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Ancascocha Alternative trek via salkantay

The Ancascocha Alternative trek is definitely one of the less touristed routes around Cusco which enables you solitude and also some contact with the local people, particularly herders. This is a true adventure specially prepared for people who love nature, Andean high places, and spectacular mountain scenery.

This hike is offered only by few companies, which gives you the opportunity to encounter well preserved landscapes. Ancascocha alternative trail offers visitors beautiful Andean high Valleys, snow-covered peaks such as: (Salkantay, 6.271m. Humantay, Huayanay and others), and also colorful lakes such as Salkantay, Ancashqocha and others. In this adventure we can see Original Inka trails in to the mountains and covered by the passing of time. This trail formerly connected Limatambo Mollepata, Machupicchu, Choquekirao, Tumibamba and Chinchaysuyo regions.

Ancascocha Alternative trek (via Salkantay) - at a glance

> View Full Itinerary (Code CAN5)

Highlight: being on a remote, little visited route, isolated landscapes

Location: Sacred valley, very similar landscapes to the traditional Inca Trail with little known ruins. most of the trek is above 4000 m - this is a high altitude trek.

Duration: 5days/ 4nights

Level: difficult- strenuous

Adventure Rating: one of the least known routes around Cusco, this is very adventurous and tough. High Altitude. You should be well acclimatised and fit.

Inka Trail alternative: yes, excellent.

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).

Acclimatisation: Minimum 3 days at altitude recommended.

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.


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# of People

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

Price USD (per person)

$1820 $1480 $1255 $1125 $1075 $960

The Ancascocha Alternative trek (Code CAN5) Full itinerary and inclusions

also known as the "Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek via Ancascocha"

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa - Salkantaypampa- Pampa Japonesa

Our private car will pick you up and drive you to Mollepata 2870m (approx. 3 hours) where we have the chance to buy supplies. From Mollepata we continue one hour more by car until Soraypampa (3840m). We'll hike from the pastures village of Soraypampa or Challacancha. Most likely we will lunch in Salkantaypampa. After about several hours trekking we'll arrive to our camping place. Our campsite for the night is at the base of the most majestic and impressing mountains of this area such as Salkantay (6264m) and Humantay (5217m). The campsite is called Pampa Japonesa (Japanese Plain) and is located at 4600m. (This is a high campsite so you should be well acclimatised).

Day 02: Pampa Japonesa - Inka Chiriaska - Millpo - Yahuarmaky

After breakfast, with muleteers and an emergency horses we start the long hike which will cross various high passes. First is Inca Chiriaska (4959m), from where where we will have views over the amazing landscapes of the area. From here you walk along an original Inca Trail until you arrive to the Tocto pass (4821m) where the Inca trail then heads towards Salkantay. We will continue on for another 2 hours to the Calacocha pass (4667m). From here it is another 1 hour walk to the pass of Cruz Casa (4600m) and then within another hour we will be Millpo Pass, where we will descend to our campsite Millpo (4399m). If you are feeling good we might continue to the campsite at Yahuarmaky. total walking time today 8.5-9hours.

Day 03: Millpo / Yahuarmaky - Ancascocha

Very early we will depart walking for about 1 hour towards the pass Chusqenay (4630m) and then within 50 minutes we will descend to the pass of RumiInca and then we continue on upwards to thethe narrow valley of Yahuarmaky, another 40 minutes of walking. We then start climbing again, for about an 1.5 hours until we reach the pass of Aqocasa (4686m). This mountain is a nice reddish sandy mountain and from the top of this pass (with the help of binoculars) we will appreciate the famous Inka trail which leads to Machupicchu. We can also see the salkantay, Humantay, and Huayanay Mountains and far on the way we can observe Huacaywillka (Sacred Tears). On the way we can see a small archaeological site called Inka-raqay. From here its 3 hours descent to Inka Rakay, and then another 1. 5hours ascent to the pass of Huayanay (4630m). We then have a descent to our campsite at Ancascocha, 3 hours. (campsite Ancascocha or Ancascocha Lagoon 3700m) . total walking time today 8-9hours.

Day 04: Ancasqocha - Chillca

After breakfast we will walk down hill for approximately 5 hours to arrive at Chillca. From Ancascocha its 2 hours of descent to Arequipapampa. We will pass by small villages observing Andean valleys with its typical vegetation trees such as chachacoma, qewña, some orchids, begonias, and bromeliads that adorn the landscape. The descent becomes easier towards Camicancha (2930m) where our car may pick us up. (or we will continue to descend to Chillca) We take the train around 4:00pm to Aguas Calientes where we will enjoy a celebratory dinner and spend the night in a hotel.

Day Five: 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 sunrise from the Watchman's Hut (or Inti Punku if you get up very early). You will then have a three hour guided tour of Machu Picchu with your guide. After your tour you can further explore the ruins by yourself or climb Huayna Picchu for that classic photo of Machu Picchu . Please note that you need to start climbing Huayna Picchu by 12 noon. Also try to fit in a visit to the Temple of the Moon or the fabulous Inca Bridge . We highly recommend walking down from Machu Picchu to get a feeling for the vegetation and also the audacity of its builders. Its a 1-2 hour walk back to the village of Machu Picchu or, you can take the bus which is included in your ticket. 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 - Ancascocha Alternative trek

  • 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.
  • The Ancascocha trek is tough and should not be done as a "first time ever trek." Please read our client reports to see what other people have thought, but nearly all of them find that its harder than they expected. This trek should not be attempted by those who do not have some experience in trekking, hardiness, plus a solid level of fitness!
  • 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.

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.

Practical Information

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 (Sayllapata)
  • Entry fee to Machu Picchu Entry fee to Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu $15 extra - please advise at booking as places are limited), & Salkantay trek.
  • 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 ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Train ticket (Vistadome service) from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
  • 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.
  • Entrance to the thermal springs
  • Huayna Picchu Entry $15 Extra. Please advise at time of booking as spaces are limited.
  • 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.

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)


  • 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)

  • 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)


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.