Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days Experience
The 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an alternative to the Inca Trail Trek to Machu Picchu and is considered by most to be the best alternative route (and maybe even better!). This magnificent trail is perfect for adventurers who wish to become personally integrated with changing ecosystems from one day to the next.
You will walk through sweeping, magical landscapes of a snowy mountain paradise to a tropical jungle where you will find a wide range of animals and vegetation. The Cordillera Vilcabamba is an impressive mountain range extending over 260 km. The snow-capped mountain Salkantay rises to 6271m– 20,574 ft in height. It is an outstanding glacier peak, located less than fifty miles northwest of the city of Cusco in south-central Peru, because of its proximity to the city, it is easily accessible by car and it has been climbed by professional mountaineers since 1952.
Why you will love this tour
- Hike and experience one of National Geographic’s 25 “World’s Best Treks” in the Peruvian Andes.
- Witness the scenic views of Humantay and Salkantay glacier peaks and incredible scenery like cascades, mountains, green valleys, rivers, cloud forest, and wildlife
- Grab some coffee beans from local crops and roast them, to make your own espresso, what a cool
- Trek by a short section of the original Inca Trail to the Llactapata ruins, from which, you’ll have the first sights of the famed Machu Picchu.
- Explore the fascinating citadel of Machu Picchu and the surrounding area with your own trek guide.
- Your own private trek guide, muleteers, horses, delicious camp cuisine prepared by your personal cook.
- Live a genuine camping experience in proper natural areas far away from crowds.
- Hike this Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days with a local tour operator, managed by expert local guides, accredited by the Peruvian Ministry of Tourism.
- Tour duration: 5 days
- Activities: Hiking, Archaeology, and nature.
- Trek starts from: Cusco
- Trek ends in: Cusco
- Group Size: Small groups for big adventures (min 2ppl – max 8ppl – average 4ppl)
- Good For: Those with a sense of adventure and in good hiking shape
- Physical rating: Moderate – demanding due to the altitude of the trail
- Consideration: Please remember coming prepared for this trek.
- Hiking time: 7-9 hours every day.
- Trail distance: 45km
- Highest point: 4,600m/ ft.
- Departure: Daily
DAY 1: Cusco – Humantay Lake – Soyroqocha Camp
At 4:30 am, our Cusco Local Friend tour guide will come to your hotel to pick you up by private van, you will then drive roughly for 2 hours to reach the Mollepata town, where we’ll stop for about 30 minutes for breakfast (not included). Following the short stop, we’ll keep driving for about 1 more hour until we reach the trailhead called Soraypampa (3,880m/ 12,726 ft). At our arrival at the trailhead, we’ll meet up our muleteers, horses and get ourselves introduced to them and make our rucksacks ready to get the adventure started. This place will treat us with great views of the snow-capped Humantay (5,900m/ 19,356 ft) and Salkantay (6,271m/ 20,574 ft).
We’ll then take a detour from the regular Salkantay trail and make our way up to Humantay Lake (4,300m / 14,108 ft) for 2 hours and 30 minutes. It’s a beautiful, crystal blue glacial lake, located at the skirt of the snow-capped mountain of Humantay and surrounded by incredible mountain vistas. Next, we’ll walk down to the trailhead again, around this place you will have a succulent lunch. After lunch, we will head out to our first camp for 3 hours following a bridle path along the banks of the stream and the highland valley until our first camp, called Soyroqocha, located at a glacial moraine with a small lagoon at an altitude of (4,450m/ 14,596 ft). On this section of the trail, the panorama that unfolds before our eyes is stunning and certainly is one of the highlights of the first day of our Salkantay trek itinerary. After feasting our eyes and taking those Insta-worthy photos, we’ll rest in our tents. Later on, we’ll have our tea time, which consists of having biscuits, popcorn, hot chocolate, milk, coffee, variety of tea, and right shortly after we will have our dinner, after that, you’ll have a refreshing briefing for the second day, we’ll go to our tents for a nice dream. All meals included, except breakfast.
- Walking Distance: 11 km/ 6.83 miles
- Total Walking Time: 7 hours approx
- Minimum Altitude: 3,800 m / 12,464 ft
- Maximum Altitude: 4,450 masl/14,596 ft
- Physical rating: Moderate to challenging
- Meals: Lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and snacks
DAY 2: Soyroqocha – Wayracpampa – Collpa Camp
In the morning, we’ll wake you up with a hot cup of coca tea to get you going! followed by a nutritious breakfast while enjoying Sunrise at the summit of Salkantay. We’ll then start hiking for 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the highest pass called Salkantay Pass at (4,632m/ 15,193 ft) along the way, we’ll have a chance to spot vizcachas, the elusive Andean chinchilla that likes to jump and scurry among the rocks.
