Salkantay is the longer and someone less frequented trail to Machu Picchu. This 5-day, 4-night trek takes you to see glaciers, remote Andean villages, and Andean fruit and coffee plantations. The Salkantay Mountain served as an important point in the Incan concept of sacred geography.
- 9 hrs
- Available Days:
- Every day
- 6:00 AM
- Inquire for Transportation
- Mobile Ticket Included
- Offered in English, Spanish
As you ascend and descend through different elevations, you’ll get to observe a variety of different landscapes. This trail is best observed from April to October, when there isn’t too much rain and temperatures range from quite chilly at night to pleasant warm in the afternoon.
After you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you’ll have your own private walking tour of Machu Picchu. Meals are included in your multi-day package. Porters will carry the bulk of the necessary equipment. Camping takes place in sky domes in the first night, which provide cozy places to sleep, even high in the mountains. The hike is only one-way, and you’ll get to make the return trip to Cusco with a comfortable train and bus ride.
Day 1 Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa
This day begins with an early pickup, at 6:00 AM from your hotel. Settle in for a four-hour journey to Mollepata. You'll first drive to a scenic vista of the Apurimac valley, and stop at the village of Limatambo for breakfast.
Continue for another few hours to reach Sayllapata, where you’ll meet your porters and have lunch. Horses will saddle up with the bulk of your luggage. Afterward, the hiking begins. At the outset of your hike, you’ll see traditional Andean villages like Cruzpata, Challacancha, and Soraypampa.
Transportation: 3.5 hours Hiking time: 6 to 7 hours Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner
Day 2 Soraypampa - Chaullay
Your day starts with breakfast prepared by your porters, before the hiking begins at 7:00 AM. You’ll soon have impressive views of the glaciers, on your way to Salkantay Pass. At an intense elevation of 15,090 feet (4,600 m), this ridge offers some of the best views of the trek.
The peaks of Umantay and Huayanay glaciers loom in the distance, standing tall over small, sparkling lakes of bright blue water. Eventually, after a long day of hiking, you’ll reach your campsite in Chaullay.
Hiking time: 8 hours Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 3 Chaullay - Playa - Santa Teresa
Day 3 begins with an easy descent, on a 3-hour trail that leads to a high-altitude jungle called Ceja de Selva. You’ll notice the topography start to change. Notice different plants, as well as an abundance of birdlife. This fertile landscape has the ideal conditions for coffee and fruit plantations. Eventually, you’ll reach a waterfall where you can stop for a swim, and keep an eye out for the exotic bird called the “cock of the rock.” Next, you’ll find your camp at the village of Santa Teresa, where you can also find hot springs for more swimming and relaxing.
Hiking time: 7 hours Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
*Day 4 Santa Teresa - Llactapata - Hydroelectrica - Aguas Calientes *
After breakfast, you’ll take local transportation to the village of Lucmabamba. From there, hike about 3.5 hours to reach the Inca site of Llaqtapata, where you’ll observe the remains of what probably served on a shrine on the Incan road to Machu Picchu. From here, you’ll also have your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. There’s no rushing here, and you’ll have a nice bit of time to enjoy the view.
From here, descend to the train station. You’ll have lunch during the 45-minute journey to Aguas Calientes, and then check into the Aguas Calientes hotel or hostel of your choosing – this stay is included in your package. Next, you’ll have dinner at a local restaurant at 7:30 PM. Return to your accommodations and get plenty of rest before you visit Machu Picchu in the morning.
Hiking time: 4 hours Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Day 5 Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Early in the morning, eat breakfast at the hotel and take the bus to Machu Picchu. Then, you'll explore the stunning citadel of Machu Picchu with a guide – its structures reflect the position of stars and planets in the sky. You’ll see temples and tombs, as well as practical agricultural terraces and other structures that supported everyday life. In addition to the tour of Machu Picchu, you’ll also have the chance to see Huayna Picchu, a nearby peak that offers the best view of the entire site.
Then, you’ll return to Aguas Calientes for a soak in the local hot springs. After you pack and check out, you’ll take the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, departing at either 2:00 PM or 6:00 PM. From Ollantaytambo, you’ll take a bus to Cusco. Depending on which train you take, you’ll arrive back in Cusco between 5:30 and 6 PM, or 9:30 and 10:00 PM.
Guided Tour time: 2.5 hours Free time for exploring: 1.5 hours Meals included: Breakfast
Many of our tours and activities offer transportation pick up & drop off options from several locations and destinations. Options vary by tour, see “BOOKING REQUEST” for full details.
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