Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights
5-Day Salkantay Trek is one of the most scenic and adventurous ways to reach Machu Picchu, with the 5-day trek offering the best options. It has glacier mountains, picturesque lakes such as Humantay and Salcantay Lake, and passes through the Amazon jungle, making this one of the most beautiful and interesting treks in all of Peru.
When you book this tour with us, you’ll enjoy the best services at affordable prices. We offer exclusive camps with newly-built Mountain Sky Huts, glass igloos, professional knowledgeable guides, and supporting staff, we have all-inclusive itinerary options to make sure you don’t miss a thing. We’ll pass by brilliantly-blue lakes, reach heights up to 4,630 meters, and pass by the waterfalls, rivers, and hot springs.
We will also trek through the original Inca Trail to the Llactapata ruins, where you will have a fantastic view of Machu Picchu from a different angle, motivating you to finish the final stretch before you make it to the famous lost city of the Incas.
5-Day Salkantay trek is listed by National Geographic as 1 of 25 “World’s Best Treks.” Choose an experienced, highly-rated company for your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and make it an amazing and unforgettable experience.
- Enjoy the scenic views of Salkantay Mountain
- Visit Humantay Lake and Salkantay Lake
- Make a small ritual for the Andean gods and learn about the Inca religion
- Enjoy our friendly customer service and experienced guides
- Eat delicious meals and freshly prepared and vegan, vegetarian food or any dietary restrictions are available, without any extra charge
- Hike through the different types of landscapes, such as cloud forests, highlands, grassy hills, and Andean valleys
- Reach 4,700 meters (15,420 feet) in elevation along the Salkantay Pass
- Explore Machu Picchu and the surrounding area with an expert and knowledgeable tour guide
- Visit the Inca ruins of Llactapata and hike on the original Inca Trail
- Hike one of National Geographic’s 25 “World’s Best Treks”
- Sleep in comfort under the stars in our Mountain Sky Huts located in private campsites
After picking up everyone from their respective places or hotel, we’ll leave Cusco around 5:45 am and start our 2-hour drive to the town of Mollepata. Once in Mollepata, we’ll stop to have a delicious breakfast and pay the entrance fee of 20 soles to the local municipality (this is not included in the tour price).
Once finished, we’ll continue by car for another hour to Soraypampa where we will meet with the muleteers and horses who will carry our equipment, food, and 7 kilos of each hiker’s personal belongings during the trek. From there, we’ll start the uphill hike to Humantay lake, reaching it after about 2 hours.
When you arrive at the lagoon, you will have a couple of hours to explore, take photos, and listen to our guide to explain the significance of Humantay Lagoon.
After, we’ll hike downhill for 2 hours and have lunch at our exclusive camp, Quiswarniyoc. After lunch, you’ll have free time to explore the beautiful area and for an optional hike to the Mirador of Salkantay for panoramic views of the entire area. If you are tired, you can just rest in the Mountain Sky Huts or in the glass igloos, that come equipped with glass doors, pillows, a sleeping pad, and the illumination of the night sky.
Quiswarniyoc is an exclusive, private camp located at 4,000 meters. It is a unique area that offers additional, short hikes, fantastic mountains viewpoints, and waterfalls.
The second day of the trek is the most difficult, as it consists of 20 kilometers of trekking and takes you to the highest point of the whole trek, 4630 meters above sea level. The cooks will wake you up around 5:00 am with a cup of hot coca tea as you take your time to repack and get ready for the nutritious breakfast that will be served around 5:45 am. After breakfast, it is time to start hiking up to the highest point of the trek 4630 m. This will take 3 to 4 hours of uphill hiking at a regular to slow pace.
Once you are at the highest point, you will have time to enjoy the mountains, take pictures, learn about the mountain gods, and take part in a small traditional Andean ritual for the Apus mountain god. You’ll then start hiking down for 2 hours before we rest with a delicious lunch and continue for 3 more hours of downhill hiking to the second camp, Chaullay, which is located at 2,900 meters and marks the beginning of the Peruvian Amazon. At camp Chaullay, we will provide you with your camping equipment, hot tea, and dinner.
There is also an optional hot shower offered by locals that can be used for 10 soles. You can also buy some drinks such as beer, soda, water.
On the third day, we will wake up in the beautiful (but warm) jungle. We’ll wake you up around 6:00 am with a cup of coca tea as the cooks are preparing the delicious breakfast.
Around 7:00 am, we’ll begin our 5-hour hike along the Santa Teresa Valley which is formed by the Salkantay River, after 5 hours of hiking we arrive at La Playa Sahuayaco.
Along the trail, you’ll see plantations for coffee, bananas, avocados, Coca, passion fruit, and more. Once we arrive at La Playa Sahuayaco, we will take local transportation to the third campsite, Santa Teresa, which is about a one-hour drive.