From the highest pass, we’ll enjoy the impressive views of the massive snow-capped mountains over the surrounding valleys as well as Salkantay Mountain sitting right next to you (6,271m/20,574ft), the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Apus (Inca Gods). After you’ve taken in the views and enjoyed a rest, we’ll start walking downhill for about 2 hours and 30 minutes towards Wayracpampa (3,850m/ 12,631ft) and stop for lunch; the downhill is long and steady with stunning views. After lunch, we’ll leave the crowds behind and we’ll continue walking until we enter cloud forest where we’ll see the contrast of sceneries and we’ll also be able to see the highland forest and notice the change of temperature and witness how quickly and dramatically the landscape change from the Andes to the lush high jungle. As we keep going down, we’ll spot lush scenery, native plants and flowers, orchids, and birds.
Once we arrive at our second camp, called Collpa (2,750m / 9,020 ft), Cusco Local Friend staff will welcome you to our camp and show you to your tent so you can rest. We’ll eventually have our tea time, dinner, and rest. All meals included
- Walking Distance: 18 km/ 11.18 miles
- Total Walking Time: 8 – 9 hours
- Minimum Altitude: 2,750m / 9,020 ft
- Maximum Altitude: 4,632 m / 15,193 ft
- Physical rating: Challenging
- Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and snacks.
DAY 3: Collpa – Lucmabamba Camp
Today, a great just prepared breakfast will make us ready for a hike through the lush forest to the next campsite. Along the trail, we’ll enjoy a more leisurely walk with more downs than ups as we soak in the incredible variety of wildlife from birds, insects, and butterflies to orchids and bromeliads, as well as diverse flora and fauna manifest in absolute abundance. As we’ll continue our slow and easy descent for about 4 hours to La Playa Sahuayaco (2,100 masl/6,890 fasl), the landscape will change before our very eyes, with the eyebrow of the Amazon giving way to fruit trees, avocados, bananas, and coffee plants. From Playa village, we’ll still trek for about 1 hour to the next campsite called Lucmabamba (2,050m/ 6,724ft) – a great campsite to get away from the crowds, which is our last campsite and also the beginning of the Inca Trail to Llactapata Inca ruins.
In the afternoon, we’ll have a chance to explore the coffee and fruit crops right next to the camp. During this visit, we’ll learn about different types of coffee beans, the production of organic coffee, which is increasingly popular around the world. After this, we’ll be immersed ourselves in the coffee production process, from harvesting the coffee beans, peeling, and roasting to grinding them, in a hands-on coffee-making experience. Next, we’ll enjoy the fruits of our own labor and enjoy some freshly-brewed coffee! Later on, we’ll have our last supper made by our cook. All meals included.
- Walking Distance: 15 km/ 9.32 miles
- Total Walking Time: 5-6 hours
- Minimum Altitude: 2,050 m / 6,724 ft
- Maximum Altitude: 2,750 m / 9,020 ft
- Physical rating: Moderate
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, and snacks.
DAY 4: Lucmabamba – Inca Trail – Llactapata Ruins – Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes)
Another exhilarating day as we make our way to Machu Picchu. This morning, after breakfast, we’ll walk an uphill short section of the original Inca Trail to reach our next place called Llactapa ruins for 3 hours. After a climb through the woods and fascinating views over the Santa Teresa Valley, we’ll descend to the interesting but largely covered ruins of Llactapacta (2,700m/ 8,858 ft), an Inca archaeological site right in front of Machu Picchu.
Llactapata is the first Inca site we’ll see on this Salkantay trekking route to Machu Picchu, and we’ll learn all about the mysteries of the ancient culture and the extraordinary site. From Llactapata, we’ll have our first exciting glance of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, perched on the saddle of the mountain opposite us. It’s a breathtaking view and an odd sensation to see such an important Inca site from a remote mountain top. Your Cusco Local Friend guide also will fill you in on all the history of the Incas while you take all the photos you want to share your fantastic experiences with friends and family back home.
After enjoying the gorgeous scenery around and the history, we’ll take a short walk to reach our next lunch spot located at a scenic spot. We’ll enjoy our last meal on the trek while delighting in the views of Machu Picchu ruins and Huayna Picchu on the opposite side. After lunch, we’ll start descending to Hidroelectrica train station for 2 hours and 30 minutes, from where we’ll take our train to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes) for 45 minutes. At our arrival, we’ll get to our hotel for check-in. At night by 7:00 pm, we’ll enjoy a celebratory dinner with our group at one of the local restaurants (this dinner is not included) right after the dinner we’ll have a detailed briefing and recommendations for the next day, eventually, we’ll return to our hotel to rest. All meals included, except the last dinner.
