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Salkantay hike to Machu Picchu 5D/4N

Located in the Andean Vilcabamba mountain range is the Salkantay Nevada, passing through stunning landscapes from the cloud forest to high mountains. 5D/4N

Travel Program

This is one of the most famous alternative treks to Machu Picchu. The trek is located in theVilcabamba mountain range. The trek passes through stunning landscapes varying from the cloud forest to the high mountains. Along the way are fantastic views of second highest mountain in theCusco area, Salkantay (Wild Mountain) 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 Machupicchu 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 Machupicchu.

  • Length :60 kilometers / 37.28 Miles 45 Km / 26 Miles
  • Length per day :Day01 : 16 Km Day02: 18 Km Day03:14 Km Day04: 12Km Day05: Machu P
  • Considered :One of the best alternative hike to Machu Picchu.
  • Minimun elevation :2000 / 6560 Ft.
  • Maximun elevation : 4450 Meters / 14599 Ft
  • Difficulty :Moderate to challenging
  • Modality : Trekking – Archaelogical and Cultural
  • Location : Mountain range Vilcabamba- Cusco
  • Day temperatura :15ºc to 25ºC
  • Night temparture : 4ºC to 7ºC
  • 2/3 Days acclimatization required ( In Cusco or in the Sacred Valley )

We take small groups, Why?

The principal reason to take small groups in the inca trail to machu picchu, is to provide personalized service, in a small group is easy to keep walking together and enjoy the nature of the inca trail, there is a possibility to make friend and share experiences, interacting more closely with each other. Whereas, in larger groups from (10 – 16) people it trend to split into factions. Moreover, in larger groups tends to be a sizeable difference “often over onehour in a section of the trail” between the fastest andslowest member, what makes more difficult for the guides, cooks and porters to make their effective labors. In small groups, people are more likely to arrive at roughly the same time to hear the guide’s explanations. Also our porters are given the same food as the tourists. In larger groups agencies often provide inferior food for the porters. Smallgroups require less space in campsites and this enables the guide to select better locations. In small groups the guide, cook and porters have a more intimate relationship with the tourists and are better able to meet individual needs and attend to environmental issues such as waste disposal, contamination, etc. as the group will be together more of the time. Because of these reason in our standard service we take small groups, only in a group of friends and delegations we manage larger group. So choose small group.

What are the benefits of doing a private tour?

One of the main reasons why the private option is sought after is because you do not need to worry about which dates we have departures set for or if our departures have enough space…Your only concern is whether or not there are permits available…You can choose almost any date that you want if permits are available… In addition to the convenience and flexibility in booking, the private option provides a more personal trip experience for your group. We will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel….The guide will focus all of his energy and attention on your group. You can also be more specific about the foods that you would like to be served during the trek. It is a truly wonderful experience to go on such an amazing journey with only your friends and loved ones. Ask at South Adventure Peru Tours how you can arrange your own private tour.


Important info: Since July 20th 2011 the entrances has been limited , due to the high demand and limit of entrances to the santuary of Machu Picchu and Huayna picchu we suggest you book in advance before it runs out of spaces.


This is one of the most famous alternative treks to Machu Picchu. The trek is located in the Vilcabamba mountain range. The trek passes through stunning landscapes varying from the cloud forest to the high mountains. Along the way are fantastic views of second highest mountain in the Cusco area, Salkantay (Wild Mountain) 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 Machupicchu 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 Machupicchu

Day 01: Cusco – Mollepata – Sayapata – Humantay Lake – Soraypampa Camp Overnight (B-L&D)

