Salkantay Trekking 5 Days
- Tour TypeTrekking
- Duration5 Days
- LanguagesEs, En,
- Best TimeApril - Nov
- Group Size08 people maximun
The Salkantay Trekking 5 days to Machu Picchu is one of the most spectacular treks you can do in all of South America.
If you are thinking of trekking to Machu Picchu and want to be away from it all, in the middle of the mountains, close to the Andean communities and appreciate the diverse nature of Peru, this is your ideal route. A 5-day guided trek, with which you will enjoy unique and diverse landscapes such as snow-capped mountains, Andean villages, tropical forests and even a dense jungle to finally get to know Machu Picchu like a real trekker.
The Salkantay trek is a trekking route that takes the visitor to the Inca City of Machu Picchu. The total trekking distance is approximately 70 kilometers (5 days of trekking).
Cusco – Laguna Humantay – Suyruccocha
Our Salkantay Trek adventure begins with a visit to the famous Humantay Lagoon, then lunch and prepare for the trek to Suyruccocha camp.
Suyrucocha – Salkantay Pass – Collpapampa
The second day we will arrive at the Salkantay Pass, which is the highest point of the route. Here we will be able to take pictures and enjoy the magnificence of the Salkantay mountain.
Collpapampa – Sahuayaco – Santa Teresa.
The third day we will continue descending through amazing landscapes and accompanied by mountains with snow and weather changes.
Santa Teresa – Hidroelectrica- Aguas Calientes
The fourth day we will be in the middle of the high jungle of Cusco, we will walk until we reach Aguas Calientes and rest the night in this town.
- Day 05
Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
The fifth day of the Salkantay trek is when we will visit Machu Picchu and in the afternoon we will return to Cusco.
Whats Included / Not Included
Tour with Professional guide (08 people maximum).
Mobility from Cusco to Mollepata.
3 nights camping in double tent and one night hotel in Aguas Calientes
Train to back to Cusco from Aguas Calientes.
Tents: EUREKA K2-XT.
A Duffle bag
Porter in charge of carrying 6 kl of the equipment.
Dining tent. Kitchen tent.
Chairs and tables.
Entrance ticket to Salkantay.
Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
Return bus from Machupicchu to Aguas Calientes.
First aid kit.
Specified Meals: 04 Breakfasts 04 Lunches 03 Tea time 04 Dinners
Huayna Picchu or Mountain Machu Picchu tickets (extra cost $60).
Sleeping bag (extra cost $25 USD).
Hiking sticks (extra cost $15 USD).
Air Mattress (extra cost $15 USD).
Travel health insurance (obligatory)
Salkantay Trekking 5 days is a complete trek with a different and varied route to meet again with the classic Inca Trail to reach Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay trail route will take us through a path around the Sacred Mountain of Salkantay with a varied climate with incredible panoramic views, the Urubamba and Apurimac rivers make the tour take color and beauty. The Salkantay trek begins near Humantay and takes us through arid landscapes typical of the Andes to the jungle of Cusco where you will see abundant tropical forests in beautiful snowy peaks.
The Salkantay mt located northwest of Cusco is the highest peak of all the mountain ranges and reaches 6, 271 meters above sea level. The trek is well known because it is a quiet trail and is considered one of the best treks in the world and the best alternative to the Inca Trail 4 days.
Our Salkantay trekking route takes us through beautiful valleys where we will see varied flora and fauna that are not at all invidious for those who make the Inca Trail.
Salkantay trek has become more than an alternative to the Inca Trail, now many choose this route because it takes us through mountains with snow, lakes, and roads with unique vegetation to reach Machu Picchu.
Salkantay Trek does not have a limit of entrances or special permits like the classic Inca Trail, which is why it is also a good option. The 2 routes demand almost the same strength.
DAY 1: CUSCO – HUMANTAY LAKE – SUYRUCOCHA: Trekking.
Leaving at 5:00 am to Mollepata (3 850 masl.)( 12,631.23 ft.). arriving at around 07:30 a.m. here breakfast and meet our Expeditions team (chef and muleteer). one hour bus to Soraypampa where we start the first day of hiking to Humantay Lagoon, later Lunch time, after a short rest continue the trek for three hours until we reach the first camp site in Suyruccocha (4 300 masl.)(14,107.61 ft.).
