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  • Duration: 4 Days / 3 Nights
  • Depart: Cusco
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Availability: Every Day
  • Destination: Rainbow Mountain
  • Max. People: 15
  • Good For: Moderate to advanced hikers.
  • Difficulty: Challenging.
  • Starting Altitude: 3200m / 10,500 feet
  • Highest Altitude – 4650m / 15,200 feet.
  • Hiking Distance – 72 km. / 45 miles.
  • Longest Day – Day 2, approximately 22 km/11 miles.
  • Coldest Night – Day 1 around 0º celsius. / 32º degrees F.
  • Altitude Acclimatization is Recommended.


Our trekking adventure to Apu Ausangate and Rainbow Mountain begins early in the morning. We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 6:00 am. We will then drive for approximately 4 hours through the Urco Pass, located in the southern part of Cusco. Along the way we will admire incredible views of the surrounding valleys and snowcapped mountains. We will stop for a delicious lunch in the little village of Tinqui and then continue our journey, passing by beautiful farmlands with traditional houses and lots of grazing alpacas and llamas. After driving through the Upis Pass (4435m/ 14,550ft) we finally arrive at the hot springs of Upis. We will set up our camp and relax for about 2 hours in the hot pools, appreciating the tranquility of this incredible place with stunning mountain views. In the evening, we will enjoy a freshly prepared dinner by our local chef and stay overnight at the campsite.


On day 2, we will wake you up with a hot cup of coca tea or coffee. We will enjoy a nutricious breakfast together with the team, being surrounded by beautiful snow capped mountains. We will begin our hike through the high Andes Mountains and, if we are lucky, we can even observe condors flying nearby! Our local guide teach us more about the mountains, flora and fauna during the trek. As we begin to descend, we will see the beautiful lakes Yanaqocha and Pukacocha. The landscape around the Yanacocha Lake and Pukacocha Lake is beautiful, surrounded by forests of queuñas (Polylepis) and located between large mountains that belong to the Vilcanota mountain range. Later, we will arrive at our campsite and have a light afternoon snack. We will have enough time to rest and enjoy the wonderful natural landscape. In the evening, we will have a delicious dinner prepared by our chef and sleep well.


After a large breakfast, we continue our hike along the high Andes Mountains, ascending towards the pass of Abra Puca. We will pass by incredible turquoise lakes and face the magnificent Apu Ausangate. Our local guide will explain more about the history of the mountain and its spiritual meaning. Ausangate is the fourth highest peak in Peru (6,372m/ 20,905ft) and a powerful mountain spirit to the Quechua population of the Southern Andes. It is considered the source of all good things and the owner of the entire Cusco region. We continue our hike towards the Rainbow Mountain valley and enjoy an incredible view of the Chilca valley. We will descend gradually for 2 hours until we reach our lunch spot in Anantapata (4,400m/ 14,435ft). There, we will have enough time to rest and enjoy our delicious meal, and then continue uphill towards the Pitumarca pass (5,050m/ 16,570ft). We will go downhill for 20 minutes towards Lake Yanacocha. We will enjoy the beautiful landscape here and prepare our camp for the night. Later, we will take a short excursion to famous Rainbow Mountain to see the incredible evening colors of the red valley. After spending some time there, we will return to our camp (approx. 45 minutes) and have dinner.


We will begin our last day very early, waking up at 4:30 am for breakfast. We will return to the Rainbow Mountain to watch the sunrise there. Our local guide will share with us his knowledge  about this incredible place. We will then start with the final part of our journey, descending towards the Red Valley. You will be surprised by the breathtaking beauty and immensity of this valley, especially because only few people visit this valley. After visiting a lookout, we will hike downhill for approximately one hour, passing by traditional houses and grazing llamas and alpacas. We will have our final lunch together and then take our private transport back to Cusco. After a 4-hour drive, you will be dropped off at your hotel in Cusco.


What is Included?


Prior to departure you will have a meeting with your guide in our office to go over all the details regarding your tour. The orientation will be at 6:00 pm the night before your trip.


