The amazing Salkantay Trek Classic to Machu Picchu is one of the most famous treks in Cusco Peru and the best alternative route, next to the classic Inca Trail, to get to the Inca Citadel, Machu Picchu.
Today is an early start. You will be picked up at your hotel at approximately 5 am and will travel to the town of Mollepata which is at 2 900 m / 9 515 ft where we will arrive at approximately 7:00 am. This is our last stop before hitting the trail, so a great opportunity to get any last-minute supplies and use the restroom. We will continue our journey to Sayapata, our trek’s starting point. Here we will meet with our support staff who will load the equipment on horses and mules. The start of our hike brings us towards Soraypampa at 3 850 m/ 12750ft. During the hike there are panoramic views of the majestic Salkantay and other snow-covered mountains as well as the Valley of the Apurimac River. Following our lunch break, a three-hour hike will bring us to marvelous Humantay Lake. Following our visit to the lake we will hike back to our campsite where tents will be for you along with a warm delicious dinner.
Today, nature will change drastically from dry sceneries to snowy peaks and tropical areas. After breakfast we will start the most difficult part of the trek. We will hike to a place called Pampas Salkantay, then go toward the left side of the snow peaks of Umantay located next to the Apu Salkantay. At midday, we will be at the highest point, 4 600 meters above sea level, where we can appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and imposing snowy peaks of the Salkantay mountain which rises to 4600 m /15090 ft , known as the second highest point in the Cusco region. Around 1 pm we will have our lunch break in an area called Huayracm. Following lunch, we will hike for approximately three hours to arrive at our camp in Challway at (3000m/9842f). We will have the better part of the afternoon to rest and relax and dinner will be served around 7 pm.
Todays hike begins around 7 am and will take us to Playa Sahuayaco 2400m / 7874ft. Along the approximately six-hour hike we will see a town called Collpabamba, also known as the “Forest Cloudy Brow” where waterfalls, fruit-bearing trees, varied flora and birds can be observed. If we are lucky, we will be able to see the famous bird called the “Cock of the Rocks.” Lunch will be served around 2 pm and following lunch a local bus will take us to the Santa Teresa Hot Springs, where you can relax and enjoy the hot pools. We will have dinner and camp here for the night.
After an early breakfast, we will take local transportation to Lucmabamba, a 40-minute ride, to the starting point of today’s hike. Once at the Llacatapata (2700 metros / 8858) entrance, you will an ascent towards the ruins of Llactapata. On the way, you will see coffee plantations, beautiful landscapes as well as very diverse flora and fauna. After approximately three hours, you will arrive at Llactapata where you will have an amazing view of Machu Picchu. Here you will have time to rest and enjoy the scenery. A descending trail will take you to the Hydroelectric town where you will eat lunch at a local restaurant. The last part of the trek takes us to Aguas Calientes which is about two hours away. Upon arrival you will be accommodated at the hostel or a hotel of your choice and you will enjoy dinner in a local restaurant.
Today is an early start. We will begin our hike at 4:30 am and walk up to Machu Picchu. In Machu Picchu you will have a two-hour guided tour after which you are free to explore the citadel and take pictures. Feel free to walk up to the Sun Gate or ascend toward the Huayna Picchu Mountain. There is a fee to climb Huayna Picchu which is not included in your package and is subject to availability. Note that some sections of the climb up require ropes and only those travelers who do not suffer from vertigo should attempt it. It is a one-hour trip to the summit and is not recommended during rainfall. When we have finished exploring the extraordinary city of Machu Picchu, we will travel by bus to Aguas Calientes. There you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where our private van will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the departure time of your train.
Pre-departure briefing with your guide
Professional trek guide fluent in English and Spanish (2 guides for groups over 8 people)
Transportation: Private transportation from Cusco to starting point, as well as your train ticket from Aguas Calientes back to Cusco, and transfer from the train station to your hotel in Cusco
All entrance tickets
Pack animals to carry all camping equipment including tents, cooking gear, food, etc. (Days 1 – 4)
Two-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu
Three nights camping
Spacious tents with sleeping mats – 2 people in a 4-person capacity tent to allow for greater comfort
Accommodations in Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu
Duffle bag to transport your personal items (maximum of 6 kg per person including sleeping bag and mat) – on Days 1 -2 these will be carried by the pack animals and the following days by bus
Boiled water to refill your water bottles
All meals cooked on the spot with fresh ingredients by our trained chef
Cloth snack bag provided to avoid the use of plastic bags
Bowls of hot water for washing in your tent every day, morning and night, and at lunch time if requested in advance
Biodegradable soap and hand sanitizer
1 blanket and 1 pillow per person
Your guide will be equipped with a walkie-talkie as well as an Oxygen tank and first aid kit
Sleeping bag (available for rent at $5 US/day). Our sleeping bags are rated for -200C (00F) and include a sleeping liner.
Walking poles (available for rent at $3 US/day).
Lunch on the last day after the guided tour of Machu Picchu
Entrance fee to the Santa Teresa Hot Springs in Cocalmayo and the Aguas Calientes Hot Springs 10 soles
Entrance to Huayna Picchu Mountain (Reservation required, fee of $75 US)
Optional night in Auguas Calientes can easily be arranged
Tips for the staff (guide, chef, assistant cook and porters)
Backpack with a waterproof cover with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature (i.e. layers)
Warm clothes, including a jacket, fleece, gloves, scarf and harm hat or toque. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco for approximately $1.
Trekking/hiking shoes, waterproof is recommended
Micro fiber or wool socks (extra socks are a must)
Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings
Small towel or sarong
Swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in the hot springs)
Sunscreen and sun glasses as well as a hat
Insect repellent (minimum recommended 20% DEET)
Toilet paper (must be carried out with other garbage)
Passport and International Student Identity Card (ISIC – if you have one)
Water purification tablets
Reusable water bottle and water bladder for your day pack
Snacks (energy bars, nuts, chocolate, etc.)
Personal hygiene items
Small first aid kit with any special medications you might require and “Mole Skin” for blisters, etc.
Flashlight or headlamp with extra batteries
Sleeping bag (available for rent)
Cash for snacks, tips and souvenirs.