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Salkantay Trek 5D

(6 Reviews)
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Why Book With Us?

  • High quality, personalized experience from start to finish
  • Unique, off-the-beaten track routes
  • Experienced staff
  • Verified sustainability practices
  • $20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Threads of Peru

Martina Puma Ccama – Chaullacocha

Handy in the Andes

handy in the andes

  • Want to give back while on vacation? Do some good while having a blast and join us on one of our Clean Up Treks!                                                                                                  Read More


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5 Days / 4 Nights
Availability : We depart any day with 2 people; not recommended Dec-Mar.
Machu Picchu
Difficulty : ★★★★ Challenging
Adventure : ★★★ Getting off the beaten path
Solitude : ★★ Popular
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12
h per day


5-Day Salkantay Trek Description

Our innovative 5-day route lets you enjoy the best parts of the popular Salkantay trek while staying slightly out of sync with the crowds.

Combining the best of two worlds, the 5D Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu takes you hiking near glaciers beneath the magnificent Apu Salkantay mountain (6240m / 20,472 ft), before descending into the tropical climate of Santa Teresa on your way to Machu Picchu.

Apus Peru’s unique Salkantay trek route offers a greater chance for solitude on this busy trail, before connecting with Aguas Calientes and a visit to the un-missable Machu Picchu.

With options for adventure or relaxation on Day 4, this trek has something for everyone!

If you’re looking for more of a challenge, check out our Salkantay Trail 4D option!

What to Expect on the 5D Salkantay Trek

This Salkantay Trek really has it all! From impressive mountain vistas, to tropical vegetation and varied wildlife, to fascinating Inca ruins, and even the chance for extra adventure on Day 4, like the Cola de Mono zipline


Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people


4-6 people


7-8 people


9-12 people



What is Included?

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of the 5D Salkantay Trek departure
  • Transport from Cusco to the trailhead at the beginning of the trek in private car
  • Entry fee to Machu Picchu and Salkantay trek
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your guide if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Toilet tent
  • Horses and horsemen, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg/15lbs per person).
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket from Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes
  • Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • Lunch on the last day.
  • 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a Standard Hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hotel with breakfast included and private bathroom. You can also upgrade to a higher quality hotel.

What is Not Included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last morning.
  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters
  • Additional horses for your personal luggage
  • Entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Entrance to the Aguas Calientes or Colcamayu hot springs
  • Cola de Mono zipline

You Should Bring

    See What To Bring for our comprehensive recommendations on what to pack for your trek. Note: the temperature varies widely on this trek. Be prepared for all types of weather, and be able to both bundle up and de-layer! For more great suggestions, check out our blog about How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru.

Optional Extras & Upgrades

    We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

    • Extra horse to carry luggage exceeding the allowed 7kg (15lbs) per person
    • Extra horse for you to ride, and horseman to lead it
    • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
    • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C
    • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
    • Thermarest inflatable mattress
    • Thermarest inflatable pillow
    • Single-occupancy tent supplement
    • Comfort Camping Upgrade
    • Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrade
    • Extra Day at Machu Picchu
    • If you’d like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain , let us know at the time of booking as it requires a separate permit.
    • If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider a train upgrade for an extra $30 per person. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.


    • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
    • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
    • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: Free. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group. This discount does not apply to train fares. Children under 2 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap.
  • 5% off a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Trekkers Wanted

  • Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • Trek conditions vary according to the season. In the dry season the trail can be dusty; in the wet season it can be slippery and muddy. Apus Peru takes no responsibility for trail conditions, as it is directly related to the weather. This is also a highly used trek. The trail is showing signs of degradation.
  • We do not recommend this trek during Dec-Mar, inclusive, because the trail can become slippery and muddy, though this recommendation depends on the actual weather conditions.
  • The Salkantay trek is an adventurous trek and one of the most spectacular, crossing a 4600m pass that in the wet season can be snowed under. That said, the Salkantay trek (also spelled Salcantay trek) is the second most popular hike in the region and can be very crowded: during high season, expect up to 15 groups departing per day; 5 groups per day in low season. If you want a remote trekking experience, consider one of our other treks, such as Ancascocha or Carabaya.
  • The Salkantay trek has wonderful mountain views but little or no interaction with local, Peruvian culture. If you would like to experience traditional culture, consider our Lares to Machu Picchu 4D trek

Ready to Book?

  • Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.
  • Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.


Day 1Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa – Salkantaypampa

    We have an early start this morning and a long day ahead. After having breakfast in your hotel, we will pick you up in our private car and drive to Mollepata, about 3h from Cusco. Here we’ll have a chance to pick up some last-minute snacks and supplies, or have breakfast if you missed it in the morning. We’ll continue another hour in our private car to Challacancha where we will start to hike. After about 2h, we reach Soraypampa where we will stop for lunch, enjoying the impressive views of Humantay as we eat. Then we have another 1.5-2h of hiking uphill until we reach our campsite at Salkantaypampa. 

    Total Walking Distance – 12km
    Total Walking Time – 5h
    Minimum Altitude – 2700m / 8,858 ft / Maximum Altitude – 4200m / 13,779ft
    Altitude of camp – 4200m / 13,779ft
    Approx. night temperature – 2˚C

Day 2Salkantaypampa – Paso – Huayracmachay– Arrayanniyoc – Challhuay – Colpapampa

    It’s a full day of hiking today, starting with a 2.5-3h switchback up the mountain! We arrive at a glacial moraine with a small lake and a chance to spot vizcachas, the elusive Andean chinchilla that likes to jump and scurry among the rocks. After another stretch, we reach the pass, the highest point on our trip at 4600m (15,091 ft). Here we find ourselves between two important mountains, Salkantay (6240m / 20,472ft), the second highest mountain in the region, and Humantay (5850m / 19,192ft). You will also be able to see Pumasillo (5850m) opposite you, a mountain that, interestingly, can be seen from a different angle from Machu Picchu. 

    From the pass, we walk down for about 2.5-3h towards Huayracmachay and stop for lunch. After lunch, we leave the crowds behind and we continue walking until we enter a small valley where we can appreciate the contrast of sceneries and we will be able to see vegetation and notice the change of temperature. We will arrive in Colcapampa (3000m /9,842ft) with views of the Santa Teresa Valley below us, we reach our campsite, where we are likely to be the only ones spending the night.

    For an special experience, strike off on a detour exclusive to Apus Peru, designed to get you off the beaten track. We will climb for about an hour to Unuyoc, our campsite for the night. This is not a wide trail and in the rainy season, it can be wet and slippery.

    Total Walking Distance – 16km
    Total Walking Time – 8h – 9h
    Minimum Altitude – 3000m / 9,842ft / Maximum Altitude – 4600m /15,091ft
    Altitude of camp – 3000m / 9,842ft
    Approx. night temperature – 3°C

Day 3Colcapampa – Wiñaypocco – Lluscamayo – La Playa

    After a rejuvenating night’s sleep and a nourishing breakfast, we start today’s hike by descending for about an hour to the ceja de selva, literally, the “eyebrows of the jungle”, enjoying incredible lush landscapes as we go. Crossing the river Alto Salkantay, we will be able to spot an incredible variety of wildlife, from birds, insects, and butterflies to orchids and bromeliads. We continue our slow, easy descent for about 3h to La Playa (2450m / 8,038 ft). The landscape will change before our very eyes, with the high altiplano giving way to fruit trees, avocados, bananas and coffee plants. 

    We have a number of camping options tonight that you will decide upon as a group, in discussion with your guide. Options include La Playa and Santa Teresa (both popular campsites which can be crowded and known for parties); Lucmabamba (a great option to get away from the crowds); and Cola de Mono (a great option if you plan to do the Cola de Mono zipline on Day 4). 

    You can also choose to spend the night in a homestay in Lucmabamba! Spend the night with a local coffee-growing family and enjoy a hot shower and a comfortable bed. There is an extra cost for this option. Read more about our homestay options here.

