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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Did not find spaces available for the famous Classic Inca Trail? Do not worry, we present another option on the route of the magical snowy Salkantay trek to Inca Trail that takes you to visit the impressive city of Machu Picchu. It is an old and remote alternative path, it has much more spectacular views and with different ecological levels we will walk among lagoons, impressive snow-capped mountains such as Salkantay and Humantay, crossing rivers and subtropical areas of abundant vegetation and fauna. This road is an excellent option for those who want to escape from the most congested routes and in a faster way, or for those who are looking for an alternative when the spaces of the traditional Inca Trail are occupied. This impressive excursion passes under the magnificent mountain Salkantay (6,710 m / 22,014 ft), one of the highest and most impressive of the Peruvian Andes. Its first two days will be dominated by the impressive snow-capped mountain of Salkantay as it travels through the high Andean landscape. The impressive sacred citadel of the Incas Machu Picchu is visited during the last day of the program. The excursion to Salkantay was recently named by the National Geographic Adventure Travel magazine among the 25 best excursions in the world. Salkantay is the Apu tutelary of Cusco. On our tour we crossed beautiful Andean landscapes, we passed an open area of ​​5000 m. and we will have the possibility of observing Condors and Alpacas in their natural habitat. On this trip we will find the beautiful and great snowy, we can take baths in natural hot springs from the depths of the earth, see the Condor, different fruit plants and a variety of orchids, as if it were not enough we can try the More tasty coffee of Peru, the one of the Convention enjoying the beautiful view of Machupicchu from our camp. In point that rises to more than five thousand meters of height and also with tongues of ice that fall of vertiginous way and form glacial lagoons. The circuit of Salkantay is one of the great attractions of Cusco. The famous " Cordillera de Vilcabamba", where the Salkantay massif is located, is a beautiful and lonely area. Dominated by the same Apu Salkantay, it has numerous high elevation peaks, such as the Tucarhuay (5,910 m.s.), the Veronica (5,682 m.s.) and the Huacayhuilca (5,361 m.s.n.), among others. All of them are visible from the Phuyupatamarca area during the Inca Trail to Machupicchu. Geography is difficult and whimsical around the edge of this attractive mountain complex. The Salkantay is surrounded by deep valleys and gorges, which makes it interesting and at the same time wonderful.

Before you go

Quick Itinerary:

Day 01: Cusco - Sayllapata

Day 02: Sayllapata - Salkantay Pampa

Day 03: Salkantay Pampa - Pampacahuarina

Day 04: Pampacahuarina - Llullucha Pampa

Day 05: Llucha Pampa - Chaquicocha

Day 06: Chaquicocha - Wiñayhuayna

Day 07: Wiñayhuayna - Machu Picchu


How hard is salkantay?

It depends. You reach 4600m on the second day after climbing for the best part of the day. Especially if you are within your first five days at altitude, this may give you headaches and shortness of breath. Don't forget that even people who live in Cusco (at 3300m) still get short of breath.Please take note of the principal altitudes :

  • Capital: 3,350 m.a.s.l. (Cusco) 
  • Minimum: 2,000 m.a.s.l. (Aguas Calientes) 
  • Maximum: 4,650 m.a.s.l. ( Salkantay)

Will the altitude affect me? 

When travelling throughout the Andes in Peru some people will suffer some effects of altitude sickness. If you plan to hike the Salkantay Trek to Inca Trail we recommend arriving 2 or 3 days before the start to acclimatize and rest.  

What is the best thing to do in the event of altitude sickness? 

Wherever possible "go down". But, if you are staying in Cusco, you may still feel the effects. The best advice is to sleep, take plenty of fluids and you could also try coca tea. The porters chew coca leaves wrapped around a black resin called llipta. When you are actually walking and active (especially on day two of the trail), this may help since it dilates vessels to increase the blood flow to the parts of the body that need it.

What happens if I arrive at Machu Picchu and then decide to stay an extra night? Can I change my train ticket? 

