Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights



Salkantay trek 5 days – If you are looking to disconnect from the city, test your endurance, visit places that will captivate you and leave you amazed, the salkantay trek to machu picchu 5 days is one of those experiences that you must live; since, it will allow you to enter a beautiful and sacred path that the Incas walked a long time ago.

The hike to Salkankay 5 days is one of the most exciting activities and out of the ordinary, since the tour will show you beautiful panoramic views, the imposing turquoise day Humantay Lake and huge mountains where in its flora abound orchids, bromeliads, and in its fauna you can appreciate the majestic condor, chinchillas, the Andean fox and the peculiar spectacled bear.

The Salkantay mountain is a sacred mountain, full of beautiful routes that test hikers, mountaineers, extreme sports and nature lovers, as it is the highest point of the Vilcabamba mountain range with 6264 meters above sea level.

During the 5-day Salkantay trek you will cover 70 km until you reach Machu Picchu, with a temperature that goes from 1 C° in the highest parts of the mountain to approximately 26 C° when you get closer to the jungle.

During your hike from Salkantay to Machu Picchu you will visit the snowy Salkantay, which is located at an altitude of 4600 meters high, the jungle of Cusco and the town of Santa Teresa which is at 1550 meters, and to culminate with the Salkantay 5 day hike you will visit the town of Aguas Calientes, where you can replenish your energy in its hot springs and then drive to the imposing city of Machu Picchu.

Finally, remember that this journey through the Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu has a moderate to challenging difficulty, therefore, before venturing to explore and learn about this treasure that Cusco offers to tourists and locals, you should be in good physical condition to enjoy the Salkantay hike to the fullest.


  • DAY 1 Cusco to Quiswarniyoc Private Camp: Soraypampa, day Humantay Lake Exploration
  • DAY 2  through the Salkantay Pass to Chaullay
  • DAY 3 Chaullay to Lucmabamba: Journey through Playa Sahuayaco and Include Hot Springs in Santa Teresa Town
  • DAY 4 Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes: Llactapata Trek, Hidroelectrica, and Aguas Calientes Adventure
  • DAY 5 Machu Picchu – Cusco


  • Salkantay Peak, The second-highest peak in the Cuzco region with breathtaking views and a height of 6,271 meters (20,574 feet) some daring mountaineers often climb it.
  • Humantay Lake: A beautiful lake located in the foothills of Humantay, which also includes a hike on the first day and has spectacular views where you can take amazing pictures.
  • Private camp: We have a private camp made of igloos and thatch and a panoramic roof where you can observe the majestic peak of Salkantay.
  • Salkantay Pass: Is at an altitude of (4630 masl – 15250 ft) and the Inca Pass (5100 masl – 16,732 ft) both have incredible views.
  • Jungle Edge : Go into the jungle where you can taste typical fruits of the place as passion fruit, bananas, avocado, tumbo a fruit similar to passion fruit, tomato fruit, and to culminate the tour of the coffee.
  • Archaeological center of Llactapata: Embark on the 4th day on the original Inca Trail to the ruins of Llactapata to have an exciting view and perspective of Machu Picchu and to know the history of the place and surroundings.
  • Qoqalmayo Thermal Baths: On the 4th day we will have the opportunity to visit these thermal baths after a few days of arduous trekking will be sensational.
  • Machu Picchu: Every day will be great and beautiful but definitely the 5th day will be the most spectacular as we will visit a wonder of the world.


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Tour Price 5 Days Tour 4 Nights

Salkantay Trek 5 Days Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days / 4 Nights
Price From
$ 380 per Person
Group SizeUp to 12
Activity LevelChallenging
Trip StylesHiking
Lodging TypeCamps, Hotel

Trip Itinerary

DAY 1: DAY 1 : Cusco to Quiswarniyoc Private Camp: Soraypampa, Humantay Lake Exploration

The adventure begins at 4:00 am, which is the time when we will pick you up at the hotel to go to the town of Mollepata to have breakfast.

Next, we will continue the journey by car for one hour until we reach Soraypampa where we will collect the necessary equipment to walk for two hours until we reach Lake Humantay.

Upon returning from the lagoon you will be able to explore the surroundings, have lunch, dinner and rest in comfortable glass igloos to replenish energy for day 2 of this journey through the Salkantay mountain.

