekking time: 7 - 8 hours
Trekking distance: 14 km
Max. elevation: 4,400 m
Min. elevation: 3,800 m
We wake up early today as a nice up-hill walk awaits us providing us some amazing views of a valley. After a 3 hour hike, we enjoy a break at Abra Q'elloqasa (or El Mirador) laying at 2,860 meters overlooking the legendary Machu Picchu!! From there, we are given an opportunity to see the "Lost City of the Incas" from an exceptional point of view that a majority of tourists will never see!
We enjoy our last lunch at the recently restored Incan ruins of Llaqtapata (2,650 m) from where we can view both, Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the ruins.
After that, we start descending for about 3 hour to Aobamba River through lush bamboo groves, orchards and coffee plantations providing us some excellent bird-watching opportunities. This way brings us to the Hydroelectric Plant (Hidroelectrica). There we follow trails leading us to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we stay overnight in a hostel.
Estimated trekking time: 10 hours
Trekking distance: 18 Km
Max. elevation: 5,100 m
Min. elevation: 3,300 m
Llacatapata Ruins The route up to Llacatpata is on a part of an aged Inca Trail. Firstly it goes through some old villages of coffee and coca plantations, citrus tree orchids before extending to some exquisite high altitude meadows and then entering into an ancient forest close to the top. The scenery on the way up is the most varied and gorgeous than on the entire Salkantay Trek.
Close to the top, the trail changes to seemingly never ending stone steps as tall as park benches! Which you might find strange as the Incas were not known for being tall! The reason behind this was that the Incas were a very forward thinking population and aimed to build constructions that would not fall apart and that people could not destroy! We reach the top in a little over two hours.
The weather is cold and wet in the forest and then we walk down to the Llactapata ruins. In under 10 minutes we arrive at the ruins, the sight will leave you amazed! Beyond the valley you are rewqarded with the majestic sight of Machu Picchu!
After this we descend to the Hydroelectric plant, it's 913 meters (2995 ft)in one hour. From her the hike to Aguas Calientes is mostly level. En route you will hear a roaring sound which is a powerful waterfallthat cools us down with its spray as we pass by. It is man made and shoots out of a long tunnel in the mountain from the hydroelectric plant, a fascinating and useful. Once there we have our lunch break.
The Hydroelectric plant is also the end of the railway line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Hydro is actually farther than Machu Picchu Town on the train. It is mostly used by locals. The hike to Aguas Calientes is down the railway tracks, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). Its a fun trek, along the tracks, with a wide path and is sheltered by jungle vegetation, trees and flowers. This is ideal after a tough 4 day Inca Trail.
Its hard to explain the great happiness when we finally reach the town of Aguas Calientes, you will notice for the first time in days people that look clean with fresh clothing..Day trippers!
We finally arrive to our hotel! Then we have dinner at a restaurant and plan the next day. Overnight in a hostal!
If you chose the Santa Teresa option, we have breakfast and after a short bus trip (1hour) we hike for about 2 hours past the Urubamba River and onward to the Hydro Electric Station, where we have lunch nearby.
Estimated trekking time: 7 - 8 hours
Trekking distance: 15 Km
Max. elevation: 2,700 m
Min. elevation: 2,000 m
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
After an early morning breakfast, we continue for about 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu that we enter for the early morning best photos opportunities! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the Incan city and explains us about its history and purposes. After the guided tour, we can enjoy hiking Machu Picchu Mountain (1 and half and hour up and the same time down) or Huayna Picchu (45 minute climb), these are peaks above Machu Picchu that are used to take some panoramic pictures of the Incan city! Then, we are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on our own.
In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo, from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.
Machu Picchu is both, the best and the least known site of the Incas as it is not mentioned in any Spanish conquistador´s chronicle so that contemporary archaeologists can not do anything more than just speculate on its functions. Local Quechuan farmers had known about Machu Picchu for centuries before an 11-year-old boy showed the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in a search of Vilcabamba) this site on the 24th of July 1911. At that time, all the rest of the world became aware of its existence. However, the site was covered with thick vegetation so Hiram Bingham along with his team returned and within the years of 1912 and 1915 cleared its surface. Over the years, plenty of work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain!
Meals budget: Allow USD 20-40 for meals not included
Solo Travel: If you are travelling solo and require a single tent there is an extra USD 50