We will leave from Cusco approximately between 4:00a.m. A bus will take us to the town of Mollepata (2900 meters above sea level) where we will arrive approximately at 8:00 in the morning; we will stop for last minute supplies, leg-stretching or to use the restrooms. We will continue to our trek starting point, Sayapata. We will meet with our support staff, and they will load the equipment on horses and mules. Around 9:00 a.m., we will begin our walk toward Soraypampa (3850 meters above sea level). During the trip we will have panoramic views of the majestic Salkantay, other mountains covered with snow, and the Valley of Apurimac River. About 1:00p.m., we will have a Peruvian lunch. After lunch, we will continue hiking toward Humantay Lake for 3 hours aproximately; this is a beautiful lake in the mountains. We will come back to our camp where the tents will be ready for you as well as your dinner… Likewise, we will observe the vegetation pertaining to the Edge of the Jungle, along the road we will have lunch, and then we will continue until we get to SORAYPAMPA, place of our first camping site.( This first Camp is located at 3,950 masl ) Distance of walking aprox. 12Km. between 5 to 6 Hours.Lunch, Dinner.

Day 02: Soraypampa – Salkantaypampa – Chaullay Camp Overnight (B-L&D)

Today, nature will change drastically from dry sceneries to snowy peaks and tropical areas. After a nutritious breakfast, we will start the most difficult part of the trek. We will start the hike around 7:00 in the morning. We will hike to a place called Pampas Salkantay, then go toward the left side of the snowy peaks of Umantay located next to the Apu Salkantay. At midday, we will be on the highest point (4600 meters above sea level). We will appreciate spectacular views of the mountains and the imposing snowy peaks of the Salkantay (6264 meters above sea level) which is known as the second highest point of the Cusco region. Around 1:00 p.m., we will have our lunch, in the area called Huayracmachay. After a trek of approximately 3 hours, we will arrive to our camp in Challway (2920 meters above sea level). Around 7:00p.m., we will recuperate from the trek and eat dinner..This day, we will arrive to CHALLHUAY where we will spend the night. ( This Second Camp is located at 2,900 masl ) Distance of walking aprox. 14Km. between 6 to 7 Hours.Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 03: Chaullay – Lluscamayo – La Playa Camp overnight ( B-L&D)

We start the trek 07:00am with 3 hours easy hiking from Collpapampa, where we will be introduced to a high Jungle zone called Ceja de Selva. Here we will see different kinds of plants, fruits, flowers, bird’s ectetera plus coca and banana crops can be observed. You will have time to shower in a waterfall, take amazing pictures, and with luck we can observe the famous Peruvian National Bird «Gallito de las Rocas». We stop at Lluscamayo 2,400m for lunch and free time to rest before the 3 hour walk to our last campsite in La Playa 2,350 masl. A small village is located here with electricity and a shop. This Camp is located at 2,350 masl Distance of walking aprox. 11Km. 5 Hours. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 04: La Playa – Llaqtapata – Hidro Electrica – AguasCalientes (B-L&D)

Approx 07:30 am we begin our trek to the village Lucmabamba where we see the remains of an Inka trail. We follow this rising trail, from which we will see coffee, banana and passion fruit plantations and a lovely view of the Santa Teresa Valley. After climbing for 4 hrs to reach Llaqtapata 2,700 masl we can enjoy some free time to rest and observe the mountain of Machu Picchu (Inca city) and some of this arqueological site from afar.

Then 2 hours downhill to the Hydroelectric Plant at 1,870m where we have the last lunch with all of our staff. The arrieros, horses and donkey herders will prepare their return back to Soraypampa and we head to Aguas Calientes town… At 16:30pm we will take a 45 minute train journey to Aguas Calientes town 2,000 masl where a Special Dinner will be provided finally a comfortable hotel in Aguas calientes. Distance of walking aprox. 12Km. between 6 to 7 Hours. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Day 05: Private Guided tour to the WONDER of the world “Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu “ (Machu Picchu Montaña: Optional) (B)

This day, is one of the most important and interesting days during your whole trip, you will be picked up from your Hotel very early (BEFORE the BIRDS SING) our guide will meet you at your hotel between 4:30 to 5:00am to aboard the first touristic and shared bus to drop off you at the main door where you have to show your original PASSPORTS and ISIC Cards ( if applicable ) at the check point , and then try to be the first visitors inside of the wonder of the world Machu Picchu and the archaeological sites you will have complete guided tour during 2 to 3 hours of this spectacular mystical place.