Tents, sleeping pads, cooking tent, dining tent, tables, chairs, and cooking utensils.


All of our guides have a minimum of 3 years of guiding experience. They are professional, responsible, and all have a deep love and respect for mother nature and her mountains. They will make sure your trip is safe and enjoyable.


All of our guides are certified in high mountain first aid training. They always carry a first aid kit on our treks (including pills for altitude sickness, diarrhea, vomiting, cuts, and cream for muscle aches). They also carry extra oxygen in cases of emergency.


Our private transport vehicles will come pick you up at your hotel the morning of your trip and take you to your trek starting point. You will also return in our vehicles to Cusco at the end of the trek.


Ticket to Hot Springs of Upis
Ticket to Ausangate
Ticket to Rainbow Mountain


Our talented chefs will prepare you a delicious and filling breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout your trek. Our clients have loved the food prepared for them on their treks, and our chefs are also able to accommodate any dietary restrictions (such as vegetarian or vegan) at no extra cost. Please let your guide know at orientation if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies so we can organize them ahead of time.


Beginning on night 1 at dinner, you will be provided 2 Liters of clean drinking water for the following day and refilled 2 L each night at dinner (night 2 and 3). We recommend bringing a refillable water bottle or camelbak to store your water.

What is Not Included?


  • Personal expenses
  • Sleeping bag (US$ 20).
  • Trekking poles (we rent for US $20.00)
  • Day 1 breakfast, Day 4 final dinner
  • Tips for our staff. It is not an obligation as they are paid a good salary, it is simply if you wish to thank them on your behalf for their wonderful service in the mountains.

Optional Extras & Upgrades

  • A small backpack with light clothes for the trip.
  • Waterproof clothes (jacket and pants if available).
  • Waterproof hiking boots.
  • Flashlight and batteries.
  • Camera and batteries.
  • Hat and beanie to protect from the sun, rain and cold.
  • Sunblock.
  • Toilet paper.
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, fruit, water etc.
  • Water purification tablets.
  • Small towel.
  • Cash in soles.
  • Walking sticks.


The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the best alternatives to the Inca Trail and is a great option for the adventurers who want to experience the drastic changes in landscape from mountain to jungle, as well as for those who are able to handle the high altitude and long distances. Ascending the Salkantay Pass of 4650 m (approx. 15,300 ft) is challenging, but with the right preparation we know you’ll find this trek to be incredibly rewarding too. Read through our Frequently Asked Questions before your trek to make sure you feel as prepared as possible before your departure.


How many days do I need to acclimate myself in Cusco before the trek? 

We recommend that you spend at least 2 to 3 days in the city of Cusco to help acclimate yourself and to avoid possible problems associated with altitude sickness during your trip. If you have already been to another destination with a high altitude before arriving to Cusco, we still recommend that you spend a full day in Cusco to rest, recuperate from your trip, and to enjoy the beautiful views of the city before departing for your trek.

What is the weather like in Salkantay?

In general Salkantay in known for its unpredictable weather, so no matter what time of year please come prepared for both warm and cold temperatures, and rainy and dry conditions. It helps to know what season you’re traveling in though and Salkantay experiences two main seasons, the rainy season (November-March) and the dry season (April-October).

During the rainy, warmer season temperatures average around 15°C / 60°F during the day and 5°C / 40°F at night. However, with a high chance of rain and wind at the Salkantay Pass, these temperatures may feel colder to you.

During the dry season the weather is sunny and clear and on average 20° C / 70 °F during the day but much colder at night, around -3 °C / 26 °F.

Also, after the second day, as we descend into the Peruvian Amazon basin, the weather changes to a more humid and warmer climate and these humid temperatures are consistent throughout the year.

What clothes do I need?
We recommend two long-sleeve trekking shirts, two short-sleeve shirts, leggings or trekking pants, shorts, four pairs of underwear, sweatpants for the night, three pairs of hiking socks, a rain poncho, an insulated jacket for the Salkantay Pass, gloves, beanie, a hat with a brim, hiking boots, a bathing suit (if you plan to visit the hot springs), and slip on sandals to rest your feet at the campsites.