Day 01 trekking Details:

  • Walking Distance: 8 km, approximately 5 hours of hiking
  • Campsite Altitude: 4,100 meters above sea level
  • Difficulty: Moderate day (acclimatizing to the Salkantay Trail)
  • Weather: Warm and windy during the day, with very cold nights
  • Accommodations: Mountain Sky Huts or Crystal Domes
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

DAY 2: DAY 2 : Salkantay Pass Hike from Camp to Chaullay Private Camp

This day is the most challenging of the tour; Well, we leave at 5:00 am to prepare breakfast and the necessary implements for the 20 km walk, planned to reach the highest point of the mountain which is located at 4630 meters above sea level.

The walk lasts 3 to 4 hours and during it, you will be able to appreciate the mountains, learn about the history of the Andean gods and the rituals that were performed, take pictures, and disconnect from everyday life because this panorama will give you meaning. of peace and inexplicable connection.

After this incredible experience in the Salkantay peaks, we will descend for 2 hours to have lunch and rest. Then, we will go to the Chaullay camp where you can have dinner, have some tea, receive the equipment for the camp and buy other drinks or food that the locals sell.

There is also the chance to shower and they also have Wi-Fi, both services cost 10 soles each, this money goes directly to the residents since tourism is the most important activity to support their families

Day 02 trekking Details:

  • Walking Distance:22 km, approximately 9 hours of hiking
  • Campsite Altitude: 2,900 meters above sea level
  • Difficulty: Challenging day (conquering the highest point at 4,650 meters above sea level)
  • Weather: Warm and windy during the day, with cold nights
  • Accommodations: Andean Huts
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

DAY 3: DAY 3 : Chaullay to Lucmabamba: Journey through Playa Sahuayaco and Indulge in Hot Springs in Santa Teresa

The journey into the unknown begins at 5:30 am. At this time you will receive a rich and energizing breakfast accompanied by a cup of coca tea that will help you activate for what is to come.

At 6:30 am we will hike to the Santa Teresa Valley for 5 hours and you will be able to appreciate the beautiful Salkantay River. At the end of the tour, we will make a break in Lucmabamba which is a camp where you will have lunch and appreciate its extensive vegetation, cozy climate, and is close to the temple of the moon.

Also, here you can see its plantations composed of banana, passion fruit, coffee, and avocados; and after lunch, you can take a relaxing bath in the hot springs of Colcampayo which are an hour and a half from there.

Finally, after taking a revitalizing bath in its waters, we will return to the camp to have dinner, drink tea, share a campfire with the group, and rest for day 4 of this amazing 5 days and 4 nights trek through Salkantay.

Day 03 trekking Details:

  • Walking Distance: 16 km, approximately 5 hours of hiking
  • Campsite Altitude: 2,100 meters above sea level
  • Difficulty: Easy and relaxing day
  • Weather: Warm, hot, and tropical
  • Accommodations: Andean Huts
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

DAY 4: DAY 4: Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes: Llactapata Trek, Hidroelectrica, and Aguas Calientes Adventure

This day, without a doubt, offers a memorable experience; given that, we will continue with your Salkantay trek to the ancient Inca ruins of Llactapata; an archaeological site that in its time was a checkpoint and agricultural center composed of walls and terraces that is maintained in very good condition despite the passage of time.

In Llactapata you will see Huayna Picchu mountain, Machu Picchu, and the Salkantay mountain if the sky is clear. After the tour of the ruins, we will walk for 2 hours down to the hydroelectric plant to recover energy through the wonderful local cuisine served for lunch.

Finally, we will close the day with a 3-hour walk across the train tracks to reach the beautiful and picturesque town of Aguas Calientes, where a cozy hotel will be waiting for you to relax with a shower, enjoy a delicious dinner in a local restaurant and rest for the last day of the excursion.

Day 04 trekking details:

  • Walking Distance:22 KM – Approximately 8 hours of hiking
  • Lodging Altitude:2,000 meters (high) above sea level
  • Difficulty: Challenging and long day
  • Weather: Hot, very humid, and tropical
  • Accommodations: Overnight stay at a hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

DAY 5: DAY 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Finally, we go to see the impressive Machu Picchu. You’ll wake around 4:00 am to get ready for the hike to Machu Picchu main entrance. Each person will be given a packed breakfast and we will start the 30-minute walk to Puente Ruinas checkpoint where you will have to show your passport, Machu Picchu ticket, and student ID if applicable. After passing the first checkpoint, we will climb the stairs for about one hour to reach Machu Picchu’s main gate by 6:00 am.

