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