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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – 5 Days

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu in 5 Days, is the perfect mixture between a challenging hike, amazing landscapes, and mind-blowing archeological ruins. In this trek we will lead you to some of the most astonishing places, starting with the turquoise glacial waters of Humantay Lake, then ascending the incredible mountain pass of the Salkantay, and finally visiting the lost Inca citadel of Machu Picchu right on the edge of the Peruvian jungle.

This Salkantay Trek of 5 Days is prone to create an unforgettable experience that will elevate you, in every sense of the word. Let us guide you through the mystical land and ruins of the ancient Incas!

icon clock Duration: 5 Daysicon altitude Max. Altitude: 6264 m. / 20551 ft.icon sleep Accommodation: Camping & Hotel
icon mountain Difficulty: Moderate to Challengingicon calendar Season: All year
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Overview

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata (Marcoccasa) – Soraypampa

  • 5:00 AM Pickup at your Hotel
  • Meals: Lunch and Dinner (optional breakfast in Mollepata)
  • Estimated hiking time: 6 hrs.
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Climate: Cold to Moderate
  • Sleepover in Soraypampa

Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay mountain pass – Chaullauy

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Estimated hiking time: 8 hrs.
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
  • Climate: warm and cold with mosquitoes
  • Sleepover in Chaullay

Day 3: Chaullay – Wiñaypoco – La Playa – Lucmabamba

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Estimated hiking time: 6hrs.
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Easy
  • Climate: Warm
  • Sleepover in Lucmabamba

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Auguas Calientes

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
  • Estimated hiking time: 6hrs.
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Climate: warm with mosquitoes
  • Sleepover in Aguas Calientes

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Estimated hiking time: 2hrs.
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Climate: warm
  • Transportation back to Cusco

Itinerary

DAY 1: CUSCO – MOLLEPATA (MARCOCCASA) – SORAYPAMPA

We will begin the Salkantay Trek by picking you up at 5:00 AM at your respective Hotel. Surely, you will have enough time to sleep in the car as we drive through Mollepata (3,000 m. / 9842,52 ft.) in order to reach the community of Marcoccasa (3,400 m. / 11155 ft.). If you want you can choose to have an optional breakfast in Mollepata.

In Marcoccasa, we will meet up with our cooks and muleteers, take a quick rest, stretch from the drive, and start the hike to Soraypampa. Quickly, you will realize how breathtaking this magnificent valley is, surrounded by the majestic Apu Salkantay with a staggering 6,264 m. / 20551 ft. and to its side is the beautiful Apu Humantay, which reaches an equally impressive 5,217 m. / 17,116 ft., there is not much more needed to be awed by nature.

Arriving in Soraypampa (3,900 m. / 12,795 ft.), we will eat a delicious lunch to recharge our energies, take a good rest, and optionally recommend you to hike up to the Humantay Lake (4,220 m. / 13,845 ft.). The estimated hiking time to the Humantay Lake is about 2hrs but the emerald waters of the glacial lake are worth all the effort.

Recap Day 1 of the Salkantay Trek:
  • The estimated transportation time is 03:30 Hrs.
  • The estimated hiking time is 6:00 HRS.
  • Climate: cold to moderate.

DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA – SALKANTAY PASS – CHAULLAY

On the second day, we will start with a delicious and energizing breakfast, in order to fully prepare us for the challenging hike of this day. Thereafter, we will ascend the Salkantay pass, reaching a peak of a remarkable 4,600 m. / 1968,5 ft. above sea level. This hike can be challenging, so remember to take it easy and take the time you need. All the more so, to relish fully some of the most exquisite views of the snow-capped Apu Salkantay (6,264 m. / 20551 ft.).

Once we reached the peak, we will take a moment to fully rejoice in this experience, appreciate the effort we have put in to ascend the pass, and marvel at the captivating beauty of the mountains. This is an unforgettable moment, thus we will leave you enough time to take some pictures and some good deep breaths to fully experience it.

Hereafter, we will start to descend to Chaullay (3,350 m. / 10991 ft.). The scenery will quickly change into beautiful, lush vegetation, with a wide variety of vines and moss entwined with old native trees and bushes. The climate will slowly get warmer as you descend further down and finally reach Chaullay, where we will take a good rest, have a delicious dinner, and have well deserved good night’s sleep.

