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Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 6D

(3 Reviews)
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  • High quality, personalized experience from start to finish
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  • $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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6 Days / 5 Nights
Availability : We depart almost any day with 2 people. Not available in February. Not recommended Dec-Mar.
Soraypampa
Machu Picchu
Difficulty : ★★★★ Challenging
Adventure : ★★ A little bit different
Solitude : ★★ Popular
Min Age : 8
Max People : 12
ALTITUDE
0
m
DISTANCE
0
Km
TIME
0
days
AVG DAILY HIKE
h per day

Photos

Description

This unique six day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu takes you on a less traveled path around the sacred Salkantay mountain (6271m / 20,569 ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Peruvian Andes. After passing through Quechua-speaking communities and lesser-known Inca ruins, we join up with the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, that world-famous trek that is on everyone’s bucket list! Get the best of both worlds with this trek – the stunning, high mountain trekking experience of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and the impressive ancient Inca ruins and mystique of the famous Classic Inca Trail. 

Did you know? Only a special few actually get to hike the Inca Trail every year. Peru’s permit system means that just 500 people are allowed on the trail every day – approximately 200 visitors and 300 trekking staff.  Permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and are in very high demand: they can sell out as much as 6 months in advance. Once spaces have been booked, NO OPERATOR CAN OFFER YOU A SPACE. All spaces are personal and non-transferable, and there is no waiting list, so if someone cancels, their spot cannot be taken by someone new. Also note that the Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance.

We treat our staff right: The Inca Trail is notorious for the mistreatment of porters and other trail staff who are asked to carry more than government regulation allow. At Apus Peru, we do things differently, going above and beyond these

What to Expect on the Inca Trail & Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Stunning mountain vistas, snow-capped peaks, and impressive Incan archaeological sites await you on this Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, including none other than the enigmatic Incan citadel itself! Temperatures will vary widely on this trek, from below-freezing to semi-tropical, so make sure you are well prepared!

Price

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

$2090

4-6 people

$1340

7-8 people

$1160

9-12 people

$1095

Details

What is Included?

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Inca Trail & Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu)
  • 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 is included for first 2 days of trek only. Toilet tent is NOT included along the Inca Trail part of the route, because we use facilities provided by the Ministry of Culture.
  • Porters, 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). If you wish to take more, you can hire a personal porter. Please contact us for costs.
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower ONLY for first 2 days
  • 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 (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • Lunch on the last day.

What is Not Included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Entrance to the hot springs
  • Entry to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain.
  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
  • if you don’t have one with you. Sleeping bags good to at least -15˚C are recommended.

  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters

You Should Bring

    See What To Bring for our comprehensive recommendations on what to pack for your trek. Note that there will be significant temperature fluctuations on this trek. Some of the campsites are particularly cold, but it will be much warmer the nearer we get to Machu Picchu. Make sure you have enough very warm layers with you, but also be prepared for warmer temperatures! 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.

    • Porter to carry your own things
    • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
    • Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15˚C
    • Light-weight aluminium 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 upgrading to the Vistadome train (Executive Class) for an extra $30 per person. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

    Important!

    • 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.

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!
    Note: Trekkers Wanted ONLY available while permits last for your departure date.

Important Info

    General Information About trekking with Apus Peru

    • 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.

    Specific Information About Hiking the Inca Trail & Salkantay Trek 6D

    • The Inca Trail is not open in February
    • Campsites or itinerary are subject to change, depending on the time of booking and availability of campsites. The Ministry of Culture, the government institution responsible for operating the Inca Trail, allocates campsites to authorized trekking companies on a first-come, first-served basis, and so we cannot guarantee that all campsites described in this itinerary will be available when you book.
    • Wiñaywayna vs Phuyupatamarca campsites. Your last night on the trail will be spent either at Wiñaywayna or Phuyupatamarca campsites. Many people covet Wiñaywayna as it’s just a 2-hour hike to Machu Picchu from there, whereas it is 5 hours from Phuyupatamarca. Being the most popular, Wiñaywayna is allocated first. If you have your heart set on camping at Wiñaywayna, book early! The plus side to Phuyupatamarca is that it is generally less crowded.

    Booking Your Classic Inca Trail 4D Trek

    • A scanned copy of your passport and a non-refundable deposit must be provided upon booking an Inca Trail trek. This is due to government regulations which require complete passport details and full payment of the Machu Picchu entrance fee in order to issue a permit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands.
    • If your passport number changes after you book, you must tell us immediately or you may lose your booking. If the name or number on your passport is different from the name or number on your Inca Trail permit, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund.
    • You must carry your original passport with you on the trail. 
    • If you booked the Inca Trail at a student rate, you must bring your valid student card on the trail with you. If you do not present your student card, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund, nor given an opportunity to pay the full rate.