Around 05:30 pm “HAPPY HOUR”, we all have to drink the famous coca tea to counteract the altitude sickness. the guide will explain a little more about the beautiful area around us. With the silence of dusk we can appreciate the Andean night sky and the snowy peaks of Salkantay and Humantay an experience that only exists in this camp.
- Accommodation: Camping
- Maximum Altitude: 4100 masl/13.4312feet
- Minimum Altitude: 2850 masl/9.3504feet
- Distance Travelled: 10 km/6.200mile.
Meals included: Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 2: SUYRUCOCHA – PASO SALKANTAY – COLLPAPAMPA: Trekking.
After breakfast we have to do different stretching exercises to avoid any physical injury because this day is the longest and hardest. Our reward is to reach the highest point. It will be almost two hours to reach the Salkantay pass (4,600 m.a.s.l.)
Then, continuing with the hike we will descend to the small village of Huayraq, where we can rest and enjoy our snack. From this point the climate and vegetation will change drastically to an area full of orchids, medicinal plants and bamboo plantations, continuing our descent to our second campsite in the village of Collpapampa.
- Accommodation: Camping
- Maximum Altitude: 4650 masl/15.2559feet
- Minimum Altitude: 2900 masl/9.5144feet
- Distance Travelled: 21km/13.0488mile to Chaullay
Meals included:Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 3: COLLPAPAMPA – SAHUAYACO – SANTA TERESA: Trekking.
Enjoying the great variety of flora and fauna as we pass through different agricultural fields of the local population, crossing rivers that originate in the nearby snow-capped mountains, as well as some waterfalls.
The change of climate will be a most expected experience, as we will pass from the freezing cold of the previous days to a warm and humid climate typical of the high jungle. We will also have the option to visit the thermal baths of Cocalmayo.
- Accommodation: Camping
- Maximum Altitude: 2900 masl/9.5144feet
- Minimum Altitude: 2100 masl/6.8898feet
- Distance Travelled: Approx 27km/16.9419mile
Meals included:Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 4: SANTA TERESA – HIDROELECTRICA-AGUAS CALIENTES: Trekking.
After breakfast, the hike is along a historically important part of the Inca trail, not only did it connect Machu Picchu with the jungle, but it was also used as an escape route by many of the inhabitants of Machu Picchu during the conquest. after the Luch in Hidroelectrica, the last three hours of trek are along the banks of the Vilcanota River until reaching the town of Aguas Calientes.
Meals included:Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
DAY 5: MACHU PICCHU
The guide will take us through the most important constructions and temples of the citadel, both in the agricultural area and the urban area. At the end of our guided tour, you must return to the town of Aguas Calientes by bus, where the train station is located.
The train is leaving from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo station and bus to Cusco.
What to Bring? - Packing List
We recommend carrying only the necessary luggage for the days of the tour. Large backpacks with equipment that are not needed for the expedition should be left in the city of Cusco (at your hotel or in our main office).
A small backpack of 30 to 60 liters capacity.
02 or 03 trekking pants (fast drying).
Pants and thermal pole (first layer).
A light sweater.
Warm jacket (of feather or fiber).
Hat or cap.
Repellent for mosquitoes (30% Deet or more).
Personal hygiene items: Wet wipes, toothpaste and toothbrush.
The most friendly and positive attitude possible.
Additional Items to upgrade your experience
1. Huayna Picchu
The cost of the ticket is $60 dollars per person.
Huayna Picchu is a mountain within the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu, it is a 45 minute hike to the top.
To purchase this additional you have to let us know at least 2 months in advance due to high demand, schedules and details of your visit to this site will be confirmed in the previous meeting that we will have.
At Lorenzo Expeditions we care that your experience to Peru and Machu Picchu is the most memorable. That is why we make tours and guides like this section, where you will find the answers to all the questions you have about traveling with us in one place. Please read the following information carefully – it will help you with any questions about our services.
Do you have any other questions that we haven’t answered here? Write to us and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Is the Salkantay Trek for me?
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an excellent alternative to hiking the Inca Trail and is more suitable for more adventurous hikers who can handle higher altitudes and longer distances. The ascent to reach the famous Apacheta Pass (4,630 m) is not too strenuous or steep, as it is at the beginning of the hike. However, it does require stamina and some time in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude before starting the hike.
