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5 Days – 4 Nights
Max Guests : 10
Max. Altitude : 1950 – 4600m
Act. Level: Challenging
People often choose the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu as an alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. It is a challenging but rewarding journey. You will navigate through diverse terrains, from cloud forests to rugged mountain passes.
Your adventure will begin in Cusco. We recommend spending a few days in Cusco before the trek. This allows your body to adjust to the altitude and reduces the risk of altitude sickness.
From Cusco, you will travel to the starting point of the Salkantay Trek. During the trek, you will ascend the Salkantay Pass. This pass sits at an altitude of 4,600 meters or 15,091 feet and offers breathtaking views.
You will witness the beauty of the dry season landscapes. If you choose to trek during the rainy season, you will experience lush, vibrant greenery. However, you should prepare for the challenges of wet weather.
We assure you, the sight of Machu Picchu from the Salkantay Trail will make the journey worth it. The ancient city’s magnificence will take your breath away.
You will hike through Santa Teresa. Here, you can relax in the hot springs and rejuvenate your tired muscles. A good sleeping bag will be essential for resting on the trek, especially during cold nights.
From Santa Teresa, you will continue to Aguas Calientes. This town serves as the gateway to Machu Picchu. We will then arrange a guided tour for you. You will gain valuable insights into the history and culture of the region.
As the dawn breaks, you will hike to Machu Picchu. This final part of the trek will be one of the most exciting moments. The view of Machu Picchu, nestled within the South American cloud forests, will astound you.
To conclude, the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu offers an unparalleled experience. It will challenge you, surprise you, and leave you with unforgettable memories of your journey through this part of Peru.
Choosing to hike the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu with Xtreme Tourbulencia will give you an unparalleled South American adventure. You will be in capable hands, as our experienced guides will ensure your safety and enjoyment.
We will make sure your journey unfolds smoothly, from acclimatizing in Cusco to celebrating the final sunrise over Machu Picchu. Our goal is to enhance your experience and fill your trip with unforgettable memories.
Not only will we provide top-notch service, but we’re also proud to share our outstanding reputation. Future clients like you can verify our commitment to excellence on TripAdvisor. Many of our satisfied customers have left glowing reviews.
Choosing us for your hike on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu will not just be a trip. It will be a life-changing experience that you will treasure forever.
Your first day on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu will begin early in the morning. We will depart from Cusco around 5 a.m. for a scenic drive to Mollepata. Upon reaching Mollepata, we will make a brief stop for breakfast and any last-minute supplies.
Then, we will continue on to Marcoccasa, where the trek truly begins. Here, you will meet the trekking team and set off towards Soraypampa. The journey from Marcoccasa to Soraypampa is a gentle climb, great for easing you into the trek. This stretch will take about 3 hours, covering 7 km (4.35 miles) in distance.
You will then reach Soraypampa, the base camp for the night, around lunchtime. After a satisfying meal, you will have the option to hike up to Humantay Lake. This beautiful turquoise glacial lake sits at an altitude of 4,200 meters (13,779 feet) and offers stunning views.
You will then retire to your tent in Soraypampa for the night. Here, at an altitude of 3,900 meters (12,795 feet), you will enjoy a well-earned rest under the starlit Peruvian sky.
Optional: On the way to Soray Pampa (3900m/12795ft), we strongly recommend making a 2-hour detour to Humantay Lake (4220m/13845ft) to see the magnificent lake and the snow-covered peak of Humantay.
Your second day on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu will be an early start. We will wake up around 5 a.m. for breakfast before setting off towards the Salkantay Pass. The hike up to the pass is the most challenging part of the trek, but it’s also the most rewarding.
On reaching the pass, you will be standing at the highest point of the trek at 4,600 meters or 15,091 feet. Here, you will have breathtaking views of the snow-capped Salkantay mountain. You can spend some time at the pass, taking in the stunning panorama.
Afterward, we will descend to our lunch spot in Rayanpata. This downhill trek will cover approximately 9 km (5.59 miles) and will take about 5 hours. Rayanpata, sitting at an altitude of 2,890 meters or 9,482 feet, will provide a well-deserved respite after the day’s journey.