The GUIDED tour basically includes walk through the different sections such as: The Urban sector, the agriculture sector, and the religions zone was used by the Inca Culture. After the guided tour in Machu Picchu, you will have free time to explore by yourself, walk at your own space, a lot of selfies and to meet other tourists into the sanctuary. According with the time and to your physical conditions, you can coordinate with the tour guide to climb to HUAYNA PICCHU or Machu Picchu Mountain from where you can have the best panoramic view for photos of all Machu Picchu and of deep green canyon surrounding the sacred Inca Citadel. Do not forget that this entrances, must be booked in advance and pay US$ 15 extra.

Afternoon and depending on your train schedule back to Cusco, you will have to take the bus down to Aguas Calientes to catch the train back to Cusco. After the guided tour, our guide will give you all the instructions for your bus down and train back to Cusco. Upon your arrival to Poroy station, you will be meeting again by our staff and then transfer back to your Hotel. (Meals on your own)

Overview of Tour

We will drive north across Antapampa into the Apurimac watershed. Mollepata is the starting point of our five day trek across the Cordillera Vilcabamba, past Mt. Humantay and Salkantay into the headwaters of the Santa Teresa valley. Hiking down this cloudforest area we ascend to the Pass of Paltallacta in whose vicinity we camp. Great views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective. Hike into the Aobamba Valley and arrive near the hydroelectric works, downriver from the citadel, board the train at the hydroelectric station, ride to Aguas Calientes where we will spend the night. Next morning we will visit Machu Picchu ruins before heading back to Cusco. This trek is a good alternative to the Inca Trail when permits are sold out!


  • Fantastic trip along highway until the starting point of the hike
  • High altitude and camping in the scenic Andes
  • Awesome views along the hike
  • Machu Picchu & HuaynaPicchu.
  • Hot springs in the town


  • Original passport to be showed in the park control of the trail and to the check point of Machu Picchu
  • Original and valid International Student Card (ISIC), only if you booked the trek as student.
  • Hiking boots (waterproof), sneakers is welcome to but for the rainy is not enough comfortable.
  • Long pants or slacks & Warm sleeping bag Minus 20ºC
  • A Daypack (for your personal porters we provide a duffle bag)
  • Long-sleeved shirts to prevent you from the sunburn.
  • T-shirts and Thermal underwear can be worn in the sleeping bag or cold conditions.
  • Warm clothes , layers for variable temperature especially at night
  • Sweaters and a jacket (something warm for the night).
  • Gloves or Mittens, scarf, Wool socks, Woolen hat for cold nights.
  • Rain wear or poncho for the rainy season December – April, but during the dry season can be raining too
  • Camera with extra batteries and flash light , head torch and extra batteries
  • Bottle of water, more bottle of water can be purchase at Winay Wayna, or in Aguas Calientes town
  • Snack (dried fruits, chocolates, etc).
  • Insect repellent to protect you from mosquitoes along the Inca Trail
  • Hat and sun block to protect you from the sun.
  • Personal toilette items and personal medical kit.
  • 2 Liter water bottle, disposable plastic bottles are forbidden in Machu Picchu site.
  • Water purifying tablets optional, since we provide boiled water.
  • Bathing clothes for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes.
  • Extra money for drinks and tips , souvenirs in Soles
  • First Aid kit (alcohol, aspirin, tablets for stomach troubles, medicines to avoid altitude sickness)
  • Day pack is good to bring to carry your camera, water, rain jacket.
  • Swimsuit (On the last day there is possibilities to swim on the hot spring of Aguas Calientes – only if time permit).
  • Optional:Trekking Poles with rubber covers (No Damage the Inca Trail) without rubber covers you CAN’T use them.
  • Optional:Binoculars if you like to appreciate birds along the Inca route.
  • Optional:GPS to map the campsites, the ruins and the Inca Trail to MACHU PICCHU


