Hike off the beaten track - to Machu Picchu

Spanning 40km of rainforest and mountain-tops, the Inca Alternative (aka Salkantay) trail takes you away from the crowds to the tops of the mountains.

Wild camping along the way, it’s a fantastic adventure and a great way to meet local communities. Then, on the final day you will visit Machu Picchu in all it's glory!

Apply now

5 Things to know when trekking the Inca Alternative Trail

1. It offers the best local culture and Inca history - the trek passes through ancient ruins, local villages and breathtaking scenery!

2. The stars are incredible - Make sure you take plenty of warm clothes to sit outside the tent at night.

3. The trek is quite remote - Known locally as the Inca alternative or Salkantay trail, this trek takes you away from the crowds and deep into the wilderness. 

4. Hiking poles help enormously -They significantly increase your efficiency and chance of success (they are included for free!).

5. Zip up your tent! Many friendly Llamas can be seen on the trail and you may get a visit from one of these inquisitive creatures during the night.

 

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco (3399m)

Your guides will be waiting for you at the airport in Cusco, to take you to your hotel. You will have a free afternoon to explore the historic town of Cusco. Once the capital of the Inca Empire, it is best known for Spanish colonial architecture. Camera's at the ready!

Meals included: Not included

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Explore the Sacred Valley (2900m)

An early start, but totally worth it! Today you will visit the Sacred Valley, gaining some insight into the Inca history. It really sets the scene for the days ahead. The Sacred Valley was one of the main areas the Incas settled and there are many remians here that they left behind.

In the afternoon you will visit the ruins of Pisac. Here, you can learn about Inca culture and explore the local handcraft market. It's a great place to get your souveniers!

Finally, you will drive along the Urubamba River towards the town of Ollantaytambo, to visit the ruins built during the Inca’s heydays. 

Meals included: Breakfast and Lunch

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 3: Start the Salkantay Trek (3800m)

Nothing like a freezing cold dip to wake you up!

Starting the day nice an early with on a barely touched trail that passes various Inca Ruins towards your accommodation. You will arrive at your glass-roofed cabana (huts) just before lunch, before heading off to visit the incredible Hamantay Lake Lagoon (aka the Blue Lagoon).

After dinner, you can star gaze through the glass roof, enjoying the comfort of a proper bed at 3800m.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Glass Cabana

Time trekking: 6 hours

Day 4: Soraypampa Campsite - Salkantay Pass (4650m) - Wayracpunko

Today's hike will be approximately 3 hours on gradually ascending terrain. On your way, you will pass places such as Salkantay Pampa and will enjoy the outstanding views of the surrounding peaks and snow-covered mountains. After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your hike for about 1 hour more until Salkantay Pass at 4,650m- the highest point of the trek.

From Salkantay Pass, it is just 3 hours of hiking downhill to your last campsite for the day, Wayracmachay. Upon arrival to the campsite, the porters will be setting your tents up, with your duffel bags ready.

In the evening, if the weather allows, your guides will show you the Inca constellations.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Camping

Time trekking: 7 hours

Day 5: Wayracmachay - Ccollpapampa Loreta (2700m)

After a delicious breakfast, you will get started on one of the shortest but most interesting days of the trek. You will hike through tropical rainforest and a couple of tucked-awaycoffee farms and avacado plantations.

Continuing on to the Llactapata Inca site, you will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley. At Llactapata, you will get the first glance of Machu Picchu – including the main archaeological site, Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. 


 

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Camping

Time trekking: 4 hours

Day 6: Llactapata - Waterfalls at Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes (2000m)

Day six's hike will begin with a 2 hour downhill path, with views of Machu Picchu, until Hidroelectrica Station. The most impressive part of this area is the natural 300 meters high waterfall which generates the electricity for the region of Cusco. From Hidroelectrica Station, you will then continue to the famous Intiwatana (sun dial rock). According to history, this Inca stone used to work with the famous sun dial rock in Machu Picchu, during the winter solstice, which was the beginning of a new farming season for the Incas.

The next section of the hike was the trail used by the American professor, Hiram Bingham, when rediscovering Machu Picchu. On his way to Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham met with local farmer Melochor Artaega, who eventually guided him to Machu Picchu.

