Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu (8 Days)


Trek through dense rainforest and spectacular mountain terrain - from the old colonial city of Cusco to the breathtaking Inca ruins!

Highlights in 60 seconds


Day 1: Welcome to Cusco (3,399m)

Your guides will be waiting for you at the airport in Cusco, to take you to your hotel. Then you have a free afternoon to explore the historic town of Cusco.

(You will need to provide us with your flight details to make the transfer arrangements)

• Accommodation: Amaru Colonial or similar ( 3-star hotel )

• Meals: Not Included

• Entrance tickets: N/A


Today you will visit the Sacred Valley. Your guide will pick you up 7:30 AM from the hotel, giving you some insight into the Inca history on the way there. Setting the scene for the days ahead, the Sacred Valley was one of the main Inca settlements with many remains left behind.

In the afternoon, you will continue to the ruins of Pisac, learning about Inca culture and exploring the local handicraft market along the way. It's a great place to get your souvenirs! Finally, you will visit the Ollantaytambo ruins, built during the Inca’s heydays.

At 3:00 PM, we’ll jump into our private van for a 3.5-hour drive to the Glass Cabañas in Soraypampa, which is located at 3,800 meters above sea level.

We’ll arrive at the Cabañas just in time for you to take photographs of the sunset over the glacier peaks. At the Glass Cabañas, your guide will settle you in your rooms before you enjoy dinner along with some hot drinks.

• Accommodation: Glass Cabañas

• Meals: Breakfast at the hotel, lunch, and dinner

• Entrance tickets: Included


Start your hike towards the incredible Hamantay Blue Lagoon nearby. In the afternoon you will continue your hike down the Salkantay pass.

After lunch (made by your Alpaca Expeditions local chef) and a well-deserved rest, you’ll continue with the next leg of your Salkantay hike. This next portion continues on for about 1 hour until you arrive at Salkantay Pass at 4,650 meters above sea level. This is the highest point of the trek. The group will rest here, and you’ll be served hot drinks while you enjoy the views.

From Salkantay Pass, the trail becomes much easier as you head downhill for three hours toward your wild camping spot in Wayracmachay. It is here that you will start to see the beautiful jungle views. Your trek porters will have arrived a little before you and started preparing the camp.

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

• Accommodation: Campsite

• Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

• Entrance tickets: Included


A nice warm breakfast will begin your day and then hiking downhill watching the scenery change. Today will be full of waterfalls, rivers and amazing vibrant flowers.

You will make it to your campsite with enough sunlight to enjoy the hot tubs and pools and spend the night in Hobbit-inspired cabins.

• Accommodations: Hobbit house

• Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

• Entrance Tickets: Included


After a warm breakfast, you will get started on this shorter day through rich tropical rainforest and a couple of remote coffee farms and avocado plantations. Your guides know the local farmers well, who will treat you to a few tasters along the journey.

Continuing on to the Llactapata Inca site that is located in front of Machu Picchu, you will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa Valley. At Llactapata, you will get the first glance of Machu Picchu.

• Accommodation: Campsite

• Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

• Entrance tickets: Included


The day will begin with a 2-hour downhill path overlooking Machu Picchu, bringing you back into civilization with the Hidroelectrica Station. The most impressive part of this area is the natural 300-meter-high waterfall which generates 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 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 have lunch before heading to your cabin to enjoy a hot shower and a visit to the hot springs of Aguas Calientes.

• Accommodation: Inti Punku or similar ( 3-star hotel )

• Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

• Entrance tickets: Included


Waking up early, you will take a 30 minute bus ride up to the gates at Machu Picchu. You will see the sunrise over the ruins and then have a guided tour of Machu Picchu, 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.

• Accommodation: Amaru Colonial or similar ( 3-star hotel )

• Meals: Breakfast

• Entrance tickets: Included (Except Huayna Picchu)


Today your guides will say goodbye and wish you safe travels. Airport drop-offs are included. 2 hours before your flight departure we pick you up and transfer you back to the Cusco airport.

(You will need to provide us with your flight details to make the transfer arrangements)

• Accommodation: Non-required

• Meals: Breakfast

• Entrance tickets: N/A

What's Included

  • Briefing: The day before your sacred valley tour at 6:00 pm in our office.
  • Meals outlined in the itinerary.
  • Transfers services airport / hotel / airport.
  • All entrance tickets for Sacred Valley, Salkantay and Machu Picchu.
  • Experienced English-speaking Tour Guide.
  • All private transportation for each tour.
  • Duffle bag to put your belongings during the trek (7 kgs maximum).
  • Porters for carrying the duffel bags: You will not have access to your duffel bag until your evening campsite.
  • Round trip bus ticket (Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu).
  • Train ticket for the way back from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Train class: Expedition).
  • First aid kit, oxygen tank, and satellite phone for safety during the trek.
  • Trekking poles.
Not Included
  • International and domestic flights.
  • Personal travel/rescue insurance.
  • Meals not mentioned.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Travel insurance (advisable).
  • Day packs: You must bring your backpack (25 L maximum) to carry on your own during the trek.
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain: To be booked in advance at $75 per person.
  • Sleeping bag and air mattress (available for rent).
Have a question?

