Peru

Salkantay Trail To Machu Picchu (5 Days)

5

Hike the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu. See massive snowcapped mountains, lush tropical rain forests and of course, the famous Machu Picchu Citadel.

Highlights in 60 seconds

Itinerary

Day 1: Transfer from Cusco to Mollepata. Hike to Soraypampa

Your Cusco hotel pick by private bus is around 04:30 am. We drive to the town of Mollepata and make a quick stop for last-minute supplies before continuing to the starting point at Challacancha. Here we'll meet our support team, and load our equipment onto horses and mules. Around 09:00 am, we'll begin our hike towards Soraypampa (3,900 m). Weather permitting, you should get your first views of the majestic Salkantay and Humantay mountains. Around midday, we'll stop for lunch and then hike up to the stunning Humantay Lake. After some rest and pictures, we'll descend to our campsite at Soraypampa for a delicious dinner.

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Day 2: Soraypampa to Challway

After a nutritious breakfast, prepared by our chef, get ready for the most difficult section of the trek. It's an early start around 7:00 am. We begin a steep ascent toward the majestic Salkantay Mountain. By midday, we will reach the highest point of the trek (4,600 m). The views from here of the Salkantay glacier, surrounding peaks, and valleys are breathtaking. We will descend to Wayraqmachay for lunch. As we get lower, the landscape changes drastically from barren alpine to snowy peaks and tropical areas. After a trek of about 3 hours, we will arrive at our camp in Challway (2,920 m).

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Day 3: Challway to La Playa (Lunch), Camp at Lucmabamba

This is the shortest day of your Salkantay adventure. We will start our Salkantay hike through jungles passing waterfalls and fruit trees as we follow the river down the valley. After about 5 hours we will arrive at Playa Sahuayaco near the town of Collpabamba. Here we will rest and have lunch. In the afternoon, continuing downstream for a few more hours, we arrive at the town of Lucmabamba. This is our last campsite and also the beginning of the original Inca Trail. In Lucmabamba we will visit an organic coffee farm and explore orange and avocado plantations.

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Day 4: Lucmambamba to Aguas Calientres via Llactapata ruins

In the morning we will gradually hike upwards for about 2 hours to the archeological site of Llactapata. There is plenty of time to explore this small but beautiful Inca site before descending to the Hydro-Electrica (roughly 1.5 hours). After lunch, it's a flat walk along the railways (around 2 hours) to the town of Aguas Calientes where we will check in to a hotel. Take time to enjoy a hot shower and rest in a comfortable room. We will meet up for dinner at one of the many restaurants in town.

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Day 5: Visit Machu Picchu and return to Cusco

We start today around 5:00 am to beat the crowds and catch the morning light. After an early breakfast, we catch one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. Your guide will give you a tour of the ruins and tell you more about the fascinating history of Machu Picchu. After your visit, return to Aguas Calientes by bus for lunch. In the afternoon, we'll board the train to Ollantaytambo and from there continue by our private van to Cusco. Note: a popular activity to do at Machu Picchu is to climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. If you would like to do this, please let us know in the Skyhook guide's chat after making your booking.

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What's Included

Included
  • Pre-departure briefing.
  • Professional English speaking tour guide.
  • Assistant tour guide for groups of 9+.
  • Professional cook.
  • Horses to carry all equipment & 7 kg of your personal items.
  • Hotel pick-up from around the historic center of Cusco.
  • Water (excl. the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own).
  • Food: 4 x breakfasts, 4 x lunches, 4 x afternoon snacks, 4 x dinners.
  • Wake-up tea every morning.
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs.
  • 4-man tent (shared between 2 trekkers).
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Double-thick sleeping mattress (which you must carry).
  • Inflatable pillow (which you must carry).
  • Oxygen bottle.
  • First aid kit.
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu.
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (round trip).
  • Train ticket Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Transportation Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
Not Included
  • Single supplement: US$70 for single person bookings.
  • Sleeping bag: US$25 to hire.
  • Trekking poles: US$15 to hire.
  • Breakfast on day 1, lunch and dinner on day 5.
  • Entrance to Huayna Picchu Mountain: US$85.
  • Tips and gratuities.
  • Travel insurance.
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.

