Salkantay Inca Trail Trek 6D

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Duration: 6 Days / 5 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Soraypampa
Destination: Machu Picchu
Max People : 12

About the Salkantay Inca Trail 6 Day Trek

Get the best of both worlds with this Salkantay Inca Trail 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. 

Temperatures will vary widely on this trek, from below-freezing to semi-tropical, so make sure you are well prepared!

Looking for another alternative? Consider the Luxury 5-day Inca Trail!

See Full Description

Hiking Salkantay Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 6 Days

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!

Did you know? FAQs about the Inca Trail

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 minimums. Read more about how we take care of all our staff, including porters and horsemen.

Salkantay Inca Trail Trek Highlights

  • Experience a unique trek hiking past the sacred Apu Salkantay, the famous Inca Trail and finish with a visit at Machu Picchu.
  • Stunning mountain vistas, snow-capped peaks and impressive Incan archaeological sites await you along the way.
  • Combine two of the world’s most-wanted treks into one on the Salkantay Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and have the adventure of a lifetime!


>> See more photos & information about Salkantay and the Inca Trail


Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. Apus Peru exclusively operates private groups, except by special request. Hiking the Inca Trail as a private group allows us to offer you a highly personalized experience, with more one-on-one time with your guide and a more tailored, off-the-beaten-path experience on the trail. 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


3 people


4-6 people


7+ people


High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Important Details About the Salkantay Inca Trail Combo

What is Included?


  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage along the Salkantay Inca Trail.
  • Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Toilet tent 


  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Meals as indicated in the Salkantay Inca Trail itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your Travel Consultant during the booking process if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Boiled water provided for drinking water on the trail (which you can carry in your own reusable water bottle)
  • Bottled water provided during the drive to the trailhead on the first day
  • Lunch on the last day.

Trekking Team

  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Mules and Muleteers (first 2 days) and Porters (last 4 days), who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg / 15 lbs per person). If you wish to take more, you can hire a personal porter or muleteer. Please contact us for costs.
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals


  • 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
  • Bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.


  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower ONLY for first 2 days

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu)

What is Not Included?


  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night of your Salkantay Inca Trail trek.


  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you. Sleeping bags good to at least -15˚C are recommended.
  • Camping pillows. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.

Optional Activities

  • Entrance to the Aguas Calientes hot springs
  • Entry to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain.


  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters
  • Flights to/from Cusco
  • Travel Insurance

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.

Equipment Available for Rent

  • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C (1.8kg)
  • Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15˚C (2.7kg)
  • Camping pillow (0.27kg)
  • Light-weight aluminium walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes. 

Service Upgrades

  • Porter/mules to carry your own things beyond the allowed 7kg / 15 lbs
  • Single-occupancy tent supplement
  • Comfort Camping Upgrade (only available on first 2 days of trek)
  • Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrade
  • If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider a train upgrade. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

Optional Activities


  • 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 the time of booking.
  • All rental equipment needs to go in your personal duffel bag and counts towards the 8kg weight limit.  

What to Pack

See What to Pack for a Hike for our comprehensive recommendations on what to pack for your trek.

You’ll need to pack for a variety of microclimates on the 6 Day Salkantay and Inca Trail combo trek! You’ll be hiking up to some very high altitudes, surrounded by snowy peaks, but then will descend into the semi-tropical “Andean jungle”. You should pack flexible clothing options that you can layer.

The first two nights will be at very high-altitude campsites, each one over 4000m (13,780 ft). You should expect cold temperatures; during the dry season, the overnight temperature is likely to be below freezing. Be sure to bring warm, thermal under-layers, a winter hat (toque or beanie), gloves, a scarf and several pairs of warm socks.

By Day 5, it should start to warm up and you may find yourself shedding some layers! We recommend bringing a t-shirt or lightweight long-sleeve shirt for these warmer sections of trekking, as well as hiking pants that let you zip off the lower section to convert them into shorts. These convertible trekking pants are usually made of a quick-dry fabric and also feature a series of pockets which can be very handy on the trail.

As a long-distance hike, the Salkantay Inca Trail combo trek requires good quality, sturdy footwear. We think a water-resistant trekking boot with ankle support is the best option for a trek of this nature, but you can also choose to trek in hiking shoes. While hiking shoes tend to be durable enough, they lack ankle support and may only be water-resistant instead of water-proof.