At camp, we’ll share a delicious lunch before heading out to the hot springs of Colcampayo (optional). Colcampayo is about a 15-minute car ride from camp. We’ll spend a couple of hours relaxing in the natural, clean water of the hot springs before heading back to camp for tea time, a warm dinner, and a group bonfire. All of these activities are optional, so if you’d rather lay back and relax at camp—you are certainly welcome to!
Llactapata is an Inca ruin located along the Salkantay trail, which you will have the chance to visit on the fourth day. From Llactapata, you will enjoy a beautiful view of Machu Picchu from a unique angle. For this beautiful trek, we’ll start with an early breakfast, around 5:30 am, before taking local transportation for 45 minutes to Lucmabamba.
Upon arrival, we’ll start the 3-hour uphill hike along the original Inca trail until we arrive in the Inca ruins of Llactapata once at the Inca site you will have plenty of time in Llactapata to enjoy the views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountain, and if the weather is good, you’ll get one more glimpse of Salkantay Mountain.
Afterward, we’ll hike downhill for 2 hours, arriving in Hidroelectrical for a nutritious lunch and much-earned rest. The final part of the hike is a 3-hour hike along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. Once you arrive in the small town, we’ll take you to your hotel where you can shower and rest before our final supper at 7:00 pm in a local restaurant. After dinner, we’ll head to bed, anxious for our final day and ultimate reward: Machu Picchu
Finally, we go to see the impressive Machu Picchu. You’ll wake around 4:00 am to get ready for the hike to Machu Picchu main entrance. Each person will be given a packed breakfast and we will start the 30-minute walk to Puente Ruinas checkpoint where you will have to show your passport, Machu Picchu ticket, and student ID if applicable. After passing the first checkpoint, we will climb the stairs for about one hour to reach Machu Picchu’s main gate by 6:00 am.
Once everybody meets at the gate, we enter Machu Picchu and begin our 2.5-hour guided tour in the famous Inca site, where you will learn everything about The Lost City of The Incas.
After the guided tour, you’ll have free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. The time that you will spend in Machu Picchu will depend on how you are going back to Cusco (train or car) and whether you want to climb the Montaña Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu Mountain, which must be booked in advance the entrance tickets.
- If you booked the extra ticket for HUAYNAPICCHU you will need 2.5 hours for hiking up and down
- If you booked the extra ticket for MACHU PICCHU MONATAÑA you will need 3.5 hours for hiking up and down
After visiting Machu Picchu and its surrounding area is time to return to Cusco.
WE OFFER YOU TWO OPTIONS FOR RETURNING TO CUSCO AFTER VISITING MACHU PICCHU
SALKANTAY TREK 5 DAYS RETURN BY TRAIN:
The train is a beautiful way to return to Cusco and allows you more time (about 7-8 hours) to visit Machu Picchu. If you are planning to hike Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, we strongly advise you to take the train, as these hikes require a minimum of 3 hours to complete. You will need to return to Aguas Calientes in time for your train at 6:20 pm. You may want to give yourself extra time, as some people like to explore the town. You’ll ride the train for about 1.5 hours to Ollantaytambo from Aguas Calientes town, where you will then switch to a car and finish the final 2 hours of the trip, arriving in Cusco around 10:00 pm.
SALKANTAY TREK 5 DAYS RETURN BY CAR:
Returning to Cusco by car is a more affordable option for those on a tight budget. However, please be aware that with this option, you’ll have less time to explore Machu Picchu, and if you are planning to hike Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will be very tight on time.
The return to Cusco by car is a longer trip (a 6-hour drive in total), as there are no roads leading to Aguas Calientes and the driver must take a longer route back. If you are taking a car back, you will need to leave Machu Picchu by 12:00 am and take the 3-hour walk back to Hidroelectrica, where you will meet the car at 3:00 pm.
If you are considering this option and planning to hike Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, we recommend you stay one more night in Aguas Calientes and return to Cusco by car on the 6th day so that you can fully enjoy the experience.
INCLUDED SALKANTAY TREK
- 5-Day Salkantay trek briefing at 7:00 pm a day before the departure at Machu Picchu Reservations office
- A duffle bag to pack 7 kilos of your belonging that will be carried by horses during the trek
- English/Spanish speaking professional tour guides
- Professional chef and cooking equipment
- Horses for carrying up to 7 Kilos of personal luggage and other required equipment
- Pick up from your hotel in Cusco
- Private transportation to head of Salkantay trail
- 5 breakfasts
- 4 lunches
- 4 dinners
- 3 nights of camping
- 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Mountain Sky Huts with Thick Mattresses, glass door, Night Lighting, and Panoramic for the first and second night
- Personal pad (double foam – 2.5 inches thick)
- Pillows at the first and second camp
- Transportation from La Playa to Santa Teresa
- Transportation from Santa Teresa to Lucmabamba to do the Llactapata trek
- Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
- Guided visit to Machu Picchu
- Return journey from Aguas Calientes to Cusco BY TRAIN or BY CAR depending on your choice
- Vegetarian/Vegan options available on request with no additional charges
- First-Aid equipment and oxygen bottle for emergencies
- Entrance to Humantay lake charged by the local government of Mollepata = 20 soles
- Sleeping Bags – If you do not have one you can rent from us for $10 USD for the whole trek
- The entrance fee and transportation to the hot springs of Santa Teresa (20 to 25 soles)
- Travel insurance
- Extra expenses
Prices: SALKANTAY TREK 5D-4N Group service – VERSION 2021 (March 2021 – January 2022)
We have two prices For the Salkantay trek 5D-4N. The cost depends. How you like to return to Cusco after visiting Machu Picchu.