Once in Rayanpata, you will have time to relax, enjoy dinner, and rest for the night. This second day is a challenging but memorable segment of the Salkantay Trek.
On the third day of your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, you will wake up in Rayanpata around 6 a.m. After breakfast, you will embark on a moderate trek to Chaullay. The 6 km (3.73 miles) hike should take you around 3 hours.
From Chaullay, you will proceed to Wiñaypoco. This stretch of the trek will present you with diverse flora and fauna. You will also have a chance to witness the local life and farming practices. After approximately 3 hours of trekking, covering a distance of 4 km (2.49 miles), you will reach Wiñaypoco.
Your day will end in Lucmabamba. This is the lowest altitude point of your trek, sitting at 2,000 meters or 6,562 feet. Here, you will rest for the night, enjoying the warmer climate and preparing for the next day’s adventure.
Optional: After arduous days of hiking, we recommend that you swim and soak in the hot mineral springs of Santa Teresa. You need to coordinate this visit with your tour guide to arrange a vehicle from Lucmabamba to Santa Teresa. It’s worth the effort!
On the fourth day of your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, you will wake up in Lucmabamba around 5 a.m. After breakfast, you will start your ascent toward the Llactapata Inca site. This stretch of the journey, covering about 5 km (3.11 miles), will take approximately 3 hours.
The Llactapata Inca site nestles at an altitude of 2,700 meters or 8,858 feet. It offers a unique perspective of Machu Picchu from a distance. You will have time to explore the site and absorb its historical significance.
Afterward, we will make our way downhill toward the hydroelectric station. From here, we will follow the train tracks to the town of Aguas Calientes. This trek will take about 3 hours, covering a distance of approximately 12 km (7.46 miles).
Once in Aguas Calientes, we will check into a hotel for a good night’s sleep. Resting well will be crucial as the next day, you will visit the world-famous Machu Picchu.
The fifth and final day of your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu will begin early. We will wake up around 4 a.m. to get ready for the hike up to Machu Picchu. The 1.5 km (0.93 miles) uphill trek will take about 1 hour. We will aim to arrive at Machu Picchu at sunrise.
At the ancient Inca site, sitting at an altitude of 2,430 meters or 7,972 feet, you will have a guided tour. You will learn about the history, culture, and significance of the site. After the tour, you will have free time to explore on your own.
Once we complete our visit to Machu Picchu, we will return to Aguas Calientes. Here, we will catch a train back to Ollantaytambo and then a bus back to Cusco. We will aim to reach Cusco by evening, marking the end of our adventure.
All briefings are done at our office at 7:00 PM one or two nights before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Xtreme Tourbulencia office team. Briefings are approximately 40 minutes long.
Xtreme Tourbulencia is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city, we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.
Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Smaller hotels and Airbnbs are often located on streets that cars can´t pass through. They also are frequently on hillsides with long steep climbs, making it difficult to carry luggage. We highly recommend that you book accommodations with better access. We have a list of hotels that are all comfortable with easy access to pick up and drop off. HOTEL LIST HERE.
Some treks will allow for pickups in the Sacred Valley, which is outlined below.
Machu Picchu is most beautiful when seen from above, which is why hiking one of the mountains next to the ruins is very popular to do after your tour.
Huaynapicchu is the most popular and must be booked in advance since it sells out very quickly. This hike takes approximately 1 hour to the top, and another 45 minutes back down. Tickets are sold in time sessions stating when you can start this hike. The first session is from 7-8 AM, and the 2nd session is from 10-11 AM. Again, this refers to the timeframe when you can start your hike. We usually book the second session so you can enjoy your tour with your guide first. You will do this hike on your own, but your guide will show you where to begin.
Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit longer and a bit less popular. It takes 2 hours to the top and another 1 hours to the bottom. Again there are two time windows – from 7-8 AM and 9-10 AM and we usually purchase the second time window. 4 Day treks, the Trekkers CAN NOT do this hike and enjoy a tour of the ruins. Time will not allow for this.
Hiking either mountain will allow you to have some extra time at the ruins once you complete, as listed above.
