The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu trek is a great alternative hike to Machu Picchu. The trail became popular with trekkers wanting to combine a quieter, less trodden route with a visit to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Plus experience offers a higher level of comfort than the standard trek, and the accommodations are unique! The Salkantay trek offers high mountain scenery with snow-capped mountains, colourful valleys, waterfalls, unique plants and subtropical forest views. Also known as the Salcantay trek, this hike is more difficult than the Inca Trail; horses are used to carry food and equipment. On day 4, we visit another beautiful Inca Ruin called Llaqtapata. There are fewer trekkers than along the classic Inca Trail.
Amazing scenery with glaciers and snow-peaked mountains
Guided Tour in Machu Picchu & LLlaqtapata
Upgraded wilderness trek
Sleep in beautiful environmental friendly & huts domes
Machu Picchu & Llaqtapata
Departure time 4.30 – 5.30 and Return to Cusco between 19.00 – 21.00
Estimated time per day: 5 – 9 hours
Make sure you are well acclimatised (maximum altitude is 4600!)
The Salkantay Trek is a bit more challenging than the Inca Trail
Bring money, your passport, swimsuit; for more info about what to pack here.
Be aware of the mosquitos in the Santa Teresa area
The accommodation during this Plus Salkantay Trek is amazing and environmentally friendly
(this is a sample itinerary, there are small differences between the diferent trek operators in Cusco)
We depart very early from Cusco, around 04:30 am – 5:30 am to drive to Mollepata. After breakfast and organising the horses, we start the hike in Challacancha. In Soraypampa we a stop for lunch. After lunch, we hike to the beautiful Humantay Lake (4200m), and here the beautiful conical snow-capped peak of Nevado Humantay (5917m) comes into view. We’ll have dinner at Soraypamapa (3500m) and camp our first night in the amazing domes of the Sky Camp at 3900m above sea level.
Today we will wake up around 5.30 am and hike the most difficult part of the Salkantay Trek: from 3,800m up to the Salkantay pass at 4,600m close to the Nevado Salkantay (3 hours climbing). A spectacular day! From here, we will descend into the upper cloud forest where the climate changes towards semi-tropical, and we stop for lunch. After a total of 7 hours of hiking, we arrive at our second camp in Chaullay (2,800m) where our tents enter in individual huts.
Our third day of hiking. Today we will hike through rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids and plantations of coffee and bananas, before reaching the village of La Playa. The path follows a small river with waterfalls, and we may see parrots, hummingbirds, and orchids. In La Playa, you can buy some snacks or others at one of the small shops. You might even visit an organic coffee farm. Another option is a visit to the hot springs of Ccocalmayo (entrance not included). Our base camp today is in Lucmabamba at 2400 above sea level.
On the fourth day, we hike 30-minutes first to Lucmabamba from where we will hike ascending for two hours to Llactapata. This Inca ruin was discovered by Hiram Bingham on the same journey that he discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Llactapata is still covered by vegetation, and it gives a good sense of what Machu Picchu must have looked like when Bingham saw it for the first time. From Llactapata you have an outstanding view over Machu Picchu Mountain and Vilcanota Canyon. After seeing the beautiful Llaqtapata Ruins, we hike for two more hours until Hidroelectrica for lunch, and afterwards, we continue to Aguas Calientes. For the first time, we will see the impressive Machu Picchu on a mountain saddle further into the valley. Finally, we will reach Aguas Calientes, where we will have dinner and spend the night in a hotel.
* You can choose to take the train in Hidroeléctrica instead of walking those last two hours to Aguas Calientes (ticket not included).
We get up early to be in line for the first pendle bus to Machu Picchu at 5.30 up, to see the magical sunset, after which we will have a guided tour of about 2.5 hours. Before heading back to Aguas Calientes from where our train to Cusco departs, enjoy some free time to explore the ruins independently. Machu Picchu is an incredible spectacle of architecture, culture, and history! After exploring Machu Picchu, you can either decide to walk or to take the bus back to Aguas Calientes. Remember to be at the train station, at least 30 minutes before departure.