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The walk along the Salkantay route is one of the best adventure alternatives that will allow you to visit Machu Picchu in 5 days along a 73-kilometer route.
This famous 5-day tour towards the Archaeological Complex of Machu Picchu through the Nevado Salkantay is a journey different from the traditional routes. This trek allows you to enjoy spectacular landscapes, high Andean peaks, streams, humid forests, enjoy 3 nights of starry skies tropical jungle plantations, among other natural attractions.
Also known by Salkantay Trekking, it is an authentic adventure. You can climb one of the highest points in Peru: the pass or open Salcantay at more than 4600 meters above sea level, then descend through a tropical cloud forest. During this tour, you will not find many people compared to other tours that also go in the direction of Machu Picchu. Prior acclimatization is recommended since the walk is moderately demanding as well as long and rugged.
Departure & Return Location:
Pick up from your hotel (4:00am – 4:30am).
We start the day by picking you up from your hotel at 05:00 AM. We will drive for around 4 hours, crossing Anta and Mollepata and ending at Challancha. Through the bus windows, you can see the white, snowcapped mountains of Apus Salkantay and Humantay: two colossal gods of the Incas. You will also see the spectacular scenery of high peaks and low valleys in a colorful and contrasting panorama filling every direction you turn your eyes! After the first two hours of driving, we will stop quickly in Mollepata to take advantage of the toilet facilities, souvenir shops, and optional, short breakfast. We will then continue to Challacancha, the starting point for our trek. We will meet our support staff, and they will organize all of the equipment and cargo mules. Around 09:30 AM, we will begin trekking to Soraypampa (3850 MASL – 12631 FASL), the first campsite on our journey.
The first section of the path takes us over a few deep valleys along the side of a mountain. An old aqueduct can still be seen at some parts of the trail, which still supplies water to farmers in the lower valleys. We will travel 7 km (4.35 miles) in 3 hours to Soraypampa, where we will have our lunch at the base camp of Salkantay. After lunch and a short rest, we hike up to the unforgettable Humantay Lake (4200 MASL – 13779 ft). This is a 5 km (3.1miles) round-trip which we will walk in a total of 3 hours. This place is one of the most beautiful sights in all the Andes, with unbelievable blue-green water reflecting the mountain glaciers of Apu Humantay.
It seems like something out of a dream or fairy tale! Back at our camp, the background of the valley at sunset creates the most peaceful scene with an energy that can only be felt and not described! Because Soraypampa (our camp) is located in the middle of the glacier valleys, the sky is so immensely clear at night that you can truly appreciate the stars, constellations, and even comets shooting across the pitch blackness, uninterrupted by the hustle, bustle, or lights of the city. Take a moment this night to re-center your spirit and consider all the deep things of life in the profound silence and tranquility of Soraypampa!
After an early wake-up with the first daylight at 05:30 AM and a quick but energizing breakfast, we will start trekking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL – 15255 FASL). The distance is 7 km (4.34 miles) of difficult ascent in 3 hours between the rocky valley base and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6271 MASL– 20574 FASL). When we reach the top of the pass, we will appreciate the spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo mountains. Salkantay Mountain is the second-highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu.” Continuing from this climax of today’s trek, there is a 5 km (3.1 miles) downhill walk to the site for lunch. The walk downwards is on a serpent-shaped, rocky, gravel path that leads to the Huayracmachay lunch campsite.
To rest on the way down, there is a perfect valley outlook that is stunning! In the afternoon, after our meal, we will enter the upper part of the Amazon jungle, which is also called “the cloud forest.” This is a 10 km (6.2 miles) hike completed in 3 hours on a wide trail in the thick and magical tropical forest. During this part of the trek, you will notice a dramatic change in landscape and the earth’s energy as we move from the Andes to Amazon! This hike is lovely; the hills are decorated with colorful scenery, wildlife, and native plants. The forests are warm and tropical most of the year, with temperate climates. At the end of this outstanding hike, we arrive at Chaullay Village (2900 MASL – 9514 FASL) for a much-deserved reward of rest from our long day of trekking! This is our base camp in the jungle as we continue to make our way to Machu Picchu.