If your initial plan was the Inca Trail and you have been preparing for this route, the Salkantay trek is ideal for you.
How many days do I need to acclimatize in Cusco before the trek?
It is very important to be well acclimatized to the altitude before exerting yourself on such a high altitude trek. We recommend that you arrive in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before the start of the trek to help you acclimatize and avoid possible altitude sickness problems during the trek. This applies to all treks in the Cusco region.
Suppose you have already been to another area of Peru at high altitude before arriving in Cusco. In that case, we still recommend that you have a full day in Cusco to rest, recover from your trip, and enjoy the sights and sounds of Cusco before leaving for the trek.
Here are some suggestions of activities to do around Cusco before starting your trekking adventure:
- City Tour Cusco (most recommended)
- Sacred Valley of the Incas
- Maras and Moray
- Rainbow Mountain Peru (You need at least 1 day of rest to do this)
What is the best time to do Salkantay Trek?
Two climatic seasons predominate in the Peruvian subtropical Andes: the dry season runs from late April to early October, and the wet season begins in late October and continues through April.
The Salkantay Trail is busiest during the dry season months, especially from May to September. If you wish to hike at this time of year, it is advisable to book at least 6 months in advance.
Therefore, the best time of year to do the Salkantay Trek is from May to October.
The dry months of March/April and October/November can also be a good time to hike, although the likelihood of rain is higher.
December, January and February are the rainiest months, and the Classic Inca Trail and the Salkantay / Inca Trail Combo are actually closed for maintenance in February (it is possible to do the Short Inca Trail or any of the alternative treks to Machu Picchu during February).
Temperatures in the region are fairly constant throughout the year, with days reaching 20 degrees Celsius (70 and 80 Fahrenheit), and dropping into the low single digits to below freezing at night and in the early morning hours.
Temperature fluctuations are also common when ascending to high passes or descending into sun-exposed valleys.
Altitudes in Salkantay Trek
During the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we will find the following altitudes:
- “Mollepata” 2,803 m.a.s.l.
- “Marcocasa” at 3,500 meters above sea level.
- “Rayuska” at 5,350 meters above sea level.
- “Sayllapata” at 3,600 meters above sea level.
- “Soraypampa” at 3,750 meters above sea level.
- “Humantay” at 5,917 meters above sea level.
- “Salkantay” at 6,271 meters above sea level.
- “Salkantay Pampa” at 4,100 meters above sea level.
- “Machu Picchu” at 2,430 meters above sea level.
The briefing meeting
This meeting will take place the night before the trekking departure at a point agreed with you, it can be in the lobby of your hotel, restaurant, etc.
What about the balance due?
The tour has to be paid in full at the latest one day before departure (usually after the briefing).
We would appreciate it if you pay the balance of the tour in cash in US dollars or in local currency in Cusco. You can withdraw money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian soles). You can also pay online with PAYPAL or NIUBIZ (credit or debit card), but you will have to add an additional 5% fee for the use of their secure payment gateway. We do not accept bank checks or balance payment by traveler’s check.
Travel bag for the Salkantay Classic Trek – 5 days
The night before you start your trek, we will provide you with a duffel bag to pack your clothes for the 5 days of your Salkantay Trek. Your weight allowance is up to 7 kg / 15.4 lbs.
Our horses will carry your duffel bag for you along with food and camping equipment. It is important to note that you will not have access to your items in the duffel bag until the end of each day, as the riders and horses will always be ahead of the group.
During the trip, you will need a daypack large enough to carry your personal belongings, such as a warm jacket, rain jacket, camera, sunscreen, snacks, water, etc. Normally, a backpack of 30 to 50 liters is sufficient.
Food on the tour
Our cooks travel with the horses in front of the group so that when you arrive at the camp the tents are already set up and the food is ready.
We have several food options that you will be informed about in the briefing.
Tents and showers
Our tents are ideal for the Salkantay climate, resisting extreme cold temperatures.
We also carry bathroom tents and in each camp there will be bathrooms for you to use, although they are basic.
Where can I store luggage in Cusco?
You can store your luggage in our offices and premises in Cusco while you do the tour. We do not charge you anything, it is totally free. Your luggage will be delivered to you when you return to Cusco.
