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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

5 Days | From


Highlights

  • Discover Machu Picchu & Cusco
  • Andean Discovery Campsites
  • Trek at your own pace
  • Enjoy world famous train ride

Some travelers elect to do the Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay Trek) in Peru as Plan B when Inca Trail permits are sold out. However, this hike is incredible in its own right, acknowledged by National Geographical Adventure Travel Magazine as one of the top 25 hikes in the world. You’ll also have the benefit of an off-the-beaten-path adventure, discovering a less-trodden trail that offers a bit more privacy. You’ll travel from the city of Mollepata, Cusco to Machu Picchu using a sacred, ancient footpath and enjoy similar features: impressive landscapes, intriguing archaeological areas, and locals tilling the land with traditional methods.

This trek is named after Mt. Salkantay, the quecha word for “Savage Mountain”, because it features beautiful views of this awe-inspiring, glacier-capped peak. You’ll also enjoy an interesting perspective of the Machu Picchu ruins.

Pricing

  • Trip length: 5 days


Included
  • Local Andean Discovery guides
  • All activities per itinerary
  • Airport transfers in private vehicle
  • Most meals
  • Andean Discovery U.S. and South American staff assistance from start to finish
Not Included
  • International airfare to and from South America
  • Gratuities
  • Travel insurance (available upon request)

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Detailed Itinerary >>
4-5 hours of trekking

Drive 2 hours and 40 minutes from Cusco past Mollepata to the trailhead in Marckasa. Hike from Marcokasa to Soraypampa. 4 hours hiking time plus a stop of about 1.5 hours for lunch in the middle.

Your driver will pick you up for Cusco with a scenic drive to set the mood for your hike. The 2.5 hour drive will pass quickly and before you know it, you’ll reach the trailhead in Marckasa. You’ll follow local footpaths on a gradual ascent towards the base of Mt. Salkantay. After a long lunch, you’ll start your two-hour (sometimes steep) ascent to your camp at Soyroccocha. You’ll spend your evening near the impressive glacier of Salkantay (4200m/13776ft). This camp tends to be chilly so be sure to pack warm clothes.

Overnight: Andean Discovery Mountain Campsite (B, L, D)

7-8 hours of trekking

Hike from Soraypampa to Collpapampa. 7-8 hours of trekking crossing a pass of 4,800 meters above sea level.

While this day includes the most difficult part of the trek, it also has some of the most spectacular sights. You’ll watch nature transform from dry regions to snow-covered peaks to tropical areas.

After a fortifying breakfast, you’ll make your way to the pinnacle of the hike, Salkantay Mountain Pass (4525m/14842ft), the second highest peak in the region.   When you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of glaciers, the peaks of the Vilcabamba Range and clouds lifting over the valley. In addition to the majestic feeling of being surrounded by mountains, you may also see chinchillas and condors in their natural habitat.

After taking a few more photos, you’ll descend from the pass and head towards a more tropical, cloud forest. The downward slope is relatively easy, along the Salkantay River. You’ll also pass remains of 6-meter wide, ancient Inca path.

You’ll end your day in Collpabamba, nicknamed the “Forest Cloudy Brow”, which contains waterfalls, fruit trees, and all sorts of other vegetation. Birds love the area, and if you’re lucky, you may meet the famous resident called the “Cock of the Rocks”.

Overnight: Andean Discovery Mountain Campsite (B, L, D)

6-7 hours of trekking

Hike Collpapampa to Lucmabamba 6-7 hours of trekking

This morning, you’ll start your day with an easy walk along the Santa Teresa River, where you’ll hear the gurgle of waterfalls and watch local farmers tending plantations. This microclimate is perfect for growing coffee, passion fruit, bananas, papayas, oranges and avocados. Feel free to wave at locals in the bustling village of La Playa before ending at your third camp at Lucmabamba (2,100m/6888ft). Watch out for spectacled bear, as this is their territory, and you may also be joined for part of this journey by a flock of parrots.

Overnight: Andean Discovery Mountain Campsite (B, L, D)

4-5 hours of trekking

Hike 2-3 hours to Llactapata ruins to enjoy lunch, recently restored Inca ruins and lookout point before descending 2 hours to the Aobamba River.

Coffee was brought to Peru by the Spanish, and you’ll spend your morning near the plantations that continue to flourish today. After wandering through agricultural regions, you’ll walk in the footprints of the Incas as you climb to the Llactapata ruins, looking out over Santa Teresa valley on the way. We’ll pause here for lunch and enjoy views that serve as an appetizer for the Macchu Picchu ruins tomorrow. You can simultaneously see the Salkantay Mountain and Macchu Picchu, making for incredible panoramic photos. After eating, you can also check out the recently restored Llactapata Ruins.

After your picturesque lunch, you’ll descend for 2 hours descent through bamboo forests and agricultural areas. Heading towards the Aobamba River, you’ll eventually end at the hydroelectric plant of Machu Picchu where you’ll take a 40-minute train to Aguas Calientes. Enjoy the opportunity to rest your legs, relax and enjoy the scenery from your window.

Overnight: La Casa del Sol

Note: Superior lodging is listed. Please contact us for information about Standard lodging.

Explore the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco

Today is the day you’ve been waiting for! After an early breakfast, you’ll head to the ruins with a guide eager to introduce you to the magical Machu Picchu. As you’re guided through the citadel, you’ll learn about the history and architecture that makes this place one of the 7 Wonders of the World. Then you’ll have free time to explore the area independently, potentially visiting the Temple of the Moon or the Inca Bridge. After a morning of enjoying this Incan treasure, you can meet your group back in Aguas Calientes where, you can potentially squeeze in a soak in the hot springs. Here, you’ll board the train back to Cusco, and arrive after nightfall.

 



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