For more help with what to pack, check out our blog How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru.

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: 75% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group, but will be charged 25% of the per person price based on final group size. For example, a group of 4 adults and one child under 4: adults will be charged the full price per person based on a group size of 4 and the child will be charged 25% of the per person price for a group of 4. Children under 3 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.
  • 5% off the second trek, if you book two treks or two tours. 5% is discounted from the cheaper of the two treks or tours; only one trek is discounted.

Our Guides & Safety on the Trail

All of our Salkantay Inca Trail guides are handpicked for their personality, knowledge of the hiking route and communication skills. In addition to being formally licenced guides, we provide additional frequent training at Apus Peru that includes topics like mountain rescue and high altitude first aid. Get to know our team!

As a member of an elite group of trekking agencies in Cusco, Apus Peru is one of the few agencies that put people before profit. For us, safety is paramount and we have a comprehensive risk assessment policy that covers a wide range of details, from vehicle maintenance to illness and evacuation on the trail.

Due to safety considerations, there are several treks which we will not operate during the wet season under any circumstances. This includes our 6 day Inca Trail and Salkantay combo trek.

Trekkers Wanted

Want to join a Salkantay Inca Trail 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 for this trek ONLY available while Inca Trail 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 Salkantay Inca trail trek 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.

Ready to Book?

Booking Your 6D Inca Trail & Salkantay Trek

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 connect with someone from our amazing sales team 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 How to Book.

Please note the following when booking your Salkantay Inca Trail 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 Salkantay Inca 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.

Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

Salkantay Inca Trail 6 Day Trek Itinerary

Day 1Cusco - Soraypampa - Ichupata

      • Total Walking Distance: 6km
      • Total Walking Time: 4h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3800m (12,467 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4300m (14,107 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 4300m (14,107 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: -5°C (23˚F)

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 (3930m (12,849 ft).

Here we’ll have lunch while marvelling at Humantay’s impressive snowy peaks (5917m / 19,085 ft). After lunch, we’ll hike for about 2.5h 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!

Day 2Ichupata – Sisaypampa

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time: 8h
      • Minimum Altitude: 4200m (13,779 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4965m (16,289 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 4200m (13,779 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: -8°C (18˚F)

Alter a cold night, we continue our hike past Pampa Japonesa to start the 3-4h steep climb towards the Incachiriasca Pass (4965m / 16,289 ft). This is the highest pass on this route and it offers impressive views of the Salkantay’s snowy peak.

After a celebratory rest on the pass, we will start our descent towards our lunch spot at Sisaypampa (4100m / 13,451 ft), a flat area from which we can observe the Salkantay´s neighboring valleys. If we’re lucky, we may even have a chance to spot some condors! If we camp at Sisaypampa*, 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.

Day 3Sisaypampa – Ayapata

      • Total Walking Distance: 13km
      • Total Walking Time: 8h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3300m (10,826 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4200m (13,779 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3300m (10,826 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 4 to 8˚C (39˚F to 46˚F)

We’re halfway through our Salkantay Inca Trail combo trek! This morning we will descend for about 3.5h to Pampacahuana community (3300m / 10,827 ft), located next to an original Inca canal.

The Incas frequently cut canals through valleys to increase the usable agricultural land. From Pampachuana, 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 INC 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.

Day 4Ayapata to Chaquicocha

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time: 8h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3300m (10,826 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4200m (13,779 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3300m (10,826 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: -2°C (28°F)

Today we continue our trek 4h 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 (13,776 ft), we can feel proud that we’ve already attained even higher altitudes.

Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo valley (3600m / 11,808 ft), from which we then continue to climb to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay (3955m / 12,976 ft), stopping halfway to visit the very impressive archaeological complex of the same name. This site, located at 3760m (12,336 ft), 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 / 11,887 ft). This is a beautiful semicircular complex. Only 20 minutes away is Chaquicocha (“dry lake” in Quechua, 3300m / 10,826 ft), where we will camp for the night.

Day 5Chaquicocha to Wiñaywayna

      • Total Walking Distance: 7km
      • Total Walking Time: 5h
      • Minimum Altitude: 2650m (8692 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3700m (12,136 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 2650m (8692 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 8°C (46°F)

After breakfast on day 5 of our Inca Trail Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu we have an easy climb to the third pass, the Abra de Phuyupatamarca (3700m / 12,136 ft). 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 / 8692 ft), a popular campsite with bathrooms and (cold) showers! 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!

