Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu from Cusco (5 Days)

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Departure & Return Location

Hotel in Cusco - City of Cusco


5 Days (Departure at 6:30am)
Tour Details

The 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu from Cusco is the best alternative to the Classic Inca Trail. The 5-day Salkantay Trek starts in the Andes, amidst the snow capped peaks and reaches 4600 meters (highest point) before descending into the tropical forest. 

We also offer Three-Day and Four-Day Salkantay Treks to Machu Picchu, ideal for those with less time wanting to get a glimpse of the experience. The five-day trek however offers a complete package. This 5-day Salkantay Trek perfectly combines culture and natural beauty.

You will get an insight of the life in the Andes. On our way, we will also be visiting some farms and interacting with the farmers. 

Make sure that you are properly acclimatized before the trek. 

Price Includes

  • Professional Guides
  • Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for a briefing.
  • Porters & Horsemen: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items.
  • Emergency Horse: All of our Alternative Treks include an extra horse for our clients to use if they need a break from trekking.
  • Hotel: The trek will include three nights of camping and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu.
  • Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4:30 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo before the trek) and brought to the trail starting point to begin your trek.
  • Equipment: We provide the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4-person tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
  • Food: Our chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We accommodate all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Lunch on the last day is not included.
  • Water: Starting from your first lunch until your last breakfast, we will supply all the water needed.
  • Extras: Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking, and a rain poncho. We work hard to create your best vacation.
  • Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients encounter on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital, or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe.

Price Excludes

  • Sleeping bag: USD $25
  • Inflatable air mat: USD $20
  • Walking sticks (pair): USD $20
  • Huayna Picchu Mountain $ 35

Things To Carry

  • Passport
  • Valid, GREEN ISIC card (if you booked as a student)
  • Good daypack (the smaller, the better)
  • Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbacks are encouraged - but enough for at least 2-3 litres.
  • Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)
  • 2-3 wicking t-shirts
  • 2-3 hiking pants
  • 4 sets of undergarments and 4 sets of hiking socks,1 Fleece
  • 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
  • 1 Rain jacket, pants,1 sun hat,1 wool hat
  • Headlamp (essential)
  • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
  • Quick dry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger
  • Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean - might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
  • Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
  • Large plastic bags: To help organize and keep things clean from dirt
  • Sleeping bag: We recommend down bags for -10C at least
  • Sunscreen, face moisturiser, bug spray, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, toothbrush and paste, toilet paper
  • Personal medication
  • First aid kit: band aids, moleskin, etc
Tour Schedule
  • DAY 1
  • 04:30 – 05:00 Pick up from your hotel
  • 05:00 – 08:00 Transfer from Cuzco to Soraypampa
  • 08:00 - 08:30 Breakfast
  • 08:30 - 14:00 Hike to Salkantay Pampa; lunch
  • 14:00 – 17:00 Trekking; arrival to the campsite “Wayracmachay”
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Dinner and overnight
  • DAY 2
  • 06:00 – 07:00 Breakfast
  • 07:00 – 11:00 Trekking to Colpapampa
  • 12:00 – 13:00 Lunch
  • 13:00 – 18:00 Downhill trip to “La Playa” or Sahuayacku
  • 18:00 – 18:30 Arrival at the second camp site
  • 18:30 – 19:00 Dinner and overnight
  • DAY 3
  • 06:00 – 06:30 Breakfast
  • 06:30 – 13:00 Trek to Santa Teresa; lunch
  • 13:00 – 18:00 Downhill trip to Llactapata
  • 18:00 – 17:30 Arrival at the third camp site (optional: hot springs)
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Dinner and overnight
  • DAY 4
  • 06:00 – 07:00 Breakfast (Coca tea)
  • 10:00 – 12:00 Downhill trip to the Hydroelectric Plant
  • 14:00 – 17:00 Trek from Hydroelectric Plant to Machu Picchu town
  • 18:00 – 19:00 Dinner and overnight in Machu Picchu town
  • DAY 5
  • 05:30 – 06:00 Bus from Machu Picchu town to Machu Picchu
  • 07:00 – 14:00 Tour of Machu Picchu, relax and free time
  • 15:00 – 15:30 Return to the town of Machu Picchu (arrival time depends on the train's schedule)
  • 16:00 – 18:00 Return by train from the town of Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo (departure time depends on the train's schedule)
  • 18:00 – 20:00 Arrival to the City of Cusco (arrival time depends on the train's schedule)


We will start the 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu by picking you up from your hotel in Cusco between 04:00 and 04:30 in the morning. Then we will drive you to Mollepata town. The journey will take around two hours and thirty minutes. At Mollepata, we will stop for breakfast. After breakfast, we will continue our trip to Challacancha. From here, you will trek to Sorayapampa Sky Lodge (duration: 3:30 hours approx. / 8 km).

