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Salkantay to Machu Picchu Trek 5 days / 4 nights

Trip Overview

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The famous Salkantay trek, named among the 25 best Treks in the World by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everyone. Salkantay’s proximity to Machu Picchu makes this trek an attractive alternative to the Inca Trail. Come walk in the shadow of “The Savage” Salkantay.

Day by day

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa

We will begin the trek by picking you up from your hotel early at around 5:00 a.m. and travelling by private bus to Mollepata (2,800m/9,186ft). Mollepata is a small community located along the main road from Cusco to Abancay. Mollepata is the start of the trek and where we meet our arrieros (horsemen) and trekking crew. We will hike for approximately 3 hours, appreciating the diversity of the flora and fauna along the way, before we stop to enjoy our delicious lunch at the quiet site of Sayllapata.

In the afternoon, we will have a relaxing 3 hour hike before we arrive at our first camp site of Soraypampa (3,800m/12,467ft) where we will have dinner and discuss our first impressions of the hike.

Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Challhuay

The second day will be the most challenging day of the trek. We will wake up very early and after an energizing breakfast, we will depart from Soraypampa and hike up to the Salkantay Pass, at an elevation of (4,600m/15,000ft), the highest point of our trek. From here we will get a spectacular view of Salkantay, a stunning snow-capped mountain whos peak rests at (6,271m/20,574ft). The first part of the day we will hike for approximately three and half hours to reach the pass.
On the descent, we will approach a rocky area and then pass several streams until we reach Wayracmachay, where we will stop for lunch. We will continue to hike downhill until we reach our campsite of Challhuay. At this campsite, you will experience a semitropical climate because of the cloud forest.

Day 3: Challhuay – La Playa – Santa Teresa

We will wake up at 6:00 a.m. to have breakfast and begin our trek to the town of La Playa. We will have an easy downhill hike through the jungle highland of Ceja de Selva. In this jungle you will be able to see coffee and several native plantation fruits on the way to our lunch in La Playa. After lunch, we will take an hour bus ride to the village of Santa Teresa. Once we arrive, we will take you to the Santa Teresa thermal spring which is included in this package. After relaxing in these springs, we will have dinner and relax for the night.

Day 4: Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, we will hike for two hours to the hydroelectric station along the Urubamba River. After lunch, we will continue for 3 more hours of hiking to the town of Aguas Calientes. In Aguas Calientes, we will check into our hostel, dine, and rest up before our tour of Machu Picchu the following day!

NOTE: If you do not want to walk after lunch, you can take a train from the hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes. However, this train leaves only in the late afternoons and this can be a long wait.

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

We wake up early at 5:30 a.m. for breakfast and to take the early morning bus up to Machu Picchu.

Arriving early to Machu Picchu will allow you to witness the beauty and the magic of this ancient city in the early morning light. Once in Machu Picchu, you will have a 2 hour guided tour of this ancient city. After the tour, you will have free time to explore the city on your own. If you still have energy and a ticket booked in advance, you can also take a 45 minute climb Huayna Picchu, at (2,720m/8,923ft). From Huayna Picchu, you will have stunning views of Machu Picchu below you.

After you finish exploring Machu Picchu, you will take the bus or walk back down to Aguas Calientes, where you will catch a train back to the Sacred Valley. You can expect to arrive back in Ollantaytambo by 8:30 p.m. From there, we will provide you with a bus transfer back to your hotel in Cusco.


Price: US $270 per person


  • Student Discount with valid ISic Card $20
  • Under 18 Discount $20
  • Under 7 Discount $50

Optional Activities in Machu Picchu

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain $15
  • Machu Picchu Mountain $10
  • Extra in Aguas Calientes $20

Rental Items

  • Sleelping bags $20
  • Walking Poles(Sticks) $20

Included/Not Included


  • Hostel night in Aguas Calientes ( basic )
  • Weight allowances: 5kl per person (weights to be carried by horses)
  • Transport: collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transportation to Callacancha ( starting point of the trek)
  • English/Spanish speaker professional guide
  • Personal pad (double foam)
  • Personal tents: two people in each 4, people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks.
  • Three nights camping
  • Cook and cooking equipment
  • Horses (to carry the tents, pads cooking equipment and 5 kilograms of the hikers personal belongings)
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Two hours guided visist to Machu Picchu
  • Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo wich depart either at 6:20p.m. or 9:55.p.m
  • Transfer Ollantaytambo train station to Cusco
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Vegetarian food available on request with no extra charge.
  • Wake up tea: every morning at the campasite we will wake you up with a cup of coca tea.
  • Daily snacks- day 1,2 and 3: our snacks consist of local fruits, biscuits, chocolate, Caramels we will give this snack at the beginning of each day trek
  • First aid equipmentNot Included:Breakfast on the first morning
  • Water along the way
  • Bus from La Playa campsite to Santa Teresa
  • Entrace to the thermal spring in Santa Teresa
  • Zip Line in Santa Teresa(optional)
  • Train ticket from Hidroelectric to Aguas Calientes
  • Bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu PicchchuPicchu
  • Bags transportation from Hidro electric to Aguas Calientes(10 soles)
  • Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
  • Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (10 soles)
  • Tips for the guide, cooks, and wranglers
  • Drink( coke, mineral water or cervesa) in the dinner in Aguas calientes on the 4 day
  • Tip for the guide. cook,and wranglers
  • Breakfast on the day 5

What you need to bring

  • Original passport
  • For students: ISIC card
  • Insurance card
  • Hiking boots
  • Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
  • Warm jacket
  • Hat and gloves
  • 2-4 t-shirts
  • 2 pairs pants (1 for hiking, 1 for camp)
  • Long underwear for sleeping
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Water and/or water purification tablets
  • Toiletries
  • Personal medication
  • Camera and bateries
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Cash in Peruvian nuevo soles


Tips for the Staff: Tips for porters, cooks and guides are always welcome. The porters are also very grateful for small gifts, such as clothing and school equipment for their children. A normal amout for the group to tip is S/40-50 for each porter and S/80-90 for the chef. The group will pool money for the tip, this is not an individual amount.
Refunds: If InkaTrail.com fails to confirm the reservation, your payment will be refunded in full.

Health and Safety: A participant must declare if he/she has any sickness or medical disorder and must bring his/her own medication. We reccommend that you meet with a doctor before you book the trek if you have questionable health.

Huayna Picchu Climb: Only 400 people can climb this mountain per day. If you are interested in climbing Huayna Picchu, tickets need to be booked in advanced. The price for the ticket is US $65. It is recommended to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain at 10:00 a.m. Otherwise, you will miss out on the walking tour of Machu Picchu.

Food on the Salkantay Trek: Always fresh and featuring organic ingredients, the food on the Inca Trail is always something to look forward to. There is always plenty to eat and lots of options including vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other sources of protein and carbohydrates. On our tours, everyone sits down to eat together and enjoy each others company. We go out of our way to accomodate all special dietary requirements, including vegetarian and vegan options and food allergies.

Return train for the end of Salkantay Trek: Your return train to Cusco is the Expedition train which departs either at 6:35 or 9:45 p.m. We can also book an afternoon train departure time of 2:55 or 4:35 p.m. for you if you prefer, at an extra cost of US $25. The train we will book depends on availabilty and will be confirmed at your briefing. There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is an extra US $65 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking the tour. Unfortunately, none of the trains go straight to Cusco, they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. In either case we will transfer you back by bus to your hotel in Cusco.

Storage during your Salkantay Trek: You can leave any of your belongings that you do not want to bring on the trek at your hotel or hostel you were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to securely store you belongings for you.

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