Day 6Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu – Cusco

      • Total Walking Distance: 6km
      • Total Walking Time: 3.5h
      • Minimum Altitude: 2400m (7874 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2730m (8956 ft)

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 / 8792 ft). This will take an hour of hiking along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs in highland jungle.

From this fabulous spot, we may see the sun rise over Machu Picchu. Arguably the highlight of the Salkantay Inca Trail trek is reaching Machu Picchu and from Inti Punku we descend into the famous city which we will reach after 40 minutes. We then descend to the control point where we register ourselves and leave our backpacks.

At Machu Picchu

You will have a 2-3h guided 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 we will be met by our driver who will transfer you directly back to your hotel in Cusco. Total travel time is about 4 hours from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

FAQs About the Inca Trail Salkantay Trek

How difficult is the 6 Day Salkantay Inca Trail

We rate the 6 day Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek as challenging. (See how we rate all of our treks in the Cusco region!)

The 6 day Salkantay Inca Trail trek itinerary combines two popular Machu Picchu treks for a unique, if strenuous, Peru hiking experience.

For full details on what to expect in terms of difficulty, check out these blogs:

Overview of the Salkantay Inca Trail Trek

The trek begins with two days hiking in the Salkantay region (though not the classic Salkantay trek) before joining up with the Classic Inca Trail on Day 3. Day 2 is one of the hardest as you climb up to the highest point on the trail – Incachiriasca – coming in at a whopping 4965m (16289 ft)! Hiking to such a high altitude so quickly requires sufficient acclimatization and also the physical and mental endurance to complete it.

Day 2 also has the possibility of being even more strenuous. Depending on the campsites allocated to us by the government for the Inca Trail portion, it may be necessary to hike a bit further, making it an 11+ hour day of hiking. That’s a lot! (This is another reason why you should book early: so we can get our preferred Inca trail permits!)

The 4th day on the trail is another tough day as you hike to the second highest point on the trek: Dead Woman’s Pass (Warmihuañusca), 4200m / 13779ft.

Altitudes & Elevation Gain Each Day of the Trek

In fact, you could describe the 6 day Inca Trail Salkantay trek as “undulating” – climbing up one steep ascent only to descend and then climb another steep ascent:

  • D1: 3800m (12,467 ft) > 4300m (14,108 ft); 500m elevation gain
  • D2: 4300m (14,108 ft) > 4965m (16,289 ft) > 4200m (13,780 ft); 665m elevation gain and 765m elevation loss
  • D3: 4200m (13,780 ft) > 3700m (12,139 ft) > 3000m (9843 ft) > 3300m (10,827 ft); 300m elevation gain and 1200m total elevation loss
  • D4: 3300m (10,827 ft) > 4200m (13,780 ft) > 3600m (11,811 ft); 900m elevation gain and 600m elevation loss
  • D5: 3600m (11,811 ft > 3700m (12,139 ft) > 2650m (8694 ft); 100m elevation gain and 1050 elevation loss

Don’t forget: All treks in the Cusco region are challenging for most people due to the high altitude and steep mountains. The Incachiriasca pass is considered one of the most difficult in the whole area.

How can I prepare for the Salkantay Inca Trail trek and what training do you recommend?

This trek will be challenging for most people. If you are young, of average fitness, someone who works out several times a week, you will find this trek difficult. Those who are older or less fit should make sure they embark on a good fitness training program prior to departing. Training for a trek of this nature should be done in consultation with a medical or fitness professional, and be tailored to your specific needs, abilities and goals.

No matter what – make sure acclimatization is part of your training schedule!

See our Tip #3 for how to get ready for your trek.

How many days do I need to acclimatize to the altitude?

It’s easy to prepare for the high altitudes you’ll experience on the Salkantay Inca Trail trek: plan your trip to allow at least 3 days in a high-altitude place (like Cusco) before starting your trek. Three days is even better; you don’t want to be sick on the Salkantay trail!

Truly, the more time you can spend at altitude before trekking, the better. Spending two or even three days at altitude will give your body time to adapt and allow you time enough to recover if you experience altitude sickness symptoms.

