The 5 Days Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the second most popular trek in the Cusco region. You will admire snow-capped mountains, turquoise lakes such as the Humantay Lagoon and Salkantay Lake, and pass through the cloud forest and the Peruvian jungle, making it one of the most beautiful and interesting treks of Peru.
Today, your trekking adventure to Machu Picchu finally starts! Our guide will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at 4:30 am. We will drive together with the group to Mollepata (approx. 3 hours), where we will have a nutricious breakfast. We will then drive one more hour to Challacancha (3,380 meters/ 11,090 feet), the starting point of our hike, passing the view point of Hornada Pata where the valley splits into two (Valley of Mollepata and Challacancha). The beginning of the trail will take us through some beautiful valleys. After a three hour hike, we arrive at our campsite in Soraypampa (3,900 meters/12,800 feet) at approximately 13:30 pm. We will have time to relax and enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by our cook.
Later, we will finally visit the famous Humantay Lagoon! After 1.5 hours of hiking, we will arrive at the lagoon (4,220 meters/ 13,850 feet) with incredibly blue-green water and the snowy Humantay Mountain peak behind it, making it one of the most impressive places in the Andes Mountains. We will take some time to admire the breathtaking views and then descent to our campsite in Soraypampa. Arriving at approximately 6:00 pm, we will have tea and dinner, and spend the night in our beautiful glass cabanas.
Hiking Distance: 12 km/7.4 miles
At 5:00 am we will enjoy a large breakfast so that we have a lot of energy for our hike today. Starting our trek from Soraypampa, we will ascent for 3 hours to the highest point of Abra Salkantay, where we enjoy breathtaking views of the snow capped high Andes Mountains of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo (4,650 meters / 15,250 feet). Passing through Salkantaypampa and Soyrococha, we will discover a beautiful small lake and then begin our descent towards Huarachmachhay for 3 hours (3,800 meters / 12,470 feet). There, we will have lunch and then continue our descent for 3 more hours until we reach our campsite in Lucmabamba. We will have tea and a delicious dinner prepared by our cook. Tonight we will sleep in our comfortable domes at the campsite.
Hiking Distance: 22 km/13.47 miles
After a rejuvenating night’s sleep, we start day 3 of our Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu with a delicious breakfast. We begin our 5 ½ hours hike through the Peruvian jungle, passing over many ascents and descents. This part of the trek marks the cloud forest, where we will discover several coffee plantations, orchids and many natural plants used for medicines. We will arrive at our lunch point to rest a little. Here you have the option to visit the thermal baths located in Cocalmayo, Santa Teresa (not included). We will return to our campsite at 6.00 pm for tea and a freshly prepared dinner.
Hiking Distance: 14 km/8.7 miles
Today, we will enjoy the sunrise in a lush landscape of rivers, waterfalls, orchids, and many plantations, including banana, avocado, and coffee. We will have a nutricious breakfast and get ready for the next part of our trekking adventure: we will finally hike along a part of the original Inca Trail! We will walk up along the Inca Trail, enjoying the beautiful views of the Santa Teresa Valley. After a 2.5 ascent, we will arrive at the Inca archaelogical site of Llactapata. Our local guide will share his knowledge about the history of this place. Besides, we will get the chance to get our first glimpse of Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. We will go downhill for lunch and then continue our hike to Hidroeléctrica. You can choose to walk to Aguas Calientes for around 3 hours, or opt to board a train for $32.00 extra. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, we will enjoy a delicious dinner at a local restaurant in the village on the bottom of the magnificent Wonder of the World. Tonight, we will be staying at a hotel overnight.
Hiking Distance: 18 km/13.7 miles
The grand finale! We will wake up very early this morning for our visit to famous Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. This complex is considered a jewel of the Inca architecture. It is a complete town with different quarters, squares, alleys, buildings, astronomical observatories and terraces. The city was rediscovered on July 24, 1911 by the US researcher Hiram Bingham. We will have a guided tour to see and learn about the Machu Picchu site, a Wonder of the World. After the guided tour, you will have free time to take photos and discover this magical place by yourself.
For those who have previously selected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will do so at your designated time (1st group: 6am to 8am, 2nd group: 9am to 11am).
In the afternoon, we will return to Aguas Calientes. We will have some time for lunch (not included), which is the perfect opportunity to explore the local restaurants. We then take the train to Ollantaytambo, leaving at 14:55 pm. On the way back, we can enjoy the incredible landscape of the Sacred Valley. Upon arrival at the train station, we will be picked up by our transfer staff and dropped off at Plaza Regocijo in Cusco.
LOCAL GUIDES & TEAM
On the 4 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, we will walk through almost the same beautiful and scenic landscapes as the 5 Day Trek. The difference is that we do not stay at the Playa Sahuayaco campsite on day 3, we go directly to Hidroeléctrica and Aguas Calientes instead. This means that day 3 is more challenging, since we add the 3 hours hike from Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Calientes on this day. On day 4, you will already visit the Machu Picchu site.
On the 5 Day Salkantay Trek, we have more time to relax and take things slowlier. We reach Playa Sahuayaca and then relax at the campsite. You can even choose to visit the thermal baths of Cocalmayo (not included). On day 4, we visit the amazing archaelogical site of Llactapata, walking along a part of the original Inca Trail. This part we will not do in the 4 Day trek. We then go to Hidroeléctrica and Aguas Calientes, and visit the Machu Picchu site on day 5.
