Salkantay Trek a different alternative to the traditional Inca Trail, considered among the 25 best treks in the world by the magazine National Geographic Adventure, an adventure surrounded by glaciers, besides the mixture with tropical cloud forests. the snowy Salkantay with a height of 6.271 meters, was revered by Andean cultures and respect for the mountain Salkantay in Quechua language means wild mountain persists.
- Type of Trek: Adventure, ecological landscapes, cultural and archaeological
- Departures Days: Every day
- Accommodation: 1 night hotel and 3 nights in tent
- Season: from march to january
- Trek Duration: 5 days and 4 nights
- Difficulty: Moderate to challenge
- Group size: 2 – 10 person
- Maximum height: 4,650 meters
- Price: 450 USD per person
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa
We start the day with picking you up at your hotel or hostel at 05:00 am. We’ll drive for around 4 hours, crossing Anta, Mollepata and end up at Challancha. Through the windows of the bus you can clearly see the white snowcapped mountains of Salkantay and Huamantay: the holy Gods of the Incas. But also the spectacular scenery of the higher situated areas and the lower valleys with colorful landscapes. After two hours driving there will be a quick stop in Mollepata town. At Mollepata there are toilet facilities, souvenirs shops and an optional short breakfast. When this short break is over we will soon continue to Challacancha, which is the start of our trail. There we will meet with our support staff. The staff will organize all the equipment, horses and mules. Around 9:30 am. we will start our trek to Soraypampa (3850 MASL – 12631 ft). The first section of the path is a hike over a few deep valleys. At some parts of the trail the old water channel can still be seen. The channel still supplies water to the farmers in the lower valleys. The beginning of the trek is 7km (4.35miles) hiking in 3 hours to Soraypampa, where we will have our lunch at the basecamp. After the lunch and a quick nap we continue hiking up to the Humantay Lake (4200 MASL – 13779 ft). This is a 5km (3.1miles) round trip which we will walk in a total of 3 hours. At the Humantay Lake the bottom of the glacier can be seen, and also the most spectacular views of the background with the valley at sunset. Soraypampa is located in the middle of the glacier valleys and at night the sky is so immensely clear that we can really appreciate the stars, constellations and even shooting stars.
Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Wayracpunku – Chaullay
After an early wake up with the first daylight at 05:30 am. and a quick breakfast we soon start hiking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL – 15,255 ft). The distance is a 7km (4.34miles) tough ascent in 3 hours, between the rocky valley bottom and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6200 MASL– 20,341 ft). When we finally reach the top we can and definitely will appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and the imposing snowy peaks of the Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo. The Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca Gods called “Apu”. After reaching the top of the pass there is a 5km (3.1miles) and 2 hours downhill hike towards the camp for our lunch. The walk downwards is on a serpent shape trail and a rocky gravel path to get to the Huayracmachay lunch spot. In the afternoon we will enter the upper part of the amazon jungle, which is also called “the cloud forest”. This is a 10 km (6.2miles) hike in 3 hours on a wide trail in the thick forests. This hike is truly beautiful, there are decorated the hills with colorful sceneries and a lot of wildlife and native plants. The forests are most times of the year warm or have a temperate temperature. When finishing this magnificent hike we finally arrive at Chaullay Village (2900 MASL – 9,514 ft), our base camp in the jungle.
Day 3: Chaullay – Collpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba
At 6:00 am. we will start our trek to La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. We will be hiking for approximately 6 hours. During the hike we’ll see waterfalls, wild orchids, but also coffee, banana and avocado plantations. Here you can taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit. We will see a village called Colpapampa, also called the “forest cloudy brow” where waterfalls, thermal hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, varied flora and birds can be observed. If we are lucky, we will be able to see the famous bird called “the Cock of the Rocks” this bird is the national bird of Peru. After lunch at La playa, we will hike for approximately 1 hour to our base camp called Lucmabamba (2400 MASL – 7874 ft). We will explore the tropical forest for a little while and have a lovely visit at an organic coffee farm. Here you can taste the coffee prepared by the local people. Coffee is the main farming industry of the local people here in the jungle and they farm many hectares 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 and an avocado plantation.
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 activity while enjoying your last prepared breakfast by the trek chef. We will begin the hike early and you will get the opportunity to enjoy a small part of the famous Inka 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 Lost City of the Incas and a very special place to enjoy and spend time. We will be able to see not only the Machu Picchu ruins from this spot, but also the Huaynapicchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain. We will explore this Inca site with the guide and he will continue the history lessons about the Incas of this beautiful country and of course you will have plenty of time to take as many photos as you want.
Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
The highlight of the trek, Machu Picchu! We will wake up early at the hotel. This is better for visiting Machupicchu, before the mass of people arrive. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 6:00 am. until 17:00 pm. We will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the city really early with a lot fewer tourists than during the midday. Here we will have a 2 hours guided tour through this incredible ancient city. We will visit temples, palaces, priest houses, a sundial, the industrial sector and the farming fields. After this guided tour you are free to climb up to Huaynapicchu or Machupicchu Mountain (book in advance to get your tickets!). Both mountains take approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Or for the less adventurous you can trek to the sun gate, which is the main entrance of the Inka Trail. You’ll stay and enjoy the city for more than 7 hours in the afternoon. We will organize the train ride at 18:20 pm. back from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and then a bus ride to Cusco to arrive at approx. 22:00 pm. The bus will drop you off at your hotel/hostel in Cusco.
What is included in this tour?
- Pre-departure briefing.
- Collection from your hotel in the morning.
- Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks.
- English speaking professional and official tourist guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
- Chef and cooking equipment.
- Accommodation in Aguas Calientes.
- Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment) days 1 to 4
- 1 Bag or daffor bag where you can out maximum of 6kg per
- Meals (4B, 4L, 4D + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
- One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment
- Bio-degradable personal hand soaps
- Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead.
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.
- Machupicchu entrance fee.
- To get a entrance fee to visit Huayna Picchu (we recommend buying the tour and entrance to Huayna Picchu two months in advance as there are only 400 spaces available per day
- Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
- Transfer from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- 1 blanket per Person
- 1 Pillow
What is not included in this tour?
- The first breakfast in Mollepata
- The last lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Bus ticket / from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (round trip 24.00 USD)
- Ticket to the hot-sppring of Santa Teresa
- Horse to ride or for the backpack
- Drinks:mineral water, soda, beer, chocolates
- Sleeping bag
What to Bring?
- Daypack 30 liters/packtowl
- Knit hat/hat
- Rain poncho/Rain jacket/Pants
- Heavy polartec top
- Power stretch shirt
- Trekking poles
- Convertible nylon pants
- Polypropylene underwear
- Hiking boots/3 pairs running socks
- Flip flops
- Anti-itch cream/insect repellent
- Toilet paper