“Really glad we did the Salkantay trek vs. the traditional Inca Trail. Salkantay is amazing!” The variety (of food) was beyond comprehension. The beauty alone of each meal, the color, the flavor…all done in a remote campground.” Salkantay trek, 19 April, 2011


Giving back

Trek with us and $20 of your trek price is donated to generate a sustainable trekking industry in the Andes, and the NGO: ThreadsofPeru.com

off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialistsoff the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialistsoff the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists

off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists

off the beaten track in peru - apus peru adventure travel specialists

Salkantay trek, Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu, World's best trek

Salkantay trek, Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu, World's best trek

Salkantay trek, Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu, World's best trek

Salkantay trek (5 days) to Machu Picchu

This amazing trek runs beneath the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6.271m/20569ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Peruvian Andes. Your first two days are dominated by the impressive "Apus" of Salkantay and Huamantay, as you pass through the high puna landscape. On the third day you descend to the warm cloud forest, to reach Aguas Calientes on the fourth day. The impressive Sacred Inca city of Machupicchu is visited on the last day of the program. This tour is an interesting alternative for those not having found spaces on the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay Trek),was recently named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.

Salkantay trek - at a glance

> View Full Itinerary (Code CS5)

Highlight: Hiking alongside the magnificent Apu Salkantay and then arriving at the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Location: Location: The Expreso Salkantay trek begins 3 hours drive west of Cusco, Peru. We pass the village of Mollepata and begin hiking at Challacancah

Duration: 5 days/ 4 nights ..... short of time? have you checked out our Expreso Salkantay trek

Level: Moderate

Adventure Rating: Given the new restrictions on the Inca trail, Salkantay is the second most popular hike in the region and some of the campsites are less remote than on other trails.

Inka Trail alternative: Yes, the Salkantay trek is an excellent option.

Departure Dates: any day with two people. We offer affordably priced tours for 2 people so that you can depart when it suits you best. NOT RECOMMENDED in December, January or February (weather conditions).

Combos & Upgrades: Combine with one of our tours for a complete Peru experience, try Comfort Camping or choose an Aguas Calientes upgrade.

Trekkers Wanted: If you wish to join a group tour, please see Trekkers Wanted.You can also form your own tour to be advertised on this page. Maximum group size 12.

 

Salkantay trek, Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu, World's best trek
Salkantay trek, Salcantay trek to Machu Picchu, World's best trek

PRICES 2017

# of People

2 3 4 5-6 7-8 9-12

Price USD (per person)

$1730 $1390 $1220 $1100 $1025 $950

Salkantay trek 5 days to Machu Picchu Code (Code CS5) - Full itinerary and inclusions

DAY 1: Cusco – Mollepata –Challacancha– Soraypampa – Salkantaypampa

You will be collected from your hotel early in the morning in a private vehicle, and within three hours we will arrive the small village of Mollepata where we will have breakfast (not included) and can buy some last minute supplies. From here our private car will ascend to Challacancha for about 1 hour where we will start to hike. ** please note if you are comparing tours - this is a PRIVATE CAR to Challacancha, thus decreasing walking time on day one. It also makes the tour more expensive than those companies that offer a public bus to Mollepata.***It is about two hours hiking to Soraypampa where we will have lunch while enjoying views of the mountain peak of Huamantay. After lunch we will continue with a hike uphill for 1.5 to 2 hours to our first campsite at Salkantaypampa. Accommodation: Camping Salkantaypampa ( 5 hours hike to an altitude of 4100m)

Walking – 12kms or 8 miles/ Minimum Altitude – 2,700ms, 8990 feet./ Maximum Altitude – 3,100ms, 10000feet
Altitude of camp – 3,100m , 10000 feet./ Approx night temperature: Around 10oC.

DAY 2: Salkantaycocha– Paso – Huayracmachay– Arrayanniyoc – Challhuay - Colpapampa

After climbing 2.5 - 3 hours on zig zagging switchback up the mountain we will arrive at a glacial moraine where we can appreciate Vizcachas (andean chinchilla) and a very small lake. After 3 hours you finally arrive at the pass which is the highest point of the trip (4,600 metres/15091 feet). Here you will find yourself in the middle of two great mountains - Salkantay (6271m) and Huamantay (5850m). Salkantay is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and at the Pass the mountain itself is very close to you. From here you can also see the mountain Pumasillo (5850m) opposite you, a mountain that can be seen from a different angle when you are at Machu Picchu. We descend to Huayracmachay (or Huayrapampa) or Andenes, approximately 2.5 - 3 hours from the pass, where we will have lunch.