Prices Valid for Trips through December 31, 2017

Private service US$ 850 each person with the Hotel La Cabaña or another similar
Shared service US$ 650 each person with the Hotel La Cabaña or another similar

Our Price Included:

  • Pre-information night before of your hike.
  • English-Speaking guide (2 guides over 8people)
  • Private transport Cusco to the trailhead
  • First breakfast and last lunch at santuary lodge
  • Private transport Poroy station – Hotel in Cusco
  • Entrance to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
  • Experienced cook and Cooking equipment
  • Teatime everyday (coffee, tea, popcorn, biscuit)
  • 3 nights of camping along the trail to Machu Picchu
  • 4 capacity tent – 2 persons per tent with plenty
  • Sleeping mattress ( Thermarest )
  • Water supply (boiled) after every meals
  • Train ticket Aguas C. to Poroy by (Expedition )
  • Bus tickets Aguas C- Machu Picchu – Aguas C.
  • Hotel accommodation in Aguas calientes
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs.
  • Kitchen tent & Porters insurance
  • First Aid Kit & Oxygen bottlet
  • Personalized service
  • Government sales ( 19% know as IGV)

Our Price does not include:

  • Entrance to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes
  • Towel can be hired for $2 USD at the hot spring
  • Alcoholic drinks and soft drinks
  • Tips for the guides, cooks, porters. It`s a tradition
  • Energy snack will be very useful as chocolate bars
  • Personal expenses
  • Additional tours in Aguas calientes village
  • Hotel accommodation in Cusco at your return
  • Extra horse( 9 Kilos $ 120 / 18 Kilos $ 240 for whole trip )
  • Sleeping bags : to hire $60 (-20ºC)
  • Extra night at Aguas calientes
  • Vistadome ( Luxury train $ 55 per person )
  • Entrance to Huaynapicchu $15 per person
  • Meals on Day5 such as Lunch & Dinner

The Inca Trail FAQ


How do I book a trek?

How do I book a trek? If you do wish to book an Inca Trail trip, we will need to confirm availability of the Inca Trail at the time of your enquiry. This will normally take no longer than 2 hours but please allow for 4 hours. If your enquiry is made after 5PM EST, we will only be able to confirm availability the next day. When availability has been confirmed, we can confirm the space for no longer than 24 hours after which time a new availability check will have to be made. If you wish to proceed and book your Inca trail trip, we strongly advise you do so within 4 hours of receiving availability confirmation but not after 24 hours. To book your trip, we shall require all your personal details such as : Name and last name / Passport number / Nationality and Age (otherwise no booking can be made) along with the completed booking form and the non refundable deposit payment. If these are not received within 24 hours of the availability check, the spaces will be automatically released and a new availability check will have to be made. We advise you book your Inca trail trek at least three months in advance. For treks between May and August, we recommend booking at least 6 months in advance. For certain treks such as the Salkantay, Lares, and other hikes, also is required booking in advance because we must buy the entrance to Machu Picchu—before—sold–out.

Is it true that they will close the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail will be closed during the month of February each year. The last group will depart on 31 January and the next group will start on 01 March. The closure is to allow conservation projects to take place, give an opportunity for camping facilities to be improved and to allow the vegetation to grow back. February is also the height of the wet season. The ruins of Machu Picchu will remain open as normal as will the train services between Cuzco and Machu Picchu. During February we can offer an alternative 4 day trek that starts from km82 and follows the Urubamba River until km104 where it climbs up to Wiñay Wayna and then on to Machu Picchu. This trek is picturesque but does not include visits to the Inca ruins at Runkurakay, Sayacmarka or Phuyupatamarca .

Can I trek the Inca Trail alone?

No. Trekkers have to trek using the services of a licensed tour operator.

