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Machu Picchu Perú

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

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Trip Overview

The 5 day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a popular alternative to the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu picchu takes you around the mighty Salkantay Mountain, one of the most important sacred Andean Peaks.

Contrasting with the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trekking route doesn’t have any Inca sites. It is more a place of nature and pristine views of the Peruvian Andes.

Salkantay Trail covers 72 Kilometers (46 miles) through rugged territories. The Salkantay Trek  to Machu Picchu begins high up in the Andes near the Humantay Lagoon, one of the most visited natural tourist places. The way takes you down through different plantations and farms to the Amazon cloud forests before entering Machu Picchu, the Lost City of The Incas.

Salkantay Pass marks the highest point of the five-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, at 4630 meters above sea level (15190ft.). It is highly recommended to spend at least 4-5 days in Cusco before to start this trekking, to avoid altitude sickness.

Best time to hike The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Technically, you can hike Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu all around the year. Although it is highly recommended to avoid hiking during the rainy season (December to February). The best time to experience Salkantay Trekking is during the dry season, from April to November.

We are one of the leading Salkantay Trek to Machu picchu tour operators based in Cusco. We have a dedicated team of professionals guiding the trek, they have years of experience hiking the route. Our crew is also trained in First Aid and are mountaineering experts.

Do spare a moment to check our reviews on Tripadvisor

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Tour plan

Day 1: Cusco to Soraypampa and Salkantaypampa camp
• Depart from Cusco early morning and drive to Soraypampa, the starting point of the Salkantay Trek.
• Begin the trek to Humantay Lake, nestled beneath the mighty Humantay Mountain.
• Settle into camp, enjoy a delicious dinner, and acclimate to the pristine Andean environment.

Day 2: Salkantay Pass and to Chaullay
• Embark on a challenging ascent to the Salkantay Pass (4,600 meters/15,091 feet), capturing panoramic views. Later descend to Huayracmachay for lunch, then continue through diverse landscapes, passing Andean communities. Reach Chaullay, a serene campsite surrounded by tropical vegetation, and savor a hearty dinner.

Day 3: Chaullay to llucmabamba
• Trek through the Santa Teresa Valley, crossing through cloud forests.
• Arrive at Llucmabamba for lunch, followed by a rejuvenating dip in the hot springs of Cocalmayo, extra optional.

Day 4: Llucmabamba to Aguas Calientes
• Trek to Llactapata, exploring Inca ruins and coffee plantations along the way and stunning views of Machu Picchu.
• Descend to the Hydroelectric station, then hike to Aguas Calientes to your accommodation, unwind, and prepare for the Machu Picchu visit the next day.

Day 5: Machu Picchu – The Crown Jewel
• Rise early and catch one of the first buses to Machu Picchu for a sunrise experience over the ancient citadel.
• Explore the mystical ruins with a knowledgeable guide, discovering the history and significance of each sacred site.
• Optional hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain for panoramic views.
• Descend to Aguas Calientes for a celebratory lunch before boarding the return train to Ollantaytambo and transferring to Cusco.


  • 3 nights at campinf, 1 night of hotel
  • Tour guide for all excursions
  • All entrance fees
  • All necessary transportation for the tours.

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Full Itinerary of Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Day 1Cusco - Humantay Lake - Soraypampa - Suyrucocha

Our team will pick you up early in the morning from your hotel in Cusco. Then, we’ll go on a two hours trip in our private transport to Mollepata village. Here we will have a brief stop so you can buy some last-minute supplies, if needed.

We will then drive you to Soraypampa (3930m-12,849 ft). This is the trailhead to hike the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. After enjoying a healthy Andean breakfast, our guide will give you a briefing about safety along the trekking.  After this, we are ready to start hiking our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

We start hiking for about an hour and a half to the Humantay glacial lake (4230m / 13,878 ft) Our tour guide will be giving you a detailed explanation about this hidden gem up in the Andes. You will discover its prominence in the Andean mythology. Once you have appreciated the views of this Andean jewel, we hike back to our campsite in Soraypampa, to have a   delicious Andean lunch.