    These options need to be coordinated with your guide the day of the briefing

    Total Walking Distance – 11km
    Total Walking Time – 4h
    Minimum Altitude – 2450m / 8,038 ft/ Maximum Altitude – 3000m / 9,842ft
    Altitude of camp – 2450m / 8,038 ft (La Playa)
    Approx. night temperature – 10°C

Day 4Santa Teresa Activities – Aguas Calientes

    Tonnes of great options today for the adventurous! You will pick your option as a group, either at your briefing or on the trail. Note that this will not be a wilderness experience, and you can expect to encounter other people no matter what you do.


    1. Relax & Unwind

    This morning, we travel by vehicle to the busy Santa Teresa campsite where you will have some free time and a chance to visit the nearby Colcamayu hot springs. After this, we will travel to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station where we will have lunch and visit another Inca ruin. After this, we will walk for another 2.5 hours along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes. Here, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your group before turning in at your standard Aguas Calientes hotel. Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrades available.

    1. For the Adventurous

    We leave early and climb for about three hours through the jungle before descending to the interesting, but largely covered ruins of Llactapacta. Don’t let your guide talk you out of this! Yes, it’s a three hour climb, but it is also a very interesting introduction to Machu Picchu!

    Originally discovered by Hiram Bingham at the same time that he discovered Machu Picchu, modern day explorers Vincent Lee and Gary Ziegler recently established that these ruins are much bigger and more important than previously thought. From here we have our first view of Machu Picchu, in the saddle of the mountain opposite.

    We then descend very steeply on a muddy track for two hours to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station. After this, we will walk for another 2.5 hours along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

    A soak in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes is often the perfect respite for aching muscles! Afterward, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your group before turning in at your standard Aguas Calientes hotel. Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrades available. 

    1. Calling All Thrill Seekers!

    Zip along South America’s highest and longest zipline, the Cola de Mono! Note that there is an additional fee to ride the Cola de Mono. After a thrilling morning, we’ll travel to the Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station and then walk for another 2.5 hours along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

    A soak in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes is often the perfect respite for aching muscles! Afterward, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your group before turning in at your standard Aguas Calientes hotel. Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrades available.

    If you prefer not to walk 2.5h to Aguas Calientes from the Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station, you also have the option of taking the train (included in the price of your Salkantay Trek).

Day 5Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

    After a very early breakfast at the hotel, we will take the bus up to Machu Picchu in the pre-dawn hours to reach Machu Picchu. Your 4h visit to Machu Picchu can be spent exploring some of the alternative routes, like the Inca Bridge, after which your guide will give you a 2-3h walking tour of the historic citadel.

    If you’re feeling adventurous you may wish to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, but take note: this requires an extra permit, and they can sell out well in advance! Be sure to tell us at booking if you would like to add one of these hikes. For more tips on what to see, check out our Visiting Machu Picchu page.

      Want more time to explore? Consider our Extra Day Upgrades.

      After visiting Machu Picchu, you can take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes (or walk down!). From there, we return to Cusco in the afternoon by the Expedition (tourist class) train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where our driver will meet us and transfer you directly back to your hotel in Cusco. Total travel time is about 4 hours from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

6 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Caitie G. from NZ

Group Traveller

The trek was difficult because we were travelling with young kids but our guide was great with them! We were especially pleased to use Apus Peru for it´s commitment with sustainability.

26 June, 2018

Mike H. from USA

Group Traveller

The whole trip was incredible, the route was absolutely beautiful and the highlights were the tour of Machupicchu, hiking to Santa Teresa and visiting the hot springs!
Our guide had a great sense of humor and was very knowledgeable about the trail and history.

28 May, 2018


Solo Traveller

The trek exceeded my expectations. It was an amazing route, from alpine to jungle terrains, snow-capped mountain to beautiful rivers and valley. What made this trip even more amazing was Apus Peru´s team. The guide was someone we could count on and feel very comfortable and safe; the cook was great; the horsemen and assistant horsemen were very professional and helpful.

27 July, 2011


Solo Traveller

An exceptional trip-great value for an eco-friendly trip.

11 July, 2011


Solo Traveller

The route is really beautiful and picturesque. Difficult in moments, but it´s worth it! It´s one of the best experiences of my life!!!

18 May, 2011
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