Team Images
Team Images
Team Images

Rated 5.0

5 verified reviews

Debbie
Debbie

(Oct 2023)

This was such a hard challenge with the altitude, different terrain, and weathers. Camping was fun, food good and Percy shared a lot of knowledge with us.

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Chris
Chris

(Jun 2023)

Absolutely beautiful trek!! Armani the cook made artistic, authentic, tasty, filling meals. Victor the horseman was extremely hard working, polite, and kind. Anthony the guide was filled w cultural, political, geographical, historical, knowledge. Anthony was very attentive to our physical conditions and set a very comfortable pace. We had a wonderful experience; exceeded our expectations. We would definitely recommend Inkayni Tours to discover the beauty of Peru. Everything was taken care of for us, all we had to do was enjoy!!

Logan
Logan

(Mar 2023)

I reserved the Salkantay Trek with my family, which includes five days and four nights of trekking. Inkayni did a fantastic job of providing the essential gear and knowledgeable guide services for what was unquestionably the trip of a lifetime for our group of 8 hikers. The tour was made for our group by Paolo, whose understanding of the Salkantay path, Peruvian history, and culture, as well as his sense of humor. The horseman also made an effort to make sure that everything went smoothly so that we could concentrate on taking in the breathtaking vistas and unforgettable experiences. I would without a doubt advise anyone thinking about hiking to Machu Picchu to use Paolo and Inkayni tours.

Kenneth
Kenneth

(Oct 2022)

We have just come back from the Salkantay trek - 5 fantastic days in the mountains. 5 stars to the Crew and our super guide Freddy. They made a perfect tour for all of us - Thank you 🇩🇰🇩🇰

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Stacie
Stacie

(May 2022)

The most incredible experience of my life! Our guide Freddy was excellent in every way. He was personable, knowledgeable, and thoughtful. I literally will consider him a friend for life! He educated us on the Incan culture and traditions but also personalized our trip in so many indescribable ways. He taught us so much along the trek that by the time we reached Machu Picchu, I could feel the energy of the Inca people and appreciate their intellect and connection to nature (Pacha Mama). I had so much respect for this culture that I felt honored to witness the remnants of their life. It was so much more than a vacation. I can’t say enough good things about this trip. I have never experienced so many beautiful things at one time. From our guide Freddy, to our amazing chef, to the porter— everyone worked so hard to ensure we had an excellent experience. I’m already planning my return trip ❤️🇵🇪

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FAQs

Before you go

Please see the section above for trip inclusions and exclusions.

The Salkantay trek is fairly difficult and requires a good level of fitness. This is a long trail that traverses through rough mountain terrain and takes you up a high pass. If you plan to conquer this route, you need to be hiking fit and able to trek for multiple hours a day. During the last two months leading up to your Salkantay trek, we suggest a regular exercise routine to improve endurance and stamina. We wish for you to have the best experience possible!

We recommend that all clients arrive in Cusco at least 48 hours before the start of your trek. This will give you a chance to acclimatize to the high-altitude conditions. These acclimatization days are important in order to begin the trek comfortably.

The following are essential items for this trek: - Original Passport - Walking boots - Waterproof jacket or rain poncho. - Warm jacket - Sleeping Bag (available to hire for $25). - Hat and gloves - T-shirts - Comfortable Trousers - Sun hat - Sun cream (factor 35 or higher) - Insect repellant - Toiletries and hand sanitiser. - Personal medication - Camera and film - Torch with spare batteries or Headlamps

Please consult with your physician or local travel clinic regarding your visit to South America. If you are visiting the Amazon, a yellow fever vaccination is recommended. Illnesses are more common in the Amazon than in the Andes mountains, where this trek takes place. Entrance requirements for Peru in regard to COVID-19 vaccinations and tests change regularly. You should check up-to-date restrictions before traveling.

