Salkantay and Machu Picchu
5 days / 4 nights
The Salkantay trek is the counterpart to the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu – it is more remote, challenging and rugged but also less crowded and therefore more authentic than the Inca Trail! You will travel with a small group, hike the ancient and remote footpaths, climb high on the sacred Salcantay, the second highest mountain in the region and then descend through cloud forest to near jungle. The trek will lead you through barren mountains and lush growth, over brooks and rivers, and hot springs will be found on the way. You will get to feel the temperature difference in the various heights, maybe even experience snow, the highest point being 4650m. /15200ft. above sea level. The trek is ending in the sanctuary of Machu Picchu where you will join a guided tour and also have time to explore this unique and sacred place by yourself.
Excellent for: Adventure seekers – Couples – Friends – Nature lovers – Intrepid people
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa (L, D)
We will pick you up from your hotel at around 4:30 and take the bus to Mollepata. While you are having breakfast (optional), the cooker and horsemen will pack all the camping and cooking equipment. Ready for trek, we start hiking uphill to get to Cruzpata (approx. 3 hours). Enjoying panoramic views of the beautiful snow-capped mountains Humantay (trek to this is optional) (4120m/13500ft) and Salkantay (6271m/20575ft) we will have lunch. This is only the beginning of the picturesque views awaiting us! We continue our hike towards Soraypampa, our first campsite (3800 m/11750ft; the highest and coldest campsite of the trip), very close to the snow-capped Salkantay.
Day 2: Soraypampa – Chaullay / Collpapampa (B, L, D)
After an early breakfast we start walking at about 5:30am. This day will be the day with the longest hike. The first 4 hours we are walking uphill to get to the highest point of the trail (4650m/15200ft), located halfway between the huge mountains Salkantay and Tucarhuay. After a rest on the pass we continue our walk downhill through a dramatic cloud forest towards Huayracpunku. After lunch we’ll walk towards the tree line of the jungle and reach our second campsite, Chaullay or Colcapampa (3000m/9800ft).
Day 3: Chaullay – Santa Teresa (B, L, D)
After breakfast we start walking through the upper jungle, crossing the Lluskamayo River and a variety of little brooks, reaching La Playa after about 6 hours. We will pass through valleys and enjoy wonderful views of waterfalls, tropical fruits and plants. Arriving at La Playa, the horses will return to Mollepata and we continue walking to Santa Teresa (1500m/4905ft), where we will camp in a nice and warm climate. After a short rest, we visit the hot springs of Cocalmayo in Santa Teresa and enjoy the well-deserved pleasure of soothing water!
Day 4: Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes (B, L, D)
We awake early and continue our trek towards Machu Picchu. We walk for about 4 hours, observing plantations of fruits such as banana, mango, orange and avocado along the way until reaching the Hydroelectric Power Station where we’ll have lunch. With the mountain Machu Picchu in sight, we walk for 2 more hours along the railway and finally arrive in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu town). You spend the night in a hostel with hot showers and enjoy a last dinner with the group.
Day 5: Visiting Machu Picchu and return to Cusco (B)
Morning begins very early, around 4.00am. The plan is to experience a beautiful sunrise at the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. To get there, you can either walk for about 1.5 hours or take the first bus that leaves at 5:30 and takes about 25 minutes. Arriving we will see the magnificent citadel quietly being filled with the light of the day. After a short rest, a walking tour is given by your guide, showing you the most important sights of the archaeological complex. After the tour you will have time to explore the mysterious city by yourself. Optional you climb the peak of Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (prior booking!). Later in the afternoon you take the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and return to Cusco by bus where we’ll arrive at night. Or take the trek from Machupicchu to Hidroelectrica if you return by bus (take 3 hours approx to arrive to Hidroelectrica; you must be there at 2:30 pm maximum).
(B, L, D) (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
Price per Person
(price for Peru Volunteer)
180 US$ return by car
255 US$ return by train
- 3 nights of camping
- 1 night accommodation in a hostel in Aguas Calientes.
- Meals: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners (Vegetarian / special diet options available).
- Pick you up from where you are staying.
- Bus Cusco – Mollepata (trailhead).
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
- Train Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo (if you take the train option)
- Transfer Ollantaytambo – Cusco. (if you take the train option)
- Professional English speaking tour guide for the whole tour.
- Cooker, Horseman, mules or porters (they just carry cooking stuff and camping equipment).
- Camping equipment (tents, cooking and eating tent, chairs and tables).
- Sleeping mattresses
- Oxygen balloon and first-aid-kit
- Entrances to the hot springs in Santa Teresa (10 Soles) and Aguas Calientes (10 Soles)
- Bus to go up and down Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes.
- Train Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes
- Breakfast (1st day)
- Lunch on day 5 in Aguas Calientes or Hidroelectrica
- Personal expenses
- Tips for guides and porters
- Sleeping bag