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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the best alternative to the Inca Trail. With snow-capped peaks, lowland jungle, and a visit to the Inca site of Llactapata, the Salkantay Trekking experience offers a perfect mix of trekking, culture, and nature.
The trek is considered one of the beautiful treks in Peru.
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu gets its name from one of the highest mountains in Southern Peru. The main difference between the Salkantay Trek and Classic Inca Trail is that the trek swaps out Inca ruins for a jaw-droppingly diverse set of landscapes.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a high-altitude experience. The highest point of the Salkantay Pass at 4600 meters above sea level. The trek is physically challenging. However, it pays off with fewer crowds and surprise lagoons (including Humantay Lake) and rivers, as well as an unforgettable mountain trail.
Unlike the Classic Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu does not need any permit. Salkantay Trail is perfect for hikers looking for adventure travel. It lets you connect with nature and perhaps even reconnect with themselves as they pass through magical and untouched views and mountain passes.
We highly recommend you spend a few days in Cusco before the trek to avoid altitude sickness.
Here’s the ultimate Salkantay Trek packing list.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
Salkantay Trekking offers an amazing diversity of attractions and adventure opportunities found nowhere else on earth. On the other hand, 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 hike on this route seeking adventure. They are equally pleased with the friendliness of the Peruvian people. Peru 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.
We highly recommend hiking the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu during the dry season – between March and November.
We are a licensed and an official tour operator to offer this Organic Group Service to Machu Picchu.
Do take a moment to check our reviews on TripAdvisor.
We will be picking you up from your hotel and will be driving you to the trailhead Here we will 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 are 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
The longest, highest and hardest day of the trek. Therefore, the most beautiful day, the scenery throughout the day goes from one extreme to another. We will be starting from the high Puna covered in Andean grass, then hike up to Salkantay pass.
Everything here is rocky. After descending the far side to the warm and lush cloud forest below, along the walk you will see a variety of wildlife.Campsite for the night will be at Collpapampa (2900 m / 9514 ft). It is recommended you put on mosquito repellent here.
Duration: 12 hours
After breakfast, you will have the shortest day of the hike to the village La Playa. It is 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 can go to the hot springs that are close by.
Just let your guide know in advance so that you can organise this for you. Or you can just stay at the village of La Playa and spend the afternoon relaxing.
Duration: 12 hours
We will be waking you up early in the morning. After breakfast, we will hike the final stretch of the trek to 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. Follow the 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 through Santa Teresa to Hydroelectric Station. Here we will be serving you lunch. In order to alleviate fatigue and recover energy, you can drink some coca leaf tea with your lunch.
Then we will hike along the railway tracks for three hours to Machu Picchu Pueblo. We will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room here.
Duration: 12 hours
Early in the morning, we will be taking a bus to Machu Picchu citadel. It will be a 30 minutes drive up the hill. Our guide will assist you in clearing the security control and entering the citadel.
Once inside the citadel, you will be rewarded with a spectacular sight of the citadel while the clouds clearing by and the golden rays of the sun shimmering on the walls of Machu Picchu.
We will be giving you a two hours guided tour. After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own. If you have booked to hike Huayna Picchu or hike to Machu Picchu mountains, our guide will be directing you to the trail head.
Alternatively, you can hike to Sun gate or Intipunku. This is the entrance to the citadel for those on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
After exploring Machu Picchu, you will be taking a bus back to Aguas Calientes. Here we will be serving lunch at a local restaurant. At around 04:00 PM, we will be taking a train back to Ollantaytambo.
Our representative will be meeting you on arrival and will be transferring you back to your hotel in Cusco. This is roughly a three hours drive through the Sacred Valley of Incas. We will be returning to Cusco by 09:30 PM.