Once everybody meets at the gate, we enter Machu Picchu and begin our 2.5-hour guided tour in the famous Inca site, where you will learn everything about The Lost City of The Incas.

After the guided tour, you’ll have free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. The time that you will spend in Machu Picchu will depend on how you are going back to Cusco (train or car) and whether you want to climb the Montaña Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu Mountain, which must be booked in advance the entrance tickets.

  • If you booked the extra ticket for HUAYNAPICCHU you will need 2.5 hours for hiking up and down
  • If you booked the extra ticket for MACHU PICCHU MONATAÑA you will need 3.5 hours for hiking up and down

After visiting Machu Picchu and its surrounding area is time to return to Cusco.


The train is a beautiful way to return to Cusco and allows you more time (about 7-8 hours) to visit Machu Picchu. If you are planning to hike Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, we strongly advise you to take the train, as these hikes require a minimum of 3 hours to complete. You will need to return to Aguas Calientes in time for your train at 6:20 pm. You may want to give yourself extra time, as some people like to explore the town. You’ll ride the train for about 1.5 hours to Ollantaytambo from Aguas Calientes town, where you will then switch to a car and finish the final 2 hours of the trip, arriving in Cusco around 10:00 pm.


Returning to Cusco by car is a more affordable option for those on a tight budget. However, please be aware that with this option, you’ll have less time to explore Machu Picchu, and if you are planning to hike Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will be very tight on time.

The return to Cusco by car is a longer trip (a 6-hour drive in total), as there are no roads leading to Aguas Calientes and the driver must take a longer route back. If you are taking a car back, you will need to leave Machu Picchu by 12:00 am and take the 3-hour walk back to Hidroelectrica, where you will meet the car at 3:00 pm.

Here you’ll see many species of flora and fauna and amazing local birds such as Peru’s national bird (called cock of the rock), Toucans, Oropendolas, and Parrots. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes you’ll relax and enjoy your packed lunch.

If you are considering this option and planning to hike Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, we recommend you stay one more night in Aguas Calientes and return to Cusco by car on the 6th day so that you can fully enjoy the experience.


Tour Inclusions


  • 5-Day Salkantay trek briefing at 7:00 pm a day before the departure at the Inca trail office
  • A duffle bag to pack 7 kilos of your belonging that horses will carry during the trek
  • English/Spanish-speaking professional tour guides
  • Professional chef and cooking equipment
  • Horses for carrying up to 7 Kilos of personal luggage and other required equipment
  • Pick up from your hotel in Cusco
  • Private transportation to the head of the Salkantay trail


  • 5 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 4 dinners
  • 3 nights of camping
  • 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Mountain Sky Huts with Thick Mattresses, glass doors, Night Lighting, and Panoramic for the first and second night
  • Personal pad (double foam – 2.5 inches thick)
  • Pillows at the first and second camp
  • Transportation from La Playa to Santa Teresa
  • Transportation from Santa Teresa to Lucmabamba to do the Llactapata trek
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Guided visit to Machu Picchu
  • Return journey from Aguas Calientes to Cusco BY TRAIN or BY CAR depending on your choice
  • Vegetarian/Vegan options available on request with no additional charges
  • First-Aid equipment and oxygen bottle for emergencies

Not Included

  • Entrance ticket for the day Humantay Lake charged by the local government of Mollepata = 20 soles per person.
  • You can rent a sleeping bag from us for the duration of your trip for only $10 USD.
  • Insurance for a trip
  • Hot showers cost 10 soles in the second camp, and internet access via wifi costs the same.
  • Tips for the guide, cook,  horseman
  • Wáter
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
Starting at
$ 380 USD
Per person (Group service)

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Humantay Lake fisrt day to salkantay trek to machu picchu
Hiking to salkantay trek to machu picchu
Salkantay trek to machu picchu
Machu Picchu Tour

Trip Info

What to Pack

Prices Tour

How to Book

Additional Information


Personal trekking gear and a sleeping bag are required for the five-day Salkantay treks. We provide sleeping bag rentals for those who don’t bring their own, as well as trekking pole rentals for those who prefer them. We give the necessary downtime for this hike.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled the following suggested items to bring on the Salkantay trek:


  • Footwear suited to hiking
  • Wool or synthetic hiking socks
  • Long trousers (like leggings or hiking pants)
  • T-shirts or other lightweight tops
  • Sweater or coat made of fleece
  • Raincoat or poncho is required.
  • Wear a warm hat and gloves
  • Clothing suited for swimming or use in hot springs.
  • Flip-flops or sandals
  • Wet towel