What bags should I pack?

On the Salkantay Trek you will be permitted one personal daypack (a 30 to 50 L backpack is sufficient) and before your trek we will give you and one extra duffle bag from our office which can be used to carry your extra clothes and personal items.

What is the weight limit for my duffle bag?

Your weight limit for the duffle bag is 6 kg/14 pounds. Our horsemen will carry your duffle for you along with the food and the camping equipment. It’s important to keep in mind that you will not have access to your articles of clothing in this bag until the end of each day, since the horsemen and the horses will always be ahead of the group. Therefore, store the items you need immediate access to in your backpack and store the items you won’t need until the evening in your duffle bag.

How many meals are included ? Included in Salkantay 4 Days and 5 Days

The Salkantay 4D/3N Trek includes 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, and 3 dinners. The only meals not included are breakfast on the first day and lunch/dinner on the last day after the tour of Machu Picchu.

The Salkantay 5D/3N Trek includes 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners.
The only meals not included are breakfast on the first day and lunch/dinner on the last day after Machu Picchu.

What type food is served on the trek?

We serve a variety of traditional Peruvian dishes including various natural teas with rice, chicken, beef, fish, pasta, salad, potatoes, eggs, pancakes, bread, and for lunch and dinner each meal begins with a soup.


Do you offer vegetarian/vegan options?

Yes, vegetarian/vegan options are available. Let us know before your trek so we can accommodate and inform your chef.


Do you rent sleeping bags?

Yes, you can rent sleeping bags from our office for 15 USD. They are down feather sleeping bags that work in temperatures as low as -10°C.


Do you rent walking sticks?

Yes, you can rent a pair of walking sticks from our office for 15 USD.


Can I leave extra luggage in your office?

Yes, you can leave extra luggage in our office free of charge.

What hotel does KB Adventures use in Aguas Calientes?

If you have booked directly through KB Adventures, we partner with Hotel (10 minutes from the main plaza) in Aguas Calientes and you will be staying there.


What are the minimum and maximum group sizes?

The minimum group size is 4 people and the maximum group size is 10 people. In the case of 10 people the group will have two guides.


What do you recommend to help alleviate altitude sickness?

Chew coca leaves, drink coca tea or manzanilla tea (for stomach aches) at your campsites, and ask your guide for assistance. They are trained professionals equipped with the necessary aids to alleviate any discomfort associated with the altitude. They carry Sorochin pills, coca leaves, agua florida, and extra oxygen bottles.


Do I need hiking experience to complete this trek?

Prior hiking experience is recommended but not required. Our guides are trained to assist hikers of all fitness levels and all trekking experience levels so you will never be left behind. Most important of all is to acclimate yourself to the altitude before your trek.


If I need a break from walking during the trek, is there an option to take a horse?

Yes, on the second day during the assent from the Soraypampa campsite to the Salkantay Pass there is an option to rent a horse for 100 soles for the three-hour assent. Ask your guide for assistance, the horse can be rented at the Soraypampa property.


How much money should I bring with me?

For additional expenses along the route, we recommend bringing 300 soles (though you most likely won’t spend it all) and in small bills too to be used at the campsites and along the trek.


What additional expenses should I expect during the trek?

Bathrooms are free at the campsites but cost 1 sol along the route. Keep small change on hand too for water bottles, snacks, and toilet paper along the route.

Other additional expenses include:

Hot shower at the Colpapampa campsite (10 soles)

Cocalmayo hot springs in Santa Teresa (25 soles) include in Salkatay 5 days

Zipline include in Salkantay 5 days (20 USD in our office, 30 USD to book at the campsite)

Optional bus that runs between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu entrance (12 USD one way, 24 USD there and back)

Food/souvenirs in Aguas Calientes. Note: Aguas Calientes is an expensive town, expect to pay ~30 soles per meal.

