The SALKANTAY & INCA TRAIL TREK is a 6 day/5 night trek that combines two of the most popular treks in the Cusco region.
The Salkantay trail hikes through diverse landscapes and has spectacular views of snow capped mountains, glaciers, Andean plateaus, waterfalls, and high jungle. The Inca Trail is the most popular trek to Machu Picchu and traverses original Inca steps ending at the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), the entrance to Machu Picchu city. You will trek past 7 archaeological sites along the way and a variety of flora and fauna. This combined trek is approximately 76 km/47.2 miles and goes up to 4,965 m/16,289 ft. It is classified as a moderate to strenuous trek.
This trail requires a permit and a limited number of people are allowed to trek per day. These spots fill quickly so booking well in advance (at least 6+ months recommended) is essential. Minimum passengers necessary for trek departure: 2 people (1 person or private/custom treks possible with extra fee). Maximum trekkers per group: 10 people (special, private party groups can exceed maximum).
The Nitty Gritty Trek Details
Glacial mountains, lush/tropical landscapes, turquoise lakes, Classic Inca Trail, 7 ruin sites, original Inca steps, Machu Picchu!
Glacial, snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, multiple high passes, high jungle, plateaus, Inca steps, rocky terrain
3 day acclimatization and multi-day trekking experience recommended
6 Days/5 Nights
76 km/47.2 miles
|1,870m/6,135ft to 4,965m/16,289ft|
Moderate to strenuous, lengthy, high altitude
Both trails are touristy/busy
When to Go
Year round (Inca Trail closed in February)
Daily departures with 2 or more people
6-10 trekkers: 1200, 3-5 trekkers: 1300, 2 trekkers: 1600 per person
Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.
DAY 1: CUSCO – MOLLEPATA – CHALLACANCHA – HUMANTAY LAKE – SORAYPAMPA – ICHUPATA
Today we begin our trek! After an early pick up from your hotel we take private transport to the village of Mollepata (2.5 hours) where we will have breakfast and look around the village. You can also buy last minute supplies here. We continue driving for 45 minutes to Challacancha (3400m/11,154ft). Here we begin our trek with a short climb to a pretty channel of water. From here it is a 2 hour gradual climb to the stunning Lake Humantay where we have time to rest and take pictures, after which we have lunch in Soraypampa. After lunch we hike 3 hours up to Ichupata where we camp for the evening.
- Walking distance approximately: 12km/7.45 miles (5-7 hrs)
- Campsite elevation: 4200m/13,779ft
DAY 2: ICHUPATA – INCACHIRIASCA PASS – SISAY PAMPA
Today we wake up early and start hiking for 3-4 hours past Pampa Japonesa towards the highest summit on the trek, the Incachiriasca Pass (4965m/16,289ft) where you will have stunning views of glacial Salkantay Mountain. After a rest at the pass we then descend about 20 minutes to our lunch spot. After lunch we hike for 2 hours down to Sisay pampa (4100m/13,451ft) where we will camp for the night. Sisay pampa is a lovely, flat area with views into the neighboring valleys.
- Walking distance approximately: 12km/7.45 miles (5-7 hrs)
- Campsite elevation: 4100m/13,451ft
- Highest Pass on the trek: 4965m/16,289ft
DAY 3: SISAY PAMPA – WAYLLABAMBA (ENTRANCE TO INCA TRAIL) – AYAPATA
This morning we continue 3.5 hours down towards the Pampacahuana community which is next to an original Inca water canal. From Pampachuana we have a 1-2 hour hike down through a narrow, steep valley to Inkarakay, an Inca fortress ruin (otherwise known as Paucarcancha). We will have time to explore this small Inca Ruin that most people never get to see. We then continue walking for approximately 1 more hour down to the small village of Wayllabamba which is where we join the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu! Since horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail due to the stone steps, we now say goodbye to our horsemen and horses and meet our amazing porters who will take over carrying all of our gear for the next few days. After eating lunch we start hiking up towards Warmihuañusca or Dead Woman’s Pass via a steep ascent that is 9km/5.6 miles in length. We do not hike this entire distance, however, as we stop part of the way up the pass at Ayapata where we will camp for the night.