  • Daypack (20-30L)
  • Bag for sleeping in (good for temperatures between 32 and 41 degrees F, or 0 and 5 degrees C).
  • You can rent one from the business if you do not already have one.
  • Flashlight or headlamp (with spare batteries)
  • Trekking poles (preferred but optional), which the company can provide if you don’t already own a set.
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat or cap to protect from the sun
  • Hydration pack or water bottle (at least 1.5 liters)
  • Individual hygiene items (such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, and soap)


  • Imaging device or mobile phone
  • Power bank or portable charger
  • A book or e-reader to pass the time with
  • Feast on some trail mix, dried fruit, or energy bars as a snack.
  • Soles (for spending on souvenirs and other goodies)
  • Dress in layers, and carry both warm and waterproof clothing or rain ponchos, as the weather in the Andes can be unpredictable.

The document you must have with you on the trek

  • First Edition Passport
  • To receive a student discount, you must have a valid, original student ID.

Note: You can bring up to 7 kg of personal items with you on the trek, and Machu Picchu Tours will give a duffel bag for you to use. A day hike requires only the essentials, all of which you will take in a tiny backpack. The duffel bag will be easily accessible at each campground, so you may keep all of your other items in there.

If you decide to hike without a guide you’ll need camping gear; tent, mattress, camping stove, gas, pots, etc. If Salkantay is the only trek you’re going to do rather rent camping gear than bring your own from home if you’re planning to do a couple of hikes – having your own stuff is better.

What you will have on the duffle bag:

  • You will need a suitable sleeping bag that can handle -10 degrees Celsius. You can bring your own, or you can rent from us as well.
  • Hiking Boots that are lightweight and waterproof; we strongly recommend having hiking boots rather than sneakers; also, make sure you use them before to avoid blisters.
  • Sandals, after long hours of hiking, you will need to wear something light at the campsite, and for this, we recommend sandals.
  • Six pairs of wool hiking socks are very comfortable when hiking with boots.
  • 4 pairs of light socks as well, you will use them at night or walk around on the campsite with sandals.
  • 6+ pairs of underwear, Just in case; bring extra in case they get wet
  • 2 or 3 hiking pants, breathable, are better. Legging for ladies works well as well.
  • 1 Sweatpant, for the nights and early mornings
  • 5 sets of t-shirts long sleeve shirts work better,
  • Tissues or wet wipes to freshen up after the long hike before bed.
  • Bathing suit, optional as you can visit the hot springs of Aguas Calientes.
  • For trekking poles, bring your own or rent from us
  • Inflatable mattresses. We provide foam mats; however, you can bring or rent an air mattress if you want more comfort.

Salkantay trek cost

It’s easier to go with a tour and more expensive as well. Tours start from US$400 per person and usually include; accommodation (camping and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes), transportation (except train tickets), entrance fee, food, water, tents and mattresses, porters, chef, and a guide. Tours and prices vary from company to company some are more luxurious with better food, and nicer accommodation, and some are more basic where you pay extra for everything.


The Salkantay Trek 5D-4N offers two pricing options, depending on your preferred mode of transportation for the return to Cusco after visiting Machu Picchu:


  • Student: $200 USD
  • Adult: $210 USD


  • Student: $269 USD
  • Adult: $289 USD

Additional Enhancements for Your Salkantay Trek:

Huayna Picchu Mountain: $60 USD (subject to availability). Check availability at

Machu Picchu Mountain: $60 USD (subject to availability). Check availability at

Sleeping Bag Rental (for the entire trek): $10 USD

Upgrade to Vistadome – Panoramic Train (if you choose the train return option): $35 USD



The student price is available for all students around the world, provided that they meet the requirements set by the Peruvian government. This discount is applicable when purchasing Machu Picchu tickets from the Peruvian government.


Your student ID must be an original ID issued by your university, made of PVC material.

The student ID must have the following information printed on it.

University information.

  • Student name.
  • Student picture.
  1. The student ID must have a valid expiration date printed on it, which is only valid for one year. For instance, if you visit Machu Picchu in 2023, the expiration date on your ID must be 2023 or 2024. If you visit Machu Picchu in 2023, the maximum expiration date allowed is 2024.
  2. The student discount is available only for students who are not more than 25 years old.
  3. The International Student Identification Card (ISIC) is not valid for the discount, even if it meets the requirements mentioned above.
  4. The only valid document for the student price is the original student ID that meets the requirements set by the Peruvian government. No other documents such as certifications or virtual cards are accepted as proof of student status.

