Exploring the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Follow in the ancient footsteps of times gone by with Sam Travel Peru, a unique off the beaten track journey filled with intense emotion, culture, escalating adventure and upmost satisfaction and personal growth. In the trek, conquer the exotic snow capped Salkantay Peak dubbed as the most spectacular peak in the Andes, as you walk in the shadows of this spectacular outstretched mountain and visit two turquoise glacial lakes. You will hike through the puffs of cloud forests and be nurtured in mother natures warmth in her natural hot springs (Cocalmayo). Finally, explore the forgotten Llactapata Inca Ruins and collect your front row tickets to Machu Picchu as you pass through the original Inca Trail to embrace your long awaited dream of seeing the sunset and sunrise over the majestic Machu Picchu.

Why you should choose the Salkantay Trek?

  • Explore the Humantay Lake (bright blue lake with glaciers & mountains in the backdrop)
  • Amazing views including the highest pass and views of Salkantay and Humantay mountain.
  • Enjoy majestic glacier mountains, and visit 2 turquoise crystal clear lakes.
  • Off the beaten track.
  • Visit a coffee plantation, pick your own coffee, roast and grind it and brew your own coffee.
  • Soak and relax in natural hot springs and rejuvenate tired sore muscles.
  • On our trek experience incredible views of Machu Picchu from the Llactapata Ruins.
  • Get into Machu Picchu for Sun Rise and get the guided tour with an expert local guide.
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If you have a love for adventure and enjoying some of the best hiking routes in the world, our Wilderness Salkantay Trek + Short Inca Trail is for you. It combines the most exciting trekking trails with the most incredible scenery you can imagine. Join us on your own, in a couple, or as part of a group.

Wilderness Salkantay Trek

Wilderness Salkantay Trek + Short Inca Trail-5 Days

The Wilderness Salkantay Trek & Short Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a unique and specially designed trek that takes you around the stunning spectacular peak of Mount  Salkantay. Explore the brill ....

From $787 USD

Tour to Salkantay Treks

The Salkantay Trek is an unforgettable adventure in the Peruvian Andes, offering a challenging route that takes travelers through a spectrum of breathtaking landscapes, from high snowy peaks to lush tropical forests. During this multi-day hike, trekkers have the opportunity to experience the rich local culture by interacting with indigenous communities, marvel at the imposing summit of Mount Salkantay, cross the impressive Salkantay Pass, and finally reach the iconic archaeological site of Machu Picchu. This journey provides a perfect blend of physical challenge, cultural discovery, and natural beauty, leaving an indelible mark on every adventurer who ventures along this ancient path.

Everything You Need to Know About the Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek distance ranges from 48-70 km (30-43 miles), spread out accordingly over 3-5 days. However, not all days are created equal. While the first day is generally shorter, at 8-14 kilometers (depending on whether you go up to Humantay Lake or not), the longer days can range from 24-26 km of hiking.

That said, there are different options to decrease the Salkantay Trek distance for those who do not want to hike the whole thing, including horse rentals or taking a train from Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes.

With its wide variety of terrains, the Salkantay Trek elevation ranges from 1,600 to 4,650 meters (5,250-15,255 feet). Although the elevation varies significantly, you’ll start up higher and gradually work your way downhill.

***Before the trek, we do highly recommend taking 1-2 days at a minimum to acclimatize in Cusco, as the maximum Salkantay Trek elevation is significantly higher than in the Cusco city.

The Salkantay Trek difficulty is moderate to difficult, but is attainable for most people with some hiking experience. Also it will be depending your fitness.

Although it is accessible to most levels of hikers with good fitness levels, the altitude, length of trekking each day, and tough uphill/downhill stretches definitely increase the difficulty of this hike. We recommend being fully acclimatized to the altitude before embarking on the Salkantay Trail.

  • On average, the Salkantay Trek price typically runs from $350-750, depending on the number of days of the trek, and whether you book online or in person… SAM Travel Peru has the most competitive price for this unique itinerary.
  • This price usually includes camping gear, accommodation, and luggage storage/transport for the duration of the tour. As you probably gathered from the wide range of pricing, the accommodations on the trails range from bare-bones to fairly luxurious. If you’d like extras like renting a sleeping bag or trekking poles, it will cost you a little bit more.

Much like any other multi-day trek, you’ll want to pack as lightly as possible for the Salkantay Trek.

Usually, the tour operators will let you pack a small duffel with some extra clothes and toiletries. These get transported by mule from campsite to campsite. In addition, you’ll want to carry your own day pack with essentials like water, sunscreen, and clothing layers. We do recommend to take 30L hiking backpack.

Some list of what you must packed.

  • Original passport
  • Waterproof hiking boots – Columbia hiking boots are great.
  • 3-4 pairs of thick hiking socks – REI has a fantastic selection of hiking socks, but if you prefer to order online, Smartwool has some great options for men and women.
  • 2-3 sweat-wicking t-shirts or tank tops
  • 1-2 long-sleeve shirts (including a synthetic or Merino wool baselayer if you have one)
  • 1-2 pairs of long pants
  • A thermal jacket
  • A rain shell – North Face rain jackes are greatt
  • A reusable water bottle
  • A head lamp
  • A hat or visor
  • Bug spray and sunscreen (Highly recommneded)
  • Toiletries
  • Sleeping bag – It can be rentes from SAM Travel Peru
  • Trekking poles – It can be rentes from SAM Travel Peru.
  • Rain gear

There are two main seasons in the sub-tropical Peruvian Andes:

  • The dry season runs from late April through to early October.
  • The wet season starts mid to late October and ends in April.

But, When is the best time of the year to do Salkantay Trek?

The trek can technically be completed all year round, the peak trekking season to Machu Picchu occurs during the dry season and is busiest between May and September. So, the best time of year to do Salkantay Trek run from the shoulder of wet months March/April all the way through to the shoulder of dry months October/November.

Overall, the Salkantay Trek is a memorable, challenging, and jaw-dropping hike that any outdoor or adventure enthusiast would love. If you’re looking for an experience you’ll never forget, and landscapes like none other, the Salkantay Trek definitely won’t disappoint

Cusco offers an extensive network of reasonably priced hotels in the city’s historical part, and you don’t need to stay anywhere on the outskirt to save money when traveling on a budget.

If your hike starts soon, it pays off to learn where’s the meeting point or whether the company offers the pick-up.

Suppose you travel independently to the trailhead, research where’s the closest bus terminal. Also, we recommend staying in a reputable hostel where you can store your luggage safely.

We’ve handpicked the best three hotels in Cusco for every traveler you can use as a base for Salkantay Trek.

Mid-range: Tierra Viva Cusco Centro – This hotel provides a tranquil environment, beautiful rooms and also has one of the top-rated locations in Cusco.

Luxury: JW Marriott El Convento Cusco – The hotel features impressive interiors, has a charming colonial courtyard, luxury rooms, and Cusco’s cathedral or main square are only three blocks away.

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