Should I make a reservation for the trek in advance or wait until arriving in Cuzco?

Because of the numbers of persons permitted on the trek has been dramatically reduced it is advisable to make a reservation at least 3 months in advance for most months and at least 6 months in advance if wishing to trek between the months of May and August.

When is the best time to go?

The dry season from April to October is probably the most comfortable period as far as the weather is concerned. Even during these months you can still get a little rain. Ideally the month of May is perfect since there is little rain but the vegetation is still rich and lush. June, July and August are the 3 busy months and the numbers of trekkers has been limited so book well in advance. Although the weather is sunny during these months the temperature at night can drop considerably, falling to below freezing so be prepared. The months of November and December can still be very enjoyable with fewer trekkers. Expect at least one day of rain during this period. January and March can be very wet at times. However most of the rain falls late in the afternoon and at night so ensuring you have a good waterproof tent is all important. These months also correspond to Summer in Peru so the sun can be very strong and the nights generally mild. The Inca Trail for the entire duration of February.

Weather on the Inca Trail Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum Temperature °C 19 19 19 20 20 20 19 20 20 21 21 21
Minimum Temperature °C 7 7 6 5 3 0 0 2 4 6 6 6
Rainy Days 18 13 11 8 3 2 2 2 7 8 12 16

How safe is it on the Inca Trail?

Theft is very uncommon on the trail provided that you take basic precautions. Do not take any valuables with you that you don’t need for the trek. Leave jewelers, large sums of money in your hotel safe (However you need to take your passport on the trek with some money for tips). Take plenty of plastic bags to wrap socks, boots, underwear and wet clothes in. Do not leave them outside of your tent at night (no matter how much they may smell!) or they may not be there in the morning. Carry your valuables in a money belt or neck pouch and keep items such as cameras and passports with you at all times especially at meal times.

What kind of drinking water is available?

You will come across a small stream or mountain spring every 90 minutes or so along the trail where you can fill up your water bottle. Take a bottle of at least 1.5 liter capacities per person. Although the water is clear always use sterilizing tablets and follow the instructions. The sterilizing tablets ‘MicroPur’ can be bought in most pharmacies in Cuzco. With these tablets you have to wait at least 60 minutes before drinking. Also, we will boil water for you in the morning and at meal times. Bottled mineral water can also be taken from Cuzco or bought from local people at several places along the Inca Trail.

What are the toilets like along the trail?

Toilets have improved considerably in the last couple of years and all of the larger campsites have flush toilets and running water. We also provide our own chemical toilets for private use for your group only. On our Superior, Premium and Luxury treks we also provide portable showers.

How fit do I need to be to do the Inca Trail?

In brief, in good shape. It is a common misconception that because many people do the Inca Trail then it must be easy … it isn’t. The trail is 45km (26 miles) long and involves great physical exertion to complete. On the second day you climb nearly 1200m (about 4000 ft) in the morning. Combined with high altitude (lack of oxygen) and extreme weather (you can easily burn in the high altitude sun during the day and temperatures can drop to below freezing at night) the trek can be hard work. However all this suffering can make the final arrival at Machu Picchu all the more enjoyable In general if you take regular exercise and spend a few days acclimatizing to the altitude (which our programmers allow for) then you should be fine. If you are a regular walker and comfortable being on your feet for 7 hours per day, then you should complete the trek with nothing more than a few blisters and a great sense of achievement.

How much should I tip?

Deciding how much to tip the porters, the cook and guide is always a difficult moment at the end of the trek. In general, however, we would recommend taking an extra US$25-30 per person to cover tips. Try to take this amount in low denomination Peruvian Soles bills so that it can easily be divided amongst the porters, cook and guides. Remember the above figures are just a guide line.

