Sensational Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

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5 Day Standard Trek
  • 4 Day Budget Trek4D/3N Salkantay TrekStart Time: 04:30
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    Salkantay Trek Tour Details

    Hike the 5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Join our Salkantay Trekking groups. 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & 4-day Trek available!

    Our trek includes several packages based on your budget. Trek includes lodging, guides meals, admissions and more. 

    Due to limited capacity at Machu Picchu please contact us to check availability or fill out an enquiry or booking and we’ll contact you immediately!

    Departure and Return Location

    Cusco, Peru

    Departure Time

    4:30 AM

    Difficulty

    Moderate to Challenging

    Total Hiking Distance

    72 km / 45 miles

    Highest Altitude

    4,650m / 15,200ft

    Meals

    Included, we cater to all diets.

    Places Visited

    Salkantay Mountain, Mollepata, Humantay Lagoon, Llactapata, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu

    Additional Information
    • Single Travelers can share tents/domes/cabins or purchase private services.
    • Please ask us about special group discounts if travelling with 3 or more people.
    • Salkantay Trek does not have set departures, you can choose your own start date.
    • Valid Passport Information is required at time of booking for all participants.
    • $20 off for students with Valid University/College Identification Card.
    • Seniors & Families traveling with children please ask us about our private tours.
    • Trek includes Domes for Sleeping under the Stars (weather permitting)

    Pricing

    Budget

    Just the Essentials
    $209USD
    • Machu Picchu Admission Not Included
    • Return Expedition Train to Cusco Not Included
    • Humantay Lagoon Admission
    • Day 1 Breakfast
    • Hidro Electric Transport
    Learn More

    Standard

    Admissions and Train Included
    $315USD
    • Machu Picchu Admission Included
    • Return Train to Cusco Included
    • Humantay Lagoon Admission
    • Hidro Electric Transport
    • Day 1 Breakfast
    Learn More

    Full

    All the Perks
    $375USD
    • Humantay Lagoon Admission
    • Sleeping Bag Rental
    • Hidro Electric Transport
    • Day 1 Breakfast
    • Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Bus
    Learn More

    All Packages Include:

    • English Speaking Guides
    • Salkantay Trek Orientation (Pre Trek Briefing)
    • Guided Machu Picchu Tour
    • Machu Picchu General Admission (Excluding Budget)
    • Group Horses (Carry 5 kilos of personal gear)
    • Group Porters (Carry Group Tents & Food), Cook
    • Rustic Cabins, Dome Cabin and Waterproof Tents
    • Return Expedition Train (2:55PM) and Bus Transport to Cusco (Excluding Budget)
    • 1 Night Hostel Accommodation in Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Inn or similar)
    • Meals 4 Day Trek (3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners), 5 Day Trek (4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners)

    Complementaries:

    • Snacks
    • Tea Time
    • First Aid & Oxygen
    • Hostel/Hotel Pickup

    Salkantay Extras (Optional):

    • US$65 - Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Optional)
    • US$25 - Sleeping Bag Rental
    • US$25 - Trekking Pole Rental
    • US$49 - Horse Porter (carries up to 30 kilos for first 3 days of trek)

    Price Excludes:

    • Optional Hot Spring Admission and Transport
    • Train from Hidroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes (optional) can be purchased on location (subject to availability)
    Cancellation Policy:

    As the Industry Leader in customer service we provide you with the flexibility to change your travel plans – with the assurance that you’ll have options to re-book when it suits you. As long as you notify us about changes to your travel plans at least 24 hours* before your scheduled departure, you can pick new travel dates or an entirely different trip, with no change fees. We offer:

    1. Flexible Payments
    2. Partial Deposits
    3. No Change Fees*
    4. Secure Online Payment
    5. Guaranteed Departures

    View our updated Terms and Conditions here

    *Domestic/International Airlines may have their own fees. Day tours can be cancelled for a full refund at least 24 hours before tour start time. Multi day tours, treks and tour packages need to be cancelled at least 40 days before departure for full refund. Machu Picchu admissions can no longer be refunded or transferred as per government decree.

    Salkantay 5 Day Trek Itinerary

    Day 1

    The 5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu begins with a 4:30 a.m. pick up you from your hotel or hostel in Cusco. The day before our guides visit you at your hostel/hotel for a short briefing about the trek and confirm your location. We begin the trek by traveling to Mollepata. This is a beautiful and scenic journey through stopping for panoramic views of the Apurimac valley. Arriving at Mollepata we will meet our porters and horses, here you can also have breakfast. 

     

    Mollepata is the official starting point of the trek where we will start our hike to Soraypampa 3,725 m. (12,221 ft.) After a 3 hour hike we will have lunch among the beautiful scenery. After lunch we will continue on our trek to the beautiful Humantay Lagoon to enjoy the turquoise lake in all it’s splendor. We then continue our hike until arriving at Soraypampa at approximately 6PM. Here we make camp, have dinner and get a good nights rest.