Recap Day 2 of the Salkantay Trek:
  • The weather is hot and cold with mosquitoes.
  • With an estimated walking time of 08:00 hrs.

DAY 3: CHAULLAY – WIÑAYPOCO – LA PLAYA – LUCMABAMBA

The third day is dedicated to learning and being awed by the particularly abundant vegetation of this region of Peru. We will start by descending down through an extraordinary forest, full of orchids, bromeliads, and a seemingly endless variety of plants and flowers. Here the local communities grow their crops and you will be able to see countless plantations of coffee, cacao, and fruit trees.

We will pass by Wiñaypoco (2,650 m.) and La Playa (2,100 m.) in order to reach our second camp in Lucmabamba (2,000 m.). Here we will offer you in the afternoon the opportunity to get into contact with the local rural families who will teach you about the cultivation and treatment of coffee plants.

They will teach you about the different varieties of coffee plants, about their special tastes, and that it can take about 3 to 4 years for a coffee plant to bear fruits. Furthermore, due to the botanical characteristics of coffee, it is often grown in mountainous areas, where the widespread use of mechanical harvesting is not possible and thus they are generally picked by hand, which can be a labor-intensive and difficult process. The family will show and explain to you the entire coffee preparation process, from planting, to roasting, to enjoying it.

Recap Day 3 of the Salkantay Trek:
  • The weather is hot during the day with mosquitoes.
  • The estimated time of the walk is 6:00 Hrs.

DAY 4: LUCMABAMBA – LLACTAPATA – AGUAS CALIENTES

Note: Depending on the group’s preferences, it is possible to change the itinerary and visit the hot springs of Cocalmayo in Santa Teresa (1,830 m. / 6004 ft.) at an additional cost, instead of Llactapata.

We will start the fourth day with a delicious breakfast in order to fully recharge. Then we will set off to hike a part of the famous Inca trail. We will ascend through a gorgeous lush green forest until we reach the archeological site of Llactapata (2,650 m. / 8694 ft.). Here you will have the most stunning and dazzling view of Machu Picchu and the Vilcanota Canyon, as you will see the whole mountain range just in front of you, onto which Machu Picchu thrones on a crest so majestically that it seems nearly unreal. You will have enough time to appreciate this special place, be mesmerized by the Inca architecture, take some pictures, and have a quick rest before we start to descend.

On our journey down, you can hear an impressive variety of birds chirping, and with some luck maybe even spot some birds or smaller animals, while you are continually surrounded by the abundant vegetation of the forest. We will walk down until we reach “la Hidroeléctrica” (1,950 m. / 6398 ft.), where we will take the train to Aguas Calientes (2,050 m. / 6726 ft.). Here we will eat a tasty dinner and then go to our hotel to have a good night’s sleep to recharge for the next day.

Recap Day 4 of the Salkantay Trek:
  • The weather is hot with some insects.
  • The walking time is 06:00 Hrs
  • Accommodation in Aguas Calientes.

DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHUPICCHU – CUSCO

After a good breakfast, we will take a tourist bus up to Machu Picchu (2,400m.) where we will arrive at approximately 7 o’clock. There, you will have a guided tour through the citadel of Machu Picchu. Our specialized and professional guides will teach you all about the life, culture, and history of the Incas, and are at your disposal for all your inquiries that may arise during the tour.

We will also give you enough time to explore Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (2,750 m.) on your own so that you can fully indulge yourself in this magical mystical place. Explore, rejoice, and be mesmerized!

After the visit to Machu Picchu, we will take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes, where we will indicate to you the departure time of the train back to Ollantaytambo. Then we will leave you some free time until the train’s departure to explore the town of Aguas Calientes on your own. Feel free to stroll around in this little cozy town, visit some shops, treat yourself to a nice lunch or maybe even go to the hot springs. Enjoy these last moments in this warm and comfortable climate.

At the previously indicated time, we will meet and take the train back to Ollantaytambo. From there we will travel back to the city of Cusco, where we will drop you off at your hotel, thus ending this unforgettable and special experience.

Recap Day 5 of the Salkantay Trek:
  • The estimated time of the walk is 02:00 Hrs.