From here, Ápus Peru´s groups take a detour from the standard Salkantay trek, as we try to get our clients off the beaten track. We climb for approximately one hour to Unuyoc. this is not a wide track, and in the rainy season its wet and slippery. From the highest point, with views of the Santa Theresa Valley, we will descend to the campsite at Unuyoc. You are likely to be the only people at this campsite. This is a very beautiful place to camp with wonderful views. Accommodation: Camping Unuyoc 2850m. (8 hours hike to an altitude of 4,600 metres/13451 feet)

DAY 3: Unuyoc - Wiñaypocco – Lluscamayo – La Playa

After breakfast we descend for an hour more to the high jungle (known in Spanish as the eyebrow of the jungle”, enjoying the landscapes which offer us much natural beauty. We cross the river and as we are walking along the left hand side of the River "Alto Salkantay" to the 'eyebrow ofthe jungle' where we can see orchids, bromeliads, typical vegetation of the area and we will see different types of birds, insects and butterflies. In comparison to the previous days of the trek, this is easy walking as we descend slowly for 3 hours to La Playa (2050m). As we lose altitude we will see citrus fruit trees, avocados, bananas, and coffee plants. 5 hours hike to an altitude of 1900 metres/6232 feet

Camping options: Remember that Salkantay is a popular route that suffers from degredation and is currently un-regulated. The third night´s camping offers a number of options, which you should talk to your guide about. These options are linked to the group´s wishes, and also what you plan to do the next day. ie: La Playa is NOT a remote campsite - for those that want to get away from the crowds you should talk to your guide about camping at Lucmabamba. Santa Theresa is also not a remote campsite and can have parties, but is a good location depending on your activities the next day. If you plan on doing the Cola de Mono, then Cola de Mono has lovely camping options.

** All new ** Special homestay option - unique to Apus Peru! **From September 2010 Apus Peru, in conjunction with COCLA tours are offering our clients the very unique and special option of staying with a typical coffee growing family in the community of Lucmabamba on Night 3. You will sleep in a bed, and have a hot shower, as well as eating your meals with the family. this is a special opportunity for the sensitive traveller. there is an extra cost of $35, payable to Apus Peru, but going directly to the family. For more information see COCLA homestays. To do the homestay option you need to have a private tour, and up to 10 in the group accomodated in 2 houses - for more specifics refer to the COCLA homestays page. Or you can form your own group with two people, and advertise for others to join but with the extra costs associated with this option

DAY 4: La Playa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes

You have THREE options here, depending on your interest and fitness. You should discuss each with your guide. You should also be aware that Salkantay is the second most touristed route in the Salkantay region and ineveitably this means you will encounter other people (its not a "wilderness" experience).

Important note: The following options are decided by "group majority" - if you are joining a "trekkers wanted" group then the decisions will be made by the group at your briefing or on the trail. An advantage of forming your own, private group, is that you can nominate ahead of time which option you wish to select.

1. Relax option. You will take motorised transport to the campsite outside the village of Santa Theresa (not always a quiet campsite) so that in the evening you can visit the recently reopened hot springs at Colcamayu. UNFORTUNATELY the Colcamayu Hot springs were completely washed away in the flooding of January 2010 and are no longer a camping option. On day 4 you will then take transport to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric System where we will have lunch and visit an Incan ruin. After this, we will walk for 2.5 hours more along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

2. Adventurer´s option. We leave early and climb for about three hours through the jungle before descending to the interesting, but largely covered ruins of Llactapata. Don't let your guide talk you out of this!!! Yes, its three hours climb, but it is also a very interesting introduction to Machu Picchu! Orginally 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 descend very steeply on a muddy trackfor two hours to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric System where we will have lunch and visit a Inca ruin. After this, we will walk for 2.5 hours more along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

3. Thrill seekers option. On day 4 we offer you the chance highest and longest zipline in South America - Cola de Mono. (check out the pics!) After doing 'Cola de Mono' in the morning we will take transport to the Hydroelectric Station . ** Price of Cola de Mono is additional to the cost of your tour ** After this, we will walk for 2.5 hours more along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

We include in the price of your tour a train ticket from the Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes ($18) but the train leaves at 7.30pm, and you arrive in Aguas Calientes about one hour later, when you are transferred to your hotel. If you want to walk all the way to Aguas Calientes (ie Machu Picchu) its 2.5 hours more along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes. Some people like this option, because its the closest you can get to walking to Machu Picchu (apart from the actual Inca trail) and its also nice to walk along, looking up at the ruins of Machu Picchu. Other people prefer the train. You need to talk to your guide and decide what is the most appropriate option for you. If you decide to walk along the tracks, your $18 pays for your duffel bags to go on the train.

A soak in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes are often the perfect respite for aching muscles!!! Apus Peru include a nice celebratory dinnern the price of your tour in Aguas Calientes. Accommodation: Hostel in Aguas Calientes (normally Hostal Payacha)

Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Early in the morning (before dawn) we will take a bus up to the ruins of Machu Picchu. (Bus included in price) so that you can appreciate this famous city in the dawn light and before the crowds arrive. You will then have a 2.5 hour guided tour of Machu Picchu with your guide. After your tour you can further explore the ruins by yourself or climb Huayna (Wayna)Picchu for that classic photo of Machu Picchu. (You need to specify if you would like to climb Huayna Picchu at the time of booking, it costs $10 extra) Also try to fit in a visit to the Temple of the Moon or Uyna Huayna Picchu while visiting Huayna Picchu.