Inca Trail Preparations

The maximum altitude reached is 4200m above sea level. On the second day of the trek you will climb nearly 1200m. Make no mistake, the Inca Trail is a fairly difficult trek and you should be well prepared and healthy prior to starting it. You have to be moderately fit and take regular exercise. Try walking 15km in a day or go to the gym in the months leading up to the trek. The good news is that virtually everyone who starts the trek finishes it!.

Altitude Effects

At higher altitudes the air pressure becomes less and the air becomes thinner. This creates a shortage of oxygen for your body. This effect is noticeable at altitudes of over 3000m above sea level. Cuzco is at an altitude of 3400m and the highest point on the Inca trail is at 4200m. At this height a lungful gives you about 50% less oxygen than at sea level. To help compensate for this reduced amount of oxygen you have to breathe twice as fast and your heart has to work much harder to pump the oxygen around your body. Your body also tries to concentrate the number of red blood cells (which carry the oxygen). This is done by getting rid of excess fluid (urinating more frequently) and by producing more red blood cells although the latter process may take a week. On reaching heights above 3000m, heart pounding and shortness of breath are a normal response to the lack of oxygen in the air. However, for some visitors these symptoms can deteriorate into a conditions known as Soroche (or acute mountain sickness) when you can start to experience headaches, loss of appetite, extreme tiredness, sleeplessness and often nausea. Symptoms usually develop within the first day or two at altitude, but may be delayed by up to 2 weeks. To prevent Soroche, try to take things easy as soon as you arrive. Once settled in your hotel room has a lie down for a while and drinks plenty of fluids. Don’t plan any strenuous treks until you’ve acclimatized for a few days. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and heavy food. Drinking mate de coca (an infusion of coca leaves) may help. If symptoms become more severe and prolonged it is best to quickly seek medical attention and make arrangements to descend to a lower altitude. On recovery one can re-ascend slowly or in stages. The drug Diamox is often used by many visitors to speed the acclimatization process and counter the symptoms of Soroche. It can now be purchased in most pharmacies in Cuzco.

What to Bring (Packing List)

Backpack (we will provide one if you forgot to bring it), sleeping bag (included on all superior, premium and luxury treks), rain jacket, strong footwear such as hiking boots with ankle support, one complete change of clothing, sweater, jacket (something warm), sterilizing tablets (Micropur are recommended and can be bought in local pharmacies in Cuzco), flashlight and batteries, broad-brim or peaked cap, sunglasses and high factor sun protection, insect repellent, toiletries and toilet paper (we also provide this), camera and spare batteries (there is nowhere to charge your camera during the trek). We recommend that you buy a walking stick/trekking pole at the start of the trek which can also be taken with you as a memento. You also have to bring your original passport with you on the trek. Photocopies are not acceptable.

What does the company provide?

The company provides all camping equipment, communication equipment, chemical toilets, individual tents, dining tents, dining chairs, mattresses, all fresh food, cooking equipment, cooking gas, drinking water and portable showers. Sleeping bags and pillows are provided on all superior, premium and luxury treks along with a personal masseuse and yoga instructor. We also provide a cook, cook’s assistant, and all porters to carry all equipment. A qualified English speaking guide who is trained in first aid with a portable oxygen tank will be the leader of the trek. On all Luxury treks, a company assistant will also be present to assure that a very high level of service is given. Please note that the personal tents are not in the same style as African safari tents due to the size and weight limitations that porters are allowed to carry. Everything available to you on this adventure will have been carried by the team of porters.

Porter’s conditions

The working conditions of our porters are very important to us. We select porters who are not only reliable, hard working and honest but also who can play musical instruments, recite Quechua stories and sing Quechua songs. It is important that our porters are happy working for us and are committed to staying with the company for long term. To ensure this, we provide amongst the highest porter’s salaries in the industry, we also provide comfortable working conditions, their own sleeping tent, individual mattresses and very good food, not the left- over’s of the group. Our porters have recognized this and are the most company loyal porters in the entire region. We are proud of this and will continue to provide superior conditions for our porters, amongst the most hard working and diligent people we have ever come across.


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