In addition, you should eat healthy food, stay away from alcohol, drink plenty of fluids and make sure you get enough rest. Being kind to your body helps it deal with the extra pressures that altitude creates.

Read more about Altitude and How to Acclimatize before starting your trek.

What is the best time of year to do the 6 Day Salkantay Inca Trail Trek?

The best months of the year to plan your Inca Trail & Salkantay trekking trip are the dry winter months from May to August. This is peak tourist season in Cusco, so you can guarantee the trails will be busy and crowded, but the lack of rain makes it the ideal time for hiking.

Dry season is also the coldest time of year in the Andes, so be prepared for some very cold temperatures, especially at night (even below freezing!)

The rainy season in the Andes is December through March and is not a good time for this trek. In fact, we typically will not offer any Salkantay treks during this period for safety reasons. The trail can be slippery and there is a risk of rockslides that can wipe the trail out altogether. Additionally, the pass and higher areas can be covered in snow, which makes trekking difficult if you are not properly equipped.

Another date to watch out for is February: the Inca Trail is closed every February for regular maintenance, making it impossible to hike this Salkantay Inca Trail combo trek at that time.

The shoulder season (April, September, October) is an unpredictable time, weather-wise. Usually there is less rain and the temperatures can be warmer, making them ideal times for hiking (you can also expect fewer people on the trails!). But it all depends on the actual conditions at the time, and if you book a trek during this time, we reserve the right to cancel or modify it if conditions make the trail unsafe.

Read more about the best time to hike and take note of our wet season trekking policy.

What are the average hours of trekking per day?

The average daily hike on the Inca Trail Salkantay trek is about 7 to 8 hours per day.

Days 1 and 6 are the shortest, with about 4h total hiking time each day. Days 2-5 average about 7 to 8 hours each, though, depending on how campsites are allocated, it’s possible for Day 2 to be very long (11+ hours) and Day 3 a bit shorter (5h).

These are only average hiking times, and the time it takes you depends on the relative fitness and speed of everyone in your group.

See the day-by-day itinerary for exact hiking times per day.

Can I charge my devices en route?

Yes! Our guides take solar-powered chargers with them during the Inca Trail Salkantay Trek so that you can charge your phone or other device along the way.

What kind of food and accommodation can we expect on the Salkantay Inca Trail 6 day trek?

he 6 day Salkantay and Inca Trail hike includes 5 nights of camping, including two nights at very high altitude (over 4000m).

We use 4 season North Face tents on all of our treks which are set up for you by our team of hardworking staff. You will be well taken care of overnight, no matter what conditions present themselves on the Salkantay Inca Trail. This is particularly important for high altitude camping when temperatures can be very low.

Go luxe! You can also choose our Comfort Camping option for a full-on luxury camping experience.


You will also be accompanied by a personal chef who prepares delicious meals during your trek. Our chefs receive annual training in order to offer you some really stunning culinary creations on the trail! This is not basic trail food, but fully catered for trekking.

We have a lot of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free travellers and our cooks are well-prepared to meet their needs. We can cater for or all other types of dietary requests with adequate preparation and clear communication.

Read more about What to Expect on the Trail, including more about meals and equipment.

What permits are required?

The Salkantay portion of this combo trek does not require any permits, but the Inca Trail does! This permit is included in the price of your trek. We purchase your Inca Trail permit immediately after you book. In order to do so, we will ask you for some additional information (such as a scan of your passport) at the time of booking.

Permits for the Inca Trail can sell out very quickly, especially for peak dates (May through July). You should ALWAYS book as early as you can, but know that dates for these peak months will sell out 6 to 8 months in advance. Permits usually go on sale in October for the peak dates, so booking on or before October 1st is your best bet to secure dates during that time period.

Permits for Huayna Picchu & Machu Picchu Mountain

The Inca Trail permit includes your visit to Machu Picchu. If you wish to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, this requires an extra permit not included in the price of your trek.

Huayna Picchu is the conical shaped mountain that appears in all the classic pictures of Machu Picchu. The climb is very steep and not for the faint-hearted, but is very rewarding for those who can stomach it!

Permits for Huayna Picchu can also sell out in advance, so let us know at the time of booking if you would like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.

Read more about Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain in our post on hikes at Machu Picchu.

Is it possible to customize the Salkantay Inca Trail?