How to Book with Machu Picchu Reservation


  1. Choose a reputable, government-authorized tour operator.
  2. Click the “Book Online” button, select the date, and complete the booking form. Have one person fill it out for the entire group to ensure you’re booked together. Keep your passport handy for accurate information.
  3. Make a payment online using any debit or credit card. There’s a 2.9% fee for online payments, which customers must cover.
  4. To secure your THE SALKANTAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU 5 DAYS, provide a $180 deposit per person. This helps obtain necessary permits and tickets from the Peruvian government.
  5. Optionally, you can pay the full tour amount upfront to avoid any future payment concerns.
  6. If you choose to pay only the deposit, the remaining balance is due 24 hours before the tour begins. You can pay in cash (soles or dollars) at the office in Cusco or by card (3.9% fee). You can also pay the balance online with any card (2.9% fee).

By following these straightforward steps, you can easily book your THE SALKANTAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU 5 DAYS experience and focus on preparing for your adventure.


For availability of spaces for this service, please contact us [email protected] and we`ll send you detailed information, prices, terms and conditions.

Please keep in mind that significant price reductions are available for groups. All our tours are fully guaranteed, with departure every day. Contact us for more information about the tour that you are choosing, or to begin customizing your own itinerary. recommendations:

Inca Trail Travel is a tour operator travel agency in Peru and the city of Cusco, We really know what we do and offer, We are well managed, with several offices in Peru and a long list of travel destinations, offering all travel alternatives in Perú, from family trips, honeymoon trips, and luxury travel, including adventure tours and exploring trips to the jungle, for almost any budget

  • The Salkantay Trek is considered one of the 25 best treks in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.
  • Enjoy one of the very best trekking adventures you’ll find in Peru and South America.
  • Besides the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek is one of the most popular treks to Machu Picchu and is less frequented by tourists.
  • Visit stunning locations like Humantay Lake and the glorious Salkantay Mountain.
  • Witness incredible scenery like cascades, waterfalls, glaciers, mountains, colorful valleys, unique plants and wildlife, and the cloud forest.
  • Hike alongside the magnificent Salkantay glacier.
  • Exploring the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the most extraordinary experiences in the world.
  • UNESCO world heritage.

Travel Guide about Salkantay trek to Machu picchu

If you are planning to embark on the Salkantay Trek, here is a travel guide to help you prepare for your adventure:

  1. Best Time to Go: The best time to go on the Salkantay Trek is during the dry season from April to October when the weather is more stable, and there is less chance of rain or snow. However, the shoulder season of March and November can also be a good option with fewer crowds.
  2. Physical Preparation: The Salkantay Trek is a challenging and physically demanding trek, so it is essential to prepare yourself adequately. It is recommended that you do some regular exercise before the trek, including cardio and strength training to help prepare your body for the altitude and the steep terrain.
  3. Altitude Sickness: The Salkantay Trek reaches high altitudes, which can cause altitude sickness in some trekkers. It is important to acclimatize slowly by spending a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude destinations before starting the trek.
  4. Equipment: You will need appropriate clothing and equipment for the trek, including waterproof and warm layers, sturdy hiking boots, and a comfortable backpack. It is also recommended to bring a sleeping bag, a headlamp, and trekking poles.
  5. Permits and Guides: The Salkantay Trek requires a permit, which can be obtained through a licensed tour operator. It is also mandatory to have a licensed guide accompany you on the trek.
  6. Responsible Tourism: As a responsible tourist, it is essential to respect the local communities, their customs, and the environment. Choosing a licensed tour operator that follows sustainable tourism practices, including proper waste disposal and supporting local communities is important.
  7. Machu Picchu: The Salkantay Trek ends at Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites. It is recommended to spend at least a full day exploring the ruins and learning about their history and significance.

Overall, the Salkantay Trek is a rewarding and challenging adventure that requires proper preparation, respect for local communities, and responsible tourism practices.

Do you know?