    Humantay Lake Salkantay Pass

    Today’s hike is 5 Hours or 12 km / 7.4 miles

    Day 2

    Today we will hike to the highest point of the trek at 4,650 m. (15,091 ft.), getting a beautiful view of the snowcapped Salkantay mountain, and the peaks of Humantay and Tucarhuay. Once we arrive you will have time to appreciate the area and the views, the glacier of Salkantay is 6,271 meters above sea level. (20, 574 ft.) depending on the weather you could be able to see small avalanches on the mountain from a safe distance. 

    Afterwards, we will hike through some of the most spectacular scenery in Perú, walking across snowy high passes as we start descending into the cloud forest. We will hike past small lakes around Salkantaypampa and Soyrococha. Here vegetation and wild life will become more abundant and the weather milder. We reach our camp in the afternoon at Colpapampa 2,900 m. (9,514 ft.). Here we will overnight and have dinner.

    Salkantay Trek Tour

    Today’s hike is 10 Hours or 22 km / 13.7 miles

    Day 3

    After breakfast we depart Colpapampa around 6:30 a.m. We’ll continue the trek hiking through the upper jungle, crossing the Lluskamayo River and a variety of the little brooks. Here the weather is more enjoyable as you are in High Jungle. The days hike is through valleys and you will have wonderful views of waterfalls, flora and fauna endemic of the region and tropical fruits. You’ll pass orchid and coffee plantations hiking for 4 hours before stopping for lunch.

    We stop to rest for the day at Playa (Sahuayaco) 2,250 m. (7,381 ft.) where you have lunch, Afterwards you have the option of visiting the Cocalmayo Hot Springs or resting at the camp. Our tents at Playa Sahuayaco are shaded and protected from the high altitude sun and occasional rains.

    Ultimate Salkantay Trek

    Today’s hike is 5 Hours or 14 km / 8.7 miles

    Day 4

    Our last full day of hiking the trek takes us to the town of Lucmabamba where we will begin the hike to the ruins of Llactapata, Here we will be able to get our first views of Machu Picchu from afar (weather permitting). We then continue our hike for another two hours downhill through the Santa Teresa Valley to the Hydroelectric station, here we will continue along the rail lines to the Hydroelectric station, the hike lasts approximately 5 hours before we stop for lunch in a local restaurant.

    Salkantay Trek Altitude

    After lunch we will continue our hike for 3 hours before arriving at Aguas Calientes. You also have the option of bypassing the hike by taking a train to Aguas Calientes for (optional – not included). At Aguas Calientes your guide will take you to your hostel. You will overnight in Aguas Calientes, there you will have a group dinner and go over the following days tour at Machu Picchu.

     

    Today’s hike is 6 Hours or 22 km / 13.7 miles

    Day 5

    Very early (4:00 a.m.) we’ll have our breakfast, afterwards we’ll begin our hike up to the Machu Picchu Citadel. There is also the option to take the bus up to the entrance if you would rather not hike (optional – not included) When you arrive at Machu Picchu you will be able to enjoy a sunrise over the ruins (weather permitting). You then will begin a 2 hour tour of Machu Picchu. After that, you’ll have free time. Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu hike can be included to the trek, these are optional hikes at the ruins available at additional cost. (subject to availability).

    Machu Picchu Salkantay

    In the afternoon you can either hike down to Aguas Calientes or take the bus shuttle (optional) where you will catch your 2:55 PM train to Ollantaytambo. There the tourist buses will be waiting to take you to Cusco (included). Other train schedules available upon request. This concludes your 5 Day Salkantay Trek with Karikuy Tours.

    Salkantay 4 Day Trek Itinerary

    Day 1

    ​The 4 Day Salkantay trek allows you to hike the route to Machu Picchu in less time. If you are wondering why the 4 Day trek costs only slightly less then 5 day trek it’s because there is a transport that has to be hired from Sahuayaco (playa) to the Hydroelectric station. This portion is hiked on the regular 5 day trek.

    You begin your  trek with a 4:30 a.m. pick up from your hotel or hostel in Cusco. The day before our guides visit you at your hostel/hotel for a short briefing about the trek and confirm your location. We begin the trek by traveling via tour bus to Mollepata. This is a beautiful and scenic journey through Limatambo, stopping for panoramic views of the Apurimac valley. Arriving at Mollepata we will meet our porters and horses, here you can also have breakfast. ​

    Mollepata is the official starting point of the trek where we will start our hike to Soraypampa 3,725 m. (12,221 ft.) After a 3 hour hike we will have lunch among the beautiful scenery. After lunch we will continue on our Trek to the beautiful Humantay Lagoon to enjoy the turquoise lake in all it’s splendor. We then continue our hike until arriving at Soraypampa at approximately 6PM. Here we make camp, have dinner and get a good nights rest.

