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Salkantay to Machu Picchu – Sun Trail

Not Rated


5 Days

Tour Type

Small Group

Group Size

16 people


Fixed Date


The Salkantay Trek is considered one of the “25 Best Treks in the World” by National Geographic Adventure Magazine. This trek will take you through unique and varying landscapes, from cloud forests to grassy highlands and where sub-alpine passes meet colossal snow-capped mountains. This trek is for the adventurous.

Since the ancient Incan times, Salkantay Mountain has been considered sacred and the protector of the Quechua people. The name Salkantay derives from the Quechua language and means “Savage Mountain”. Salkantay Mountain (20,574 feet) is the highest peak in the Andean mountain range and in the Cusco area of the Southern Peruvian Andes.

The Salkantay trek begins on the south side of Salkantay Mountain and Machu Picchu and circumnavigates the mountain and ancient ruin to the town of Aguas Calientes. The Salkantay trek contains parts of the original Inca trail and provides mysterious and magical feelings associated with the history of the Inca. This trek is simply Amazing!

Day 1: Cusco – Challacancha – Soroycocha

Day 2: Soroycocha – Qollpapampa

Day 3: Qollpapampa – Lucmabamba

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Hydro – Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes)

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco


Tailor-made suggestions for this itinerary:

* Stopover in the cultural Cusco and stay at some of the beautiful boutique hotels we have to offer.  Ask us about our 3 night Pre and Post Cusco Package which includes a comprehensive Cusco City Tour and more

* Choose from our range of lodges and cruises to the Galapagos Islands

* Extend your stay in Peru and explore some of its other highlights including Arequipa, the Colca Canyon and Lake Titicaca

* Add in a 3 or 4 day trip to an Amazon lodge or upgrade to an Amazon Luxury Cruise

Shared Small Group departures depart Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays. Private departures are daily for a surcharge. Pricing reflects the shared departure based on 2 travelers.

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Day 1: Cusco – Challacancha – Soroycocha
Day 1: Cusco – Challacancha – Soroycocha

You will leave Cusco early in the morning (06.00) and drive to the village of Mollepata a nice Indian Village situated in a citrus growing area at a subtropical region at 2803 masl. On the route you will visit the archaeological site of Tarawasi, one of the nicest buildings in the region before getting to Mollepata. After you will continue driving up over a dirty road until arrive to Challacancha, at the place we will meet the horse handlers and horses, who will be our support on the trek, from Challacancha we will start to climb toward Salcantaypampa, where you will take lunch, after a short rest you will continue to climb toward Soroycocha (4,200 masl), which will be the first campsite, from this place we will have a magnificent view of Apu Salcantay (snow capped mountain 6271.00 masl) Guardian Lord of Cusco.

Total walking distance: 15 km
Minimum height: 3600 masl
Maximum height: 4400 masl
Hike: 5 hours approx.

Meals included: Lunch & Dinner

Day 2: Soroycocha – Qollpapampa
Day 2: Soroycocha – Qollpapampa

After a healthy breakfast, early in the morning, forecasting a long journey you will depart around 6:30 am, toward Collpapampa, you will start to ascent by 1 hour and until arrive to Salcantay Mountain pass (4525masl) at the side, you will enjoy wonderful views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped mountain of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, show us the south face of Salkantay towering above us, at the place we have the possibility to watch chinchillas and Andean Condors in their natural habitat, arriving to Huayracmachay where you will have lunch, then you will start descending towards a more tropical climate and into the so-called cloud forest. Along the route, we can see the remains of an original ancient Inca path by 6 meters approximately; you will walk along the Salkantay River, arriving to the second camp at Qollpapampa (2890m).