If you have any questions about this trip or want to speak with an expert, get in touch.

We're ready to help.

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Rated 5.0

31 verified reviews


(Oct 2023)

The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is an adventure of a lifetime. we had the best guide Javier ...thank you so much for the care, guidance and most importantly the knowledge & passion you shared with us all. Great group of people all came together in time of need, helped / encouraged each other, shared emotions, laughs and lives. I would highly recommend this trip. I do recommend you do the suggested training plan, arrive 2 or 3 days earlier to help adapt to the altitude ahead of Day 2 challenge. Other recommendation to trip organisers is Day 2 should be shortened.....this is the reason why i've given it a 4 star.


(Oct 2023)

Unbelievable experience. Hiking at altitude is no joke, take the cautions on everyone's reviews seriously! We would definitely recommend landing in Cusco ATLEAST two days early to acclimatise (and to explore as its beautiful) and start taking the altitude sickness tables the day before you fly and continue taking them throughout. That being said, if you can overcome the challenges of altitude, the experience is totally worth it. The hardest day by far is the first day of hiking - we got up at 4am, started hiking at around 5:30 and we didn't get to our next campsite until around 18:30, this was brutal on both the physical and mental resilience due to the distance covered and reaching the highest altitude of the trip at such an early stage of the trip. We couldn't fault the tour guides who looked after us every step of the way as well as having such extensive knowledge on the history and culture. Making it to Machu Picchu on the final day was the icing on top of the cake - the pictures do not do it justice and nothing will replace visiting it and seeing it with your own eyes. Definitely take the advice and guidance of the tour guides to get up early on all of the days you visit tourist hot spots (e.g. humantay lake and Machu Picchu) - our experience at these sites was so much better for it before thousands of other tourists arrived later. The porters and chefs were incredible - we are two vegans and were catered to just as well as everyone else. Everyone in Peru were so friendly and accommodating and its such a beautiful country - we miss it already!


(Jun 2023)

I had good experience on hiking, and until this trip, I didn't know the elevation effects, what was it about and how it effect your body and mind. Pick up from airport and to airport service was excellent. Even though I wasn't feeling well in the beginning, I had great experience about the hiking : ) Skyhook's prices are very reasonable, and I will definitely use Skyhook for my future adventures.


(Jun 2023)

The hiking was amazing ! The chefs managed to create delicious meals even when the conditions were very basic . I give 4 starts only because the accommodation after the first long day hiking was very basic and maybe can be upgraded ! The hot water bottles really helped !


(May 2023)

Absolutely amazing experience, surpassed all my expectations.Food was outstanding and our guides Elisban and Max were so helpful and very passionate about their culture


Before you go

The trek requires a good level of fitness - you will be hiking for around six hours each day. We recommend that you train by doing any sports or exercise (e.g. jogging) twice a week in the run-up to your trip.

See the section above for trip inclusions and exclusions.

You will be given a duffel bag when you arrive. You can put all of your things in this, for the porters to carry. You will also need a small day bag, which you will carry yourself. Expect to carry about 5kg of weight in this bag e.g. water, suncream, waterproofs, phone, passport etc.

We recommend you check at the Fit for Travel website.

Porters will carry up to 7.5 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and mat. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking, and a rain poncho. In addition, please bring the following; Documents • Passport • Travel insurance details • Boarding passes for flights • Driver’s license (if needed) • Cash • Credit/Debit Card Sleeping • Sleeping bag (available to rent for $25) • Sleeping bag liner (optional) Footwear • Trekking boots: 3 or 4-season lightweight • City footwear: Sandals • Shoes for the plane (Optional) Clothing Please make sure that you have non-cotton clothing for trekking. • 2 base-layer t-shirts (e.g. running t-shirts) • Fleece/soft-shell jacket • Waterproof jacket • Down jacket for warmth (Optional) • Travel clothes and City Wear • Underwear • Base-layer trousers (optional) • Waterproof trousers • Trekking trousers • Trekking shorts (Optional) • 2 thick wool hiking socks • Lightweight and breathable hiking socks • Gloves and wool hat • Swimwear Other • A daysack: 35 litres • Dry Liner or Dry Bag • Water bottle/thermos: At least 2L. Nalgene bottles best. • Sunglasses • Suncream • Personal medication – Inhaler, Blister pads etc • General Toiletries, Contact lenses, Glasses (if needed) • Towel • Electronics - travel adaptor, phone & charger • Headtorch (Essential) • Lipsil • Book • MP3/Music and headphones • Travel wash • Hand sanitizer, wet wipes Available To Rent; Walking Sticks (Pair): $20 Inflatable Air Mattress: $20

