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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous, interesting and important alternative treks to Machu Picchu due to its wide range of flora and different ecosystems.

Its Inca site that lies a top and at the back of mountain, and the trail eventually leads to Aguas Calientes, located at the base of the historical and archeological site and within the Machu Picchu complex you also have the opportunity to climb Huayna Picchu mountain (optional hike).

Experience hike in one of Peru's most picturesque landscapes around Cusco in the magical Andes Mountains. You will trek around the base of the sacred Salkantay snow peak (6,271 meters; 20,700 feet), considered by the local natives to be the "Guardian Spirit of the Jungle".

The highest pass is on the second day. It is around 4,600 meters and is achieved at your own pace. After that it all seems easier, as it is mostly downhill from there. This can also provide you with the opportunity to experience remote native communities and the region's huge ecological biodiversity, before reaching the Machu Picchu

The last reward on the road, arriving to the lost citadel is possible explore the area to purchase remainders or maybe to go at the market for take a food. The best panoramic views is located on Huayna Picchu mountain, but you have to booking with anticipation because it is well known by travellers, don't miss this magical excursion.


Quick Itinerary

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Colcapapampa

Day 03: Colcapampa - Playa

Day 04: Playa - Llactapata - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

Day 05: Hiking to Machu Picchu


Important info about your Trek:

  • 5days hiking with professional guide, cook, muleteer and horses
  • Visit and explorer the Llactapata ruins
  • Guided tour
  • Climbing to Huayna Picchu mountain
  • Discover the lost city of the Incas
Salkantay trek included the Double tent, Sleeping bag, Inflatable mattress, a blanket, a pillow, day pack and duffel bag. click please more informations


Packing List:

  • Passport: Carry it is very important
  • Inmigration Card
  • ISIC card: If you booked as a student
  • A good hiking shoes: Comfortable and useful on all terrain
  • Waterproof: Especially in rainy seasons
  • Sunscreen: Avoid the ultraviolet ray
  • Coca leaf

Departures 100% guaranteed!!

Do I need to book it in advance? The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu has departures guaranteed, but train tickets and entrance to Huayna Picchu mountain are subjet to availability. For that reason, we HIGHLY recommend booking it in advance to ensure you receive exactly what you want!


PLEASE NOTE: May, June and July are peak months of a HIGH TOURIST SEASON in Cusco. It means that train tickets ARE SELL OUT QUICKLY!! Please be aware that the trek leaves daily; however, return train tickets may not be available, if you like to book on last moment. To avoid this inconvenience, please book it several weeks in advance!


Resposinble Travel

San Martin de Porres School

If you reserve this trip, you will be making a donation to the school for special needs children, click here please



Inca Trail Machu DOES NOT permit this exploitation!! We guarantee that our porters carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!! There is still a long way to go when it comes to a reserve of adequate meals, backpacks and warm dry sleeping accommodation.


Interesting Information

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha -Soraypampa

Early morning pick up at your hotel to after doing a 3 hour bus ride from Cusco (3400m)- to Mollepata (2700m), and one and a half hour drive more to Soraypampa (3750mt). Briefly stop in Limatambo or Mollepata to have breakfast and then carry on our journey to the trailhead in Soraypampa.

We start a gentle hike at the head of the valley. The trail goes steep uphill and comes to a series of zigzags. All around, you will enjoy a breathtaking view of Humantay and Salkantay. Then, to catch our breath, we will drop gently down to the small laguna Soyrococha where we stop for lunch.

After walking 4 hours up, we reach the highest pass (4,550m) from where we can have a stunning scenery of the sacred mountains in the Peruvian Andes Humantay and Salkantay. That will compensate the great effort in reaching the top which is marked by a pile of stones that grows daily as each traveler adds his pebble to thank the Apus (mountain spirits) for a safe trip and good luck. Then we descend to our First campsite at Huayracmachay (3750m).


Estimated trekking time: 6 hours

Trekking distance: 10 Km
Max. elevation: 4,000 m
Min. elevation: 3,400 m
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 02: Soyrapampa - Collpapampa

After an early breakfast, we will leave the beautiful pyramid shaped peak of Salkantay behind us. From now, the fauna and flora change as we enter the tropical cloud forest and discover its lush vegetation of wild orchids, bromilias and also beautiful birds. This level is known as a cloud forest. Continuing our descent through the groves of bamboos; don't forget to keep looking back at the snow-peaks behind you, framed by bamboo fronds.
After 4 hours of heading down we arrive in the tiny settlement of Collpapampa where you set up our camp site, and have lunch and afterwards take a relaxing bath at the natural hot springs and take the same way back up to the camp site at Collpapampa.


Estimated trekking time: 8 hours
Trekking distance: 20 Km
Max. elevation: 4,500 m
Min. elevation: 2,800 m
Difficulty: Challenging

Day 03: Collpapampa - La Playa

After a healthy breakfast, the trail continues down the valley into the forest, from increasingly tall trees and groves of bamboos, providing some bird watching opportunities without missing the view on the chaotic river.
You will be going across some amazing untouched path where strawberries grow at your feet and passion fruit are above your head in a decor of begonias and purple orchids! To finally arrive to our Camp site in La Playa.