Total walking distance: 18 km
Minimum height: 2850 masl
Maximum height: 4630 masl
Hike: 7 hours approx.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Qollpapampa - Lucmabamba
Day 3: Qollpapampa - Lucmabamba

After breakfast we will descend through a narrow path toward the banks of the Cachora or Santa Teresa River. This day you will enjoy a warmer and humid climate, at this altitude there is a marked change in the flora and fauna, becoming more verdant and preparing us for the subtropical foliage, on the route we will pass through wild fruits plantations like passion fruit, coffee plantations. You will pass the waterfalls of Coripacchi, the settlement at Wiñaypoko, where you will enjoy a delicious Lunch. In the afternoon you will continue close to the banks of the river and we will pass Sahuayaco a small village less of 20 families. Later we arrive to our campsite at Lucmabamba.

Total walking distance: 16 km
Minimum height: 2100 masl
Maximum height: 2850 masl
Hike: 6 hours approx.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Hydro – Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes)
Day 4: Lucmabamba – Hydro – Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes)

After breakfast, you will start to walk toward La Playa village and you will cross the river and start climbing until arrive to El Mirador or Abra Q’elloqasa (2860 masl) from here you have an exceptional view of the Lost City of the Incas, the legendary Machupicchu, from a different angle. You will enjoy a last lunch in nature at the lookout point of Llaqtapata (2650masl) from where we can view both Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain and take a good rest, enjoying the added value of the Llactapata remains, which have recently been restored. A descent towards the Aobamba River crossing lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations brings us to the hydroelectric plant of Machu Picchu from where we board a train that takes us to Puente Ruinas (short, scenic 30-minutes train ride), arriving to Aguas Calientes, transfer to the hotel for resting.

Hotel Option:
Superior: El Mapi by Inkaterra

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco
Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Early in the morning you will take the first bus up to the Sanctuary; the guide will offer a full guided tour of this spectacular place. Then, you will have free time to explore after the tour. Return to Aguas Calientes to take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where the bus waits for us to transfer to hotel in the Sacred Valley or Cusco city.

Meals included: Breakfast


  • English speaking guide
  • Transfers
  • Horses and mules to carry gear
  • Tent
  • Meals as indicated in itinerary
  • Filtered and boiled water
  • Services in Vistadome train
  • Local train from Hydro to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes)
  • Bus to Machu Picchu round trip
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Sleeping Bag
  • To Machu Picchu: Local train from Hydro station to Machu Picchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes), Bilingual guide (same guide as on the trek), Bus to Machu Picchu round trip, Entrance fee to Machu Picchu,
  • One nights accommodation in Aguas Calientes
  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

Handpicked Hotels

The Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek include a Superior Hotel as a part of the package. If you would like to upgrade, you can select any Luxury hotel option for an extra cost.

Simple, clean, and bursting with character, our Comfort hotels offer superb value without compromising style, location or amenities. Comfort level hotels are closest to North American 3 star standards.

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For an upgraded experience, our Superior hotels feature impressive common areas, spacious rooms. Some hotels of this type include amenities found in higher class hotels, including pools, spas, or terraces. Superior level hotels are closest to North American 4 star standards.

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Our Luxury hotels offer high standards of comfort, style, and service with extensive attention to detail. Almost all feature amenities such as pools, spas, and private terraces. Luxury hotels are closest to North American 5 star standards.