The best way to prepare yourself for this trekking experiencee is easy: spend at least 2 to 3 days at a high-altitude place like Cusco, so your body gets used to the high altitude. If you have already been to a high altitude destination before arriving to Cusco, we still recommend you spend at least one full day in Cusco to rest, recuperate from your trip, and enjoy the beautiful views of the city before your trek.
Additionally, taking good care of your body helps deal with the extra pressures that altitude creates. We recommend you to eat healthy food, drink lots of water and stay away from alcohol. Chewing coca leaves, drinking coca tea helps to alleviate any discomfort associated with the altitude.
The entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain are additional add-ons that you can choose to purchase besides the Machu Picchu visit that is already included in this trek. You can visit one of these mountains after your Machu Picchu visit to see the Inca Citadel from the top.
Please send us an email asking about availability. Then, if available, you can select which mountain you would like to climb when you make your reservation online. Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain are an additional 60 USD.
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 offers an incredible view of the Machu Picchu ruins. The visit to Huayna Picchu takes approximately 2 hours. Huayna Picchu Mountain is an additional 60 USD.
What is Machu Picchu Mountain?
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.
The Inca Trail is more crowded than the Salkantay Trek because it is an original trail of the Incas and one of the most famous hikes in the world, attracting thousands of trekkers every year. It is the only trek that leads directly to Machu Picchu, but is therefore a lot more expensive than the Salkantay Trek.
On the Salkantay Trek you will spend the last night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes before visiting Machu Picchu the next day. During the Inca Trail you will discover ancient Inca ruins, whereas the Salkantay offers more wildlife and high mountain sceneries. Many trekkers consider the Salkantay Trek to be a bit more strenuous than the Inca Trail because the general altitude is higher.
The Salkantay Trek offers the best alternative to the Inca Trail for everybody who doesn’t like crowded paths and enjoys different landscapes during the trek.
Congratulations, adventure awaits you! We sent you a confirmation e-mail with more details about your trekking adventure. The day before your departuer at 6:00 pm, please stop by our office at
392 Triunfo St. Office 218, Cusco
to receive a briefing. Our professional guide will tell you everything about your trek and clarify last questions you may have.
In general, Salkantay is known for its unpredictable weather, so please come prepared for both warm and cold temperatures, and rainy and dry conditions. We have two main seasons in the Andes Moutnains, 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 a lot 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 – these humid temperatures are consistent throughout the year.
We serve a variety of local superfoods and traditional Peruvian dishes with rice, chicken, beef, salad, potatoes, vegetables, delicious soups and fruits. Everything will be freshly prepared by our local chef.
We have a lot of vegetarian travellers and our cooks have some great options for them to enjoy their meals. We can cater for or all other types of dietary requests with adequate preparation and clear communication.
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.
Yes, you can leave extra luggage in our office free of charge.
The minimum group size is 4 people and the maximum group size is 15 people. There will be an assistant guide for groups over 12.
Please feel free to read our Terms & Conditions and let us know in case you have any questions regarding our cancellation policy.
Solamente agradecerles por el profesionalismo brindado en todo momento. Una logística increíble, hicieron que esta experiencia fuera de lo más aprovechable. Nuestro guía Vidal, estuvo atento en todo momento a como ibamos llevando el trek, despejo dudas, nos comentó la historia del lugar.
Super recomendable, de hecho ya lo he recomendado a cercanos.
Great experience! I did the Salkantay trek with KB Adventures. My local guide was Robin and he was so excellent! 😀 He has a great knowledge about the trek itself, the history of the Inca culture, etc. He was very helpful, funny and friendly.
The food during this 5 days trek was beyond words – I didn’t eat that good anywhere else in Cusco. Our cook spoiled us and we always felt like having a special honeymoon dinner.
The accommodation was so much better than expected, we even had cabins with glass roofs and could enjoy an incredible view of the sky. I can highly recommend this tour with KB Adventures! 🙂
Wow, I cannot have been happier with the Salkantay trek! 😮 It was easily one of the best experiences of my entire life. Our guide Robin was one of the best I’ve had, and he was very knowledgeable, funny and professional. I would happily recommend him to anyone. It was five days of trekking through the Andes Mountains and Peruvian jungle, ending up at Machu Picchu. Everything was well organized and we had amazing accommodations. 🙂 I made tons of new friends along the way and had a wonderful time. I would do it again, but my legs are too sore!
I usually don’t write reviews, but I have to write this one to say that our guide Robin Maza was the best guide I have had in my entire trip in South America. Authentic (which is pretty rare), excited to explain things, friendly, well mannered, communicative, speaks English very well, always to the point, supportive when things got hard during the Salkantay hike, positive, always there for all of us equally, ready to explain things as many times as needed and translates everything. Up in the morning before us to organise everything, he was the whole time running around for us until late at night. All in all a great person! 🙂 Thank you so much Robin, these five stars are for you!
Great tour! Lived up to the expectations that Wilson promised us. Dorian was a very good guide who paid attention to everyone. The food was great, also for vegetarians like us. We had a lot of fun with the group and everything went according to plan, including pick up time, drop off back to Cusco, train tickets, Machu Pichu entrance and accommodations. Thank you very much! 😀