Tips for guide, horsemen, and cooks.


What is the difference between the 5-day Salkantay trek and the 4-day Salkantay trek?

Both treks follow the same route up until day 3. After lunch on the 3rd day in Playa Sahuayaco, The 5-Day Salkantay trekkers take a 45 min bus to Santa Teresa where they will spend the night, with the option to go to the Cocalmayo Hot Springs in the evening and the Zip line the next day (day 4).


After lunch on the 3rd day in Playa Sahuayaco, the 4-Day Salkantay trekkers take a bus from the lunch spot to Hidroeléctrica. In Hidroeléctrica they will walk three hours to Aguas Calientes where they will spend the night in a hotel.


Also, the Salkantay 4D/3N trek covers a total distance of 60 km/ 37 miles and the Salkantay 5D/4N trek covers 72 km/ 45 miles.


What is included in the Salkantay Private trek?

The Salkantay Private trek includes a personal guide, chef, and horsemen for private groups of 2 to 5 people (snacks, water, and sleeping bags also included). The bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is included in this tour too.


Is my ticket to Machu Picchu included in the price?

Yes, the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu is included in all of our Salkantay tour packages.


How many hours do we spend in Machu Picchu?

In total you are permitted 3 hours in the park. The guided tour of Machu Picchu is approximately 1 hour and after the tour you have 2 hours of free time to further explore the ruins on your own. KEEP IN MIND that regulations have changed and the tour in Machu Picchu is all a one-way path. That is, you cannot backtrack and revisit sites once you have passed them. In addition, once you exit the park you cannot re-enter. Therefore, take your time completing the route in Machu Picchu.


If I don’t want to hike to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, can I take a bus?

Yes there the option to take the bus that runs between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes. It is 12 USD one-way and 24 USD for there and back. Tickets can be purchased in Aguas Calientes, ask your guide for further assistance when you arrive.


When do I reserve Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain?

First, send us an email asking about availability. Then, if available, select which mountain you would like to climb when you make your reservation online. Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are an additional 60 USD each.


What is Huayna Picchu Mountain?

Huayna Picchu Mountain is home to the Temple of the Moon and is the famous mountain peak seen behind the ruins in all the classic photos of Machu Picchu. Huayna Picchu is an approximately 45 minute climb with more ruins at the top and an incredible view of the Machu Picchu ruins down below. In total the visit to Huayna Picchu is approximately 2 hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is an additional 60 USD.


What is the difference between Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain?

Machu Picchu refers to the ruins, which you will already have an entrance ticket to and will visit on a guided tour. Machu Picchu Mountain is an additional hike within Machu Picchu that offers a much higher view of the ruins and overlooks the entire valley. Machu Picchu Mountain is an additional 60 USD.


In the case of an emergency and I need to return to Cusco during the trek, what is the process?

If at any point you need to return to Cusco during your trek, KB Tours is not responsible for any refund and/or extra expenses for your return to Cusco. There are plenty of transportation options available at each campsite should a return be necessary. Ask your guide for further assistance.


What are your cancellation and refund policies?

Once you have made your reservation and initial deposit, you can cancel your trip at any time however we cannot refund your 50% deposit. One month before your trek, if you have already made your full payment and you decide to cancel, we can only refund 50% of your payment as your tickets to Machu Picchu and transportation tickets back to Cusco have already been purchased by this time and cannot be returned.


How do I make my reservation?

Go to our website kbtourstravel.com, select the trek you would like to do, and click BOOK NOW. When you make your reservation, you are also required to make a 50% deposit via PayPal. Your reservation will not be complete until this deposit has been made.


I’ve made my reservation, now what?

Congratulations, adventure awaits you! Before your trek, please stop by our office in Cusco at 351 Procuradores Street Interior 120 to complete the second half of your payment in cash (can be paid in dollars or soles) and to receive a briefing on your trek with your guide.


What are your hours of operation?

We are open Mondays – Saturdays from 9:00 to 20:00 hours.