At 06:00 AM, we will start our trek to the small town of La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. You will be able to soak up this new, lush landscape during our 6 hours of hiking today! We will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, and plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado during the hike. You can taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit along the way! We will see a village called Colpapampa, also called the “brow of the cloud forest,” where waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, and flora and fauna can be observed. If we are lucky, we will even be able to see the beautiful bird called “The Cock of the Rocks,” the national bird of Peru! After a hearty lunch at La Playa, we will hike for approximately 1 hour to our base camp called Lucmabamba (2400 MASL – 7874 FASL).
We will explore the tropical forest for a little while and visit an organic coffee farm. If you are a coffee lover, this will be especially heavenly for you – you can taste coffee freshly prepared by the local people! If not, you can still enjoy the decadent aroma of freshly roasted and ground coffee wafting through the air! Coffee is the main farming industry of the local people here in the jungle, and they farm many acres of coffee to export to the USA, Asia, and Europe. Coffee was first discovered in Ethiopia, but it wasn’t until the Spanish invaded Cusco that it was brought to this region. We will also explore an orange plantation and an avocado plantation this afternoon.
Like previous mornings, the chef of the trek will wake you up early with a hot cup of coca tea served in your bed. You will get ready for today’s activities while enjoying your last prepared breakfast by the talented trek chef. We will begin the hike early, and you will have the opportunity to enjoy a small part of the famous and highly-acclaimed Inca trail! After a climb of 2 hours with amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley, we will arrive at the Llactapata Inca site right in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first archaeological site we will see of the mysterious Lost City of the Incas! It is an extraordinary place to enjoy together and spend time learning a bit more about this land’s roots and history. We will be able to see the ruins of Machu Picchu from this spot, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain. We will explore this Inca site with the guide, and he will continue telling the history of the Incas who used and worshipped this land. Of course, you will have plenty of time to take as many photos as you want to capture these memories and share with your friends back home!
After the Llactapata ruins, we will continue our trek with a 2-hour downhill hike. On this part of the trail, you can always view Machu Picchu until we arrive at the Hidroelectrica train station to have lunch. One of the most impressive sites in this area is the 300-meter-tall natural waterfall which generates electricity for the entire region of Cusco! After lunch, we will arrive at Intiwatana, a famous ancient rock used as a sundial in the Incan era. According to history, Intiwatana worked together with the famous sundial stone in the Machu Picchu site. The people used these two stones to measure and read the winter solstice, which was the beginning of the new farming season for the Incas. After passing this interesting Inca site, we will reach train tracks leading to Aguas Calientes.
Here you will have two options: 1) If you are exhausted, you may take the train to Aguas Calientes ($31.00 extra). 2) If you are still eager to hike, you may walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the train track. Next to the tracks, there is an excellent path we will through the warm paradise of the cloud forest. This is the same trail used by the American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after being lost to the outside world!
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hotel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance checkpoint is open from 06:00 AM until 5:00 PM. We will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. Here we will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas, which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were geniuses in organizing this community sustainably and beautifully on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 6:20 PM to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 10:00 PM. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!
We also offer a special service only for you or your group, you have the power to choose the size of your group and the date of departure, we will never add other people since it will be organized only for you.
Our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – 5 Days private service, includes additional items such as:
We offer 3 kinds of service, each with different price ranges and you can book in any of these services according to your convenience, we just need you to be a minimum of 02 people to organize your trip on the date that suits you, all our services are 100 % guaranteed.
We are a direct TOUR OPERATOR that never passes clients to other agencies as most agencies do it here in Cusco to save operating costs with poor quality.
We will make the trip even if there are only 02 people in your group.
Can I be picked up from the Sacred Valley?
Yes, let us know in advance to organize your pick-up time (It has an extra cost for it).
Beautifully and with good weather it is awesome! There are a lot of lakes around which reflects the sky and so it’s very colourful.
Amazing place to hiking and challenge yourself. The best experience of my life!
Um lugar para visitar e guardar para sempre no coração e na mente. Quando for visitar o Peru, conheça Lima, depois vá para Cusco, visite Machu Picchu e demais locais históricos, mas tire um tempo para conhecer este lugar místico e maravilhoso. Saia cedo de Cusco para passar mais tempo na montanha. Da para visitar e voltar no mesmo dia!!!!!
The tour itself is much less crowded that other tours and is at a very reasonable price!
An absolutely stunning mountain and a place I will never ever forget