Salkantay trek 5 days to Machu Picchu
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.
The Salkantay trek 5 days to Machu Picchu is listed by National Geographic as one of the “World’s Best Treks.” Choose an experienced, highly-rated company for your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, and make it an unforgettable experience.
DAY 1: CUSCO – CHALLACANCHA – SORAYPAMPA (HUMANTAY LAKE)
We will start the day picking you up from your hotel at 04:00 a.m. approximately. We will drive for 3 hours, passing through Anta and Mollepata, until we reach Challacancha. After the first 2 hours of travel, we will stop in Mollepata to use the restrooms and have a light optional breakfast. From there, through the windows of the bus, you will contemplate the white snow-capped mountains of Salkantay and Humantay, two colossal deities of the Andean culture. We will continue to Challacancha, which will be the starting point of our trek.
There we will meet with our support staff, who will prepare the equipment and pack mules. Around 09:30 a.m. we will begin our trek to Soraypampa (3,869 m.a.s.l. / 12,690 ft.), the first camp of the trip. The first section of the trail will lead us through deep valleys on the side of the mountain. We will be able to observe an ancient aqueduct that still supplies water to farmers in the lower areas. After 3 hours of hiking (7 km / 4.3 miles) we will arrive at Soraypampa camp, where we will have lunch.
After lunch and a brief rest, we will hike for 2 hours (5 km / 3.1 miles) to the dazzling Humantay Lagoon (4,221 m.a.s.l. / 13,845 ft.).This true natural wonder is one of the most beautiful places in South America due to the turquoise color of its waters that also reflect the glaciers of the sacred mountain of Humantay.
You will feel like you are inside a dream or a fairy tale! Back at our camp we will observe the sunset at the bottom of the valley: an impressive scene that will fill you with peace. Since our camp is located in the middle of a glacial valley, it is possible to observe the immensity of the night sky without the interruptions that we find in the city. You will be able to clearly enjoy the stars and even watch comets streaking across the dark sky from the comfort of a bed. Take a moment to center your spirit and consider what is truly essential to your life in the silence and tranquility of our Sky Camp.
- Distance: 12 km / 7.45 miles
- Hiking time: 6 hours approximately
- Starting altitude: 3,360 m.a.s.l. / 11,021 ft.
- Maximum altitude: 4,221 m.a.s.l. / 13,845 ft.
- Type of lodging: Sky Camp (transparent igloos)
- Lodging altitude: 3,869 m.a.s.l. / 12,690 ft.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Meals: Lunch and dinner. Also, snacks and tea time in the afternoon.
DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA – SALKANTAY PASS – HUAYRACMACHAY – CHAULLAY
Highlights: Hike the arduous Salkantay trail. Challenge your abilities as we ascend some steep slopes and observe the depth of the valley. In the afternoon, discover the enigmatic cloud forest and rainforest around Chaullay.
This day starts early. We will wake up at 5:00 a.m. and enjoy a light and energetic breakfast to start the hike to the highest point of this trek: the Salkantay pass (4,638 m.a.s.l. / 15,213 ft.). We will cover in 4 hours a demanding distance of 7 km (4.34 miles) between the rocky base of the valley and the imposing Salkantay mountain (6,271 m.a.s.l. / 20,574 ft.). When we reach the highest point we will be able to appreciate the beautiful surrounding valleys and the immense snow-capped peaks of the Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains.
Continuing with this exciting adventure, we will travel 5 km (3.1 miles) downhill on a winding and rocky road that will take us to the Huayracmachay dining room where lunch will be served. There we can rest while enjoying a breathtaking view of the valley. We will continue our hike in the afternoon and head into the Amazon rainforest to see the “cloud forest”. In this sector you will notice an abrupt change in the landscape and the energy of the earth as we leave the Andes and enter the misty Amazon. This 10 km (6.2 mile) stretch takes 6 hours to complete. In addition to the beauty and color of the landscapes you will be able to enjoy the wildlife.
It is important to mention that these forests have a temperate climate most of the year. At the end of this demanding day we will arrive at Chaullay camp (2,870 m.a.s.l. / 9,414 ft.) to enjoy a well-deserved rest.
