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Take the Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu

This trek is an amazing opportunity to enjoy the Peruvian nature before reaching Machu Picchu. You will get the chance to climb the Salkantay Pass, see some snow-capped Andean summits, and hike through a beautiful jungle on your way to the world-famous ancient Incan city.

USD $1,435.00

Per Person
Number of TravelersPrice Per Person
1USD $1,435.00
2USD $767.00
4USD $681.00
6USD $495.00
1

Go on the Amazing Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu!

This amazing trek goes beneath the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6271m/20569ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Peruvian Andes. Your first two days are dominated by the impressive “Apus” of Salkantay and Huamantay, as you pass through the high puna landscape. On the third day you descend to the warm cloud forest, to reach Aguas Calientes on the fourth day.

The impressive Sacred Inca city of Machupicchu is visited on the last day of the program. This tour is an interesting alternative for those not having found spaces on the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay Trek),was recently named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.

Highlights

  • Climb Salkantay Pass
  • Enjoy some incredible wiews of Andean peaks and valleys
  • Hike through an amazing jungle
  • Discover the so called “cloud forest”
  • Learn about Incan history
  • Visit Machu Picchu, one of the 7 wonders of the world

Tour Information

Duration: 5 days/4 nights
Start Location: Cusco
End Location:  Machu Picchu
Availability: January-December
Difficulty: Moderate 

Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa (Humantay Lake)

Walking Distance – 12km / 7.45 miles
Starting Elevation – 3350 meters ASL / 10990 feet ASL
Highest Elevation – 4600 meters ASL / 15091 feet ASL
Campsite Elevation – 3920 meters ASL / 12861 feet ASL
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Lunch and Dinner (Plus snacks and tea in the afternoon)

You will start the day by getting picked up from your hotel at approx 04:00 AM. You will drive for around 4 hours, crossing Anta and Mollepata and end up at Challancha. Through the windows of the bus you will be able to clearly see the white snowcapped mountains of Apus Salkantay and Humantay, two giant gods of the Incas. You will also get to see a spectacular scenery of high peaks and low valleys in every direction! After the first two hours of driving, you will make a quick stop in Mollepata to buy souvenirs and take an optional short breakfast. You will then continue to Challacancha, the starting point of the trek. You will meet your support staff, and they will set up all of the equipment and cargo mules. Around 09:30 AM, you are going to begin trekking to Soraypampa (3850 MASL – 12631 FASL), the first campsite on your journey to Machu Picchu.

The first section of the path will take you over a few deep valleys along the side of a mountain. After a 3 hour walk, you will have lunch at the base camp of Salkantay. After lunch and a short rest, you will hike up to the unforgettable Humantay Lake (4200 MASL – 13779 ft). This 5 km (3.1miles) round-trip will take a total of 3 hours. This place is one of the most beautiful sights in all the Andes with an unbelievable blue-green water reflecting on the mountain glaciers of Apu Humantay. Truly wonderful! Back at your camp, the background of the valley at sunset creates a peaceful scene with an energy that can not be described but only felt! Soraypampa (your camp) is located in the middle of the glacier valleys. You will be able to admire an immensely clear sky at night and appreciate the stars, constellations, and even comets shooting across the pitch blackness. This beautiful scenery won’t be interrupted by the hustle, bustle, or lights of the city.

Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay – Chaullay

Walking Distance – 22 km / 13.7 miles
Starting Elevation – 3800 meters ASL / 12467 feet ASL
Campsite Elevation – 2750 meters ASL / 9022 feet ASL
Maximum Altitude: 4650 meters ASL / 15255 feet ASL
Difficulty: Challenging
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Plus snacks and afternoon tea)

After an early wake-up around 05:30 AM and a quick but energizing breakfast, you will start trekking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL – 15255 FASL). The distance is a 7 km (4.34 miles) difficult ascent in 3 hours between the rocky valley base and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6271 MASL– 20574 FASL). When reaching the top of the pass, you will be able to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo mountains. Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu”. After that, you will go on a 5 km (3.1 mile) downhill walk to the lunch site.

The walk downwards will on a snake-shaped, rocky, gravel path which will take you to the Huayracmachay lunch campsite. In the afternoon, you will enter the upper part of the Amazon jungle, also called “the cloud forest”. This will be a 10 km (6.2 miles) hike completed in 3 hours on a wide trail in a magical tropical forest. During this part of the trek, you will notice a dramatic change in the landscapes as you move from Andes to Amazon! This hike is truly beautiful; the hills are decorated with colorful scenery, wildlife, and native plants. The forests are warm and tropical most of the year with temperate climates. At the end of this outstanding hike, you will reach Chaullay Village (2900 MASL – 9514 FASL) for a much-deserved rest from your long day of trekking! This will be your base camp in the jungle as you continue to make your way to Machu Picchu.