Machu Picchu now has two different time windows of when you can visit: either morning or afternoon. Your entrance ticket will be for only one session, morning session, and when your time window is over, the Rangers will ask you to leave.
MORNING SESSION: 6AM – 12PM
AFTERNOON SESSION: 12PM – 15:00PM
** If you have tickets to hike either Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will need extra time 3:00 hours.
We request you be honest with your guide about any health conditions or concerns you might have. While our guides are not medical professionals, they do have first-aid training. We also work with a clinic in Cusco that can help assist our team.
You are responsible for assessing whether Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is suitable for you. We recommend you consult your physician to confirm your fitness for travel and participation in any planned activities. You should seek your physician’s advice on vaccinations and medical precautions. Xtreme TourBulencia will not provide medical advice. It is your responsibility to assess the risks and requirements of each aspect of the Tour based on your unique circumstances, limitations, fitness level, and medical requirements.
If you develop extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, and you still wish to visit Machu Picchu by train, we will work with you to coordinate this trip. Since this will be a new trip, it may require additional fees. We will use as much of the original itinerary to keep costs low.
If you experience issues while hiking and can not continue, a porter will accompany you to the closest road and wait while a car comes to pick you up and bring you to the nearest health clinic.
Group tours are made up of all different types of people, with various hiking skills and ages. By agreeing to a group tour, you agree that some people might be slower or faster than you are. Everyone can go at their own pace for the trek, and the guide will work with the group to spend time with everyone. Groups might request some modifications to the tour, and the guide will work with everyone to make the best decision for the group.
Unfortunately, strikes are frequent in Peru and can disrupt our tours. Roads are often blocked, and trains stopped. We will make sure your trek continues as planned, even if that means leaving the night before your start date. Under these circumstances, tours might need to be canceled. But our operations department will coordinate with you in this situation. Your safety is always our top concern and will dictate how we decide.
You are responsible for your items throughout the Tour. Please be diligent about where you leave your things and remember to remove all items from our vans, your tents, restaurant, etc. Do not leave anything unintended during your hike. Other trekkers or teams might pick it up not knowing whos it is.
Tipping is part of the tradition of any trek to Machu Picchu. While we pay good wages to our entire team, anything extra is always appreciated. Please know that this is not obligatory and that you should never feel pressured into this.
Typically the participants in a group pool their tipping money together for the porters and chef. The amount recommended is different per trek and listed below. For the guide, this is more personal and needs to be decided based on your relationship with them and done separately from the group. Porters and Chefs prefer soles if possible. Guides are happy with U.S. dollars, Peruvian Soles, or even your credit card 😉
Travel insurance is inexpensive and strongly recommended. With trips being planned months ahead of time, you never can predict what could happen. Adventure travel includes more risk than the average trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this journey. We can help recommend an agent to walk you through this type of insurance if needed.
Of course, the weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December so just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho, and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also, prepare for four seasons. Several of the treks through the Andes involve various microclimates and you will need to be prepared. Layers are always key since they are easy to adjust to different temperature changes. Be prepared with a warm packable down jacket since the evening will be cold.
It’s also important to note that the weather can change a listed itinerary. There are times that routes become impassable, and our guides will be forced for your safety to rework your tour.
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. For this reason, we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes. Cusco is a marvelous city with lots to do, so if you have more time to acclimate you won´t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office, and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca-tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids that help bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness if they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slow, and it will give your body time to adjust to the elevation.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly and drink lots of water, and enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away. Xtreme Tourbulencia guides are trained to help you get through it.
The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air, and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land, and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available, and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
The Salkantay Trek is a challenging trek that requires a good level of fitness and endurance. The trek involves hiking through rugged Andean terrain, including steep ascents and descents, high-altitude mountain passes, and rocky paths. Trekkers will also be walking at high altitude, which can make the trek even more challenging. The trek is typically completed over five days and four nights, covering a total distance of approximately 74 kilometers (46 miles). The highest point of the trek is the Salkantay Pass, which sits at an altitude of 4,600 meters (15,090 feet) above sea level.