Included

INCLUDES

  • High-quality service
    • Professional bilingual guide (Spanish and English; other languages only if previously requested)
    • Professional cook and assistant
    • Horses and mules to carry up to 7 kg of a client’s personal belongings/luggage
    • Emergency horse
    • First aid kit and oxygen bottle
  • Transportation
    • Private transportation from your hotel in Cusco to Mollepata/Marcoccasa (Day 1)
    • Transporation of your personal belongings/lugagge from Lucmabamba to the “hidroeléctrica” trainstation (Day 4)
    • Train ticket from “hidroeléctrica” trainstation to Aguas Calientes (Day 4)
    • Bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (Day 5)
    • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (Day 5)
    • Bus ticket from Ollantaytambo to Cusco (Day 5)
  • Accommodation
    • In campsites with high-quality camping equipment (professional tent: Doite Top 4, for 2 people), mattresses, dining tent with table and chairs, hygiene services)
    • 2-star Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Entrance Tickets
    • Entrance Ticket to Salkantay National Park
    • Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Meals: 4 x Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Snacks (If you are vegetarian, please notify us in advance)
  • Cooked Water is provided, but you need to bring your own bottle or buy water on the way

TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE

  • Breakfast on the first day
  • Lunch and Dinner after Machu Picchu on the last day
  • Sleeping bag (if you don’t have one, we offer high-quality rental sleeping bags)
  • Consettur bus ticket to return after the visit from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes (We recommend doing this by foot, as it is a beautiful walk to end the visit, it takes about 1 hr. Alternatively there is the possibility of buying a ticket and it costs $ 12.00 per person)

WHAT TO BRING

  • Backpack
  • Rain poncho -> keep in mind that the weather can be very cold and humid; in this case, wet clothes do not have the time to dry
  • Sleeping bag
  • Clothes for hot and cold weather (e.g. short and long sleeve shirts, trekking pants, Wool or cotton socks, warm jacket, etc.)
  • Trekking shoes
  • Swimsuit and Sandals for Hotsprings
  • Sun protection (hat & sunscreen)
  • Insect repellent, hand sanitizer gel, toilet paper
  • Water bottle or water purifying tablets
  • Camera (waterproof or wrapped in a plastic bag), flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Additional snacks: Cereal bars, chocolate, nuts, etc.
  • Original passport and if applicable student card «ISIC» (for the entrance to Machu Picchu)
  • Extra money in soles (Peruvian money)

Contact Us

More Information

How hard is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek ranks in its difficulty from moderate to challenging, and is generally considered more challenging than the Inca trail to Machu Picchu. The total hiking distance of the Salkantay Trek is approximately 70 km / 43.5 mi. spread out over 5 days. The difficulty varies between the days, but generally speaking, Day 2 is the hardest one, as you will be ascending the Salkantay pass reaching an altitude of 4,600 m. / 1968,5 ft. above sea level. On Day 4 you will reach Llactapata at an altitude of 2,650 m. / 8694 ft. which can also be challenging as you might be tired of the preceding days, but we offer the alternative option to instead relax in the Hotsprings of Cocalmayo in Santa Teresa (1,830 m. / 6004 ft.) at an additional cost.

However, the Salkantay pass is very high. It can cause altitude sickness if you are not accustomed to such altitudes, which is why we strongly advise everyone to acclimatize beforehand for at least two or more days in the city of Cusco.

How to prepare for the Salkantay trek? Acclimate and altitude sickness

The Salkantay Trek is a moderate to challenging trek, which is especially due to the maximum altitude of 4,600 m. / 1968,5 ft. above sea level. In order to avoid any serious complications, we advise everyone to acclimate for at least two or more days in the city of Cusco. For this purpose, we can offer you various city tours in Cusco out of which we especially recommend the easier ones such as the Cusco City Tour, Maras and Moray Tour, and the Sacred Valley Tour.

Furthermore, we recommend eating healthy, avoiding fatty foods, and drinking a lot of water or Coca-tea. Please avoid drinking alcohol or smoking, especially on the days before the hike.