During Salkantay Trekking, you will observe many kinds of orchids, some of which have a history. It is said that this beautiful orchid is the tears of an Inca princess. The legend is called ” The Wakankis” Now We will tell you more about this love history:

Wakanki legend:

In the kingdom of the Andes, there was a beautiful young princess. She fell in love with a brave and attractive Inca warrior. Once their father found out about the relationship, forbid them to see each other since the princess was destined for the Sun God. When the princess learned of her decision, she ran across the Andes, crying for her forbidden love, and became the beautiful “Waqanki” flower. So, every time the warrior found this flower in the Andes, He also cried remembering his lost love. “The spirit of beauty is still there, also expressed in our days in a song that we can hear even now:

“You will cry, my most beautiful flower with your beautiful eyes, for your envy surrounds me, I am committed to you, beautiful Waqanki, a flower that you bloom in the heights, How will your song be when I take you In my heart”

This is the only testimony of appreciation that orchids existed in the empire of the Incas and have been preserved to this day orally transmitted from one to another. It is believed that there are about 350 native species in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. More than 100 of these species can be easily seen in these orchid trails in their natural habitat.

The best salkantay trek company

The best Salkantay trek company is Inca Trail is an experienced, established, and dynamic tour operator. We run Salkantay Treks to Machu Picchu and have been providing tours for more than 8 years! Our experience, knowledgeable, reliable, friendly personnel, and personalized customer service and it is the main reason why our customers return year after year. Salkantay Trek operator offers a wide range of different types of adventure trips to suit any person’s needs. We would like to welcome you to our Salkantay family and make your trip an unforgettable reality.

Salkantay trekking

The Salkantay trekking is an incredible adventure that takes you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Peru. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, this trek offers something for everyone. From stunning mountain views to serene lakes and lush valleys, every step of the way is a feast for the eyes. Along the trek, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit the famous Machu Picchu, making it even more special. Just make sure to be well-prepared with proper gear and be ready for the challenging terrain. It’s definitely an experience that you won’t forget.

Salkantay History

According to some authors, the name of this mountain is a contraction that comes from wild Salqa and Antay produce avalanches. The name of Apu, which in the Quechua language comes to mean lord, is usually defined in front of the great mountains which mean something sacred above the valleys. For example Apu Salkantay in the Vilcabamba mountain range.

Salkantay Mountain, also known as Salccantay, snow-capped peak of Peru located in the department of Cusco; It constitutes one of the main elevations of the Cordillera de Vilcabamba, an extension of the Eastern Cordillera, a mountain branch of the Peruvian Andes. It reaches an altitude of 6,271 meters. It presents two peaks covered by snow, known as Salcantay China and Salcantay Female, separated by a port that opens to the Santa Ana Valley in the province of Urubamba. Both the mountain pass and the fluvial course that is born there are called Salcantay. This river pours its waters into the Urubamba on its left bank. But you know why this mountain is sacred?

Spirit of the Mountain:

The Apus of the mountains are superior spirits considered protective of men and people. The Apus does not speak to humans, it is humans, through invocations, payments, rituals, and prayers, who speak to the Apus asking for protection. The Apus are typically male spirits, although there are also female deities. In the Quechua language; spoken by the Incas, the plural of APU is apukuna.

What is the cult of the mountains based on?

It could be based on an ecological reality since meteorological phenomena such as snow, hail, rain, clouds, lightning, and thunder often originate in the mountains. However, other common elements give clues to better understand the reverence that the ancient Peruvians felt for the mountains.

Worship of the sacred mountains

It is possible that social cohesion has revolved around the cult of the sacred mountains. As the cases of ethnic identity that have been observed in many regions of the Andes. The mountains were perceived as a kind of god of war; In the Inca culture, the mountains were Apus protectors of the people who lived nearby and they worshiped them. It is said that the Incas tried to appropriate the admiration felt by the pre-Inca peoples through the mountains, building places of worship such as the city of Machu Picchu. This is in order to consolidate your government.

A very common belief in the Andes of Peru is that the mountains (Apus deities Incas) are the owners of wild animals, so the hunting practiced by the Incas is linked to the mountains. The rugged territory of Machu Picchu hosts an enormous variety of fauna, including bears, pumas, snakes, birds, etc. The building of the city would have provided additional reasons for the cult of the mountains. One of the deities that protects Machu Picchu, is the imposing Salkantay mountain. The word “wild” is “salqa” in Quechua and it is possible that this was the hunting place of Pachacútec, the builder of Machu Picchu.

Now discover the most amazing adventure on Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu the incredible alternative path to Machu Picchu. Explore The Salkantay Mountain the popular wild mountain in Peru and Enjoy the best views of natural landscapes along the Salkantay Trek.

