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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu - 5 Days

Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the number one alternative to the Inca Trail. With high snow-capped mountains, lowland jungle and a visit to the Inca site of Llactapata, the trek offers a perfect mix of trekking, culture and nature.

Salkantay trekking owes its name to one of the highest mountain in South of Peru (Salkantay Mountain). The main difference between the Salkantay trail and the Inka trail is that the Salkantay swaps out Inca ruins for a jaw-droppingly diverse set of landscapes. Salkantay trail Peru offers a more physically demanding challenge, that pays off with less crowds and surprise lagoons and rivers, as well as an unforgettable mountain trail.

Salkantay Tours to Machu Picchu not needs to get a permit or book your spot way in advance. As in the case of the Inca tours; Salkantay tour is perfect for hikers looking to really connect with nature and perhaps even reconnect with themselves as they pass through magical and untouched views and mountain passes – Read on, and you will find an all-you-need-to-know guide for embarking on this impressive Machu Picchu trek adventure.


The hike along this route offers an amazing diversity of attractions and adventure opportunities found nowhere else on earth. On the other had, imagine a walk with a breathtaking view of the most beautiful mountains in the world; a dip in the hot springs of Cocalmayo in the forest and all within a distance of only 73 kilometers.

Many hikers going this route by the promise of adventure, and are equally pleased with the friendliness and openness of the Peruvian people. The Inka’s land is an incredibly diverse country that offers something for everyone. A trek through this rare earth once is enough. The first thing many people do after a visit to this country, is to start planning the next trip.

¿Are you ready to trek? Happy Gringo Tours is going to make it easy to get started! Contact Us to our famous hikes in Peru.

Overview on the 5 Day Salkantay Trek Group Service

Salkantay is the number one alternative trek to the Classic Inca trail tour, with spectacular snow-capped mountains, amazing lowlands and you get to explore the Inca ruins of Llactapata. The trekking offers a perfect mix of adventure, culture nature, etc. Hike with few trekkers on Salkantay trek that allows to explore the natural beauty of the Andes without any distraction and disturbances that you find on the Inca Trail. Hiking with Happy Gringo Tours, you are going with the best local tour operator!.

We provide the best fresh organic and healthy food in all our treks, if you are running away of junk food Happy Gringo is your best option to travel in Cusco – Peru.

Useful Information

Trip Type: Hiking, adventure, history, culture and organic food.

Good For: Moderate physical fitness.

Overall Difficulty: Difficult

Starting Altitude: 2900 m – 9515 ft.

Highest Altitude:  4650 m – 15,200 ft

Hiking Distance: 61 km – 38 miles

Accomodation: 3 nights in tents and 1 night hotel (Machu Picchu Pueblo)

Coldest Night: Day 1 around 0º celsius

Recommendation: We recommend you arrive in Cusco 48 hours before your trek departure in order to acclimate at high elevation.

Day 1
Day 1 Cusco - Challa Cancha – Soraypampa

Start hiking at Challa Cancha following a wide path, we will gently make our way up the side of the valley covering a distance of about 16 km / 9.9 miles.The landscapes throughout the day is amazing, along the walk you get to see a wide variety of native plants, birds and towards the end of the day, we will see the snow-capped peaks of Humantay and Salkantay (The Savage) looming high above us. The base campsite for tonight is at Soraypampa (4000 m / 12750 ft.), the night can get pretty chilly, it’s the coldest night

Day 2
Day 2 Soraypampa - Huayracmachay - Collpapampa

The longest, highest and hardest day of the trek. Therefore, the most beautiful day, the sceneries throughout the day goes from one extreme to another; starting from the high Puna covered in Andean grass, then we hike up and over Salkantay pass, where everything is rocky, after descending the far side to the warm and lush cloud forest below, along the walk you see a variety of wildlife.Campsite for tonight is at Collpapampa (2900 m / 9514 ft), it is recommended you to put on mosquitos repellent from this point on as the insects in the area have a nasty bite

Day 3
Day 3 Collpapampa - La Playa (Sahuayaco)

After breakfast, you will have the shortest day of the hike to the village La Playa 12 km down the valley from Collpapampa campsite. The trail takes you along the Lluskamayo River through an area that is teeming with green life and has various coffee plants and native fruit plantations.The campsite of tonight will be at the village of La Playa (2400m / 7874 ft.) that is populated, in this village you can try some of the locally grown coffee. If you are interested, you have the chance to go the hot springs that is close by, let your guide know in advance so that can organise this for you or you just stay at the village of La Playa for free afternoon.

Day 4
Day 4 La Playa - Hidroeléctrica - Machu Picchu Pueblo

Early wake up for breakfast, today is the final stretch of the hike before we reach Aguas Calientes town which is at the base of Machu Picchu Citadel. The main goal of today is a visit to the Inca site of Llactapata. Following an original Inca Trail to Llactapata by early to mid morning and can enjoy the fantastic views of Machu Picchu that we enjoy from here.After the tour of Llactapata, we will head back down the mountainside to the Hydroelectric Station, where we’ll have the last lunch and where you say thanks your team showing your gratitude. Then we’ll continue hiking to Machu Picchu Pueblo or (Optional to catch the train to the town), where we spend the night in a Hotel.

Day 5
Day 5 Machu Picchu - Cusco!

After breakfast in the Hostel and then catch the first bus back up to Machu Picchu citadel to visit the site, in order to explore the amazing city as the sun rises. We’ll have a 2 hours guided tour of the site, where you’ll learn about the Incas and visit all the most important areas of the citadel. After your tour you’ll have free time to explore the site by yourself. In the afternoon you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo from where you will carry on by bus back to Cusco.

Inclusions on the 5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

  • Professional English speaking tour guide
  • Assistant tour guide for groups of 9 to 16
  • Professional chef
  • Two way bus (Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu).
  • Pre-trek talk the night before your hike
  • Mules to carry all camping equipments and 7 kgs of your personal items.
  • Pick up from your hotel/hostel
  • Private bus to Challacancha, the starting point of the trek
  • Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo town
  • Return transportation by train to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cusco
  • Drinkable water bring your own water for the first morning
  • 4 breakfast, 4 lunches, 4 dinners (If you have a dietary request such as vegetarian, vegan, etc please let us know at the moment of booking time).
  • Dining tent with chairs and table4 men tent for only 2 trekkers
  • Hostel in Aguas Calientes on night 4
  • Foam sleeping mattressOxygen bottle tankFirst aid-kit
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu citadel

Exclusions on the 5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

  • Sleeping bag
  • The first breakfast on day 1, lunch and dinner on day 5 (You can have in Aguas Calientes town)
  • Tips for guide, cook and porters
  • Travel and health insurance (You are highly recommended to take out travel/health insurance for the duration of your trip)

What you need to take?

Salkantay Trek Packing List

✔ Trekking boots
✔ Waterproof jacket and rain poncho
✔ Warm jackets
✔ Hat and gloves
✔ T-shirts
✔ Comfortable trousers
✔ Sun hat
✔ Sun cream (recommended 35 better if is higher)
✔ Insect repellent
✔ Toiletries, hand sanitizer, wipes and towel
✔ Personal medications
✔ Camera and films
✔ Torch with spare batteries
✔ Sandals are recommended to get change in the campsites

5-Day Salkantay Trek Map to Machu Picchu

→ The map below shows the route followed on the classsic Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Trek, Peru.
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu

You can send your inquiry via the form below.

Price From USD 690 USD $ 615/person
Total $ 615 USD