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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (4 Days / 3 Nights)      

Salkantay Trek Machupicchu

The Salkantay Trek is the number one alternative to the Inca Trail. This trek has been considered by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine one of the 25 best treks in the world.

On this trek, we can appreciate a progression of the diverse types of ecological zones from subtropical through puna to glacier peak of magnificent Salkantay mountain (6271m/20569feet), finally arriving to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night in a comfortable hostel . On the last day of the tour, we take a tour of the magnificant ruins of Machu Picchu.


Salkantay trek, hiking mountains, discover the Inca buildings, famous trek, quechua communities, wonder of Machu Picchu, peak



Salkantay To Machu Picchu 4 Days / 3 Nights

Location: The Salkantay trek begins 4 hours drive west of Cusco. We pass the village of Mollepata and begin hiking at Soraypampa.
Trek Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
Trek grade: Moderate
Trek Style: Active
Type of Trek : Archaeological, Cultural and Adventure
Altitude: 1,650 m / 5,429ft(La playa) - 4, 630 m/15,250ft (Salkantay Pass)
Departure Day: Daily
Accommodation: 2 nights in tent and 1 night Hotel
Group Size: Small Group (Maximum group size 08)
Short Itinerary Walking Distance 

Day 1: Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa - Huayracmachay.
Day 2: Huayracmachay - Arrayanniyoc – La Playa.
Day 3: La Playa - Santa Teresa - Aguas Calientes
Day 4: Aguas Calientes-Machu Picchu-Cusco

Day 01: 15 km / 9 millas
Day 02: 18km / 11 millas
Day 03: 15km / 9 millas

Useful Information

Minimum  Altitude: 1,650 m / 5,429ft (La playa)
Highest Altitude:4, 630 m/ 15,250ft (Salkantay Pass)

T° Maximum: 20°C
T° Minimum: 0°C


salkantay-trek-inka-trail-machupichu-1DAY 1: Cusco -- Mollepata – Soraypampa – Huayracmachay.

On this first day, we will leave Cusco very early in our private transport to the village of Mollepata where we will stay for half an hour to have our breakfast. Then we continue our trip in the car until Soraypampa (3900m/12900feet). From here we climb gently for about 3 hours to Salkantaycocha. We have lunch very close to Salkantay Mountain and glaciers. After lunch and a rest we continue to climb steeply to the Salkantay pass where we will make small offerings to the apus (mountain spirits). This is the highest point of the trip (4600m/13460feet). From here we descend for 2 to 3 hours to the campsite at Huayraqmachay.



DAY 2: Huayracmachay - Arrayanniyoc – La Playa.

Today, we continue our descent from the mountain range to the cloud forest for 1.5 hours when we reach Arrayanniyoc village. There we start about 1 hour ascent through exuberant cloud forest vegetation. Afterwards we continue the descent 4 more hours in the subtropical zone. We will take our lunch in the village of Wiñaypocco. After 2 hours walking we reach our camp site in La Playa village (2100m/6930feet).


salkantay-trek-inka-trail-machupichu-3DAY 03: La Playa - Santa Teresa - Aguas Calientes.

When we get up on this day, we will take our transport to the village of Santa Teresa (1700m/5650feet), where we will have the opportunity to relax at the beautiful baths of Cocalmayu. Then we continue our trek through the valley and along the Vilcanota River for approximately 3 hours until we reach the hydroelectric plant where we will have our lunch. Before continuing to walk another 9 km more along the train tracks to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we can rest in a comfortable hostal and later have dinner in a restaurant.




DAY 04: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu - Cusco.

We´ll have early breakfast. Then at 5:30 am we will catch the first bus to Machu Picchu (navel of the world) in order to appreciate the magnificent city as the sun is rising. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your Guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. If you still have energy you can also climb Huaynapicchu (2720m/8980feet) it takes 45 minutes to reach the top. We can also secure your entry to the mountain of Huaynapichu from where we can appreciate Machu Picchu from a different vantage point. Later, we will again descend to Aguas Calientes town to take the train return to Ollantaytambo and then by bus to Cusco, and transfer to your hotel.