     

    Today’s hike is 5 Hours or 12 km / 7.4 miles

    Day 2

    Today we will hike to the highest point of the Trek at 4,650 m. (15,091 ft.), getting a beautiful view of the snow capped Salkantay mountain, and the peaks of Humantay and Tucarhuay. Once we arrive you will have time to appreciate the area and the views, the glacier of Salkantay is 6,271 meters above sea level. (20, 574 ft.) depending on the weather you could be able to see small avalanches on the mountain from a safe distance. 

    Afterwards, we will hike through some of the most spectacular scenery in Perú, walking across snowy high passes as we start descending into the cloud forest. We will hike past small lakes around Salkantaypampa and Soyrococha. Here vegetation and wild life will become more abundant and the weather milder. We reach our camp in the afternoon at Colpapampa 2,900 m. (9,514 ft.). Here we will overnight and have dinner.

    Today’s hike is 10 Hours or 22 km / 13.7 miles

    Day 3

    After breakfast we depart Colpani around 6:30 a.m. Today part of the trek will be hiking through the upper jungle, crossing the Lluskamayo River and a variety of the little brooks. Here the weather is more enjoyable as you are in High Jungle. The days hike is through valleys and you will have wonderful views of waterfalls, flora and fauna endemic of the region and tropical fruits. The hike lasts for 4 hours before stopping for lunch.

    We will stop in Playa (Sahuayaco) 2,250 m. (7,381 ft.) for lunch, and then we will continue via transport (not included) to the hydroelectrical station where you will hike the rest of the way to Aguas Calientes. You also have the option of bypassing the hike by taking a train to Aguas Calientes for (optional – not included). At Aguas Calientes your guide will take you to your hostel. You will overnight in Aguas Calientes, there you will have a group dinner and go over the following days tour at Machu Picchu.

     

    Day 4

    Very early (4:00 a.m.) we’ll have our breakfast, afterwards we’ll begin our hike up to the Machu Picchu Citadel. There is also the option to take the bus up to the entrance if you would rather not hike (optional – not included) When you arrive at Machu Picchu you will be able to enjoy a sunrise over the ruins (weather permitting). You then will begin a 2 hour tour of Machu Picchu. After that, you’ll have free time. Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu hike can be included, these are optional hikes at the ruins at additional cost. (subject to availability).

    In the afternoon you can either hike down to Aguas Calientes or take the bus shuttle (optional) where you will catch your 2:55 PM Expedition train to Ollantaytambo. There the tourist buses will be waiting to take you to Cusco (included). Other train schedules available upon request. This concludes your 5 Day Salkantay Trek with Karikuy Tours.

    Salkantay Trek Map

    Salkantay Trekking Photos

    Videos

    FAQ

    What is the Salkantay Trek?

    The Salkantay Trek is a multi day hike to Machu Picchu that hikes close to the Salkantay Glacier in the Peruvian Andes outside of Cusco. There is both a 4 day and 5 Day Salkantay Trek.

    Is the Salkantay Trek dangerous?

    No, the guided trek itself is not dangerous. You do need to be properly acclimated to the elevation however and it is always best to consult your doctor before starting any high altitude trek.

    Hiking the Trek alone could be dangerous under unpredictable weather conditions. Fog or extreme weather conditions can disorient hikers. Solo travelers have been lost under such conditions in the past.

    How Hard is the Salkantay Trek?

    The difficulty of the Salkantay Trek is rated by hiking experts at a level of difficulty of 3-4 on a scale that reaches up to 7. The moderate to difficult rating is due to the high altitude and steep terraion, you will need a reasonable level of fitness to complete the trek.

    How Long is the Salkantay Trek? What is the Salkantay Trek Distance?

    The Salkantay trek is 45 miles in length and reaches a maximum elevation of 15,200 feet (4,650 meters) at the highest point; the Salkantay Pass. The estimated trekking time per day is 6 to 7 hours.

    What to wear on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu?

    Below is our recommended packing list. For a more detailed list read “My Salkantay Trek Packing List” on our Blog.

     

    A large backpack

    Hiking boots

    5 pairs of underwear, 6 pairs of socks

    2 pairs of long underwear

    2 pairs of pants

    2 t-shirts, 2 long sleeve shirts

    1 hoodie, 1 fleece jacket, 1 fleece shirt for layering, 1 vest

    1 rain jacket, 1 warm/winter jacket

    1 sleeping bag

    1 Cocoon sleeping bag liner

    1 small camping blow up air mattress

    Snacks, gum and lozenges

    CASH

    Travel-sized tissues and wet wipes

    1 bathing suit

    1 pair of flip flops

    toothbrush, toothpaste, etc.