Now, you will have some time to relax and unwind before to start hiking up the hill for about two hours to our base camp, Salkantay Pampa at (4200m / 13,780 ft).

As you arrive to the campsite, our team will serve a hot cup of coca leave tea. Normally, here we have a clear sky so  it’s going to be easy to see the formation of Andean Galaxy, our travel expert will be sharing some stories about this before you retire to rest in your respective tents.

Day 2Suyrucocha - Salkantay Pass - LLucmabamba

As you wake up, before breakfast, our team will serve you a hot cup of coca tea, then we’ll have a typical Andean breakfast before starting the most challenging part of the five days Salkantay Trekking experience.

We will hike up the hill for about two hours to the highest point of the trekking, Salkantay Pass at 4600 meters (15091ft).  Here you’ll have a panoramic view of the Peruvian Andes and you will get a closer view of the Salkantay Lagoon which nestles on the foothill of the mighty Salkantay Peak (6240m / 20,472ft). In 2020, this caused a major avalanche and destroyed a part of the trail and the villages in the region.

After contemplating the views from here, we will hike down the hill to Huayracpunku, to have lunch. You will then have some time to wink a nap.

This region is home for different wildlife like Chinchillas, Mountain Cara Cara Falcons and more.

Now, it is time to start a gradual three hours descending to Chaullay, to take a local van to our second campsite Llucmabamba located at (2000 m/6561 ft) amidst the cloud forest. Our crew will be assisting you with a proper accommodation in your tent in our exclusive campsite.

Then, we’ll be serving a hot cup of coffee or tea followed by a traditional Andean meal for dinner.

Day 3Llucmabamba - Coffee Farms Visits - Llactapata

Our crew will be waking you up to a cup of tea or coffee followed by a traditional breakfast. The third day of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu will take you through the cloud forest, here you will mostly be experiencing a warmer temperature.

After Breakfast, we will visit a local coffee farm. The coffee farmer would demonstrate the entire process from planting coffee seeds to roasting and brewing them.

Then, we will step on the original Inca Trail or Qhapaq ñan for a three hours hike to the beautiful campsite of Llactapata, amidst the cloud forest. Llactapata is a small and ancient town at 2720 meters (8924 ft.) above sea level. Here we will have lunch, dinner and you’ll have the afternoon free.

From this place, you will also get a stunning view of Machu Picchu at a distance. After enjoying a traditional dinner, we will overnight here, in Llactapata

Day 4Llactapata - Hydroelectric Plant - Aguas Calientes

Our crew will be waking you up to a freshly brewed cup of coca tea or coffee. After relishing a typical Andean breakfast with a stunning view of Machu Picchu citadel, we start our Salkantay trek to Machu picchu with a downhill hike to the Hydroelectric power Plant.

This is a 2-hours easy hike with views of waterfalls, mountains, and wildlife as parrots.

Once in Hydroelectric station, our team is in charge to serve you a delicious lunch. Then, we will bid goodbye to our support crew.

The last stage of our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu will take a three hours hike going along the train track to Aguas Calientes town. On this part of the trek, you will be retracing the footsteps of the well-known American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu.

When arriving to Aguas Calientes town, we will accommodate you in a hotel room. Later, in the evening we meet you for dinner at a local restaurant. Our tour guide will give you a briefing about the next day.

Day 5Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

First thing in the morning, we will we board a 30 minutes bus ride up to the citadel of Machu Picchu. Our tour leader will be assisting you in clearing the control and enter to the citadel.  By this time, you will witness the shining rays of the morning sun beaming on the walls of Machu Picchu citadel.

We will give you a 2 hour guided excursion around the citadel. You will visit the main square, remains of the Inca royal quarters and ceremonial center among other sites

After the tour, if you have booked the entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, the guide will show you the entrance to hike.