Nonetheless, altitude sickness can happen even to the fittest, thus here are the most common symptoms so that you can recognize it: headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, shortened breath, and difficulty with coordination. As long as the symptoms are relatively mild, we recommend using Coca leaves as a way to treat the symptoms. You can chew them or drink them as tea.

In any case, acclimatize your body and take it easy!

How far are the hiking distances each day?

The total hiking distance of the Salkantay Trek is 65 km / 40.4 mi. (excluding the hiking distance in Machu Picchu Sanctuary)

  • Day 1:
    • Mollepata – Soraypampa – 22km/13,6mi., ascending +1000m. altitude difference
  • Day 2:
    • Soraypampa – Chaullay – 21km/13mi.; ascending Salkantay pass +750m. altitude difference; hereafter descending to Chaullay -1500m. altitude difference
  • Day 3:
    • Chaullay – Lucmabamba – 18km/11mi., descending – 800m. altitude difference
  • Day 4:
    • Lucmabamba – Llactapata – 7km/4,3mi., ascending +900m. altitude difference
    • Llactapata – Aguas Calientes – 13km/8mi., descending –1000m. altitude difference
  • Day 5:
    • Machu Picchu Sanctuary

When is the best time to do the Salkantay Trek?

The best time to do the Salkantay Trek is during the dry season from April to November. The most popular months are June, July, and August.

We recommend the dry season as there is less chance of rain and the days are sunnier, even though the nights are colder.

During the rainy season from December to March, there is a lot of heavy rain which can cause landslides that block the roads and trekking ways. February is the worst month, which is why most trekking trails are closed due to the high risk.

In the following chart you can view the average temperature of the region:

High Temperature °FLow Temperature °F
Jan63 °F39 °F
Feb63 °F39 °F
Mar63 °F39 °F
Apr64 °F37 °F
May64 °F32 °F
Jun64 °F28 °F
Jul63 °F27 °F
Aug64 °F30 °F
Sep64 °F34 °F
Oct66 °F37 °F
Nov66 °F37 °F
Dec64 °F39 °F
Average Temperatures

How is the climate during the Salkantay Trek?

The climate during the Salkantay Trek highly varies, as it winds through very different terrain at different altitudes.

The only place where the climate can drop below freezing at night is in Soraypampa and the areas surrounding the Salkantay Pass. But don’t worry, we have professional gear specialized for extreme temperatures.

During the dry season from April to November the temperatures in the Salkantay region, are rather stable. On average around 18C° during the day and at night it can drop to -10C°.

During the rainy season from December to March it can rain a lot. Even though the days are on average around 19C° and the nights only drop to 4C°, if you get wet, it will feel much colder.

The other campgrounds are much warmer, due to their proximity to the cloud forest.

What to bring?

  • Backpack
  • Sleeping bag
  • Rain poncho -> keep in mind that the weather can be very cold and humid; in this case, wet clothes do not have the time to dry
  • Water bottle or water purifying tablets
  • Clothes for hot and cold weather (e.g. short and long sleeve shirts, trekking pants, Wool or cotton socks, warm jacket, etc.)
  • Trekking shoes
  • Swimsuit and Sandals for Hotsprings
  • Sun protection (hat & sunscreen)
  • Insect repellent, hand sanitizer gel, toilet paper
  • Camera (waterproof or wrapped in a plastic bag), flashlight, and extra batteries
  • Additional snacks: Cereal bars, chocolate, nuts, etc.
  • Original passport and if applicable student card «ISIC» (for the entrance to Machu Picchu)
  • Extra money in soles (Peruvian money)

Is drinking water provided during the Trek?

Yes, we provide you with boiled water that is safe to drink during every Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. However, please remember to bring a water bottle so that we can fill your bottle and you can carry your drinking water during the hike.

Nevertheless, if you need extra drinking water at any stage during the hike, occasionally there are shops where you can buy water and snacks.

Altitude map

Price

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

We have price alternatives that accommodate all budgets, prices per person, expressed in US Dollars.

Make your quotes and reservations by email [email protected], you can also communicate with one of our sales executives at the telephones detailed below, we will be happy to assist you.

Phone – WhatsApp: +51 969 787 221
Phone – WhatsApp: +51 986 994 218

HOW TO BOOK THE TOUR?

