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Short Salkantay Trek Peru

Short Salkantay Trek Peru

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.


Quick Itinerary

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa - Chaullay

Day 02: Chaullay - Playa

Day 03: Playa - Llactapata - Aguas Calientes

Day 04:Hike to Machu Picchu


Important info about your Trek:

  • 4 Day hike to Machu Picchu with a professional English speaking guide, cook, muleteer and horses
  • Visit and explore the Llactapata ruins
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Climbing to Huayna Picchu Mountain (Optional)
  • Discover the lost city of the Incas
  • Guided tour around to Machu Picchu citadel
  • Enjoyed the beautiful scenic trail of the Salkantay Trek

Salkantay Trek Peru all camping equipment included such as the double tent, inflatable sleeping mat, inflatable pillow camping, wool blanket, pillow and down sleeping bag, please click here


Inca Trail Machu Responsible Travel

Some travel companies promote themselves as being responsible, however, they have built hotels and igloos along the Salkantay route destroying nature and landscape in this way. We at Inca Trail Machu do not use either igloos or hotels along the route. We focus on using only tents which can be collapsed and taken away after camping. We are a responsible travel company so we leave only footprints behind us on the Salkantay Trek 4 day.


Please be aware of using responsible companies when traveling, do not support spoiling nature.

Please note! We DO NOT permit exploitation of horses/mules!! Our horses/mules can carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!!


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

Interesting Information


Day 01: Cusco - Soraypampa - Wayracmachay - Los Andenes
Inca Trail Machu

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
Difficulty: Challenging

Day 02: Los Andenes - Luscamayo - La Playa
Inca Trail Machu

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
Difficulty:  Strenuous

Day 03: La Playa - Llactapata - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes
Inca Trail Machu

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

Day 04: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Inca Trail Machu

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!

What is included in this trek?
Inca Trail Machu

  • Pre-trek briefing with your Tour Guide
  • Early morning transfer by private tourism bus to Soraypampa (headtrail);
  • Accommodation: Camping (02 nights) and Hotel with private bath (01 night);
  • Professional English speaking guide;
  • Entrance fee to Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 03 Breakfast, 03 Lunches, 03 Dinners and 03 afternoon hot drinks (please advice us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • A cook;
  • Muleteer;
  • Horses for carry all heavy gear and 7kg for your personal belongings;
  • Camping equipment: Double tent;
  • Sleeping Therma-a-rest mattress and a synthetic roll mattress;
  • Feather Sleeping bag (-5 grades);
  • A pair of the hiking poles;
  • A pillow and Pillowcase;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • A T-shirt of the Salkantay Trek Map;
  • Communal dinner tent, cooking tent and toilet tent.
  • All eating and cooking stuff, stools and tables
  • Train ticket back from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transfer from Ollantaytambo - Cusco
  • First Aid Kit + Oxygen Bottle

Not Included
Inca Trail Machu

  • The first breakfast and last lunch
  • Tourist bus up and down to Machu Picchu (U$ 24 and one way U$ 12)
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu tickets (USD 25) or Montaña Machu Picchu (U$ 25)
  • Travel insurance
  • Tipping your trek stuff is optional but customary

Meals budget: Allow USD 20-30 for meals not included

Solo Travel: If you are travelling solo and require a single tent there is an extra USD 30

Salkantay Highlights
Inca Trail Machu

  • Explore the Machu Picchu citadel
  • Visit Mollepata town
  • Walk around of the  Aguas Calientes town
  • Cherish the beautiful views from Salkantay Mountain
  • Discover the scenic trail of Salkantay
  • Walking through the Salkantay Mountain where is possible to have beautiful scenic

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.



  • In case you need a extra horse, there are emergency horses available for rent along this trek if you are unsure you will be able to complete the hike, cost $80.


Salkantay Trek FAQs and Doubt
Inca Trail Machu

Here is everything you need to know about Salkantay Trek Peru, 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.
  • “Soraypampa” at 3,850 m.a.s.l. 
  • "Huamantay Pass" at 4,550 m.a.s.l.
  • "Humantay" at 5,917 m.a.s.l.
  • "Salkantay" at 6,271 m.a.s.l.
  • "Los Andenes at 3,400 m.a.s.l.
  • "Abra Q'elloqasa" at 2,860 m.a.s.l.
  • "Llaqtapata" at 2,650 m.a.s.l.
  • "Hydroelectric Plant" at 2,050 m.a.s.l.
  • "Machu Picchu" at 2,430 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.

  • Soraypampa to Los Andenes: 14 Km (Trekking time: 7 - 8 hours)
  • Los Andenes to The Beach: 18 Km (Trekking time: 10 hours)
  • The Beach to Hot Springs: 15 Km (Trekking time: 7- 8 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.


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The Responsible People foundation is registered under the Peruvian Non-Profit Organization Act. With an annual contribution from Inca Trail Machu, we support our operating costs as well as a significant portion of project development costs.

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