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SALKANTAY TO MACHU PICCHU – 5 DAY TREK

Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu is the second most popular trek to get the iconic city of Machu Picchu; an alternative to the very-crowded classic Inca Trail. It offers adventure, mountains, scenery, and a wider variety of landscapes from rain forest to snowcapped peaks. Since the Salkantay trek has fewer restrictions than the classic Inca Trail, it can provide a “back door” trek to Machu Picchu when classic Inca Trail tickets are sold out.

TRIP DETAILS

DEPARTURE

 daily departures with 2 or more people.

ACLIMATIZATIONS

 3-day acclimatization recommended.

BEST TIME

best from April to November.

SOLITUDE RATING

Crowded, 2nd most popular trek after the Inca Trail.

ELEVATION

2000 m (6,561 ft) – 4600 m (15,091 ft).

CUSTOMIZABLE

yes! private, custom, add-ons all available.

TRIP ACTIVITIES & FEATURES

camping, culture, glaciers, hiking & trekking, lakes, mountains, nature, wildlife, ruins.

TRIP TYPE

Hiking / Trekking.

SEASON

from March 1st to January 31st.

DIFFICULTY

challenging.

DURATION

5 days.

DISTANCE

70 km (43.497 mi).

SALKANTAY TO MACHU PICCHU – 5 DAY TREK ITINERARY

DAY 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa:

We will pick you up at your hotel around 05:00 am for your Salkantay to Machu Picchu. We proceed to drive nearly 3 hours to Anta – Mollepata. During the bus ride, you can observe the white snowcapped mountains of Salkantay and Veronica: the Holy Gods of the Incas.   Also, you will glimpse the spectacular views of the upper part and lower valleys with colorful landscapes. After two hours of driving, we will make the first stop in Mollepata town, where there are toilet facilities and  breakfast.   The drive will then continue until Challacancha(the starting point of our hike). There we will meet with our support staff, organize all the equipment, horses and mules and we will have an introductory meeting.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. we will start our trek to Soraypampa (3900 m.a.s.l).  The first part of the path is a paved rock trail. On the way, we will see the old water channel that still supplies water to new inhabitants.  The first section is 9 km which we will complete in 3 hours to reach Soraypampa, the lunch place.  This will also serve as our base camp.   After lunch and a nap, we will continue hiking up to the Humantay Lake (4200masl).  This is a 5 km hike that will take 3 hours round trip.  Once we reach the lake, we can observe the Humantay glacier and the stunning sunset. Soraypampa is located on the middle of the glacier valleys where at night, it is so dark with no ambient light making it a perfect spot to appreciate the constellations in the sky.

  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Camping.
  • Maximum Altitude: 3850 masl/12.6312 feet.
  • Minimum Altitude: 2850 masl/9.3504 feet.
  • Distance Travelled: 14 km/8.500 mile.

DAY 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayramachay – Chaullay:

Early wakeup call at 5:00 am with coca tea brought to your tent. Afterward, we pack up quickly, enjoy a speedy breakfast and immediately begin hiking up to the highest point of the Salkantay trail (4620 masl – 15,255 ft).  The distance is 7 km we should complete in 4 hours. During the ascent through the rocky valley, we can observe the magnificent Salkantay peak and may even see chinchillas on the trail (6217 masl – 20,341 ft). Once we reach the top of the trail, we will enjoy spectacular views of the mountains and the imposing snowy peaks of the Salkantay, Humantay, and Pumasillo. 

 Salkantay is considered the second-highest mountain of the Cusco region and one of the main Inca Gods known as “Apu Salkantay”. Hiking to the top is the most difficult part of the entire trek.  You will feel so accomplished!  The next  3 hours are spent heading downhill on the serpent trail along gravel and rocky path to reach Huayracmachay, our lunch spot. In the afternoon we will arrive at the upper part of the rain forest, also called a “cloud forest”. We will cover 9 km in 3 hours until to get Challway Village (2900 masl – 9,514 ft) our base campsite.   In the second half of the day during the descent, we will observe the thick forest which is decorated with colorful orchids and native plants. The majority of the year the weather is warm and pleasant.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Camping.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4650 masl/15.2559 feet.
  • Minimum Altitude: 2900 masl/9.5144 feet.
  • Distance Travelled: 21 km/13.0488 miles to Chaullay.