Day 3: Chaullay – Collpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba

Walking Distance – 18km / 11.2 miles
Starting Elevation – 2750 meters ASL / 9022 feet ASL
Campsite Elevation – 2400 meters ASL / 7874 feet ASL
Difficulty: Easy
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Plus snacks and afternoon tea)

At 06:00 AM, you will start your trek to the small town of La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. You will be able to soak up this new, lush landscape during your 6 hours of hiking on this third day. Then, you are going to see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado. You will get the chance to taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit along the way! We will see a village named Colpapampa, also called the “brow of the cloud forest,” where waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, flora and fauna can be observed. If you are lucky, you will even be able to see a beautiful bird called “The Cock of the Rocks,” Peru’s national bird! After a delicious lunch at La Playa, you will keep hiking for approximately 1 hour to your base camp called Lucmabamba (2400 MASL – 7874 FASL).

You will then explore the tropical forest for a little while and visit an organic coffee farm. You will get the oppoortunity to taste coffee freshly prepared by the local people! Coffee is the main farming industry of the local people in this jungle, and they cultivate many acres of coffee to export to the USA, Asia, and Europe. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, but it wasn’t until the Spanish invaded Cusco that it was brought to this region. You will also explore an orange plantation and an avocado plantation on this afternoon.

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes

Walking Distance – 18 km / 11.2 miles
Starting Elevation – 2450 meters ASL / 8038 feet ASL
Campsite Elevation – 2000 meters ASL / 6561 feet ASL (Aguas Calientes hostel)
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Plus snacks and afternoon tea)
Accommodation: Comfortable Hostel

Like previous mornings, the chief of the trek will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea served in your bed. You will get ready for today’s activities while enjoying your last prepared breakfast by the talented trek chief. You will then begin your hike and have the opportunity to enjoy a small part of the famous and highly-acclaimed Inca trail! After a 2 hour climb with amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley you will reach Llactapata Inca site right in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first archaeological site of the mysterious Lost City of the Incas that you are going to see! It is a very special place to learn a bit more about this land’s roots and history. You will be able to see not only the ruins of Machu Picchu from this spot, but also Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. You are going to explore this Inca site with the guide, and he will keep telling you about the history of the Incas who used and worshipped this land. Of course, you will have plenty of time to take as many photos as you want to capture these memories.

After that, you will continue your trek with a 2-hour downhill hike. On this part of the trail, you will able to see Machu Picchu until reaching the Hidroelectrica train station to have lunch. One of the most impressive sites in this area is the 300-meter-high natural waterfall which generates electricity for the entire region of Cusco! After lunch, you will arrive at Intiwatana, a famous ancient rock used as a sundial in the Incan era. According to history, Intiwatana worked together with the famous sundial stone in Machu Picchu. People used these two stones to measure and read the winter solstice, which was the beginning of the new farming season for the Incas.

Then, you will reach the train tracks which lead to the town of Aguas Calientes. There you will have two options: 1) If you are exhausted, you can take the train to Aguas Calientes ($31.00 extra). 2) If you are still eager to hike, you may walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the train track. Next to the tracks, there is a nice path that takes you through the warm paradise of the cloud forest. This is the same trail used by the American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost to the outside world!

Note: During the rainy season, the hike up the Llactapata Trail is not 100% guaranteed due to safety concerns. When heavy rains are frequent, this trail becomes very dangerous.

Day 5: The Most Important Day – Machu Picchu!

Activity Overview: Touring Machu Picchu with optional hike
Level: Touring: easy, hike: strenuous
Length: 2-5 hours exploring and optional 2-3 hour strenuous hike; Machu Picchu is at 7,972’ elevation

Today will be about the long-awaited finale of your trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Machu Picchu! You will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hostel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. You will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. There you will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today!

Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!

After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 16:22 hrs (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 20:00 hrs. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you that your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!

