Salkantay Trek to Machupicchu
Salkantay Trek to Machupicchu 5 days is a remote and ancient footpath in the same region as the Inca trail. It is the alternative trek to Machupicchu when we can't find availability for the Inca trail, or for those looking for another experience, one in which you are walking above the clouds.
Salkantay Mountain (6180m) is one of the Cusco region's main Apus (gods). Salkantay Mountain is located northwest of Cusco, at the eastern end of the Vilcabamba mountains. The name Salkantay means 'Savage Mountain' which may refer to its scale, danger and difficulty.
The full Salkantay Trek usually takes from 4 to 5 days, but the Traditional Salkantay Trek takes only 5 days, where you will see the spectacular snowcapped peaks that dominate the landscape to the northwest of Cusco.
Beautiful views, colorful lakes and an amazing progression of ecological zones, from sparsely vegetated alpine meadows flanking two spectacular 20,000 foot glaciated peaks, and down through subtropical forests.
The Salkantay Trek to Machupicchu 5 days has become popular with trekkers wanting to combine a quieter, less well-trodden route with a visit to the Inca ruins of Machupicchu.
- Duration of the trek: 5 Days / 4 Nights.
- Distance of the trek: 64 km.
- Estimated walking time: 6 to 7 hours per day.
- Season: From January to December.
- The maximum height: 4,520m (14, 845ft).
Salkantay Trek to Machupicchu 5 Days Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco / Mollepata / Soraypampa
We will pick you up at 6:00am in morning at the hotel, for a three hour journey to Mollepata village, located high in the Apurimac valley at 2,800m, (9,186 ft). After eating breakfast in a local restaurant we begin the trek, walking up through the Andean forests, stopping after a couple of hours for lunch in Marcocasa, with great views of the valley. Moving on, we climb up to Soraypampa (3,200m, 10,498 ft) where we can observe the progressive change of the flora and fauna. Here we will set-up our first campsite.
Day 2: Soraypampa / Salkantay pass / Challway
After an early breakfast, we start the climb up towards Salkantay, pass the highest point of the route (4,520m, 14,845 ft) where we will have the opportunity to enjoy the extraordinary natural beauty and the marvelous snow-covered mountains of Salkantay (5,600m, 18,372 ft) and Humantay (5,917m, 19,412 ft). After a short break in the pass we walk down for around four hours along a nice path to Challway campsite, lower down and warmer than first (2,900m 9,514 ft) and where we also eat dinner.
Day 3: Challway / La Playa
On the third day we walk through a tropical area known as the cloud forest, where we can enjoy waterfalls, different species of flowers, bamboo, birds and the delicious passion fruit (granadillas). After six hours walking we reach Playa campsite (2,000m, 6,561 ft), where we spend the night.
Day 4: La Playa / Aguas Calientes
Early in the morning we begin climbing a small hill that leads to one of the smaller, more dispersed archaeological sites called Llaqtapata (2,800m, 9,186 ft). Here one can see a carved rock that was designed for astronomical purposes. We also get the first view of the magnificent Machupicchu citadel. From there we walk down towards Hidroelectrica train station for lunch. After lunch we have a pleasant walk along the train track to Aguas Calientes (2040m, 6,692 ft), where we can enjoy the hot springs and will spend the night in a comfortable hotel.
Day 5: Aguas Calientes / Machupicchu / Cusco
We wake up early for a two-hour walk up to Machupicchu (2430m, 7,970 ft), where you will get an extensive guided tour. From there you will have free time to explore by yourself, including if you wish, the neighboring mountain of Huaynapicchu. In the afternoon we take a return bus to Aguas Calientes and then the train back to Cusco, a four hour trip.
Included / Not included
- Pick-up at hotel in Cusco
- Bus to Mollepata village
- Professional Bilingual tour leader (two leaders for groups over 08 people)
- Horses to carry group’s gear (meals & camping equipment)
- Cook & meals (4 breakfasts / 4 lunches / 4 dinners)
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Camping equipment (tents, mattresses, tables and chairs, kitchen tent and dinner tent)
- First aid kit and Oxygen
- Entrance fees to Machupicchu
- Bus down from Machupicchu to Aguas Calientes (one way)
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco
- Breakfast on first day; lunch on last day in Machupicchu.
- Tips for the crew (tour leader, cook and porters)
- Sleeping bag (can be hired in our office $3 per day)
- Entrance to visit the hot spring in Aguas Calientes ($4)
- Horses to carry your personal items 15 kilos ($25 per day)
- Vistadome train service ($50 plus)
We recommend bringing
- Backpack and sleeping bag
- Hiking shoes or boots
- Rain coat or poncho
- Warm clothes
- Insect repellent
- Sun block, sun glasses and hat
- Water bottle
- Water purifying tables
- Flashlight and knife
- Towel and toilet paper
- Snacks (chocolates, candies, cookies, etc)
- Personal medical kit
- Extra national currency (soles)