Finally, upon your arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy your packed lunch. You will then go to your hotel to enjoy a hot shower and a visit to the famous, hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Camping

Time trekking: 5 - 6 hours

Day 7: Machu Picchu

Waking up early you will take a 30 minute bus ride up to the gates at Machu Pichu. You will see the sunrise over the ruins, and then have a guided a tour of Mchu Pichu as well as some time to explore the lost city on your own.  In the afternoon, you’ll catch a two hour train back to Ollantaytambo, followed by a bus back to Cusco, where we will transfer you to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8: Departure Day

Today your guides will say goodbye and wish you safe travels. Airport drop-offs are included.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

1. Requirements

Fitness: Moderate. You'll need to be fit enough to trek for 5-7 hours per day, for 5 days in a row. We recommend training with some jogging or hikes, at least six weeks before.

Skill Level: Beginner

2. Logistics

Included in the trek is airport transfers, accommodation, all food on the trek and other logistics.

3. Equipment

You must bring:

  • Clothing suitable for hiking in temperatures from +25C to -5C
  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • One large rucksack to be taken by your porters, and one small daysack (20L - 35L)
  • A headtorch and water bottles

The full kit list will be sent to you when you apply for the course.

Availability & Prices

Fri
10 May 6pm
Fri 17 May 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
18 May 6pm
Sat 25 May 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
Apply
4 spaces
Sat
25 May 6pm
Sat 1 Jun 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
1 Jun 6pm
Tue 8 Oct 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
8 Jun 6pm
Sat 15 Jun 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
15 Jun 6pm
Sat 22 Jun 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
22 Jun 6pm
Sat 29 Jun 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
Apply
2 spaces
Sat
27 Jul 6pm
Sat 3 Aug 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
Apply
3 spaces
Tue
30 Jul 6pm
Tue 6 Aug 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
17 Aug 6pm
Sat 24 Aug 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
Apply
4 spaces
Sat
24 Aug 6pm
Sat 31 Aug 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Sat
31 Aug 6pm
Sat 7 Sep 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
Apply
2 spaces
Sat
7 Sep 6pm
Sat 14 Sep 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
FULLY BOOKED
Fri
20 Sep 6pm
Fri 27 Sep 12pm
$1,080
($300 deposit)
Apply
6 spaces
5
10.0/10 based on 11 reviews

Sam Rosser

Reviewed on 22 Oct 18

5

Our experience couldn’t have been better. From the first email to the door to door service , everything ran smoothly ! The food was what you would expect from a fancy restaurant, but prepared on a mountain ! Our tour guide Fletcher was amazing , incredibly knowledgeable , easy to communicate with, and funny. He made even the hardest days of the trek, in challenging conditions , enjoyable ! 

Aaron Beavis

Reviewed on 22 Oct 18

5

Trek was epic. Crew and food was amazing. Our guide Javier was a legend. They literally did everything to make sure you were good. 

Frank C

Reviewed on 22 Oct 18

5

We joined Alpaca Ex due to good reviews and we got it right. We had great time and briefing and meeting with Bill, our tour guide and all our team members the night before. Bill picked us up and we started the trip on time early in the morning. He is a very caring person and also has a great sense of humor. With his 30+ years experience starting as a porter and being a tour guide, he knows how to take care of his hiking family well and has all the knowledge and the history of the trails and Peru culture. We were also lucky to hike with not too noisy members so we enjoy our hike very much.
Bill was also a great photographer and he made sure we have enough time for photo stops. Our pictures taken by him was very professionally taken.
Thank you Bill and Alpaca Ex.

Emma H0ulden

Reviewed on 22 Oct 18

5

Brilliant guide (Wilbert Ramos) - enthusiastic, knowledgeable and always offering to take photos, very well organised tour, delicious food and overall no complaints. Everything ran smoothly and would highly recommend the company.

Miguel R

Reviewed on 21 Oct 18

5

They have the best combination of guides / porters you can find in Cusco. The team consisted of Victor and Ricardo as lead guides (tremendous guides) very knowledgeable of the Inca culture. Alejandro (porters leader) making thing happening on time. Mario (porter chef ) made the best food I have taste...almost gourmet food in the middle of nowhere.

1. What is included?

Included:

  • Guides and porters
  • Cooks
  • Entrance fees and permits
  • All accommodation (Hostels, Glass Cabana and Camping)
  • All transfers during itinerary
  • Transfers from Cusco Airport
  • Clean water
  • Air matts and pillow for camping, Day pack rain cover, Poncho
  • Guided tour of Machu Pichhu
  • Food on the trek

The course excludes:

  • International flights
  • Food in Cusco
  • Personal insurance
  • Any tips for porters, guides, cooks

2. Do I need immunisations?

We recommend you check at the Fit for Travel website or your local equivalent.

3. How old do I need to be?

The minimum age for this trek is 18.

4. Do I need a permit?

Unlike the Inca Trail, there are no permit requirements for this remote trek.

Apply Now