What’s Included

  • Pre-departure briefing: You will meet your guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. At this time, we will provide you with the duffle bags which will be carried by our horses. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins.
  • Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Challacancha, the starting point of the trek.
  • Experienced Guide: English speaking, professional, and official tour guide. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route, including leading your group in ancient ceremonies! He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
  • Personal accommodation in private campsites: Like our ancestors, we are very considerate of the Pachamama (Mother Earth). Therefore, our campsites and lodges are adapted to the environment to avoid generating negative impacts.
    • Night 1: Relax on your soft bed in our state-of-the-art Sky Camp under the watchful eye of Apu Salkantay on one side and Apu Humantay on the other. Spend as many hours as you would like star-gazing through your elegant glass ceiling!
    • Night 2: Enjoy our camping huts, made of ichu (Peruvian feather grass) and wood to guarantee a pleasant rest with protection during cold nights in the mountains. 2 people will stay in each 4-person tent inside of each individual hut. We provide you with a thick camping mattress free of charge.
    • Night 3: Experience our Jungle Domes, brand new this year! In your dome, you will find a comfortable bed, twin or double (depending on your stated preferences). These domes have been ecologically designed to not interrupt the beautiful, raw surrounding landscape of the cloud forest.
    • Night 4: Hostel in Aguas Calientes
    • Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by the horses).Entry ticket to Machu Picchu Archeological Site Hostel in Aguas Calientes: The last night of this trek is spent in a hostel in Aguas Calientes with a double or triple room, private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
  • 1 Duffle Bag: You can put your personal luggage, up to 7 kgs (15.4 lbs), including your sleeping bag, in this bag to be carried by our horses.
  • Cargo Mules: On days 1 and 2, cargo mules carry the all camping equipment and your allowance of personal baggage (7 kgs/15.4 lbs). On days 3 and 4, your luggage will be carried by car or train to your destination.
  • Trekking Cook: A chef specialized in cooking on the trail, with an assistant, will prepare all of your delicious meals along the journey to replenish your energy. You will never go hungry!
  • Meals: 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners (Vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost)
  • Wake up tea: Every morning at the campsite, you will woken up with a cup of coca tea! Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
  • Tea time daily: Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide popcorn, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait until dinner to relax, warm up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
  • Snacks on the trail daily: Our snacks consist of local fruits, biscuits, chocolate, caramels, etc. We will give this snack to you at the beginning of each day in your cloth bag.
  • One cloth snack bag per person: To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we will give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
  • Products for hygiene: You will be provided with a small towel before each meal to clean your hands.
  • Medical kit: Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Train tickets: From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (“Expedition” service with Peru Rail at 16:22 hrs (subject to availability))
  • Transport: Private transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco (Day 5)
  • 24-hour guest service: We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication and preparation with the
    agency leading up to your trek We will create a Memorable Lifetime Experience for you

What’s Not Included

  • Entrance fee to Salkantay Trail (S/.10 per person)
  • Sleeping Bags: You can rent one from our company if you do not have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips.
  • Walking Sticks: You can rent a set from our company if you would like.
  • Day 1: Breakfast
  • Last Day: Lunch and Dinner in Aguas Calientes.
  • Personal clothing and gear
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for our staff: Please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.
  • Option: If you feel tired after the trek to and from Llactapata, you have the option to take a train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes. (Cost: USD $31.00)
  • Additional costs or delays out of control of the management (landscape, bad weather condition, itinerary modification due to a safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability/strike, etc.)

What to Bring

  • Daypacks: Daypacks are not provided. You must bring your own, but nothing too large as you don’t want it to be too heavy while your trekking. Plus, Machu Picchu will not allow you to bring in a bag larger than 25L so if you have a large backpack it will need to be stored before your tour. Only essentials while trekking are needed to be on your back: water, snack, camera, sunhat, warm layer, rain layers, insect spray, sunscreen, and first aid kit
  • Headlamps: It is strongly encouraged to bring a headlamp for your night camping. There will be no lights at the camping site and hard to get to your dining tent or bathroom without. Flashlights are ok if you don’t have a headlamp, but not as easy to use when you are changing for bed in your tent
  • Packing list: We do have a suggested packing list on the side of this trek to print for packing. But please remember, that layers are key to keeping things light. A few wicking t-shirts, fleece and hiking/yoga pants is all you need for the hike. A warm jacket, hat and gloves and comfortable shoes are good for the campsites and then something lovely for Machu Picchu day and pajamas. Please remember strong insect repellant with Deet for the ruins, they are quite buggy. And your passport needs to be on you at all times – you will need to enter the trail, the citadel and the train. Please also bring your customs card you received on the plane to the office, we will need a copy for our taxes

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Huaraz, Perú

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Huaraz, Perú -9.529850, -77.529000

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After you book your experience, you will receive a confirmation email from us confirming that your payment went through. You will then be connected directly to the tour operator, in case you have any further questions. We are also happy to answer any questions about the tour, or travel in general in your country of destination.

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