Total distance: Approx. 12 km
Duration of Trek: Approx. 6.5 hours.
Challacancha Altitude: Approx. 3,700 m.s.n.m
Humantay Lagoon Altitude: Approx. 4,200 m.s.n.m
Difficulty Level: Moderate
Meals included: Lunch, snack, afternoon tea time and dinner


You will be woken up at 05:30 in the morning. We will serve you breakfast before starting our day. The second day’s Salkantay Trek will take you to the highest point of the 5-day Salkantay Trek, Abra Salkantay. Abra Salkantay pass is at 4650 meters. The distance from our campsite to Abra Salkantay is seven kilometers, which can be covered in four hours.

The trek path will be through rocky and steep terrain in the middle of the valley. On this section of the trek, you will be rewarded with a sight of Apu Salkantay peak. Once at Abra Salkantay pass, you will have a fantastic view of the valley below, sandwiched between the snow-capped peaks.We will start descending from here to Huayracmachay, where lunch will be served.

After lunch, we will trek for another two and a half hours to our campsite in Chaullay.

Total distance: Approx. 17km
Trek Duration : Approx. 10 hours and 30 minutes
Soraypampa Altitude: Approx. 3,900 m.s.n.m
Salkantay Abra Altitude: Approx. 4,650 m.s.n.m
Huayracmachay Altitude: Approx 3,900 m.s.n.m
Chaullay Altitude: Approx 2,900 m.s.n.m
Difficulty Level: Hard
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, snack, etc.
Accommodation: Camp


At 06:00 in the morning after breakfast, we will start trekking through the cloud forest. You will be walking along the trail lined with typical plants. On this section of the trek, you will get to see many farms growing avocados, granadilla (a tropical fruit), and passion fruit. On the next section of the trek, you will see beautiful landscapes. Here you will be trekking along small waterfalls and wild orchid plantations. We will then reach a small village called La Playa, where we will stop for lunch. After lunch, you will have a guided tour of the nearby coffee farm. Later that day, you can rejuvenate by taking a dip in the Cocalmayo hot springs.

Total distance: Approx. 20km
Trek Duration: Approx. 6 Hours and 30 Minutes
Chaullay Altitude: Approx 2,900 m.a.s.l.
La Playa Altitude: Approx 2,064 m.s.n.m
Lucmabamba Altitude: Approx 2,000 m.s.n.m
Difficulty level: Easy
Meals included: Breakfast, lunch, snack
Accommodation: Camp


After having breakfast at the campsite, we will start our two-hour trek to Llactapata. Llactapata is part of the Inca Trail. Once we reach the Llactapata archaeological site, our local guide will give you a guided tour. You will also get a panoramic view of the Urubamba valley below and Machu Picchu in the distance. From here, we will descend to the Hydroelectric plant for lunch. After lunch, you will hike to Aguas Calientes town along the railway tracks. This is the same route that the renowned American professor Hiram Bingham took when he rediscovered Machu Picchu.

Total distance: Approx 29km
Trek Duration: Approx. 9 hours
Llactapata Altitude: Approx. 2,800m.s.n.m
Hydroelectric Altitude: Approx. 1,890 m.s.n.m
Aguas Calientes Altitude: Approx 2,060 m.s.n.m
Difficulty level: Moderate or challenging
Meals included: Lunch, snack, afternoon tea time and dinner
Accommodation: Lodging


After an early breakfast, you will have the option to hike along a section of the Inca Trail for an hour and a half to Machu Picchu or take a bus (USD 12 each way, 25-minute ride).

Once at Machu Picchu, our local expert will provide a two-hour guided tour of the Inca site. After the tour, you will have free time to explore the citadel at your own pace. Alternatively, you can visit the Sun Gate, which offers a captivating view of the renowned Inca ruins.

You can also visit the Inca Bridge. If you have booked a hike up Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu Mountain, our guide will direct you to the entrance.

At the designated time, you will take the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Our representative will meet you there and transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco. We expect to arrive in Cusco around 10:00 PM.


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