5-Day Salkantay Trek: Return BY CAR:
Student: 190 US Dollars
Adult: 210 US Dollars
5-Day Salkantay Trek: Return BY TRAIN:
Student: 270 US Dollars
Adult: 290 US Dollars
ADDITIONAL OPTION THAT YOU CAN ADD TO YOUR SALKANTAY TREK
- HUAYNAPICCHU MOUNTAIN: US 20 dollars (check availability) https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/inicio
- MACHU PICCHU MONTAÑA: US 20 dollars (check availability) https://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/inicio
- SLEEPING BAG FOR THE WHOLE TREK: US 10 dollars
- TREKKING POLES US 10 dollars, one pair for the whole trek
- UPGRADE to Vistadome – Panoramic train. US 25 dollars (If you decided to return by train you can upgrade to VISTA DOME TRAIN)
For this Salkantay Trekking 5 Days If you like to apply for the student price, you need to comply with the next requirements of Peruvian regulation for students. If you are a student, you need to send us a copy or picture of both sides of your STUDENT CARD also a picture or photo of your PASSPORT in order to verify, to get a discount The student card must be an original student ID given from the university in PVC material and it must have the next requirements printed on it: University information, personal student information, student picture, and expiration date valid only for one year, it year must coincide with the year that student visits Machu Picchu, the discount until 25 years old. ISIC cards are not valid for the discount
WHAT TO PACK
PACKING LIST FOR THE SALKANTAY TREK 5 DAYS
- A backpack to carry water, some snacks, a camera, sunscreen, valuable things, Jacket, rain gear, etc. We recommend bringing a backpack of 25 – 30 liters, but if you like to can bring a daypack or any size of the backpack as long as you feel comfortable with it.
- Sleeping bag at least minus 5 cº. If you doN’T have one, you can rent from us for US 10 dollars for the whole trek.
- Trekking Poles – We recommend for people with problems of knees, ankle, or you are used to using hiking poles. If you do NOT have one, you can rent a pair of trekking poles for US 10 dollars from us.
- Original Passports
- Wool hat or beanie
- Sun hat
- 3 – 4 t-shirt, if you have long sleeve better
- layers (sweater, fleece)
- 2 – 3 pairs of long pants if you have leggings, you can do on leggings
- Hiking shoes
- 2 – 3 pairs of wool socks
- Rain gear (Pants, jacket, if you do not have you can buy a rain poncho) is crucial, especially for the wet season.
- A small headlamp
- A small towel
- Toothbrush and other personal toiletries
- Toilet paper
- Sun cream
- Insect repellent
- Sandals / Flip flops
- If you have thermal clothing you can take them which is not that important, you will use them at least for the first night which is at 4000m
- Some snacks such as chocolate, cereal bars, candies, nuts, energy bars, etc
- Extra Cash in Soles
IMPORTANT: Remember that we will provide you with a duffle bag on the briefing day which you can use to pack 7 kilos of your personal belongings that you will take to the trek which are going to be carried by horse during the entire trek. It means that you will do the trek carrying your small backpack with things you need for the day hike and you will have access to the duffle bag at each camping place.
Frequently Asked Questions Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights
About the Salkantay Trek 5 Days
The Salkantay Trail connects Cusco to the Citadel of Machu Picchu and runs approximately 89 km/55 miles through high Andean peaks, cloud forest, and steamy jungle. The hike starts at the village of Mollepata, a few miles from Cusco.
The Salkantay Peak – Savage Mountain – is located within the Vilcabamba mountain range, to the northwest of Cusco. Salkantay is one of the highest and most spectacular mountains in the Andes (6,271m/20,574ft).
National Geographic’s Adventure Travel Magazine named the Salkantay trek among the 25 Best Treks in the World.
How far do we walk each day?
The amount you walk each day varies. An average day is 5-8 hours, but on the summit, night combined with the following day you can walk between 8 and 11 hours. Have a look at the itinerary for a day-to-day account.
How difficult are the Salkantay Trek 5 Days?