DAYS 3: Chaullay – Collpapampa – Lucmabamba – Santa Teresa:

Around 5:30 am wake up call with coca tea!  Next, we have breakfast and afterward start hiking straight to la Playa; walking through the thick jungle and following the riverbank of the Salkantay River on a gradual trail. On the route, we stop at several family hamlets to enjoy the local fruit and vegetables (passion fruit, banana, coffee, avocado, mango, orange, and papaya).  If we are lucky, we will be able to observe the famous bird called “the Cock of the Rocks”. 

The trail distance is 16 km and the hiking time is 7 hours until we reach Lucmabamba, our base camp. Lucmabamba is a small town surrounded by coffee trees and can provide the basic facilities (toilet, electricity, shopping, and souvenirs) and serves as our lunch point.   In the afternoon there is an option for an hour’s drive to the hot spring.  This is highly recommended after the hard journey on the mountain.   After enjoying the hot springs, it’s an hour to get back at the campsite for a happy hour and dinner before bed.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Camping.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2900 masl/9.5144 feet.
  • Minimum Altitude: 2100 masl/6.8898 feet.
  • Distance Travelled: Approx 16 km/9.9419 mile.

DAY 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes:

First, we have a quick explanation about the coffee we will be tasting, then we can try the organic coffees offered.  We need to start early to avoid the mid-day heat. While hiking, we will pass through coffee plantations and an artisan coffee mill en route to Llactapata. Here we follow a wide, well-preserved, and original Inca trail which once ran to Quito.

 Following the trail up the side of the ridge, we can see a multitude of butterflies, citronella, orchids, rocky streams, and stunning views of the Santa Teresa Valley. From the pass, we can see Machu Picchu just as fabulous as that from Intipunku, the famed Sungate. From the pass, it is a short walk to Llactapata.  Still covered under vines, jungle vegetation, and trees, we will explore the site before descending to the Rio Aobamba and on to the Hidroelectrica where we have our last lunch with our amazing cook. From there, we will keep walking along the train tracks until we reach Aguas Calientes.  Once in town, we check into our hotel, go out to dinner then overnight.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Accommodation: Hotel.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2040 masl/6.6929 feet.
  • Minimum Altitude: 2900 masl/9.5144 feet.
  • Distance Travelled: 24 km/14.9129 miles approx.

DAY 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco:

Day four is the most magical day: Machu Picchu. We will wake up at 3:30, extremely early, to take the first bus up to Machu Picchu and see the sunrise over the ruins.

Your guide will spend around 2 hours explaining the highlights of Machu Picchu.   Afterward, you will have time to explore by yourself the ruins and hike Huayna Picchu if you have booked this option. (This is a separate entrance ticket that costs $15 per person). Finally, you will return to Aguas Calientes and take a train back to Ollantaytambo, and then bus back to Cusco.   Once in Cusco, we will transfer you back to your hotel.

  • Meals: Breakfast.
  • Tour: Visit Machu Picchu.

SALKANTAY TO MACHU PICCHU – 5 DAY TREK INCLUSIONS

What’s Included?

  • English speaking guide, plus an assistant guide for big groups.
  • Professional cook and an assistant cook for a big group and horseman for the mules and horses.
  • Mules which carry group gear and large duffels provided by the company, for personal belongings.
  • All food on the trek, which incorporates traditional Peruvian cuisine as well as modern fusion cuisine and specific dietary needs.
  • Boiled water and snacks.
  • Large Dining tent, table, stools, all cutlery, and kitchen tent.
  • Tents to overnight, and Thermarest. Two-person tents are provided for single person and three-person tents for double people to provide plenty of space for personal gear.
  • Additional horses for riding can be provided for an additional cost.
  • First aid kit, including oxygen.
  • A pre-trek briefing.
  • Entrance fees to Salkantay Mountain, including Machu Picchu.
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Train ticket. (Expedition Train Service 16:22).
  • Private van from your hotel in Cusco to Challacancha (the starting point of hiking).
  • Private van from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.

What’s Not Included?

  • The first breakfast as well as lunch and dinner on the 5th day in Aguas Calientes.
  • Personal trekking gear including, backpacks, trekking poles, sleeping bags. However, they may be rented from the company.
  • Gratuity for guides, cooks, and horseman.
  • Entrance to hot springs in Cocalmayo (Santa Teresa) or other entertainments in Aguas Calientes.
  • Personal riding horse. Additional horses may be rented according to the needs of the individual and group.
  • Bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.