After the tour, we take the bus back to Aguas Calientes for lunch by your own. Here you will be boarding the train back to Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our crew will meet you at the train station to drive to your hotel in Cusco.
End of our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.


Inclusions & Exclusions on Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu


✓ Professional Guide: A seasoned and knowledgeable guide will lead you through the Salkantay trek, offering insights into the history, culture, and ecology of the region.

✓ Accommodation: Comfortable accommodation is provided for the last nigth,  camping sites equipped with tents, and other necessary gear.

✓ Meals: Nutritious meals are included, offering a blend of local and international cuisines to fuel your trekking adventures.
✓ Entrance Fees: All entrance fees to the Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu are covered, ensuring seamless access to these iconic destinations.

✓ Expedition Train Tickets: Train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, and transfers back to Cusco, are included for a comfortable journey.
✓ Porter Service: For your convenience, porter service is provided to carry a portion of the trekking gear, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the trek.
✓ First Aid Kit: A well-equipped first aid kit is available to address any minor health concerns during the trek.

Not Included

✘ Meals in Cusco and Aguas Calientes: While meals during the trek are included, those in Cusco and Aguas Calientes are typically not covered.
✘ Optional Hikes: Entrance tickets for optional hikes, such as Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, are not included but can be purchased for US $ 75.
✘ Personal Expenses: Expenses for personal items, Sleeping bag (US $ 20), souvenirs, or additional snacks are not included.
✘ Travel Insurance: Participants are encouraged to have their travel insurance, covering medical emergencies and trip cancellations.
✘ Tips: Gratuities for the guide, porters, and other staff are not usually included but are customary and appreciated.
✘ Additional Services: Any additional services not explicitly mentioned in the itinerary may not be included.
Optional VistaDome Train: This is a panoramic train, recomemded to use way bak for an extra of US $ 75
Private tours or excursions: These are ideal for those who want a more personalized service, where schedules are organized according to the client’s needs.


Prices in shared service

Category ↓Hotels Included in Aguas Calientes↓
With Tents
$ 450,00 per person
-Retama Inn, Hatun Samay or Similar
With Iglus***
$ 550,00 per person
-Retama Inn, Hatun Samay or Similar
  • A group trip means that it is open for other travelers to join in.
  • 100% guaranteed departures. This tour can be done at any time of the year.
  • Prices are per person based on the selected hotel room and in American Dollars.
  • For tours in private service contact us, it has another cost.


  • 40 dollars discount for travelers under 17 years old.
  • 40 dollars discount for CAN member countries: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia.
  • Groups, with more than 6 members also have a discount. Please inform us at the time of booking so that we can apply the discount.
How to Book and Pay ?
  • To book enter in contact and then pay for the booking.
  • It is necessary to make the initial payment of the requested amount US $ 150 per person with any credit or debit card, by the way that you prefer Payment methods.
  • After the deposit, you will have to send us a passport photos, only with this we will be able to confirm your deposit and booking.
  • If you cancel the tour, all deposits are non-refundable for any reason.
  • The remaining balance must be paid in Cusco before starting your tour with cash.
  • Note: If you are paying the balance with credit or debit card there is an extra charge of 6%.



How long is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is around 74 km long (46 miles). It usually takes 4 to 5 days to complete it, but the total duration depends on the itinerary.

Is the Salkantay Trek dangerous?

The Salkantay Trek is dangerous during the rainy season, which starts in November and ends in March. During this time the trail becomes slippery and muddy. Hence, during these months it’s not possible to hike the Salkantay Trek.

How difficult is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is not easy to hike. It requires a good physical shape due to its high altitude, steep terrain, cold weather and length.

Is Salkantay Trek worth it?

The Salkantay Trek is a great alternative to the Inca Trail. It allows hikers to explore the Humantay Lake, the Salkantay Mountain and the cloud forests of the highland jungles of Cusco.

How high is Salkantay Trek?

The highest point of the Salkantay Trek is the Salkantay Pass, which is located at 4630 m.a.s.l.

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