Phone: +51 974 323 730 | Email:

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – Salkantay Trail

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a popular alternative to the esteemed Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This high-altitude Salkantay Trail starts on the foothills of the sacred Salkantay Mountain and takes you down to the cloud forest before visiting Machu Picchu. 

Salkantay Trail is recognized as one of the most popular treks in South America. Unlike the Inca Trail, The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu does not require any permits months in advance. 

The snow-capped Salkantay peak is the second highest peak in the region after Ausangate. It is one of the sacred peaks in Andean mythology. Locals refer to it as “Apus”. Which in Quechua (the native language) means Father. 

On any sacred occasion, Andean priests (Shamans) seek the blessings of their Apus before beginning their rituals. 

The highest point of this Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the Salkantay Pass at 4600 meters above sea level(15,090 feet) above sea level. It is highly recommended that you spend 3-4 days in Cusco before the trek to acclimate and avoid altitude sickness.

The best time to hike Salkantay Trek is during the dry season, between March and November as the weather is mostly clear. The best months to hike to Machu Picchu are however from June to September.

During the wet season, between November and February. The trail gets slippery and there is often the possibility of landslides.

Minka Peru Expedition is a specialized and recognized Salkantay Trekking company based in Cusco. As local tour operators, we have an excellent team of local tour guides who are also professional mountaineers.

All our guides are trained on first aid and offer assistance in case of altitude sickness. 

Do take a moment to check our reviews on Tripadvisor


Is Salkantay Trek harder than Inca trail?

The Salkantay Trek is harder than the Inca Trail. While the classic Inca Trail just takes 4 days, the Salkantay Trek spans 5 days. Also, the Salkantay Trek has a top altitude of around 4,572 m.a.s.l (15,000 feet), whereas the Inca Trail’s highest point is around 4,214 m.a.s.l (13,800 feet). So, the Salkantay Trek should only be walked by travellers in good physical shape.

How many days is the Salkantay trek?

Our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is 5 days long. The first four days we will walk from Mollepata town to Aguas Calientes. On the fifth day, there’s a guided tour to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

How many miles is the Salkantay trail?

The Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu is 46 miles long (around 74 kilometers).

  • Destination

  • Departure

    Pick up from your Hotel
  • Departure Time

    5:00 AM.
  • Return Time

    Approximately 6:00 PM.
  • Dress Code

    Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk
  • Included

    First aid kit and emergency oxigen
    Pick up from your Hotel
    Professional Guide
  • Not Included

    Walking Stick


Early in the morning at 0400, we will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco. We will then start a two hours journey to a dusky little town called Mollepata. Molle is the name of a tree. Mollepata is a town dedicated to farming. Here they grow a lot of Avocados, Chia among other fruits and vegetables.  You can buy some things here that you may need during your 5 Days Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. From here, we will continue our journey for another one hour to Soraypampa where we will stop for breakfast. Here we will meet our muleteers and horses. Mules will carry all camping equipment and food products. We will have a quick briefing here, our guide will introduce you to the dedicated chef and will give you an instruction on using the walking sticks and other gears.  From here we will start our 45 minutes hike through a flat road, we will then start our climb for almost an hour and 25 minutes to Laguna Humantay (4200 meters). Here, we will stop to enjoy the pristine view of the turquoise lagoon that is formed by the melting glaciers of Mount. Humantay.  We will then return to Soraypampa for lunch. Here our chef would prepare delicious Peruvian food for your buffet lunch. After lunch, we will continue walking to Salkantay Pampa camp for about an hour.


In the morning our guides would pass through your camps to wake you up at 05:00 AM. The lavatories are equipped with warm water to wash and start by 05:30 in the morning. Breakfast will be served at 06:00 AM. After breakfast, we will start our gradual uphill hike for about three hours towards the base of Salkantay Mountain 4600 masl. Here our guide would explain the prominence of the sacred Salkantay Mountain in Cusco Region. We will stop here to click photos. You will be surrounded by stunning views of the glaciers, landscapes, and valleys. We will then continue our downhill hike to Huayra Machay. At Huayra Machay we will stop for lunch. After relishing a freshly cooked lunch, we will have some rest.  We will then continue our downhill hike for about three hours to the community of Chaullay. From here we will continue further for 25 minutes to the community of Ccolpapampa where we will camp.


Our support staff would wake you up at 05:00 in the morning. We will serve breakfast at 05:30 in the morning. After breakfast, we will start hiking through the tropical forest along the Salkantay River.  Here you will witness a climatic change as we would start entering the tropical zone. The route would take us through some plants and flowers that are typical to the region. You will also have an opportunity to pick some granadilla, a tropical fruit that is typical to the region. We will stop at La Playa for lunch. After having lunch, we will continue for 40 minutes to Lucumabamba where we will camp for the night.