While the itineraries are designed to allow for adequate acclimatisation you are likely to feel the effects of altitude sickness and oxygen deprivation while on this trek. Please be aware that your guide may deem it unsafe for you to continue trekking at any time and arrange for you to descend to a lower altitude. When you go above altitudes of 2,500m, you need to allow your body time to acclimatise properly. We advise that you move slowly, don’t rush and ensure you protect yourself from the weather. Ensure you stay hydrated and eat plenty to keep your energy levels up.

It is worth checking on your government's website. British citizens can check here

You can use a drone in areas around Machu Picchu, but not when you are inside the grounds.

The currency used in Peru is Nuevo Sol (PEN) You will need to ensure that you withdraw enough PEN for your trip to the airport or in Cusco.

Yes - there will be a group of trained chefs joining you. Just let us know your requirements before you arrive.

On your trip

The hostels have good standard toilets. There will be a portable toilet at each campsite you stay at. They are regularly maintained by the staff.

You will average around 10 miles per day.

The average group size is 12 people, with a maximum of 14.

You stay in hostels in Cusco, tents whilst on the trek, with 1 night in a glass cabana and 1 night in a hobbit inspired house. The hostel is quite cosy with twin shared rooms, Wifi and pleasant communal areas. The tents are 4 person tents which are shared by 2 trekkers. Rooms are on a twin shared basis. Single supplement is available for $120. This will give you a single room and your own tent on this trip.

You will arrive at the gates just before sunrise, then enjoy a guided tour which lasts around 2 hours. After this, you will have some free time inside the grounds before heading back to your accommodation in Cusco.

It is customary in Peru to tip guides and porters. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. A good rule of thumb is between US$50 to US$100 at the end of your trip. You can give this to the lead guide.

We will send some professionally trained chefs on the trek with you. They will prepare fresh food each day. Most dietary requirements are catered for e.g. vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, food allergies etc. Our guides will provide you with clean water throughout the whole trek. This water is collected from each campsite, boiled and filtered. When travelling in countries such as Peru, it's important to maintain vigilance with hygiene and food safety. Bring plenty of hand sanitiser.

Start: You will be met at the airport at any time, and taken to your accommodation. Depending on the time you arrive, you will have some free time to explore Cusco. In the evening, you will meet with the rest of the group and have a team briefing. End: You will be taken back to the airport at any time on the last day of your itinerary.

You can be picked up from Cusco Airport at any time on the first day of the trip, and dropped off at any time on the last day. Airport transfers are included for free, and take about 15 minutes.

Other FAQs

The winter season and driest time of year in Peru are May - Sept. The summer season is Nov - Mar, which is the warmest, but wettest time. During the summer season, it does not rain every day, but can often have a downpour in the afternoons. Apr and Oct can sometimes see some small rain showers.

Cusco is at 3400m / 11,150ft, so you will feel some of the effects of altitude straight away. If you can arrive a few days earlier, then this will give your body more time to adapt. You will need to book any extra night's accommodation at your own expense (paid in-country). It is usually possible for us to collect you from the airport on an earlier date. We can also help you arrange extra nights in the hotel before or after your trip. Please 'MESSAGE YOUR GUIDE' on the Skyhook dashboard after booking to ask us about earlier transfers and extra nights.

The minimum age for this trek is 18, or 16 with a parent/guardian.

Machu Picchu entrance tickets can sell out, especially in season. So, it is advisable to book your trip in advance. We can only confirm your trip once we have secured your Machu Picchu entrance ticket. If we are unable to get a ticket for your date, we will recommend an alternative date or refund your booking in full. Please immediately follow your booking by providing your passport information to your host on your Skyhook dashboard. Note that if we have confirmed the purchase of your ticket and you need to change dates/ cancel your trip, the ticket price is non refundable (as cash or Skyhook credit). If a date change is possible, you will need to pay the extra cost of a new ticket.

Yes! If you would like to add extra days to your trip and visit Rainbow Mountain, please 'Message Your Guide' from your Skyhook Dashboard after making the booking. These extras will need to be arranged directly with the local operator and paid for in the country.

Your head guide is Bonnie

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Alpaca Expeditions, based in Cusco.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!