To start the reservation process, please send us the following information:

  • Name and surname:
  • Passport number:
  • Nationality:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Phone:
  • Very important – We need the address and information about the hotel that you are staying at, in the city of Cusco, to be able to pick you up at the time when the tour starts.

To confirm reservations it is required to pay 50% in advance and the other 50% can be paid upon arrival at your destination.

PAYMENT METHODS

  • IZIPAY
  • PAYPAL
  • WESTER UNION
  • MONEYGRAM
  • TRANSFER TO OUR BANK ACCOUNT PERU

Map

What Our Clients Says

Cássia Gola
2023-07-24
Verified
Assessoria Surpreendente Contratamos a agência Dreamy Tours pela internet e tivemos uma assessoria incrível desde o começo do atendimento. De início fechamos o Inca Trail de 4 dias. Fomos realmente surpreendidos com qualidade do serviço prestado. O time que nos acompanhou nesta aventura era extremamente experiente e isso fez da nossa viagem ainda melhor. O nosso guia foi o Saul, um dos mais experientes e influentes guias da região, e os porteadores e cozinheiros servidores natos e muito simpáticos. Comida farta, maravilhosa e muito variada nos dias do trekking. Estrutura sempre montada antes da nossa chegada, tudo muito bem organizado. Foram dias incríveis ao lado de pessoas sensacionais.A agência também nos assessorou em passeios como Laguna Salcantay e Ilha de Uros e Taquile, e novamente nos surpreendeu com a qualidade do serviço prestado. Nós realmente recomendamos a agência Dreamy Tour. Muito obrigada Dreamy Tour, vocês fizeram da nossa viagem ao Peru ainda melhor.
JMMMartinez
2023-07-22
Verified
Excelente atención y logistica Atención cuidada y servicial desde el primer momento. Hicimos el inca trail de dos dias con.mi familia. El procesp de reserva y previo fue muy cuidado y tuvimos el día anterior con el guía un reunión de preparación. Fuimos acompañados en todo momento y el.guia Henry (super recomendable) logro solucionar todos los inconvenientes presentados (a causa de demoras de tren y huelga nacional) para que no perdieramos nada. Una experiencia inolvidable y una agencia recomendable
Nathalia T
2023-07-18
Verified
Ótimo!!! Fizemos um bate-volta de Cusco a Machu Picchu. Foi uma experiência muito mágica! O guia Richard foi EXCELENTE! FAla português e é muito solícito. O pessoal da agência foi atencioso e organizado do início ao fim. Fomos em alta temporada e eles conseguiram ingresso mesmo assim! Recomendo muito!
Pedro B
2023-07-17
Verified
Recomendable Experiencia unica en la Inka Trail, todo ok con la agencia, confiable, proporcionou todo el soporte necesario
Maureen Astrid R
2023-06-23
Verified
Excelente Fui com a Dreamy fazer a trilha Inca de 4 dias em Macchu Picchu, Ilha Ballesta, voo de Nasca, Montanha 7 Cores, etc. Atendimento impecável!!! Adoramos a experiência!!! Recomendo muito a Dreamy Tours.
SILAS Sallem Filho
2023-06-18
Verified
Trilha Inca para Machu Picchu Fizemos a Trilha Inca a Pé de 4 dias.Experiência inesquecível!!Caminho e lindo e a viagem foi muito bem organizada!! Dreamy turismo se preocupa muito com os seus clientes. São muito atenciosos.
Breno A
2023-06-13
Verified
Melhor agência de Cusco! Fiz a trilha Inca de 4 dias e tudo foi perfeito. A agência é muito prestativa e organizou tudo perfeitamente, inclusive adaptando aos meus horários de retorno. Super recomendável!
Carmela B
2023-06-09
Verified
Perfeita Empresa dreams tour maravilhosa . Atendimento perfeito . Guias maravilhosos contam toda a história do lugar . Agradeço pela atenção e carinho de todos da empresa . Atendimento de todos excelente
jatorres28
2022-12-31
Verified
EXCELENTE EXPERIENCIA. La agencia de viajes fue muy cumplida, el personal que contrataban desde el conductor hasta los guías fueron personas muy amables y experimentadas, ello hizo que los tours se desarrollaran de la mejor manera. Los recomendaría sin duda alguna.

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