Compared to the classic Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek is considered more challenging due to its longer distance, higher altitude, and more rugged terrain. However, the trek also offers stunning views of the Andes, the opportunity to explore lesser-known Incan ruins, and the chance to arrive at Machu Picchu through the iconic Sun Gate.
Overall, while the Salkantay Trek is a challenging adventure, it is also incredibly rewarding and offers a unique and unforgettable experience in the Andean mountains of Peru.
The Salkantay Trek is considered to be a challenging and strenuous trek, with steep ascents and descents, high altitudes, and varying terrain. It involves several days of hiking at high altitudes, reaching a maximum elevation of 4,600 meters (15,092 feet) at the Salkantay Pass.
The difficulty of the trek can depend on factors such as the individual’s fitness level, previous experience with high altitude trekking, and how well they are acclimatized to the altitude. It is important to be well prepared physically and mentally before attempting the Salkantay Trek, including proper acclimatization, physical training, and packing appropriate gear.
Overall, while it is a challenging trek, it is also a highly rewarding experience for those who are prepared and up for the challenge.
Yes, the Salkantay Trek is considered to be a difficult trek. The trail involves steep climbs, rocky terrain, high altitudes, and rapidly changing weather conditions, making it physically and mentally challenging.
The highest point of the trek is the Salkantay Pass, which sits at an elevation of 4,600 meters (15,092 feet). The altitude can cause altitude sickness, which can make the trek even more challenging.
However, with proper preparation, including physical training, acclimatization, and packing appropriate gear, it is possible to successfully complete the Salkantay Trek. Many people find the trek to be a highly rewarding and unforgettable experience despite its challenges.
The Salkantay Trek is a high-altitude trek that reaches a maximum elevation of 4,600 meters (15,092 feet) at the Salkantay Pass. The trek starts in Mollepata, a small town located at an elevation of around 2,800 meters (9,186 feet), and reaches its highest point on the second day at the Salkantay Pass. From there, the trek descends to the village of Huayllabamba, where it joins the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. Overall, the Salkantay Trek covers a distance of approximately 74 kilometers (46 miles) over several days, with varying altitudes and terrain.
Yes, it is highly recommended to book the Salkantay Trek in advance, especially during the high season (May to September). The trek is a popular alternative to the classic Inca Trail, and the number of hikers is limited by the Peruvian government to protect the environment and cultural sites along the trail.
To secure your spot on the trek, it’s best to book several months in advance, especially if you have specific dates in mind or plan to travel during the peak season. Some tour operators and travel agencies require a deposit or full payment at the time of booking, so it’s important to research different options and read reviews before making a reservation.
Booking in advance also allows you to properly plan and prepare for the trek, including physical training, acclimatization, and packing appropriate gear.
The Salkantay Trek is typically a 4- to 5-day trek covering a distance of approximately 74 kilometers (46 miles) from Mollepata to Machu Picchu. However, the exact duration and distance can vary depending on the itinerary and pace of the trekking group.
On the first day, the trek usually starts in Mollepata and ends in Soraypampa, covering a distance of around 13 kilometers (8 miles). On the second day, the trek reaches its highest point at the Salkantay Pass (4,600 meters/15,092 feet) before descending to the village of Huayllabamba, covering a distance of around 22 kilometers (14 miles). On the third day, the trek joins the classic Inca Trail and passes through various archaeological sites before camping at Wiñay Wayna, covering a distance of around 10 kilometers (6 miles). Finally, on the fourth day, the trek reaches Machu Picchu early in the morning after hiking for around 6 kilometers (4 miles).
There are also variations of the Salkantay Trek that can be longer or shorter, depending on the itinerary and starting point. It’s important to choose an itinerary that matches your physical abilities and time constraints.
Packing for the Salkantay Trek can be a challenging task, as you will need to be prepared for varying weather conditions, altitude sickness, and rugged terrain. Here is a general list of items to consider when packing for the trek:
It’s important to pack light and only bring essential items to avoid carrying unnecessary weight. Additionally, many tour operators provide some of the equipment, such as tents and sleeping mats, so it’s important to check with your tour operator before packing.
Preparing for the Salkantay Trek is crucial to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the trek:
By following these tips, you can prepare yourself for a safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable Salkantay Trek experience.
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