Salkantay Trek – the Alternative Route to Machu Picchu
The famous Salkantay Trek is named among the 25 best treks in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. The trek passes through stunning landscapes varying from the cloud forest to the high mountains. Along the way, you will see the fantastic views of the second highest mountain in the Cusco area – Salkantay (“Savage Mountain” translated from Quechua), 20,574 feet (6,271 m). You will notice that the micro-climate changes from cold glacier views to a warmer forest with green, lush dwarf forest and cloud forest and beautiful fauna and flora, especially different species of orchid, as well as ferns and begonias. Along the way, you will explore beautiful waterfalls and mountain streams. This trek to Machu Picchu goes through unfrequented areas and combines culture and tradition with the incredible flora and fauna offered by Peru. You will be in the real Andes and the perfect conditions to get a sense of the life in the area. This hike is very beautiful but also challenging. It can be booked as a group departure or deluxe private service.
We pick you up very early from your hotel in Cusco to begin our adventure. A three-hour drive will take you to Soraypampa, the starting point of our trek and a real beauty spot where you may get breathtaking views of the snowy peaks of Mount Humantay (5,900 m) and MountSalkantay (6,215 m). After fortifying yourself with a breakfast you will climb up the Salkantay valley to Salkantay Pampa at 4,000. From here we continue uphill for another hour until reaching our lunch spot at Laguna Suyroccocha at 4,200 m. In the afternoon we continue our hike to Salkantay Pass at 4,650 m, the highest point of the trek. If time allows, you may walk to a small and colorful highland lagoon, located at the foot of the glaciers. Finally, your last two hours will be downhill to our first campsite, called Wayracmachay at 3,800 m.
Walking Distance: 15 km
Elevation Gained: 850 meters
Elevation Descended: 850 meters
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
You will be woken up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. Hopefully, you will see the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds, lifting from the green cloud forest. After a hearty breakfast, you will begin the four-hour downhill hike to our lunch spot, Ccollpapampa at 2,700 m. On the way, you may appreciate the micro-climate changes from cold glacier views to a warmer forest with green, lush jungle and beautiful flora and fauna. There will be many different species of orchids to admire, as well as ferns and begonia flowers. In the afternoon another four-hour downhill hike leads to our private campsite called La Loreta at 2400 m. Along the way, you will be able to appreciate beautiful waterfalls and streams as well as a rich flora and fauna. In this area the locals farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges, and avocados. Upon arrival at the campsite, you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and have time to enjoy the free hot shower, hot Jacuzzi and perhaps swim in our swimming pool. There will also be time to walk around our garden crops like coffee, avocado, chillis, tomatoes, and pineapples. Tonight you will be able to enjoy a dinner with views of the Salkantay river below.
Walking Distance: 18 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,400 meters
Elevation Descended: 1,400 meters
Weather: Warm and hot
Today you may look forward to the most interesting portion of your hike. We will explore the tropical forest and visit an organic coffee farm, where you will be able to taste the coffee, prepared by the local people. Coffee is the main farming industry for the local people. You will also explore some orange and avocado orchards. Later you will climb part of an original Inca trail for two and a half hours. You will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley until you arrive at the Llactapata Inca site, with views of Machu Picchu. Another 15 minutes downhill will take us to our lunch spot and private campsite. This is a great place to enjoy the sunset and sunrise over Machu Picchu. After lunch, you will have some free time to enjoy the views and relax from the hiking.
Walking Distance: 12 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,700 meters
Elevation Gained: 400 meters
Weather: During the day hot and humid, chilly at night
We rise early to enjoy our last breakfast prepared by our trekking chef. A two-hour downhill trail with views of Machu Picchu some of the way will take us to the hydroelectric station. From here a three-hour walk will take us Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the valley of Machu Picchu, where we will check into our hotel for a well-deserved rest.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 meters
Today you will be rewarded with a guided tour of the fabulous ‘Lost City of the Incas’ of Machu Picchu. At the end of the tour, you will have some time to yourself or, if you arranged to climb the Huaynapicchu mountain (must be booked in advance, as it sells out fast). In the afternoon we board our train to Ollantaytambo from where our vehicle will take you back to Cusco.
- Professional English-speaking Guides
- Briefing: A night or two before your trek, you will receive a full briefing, together with your duffel bag for the trek which will stay with your porters, while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs. Please allow around 2kg for your sleeping bag and air mattress.
- Porters & Horsemen: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items. There is no additional fee for this. We will give you your duffel bag at your briefing the night before, to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until you arrive at your evening campsite.
- Emergency Horse: an extra horse is included for our clients to use if they need a break from trekking. Due to the path conditions, this horse is only available for the first day and a half, so please conserve your energy. If you are feeling unwell, you will also have the option to take a car to the second campsite, with the porters.
- Hotel: The trek will include three nights of camping and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu. We include a 3-star hotel. Upgrades are always possible.
- Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo before the trek) and brought to the trailhead to begin your trek. Your train returning after Machu Picchu is Expedition class and can be upgraded on your way home to the Vistadome train for $ 90 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, you will be brought back to your hotel in Cusco. Your round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is also included.
- Equipment: We use Eureka Timberline 4 person tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
- Food: The chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning, for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on day four. Lunch the last day is not included.
- Water: Beginning with your first lunch until your last breakfast, we will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camelback. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
- First Aid: Every guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
- Extras: Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mattress for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
- Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients have on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so we have added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well.
Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping Bag: $ 40
Inflatable Air Mattress: $35
Walking Sticks (Pair): $30
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45-minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $ 90.-. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
Machu Picchu Montana: $90.- per person
Prices in USD per person (group departure):
1 person USD 780.-
2 people USD 775.-
3 people USD 760.-
4 people USD 750.-
We also offer a 4 day/3 night alternative for those with less time (included one night in a hotel in Machu Picchu as this trek follows a different route:
Prices in USD per person (group departure):
1 person USD 780.-
2 people USD 725.-
3 people USD 715.-
4 people USD 705.-
Private Deluxe Service for 5 days/4 nights:
Prices in USD per person (private deluxe service):
1 person USD 3,485.-
2 people USD 2,095.-
3 people USD 1,740.-
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