Yes! We also have an itinerary for a Salkantay Inca Trail 7 day hiking tour, if you have a little more time on your hands, and really love trekking! Get in touch with one of our Trek Experts to see if this Salkantay Inca Trail 7 day itinerary is a better fit for you.

Other ways you can customize your trek:

  • Add on one or more of our Cusco day tours, or add a second day to visit Machu Picchu. With our Extra Day at Machu Picchu, you can visit the site at different times of day, make sure you see all the highlights, or, make sure you have enough time – and energy! – to do one of the Machu Picchu hikes, like Huayna Picchu.
  • Hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain! To add one of these hikes, let us know at the time of booking as they require a separate permit.
  • This trek includes transportation by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the Expedition service (Tourist Class). If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train (Executive Class). This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

What do you carry during the trek?

All YOU need to carry with you on 6 days Salkantay Inca Trail hike is a light day pack. In your day pack, you should carry things like your water bottle, extra layers, gloves, camera, sun hat, beanie, sunscreen and insect repellent.

Water is very important while hiking. You should start each day with 2 litres. On the way to the trailhead, we will have filtered water which you can use to fill up your water bottles, as well as boiled water for tea. During the trek, we provide boiled water at meal times. You will have a chance to refill at lunchtime and again in the evening.

We also provide an ample range of snacks which will fill up the average person – if you have hollow legs, you might need to bring some extra snacks of your own!

The rest of your belongings – up to 8kg (17 lbs) – are carried in a duffel bag (which we provide during your Pre Trek Briefing) by mules (on the Salkantay portion of the trek) and porters (on the Inca Trail). All of the camping equipment needed on the trek is also carried by mules or porters.

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.

Read more about Wiñaywayna vs Phuyupatamarca in our blog!

Will I see the sun rise over Machu Picchu when we reach the Sun Gate (Inti Punku)?

In order to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu from Inti Punku, two things need to happen: (1) you leave camp early enough to arrive at dawn, and (2) it is a clear, sunny day.

Arriving at Inti Punku at dawn is possible on this trek, especially if you book early enough and we are able to reserve the preferred campsite (Wiñay Wayna) the night before. From Wiñay Wayna it is a 2-3 hour hike to Inti Punku so if we start early enough (say, 3am, the earliest we are permitted to start out on the trail), then there is a good chance we’ll arrive as dawn breaks.

However, as Machu Picchu is located in the high jungle, it is actually often shrouded in mist in the early mornings. A misty Machu Picchu is a beautiful and ethereal sight, but it is not the same as a stunning bright sunrise breaking over the mountain.

It is on many people’s bucket list to see the sun rise over Machu Picchu, and some less honest agencies promote this as a selling point. But let’s not be misleading: you most likely won’t see the sun actually rise over Machu Picchu.

Truth be told, we actually think a later arrival at Machu Picchu can be better. You are likely to be joined by fewer fellow hikers on the trail, and may also experience a somewhat less-crowded Machu Picchu, too.

Is the 6 Day Inca Trail & Salkantay Trek right for me

In order to answer whether this trek is right for you, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have time to acclimatize well? The first two nights will be spent camping at altitudes over 4000m. Sleeping at such a high altitude can be very hard on the body. You will also pass two high altitude passes, the first at nearly 5000m, so you must be well acclimatized before starting the trek.
  • Am I prepared for a strenuous and challenging hike? The Inca Trail Salkantay trek is 6 days of tough trekking along an undulating route, with steep ascents and descents. You will climb up, down, then up again, and down again, over the course of the trek. The Inca Trail portion of the trek also includes steep stone steps which can be especially hard on the knees, especially going down. You must have a solid level of fitness and strong mental preparation to complete this trek.
  • Am I looking for solitude on the trail and a unique experience? Both Salkantay and the Inca Trail are popular treks, with hundreds of hikers per day. The Inca Trail alone sees 500 people – including porters and guides – every single day. If you want solitude or something off-the-beaten-path, this is not the trek for you. Instead, consider another alternative trek like Lares or Ausangate.
  • Do I want to see a range of changing scenery & climates? One of the best things about both the Inca Trail and Salkantay is that they let you hike through a series of changing climates, from the high alpine to semi-tropical Andean jungle terrain. You will see snowy peaks and also lush vegetation. This is definitely a trek for nature lovers.
  • Am I looking for a trek that includes Machu Picchu? Not all hikes in the Cusco area include Machu Picchu, so if you want a hike that does, the Salkantay Inca Trail hike might be a good choice for you. In fact this combo trek provides the perfect combination of high mountain scenery, jungle vegetation and Inca history! Bonus: the Inca Trail is the only trek that lets you actually hike right into Machu Picchu itself.
  • Is hiking past Incan Ruins important to me? Then this is a perfect trek for you. The Inca Trail and Salkantay hike is filled with fascinating Inca ruins, and time to explore each one.
  • Am I interested in learning about contemporary Andean culture or interacting with locals? If so, then one of our Lares treks might be a better option.