- Distance: 22 km / 13.7 miles
- Hiking time: 10 hours approximately
- Starting altitude: 3,869 m.a.s.l. / 12,690 ft.
- Maximum altitude: 4,638 m.a.s.l. / 15,213 ft.
- Type of lodging: Andean Huts Camp (Cabins)
- Lodging altitude: 2,870 m.a.s.l. / 9,414 ft.
- Difficulty: Challenging
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Also, snacks and tea time in the afternoon.
DAY 3: CHAULLAY – COLLPAPAMPA – LA PLAYA – LUCMABAMBA
Highlights: Enjoy a serene and uncrowded route. Appreciate the scenery and wildlife. Walk in the company of the river most of the way. Find wild fruits such as bananas, avocados, passion fruit and passion fruit. Refresh yourself in the waterfalls and streams. Visit coffee, orange and avocado plantations.
At 6:00 a.m. we will begin our journey through the Santa Teresa valley to the small ranch of La Playa. You will be able to enjoy this exuberant landscape during a 5 hour drive. You will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids and coffee, banana and avocado plantations. On the way you will be able to taste passion fruit and passion fruit.
We will also pass through the village of Collpapampa also known as “the top of the cloud forest” where we will observe birds, fruit trees, waterfalls and hot springs. If we are lucky, we may even be able to observe the beautiful bird symbol of Peru: the tunki or cock of the rock. After lunch we will explore the rainforest for a while and visit an organic coffee farm. If you are a coffee lover, you are guaranteed a heavenly experience! You will be able to savor freshly brewed local coffee. The intoxicating aroma of freshly roasted and ground coffee wafts through the air for you to enjoy. The main agricultural industry of the local population is the production of coffee which is exported to the United States, Asia and Europe. Afterwards we will head to our third campsite where we will spend the night.
- Distance: 18 km / 11.2 miles
- Hiking time: Approximately 5 hours
- Starting altitude: 2,870 m.a.s.l. / 9,414 ft.
- Maximum altitude: 2,870 m.a.s.l. / 9,414 ft.
- Type of lodging: Jungle Domes Camp (Domes)
- Lodging altitude: 2,017 m.a.s.l. / 6,616 ft.
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Also, snacks and tea time in the afternoon.
DAY 4 : LUCMABAMBA – LLACTAPATA – AOBAMBA-AGUAS CALIENTES
Highlights: Travel the famous Inca Trail. Be amazed by the portentous archaeological site of Llactapata very close to its famous big brother: Machu Picchu. Meet the local people who live their daily lives in this area. Return your gaze to the sacred mountain of Salkantay before catching the first views of the glorious Machu Picchu.
As in previous mornings, we will wake you up very early with a cup of hot coca tea and then you will savor the last breakfast prepared by our talented chef. During the excursion you will have the opportunity to enjoy a short walk of the famous and acclaimed Inca Trail. After ascending for 2 hours while enjoying the incredible views of the Santa Teresa Valley, we will arrive at the Inca site of Llactapata. From there we will be able to observe not only the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, but also the mountains of Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu. We will explore Llactapata with our guide to continue learning about the history of the Incas. Of course you will have enough time to take as many pictures as you want, so you can capture these moments and share them with your friends when you return home.
We will continue our hike downhill for 2 hours to Aobamba where we will enjoy our lunch. We will be accompanied by the Machu Picchu mountain all the way until we arrive at the Hidroelectrica train station. Before arriving at the station we will be dazzled by the natural waterfall of 300 meters high whose waterfall generates electricity for much of the south of the country. On the way, we will see an Intihuatana or sundial which, according to scholars, worked in conjunction with the famous Intihuatana found in Machu Picchu. The Incas used these two stones to determine the winter solstice, which signals the end of the sun’s departure and a new agricultural cycle.
Afterwards, we will arrive at the train tracks that lead to the town of Aguas Calientes. If you are too tired you can take the train to Aguas Calientes (US$ 34.00 extra approximately). However, if you still feel like walking you can walk for 3 hours along the train track. Once in Aguas Calientes you will stay in a lodge where you will rest for the most important day of this excursion.