Included / Not Included

 What is Included?  What is not Included?
  • Professional guide who speaks English, Spanish
  • Briefing at your hotel before departing
  • Private bus to the start of the trek.
  • Transfer to your hotel on return.
  • Cook and cooking equipment
  • Meals (Vegetarian option available) & Snacks
  • Camping equipment, dining tents, kitchen, tables, chairs.
  • 4 man tents are provided for 2 people only.
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Horseman and mules (they carry cooking and camping equipment)
  • Entrance tickets to Machu Picchu.
  • Bus up to Machu Picchu.
  • Return train ticket to Cusco.
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes with private bathroom
  • First aid kid and oxygen tank.
  • Breakfast the first day
  • Lunch on day 4th
  • Sleeping bags (they can be rented in the office)
  • Entrances to hot springs
 What you Need to Bring?  Optional Items to Take:
  • Sleeping bag (not included but can be hired from us)
  • 1 small day backpack to carry the things you need for the day
  • Walking boots
  • Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
  • Warm jacket, hat and gloves
  • T-shirts
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Sun hat
  • Sun protection cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand santizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Small towel
  • Bathing suit for hotsprings (not included in price)
  • Water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • Personal medication
  • Camera and films
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Bathing suit for hotsprings (not included in price)
  • Emergency extra Cash
  • Shorts
  • sandals
  • Walking stick (with rubber tip)
  • Plasters and bandages
  • Additional horses


* We include a porter that will carry your personal belongings (8kg/16lbs) in all of our treks at no additional cost.
Group Services: Private Service:
Price:  $. per  person To Open A New “Fixed Departures Date In A Private Service”                                                                                      
We only need 2 paxs


Discounts Optional Extras
  • Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
  • Under 16's Discount: US$20
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu Mountain
  • Sleeping bag 
  • Air matresses 
  • Inflatable pillow 
  • Pair of Walking poles 


How Far In Advance Do I Need To Make Salkantay Treks Reservation?

Salkantay Trek permits are not required for this trek so in theory you could just turn up in Cusco and book this trek a day or two in advance. However the train tickets from Aguas Calientes and back to Ollantaytambo at the end of the trek are becoming more and more difficult for us to purchase at short notice and it is highly recommended that these tickets are bought at least 2 months before trek departure. The number of spaces within the group are also limited so if you have limited time in Cusco and you really want to do this trek then we would recommend making a trek booking as far in advance as possible.

What Is An Isic Card? How Can I Use It To Get A Discount?

If you are claiming a student discount you must email us a scanned copy of your ISIC Student card immediately after proceeding with the booking form. Only a valid ISIC card is acceptable. If you cannot provide us with a scanned copy of your ISIC card we will charge you the standard adult trek price. You must take the ISIC card with you on the Salkantay Trek as it will be checked. Unfortunately no other forms of student id are acceptable

When Is The Best Time To Hike The Salkantay?

The dry season is the best time for this trek. In Cuzco, the dry season lasts from April to November, and the wet season is from December to March. From June to September are the most popular months to do the trek, due to summer vacations in Europe and the US. It is generally thought that May and October offer the best weather conditions.

How Difficult Is The Hike?

For an average travelers or hikers, Salkantay is considered a challenging but certainly not impossible hike. Due to the physical demands, anyone who wishes to trek Salkantay should at least be moderately fit. Plus, all trekkers should spend at least 2 days in Cuzco before the trek, to get acclimatized. Being extremely fit does not grant any immunity from altitude sickness.

How Far Do We Walk Each Day?

The amount you walk each day varies. An average day is 6-7 hours.

What’s The Most Challenging Section Of The Hike?

The Salkantay Pass, at approximately 4,600 meters above sea level is the most difficult section in the trail. These challenges are a result of several factors: the challenge of uphill climbing, bitter cold winds, low temperatures in general, and the fact that you are trekking at a low-oxygen altitude.

How Many People In The Groups?

Tucanos Peru operates small groups and offers a personalized itineraries service.
Our groups are between 2-8 persons.

What Happens If I Get Sick On Salkantay Trek?

We will evaluate your symptoms and treat you accordingly.
We carry basic medical supplies on the trail, however, we recommend that you also bring your own supply of medicine. If your symptoms are considered poor enough for you to continue the trek, we will have a porter accompany you back to Cusco where you can seek further medical treatment.
If you are feeling better, we will help you get to Aguas Calientes so you can participate in the guided tour of Machu Picchu.

What Is The Weather Like On The Salkantay Trek During The Year?