How to get to Cusco?

The 6 Day Salkantay and Inca Trail Trek begins and ends in Cusco. Travel to/from Cusco is not included in the price of your trek.

Travel Direct…

  • By Plane – Most international flights land in Lima, Peru’s capital. From here, you can take a domestic flight to Cusco. Some international flights go through other South American capitals, like Bogotá, Colombia, which also has connecting flights to Cusco.
  • By Bus – You can take an overnight bus from Lima to Cusco (it takes about 20-23 hours). One of the benefits of travelling slowly up from the coast is that you are automatically acclimatising as you travel. Not to mention you get an idea of the stunning landscape and mountains as you travel! The top recommended buses are Cruz del Sur, Palomino and ExcluCiva.

…or Take the Long Way

  • Via Arequipa and/or Puno – If you have the time, spend a day or two in Lima and then head to Arequipa or Puno (or both!) to gradually acclimatize to the altitude over the space of several days before you arrive in Cusco for your trek. We offer 3 and 4 day package tours to Arequipa and Puno that you can add onto to your trek.

More Resources on Trekking Inca Trail and Salkantay

If you’re still not sure if this is the right trek for you, or want to read more about the area or other people’s trekking experiences, check out these helpful articles from our blog:

  • How Difficult is the Salkantay Trek? – This blog provides an overview of some of the highlights of trekking Salkantay as well as the challenges that hikers face on the trail and as they prepare.
  • Facts About the Inca Trail – Our list of amazing Inca Trail facts – one of the best treks around!
  • Booking Inca Trail: What You Need to Know – If you’re thinking of booking an Inca Trail trek – including a combo Salkantay Inca Trail trek – you should read this blog.
  • Inca Trail Review – One of our past trekking clients shares a bit about their experience hiking the Inca Trail with Apus Peru.
  • Hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu Adventure Travel Guide – Another past client – Trans-America Journeys – provides an in-depth look at what it was like for them to hike the 4 day classic Inca Trail with Apus Peru.
  • Inca Trail vs Salkantay – If you’re debating between two of Peru’s most famous hikes, our comparison guide between the Inca Trail and Salkantay will be a must-read.
  • Wiñaywayna vs Phuyupatamarca – Many people have their heart set on spending their last night on the trail camping at Wiñaywayna, and are sorely disappointed when that campsite is no longer available. However, there are a lot of perks to camping at Phuyupatamarca, and we will explain them all in this blog.

Elevation Map

Elevation Map of Salkantay Inca Trail 6 Days Apus Peru


5 Reviews
Sort By:RatingDate

Augusta S. (Italy)

Solo Traveller

Fully met expectations – Perfect itinerary. I truly appreciate the focus on the details that made everything looking easy and smooth, a lot of preparation behind made it happen. Kudos to Valerio, great to travel with the van.

22 July, 2023

David Anawalt

Family Traveller

My daughter and I had a fantastic time with Apus! The minor glitch with Valerio was more than made up for by the wonderful dinner at Uchu. Thank you!

Jose knew the route like the back of his hand. He is a wonderful, knowledgeable guide and I tell my friends about how wonderful Apus and Jose are.

I am a big fan of Apus. My constructive feed-back would be to have one of the guides review the custom itineraries for accuracy. Obviously on the set routes that is not critical, but I seem to pick custom routes and that is where the guides might help the office. How could office staff know if they haven’t been over the route the client wants to try? Please understand that I am offering suggestions for improvements and not criticism.

So, I am truly a Happy Apus Camper.

Please tell Jose how much we enjoyed his company. I feel, after two treks with him, that he is a friend. You guys run a very classy operation. It was just a pleasure! I will always use and recommend Apus.

Muchas Gracias!

6 June, 2019

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


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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