It is still possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you decide to stay an extra night at Aguas Calientes. You will have to take your train ticket personally to the train station in Aguas Calientes and ask them to change the return date of your ticket. You will probably be asked to pay an extra administrative fee and changing the ticket will be subject to availability of spaces the following day. If you change your ticket for a cheaper service then you will not be refunded the difference.

How to protect our environment during Salkantay Trek?  

Salkantay Trek Machu operate in a responsible way, according to the following: 

  • Selective disposal of garbage (organic & inorganic) 
  • Garbage withdrawal of Natural Protected Areas 
  • We provide toilet tents with chemical toilet facilities. All garbage is disposed of outside the Natural Protected Areas 
  • Avoid fires – no smoking allowed inside the tents 
  • Use of bowls for washing purposes to avoid the soap from being thrown over to the floor or to natural water sources 
  • Avoid disturbing animals 
  • No animal hunting allowed 
  • Preservation of the flora, no orchid taking allowed 
  • Walking over the Inca ruins, walls or archaeological sites is absolutely forbidden

When to book salkantay trek.

The climate of the region is divided into two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season. From December to March, the rain waters the fields, the mountains and the road, making it slightly more difficult to travel. Nothing we can solve with good hiking shoes that you will take to your backpack to travel to Salkantay. However, the vegetation of the jungle area shows its best side and offers a green color to the visitor. On the other hand, during the months of May to October, start the dry season. The rains cease and the road is firm. In addition, the landscape is completely illuminated by the sun and the day of the nights. Does not it sound fantastic?






We will depart from the city of Cusco, in a private bus, at approximately 5:30 am towards the town of Mollepata (2900msnm), where we will arrive at 8:30 a.m. we will continue to Cruzpata, where we will meet with the staff that will accompany us during our crossing. At 9:00 am we will start our trek to Soraypampa, located above 3850 m.a.s.l, on the route we can enjoy beautiful scenery, snow-capped mountains such as the Salkantay and the valley of the Apurimac River. At the end of 13 hours we will enjoy a delicious lunch , after we are given stunning views of the snow-capped peak of Rayuska (5,350 m/17,552 ft). In the end of the day, we get to a place of our first campsite at Soraypampa to the campsite where the tents will be ready as well as dinner.


Early wake up today, we start a gently uphill to Salkantaypampa, where we join the main route of the Salkantay Trek as we enjoy the views of the second highest mountain in Cusco. As we ascend we make stops on the way to enjoy the outstanding mountain scenery of the Vilcabamba range. After lunch we ascend to the Incachiriaska Pass (Frozen Inca Pass;  5,100 m/16,700 ft), the highest point on the entire trek. Gradually ascend to our campsite (Sisaypampa) with more incredible views of Salkantay, also we will have the opportunity to appreciate and take photos in the imposing Andean topography, quiet and cozy place where you can see Llamas, Alpacas and with luck we might see a condor.


DAY 3: Sisaypampa - Pampacahuarina

This day we will start with the route of Inca Trail.First we will start descending Cusichaca Valley (a small village located in Pampacawana) there we can appreciate old original Incan channels.Arriving at our campsite in Pampacahuarina , we will take a delicious dinner, and finally we go to sleep. 

DAY 4: Pampacahuarina - Llullucha Pampa

This day is the most harder trekking during all of our tour so we finish our breakfast to gain more energy and get ready for the trek. To start, we hike for approximately 3 hours to arrive in  Paucarcancha (3,205 m/10,515 ft). There, our Tour Guide shows you around antique Inca´s ruins called Inkaracay. Then we descend for a couple of minutes to the town of Wayllabamba (3,000 m/9,842 ft). There, we say good-bye to our horseman and horses and welcome our Porters as we join the route of Inca Trail where only Porters are permited. Before we continue climbing, we enjoy lunch.This day we also appreciate native trees, orchids, mosses, ferns as well as birds. Finally we get to our next campsite at Llullucha Pampa (3,855 m/12,650 ft)