Weather in the region is extremely variable and you should pack for a variety of conditions. In addition, our trek passes through nine bio-zones ranging from high altitude alpine conditions to high jungle. During a sunny day you can expect temperatures of about 65–80°F (18–27°C), how- ever on the pass the weather is very unpredictable and temperatures can drop to 30°F (0°C) during the day (but you won’t spend a lot of time up there). The zone of Machu Picchu has a humid and warmer climate since it is located at a lower altitude on the east side of Andes. The average temperatures at Machu Picchu are between 73°F and 77°F (23°C to 25°C), with the minimum temperature around 64°F (18°C). The region of Cusco has only two seasons: a wet season and a dry season. The wet season starts in November and ends in March. During this time, it rains almost every day for three or four hours, but also there are several sunny days. The dry season begins around March and lasts until October. June and July are the coldest months. Paradoxically at noon the temperatures can reach 77°F (23 °C), the annual highest temperature

Is Altitude Sickness A Problem? What Should I Do To Avoid Altitude Sickness?

To avoid altitude sickness, give yourself time in Cuzco to acclimatize to the change in altitude. Two days minimum is recommended. Try to avoid alcohol before and during your trek, and make sure you eat lightly and drink plenty of water. Make sure to stay hydrated during the trek, don’t force yourself to walk faster than your body wants to, and take frequent breaks. Drinking coca leaf tea helps a lot, and you may wish to speak with your doctor about Diamox pills.

What Do We Do For Water Along The Salkantay Trek?

You'll come across several mountain springs, fountains or small streams along the trail where you can fill up your water bottle. Although the water looks clean, it is always safer to use sterilizing tablets or a water filter. With these tablets you have to wait between 30 and 40 minutes before drinking. Bottled mineral water can also be taken from Cusco or bought at Mollepata or Santa Teresa.

Are There Bathrooms During The Trek/Washing Facilities Like?

During most of the trek, there are no bathrooms, or just basic toilets. This is an inevitable part of adventure treks. Once we arrive in Aguas Calientes your hotel will have a private bathroom with hot water.
Your camp team will provide washing bowls of warm water as you arrive at camp at the end of the day's trekking. Take plenty of toilet paper with you, and antiseptic wipes / anti-bacterial hand gel.

Why Do I Need To Make A Deposit?

We use the money from your deposit to make several important purchases, including the entrance fee to Salkantay, the entrance fee to Machu Picchu, bus tickets, and train tickets. In addition, making a deposit assures us that you will be coming on the trek, and are unlikely to cancel at the last minute. This helps us with knowing how much food to buy, how many of our guides to use for the trek, etc.

The deposit is non-refundable once we receive it, because we will immediately use it to purchase the tickets mentioned above.

Each reservation needs 25% of deposit as first payment. The final balance (75%) will be paid in Cusco.

About Payment you must choose where you would like to make the deposit:

  • Western Union
  • By Pay Pal or Credit Card

Should I Request An Extra Horse?

It is better to request a horse before you go on the trail rather than realize halfway through that you’re not enjoying carrying your pack at this altitude and want some help. Additional horses are just to carry load.

Can I Have Vegetarian Meals?

Our cooks can provide vegetarian meals no problem. Just let us know your dietary requirements when you book your trek.

What Do I Need To Bring On The Trek?

  • Sleeping bag (not included but can be hired from us)
  • 1 small day backpack to carry the things you need for the day
  • Walking boots
  • Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
  • Warm jacket, hat and gloves
  • T-shirts
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Sun hat
  • Sun protection cream
  • Insect repellent
  • Hand santizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Small towel
  • Bathing suit for hotsprings (not included in price)
  • Water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • Personal medication
  • Camera and films
  • Torch with spare batteries
  • Bathing suit for hotsprings (not included in price)
  • Emergency extra Cash

What Is The Environmental Impact Of My Trek Like?

The Salkantay trek is a low-impact activity. We will only be travelling short distances by bus and train, and almost the entire trek is done by walking. We will avoid areas with endangered plants, and we will give you steps on minimizing your impact even further. For example, please give your trash to you porters at the end of the day. This helps keep the trail as clean as possible.

What About Trip Leaders And Tour Guides?

Having a good guide is an essential part of having a good trek. Our guides are knowledgable in the areas of history, archaeology, ecology, and are natives of the Cuzco area.
They take great pleasure in sharing their insights and expertise and will make your adventure an unforgettable experience

Will The Guide Have A First Aid Kit And Oxygen?

Yes, the guide will carry a first aid kit and have oxygen with them while hiking. It is a good idea for someone in your group to also have a first aid kit, with items that you normally need.

Can I Use My Mobile/Cell Phone On The Mountain?

You will get sporadic phone coverage during the trek and there will not be anywhere whilst trekking to charge your phone.

What do we do with our travel luggage while we are trekking?

The hotel where you stay in Cusco will keep your luggage that you do not need. Most hotels have a locked storage room for your use. Most hotels also have a security box for a small fee.