For this trip, we do need at least two people booked on a date to confirm departure. If you are travelling solo, you're welcome to book, but please drop us a message beforehand to confirm existing groups.

If you are a solo traveller, you will need to pay the extra cost of the single supplement (US$70). This means private accommodation/tent during the tour. The payment needs to be made in cash USD once you arrive in Cusco.

On your trip

On this trek, Mules/horses will carry cooking and camping equipment as well as 15 lbs/ 7kg of your items. You will need to carry a daypack with items including water, snacks, and additional layers of clothing. You will also need to carry your own sleeping mat and pillow. We recommend bringing only the essentials in order to keep your pack light!

Along the trail, there are fairly regular stops at homes or small shops run by locals. Most of these have toilets available which you can pay a few coins to use. Some bathrooms are kept in great condition, others less so. Bring your own toilet paper and a bottle of hand sanitizer.

The best time for good weather on the Salkantay trek is between the months of April to October. This is when there is minimal rainfall and clear skies. The driest months are June – August (winter in the Andes). December to March is summer in Peru, which means the rainy season. The Salkantay trail runs through mostly tropical cloud forests and is usually very wet and humid over these months.

Any baggage that you don't need for the trek may be stored in your hotel in Cusco (most hotels offer this service free of charge). In the unusual case that your hotel does not provide this service, we will store your baggage safely in our office free of charge.

While staying in Aguas Calientes, it is possible to visit the hot springs located here (in Machupicchu Town). The entrance is not included in the cost of this tour. It costs approximately s/20 soles (US$ 6). Note: we do not visit the hot springs of Cocalmayo located in Santa Teresa.

We strongly recommend hiking sticks for this trek. Especially for those with any known knee problems. The poles will assist your balance and reduce the impact on your knees. We rent hiking sticks for $15. After booking, please let us know if you would like to rent a pair, you can pay for these in cash when you get to Cusco.

We will pick you up from your hotel to begin your trek, upon finishing, we will drop you back here.

We take a maximum of 10 people per group.

Of course, without any additional costs! When you make your reservation, please inform us of any dietary requirements, including allergies. We provide vegetarian options and can cater to lactose-intolerant or gluten-intolerant diets. Most of our main meals are buffet-style, so you can pick and choose. If you have preferences( for example, strongly dislike onions, tomatoes, or mushrooms) we will ask our chef to leave out or separate these items. Please note, we cannot accept individuals with life-threatening allergic reactions

Other FAQs

Hiking up the neighboring mountains to the Machu Picchu site ( Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain) is an extremely popular add-on to this tour. These mountains have an additional cost of $85 USD per person and need to be booked in advance. If you would like to add one of these mountains to your Machu Picchu visit, please let us know once you have confirmed your booking (use the button on your tour dashboard; MESSAGE THE GUIDE). This extra activity is subject to availability. You will need to pay this balance at our offices once you arrive in Cusco.

For this trip, we do need at least two people booked on a date to confirm departure. If you are travelling solo, you're welcome to book, but please drop us a message beforehand to confirm existing groups. Once we have two or more bookings, the only events that may jeopardise your travel dates are natural disasters or other circumstances that may put your safety at risk.

Yes! If you would like to add extra days to your stay in Cusco and visit Rainbow Mountain, please 'Message Your Guide' from your Skyhook Dashboard after making the booking. Any activities (including Rainbow Mountain) that are not included in the itinerary of this trip will need to be arranged directly with the local operator and paid for in the country.

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.

Certainly, Every day we receive many clients with food allergies to nuts, wheat, etc. Please inform us in detail of your condition upon making your reservation. We ask that you declare the severity of your reaction and any medication that you take in case of an emergency. If your allergy is severe, you need to be accompanied by someone who will take responsible for your condition and is prepared with all emergency medication. WE CAN NOT ACCEPT CLIENTS WITH LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGIES

Your head guide is Lisseth

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run Inkayni Peru Tours, 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!

Lisseth