- Distance: 18 km / 11.2 miles
- Hiking time: 9 hours approximately
- Starting altitude: 2,017 m.a.s.l. / 6,616 ft.
- Maximum altitude: 2,736 m.a.s.l. / 8,974 ft.
- Type of lodging: Lodging
- Elevation gain: 1,900 m.a.s.l. / 6,232 ft.
- Difficulty level: Moderate to challenging
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus snacks.
DAY 5: THE MOST IMPORTANT DAY MACHU PICCHU !
Highlights: Feel your heart race as we walk up to Machu Picchu early in the morning, arriving before most other tourists! Explore this sumptuous wonder of the world while enjoying the sunrise.
Discover the mysteries of Machu Picchu with professional guides on a two-hour tour. Afterwards, if you wish and have booked your tickets in advance, climb the Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountains, or hike to the Sun Gate where you will not need extra tickets. Today we arrive at the final destination of our trek: Machu Picchu, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site.
After a good night’s sleep at the lodge, we will wake up very early to head to the archaeological complex of Machu Picchu with the intention of arriving before most of the tourists. That way, you will be able to enjoy a serene visit to this sanctuary under the soft morning light. The checkpoint at the entrance of Machu Picchu is open for visitors from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It is important to emphasize that this hike is required and that there is the option of taking a bus for US$ 1,000.00 per person.
option to take a bus for US$ 12.00 extra. There we will have a guided tour for approximately 2 hours through this ancient city. The architecture of the Incas is truly amazing! The Incas managed to build a safe, sustainable and well planned city on the mountains thanks to a deep relationship with nature.
Among other feats, they managed to distribute water to the entire population through canals! After the tour, you can climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain. Be sure to book your tickets in advance. The time it takes to climb and descend either of these mountains is approximately 3 hours. A less demanding option and for which you do not need any extra ticket is the hike to the Sun Gate, the main entrance for travelers taking the Inca Trail. This trek takes 2 to 2.5 hours round trip. Another interesting option is to walk to the Inca Bridge.
After enjoying this magical citadel, you will return to the town of Aguas Calientes where, at 3:20 p.m., you will take the train back to Aguas Calientes. We will take the train back to Ollantaytambo. This trip takes 2 hours. In Ollantaytambo we will board a bus that will take us back to Cusco. Arrival to the city is at approximately 6:00 p.m.
- Distance: 6 km / 3.72 miles
- Hiking time: 2 hours approximately
- Starting altitude: 1,900 m.a.s.l. / 6,232 ft.
- Maximum altitude: 2,400 m.a.s.l. / 7,872 ft.
- Difficulty level: Moderate to challenging
- Meals: Box breakfast
Salkantay Trek Distances and Altitudes along the trek to Machu Picchu
About the Salkantay Trek 5 Days to Machu Picchu
The Salkantay Trek Peru connects Cusco to the Citadel of Machu Picchu and runs approximately 89 km/55 miles through high Andean peaks, cloud forest, and steamy jungle. The hike starts at the village of Mollepata, a few miles from Cusco.
The Salkantay Peak – Savage Mountain – is located within the Vilcabamba mountain range, to the northwest of Cusco. Salkantay is one of the highest and most spectacular mountains in the Andes (6,271m/20,574ft).
National Geographic’s Adventure Travel Magazine named the Salkantay trek among the 25 Best Treks in the World.
How far do we walk each day?
The amount you walk each day varies. An average day is 5-8 hours, but on the summit, night combined with the following day you can walk between 8 and 11 hours. Have a look at the itinerary for a day-to-day account.
How difficult are the Salkantay Trek 5 Days?
For an average traveler or tourist, Salkantay is considered a challenging but certainly not impossible hike. Due to the physical demands, anyone who wishes to trek Salkantay should at least be moderately fit. Plus, all trekkers should spend at least 2 days in Cuzco before the trek, to get acclimatized. Being extremely fit does not grant any immunity from altitude sickness.
The entire hike is approximately 72 kilometers (approximately 45 miles), and this hiking takes place for 4 days and 3 nights. The remaining 1 day of the trek is spent at Machu Picchu. In general, Salkantay is considered to be slightly harder than the Inca Trail. Other trails, such as Choquequirao, are considered to be slightly harder than Salkantay.