    Extras & Upgrades on the Inca Trail & Salkantay Trek 6D

    • 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.
    • This trek includes transportation by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the Expedition service (Tourist Class), followed by bus transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco. If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train (Executive Class) for an extra $30 per person. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

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.

Itinerary

Day 1Cusco - Soraypampa - Ichupata

    After an early breakfast in your hotel, we will pick you up to start our 2.5h journey to Mollepata, the traditional starting point for Salkantay trek. Here we’ll have a chance to pick up some last minute supplies or have a quick bite if you missed breakfast, and then we’ll continue another 1.5h by car to Soraypampa (3800m / 12,464 ft). We will have lunch while marveling at Humantay’s impressive snowy peaks (5850m). After lunch, we’ll hike for about 4hs to our campsite at Ichupata. This is an especially cold and high altitude campsite, so make sure you’re well acclimatized and that you have enough warm layers to bundle up in! 

    Total Walking Distance – 6km
    Total Walking Time – 4hs
    Minimum Altitude – 3800m/12,467ft / Maximum Altitude – 4300m/14,107ft
    Altitude of camp – 4300m/14,107ft
    Approx. night temperature: -5°C

Day 2Ichupata – Sisaypampa

    Alter a cold night, we continue our hike past Abra Salkantay to start the 3-4h steep climb towards the Incachiriasca (4965m / 16,289 ft). This is the highest point on this route and it offers impressive views of Salkantay’s snowy peak. After a celebratory lunch and rest, we will start our descent towards our camping spot at Sisaypampa (4200m / 13,779 ft), a flat area from which we can observe the Salkantay’s neighboring valleys. With any luck, we may even have a chance to spot some condors!
    *We can make a short detour to the Palqay Pass, which has an altitude of 4500m / 14,764 ft and offers a different view of Salkantay mountain.

    *Depending on Inca Trail permits and campsite availability, we may continue on to Pampacahuana instead. See Day 3 for more details.

    Total Walking Distance – 12km
    Total Walking Time – 8hs
    Minimum Altitude – 4200m/ 13,779ft / Maximum Altitude –4965m/16,289ft
    Altitude of camp – 4200m/13,779 ft
    Approx. night temperature: -8°C

Day 3Sisaypampa – Ayapata

    This morning we will descend for about 3.5h to Pampacahuana community (3700m/12,139 ft), located next to an original Inca canal. The Incas frequently cut canals through valleys to increase the usable agricultural land. From Pampacahuana, it’s a 1-2h hike down the narrow, steep valley to the Inca fortress of Inkaracay (also known as Paucarcancha). This is a site well worth exploring and little known to the vast majority of visitors to Peru. From here, we continue another hour to the small village of Huayllabamba where we will join up with the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As mules are not allowed on the Classic Inca Trail, we will say goodbye to our mules and muleteers here and welcome our porters who will accompany us for the next few days.

    In the afternoon, we leave Huayllabamba behind to start our way up the tough, 9km steep ascent to Warmihuañusca Pass (also known as Dead Woman’s Pass). We will only climb part way today, stopping at Ayapata (also known as Yuncachimpa, 3300m / 10,827 ft), where we will camp for the night.* 

    *Depending on Inca Trail permits and the campsites that the Ministry of Culture allocates to us, we may need to hike another 2h to Llulluchupampa (3800m / 12,467 ft). If this occurs, it is likely that we will spend Night 2 at Pampacahuana campsite, instead of Sisaypampa.

    Total Walking Distance – 13km
    Total Walking Time – 8hs
    Minimum Altitude –3300m/10,826ft / Maximum Altitude –4200m/13,779ft
    Altitude of camp –3300m/10,826ft
    Approx. night temperature: -8°C

Day 4Ayapata to Chaquicocha

    Today we continue our trek 2h up to the highest point on the Classic Inca Trail, the Abra Warmihuañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass. Coming in at a still-impressive 4200m / 13,779 ft. Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m / 11,811 ft), from which we then continue to climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3760m / 12,335ft), stopping halfway to visit the very impressive archaeological complex of the same name. This site, located at 3800m / 12,467ft, consists of a small oval structure that is believed to have been used as a watchtower. After going over this pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lake) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m/11,889 ft). This is a beautiful semicircular complex. Only 20 minutes away is Chaquicocha (“dry lake” in Quechua, 3600m / 11,811ft), where we will camp for the night. 