ADDITIONAL THING TO UPGRADE

1.- Huayna Picchu Mountain

Huayna Picchu Mountain behind the citadel and commonly seen in pictures as the background of the ruins in every classic picture of Machu Picchu. Each day, only 400 spaces are offered per day in 2 available shifts. From 7a.m. to 8a.m. (200 spaces) and from 9a.m. to 10a.m. (200 spaces). Tickets are required and it sells out a few months in advance.
 
The path narrows towards the upper section of the trail and goes up steep staircases and past stone ruins clinging to cliff precipices. There are handrails and ropes to grab onto for extra support, but it’s a scary experience for anyone with a fear of heights. Reaching the summit will take a mere 45 minutes and a round trip is 2 hours roughly. Perhaps the most amazing aspect of this hike is the 360-degree view from the summit, which overlooks the Inca ruins, the snaking Wilkamayu (Urubamba) River, and the lush mountainous landscape.

Huayna Picchu Mountain is: $15

This is the picture that you will take from the top of Huayna Picchu Mountain

 

2.- Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu Mountain is located on the opposite side of Huayna Picchu Mountain. It offers The panoramic vista of the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu Mountain, and Putucusi Mountains, the snaking Wilkamayu (Urubamba) River,  the lush mountainous landscape and the last part of the Classic Inca Trail.
 
The trail to Machu Picchu Mountain is ascending through steps made of stone and well-established paths. The walk is not really dangerous, nor difficult to perform, but it will require all your strength. As the trail gets closer to the base of Machu Picchu Mountain, the steps become steeper, narrower, and more challenging and there isn’t any flat part. The amount of time to hike up to Machu Picchu mountain depends on the physical condition of the person and can range from 1 to 1.5 hours to climb or 2 to 3 hours (round-trip). 

Machu Picchu Mountain is $15

This is the picture that you will take from the top of Machu Picchu Mountain

3.- Vistadome Train 

If you love nature and the countryside, the PeruRail Vistadome is exactly what you are looking for. The panoramic windows located beside and above your seat will bring you close to nature unlike anything you’ve experienced before. The  Vistadome train offers you a unique connection with the scenery along the way to Machu Picchu(Llacta), making customers feel as if they were somehow part of the nature that surrounds them. Return trips on the Vistadome option, also offer you an onboard fashion show, featuring the exclusive baby alpaca wool collection with the latest trends in alpaca apparel, all available for sale. As an added bonus, you can enjoy live dances inspired by the ancient culture of the Andes of Peru. Passengers also get a snack made of local ingredients.

One way Vistadome Ticket is $35

Our price is $695 per person

WHAT WE RECOMMEND TO BRING:

  • Original Passport and Original Green ISIC international student cards if you are students.
  • Water-resistant trekking shoes and sandals.
  • Warm clothing (thermal underwear, fleece, hat, gloves, socks).
  • Waterproof clothing (poncho).
  • Synthetic or cotton clothing (socks, trousers, shorts, t-shirts).
  • Sunhat and sunglasses.
  • Sun cream and insect repellent.
  • Water bottles such as Nalgene.
  • Basic medications.
  • Walking sticks.
  • Swimsuit and towel.
  • Personal items.
  • Personal snacks.
 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

If you have reserved the service with your old Passport and then you have renewed it and obtained another, you most likely will have a different passport number. Please let us know so we can update this information. This modification has to be made prior to your trip to Peru (at least 10 days before your trip). As soon as you have your new passport please inform AB Expeditions of this change. Otherwise, this update or modification will have an additional fee of USD 12.00 and it will create a big inconvenience to update it at the last minute.

If you do not bring your passport, you won’t be allowed to enter Machu Picchu. Also, if you bring your new passport and failed to inform us and this information was not updated, you won’t be allowed to Machu Picchu.

Those passengers who booked their trip using the discounted price for  Student Holders must bring their original and valid student card (not a copy and not expired). This document must be shown at the Machu Picchu Control Gate. Unfortunately, if you do not bring your card, you will be denied entry to the Machu Picchu as the permits won’t be valid without your card.

It is very important that our passengers inform us before their trip of any medical restriction, food restriction, allergies, special diets, current medication, health issues, or anything that we need to consider to make your trip enjoyable and without concerns.

If you have medical restrictions for some or all the activities detailed in your booking please contact your doctor and inquire about the risks of doing said activities.