salkantay trek (4D /3N)

The best alternative trek to Machu Picchu. Discover Salkantay

Salkantay trek, the best alternative if you are looking for a natural way of trekking before reach to the majestic of Machu Picchu. Also known as Salkantay, snow capped peak of Peru located in the department of Cusco; It constitutes one of the main elevations of the Vilcabamba mountain range, an extension of the Eastern mountain range, a mountain branch of the Peruvian Andes. It reaches an altitude of 6,271 meters, can you imagine the experience of been there? Above all of nature, you will enjoy the most amazing views that this trek has for you! Start planning your next adventure and dare to adventure of Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

OVERVIEW

  • Day 01: Cusco – Soraypampa – Wayracmachay
  • Day 02: Wayracmachay – La Playa
  • Day 03: La Playa – Llactapata ruins – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 04: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Highlights of the Salkantay Tour:

 

  • Discover and explore the different ecological floors of the Salkantay Trek
  • 4 day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu with experienced local tour guide, Cook, Horseman and horses
  • Guided tour of the Incan site of Llactapata (optional).
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu.
  • Discover the beauty and enjoy its unique color visiting  Humantay Laggon

Interesting Info:

  • Departure Point: Cusco – We pick you up from your hotel.
  • Departure Time: 05:30
  • Briefing Point: Our guide will visit your hotel 2 or 1 day before your Salkantay trek 
  • Briefing Time: Between 17:00 – 18:00
  • Return Point: Cusco – Our driver will drop-off in your hotel or Airbnb department

ITINERARY:

DAY 1: CUSCO – MOLLEPATA – SORAYPAMPA

To start the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu we will pick you up at your Hotel on time. We will travel by private bus to the starting point known as MOLLEPATA. It is an Andean village that still preserves the old colonial houses and the farms of the ancient inhabitants.

Arriving at the village, we will introduce ourselves to our porters, who will be waiting for us with the horses and meanwhile you can make a delicious local breakfast.

We will begin our walk through valleys full of vegetation and houses of the Quechua families. We will go up the imposing hill of MARCOKASA, and from this point, if we are lucky we will be able to appreciate the flight of the condors. The walk is smooth without pressure, because it is about enjoying the maximum, soon we will arrive at the place of lunch. After a time of rest, we will continue our walk another hour to arrive in Sector Soraypampa where we will make the camp, where they will be waiting for us with a hot drink. Later we will ascend to the sacred lake Humantay where you can participate in a ceremony of the payment to Pacha Mama and built your apacheta to worship  Apu Salkantay , near the mountains of Humantay and Salkantay to a height of 3,850 m.a.s.l.

  • Distance covered: 16 km.
  • Camp.

DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA – CHAULLAY – COLLPAPAMPA

After breakfast, we will be willing to continue our walk. This point is considered the most difficult of the trip. At 7.00 am, we will make the crossing of Salkantaypampa to go to the left side of the snowy called Humantay, that is near the snowy Salkantay. We will arrive around 12.00 am.

We will reach the highest point of the Salkantay trek  at 4,650 meters from this point. We will see the mountains and glaciers of the Salkantay, being able to appreciate the impressive avalanches that occur in the place. We will have a half hour stop to take pictures and enjoy the scenery. We will continue our walk downhill for another 1h 30min. We will have lunch. Then we will continue our trek through the forest until arriving at the village of Chaulay or Collpapampa (2950 m.a.s.l.) at 17.00 p.m.

  • Distance traveled: 22 km.
  • Camp.

DAY 3: COLPAPAMPA – LA PLAYA

This day will be memorable for its variety of flora and fauna that we will see during the day. We will walk 5 hours inside the forest knowing the varieties of the vegetation. We will arrive at a village called La Playa and have lunch on this day you will appreciate different varieties of orchids and waterfalls  variety of  fruits trees, bananas, avocados, granadadillas. Finally, we will arrive at the camp.

  • Distance traveled 15 km.
  • Camp.

DAY 4: LA PLAYA – HIDROELECTRIC – AGUAS CALIENTES

This day will be one of the best days of the trip. We will climb 2h30min in the middle of plantations of coffee, coca leaf and fruit, until we reach the Archaeological Center of LLAQTAPATA at 2800 m.a.s.l (but there is another option and is to visit the thermal baths of Santa Teresa), with a panoramic view to the mountain of Huaynapicchu. 

We will descend 2 hours to the Hydroelectric sector. After we reach the village of the hydroelectric plant (where electricity is produced for the city of Cusco). Then we will continue walking (a trip of almost 1 hour until finally arriving in Machu Picchu Town), where our guide will take you to the hotel.

  • Distance covered: 11 km.
  • We will have dinner and sleep at a hostel at an altitude of 2,250 m.a.s.l.

DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO

After breakfast, in conjunction with our guide, we will take the bus to Machupicchu to have a guided tour of the main temples of Machupicchu and we will have free time to climb to (Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu mountain NOT INCLUDED in the package), this day at the end of the afternoon we will return to the city of Cusco, where we will take the train in Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo where our transport will be waiting for us. Transfer to the Hotel in the city of Cusco.

 

INCLUDED:

  • Pre-trek briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing);
  • Early morning transfer by private bus to Challacancha – the initial point of the trek;
  • Accommodation: Campsites (3 nights) and a Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to the red of Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner and 4x afternoon hot beverages (please advise us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • Snack every morning;
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide (a group of up to 8 participants receives 1 Guide, a group over 8 persons receives 2 Guides);
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 5 kg of each passenger’s stuff; 
  • An emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower;
  • Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own);
  • Camping equipment: Personal double tents (4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks);
  • Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress); 
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • A blanket per person
  • A pillow
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town;
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

NOT INCLUDED:

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • International and domestic flights nor airport departure taxes;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu (U$80) or Machu Picchu Mountain (U$80);
  • A shuttle bus between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes Town ($12 – one way, $24 – a round trip);
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

MORE INFO:

  • Original Passport 
  • 2 bags, 1 day pack, and 1 large backpack to hold everything else. Your guides will carry up to 5 kilos for you each day, so if you have 2 packs, you can divvy up the weight pretty easily and only keep on you what you need.
  • Hiking boots. When you walk as much as you do on the trek, and go through waterfalls, and up and down mountains, extra support and coverage can really be a lifesaver.
  • 5 pairs of underwear, 6 pairs of socksIt is nice to have a couple of extra pairs of socks to change into at night when you’re not trekking. Also, We recommend bringing both really heavy hiking socks, and lighter socks as well. The weather is all over the place, so you want to make sure you’re not too cold or overheating.
  • 2 pairs of long underwear, 1 super thick, 1 capeline midweight–which is  perfect
  • 2 pairs of pants, 1 hiking, 1 cotton–which is just enough.Please spray both pairs with an insect repellent spray the clothes before the trip.
  • 2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts.Actually you will stay in a hostel  in Machupicchu village and  for sure you will get a long shower, and you will need 01 more t-shirt for your Machupicchu day.
  • 1 hoodie, 1 fleece jacket, 1 fleece shirt for layering, 1 vest, this items will be good for a cold person. Other people on the trek definitely will get away with less layers, the layers help.
  • 1 rain jacket, 1 warm/winter jacket. The first night the temperature can be as -10 degrees Celsius and the second day you go up close a snow covered mountain, so the big coat is a must. The rain jacket can be helpful, cause there are raining days (even if we are dry season!)
  • 1 Cocoon sleeping bag liner. It is super light weight and easy to pack, and definitely does its job.
  • Snacks, gum and lozenges–which are needed. The trek is long and we don`t take many breaks. So if you keep a bar or some nuts in your day pack, they will really help you keep going.
  • CASH–Few places in Peru accept credit cards, and in the mountains, you’re not going to find an ATM. about 500 soles, and  we would recommend bringing at least that much in case something goes wrong or you need help.
  • Travel-sized tissues and wet wipes.The air is cold and damp, so your nose is going to run a lot. Everyone seemed to run out of tissues by the end of the trek. Also, most bathrooms do not have toilet paper (if you even get a bathroom), so wet wipes are key.
  • 1 bathing suit–which came in handy. The third and fourth nights are near hot springs, so if you plan to go, bring one. A lot of people bring towels, but you don’t need them. You can rent towels at the hostel or hot springs for 1 or 2 soles, which frees up a lot of backpack space.
  • 1 pair of flip flops–which are nice, you can wear them to the hot springs, and in the shower at the hostel.
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.–which you need, but pack light. You’re going to be filthy and gross, so you don’t need shampoo and soap and all of that. Pack the day to day minimum.
  • Bug spray with 30% DEET in it–which you need, but it doesn’t work very well in Peru. The issue with Salkantay is that most of the bugs are not mosquitoes. They are these small flies you can’t even see that leave weird bites that first look like you pricked your finger, and then blow up into itchy red bumps. Unfortunately, these bugs seem to bite you no matter what kind of spray you put on.
  • A head lamp–which is useful. If you don’t have one, at least bring a small flashlight.
  • A camera… to take best photos at the time you are in Peru.
  • Iron tablets and pills for altitude sickness. Several people on the trek have varying degrees of altitude sickness, and both of these remedies (in addition to the  coca tea) are very helpful in alleviating the symptoms.
  • A watch with an alarm. You don’t need it, but there are a lot of early morning wake up calls, and on the last day to get to Machu Picchu, you need to wake up on your own. Also, the guide talks time a lot (meet at 6, dinner at 7, etc.) so a watch would be nice to have.
  • Sun screen, there are days where the sun gets really hot.
  • Imodium AD or something for your stomach. Some people get an upset stomach at one on the trek, with 8-10 hours of hiking each day, you need to get over whatever the day throws at you quickly, so bring some meds.