The equipment you do not need during the tour can be stored safely at your hotel. Almost all hotels offer this service. Do not leave valuables in your luggage; store them in the hotel safe and get an itemized receipt (in the unlikely event of theft, many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt detailing all items). For peace of mind, it is best to place items, such as credit cards, inside a sealed, signed envelope.
Lorenzo Expeditions picks you up at your hotel, as long as you are in the Historic Center of Cusco. Your guide will coordinate the pick-up time at the briefing, but please note that the time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic.
Cusco is an ancient city; therefore, it has many narrow, cobblestone streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets with no access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to carry luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Return to Cusco
The return from Machu Picchu requires quite a bit of logistics, but don’t worry – everything is included in your tour!
- At Machu Picchu, you will board a bus that will take you for 25 minutes to the small town of Aguas Calientes. Buses are boarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
- In Aguas Calientes, you will board a train to Ollantaytambo (or Poroy). Your guide will give you train tickets showing your boarding time. Be sure to be on the platform 30 minutes before. The train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes 1:45 hours.
Once you arrive at the station, our representative, identified with Lorenzo Expeditions clothing, will be waiting for you to transfer you to Cusco or directly to your hotel. The trip from Ollantaytambo to Cusco takes 1:30 hours.
- In Cusco, depending on the location of your hotel, we will take you to a smaller car of our company (Hyundai H1) to transfer you faster to your hotel.
Group tours are made up of different types of people, so physical conditions and ages may vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at his or her own pace on the route.
It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the route; however, it is up to the guide to decide, after consultation with all participants, whether such modifications are possible.
Strikes and protests
Strikes and protests are common in Peru, and this may disrupt some of our tours. Roads may be blocked and train tracks may be taken over. However, we will try to keep your tour as planned, even if this means leaving the night before the scheduled date.
In case of changes or cancellations, all situations will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our top priority, and our decisions will be made to protect it.
Lost and Found
Please pay attention to where you leave your belongings and remember to pick up everything once you leave our buses, tents or restaurants. You are solely responsible for your belongings during the tour.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Salkantay located?
The snow-capped “Salkantay” is the highest peak of the Vilcabamba mountain range, which is part of the Peruvian Andes. It is located 60 km northwest of the city of Cusco. It is the 38th highest peak in the Andes and the 12th highest in Peru.
How difficult is the Salkantay Trek to the Inca Trail?
This trail has a moderate to hard difficulty, it is recommended to have a good physical preparation, and to arrive in Cusco at least 2 days before starting the trek to acclimatize.
Is it possible to do the Salkantay Trek on my own?
The Salkantay trek unlike the traditional Inca Trail, where it is mandatory to hire an agency and it is difficult to acquire an entrance ticket, the Salkantay trek allows you to do it on your own. The trek begins in the town of Mollepata, where you must pay a registration fee at the checkpoint in the main square, which costs approximately 130 soles or 40 dollars.
At what altitude is Salkantay?
The Salkantay mountain reaches 6,271 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.). The trekking route that leads to Machu Picchu has its highest point in the ‘Abra Salcantay’, at 4,650 meters above sea level. From there you can see the peak of the snow-capped mountain.
What does Salkantay mean?
The Salkantay is a snow-capped mountain whose name translated from Quechua would mean ‘Wild Mountain’. This summit is known as ‘Apu’ (‘Lord’) for its majesty and elevation.
Does the Salkantay Trek lead to Machu Picchu?
Yes, this route is the best alternative to the classic Inca Trail. Unlike the Inca Trail, Salkantay trekking takes 5 days to reach Machu Picchu.
What is the climate like in Salkantay Trail?
The snow-capped mountain has an extremely cold climate (several degrees Celsius below 0º).
The weather during the Salkantay trek, on the other hand, is varied. The intense sun and the cold at night in the first days change for the tropical atmosphere of the last days.
What is the flora and fauna like?
During the 5 days and 4 nights that the Salkantay trek lasts, you will travel through landscapes with a great variety of flora and fauna. Among the species of flowers and plants, the orchid and the ichu (Andean grass) stand out. Among the species of birds and animals, it is worth mentioning the llama, alpaca, vizcacha, condor, spectacled bear and the cock of the rock (national bird of Peru).