Salkantay Trekking Tour
The Salkantay trail, also known as the ‘New Inca Trail’ is located North of the city of Cusco. This trek reaches an altitude of 4,600 metres above sea level at its highest point, and has a sunny climate during the day, yet is cold at night. The temperature falls below 0°C during the Winter months from June to September. From December to March it is the rainy season, and is therefore only recommended for expert hikers and trekkers during these months. Our tour covers trails where tourists seldom venture, so you can avoid the crowds and enjoy beautiful lakes, Andean villages and a stunning view of the snow-covered Salkantay mountain.
The Salkantay trek is named as one of the 25 best hikes in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.
The main difference between the Salkantay trek and the Inca Jungle or Inca Trail is that Salkantay has more emphasis on the hiking route, where you can enjoy impressive mountains, snowy peaks and Andean communities in the Vilcabamba mountain range.
4 Day Salkantay Trek Tour Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco - Challacancha - Soraypampa
We begin the day picking you up either from a central meeting place, or from your hotel/hostel at around 5:00 am. We will travel by bus for around 4 hours, passing through the towns of Anta and Mollepata before arriving at Challacancha. For most of the route you can clearly see the white snow-capped peaks of Salkantay and Huamantay Mountains. At around 9.30am our team will organize all the equipment, horses and mules, ready to begin the trek to Soraypampa (3912 m.a.s.l).
The trail to Challacancha takes around 3 hours, then we take a different, even more remote route towards Soraypampa, around 2 and a half hours away. We break for lunch and a rest at Soraypampa before continuing the up to the Humantay lake where we will enjoy spectacular views over the valley. We return once again to Soraypampa and our camp for the night, where we enjoy dinner and a sky filled with millions of stars.
Distance walked: 12km
Walking time: 7 hours
Minimum altitude: 2850 masl
Maximum altitude: 3850 masl
Difficulty level: Moderate
Meals: Lunch, Dinner (snacks and hot teas)
Day 2: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Chaullay
Dawn here is impressive, as the majestic Salkantay is the first thing we see when we wake. At around 6am we begin hiking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650m above sea level). We will cover a distance of 7 km during the 3-hour uphill hike, and will be rewarded with spectacular views of the valley and the snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains.
After passing the highest point we trek downhill for around 2 hours we reach our lunch spot. The path is uneven and rocky, but with care and some effort we will reach the entrance to the upper part of the jungle of Cusco, also known as the “cloud forest”, where the climate is warm and humid.
We begin the next part of the trek along old Inca trails, with abundant vegetation and waterfalls. After around 3 hours of beautiful views, wild nature and native plants, we reach the town of Chaullay (2900 masl) where will camp for the night after enjoying a delicious dinner.
Distance Walked: 22km
Walking Time: 9 hours
Minimum Altitude: 2900 masl
Maximum Altitude: 4650 masl
Altitude at Camp: 2900 masl
Difficulty: Hard / Moderate
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Snack and hot teas)
Day 3: Chaullay - La Playa - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes
We start the day at around 6am, with a trek through the temperate climate of the Santa Teresa valley towards La Playa. We will pass waterfalls, see colourful orchids and plenty of birds, and coffee, banana, and avocado plantations as well as passion fruit and mango trees. We can enjoy the thermal baths in Collpampa, the Waynapoco waterfalls and with a bit of luck, we might spot the famous “Cock of the Rocks”, the national bird of Peru.
After lunch at La playa, we will take local transport to Hidroelectrica an hour and a half away. Here we have two options; a 3 hour walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes, or a train ride to Aguas Calientes for an additional cost of $28 USD.
In Aguas Calientes we will have dinner and stay in a comfortable hostel, and the guide will give a briefing about the following day’s visit to Machu Picchu.
Distance Travelled: 26km
Walking Time: 9 hours
Minimum Altitude: 1600 masl
Maximum Altitude: 2900 masl
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Hostel in Aguas Calientes
Day 4: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
We begin the day early at around 4am to take the 2 hour hike up to Machupicchu before the crowds. If you prefer you can take the bus up to the entrance gate (and down again) for $12 for an adult one-way ticket. Once inside you will have a guided tour of around 2 hours to discover the secrets of this mysterious Inca citadel.
Those travellers who have previously booked the entrance tickets to the Huaynapicchu ($10 USD) or Montaña Vieja ($5 USD) mountain will then have time to hike these mountains on their own. After the guided tour has finished, the group is free to explore the Machu Picchu as they wish.
In the afternoon, you will have to return to Aguas Calientes to take a train from there to Ollantaytambo at 18.30, and a subsequent mini-bus transfer back to Cusco.
NOTE: We do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can occasionally change due to temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and any other event beyond our control.