What’s the most challenging section of the 5-Day Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay Pass, at 14,760123 feet above sea level, is the most difficult section on the trail. Expect wind and cold temperatures. Some hikers might experience symptoms of altitude sickness. Symptoms will disappear as soon as you start your descent. Oxygen will be provided if needed. The Salkantay Pass, at approximately 4,650 meters above sea level is the most difficult section in the trail. These challenges are a result of several factors: the challenge of uphill climbing, cold winds, low temperatures in general, and the fact that you are trekking at a low-oxygen altitude.
How old do I have to Be?
Very young children may not enjoy this. They should be able to walk (without being carried) for 90 minutes without whining (the whining part applies to children of all ages.
Can I hike the Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu at any time?
Weather conditions during the rainy season make the Salkantay trek 5 days a risky decision. Therefore we cannot guarantee the availability of the Salkantay treks from mid-march to the end of February. If the weather is good, we will give the OK for a trek to start. If we think the safety of our porters and clients is being threatened, we will cancel the trek.
When is the best time to hike the Salkantay?
The dry season is the best time for this trek. In Cuzco, the dry season lasts from April to November, and the wet season is from December to March. June to September are the most popular months to do the trek, due to summer vacations in Europe and the US. It is generally thought that May and October offer the best weather conditions.
Can I make the trek by myself?
Yes, it is possible for a single traveler or a small group to hike the trek by themself, without guides or porters. However, the trail is not clearly marked at all points, which makes getting lost a high possibility. This is one of the biggest advantages of hiring a tour agency like Mystic Salkantay. Our guides know the route very well.
Can I do the trek with my kids?
Children under 14 years old are not allowed to do the trek, and children who are over 14 years old should be in good physical shape and used to hiking long distances.
Can I use my mobile/cell phone on the mountain?
You will get sporadic phone coverage during the trek and there will not be anywhere whilst trekking to charge your phone.
Will there be an international cell phone on the Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu ?
One of the trek leaders will be carrying a satellite phone. However, this is for emergency use only.
What is the weather on the Salkantay Trekking 5 Days?
Weather is very varied on this trek, due to the fact that it winds its way through wildly different terrain at different altitudes. The only place where the weather is a serious concern is the Salkantay Pass and the nearby areas. Temperatures here, and at the nearby Soraypampa campsite, can fall below freezing. The other camps are much warmer, due to their proximity to the cloud forest.
How difficult is the Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 5 Days?
On our tours the Salkantay trek is easy. It is not a difficult trek in the Cusco area, although it is a route of ascents and descents, it implies some physical effort, for that our guides will be there to assist you.
Is the Salkantay trek closed?
Due to weather conditions, the Salkantay Trek is closed from January 31 to the end of February every year and we start again operation on the 01 or March, outside this date range, the hike is open and has the best conditions to enjoy it.
Can you do the Salkantay trek without a guide?
If it is possible if you have previous knowledge of the route and you can carry all your equipment; it can take you more time according to your physical condition; the most advisable is to do it with our experienced guides, besides we have exclusive camps, and you will only carry what you need.
Which is better Inca Trail or Salkantay trail?
The ancient Inca Trail 4 Days, originally part of the Inca Road system interconnecting the Inca Empire. This classic trek hike through diverse scenery. The Salkantay Trek 5 days, on the other hand, is more strenuous and famous for its mountain scenery.
||Inca Trail Hike
||Salkantay Trek 5 Days
||Mountains, cloud forest, and Incan Archaeological Sites
||Mountains and abundant wildlife
||26 miles over 4 days
||46 miles over 5 days
||200 people per day, book in advance. More customizable than Salkantay.
||No permit restrictions, an average of 50 hikers per day.
||Mid-range camping or luxury glamping. Porters are available to carry gear.
||Options from rudimentary camping to luxury lodges.
||Travelers in good hiking shape who value comfortable camps and don’t mind a popular trail.
||For experienced, hikers who want to get off the beaten path and value solitude, mountain scenery, opportunities to view wildlife, and a wider range of overnight options.