For an average traveler or tourist, Salkantay is considered a challenging but certainly not impossible hike. Due to the physical demands, anyone who wishes to trek Salkantay should at least be moderately fit. Plus, all trekkers should spend at least 2 days in Cuzco before the trek, to get acclimatized. Being extremely fit does not grant any immunity from altitude sickness.
The entire hike is approximately 72 kilometers (approximately 45 miles), and this hiking takes place for 4 days and 3 nights. The remaining 1 day of the trek is spent at Machu Picchu. In general, Salkantay is considered to be slightly harder than the Inca Trail. Other trails, such as Choquequirao, are considered to be slightly harder than Salkantay.
What’s the most challenging section of the 5-Day Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay Pass, at 14,760123 feet above sea level, is the most difficult section on the trail. Expect wind and cold temperatures. Some hikers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Symptoms will disappear as soon as you start your descent. Oxygen will be provided if needed. The Salkantay Pass, at approximately 4,650 meters above sea level is the most difficult section in the trail. These challenges are a result of several factors: the challenge of uphill climbing, cold winds, low temperatures in general, and the fact that you are trekking at a low-oxygen altitude.
How old do I have to Be?
Very young children may not enjoy this. They should be able to walk (without being carried) for 90 minutes without whining (the whining part applies to children of all ages.
Can I hike the Salkantay at any time?
Weather conditions during the rainy season make the Salkantay trek a risky decision. Therefore we cannot guarantee the availability of the Salkantay treks from mid-march to the end of February. If the weather is good, we will give the OK for a trek to start. If we think the safety of our porters and clients is being threatened, we will cancel the trek.
When is the best time to hike the Salkantay?
The dry season is the best time for this trek. In Cuzco, the dry season lasts from April to November, and the wet season is from December to March. June to September are the most popular months to do the trek, due to summer vacations in Europe and the US. It is generally thought that May and October offer the best weather conditions.
Can I make the trek by myself?
Yes, it is possible for a single traveler or a small group to hike the trek by themself, without guides or porters. However, the trail is not clearly marked at all points, which makes getting lost a high possibility. This is one of the biggest advantages of hiring a tour agency like Mystic Salkantay. Our guides know the route very well.
Can I do the trek with my kids?
Children under 14 years old are not allowed to do the trek, and children who are over 14 years old should be in good physical shape and used to hiking long distances.
Can I use my mobile/cell phone on the mountain?
You will get sporadic phone coverage during the trek and there will not be anywhere whilst trekking to charge your phone.
Will there be an international cell phone on the Salkantay Trek 5 Days?
One of the trek leaders will be carrying a satellite phone. However, this is for emergency use only.
What is the weather on the Salkantay Trekking 5 Days?
Weather is very varied on this trek, due to the fact that it winds its way through wildly different terrain at different altitudes. The only place where the weather is a serious concern is the Salkantay Pass and the nearby areas. Temperatures here, and at the nearby Soraypampa campsite, can fall below freezing. The other camps are much warmer, due to their proximity to the cloud forest.
How difficult is the Salkantay trek 5 Days?
On our tours the Salkantay trek is easy. It is not a difficult trek in the Cusco area, although it is a route of ascents and descents, it implies some physical effort, for that our guides will be there to assist you.
Is the Salkantay trek closed?
Due to weather conditions, the Salkantay Trek is closed from January 31 to the end of February every year and we start again operation on the 01 or March, outside this date range, the hike is open and has the best conditions to enjoy it.
Can you do the Salkantay trek without a guide?
If it is possible if you have previous knowledge of the route and you can carry all your equipment; it can take you more time according to your physical condition; the most advisable is to do it with our experienced guides, besides we have exclusive camps, and you will only carry what you need.
Which is better Inca Trail or Salkantay trail?
The ancient Inca Trail 4 Days, originally part of the Inca Road system interconnecting the Inca Empire. This classic trek hike through diverse scenery. The Salkantay Trek, on the other hand, is more strenuous and famous for its mountain scenery.
|Inca Trail Hike||Salkantay Trek|
|Scenery||Mountains, cloud forest, and Incan Archaeological Sites||Mountains and abundant wildlife|
|Distance||26 miles over 4 days||46 miles over 5 days|
|Difficulty||Moderate (3/5)||Strenuous (4/5)|
|Highest Altitude||13,828 feet||15,000 feet|
|Availability||200 people per day, book in advance. More customizable than Salkantay.||No permit restrictions, an average of 50 hikers per day.|
|Facilities||Mid-range camping or luxury glamping. Porters are available to carry gear.||Options from rudimentary camping to luxury lodges.|
|Best For||Travelers in good hiking shape who value comfortable camps and don’t mind a popular trail.||For experienced, hikers who want to get off the beaten path and value solitude, mountain scenery, opportunities to view wildlife, and a wider range of overnight options.|
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