Day 5: Llucha Pampa - Chaquicocha

On this day we will cross the highest point of the trail, the Abra Warmiwañusqa ( Dead Woman for its name in quechua) at 4,200 metres above sea level. Also we will pass through the cloud forests of Yunkachimpa and Corral Punku offering excellent views of surrounding snowcapped peaks. From Warmiwañusqa, we will descend to the Pacaymayo Valley (3,300 m), where we will have lunch . After we will continue hiking through the valley and we will arive at  the Inca´s ruins called Runkuracay where a we will have a guided tour.Endong the day, we will climb up and get over the second pass -Abra Runkurakay (3,860m). In addition, we will see the Inca Yanacocha Lake.Finally, we will arrive at our second campsite Chaquicocha (3,670 m).

Day 6:Chaquicocha - Wi├▒ayhuayna

Today’s hike is special because of the large amount of important archaeological sites we visit. As we walk, the vegetation starts to change turning into cloud-forest. We arrive at the Phuyupatamarca pass (3670m/12040f) and straight after, to the archaeological complex of the same name. This is one of the most complete and best preserved archaeological sites along the Trail, and is located on the highest point of a mountain, making honor to its name, ¨town over the clouds¨. From here we start our long descent towards our last campsite, Wiñaywayna (2700m/8860f). The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away. Wiñaywayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector.


Day 7: Wi├▒ayhuayna - Machu Picchu

This morning, we will wake up very early at 4.00 am approximately to leave Wiñaywayna an hour later and climb to The Sun Gate. The spectacular site of Inti Punku is the spot where we have our first glimpse of the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu.From here we descend towards Machu Picchu, and 40 minutes later we enter the citadel from the highest point through the ¨House of the Guardians¨. We then descend to the control point where we register ourselves and leave our backpacks. We immediately begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. After the tour we can continue visiting the ruins on our own, or take the bus down to the Aguas Calientes town. In the afternoon we meet in Aguas Calientes, where we take the train to the city of Cusco.


  • Transfer by private vehicle from the hotel in Cusco - Soraypampa. 
  • Horses (only for equipment). 
  • Train tickets Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) - Cusco (Ollantaytambo). 
  • Entrance ticket to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. 
  • Bus ticket from Machupicchu to Aguas Calientes. 
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs. 
  • Kitchen tent. 
  • Pre-trek briefing with your Tour Guide (our guide will visit your hotel a day before)
  • Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights);
  • Entrance fees to the red of Salkantay, an Inca Trail Permit and Machu Picchu fee;
  • Meals: 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner and 6x afternoon hot beverages (please advice us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide (a group of up to 10 participants receives 1 Guide, a group over 10 persons receives 2 Guides);
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Porters to carry food, camping equipment ,cooking equipment and personal belonging (7 kg), 
  • Camping equipment
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • A blanket per person
  • A pillow
  • Day Pack Rain Covers;
  • Rain Ponchos;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • A T-shirt of the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail Map;
  • Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own);
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town;
  • A Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo (Expedition Service);
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.


  • First breakfast 
  • Last lunch (in Aguas Calientes). 
  • A shuttle bus between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes Town ($12- one way)
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain ($ 85)
  • Extra porter and horses to carry your personal belonging (USD 130)
  • Travel insurance



  • Bring small backpack with clothes for 7 days. 
  • Personal hygiene items. 
  • Wear comfortable shoes for recommendation trekking shoes. 
  • Bring personal medicines and original passport. 
  • Water bottle and purifying pills. 
  • Waterproof in rainy season (from October to March). 
  • Flashlight, camera and batteries. 
  • Warm clothes for the first and second day. 
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to visit the thermal baths). 
  • Insect repellent. 
  • Sunscreen.
  • Sunglasses 
  • Caps for the sun 
  • Toilet paper, small towel. 
  • Snacks: Cookies, chocolates, etc. 
  • Canes. 



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