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Tour's Location


How prices are based?
Prices are "from" per person based on twin beds or double share bedroom in a Superior Hotel Category.
Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply.
Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability.
Rates for solo traveler, triple share or more travellers are available on request - please inquire.
What is the difference between the Salkantay Private Tour and Shared Group Tour?
If you choose to go on a private tour, the tour will be tailored to you. The size of the group depends on you and only you. You can decide exactly who will be on the trek with you. This is perfect for couples, families, or groups of friends. You will have your own personal chef and guide, which means the trek is more personalized and able to satisfy your personal needs.
What's the group size?
Actual group size may vary but is based on 1 lead guide for every 8 trekkers.
If your Salkantay trekking group is over 16, you will be broken into two separate groups each not exceeding 16 people.
Departure dates?
Shared departures depart Mondays, Wednesdays & Saturdays
Private departures are daily for a surcharge
Pricing reflects the shared departure
How difficult is the Salkantay?
For an average traveller or tourist, 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.
The entire hike is approximately 72 kilometers (approximately 45 miles), and this hiking takes place during 4 days and 3 nights. The remaining 1 day of the trek is spent at Machu Picchu. In general, Salkantay is considered to be slightly harder than the Inca Trail.
What's the most challenging section of the hike?
The Salkantay Pass, at 14,760123 feet above sea level, is the most difficult section in the trail. Expect wind and cold temperatures. Some hikers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Symptoms will disappear as soon as you start your descent. Oxygen will be provided if needed. The Salkantay Pass, at approximately 4,650 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.
When is the best time to do the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu?
Trek conditions vary according to the season. The best months to do the Salkantay trek are the dry winter months from May to August. During this time, there is little rain, so the trail can be dusty. Night-time temperatures also can be very low, even reaching below freezing!
December through March is the wet season in Peru and trekking the Salkantay route is not recommended for safety reasons, as the trail can be slippery and muddy. It is also possible for the 4600m Salkantay Pass to be snowed under during the rainy season.
What should I bring?
Hiking boots – very comfortable, worn-in if possible, waterproof.
Luggage: daypack designed for hiking, adjustable hip and shoulder straps. Main luggage should be easy to carry
Wind and rainproof jacket
Fleece pullover (layering lighter garments is better than one heavy fleece).
Thermals – long johns and vest (it gets extremely cold at night)
Hat and gloves (fleece or other)
Sun hat – with visor or brim, sunglasses
Clothing should be comfortable, light and fast drying (jeans not recommended). Cotton hiking, trousers cotton long and short sleeve.
Shirts, hiking shorts, plenty of socks, bandana.
Pair of trainers, sandals or other comfortable shoes.
Water bottle canteen or Nalgene bottle
Headlamp / torch and batteries
Toiletries – including sun block and high factor sun cream, insect repellent, lip balm, biodegradable soap and shampoo.
Blister treatment
Knife (Swiss model)
Medicines (in case you have a special requirement)
Snacks (if you prefer one special)
What is the weather in salkantay trek?
Weather is very varied on the Salkantay Trek, due to the fact that it winds its way through wildly different terrain at different altitudes.

The only place where weather is a serious concern is the Salkantay Pass, and the nearby areas. Temperatures here, and at the nearby Soraypampa campsite, can fall below freezing. The other camps are much warmer, due to their proximity to the cloud forest.
What is the food at salkantay trek?
One of our strengths is the food we provide on the Salkantay Trek, which is why our company has been working with high mountain cooks for more than 7 years. They are going to bring you the best gastronomy of Cusco and Peru. At breakfast there will be scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes, coffee, milk, butter, etc. Lunches are very nutritious (quinoa chaufa, steak, chicken stew, sauteed tenderloin, stuffed avocado, etc). And dinner is designed according to the type of weather, for example the first night you will have a refreshing soup for the cold and altitude sickness. The last day we will have dinner at a restaurant in Aguas Calientes. If you have any food restrictions, do not worry, since our chefs are prepared for all types of food restrictions, such as vegetarians, vegans, or allergies to gluten and others. All foods are prepared with fresh and organic ingredients, produced by the farmers of the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Is water included on the Salkantay trek?
If water is included in the Salkantay Trek route, you should only buy water for the first day. Then our cooks will fill you with clean and safe water to drink, we drink the water from the cleanest sources and then it is boiled and filtered. If possible, please avoid taking water from springs, rivers or lagoons, since we do not certify the quality of the water, even if you carry the purification tablets, perhaps those bodies of water are contaminated with heavy minerals, which come from the mountains, which can cause poisoning to your body. If you are drinking a lot of water, do not worry, since there will always be ladies who sell bottles of water throughout the villages we pass. If possible avoid carrying many plastic bottles, prefer to carry a canteen or camel back, so you will be contributing to the care and responsible use of environmental resources.
Can I do the Salkantay trek with my kids?
Children under 14 years old are not allowed to do the trek, and children who are over 14 years old should be in good physical shape and used to hiking long distances.
How much should I tip the trekking team?
Tipping is at your discretion, but always highly appreciated.
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