Salkantay Trek Altitude:

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a great trek to the Inca citadel Machu Picchu. Some people choose this trek when the famous Inca Trail in Peruis sold out (which happens quite often). Salkantay Trek is the best alternative trek to Machu Picchu. Here you will see the altitude that we will cross during our trek:

Cusco – Soraypampa:

  • Starting Elevation “Mollepata” . 9,515 feet (2900 meters)
  • Campsite Elevation “Soraypampa” – 3850 meters / 12631ft
  • Considered : Moderate
  • The area : Andes

Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Challway:

  • Highest Elevation “Salkantay pass” – 4600 meters /15090 ft
  • Campsite Elevation “Challway” – (3000m/9842f)
  • Considered : Difficult
  • The area : Andes, Salkantay Glaciar

Challway – Santa Teresa: 

  • Starting Elevation. “Challway” – (3000m/9842f)
  • Campsite Elevation “Santa Teresa” – 1811 meters / 7055 ft
  • Considered : Moderate
  • The area : Cloud Forest

Santa Teresa – Aguas Calientes:

  • Walking Distance – 15km / 9 miles
  • Starting Elevation : “Santa Teresa” – 1811 meters / 7055 ft
  • Hotel Elevation : “Aguas Calientes” – 2050 meters / 7986 ft
  • Considered : Moderate
  • The area : Cloud Forest

Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco:

  • Machupicchu Inca City 7,972′ (2,430 m)
  • Huaynapicchu sacred Mountain 8,924′ (2,720 m)

Salkantay Trek 5 Days to Machu Picchu is one of the most scenic and thrilling routes to reach Machu Picchu. With glacier mountains, picturesque lakes like Humantay and Salkantay Lake, and a trek through the Amazon jungle, this is one of the most beautiful and interesting treks in Peru after the Classic Inca Trail or the Short 2 Day Inca Trail.


How long does the trip to Salkantay take?

The trip takes 5 days and 4 nights to complete and the distance traveled is 72 km.

How is the climate of the Salkantay mountain?

It can vary a lot, and what will make the difference is the time of the year in which you visit it and the point at which you are. During the day you could experience a temperature of 12 C°, while at night it can drop to 0 C°.
Likewise, depending on the month, you can tour the Salkantay mountain in rainy weather, with strong winds, and even cloudy weather, which is typical of the months of December to March.

In which months is the Salkantay closed?

In the month of February, this is due to the fact that the temperatures and weather conditions are not suitable for your tour. That is, from March to January you can visit this destination without problems.

What level of difficulty does the Salkantay trek have?

It is considered moderate to challenging; since the route of the second day of travel is one of the strongest in terms of the physical resistance that it implies and the distance that is traveled (20 kilometers).

Can you take the children to the Salkantay mountain?

It is recommended that children under 12 years of age do not go on this trip because there are challenging routes in which they must walk long distances without stopping to comply with the established itinerary.

What is the difference between the Salkantay tour from 4 to 5 days?

The difference lies in the distance traveled between one day and the next; as well as the places that are included in the itinerary; For this reason, if you have time availability, we recommend you opt for the Salkantay trek 5 days, 4 nights so as not to miss out on anything that this destination has to offer.

Is it necessary to carry poles to make the trek to Salkantay?

It is not mandatory and depends on your personal tastes. However, the poles will provide you with greater stability during the tour, reduce the impact on your joints and minimize muscle fatigue; therefore, it would be convenient to take them for your trek to Salkantay.

What is the difference between the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Trail?

The Salkantay Trek is more strenuous and famous for its mountain scenery, while the Inca Trail is a classic trek that offers diverse scenery. Salkantay is considered slightly harder than the Inca Trail, but less challenging than other trails like Choquequirao.

What is the best time to hike the Salkantay Trek?

The best time to hike the Salkantay Trek is during the dry season, which lasts from April to November in Cusco. May and October offer the best weather conditions.

Can I hike the Salkantay Trek on my own?

Yes, it is possible to hike the Salkantay Trek independently, but it can be risky as the trail is not well-marked at all points. Hiring a tour agency like Mystic Salkantay offers the advantage of experienced guides who know the route well.

Can I hike the Salkantay Trek with the children?

Children over 12 years old who are in good physical shape and used to hiking long distances are allowed to hike the Salkantay Trek.

How Cold Is The Salkantay Trek?