- Hiking Distance: 11 km/ 6.83 miles
- Total Walking Time: 6-7 hours
- Minimum Altitude: 1,850 m / 6,068 ft
- Maximum Altitude: 2,850 m / 9,348 ft
- Accommodation: Hotel Inti Punku Suites & Hotel, Tierra Viva Machu Picchu, or a similar hotel
- Physical rating: Moderate – Strenuous
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and snacks.
DAY 5: Machu Picchu Guided Tour - Cusco
After an early breakfast at the hotel in Machu Picchu Pueblo/Aguas Calientes, we will take the bus to the Machu Picchu main entrance for 30 minutes. This morning, you’ll have a 3-hour private guided tour of this spectacular and mystical site.
This private guided tour includes walking through the different sections of the city like shrines, granaries, farming terraces, dwellings, solar observatory where you’ll learn the real significance of this unique place from your guide. If you have booked a permit for Wayna Picchu Mountain, you’ll climb the mountain after the tour; however, spaces are subject to availability. In the unlikely event that Wayna Picchu permits are not available for your departure date, you will climb Machu Picchu Mountain instead. If you are planning to hike one of these mountains, please let us know at the moment of booking to purchase an extra ticket. After Machu Picchu exploration, we’ll take the bus back to Aguas Calientes town, where we’ll celebrate our Lares Trek accomplishment with some Pisco Sours or Inca Kola. We’ll eventually take the train to Ollantaytambo from Ollantaytambo, you’ll be transferred by private van to your hotel in Cusco. End of the adventure. Only breakfast included.
Note on the Itinerary
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control. Reasons which may include incidents in the location where the trip will be operated, strikes, political disputes, entry or border difficulties, extreme bad weather, flight cancellations, and other unpredictable or unforeseeable circumstances which are beyond the reasonable control of Cusco Local Friend and that Cusco Local Friend is not liable for such changes or amendments. On some occasions, these conditions may demand us to deviate from our original schedule, in which case we will provide the best available alternative options. And we’ll make a great experience of it! However, some extra expenses may be incurred, these extra expenditures will be covered by the client in their totality and not by Cusco Local Friend.
- Private transportation for all transfer services.
- Camping Equipment (tents, sleeping pads)
- Other camping equipment like a dining tent with table and chairs; and a kitchen tent.
- Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.
- 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes town.
- Entrance tickets to Salkantay.
- Round trip bus tickets in Machu Picchu.
- Train ticket from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes town.
- Train tickets to return Cusco.
- “Cusco Local Friend™” Tour Guide.
- Meals: Breakfast (4), lunch (4), dinner (3), and snacks. If you’re veggie? no problem! we have great options.
- A professional cook.
- Horses, and muleteers; horses carry your 8-kg / 16-pound personal items.
- Emergency horse to escort us during the trek.
- Oxygen tank.
- First breakfast on day 1 and last dinner on day 4.
- Sleeping bags.
- Hiking poles.
- Entrance ticket to hot springs if want to enjoy it (optional).
- Extra expenditure during the trek.
- Tipping for the trek leader, porters or muleteers, and other staff.
- Travel Insurance.
Prices per person
|#||Price / Person||Book Now|
|1 People||We have special rates for SOLO travelers. Get started by filling out the information below.||Enquire Now|
|2 People||$ 900.00||Enquire Now|
|3 People||$ 870.00||Enquire Now|
|4 People||$ 820.00||Enquire Now|
|5 People||$ 780.00||Enquire Now|
|6+ People||We have special rates for groups over 6ppl. Get started by filling out the information below.||Enquire Now|
Prices are based on semi-private service (intimate small group), our treks are limited to 8 participants on a group led by experienced tour guides.
What to ExpectIn order to complete the Salkantay Trek, you need to have a reasonable level of fitness, but age shouldn’t be a barrier. The most important thing is to be well acclimatized to the altitude as the highest you will trek the entire time is (4, 650 m – 15092 ft). Two days of acclimatization before the trek is recommended.
Impressive views, mild temperatures during the hiking days although kind of windy at high points and very cold temperatures at night; mostly sunny days during the months of May, June, July, and August; mosquito area; big altitude gain and loss every day so you need to have enough time in Cusco to get acclimated before your trek begins.
Food is amazing from vegetables, just made soups, pasta, to Peruvian delicious cuisine, desserts, and buffet options. All this, prepared by our experienced cook.
Premier camping sites
Why Travel with us
Cusco Local Friend has been awarded the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence due to the most consistent 5-star reviews in Cusco, the Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu for exceptional levels of service and care.
- Local Culture
- Train journeys
- Scenic Vistas
- Local Culture
- Scenic Vistas
- Scenic Vistas