Our guide would wake you up at 05:00 in the morning. At 05:30 a freshly cooked breakfast will be served with freshly brewed coffee. We will start our hike by walking through the Inca Trail for three hours.  Our first stop will be at the archeological site of Llactapata (2700meters/8858feet). Llactapata is Nobre Quechua in Spanish town at the top. From here you will get the first sights of Machu Picchu at a distance. After touring the site,  we will continue our walk down for 2 hours to the Aobamba River valley. From here we would walk for an hour through Santa Teresa to Hidroelectrica. Here, we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we will walk along the railway lines for about 2 and a half hours to Aguas Calientes town. Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu Pueblo serves as the jump-off point to Machu Picchu. Here we will accommodate you in a comfortable ensuite hotel room with breakfast included. You can visit the hot springs after which the town is named. In the evening we will share a special dinner to celebrate the experience of the preceding days and to discuss the highlights of this Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.


We will start at 04:00 AM and leave the hotel to join the queue to board the bus to the citadel of Machu Picchu. The first bus leaves at 05:30 in the morning. Once at the main entrance of the citadel, our guide would meet you and assist you to pass through the security checkpoint as you would be entering the renowned Inca archeological site, Machu Picchu. Our goal is to be among the first group to enter the citadel to see the sun rising over the walls of this lost city of Incas. Although, we can leave a bit later from your hotel if you are feeling tired to wake up that early. Your guide will allow some flexibility in this regard. We will spend the day visiting what has been hailed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. Machu Picchu is situated on a forested mountain peak amid spectacular scenery.  During a guided tour of the site, the guide will talk about the historical and cultural aspects of this lost city. Our visit to Machu Picchu (2430 meters/7972feet), will begin shortly after sunrise. On this two hours guided tour, we will be visiting the remains of the royal quarters, ceremonial sites, and more.  After the tour, you will have some free time to explore the citadel on your own. If you have booked the hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, our guide will be directing you to the respective trailheads.  Alternatively, you can hike to Sun Gate. It is a renowned Inca site and the entrance for those on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  Later in the afternoon, we will be taking a bus back to Aguas Calientes. You will have some free time to stop for lunch or visit the local market. Later in the evening, we will take the train to Ollantaytambo, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Our representative will transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco. We will return to Cusco by 0900 PM. 



Overall 0


  • Lorelei W
    January 10, 2022 at 14:08

    The Salkantay trek was amazing! The trek itself had magnificent views. The whole crew accompanying us was very nice, the guides were funny and encouraging, the chef and his team made delicious food

  • Gregg M
    January 10, 2022 at 14:11

    The five day trek to Machu Picchu has been an amazing experience, the stuff was really amazing. Our guide is the best tour guide I have ever encountered, he shows so much passion and humor throughout the whole trip. The staff who helped out with all the food and carrying our stuff were very helpful.
    I can definitely recommend this tour if you want to see beautiful views, have fun and also like to challenge yourself. The hiking can be hard but definitely worth it.


Leave a Reply:


What is included?

  • Pre trek briefing
  • Pick-up from your hotel on the morning of the trek.
  • Transport from Cusco to the trailhead in a private vehicle.
  • Entrance Ticket to Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu Mountain $15 extra) and Salkantay trek.
  • English/Quechua/Spanish-speaking professional guide. (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people)
  • Tents – 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
  • Basic foam mattress.
  • Toilet tent.
  • Toilet paper, pack-in &pack out.
  • Bio-degradable personal hand soaps.
  • Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food, and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items. (up to 7 kg/15lbs per person)
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower.
  • Tents for our staff to sleep in.
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.
  • Bus up and down from Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu.
  • Train or equivalent luggage from Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes.
  • Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • 1-night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a basic hotel.


  • Cook and Cooking equipment. (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
  • Meals (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes) Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
  • Beverages: Coffee or coca tea
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals.
  • Lunch on the last day is included.
  • One textile snack bag per person, to avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment.
  • Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunchtime, if requested with enough time ahead.

What is not included?

  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain an additional fee of US $16 per personal applies Breakfast on the first morning
  • Entrance to the thermal springs.
  • Sleeping bags – If you haven’t got a sleeping bag or you don’t want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.
  • Tipping is completely optional. We take excellent care of our staff.

What we recommend you to bring:

  • A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek – prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature.
  • Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breathe in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
  • Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
  • Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain, and cold.
  • Sunblock.
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body.
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported.
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc Small towel.
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs.
  • Cash in soles and/or US$.
  • Original passport.
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots are recommended.
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries.
  • Camera and batteries. (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
  • Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed into Machu Picchu. Plastic water containers (ie. Nalgene) or metal ones are recommended.
  • Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far.
  • Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount.
Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage archaeological sites)


                                                     Private                                                                                                    Group             
Person2345-67-89-12Per Person USD
$ USD780730660630580530400
Open chat
Welcome to Minka Perú Expedition