This trek offers different landscapes as well as different ecosystems and temperatures; the weather varies throughout the year depending if you are hiking during the dry season (April to October) or wet season (November to March); the temperatures will rise slightly during the wet season as is summer in the Southern hemisphere.
Day 1: During the first day of the trek, the temperatures will be from 18°C/64°F maximum during day time and will drop below 0°C/ 32°F at night time. It’s essential to have warm clothes as the temperature will drop when the sun sinks or gets cloudy. High places like Humantay Lake are always chili, even with the sun.
Day 2: The second day offers 2 completely different climates, the first part of the day until lunch, you will hike through the Salkantay Pass, the highest and most challenging part of the trek; this part is usually bright and sunny; however, if rain falls, the temperature will drop to very cold, and you will need to wear jackets, hats, gloves.
The temperature will increase in the second part of the day as we enter below the tree line (below 3000m). Here, we will start descending quickly to the second campsite in the Cloud Forest. The temperatures will be from 24°C/75°F during day time and 10°C/ 50°F at night time.
Day 3: You will be hiking through the tropical cloud forest all day during the third day. You must wear light clothes, protect yourself from the sun and mosquitoes, and have plenty of water. At night temperatures can be around 10°C/ 53°F
Day 4: The last day of hiking starts as the day before in the Cloud Forest as we lower even more until we reach Aguas Calientes town with an average temperature range between 12ºC/54ºF and 24ºC/75ºF
Day 5: During the 5th day, you will visit Machu Picchu in the tropical mountain forest with warm and humid weather almost all year round.

Is altitude sickness a problem? What should I do to avoid altitude sickness?

Altitude sickness is real and can affect anybody, whether they are expert hikers or not. Below is some recommendation to avoid altitude sickness:
•  Arrive in Cusco at least 2 days before your trek departure; this will help you to adapt to the altitude before your trek; during these first days, you should do activities that are not exhausting or that don’t include several hours of hiking: we recommended Cusco City TourSacred Valley tour, or Maras Moray.
•  You should avoid tours like Rainbow Mountain, including several hiking hours, which are very high. This tour is perfect after the Machu Picchu trip.
•  Bring altitude medicine like Diamox or others recommended by your doctor.
•  During the first days in Cusco, eat light and drink lots of water; Coca tea will help.

Salkantay Trail Distances

Day 1: Mollepata to Salkantaypampa: 13 Km (8.08 miles) 
Day 2: Salkantaypampa to Collpapampa: 22 Km (13.67 miles) 
Day 3: Collpapampa to La Playa: 16 Km (9.94 miles) 
Day 4: La Playa to Aguas Calientes: 19 Km (11.81 miles) 
Day 5: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: 4 Km (2.49 miles) 
Total Distance: 74 Km (45.98 miles)

What is the most challenging part of the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Pass, located at an altitude of 4,650 meters above sea level, is considered the most difficult part of the trek. Hikers may experience wind, cold temperatures, and symptoms of altitude sickness. Oxygen will be provided if necessary.

What is the minimum age for the Salkantay Trek?

While there is no strict age limit, children under 12 years old may not enjoy the trek and should be able to walk for 90 minutes without needing to be carried.

What is the weather like on the Salkantay Trek?

The weather on the Salkantay Trek is varied due to the different terrains and altitudes encountered on the trail. The Salkantay Pass and nearby areas are the only places where weather is a serious concern, with temperatures that can fall below freezing.

What is the difference between the Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail?

The Salkantay Trek is more strenuous and famous for its mountain scenery, while the Inca Trail is a classic trek that offers diverse scenery. Salkantay is considered slightly harder than the Inca Trail, but less challenging than other trails like Choquequirao.

In this board, we will see the versus between the Salkantay trek vs the Inca trail with more detail about their qualities.

Inca Trail HikeSalkantay Trek
SceneryMountains, cloud forest, and Incan Archaeological SitesMountains  and abundant wildlife
Distance26 miles over 4 days46 miles over 5 days
DifficultyModerate (3/5)Strenuous (4/5)
Highest Altitude13,828 feet15,000 feet
Availability200  people per day, book in advance. More customizable than Salkantay.No permit restrictions, an average of 50 hikers per day.
FacilitiesMid-range camping or luxury glamping. Porters are available to carry gear.Options from rudimentary camping to luxury lodges.
Best ForTravelers in good hiking shape who value comfortable camps and don’t mind a popular trail.For experienced, hikers who want to get off the beaten path and value solitude, mountain scenery, opportunities to view wildlife, and a wider range of overnight options.
Salkantay Trek vs Inca trail

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