Estimated trekking time: 5 hours
Trekking distance: 13 Km
Max. elevation: 2,800 m
Min. elevation: 2,200 m
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 04: La Playa - Llactapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

We wake up early on this day to start a fair way up hill which will give us some amazing views on the valley. After 3 hours, we will enjoy a break in a Pampa overlooking one of the main tourist destinations in South America Machu Picchu. It s a magical view given to us, that the main part of tourists will never see.
A 3 hours going down the path easily leads the hikers to the bamboos groves and into a forest of increasingly thick vegetation and tall trees. There are many excellent bird watching opportunities
Reaching to la Hidreoelectrica we follow the rail tracks heading up the Urubamba valley to our last night is in Aguas Calientes town (Machu Picchu).


Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 18 km
Max. elevation: 2,700 m
Min. elevation: 1,200 m
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 05: Machu Picchu - Cusco

After an early morning breakfast we will take a bus up to Machu Picchu sanctuary and enter early for the best photos opportunities and low crowd numbers and then spend the rest of the morning visiting and exploring the ruins. Before leaving, consider taking the time to climb up to Huayna Picchu Mountain (45 min) or Machu Picchu Mountain (both within the Machu Picchu citadel complex) before heading down to Aguas Calientes to aboard the train back to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cusco.

What is included in this trek?

  • Pre-trek briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing);
  • Early morning transfer by private bus to Challacancha - the initial point of the trek;
  • Accommodation: Campsites (3 nights) and a Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to the red of Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner and 4x afternoon hot beverages (please advise us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • Snack every morning;
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide (a group of up to 8 participants receives 1 Guide, a group over 8 persons receives 2 Guides);
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg of each passenger's stuff; 
  • An emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower;
  • Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own);
  • Camping equipment: Personal double tents (4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks);
  • Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress); 
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • A blanket per person
  • A pillow
  • Day Pack Rain Covers;
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • Rain Ponchos;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • A T-shirt of the Salkantay Trek Map;
  • A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town;
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

Not Included

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Hiking poles (U$ 15)
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu ($25);
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu (U$12 - one way);
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!

Highlights by Archaeological Sites

  • Explore the Machu Picchu citadel
  • Views from Humantay and Salkantay mountains
  • Visit the Soyrococha lake
  • Take a rest in Aguas Calientes
  • Visit Ollantaytambo


Best moment from the Trek

  • The amazing landscapes especially from Salkantay and lagoons


Encampment Equipment

Inca Trail Machu Tour operator will provide the double tent. Our tents are of the brand  EUREKA MOUNTAIN PASS 3XTE designated for 4 seasons. We provide with 3 person capacity tents; however, just 2 trek participants use it! In this way, we provide you more space and comfort. In case of a single traveller, we provide with a 2 person capacity tent. After each trek, we carefully check our tents and fix them if necessary
Inca Trail Machu will provide the clean Sleeping bag, Inflatable pillow and blanket. Our porters will leave inside your tent. Once arrived to the camping, you will find inside your all camping equipment.



  • Walking sticks or poles cost $20 to rent.
  • Daypack for your hike U$ 10
  • Rain Poncho U$ 10 
  • There are emergency porters available for rent along this trek if you are unsure you will be able to complete the hike, cost $80.

Doubts and Frequent Questions about Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Here is everything you need to know about Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, one of our most impressive routes.

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.
  • "Marcocasa" at 3,500 m.a.s.l.
  • "Rayuska" at 5,350 m.a.s.l.
  • "Sayllapata" at 3,600 m.a.s.l.
  • “Soraypampa” at 3,750 m.a.s.l. 
  • "Humantay" at 5,917 m.a.s.l.
  • "Salkantay" at 6,271 m.a.s.l.
  • "Salkantay Pampa" at 4,100 m.a.s.l.
  • "Frozen Inca Pass" at 5,100 m.a.s.l.
  • "Pampacawana" at 4,000 m.a.s.l.
  • "Paucarcancha" at 3,205 m.a.s.l.
  • "Wayllabamba" at 3,000 m.a.s.l.
  • "Llullucha Pampa" at 3,855 m.a.s.l.
  • "Dead Woman´s Pass" at 4,200 m.a.s.l.
  • "Pacaymayo Valley" at 3,300 m.a.s.l.
  • "Abra Runkurakay" at 3,860 m.a.s.l.
  • "Chaquicocha" at 3,670 m.a.s.l.
  • "Phuyupatamarca Pass" at 3,670 m.a.s.l.
  • "Phuyupatamarca Incan Complex" at 3,600 m.a.s.l.
  • "Wiñayhuayna" at 2,700 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.
  • Mollepata to Sayllapata: 14 Km (Trekking time: 7 hours)
  • Sayllapata to Salkantay Pampa: 10 Km (Trekking time: 6 hours)
  • Salkantay Pampa to Pampacahuarina: 14 Km (Trekking time: 7 hours)
  • Pampacahuarina to Llullucha Pampa: 13 Km (Trekking time: 7 hours)
  • Llullucha Pampa to Chaquicocha: 12 Km (Trekking time: 7 - 8 hours)
  • Chaquicocha to Wiñayhuayna: 10 Km (Trekking time: 5 - 6 hours)
  • Wiñayhuayna to Machu Picchu: 4 Km (Trekking time: 3 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.
From $ 500.00
per person
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