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Day 1: Cusco – Humantay Lake – Soraypampa – Suyrucocha
Day 2: Suyrucocha – Salkantay Pass – LLucmabamba
Day 3: Llucmabamba – Coffee Farms Visits – Llactapata
Day 4: Llactapata – Hydroelectric Plant – Aguas Calientes
Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
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.
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.
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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.
As you wake up, before breakfast, our crew will serve you a hot cup of coca tea or Peruvian coffee, 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.
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
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 railway tracks to Aguas Calientes town. This is the jump off point to Machu Picchu.
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 an ensuite 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 following day’s itinerary.
Aguas Calientes town gets its name after the Hot Springs. You can spend the evening relaxing in the thermal waters here.
Early in the morning, we will be taking a 25 minutes bus ride up the hill to the citadel of Machu Picchu. Our tour guide will be assisting you in clearing the security 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 two hours guided tour around the citadel. You will visit the main square, remains of the Inca royal quarters and ceremonial center among other sites
After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own. If you have booked to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, our guide will direct you to the respective trail head.
Alternatively, you can hike to the Sun gate to get a panoramic view of Machu Picchu citadel. This is also the entrance to the citadel for those who hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
After the tour, we take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. 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 you back to your hotel in Cusco.
End of our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.
Here are some additional items that you can include in this tour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The highest point of the Salkantay Trek is the Salkantay Pass, which is located at 4630 m.a.s.l.