    Total Walking Distance – 12km
    Total Walking Time – 8hs
    Minimum Altitude –3300m/10,826ft / Maximum Altitude –4200m/13,779ft
    Altitude of camp –3600m/11,811ft
    Approx. night temperature: -2°C

Day 5Chaquicocha to Wiñaywayna

    After breakfast we have an easy climb to the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700m/12,139ft). Located on the highest point of the mountain, Phuyupatamarca (“town above the clouds”) is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. From here we also have impressive views of the Urubamba River Valley below. We descend by stone steps to Wiñaywayna (2650m/8,694ft), the campsite is just five minutes away from another archaeological complex of the same name. Wiñaywayna is an impressive site made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector, and an urban sector – even if you are tired and enjoying the relative luxury of this campsite, don’t miss this incredible site! 

    Total Walking Distance –7km
    Total Walking Time – 5hs
    Minimum Altitude – 2650m/8,694ft / Maximum Altitude – 3700m/12,139ft
    Altitude of camp – 2650m /8,694ft
    Approx. night temperature: 8°C

Day 6Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco

    Our final morning will be an early one as we rise at 3:30 am in order to leave Wiñaywayna by 5:30 am to go to the checkpoint and make our way to Inti Punku, the Sun Gate (2730m / 8,956 ft). This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle. At this fabulous spot, we may see the sun rise over Machu Picchu. From Inti Punku we descend into Machu Picchu through the control point where we register ourselves and leave our backpacks and then we enter this famous city. 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.

      Total Walking Distance – 6km
      Total Walking Time – 3.5hs
      Minimum Altitude – 2400m/7,874ft / Maximum Altitude – 2730m/8,956ft

3 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Karen B. from NZ

Group Traveller

The trek exceeded my expectations! Campsite #1 was the highlight of the trek, sleeping beneath Apu Salkantay.
Our guide was great, helpful, knowledgeable and well informed.

30 September, 2018

Petychka

Couple Traveller

It has taken me three attempts to make it to Peru for the Salkantay-Inka Trail. I had organised a larger group the first time and the feedback from those people about Apus Peru was, without exception, excellent.

Apus Peru is a relatively small organisation amongst a forest of tour megaliths. It feels and works like a small community. Our sales representative answered every one of my pesky emails during the months leading up to our trek and, when we met, gave us all the time we needed for our questions. We were a small group of two walkers and Apus sent nine people to care and carry for us. The porters all came from the same small village and had been with Apus for many years. They were always cheerful and each one kept a quiet eye out for us. Our guide stuck with me (the slow one) for all the seven days and made sure I came through looking good. Our chef worked miracles in his tent kitchen.

Apus Peru did a great job. Thank you, Apus.

26 May, 2017

Colleen from Canada

Family Traveller

It is hard to express in words our experience trekking as a family of 4 from Mollepata, up to Abra Salkantay down to Pampa Cahuana and then on to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The communication with our travel consultant from Apus Peru was thorough and always prompt right from the start of my inquiries. I had a good feeling about this local outfitter right from the start. This would be our family’s first multi-day backpacking trek but with camping, hiking and strong fitness, we were confident in our kids’ abilities to tackle the trail.

We then began our private trek for the 6 days along with our guide. The first two days we had horses along with our chef and sous chef and then porters for the Inca Trail portion. Our guide was a fantastic guide for our family. He is calm but intuitive, very knowledgeable about history and current events both in Peru and globally so we had some great conversations. He was able to anticipate our pacing which enabled us to move faster through the trail and get to camp early rather than stop for extended lunches in the latter part of the trek which was great as we then had lots of time at camp to eat, read, play soccer and eat again! And the food…our chef and sous chef were incredible! We are a vegan/vegetarian family and our guide joined us in this! We miss these meals every day now that we are home! We even had real coffee (not nescafe) done on the burner with a large espresso maker.

We tackled the Salkantay climb and descent the first two days which was the highlight of our trek – the beauty, peace, and challenge was awesome. We covered 34 kms and got up to 5000m and back down to just over 3000m in those two days. Inca Trail was great to do as well. The only busy campground, really, was the last one as we were still early season. Weather co-operated for us (some light rain) and the bugs were minimal. We ended at Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu climb (which seemed easy after the prior 5 days!). While we appreciated everything that is Machu Picchu, we had seen so many lessor but equally interesting and quiet ruins that it was almost strange to be seeing this amongst 2500+ other people. Our guide guided us through some interesting elements (not all the touristy ones) and left us to hike Wayna Picchu. We capped off the day in Aguas Calientes and then Vistadome train back (recommend upgrading the train for sure). Another 2 hrs in the van to Cusco which made for a long day but worth it.

We will book again through Apus Peru – likely my husband and I would do a longer, more remote trek in the future. Peru is a beautiful place to visit with excellent food for vegans.

4 April, 2017
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