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5 Day Salkantay Tour to Machu Picchu

The trek on the Salkantay trail is one of the best alternative treks to Machu Picchu, a 5 day, 73 kilometre adventure!

The 5 day trek to the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu via the snow-capped Salkantay mountain is a change to the traditional routes. This trail offers spectacular scenery, Andean peaks, mountain streams, humid forests, tropical jungle plantations and 3 nights under the starry sky, as well as many other magical moments you will never forget.

The Salkantay trek is a true adventure, allowing you to ascend one of the highest points in Peru, the Salkantay pass, then descend into a tropical cloud forest. During the trek you won’t cross paths with many tourists, unlike on other tour routes to Machu Picchu. We recommend that you strive to be fully acclimatized to the altitude before attempting this challenging trek.

5 day Salkantay Trek Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa - Laguna Humantay

We begin the tour picking you up from a central location or from your hotel/hostel at around 5:00 am before travelling by private bus to Mollepata where we will have breakfast. Then we continue to Challacancha where we will begin the trek.

At around 9am we will start trekking towards Soraypampa. Along the first part of the trail we cross deep valleys and follow winding streams. We walk along the valley for around 7 km to our lunch stop, then continue along an uphill path to the Humantay lake where we are rewarded with spectacular views.

Throughout the day, we will be surrounded by beautiful Andean scenery. In the evening we return to the camp at Soraypampa where we spend our first night under a starry sky.

Distance walked: 12 km
Walking time: 7 hours
Minimum altitude: 2850 masl
Maximum altitude: 3850 masl
Difficulty level: Moderate
Meals: Lunch, Dinner (snacks and hot teas)
Accommodation: Camping

Day 2: Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Chaullay

We wake at dawn to stunning views of the majestic Salkantay mountain. At around 6am we begin our hike up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650m above sea level). During the 3-hour uphill hike, we will cover a distance of 7 km 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 begin to trek downhill for around 2 hours to reach our lunch spot. The path is uneven and rocky, but with care we will reach the entrance to the jungle of Cusco, also known as the “cloud forest”, where the climate is warm and humid.

After lunch we begin the next part of the trek along old Inca trails, with abundant vegetation and waterfalls. After trekking for around 3 hours through beautiful landscapes, wild nature and native plants, we finally reach the town of Chaullay (2900 masl) where will have dinner and camp for the night.

Distance Walked: 22 km
Walking Time: 9 hours
Minimum Altitude: 2900 masl
Maximum Altitude: 4650 masl
Difficulty: Hard / Moderate
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Snack and hot teas)
Accommodation: Camping

Day 3: Chaullay - La Playa - Santa Teresa - Baños Termales

We start the trek early, walking along 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 Colpapampa, 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 a journey of about an hour on local transport to the town of Santa Teresa where we can enjoy the relaxing thermal baths of Cocalmayo (optional, $5 USD), before spending the night in this picturesque little town.

Distance Walked: 16 km
Walking Time: 6 hours
Minimum Altitude: 1600 masl
Maximum Altitude: 2900 masl
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Snack and hot teas)
Accommodation: Camping

Day 4: Santa Teresa - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

Today we can wake up a little later, and enjoy a pleasant breakfast. During the morning you have the opportunity to zipline in the forest (optional, pre-booking required).

After this, we hike to Hidroelectrica for around 2 hours, where we break for a tasty lunch before continuing hiking for around 3 hours to the town of Aguas Calientes.
The scenery and benefits of this route are unique, although as it is the last part of the trek we understand people may be tired so we offer 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.

We spend our final night in Aguas Calientes, at the foot of Machu Picchu.

Distance Walked: 19 km
Walking Time: 7 hours
Minimum Altitude: 1600 masl
Maximum Altitude: 2050 masl
Difficulty: Moderate
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Snack and hot teas)
Accommodation: Hotel

Day 5: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco
We begin the day early at around 4am to take the 2 hour hike up to Machupicchu. If you prefer you can take the bus up to the entrance gate ($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. After the guided tour has finished, you are free to explore the complex as you wish.
In the afternoon, you will have to return to Aguas Calientes to take a train from there to Ollantaytambo, and a subsequent mini-bus transfer back to Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast
Tour: Visit to Machu Picchu
Transport: Return train journey to Ollantaytambo, bus transfer to Cusco

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.

5 day Salkantay Trek Video