If you don't get to do Huayna Picchu, other options are:
Inti Punku (gate of the sun) this is the location where the classic inca trail arrives.
Inca Bridge
Machu Picchu mountain.

We highly recommend walking down from Machu Picchu to get a feeling for the vegetation and also the audacity of its builders. Its a 1.5 hour walk back to the village of Aguas Calientes. We return to Cusco in the afternoon by the backpacker train (leaves either at 2.30pm or 6pm) and are met by a driver at Ollantaytambo who will transfer you directly back to your hotel. You will arrive in Cusco approximately 4 hours after your train's departure from Aguas Calientes.

Itinerary notes - Salkantay trek -5 days

  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • Trek conditions vary according to the season. ie in the dry season the trail can be dusty, in the wet season it can be slippery and muddy. During the shoulder seasons the conditions depend on prior weather. 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 degredation.
  • Considering an extra night in Aguas Calientes? (Please check out linked page) We can change the date of your train ticket to the following day. Hotels costs and costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. Please also note that your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is valid for one day only, if you wish to visit the ruins on a second consecutive day you will need to purchase the ticket again.
  • The Salkantay trek is an adventurous trek, crossing at 4600metre pass that in the low (wet) season can be snowed under. We do not recommend this trek during December, January, February, and March because of slippery/muddy trail conditions but this recommendation depends on the current weather conditions. The Salkantay trek (also spelled Salcantay trek) is one of the most spectacular and varied hikes around Cusco. Given the new restrictions on the Inca trail, Salkantay is the second most popular hike in the region and can be touristed. (If you are a 'purist' want a remote experience, consider one of our other treks). During high season expect up to 15 groups departing daily, in the low season, about 5 groups per day.
  • 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 the Lares and Machu picchu trek.

Aguas Calientes upgrade package (optional)

Included in the price of your tour is a very comfortable, 3 star hotel with hot water etc. However, we notice that many people are accustomed to a different standard of accomodation or are looking for a splurge. Our Upgrade Package makes this type of change easy to do. This is an upgrade package for treks that already include a nights stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, but you would like to upgrade the standard of hotel, meals and train service.

We offer three types of Upgrade... the different types refer to the standard of the Hotel. ** For Prices and hotel options, please refer to the Aguas Calientes Upgrades page **

- Upgrade

- Comfort Plus

-Upscale Chic

All packages include the same meals and trains.

  • Dinner at one of Aguas Calientes “best” restaurants, like Indio Feliz or Tree House restaurant.
  • Buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant, located in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge. With limited eating choices at Machu Picchu hunger tends to send clients to Aguas Calientes; by including the buffet lunch we find that clients can visit Machu Picchu early, then go to the buffet to try lots of different Peruvian (and Western) dishes, and then rest and go back for a second look at Machu Picchu.

  • Return in Vistadome train rather than Expedition train, which gives you the opportunity for a more varied timetable and to return in a nicer train, with big windows in the roof.

What's included?

For complete facts about many aspects of Apus Peru tours, check out our FAQs page!

  • Pre trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
  • Transport from Cusco to the trailhead at the beginning of the trek in private car
  • Entry fee to Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu $15 extra) and Salkantay trek (if charged)
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people).
  • Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
  • Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can hire you an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest) .
  • Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
  • Toilet tent
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
  • Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7 kg/15lbs per person).
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Tents for our staff to sleep in
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus up and down from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
  • Train or equivalent luggage from Hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes
  • Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes
  • Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.
  • 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a basic hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom. If you wish to upgrade from this hotel, please check out the options listed on our Aguas Calientes accommodation page.

What is not included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Huayna Picchu Entry $15 Extra. Please advise at time of booking as spaces are limited.
  • Entrance to the thermal springs
  • Sleeping bags - If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.
  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters
  • Additional horses for passengers luggage.
  • Extra activities (ie Cola de Mono zipline)

You should bring:

  • A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco .
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. 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 if you wish to carry them.
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
  • Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
  • Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
  • Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
  • Sun block
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
  • Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
  • Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
  • We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
  • Small towel or sarong
  • Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
  • Cash - sufficient for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
  • Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
  • Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
  • Binoculars (if you have them)

optional extras

We can hire the following to you - please contact your Travel Consultant / or our booking forms for the current rates.

  • Extra mule to carry YOUR things
  • Extra riding mule and muleteer to lead it
  • Sleeping Bag suitable for – 10deg
  • Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15deg.
  • Walking stick lightweight aluminum - Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress -
  • Thermarest Inflatable pillow
  • Comforting Camping trek upgrade - bigger tents, camp beds, includes sleeping bag, thermarest, and walking stick.
  • Single tent supplement (ie you don’t want to share a tent)

HIRE POLICY:

  • When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’
  • If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)

AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)

  • 5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
  • Students: US$ 30.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please beware that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
  • Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
  • Children: US$ 45.00 (up to 10 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)

TO MAKE A BOOKING

Please visit our Make a Booking page.

You will need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit. For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our Make a Booking page. * For organisational reasons, we require one week to organise your booking, prior to departure.