INTERESTING INFO OF SALKANTAY TREKKING:

Glacier wealth:
Our country owns 71% of the planet’s tropical glaciers, and Cusco 25% of the glacier mass of all of Peru.

Challenge Completed:
On June 17 of 2013, at 10:30 in the morning, Luis Crispín Quispe, from Cusco, reached the top of the Salkantay peak, which made him the first Peruvian to achieve it.

Routes to take Salkantay Trek:
To get to the snowy Salkantay and Umantay you must first reach the district of Mollepata, in Anta, two hours from Cusco. After that, you travel ninety minutes more, by car, to Soraypampa, from where you walk 3 hours to the snowy Salkantay. Those who wish continue the route to Santa Teresa and its thermal baths, and then to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

Preparing for the Salantay Trekking:
We recommend that our guests spend at least 2 nights in Cusco before departure to Salkantay. This helps acclimatize to the altitude and also provides the opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Cusco.

Travelers can feel the effects of higher altitudes as low as 6000 feet (2000 meters) above sea level. They differ in their tolerance to high-altitude conditions and how their bodies react to changes in air pressure and oxygen level  Therefore, we encourage our guests to undergo proper preparation through regular cardiovascular exercises, even if they are performed at low elevation, and to adopt a healthy and balanced diet before travel.

The best type of training includes aerobic activities such as walking, running, swimming or biking. You must start slow and for short periods if you have not trained before. Finally, work to do one of these exercises 3-5 days a week for 30 minutes at an hour at 70-85% of your maximum heart rate. Your maximum heart rate can be estimated by subtracting your age from 220. By doing this type of aerobic exercise you can throw in one minute intervals of higher intensity in order to push your limits.

Salkantay trekking itinerary is designed to allow everyone to walk at their own pace, with many breaks throughout the day. This is, in essence, what leads to a successful and enjoyable walk.

Please contact your doctor to assess your physical condition and for advice on the best way to prepare yourself to fully enjoy your salkantay trekking experience.

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  • TOUR TYPE: TREKKING
  • DAYS TREKKING: 5
  • ALTITUD:
  • DIFFICULTY:

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Frequently Asked Questions

Need more information about your next adventure? Salkantay Trek is known for been the wild mountain that reach at 4600 m.a.s.l so read the frequent questions of our travelers.

Can I make Salkantay without a

guide?

Yes, you can do it without problems, as it is not yet regulated by the Peruvian government, if you are encouraged to carry out this adventure without a guide. Keep in mind respect the regulations of how to use the road, to conserve the environment and that the government does not set standards, to charge the entrance, as happens with the Classic Inca Road. To go without a guide, you must inform yourself the bus departure times, from Avenue Arcopata. Arriving in Mollepata you can take a muleteer so you can bring your backpacks. You should know that there are no restaurants from the first camping so you must take your food for 3 days.

How much does the Salkantay

Tour cost?

A private tour for two people leaves an average of 700 dollars per person, which you receive personalized attention. Private tours are more comfortable, since other operators organize via llaqtpata. Original Inca Trail, that would be the advantage of doing the private tour, not all operators perform these alternatives, because many want to spend a party in the basic camps of Saint Teresa; In general what you are worth is that you enjoy this wonder of the world that is Machupicchu. If you also need more privacy and a tour in a different way, Salkantay Trek private service is the best option for you, so don’t forget to ask for our private packages.

Will the height affect me?

When traveling along the Andes in Peru some people will suffer some effects of altitude sickness. If you plan to go on an excursion to the Salkantay Trek, we recommend you arrive 2 or 3 days before the start of your trip to acclimatize to the altitude.

Is a deposit required?

Yes. We ask for a non-refundable deposit of 50% of the total per person along with your personal information (full name, passport number, sex, nationality, date of birth) non-refundable because the deposit is used to buy your ticket to Machu Picchu.

The Salkantay Trek is difficult?

It depends on each person, since the maximum height reaches 4650m / 1417ft on the second day after climbing for most of the day. Especially if you are within your first five days in height, this can give you headaches and shortness of breath. Do not forget that even people who live in Cusco (at 3300m) sometimes find it difficult to breathe.

What type of transport is used?

Our guided tours use a variety of transport such as private vans / cars, comfortable tour buses, flights, canoes, etc. We use a tourist transportation to offer travelers the safest and most efficient transportation in each area. From time to time, we can include non-typical modes of transport, in short distances to offer travelers a sense of local flavor.