    Bug spray with 30% DEET in it

    A head lamp

    A travel pillow

    A Camera

    Where does the Salkantay Trek start?

    The Salkantay Trek departs from Cusco, Peru. Our guides pick you up from your hotel or hostel near the city Center. You are then taken to Mollepata for breakfast and onward to Challacancha (3,380 meters/ 11,090 feet), the starting point of the hike.

    How to prepare for the Salkantay Trek?

    We recommend running for 15 to 30 minutes daily at least 2 weeks before your trek. Upon arrival in Cusco we recommend at least 2 full days in Cusco for your body to acclimate to the high altitude to give you the best possible Salkantay Trekking experience.

    Can you hike the Salkantay Trek without a Guide?

    Yes the trek is available to hike without a guide. However it is not recommended as hikers have become lost in the past under extreme weather conditions. 

    How cold is the Salkantay Trek? How is the Weather?

    The weather along the Salkantay trek is varied. On the Salkantay pass and highest areas like Soraypampa, temperatures can hit sub-zero. While in other camps the proximity to the cloud forest makes them warmer.

    Here are some Average Temperature and Rainfall Charts for the area around Machu Picchu, note that elevated areas are colder in general as in the first 2 days of the trek.

    Weather on Salkantay Trek

    Best months to hike the Salkantay Trek

    What is the difference between the Inca Trail and the Salkantay trek?

    The Inca Trail requires a government permit to hike due to heavy demand, this makes the Inca Trail sell out quickly and have more hikers on the trek. The Inca Trail is the original route the Inca took to get to Machu Picchu and has several Inca Ruins on Route.

    The Sakantay Trek does not require a government permit to hike. There is less congestion on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek also gets you close to the Salkantay Glacier, the Inca Trail does not get you close to any glaciers. The Salkantay Trekking experience has you lodge in domes, tents, cabins and hostel while the Inca Tail is all camping.

    What is the difference between the Short Salkantay Trek 4 Days and 5 Day Salkantay Trek?

    The 4 Day Trek takes the best of the 5 day trek and condenses the trek for those who are on a tight schedule. Day 3 of the 4 Day Trek has the most changes with an added hike as you go directly from the Hidro Electric Station to Aguas Calientes.

    On the 4 Day Trek you will not have the chance to visit Cocalmayo Hot Springs nor Llactapata Ruins.

    41 Reviews
    Sort By:RatingDate

    Ethan Walker

    Couple Traveller

    The Salkantay Trail was a journey we’ll cherish forever. The trail was a perfect blend of natural beauty and cultural intrigue. Our guide, Carlos, was wonderful, sharing fascinating stories about the Incas and their way of life. Oscar’s oversight in Cusco ensured everything went smoothly. The highlight of the trip was the cloud forest, a verdant paradise filled with orchids, hummingbirds, and waterfalls. The Salkantay Trail wasn’t just a trek; it was a journey into the heart of Peru. Thank you to this travel company and making the trip incredible.

    August 2, 2023

    Hannah Mitchell

    Solo Traveller

    The Trek was a rollercoaster of emotions. From the Salkantay peak to the lush jungles of Aguas Calientes, every day was a new adventure. Fernando, was a rock star, full of stories and insights that made the whole experience richer. Julio’s planning from Lima was spot-on, and the food was surprisingly good. Machu Picchu is everything I had read about. If you’re thinking about doing this trek, you are in good hands. You won’t regret it.

    July 18, 2023

    Chloe and Henry Lewis

    Couple Traveller

    We’ve just returned from the Salkantay Trek, and we’re still on cloud nine. The trek was challenging, but the views were worth every step. Our guide, Maria, was a gem, full of knowledge and passion. Oscar in Cusco made sure our activities were well-organized, and the food was delicious. The company was great, and Machu Picchu was a dream come true. Thank you, Karikuy Tours, for an unforgettable adventure.

    June 22, 2023

    Mason Turner

    Solo Traveller

    The Salkantay Trek was an experience I’ll never forget. The landscapes were breathtaking, from the towering peaks of Salkantay to the lush jungles of the cloud forest. Carlos, our guide, was a true professional, sharing insights and stories that brought the trail to life. I also want to thank Julio in Lima for planning the trip so meticulously. The food was hearty, the fellow trekkers were friendly, and Machu Picchu was the crowning glory. I came home with memories that will last a lifetime

    March 24, 2023

    Chris Schoener

    Group Traveller

    Did the 5 day salkantay trek with them in 2022. Great guide, super fun tour. They provided everything needed and were really responsive to any questions we had before leaving.

    August 19, 2022
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