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salkantay trekking

Salkantay Trekking to Machu Picchu 5 Days

ACTIVITY LEVEL: Moderate to Strenuous

The Salkantay trek was recently named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. A remote and ancient footpath in the same region of the Inca trail, but less traveled and offering more spectacular views and wilderness. This trek is a perfect alternative for those who wish to escape from beaten trekking routes.
Trek among glaciers and alpine lakes, as well as to local villages and lesser known Inca sites tucked into the slopes. Take in views of dazzling 20,000-footers such as Salkantay, the highest summit in the range and one of the most sacred peaks in Inca mythology. Experience the diverse ecosystems of the Andes, from ice-clad, high-alpine slopes to lush cloud forests and tropical plantations.

DAY 1: Cusco - Soraypampa
DAY 2: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Chaullay
DAY 3: Chaullay - La Playa
DAY 4: La Playa - Aguas Calientes
DAY 5: Machu Picchu - Cusco

DAY 1: Cusco - Soraypampa
Early in the morning) we pick you up from your hotel and then we drive to Mollepata (2900 masl). A 3 hour walk will take us to Cruzpata where we will have lunch with panoramic views of beautiful snow-capped mountains (Humantay; 4120m/13500ft and Salkantay; 6271m/20575ft) – just the start! Later in the in the afternoon we will arrive to our campsite Soraypamapa, our first campsite (3800 m/11750ft; the highest and coldest campsite of the trip) (B, L, D)

  •  (10 miles hiking, 7 - 8 hours) – Camping  

DAY 2: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Chaullay
Today we’ll rise early to set out on our 2nd day of the trek to the legendary citadel of Machu Picchu. Follow the Río Blanco valley, hiking the girth of Humantay, a snowy peak across from Salkantay. We’ll reach the highest point of our trip at (4650m/15200 ft.) and pause a moment to admire a vista of snowcapped peaks. From here, descend to our lunch spot. From here the hike takes us out of the stark high-alpine region and into increasingly lush vegetation, as we head down into the Collpapampa Valley, our 2nd campsite called Chawllay (3000m/9800ft). (B, L, D)

  • (12 miles hiking, 9 - 11 hours) – Camping 

 DAY 3: Chaullay - La Playa
Continue downhill through the Santa Teresa River Valley, a verdant area that is home to local farms and villages. Hike past coffee plantations and tropical fruit plantations as well as dazzling wildflowers of all colors. The surrounding cloud forest harbors wild orchids and butterflies as well as remarkable birdlife. (B, L, D)

  • (10 miles hiking, 5 - 6 hours) – Camping 

DAY 4: La Playa - Aguas Calientes
The final day of our trek kicks off early with a hearty breakfast. The trail winds uphill toward Llactapata Pass at 8,974 feet, where we’ll catch our first glimpse of Machu Picchu far in the distance. Explore the ruins of Llactapata, a sacred site for the Inca that has been recently restored. After lunch at an observation point overlooking Machu Picchu, follow the path down to the Urubamba River, hiking through thick bamboo stands, orchards, and coffee plantations. Later in the afternoon the hike takes us to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu, there is an optional short, scenic train ride to get to Aguas Calientes. (B, L, D)

  •  (10 miles hiking, 7 - 9 hours). Overnight in Aguas Calientes – Hotel   

DAY 5: Machu Picchu - Cusco
Stacked up a hillside in terraces amid soaring Andean peaks, the 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. We spend an entire day exploring its breathtaking labyrinth of temples, sanctuaries, and homes. Delve into the site with our guides, learning about the Inca’s sophisticated culture and technology, and discovering the secrets of this royal city lost to the wider world for some 500 years.
Today, you will be able to choose between walking up to Machu Picchu or taking a bus to Machu Picchu. Once you get there you will have a guided tour after that you are free to explore city on your own, take pictures, or take any of the extra hikes, e.g. Huaynapicchu (depending on availability) Later in the afternoon we’ll take the train back to Ollantaytambo station and a bus to Cusco. (B)


  • Private transportation from your hotel to the start point of the trail.
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu (Does not include the Huaynapicchu Mountain).
  • Professional English speaking Tour Guide
  • Professional chef and his assistant
  • Horses to carry all the equipment, food, cooking gear, etc.
  • All the camping equipment: including dining tents, cooking tents, cooking stuff, sleeping tents, camping table with camping chairs
  • Sleeping pad
  • Complete meals during the trip (you’ll never be hungry!): 3 breakfasts, 4 snacks, 3 lunches, 3 happy hours, and 3 dinners. All of these meals are prepared by our cook and his assistant.
  • Coca tea served each morning in your tent. When you wake up in the morning, you will be greeted at your tent with a selection of teas.
  • Boiled water after breakfast, lunch and dinner to refill your water bottles.
  • Snacks every morning.
  • Oxygen tank and first aid kit.
  • Vegetarian food and specialized diets on request at no extra cost.
  • Tents (4 man tents for every 2 people - very comfortable)
  • Hotel at Aguas Calientes
  • Bus from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes town.
  • Expedition Train back to Ollantaytambo at the end of your journey and the private transportation to your hotel.


  • Sleeping bag (can be rented at CHAT office)
  • Walking stick (can be rented at CHAT office)
  • Entrance ticket to the hot springs (10 soles) optional
  • Bus ticket one way back from Machu Picchu or you can walk down a set of stairs for one hour
  • Last lunch at Aguas Calientes
  • Tips for your field staff are much appreciated


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