Peru Tours Packages
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
4 days / 3 nights - Pool (shared/group) Service
This amazing trek runs beneath the sacred Salkantay mountain (6.271m/20569ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Peruvian Andes, passing through Quechua communities and lesser-known Inca ruins, to finally reach Aguas Calientes on the third day. The impressive Sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu is visited on the last day of the program. This itinerary is an interesting alternative for those not having found spaces on the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
Day 1: Cusco to Andenes
We leave Cusco at 04.00 am in a private transport and start a scenic morning bus-ride to our trek starting point at Soraypampa. Along the four-hour drive, we drive through the town of Limatambo (2100m/6888ft), an important point of access to the city of Cusco during the time of the Inca Empire, where the archaeological remains of Tarawasi are located. The road continues up a beaten track along the right shore of the Apurimac River and crosses the town of Mollepata (2800m/9184ft) and the small community of Cruzpata (2750m/9020ft) to finally reach Soraypampa (3800m/12464ft), the starting point of the trek, where we meet our wranglers and horses. After a short introduction and a quick breakfast, we start our hike towards the base of Mt. Salkantay (6271m/20569ft), crossing Salkantaypampa, and then starting a 2 hrs steep ascent to Soyroccocha, just next to the impressive glacier of Salkantay (4200m/13776ft). Continuing uphill, we reach the Abra Huayracmachay (4600m/15088ft), the highest mountain pass in the program where, besides enjoying stunning views of the surrounding glaciers and the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range with the south face of Salkantay towering above us, we may also observe chinchillas and condors in their natural habitat. From this point, we start descending towards a more tropical climate and into the so-called cloud forest. Along the route, we can see the remains of an ancient Inca path, which is approximately 6 meters wide. A long though easy descent brings us late afternoon to our first campsite at Andenes (3,500m/11480ft). Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Total distance: 18 km (11,25 miles)
Estimated walking time: 8-9 hours
Maximum altitude point: 4,600 m (15,088 ft)
Campsite altitude: 3,500 m (11,480 ft)
Day 2: Huayracmachay to Lucmabamba
Today we continue our hike with an easy downhill walk along the Salkantay River, enjoying the increasingly lush vegetation, passing waterfalls, passion fruit and coffee plantations. The arid highland landscape begins to transform into a cloud forest filled with trees and bromeliads. After 1,5-2 hours we arrive at the settlement of Chaullay, and after another 45 minutes to the town of Collpapampa. From Colpapampa, the Salkantay River becomes the Santa Teresa River. After a rest, we continue our descent to the banks of the Totora River, then passing the waterfalls at Coripacchi, the settlement at Wiñaypoko, the bustling small town of La Playa and finally our second camp at Lucmabamba (2,100m/6888ft). On the way we can see plantations of banana, coffee, and avocado, as well as exuberant local flora. We enter spectacled-bear territory and we will probably be accompanied by flocks of parrots as we descend. At dinner we can enjoy a glass of wine by the light of the camp-fire. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Total distance: 20 km (12,50 miles)
Estimated walking time: 8-9 hours
Maximum altitude point: 3,500 m (11,480 ft)
Campsite altitude: 2,100 m (6,888 ft)
Day 3: Lucmabamba to Aguas Calientes
After breakfast, we start climbing for 2-3 hours up to El Mirador or Abra Q’elloqasa (2860m/9381ft) from where we have an exceptional view of the Lost City of the Incas, the legendary Machupicchu, from a different angle. We enjoy a last lunch in nature at the lookout point of Llaqtapata (2650m/8692ft) from where we can view both Machupicchu and the Salkantay Mountain and take a good rest, enjoying the added value of the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored. A 2-hour descent towards the Aobamba River crossing lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations brings us to the hydroelectric plant of Machupicchu from where we board a train that takes us to Aguas Calientes (short, scenic 40-minutes train ride). Accommodation at the selected hotel in Aguas Calientes. Breakfast, Lunch
Total distance: 12 km (7,50 miles)
Estimated walking time: 5-6 hours
Maximum altitude point: 2,650 m (8,692 ft)
Aguas Calientes altitude: 2,000 m (6,560 ft)
Day 4: Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu to Cusco
We wake up early and board a bus to Machupicchu where we begin a complete guided tour of the Inca citadel that will take approximately two hours. You will then have free time to walk around, climb up the Huaynapicchu Mountain, where one can experience spectacular views of all of Machupicchu, the valleys and mountains that surround it (if you have previously requested this entrance at the time of the booking; check with your travel advisor - please note that there are only 400 visitors allowed per day), or visit the Temple of the Moon or the impressive Inca Bridge. In the afternoon, we meet in the town of Aguas Calientes where, if you like, you can visit and relax in its hot springs. From here we take the train back to the city of Cusco, where we arrive after nightfall.
* Departure and arrival times are approximated.
** Campsites are subject to change according to our guide’s criteria and the group progress
Difficulty degree of this hike
Challenging: An acclimatization period of at least 2 days in Cusco or at elevations above 3000m/9840ft is recommended
Prices per person – Standard shared/group Service Adult: USD 559.00
NOTE: Prices are subject to changes according to the increase/decrease of suppliers costs
Available discounts (these discounts are not cumulative):
• Students: USD 40.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please note that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
• Teenagers: USD 40.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
• Children: USD 80.00 (up to 7 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
Additional discounts (that may be added to the above-mentioned):
• SAE: 5% on full program price (valid South American Explorers Club membership card required). This discount may not be applicable in case a promotional price is offered.
Collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transportation to Soraypampa (starting point of the trail)
Personal tents: 2 people in each 4-people-capacity tent, to allow for higher comfort and a safe keeping of backpacks. Our tents are 3-season, highly maintained to ensure an excellent performance in field
One foamy sleeping pad per person
Dining tent with tables and chairs; Kitchen tent; Toilet tent with biodegradable toilet facilities
English speaking professional guide (2 guides for groups of over 8 people)
Chef and cooking equipment
Pack animals (to carry tents, food and cooking equipment) – days 1 to 3
1 emergency horse every 6 persons – days 1 to 3
Wranglers – days 1 to 3
Accommodation for all our staff
Meals (03 breakfasts, 03 lunches, 02 dinners + daily morning snack + daily tea service except last day). Vegetarian or special menus are available at no extra cost
Others: hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes / boiled water to fill in your water bottle every morning and night, and at lunch time if requested with enough time ahead
First-aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
Train ticket from the Hydroelectric power plant to Aguas Calientes / Puente Ruinas (day 3)
Round trip Bus ticket Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu Citadel – Aguas Calientes (day 4)
Transfer train station-hotel included only if returning on day 4
Does NOT include:
- Train back from Aguas Calientes to Cusco (Poroy) or Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley of the Incas) on day 4.
- Accommodation in Machupicchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes Village). Please consult our hotels special rates.
- Lunch and dinner on the last day: after the guided tour at Machupicchu, you can enjoy free time to further visit the ruins and choose to have lunch either in Machupicchu or in Aguas Calientes at your own expense. Arrival in Cusco is estimated after nightfall, dinner being at your own expense too.
- Visit to the hot springs in Machupicchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes): a relaxing way to end-up the trek while you’re awaiting the return train to Cusco, only 10 minutes from the village center. Towels can be hired in Machupicchu Pueblo (Aguas Calientes).
- Tips: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.
Route: Aguas Calientes to Poroy (Cusco) or Ollantaytambo (Sacred Valley of the Incas)
Remark: Should there be no train tickets available in the direct route Aguas Calientes – Cusco, a train ticket Aguas Calientes – Sacred Valley with an additional private transportation from the Sacred Valley to your hotel in Cusco will be provided. (*) Please note that our guide travels back to Cusco in the Expedition train in all group services, so if you wish to book this extra service, you will not be accompanied by our guide
Route: Aguas Calientes to Poroy (Cusco)
Remark: Luxury Hiram Bingham Train departs Aguas Calientes at 6.00pm and includes pre-dinner cocktails, accompanied by live entertainment and a 4-course gastronomic menu, with an estimated arrival time to Poroy train station at 9.30pm, needing an additional transfer from Poroy train station to Cusco. (*) Please note that our guide travels back to Cusco in the Expedition train in all group services, so if you wish to book this extra service, you will not be accompanied by our guide
NOTE: If you would like to add an extra remarkable outing, you may climb the Wayna Picchu Mountain but please review the following important information: Wayna Picchu
What we recommend that you bring
A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended
Sandals or jogging shoes for a higher comfort while at camp
Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping
Sleeping bag (please inform our Reservations Department if you wish to book this extra service at the moment of your booking)
Flashlight/headlamp and batteries
Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – no malaria risk has been reported
Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc. Please note that we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. This recommendation applies for all clients being used to a specific snack, as it may happen that it is not included in our selection
Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning. 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
Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
Cash in soles and/or USD
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)
Optional services to be hired
- An extra horse to carry your personal items at an additional cost. A horse can carry up to 20 kg
- An extra hotel night in Aguas Calientes can be booked for you at an additional cost depending on the hotel you choose. Please note that if you wish to visit Machupicchu again the following day, the additional cost of the entrance fee is not included
- Please note that our guide travels back to Cusco in the Backpacker train in all group services, so if you wish to book the Vistadome, you will not be accompanied by our guide
- Sleeping bag rent at an additional cost. Our sleeping bags are –18ºC-comfort (0ºF) and mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips
- Therm-a-rest inflatable sleeping pad rent at an additional cost
- Massage sessions at an additional cost per 1-hour session. Our massage therapists have the highest recognition in Cusco and offer the following treatments: relaxing massage, stress-relieving massage, spinal column massage, energizing massage, Inca massage, altitude problems, aroma therapy, therapy with honey, therapy with glass, therapy with stones, foot reflexology, shiatzu, reiki and puddle of flowering. We recommend massage sessions before and after your trekking program. Services are at the hotel and are only available in Cusco.
Appropriate clothing along the Trek
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the third day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the Salkantay route, temperatures range from 10-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the day if not sunny and can drop below freezing at night. In Aguas Calientes/Machupicchu, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.
How to make a Booking
If you would like to make a reservation for this program, please go directly to RESERVE NOW button.
1. Please fill out and submit the Reservation Form. There you may also request special or additional services.
2. In a maximum of 24 working hours, you will receive an email from one of our travel advisors with your booking status and policies for your review and approval.
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