- Walking distance approximately: 14km/8.7 miles (6-7 hrs)
- Campsite elevation: 3400m/11,154ft
DAY 4: AYAPATA – CHAQUICOCHA
Today we continue our climb to Warmihuañusca (Dead Woman’s Pass, 4200m/13,776ft), about 2 hours uphill. This is the highest point on the Inca Trail (though not on this combined trek). After we summit the pass we then descend into the Pacaymayo Valley (3600m/11,811ft) and then hike up to the second pass, Runkurakay (3970m), stopping halfway to visit the beautiful archeological ruin known as Runkurakay (3800m). Experts believe that this small oval structure was used as a watchtower. After summiting the Runkurakay pass, we then hike down towards Yanacocha (black lagoon) and into the cloud forest, finally arriving at an impressive semicircular ruin known as Sayacmarca (3624m/11887ft). After we explore Sayacmarca we hike a further 20 minutes to Chaquicocha (3600m/11,811ft) where we will camp for the night.
- Walking distance approximately: 17km/10.5 miles (7 hrs.)
- Campsite elevation: 3800m/12,467ft
- Inca Trail Trek high point: Dead Woman’s Pass (4200m/13,779ft)
DAY 5: CHAQUICOCHA – WINAYWAYNA
After an early morning breakfast we start an easy, gentle climb to the Phuyupatamarca pass (3700m/12136ft) where we will explore the Phuyupatamarca ruin site, one of the most complete and best preserved archeological complexes along the Inca Trail. Located on the highest point of the mountain, Phuyupatamarca means town over the clouds. From here there are beautiful views of the Urubamba River valley below. After exploring this ruin site we hike down the stone steps to Wiñaywayna (2650m/8692ft) where we will camp for the night. The Wiñaywayna archaeological complex is an impressive ruin made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces as well as a religious sector and an urban sector. This is one of the most beautiful ruin sites along the Inca Trail and only 5 minutes away from the campsite! Get some sleep tonight as we have a very early wake up tomorrow in order to hike directly into Machu Picchu via the sungate!
- Walking distance approximately: 10km/6.2 miles (5 hrs)
- Campsite elevation: 2650m/8694ft
DAY 5: WINAYWAYNA – MACHU PICCHU – AGUAS CALIENTES – CUSCO
After waking up at 4am we begin our early morning hike that takes us across a steep mountainside through lush, humid cloud-forest of giant ferns and broad-leaf vegetation. At the top we cross the stone threshold of Intipunku (Sun Gate) and encounter an unforgettable sweep of natural beauty and human artistry –a backdrop of twisting gorge and forested peaks framing the magical city of Machu Picchu.
We complete the final leg down the royal flagstone walkway, past outlying shrines and buildings and into the heart of Machu Picchu, where we spend the rest of the morning with a guided tour of the city’s highlights and some time for individual exploring among Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and crannies. If you wish you can book one of the extra hikes within Machu Picchu (Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain). These hikes are permitted, incur a fee, and spots are limited. These hikes must be booked well in advance, at the same time the permit is secured. If you choose one of these hikes you may miss out on part of the guided tour. In the afternoon, a shuttle bus takes us to the small town below Machu Picchu, Aguas Calientes, where you will have time to eat lunch in a restaurant of your choosing and then take the train back to Ollantaytambo where private transport will take you back to your hotel in Cusco.
- Walking distance approximately: 7km/4.3 miles (2 hrs)
NOTE: The times cited in the itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend upon the group and lunch stops and campsites vary according to the progress of the group. Also, camping sites may be subject to change based on when permits are purchased and your guide will inform you of any changes at the briefing
HIKES WITHIN MACHU PICCHU
There are hikes within Machu Picchu that you can do on your own if you wish. The hikes that do not require an entrance ticket are The Inka bridge and the Sun Gate (where the Inka Trail ends with a view of Machu Picchu city). Wayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain hikes both require a paid ticket and there are a limited number of spots (200 at 7am and 200 at 10am). If you want to hike one of these please let us know well in advance as these spots fill up very quickly. Price per hike is 75USD. Please note we cannot guarantee you a spot for the mountains requiring tickets and that the trail is very steep and slippery and not for those afraid of heights or with vertigo.
INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Pre-Trek briefing the night before the trek to go over the itinerary, meet your guide(s) and answer any questions
- Collection from your hotel in the morning or our departure point (your choice) Plaza Regocijo
- Private bus transport to the starting point of the trek
- Personal horse/porter to carry your overnight gear up to 8kg/17.6lbs
- Drybag to carry your overnight gear so it won’t get wet or dusty
- 3 person, 4 season tents (2 people in large and comfortable Mountain Hardwear Expedition tent)
- One-inch-thick foam mattress sleeping pad to put under your sleeping bag
- English speaking professional guide
- Full meals on the trek (3 meals per day, tea time every afternoon, snacks on the trail)
- First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank and emergency horse
- Porters (to carry tents/food/cooking equipment) – Inca Trail portion
- Horsemen and horses (to carry tents/food/cooking equipment) – Salkantay portion
- Dining tent with tables and stools
- Cook, kitchen tent and cooking equipment
- Toilet, Toilet tent and toilet paper – Salkantay portion
- Campsite with toilets – Inca Trail portion
- Hot water every morning/evening for hand washing purposes
- Boiled and purified water to fill water bottles every morning/afternoon
- Inca Trail permit
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex
- Bus ticket from Machu Picchu down to Aguas Calientes
- Tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Guided tour of Machu Picchu, plenty of time to explore on your own
- Hotel (double room) in Aguas Calientes and dinner in a local restaurant
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
- Hotel before/after the trek
- Lunch and dinner on the last day
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Entrance to hot springs (10 soles)
- Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike – advanced booking essential
- Travel/medical insurance
- Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
ON THE TRAIL
On the trail you should carry a day pack with your camera, water bottle or bladder, snacks, cold weather clothing and rain gear or poncho in case of rain (unlikely in dry season – May to October) and anything you will need before dinner as horses do not walk alongside you. Your bag will be waiting for you at every campsite. We will provide you with a duffel bag for extra luggage to be carried by horses.
HELPING LOCAL PEOPLE
Helping Local Children or Andean People (Optional) Along certain treks we may encounter some local children and Andean people. If you wish to lend a helping hand you may bring some clothes, toys, books and school equipment (used or new), toiletries and other essentials, and new/sealed medication for a variety of ailments. You will be rewarded with their gratitude and beautiful smiles. Please do not give candy or sweets as they do not have access to dental/medical care and tooth decay can lead to serious illness. For those who wish to help but take a trek that does not pass local people or villages you can leave your donated items with a Killa Expeditions representative and we will distribute them to one of the local communities that we support. There are a variety of other ways in which to lend a helping hand to local communities (charity events, building schools, and much more). If interested please get in touch!
PRICE AND NUMBER OF TREKKERS
A minimum of 2 trekkers required for this trek. Maximum of 10 trekkers in a group. Price for 6-10 trekkers: 1200 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 1300 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 1600 USD per person. Private treks, single trekker, custom treks, large groups, and packages welcome, Please email us to customize.
WHEN TO GO AND DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY
Year round except when Inca Trail is closed in February. This trek is rated as a moderate to strenuous hike considering the high altitudes, multiple passes, and length of walking. It is recommended that you acclimatize in Cusco for at least 2-3 days before trekking.
WHAT TO BRING ON YOUR TREK
What to bring: for your trek: The weather varies a lot in Peru, having 28 climates and 84 of the worlds 104 ecosystems. Cusco is set high up (3,380 mts, 11,089 ft) near the Andean Mountain Range and the dry season (winter) is from April/May to October/November with the wettest part of the year (summer) being January through March. Temperatures don’t vary too much between these seasons but the amount of precipitation does. If the sun is out it can be quite warm, but in the shade it gets cool fast. Temperatures change quickly and you will need layers as you hike during the day. At night it is quite cold in the mountains (usually near or below freezing) and most people will need long underwear and layers to sleep in, nice warm socks, gloves, and a hat. Everything you need for the day should be kept in your daypack that you carry because all the items you leave with your porter will not be available to you until the evening at the campsite. It is recommended not to hike in cotton or jeans in the event of rain as cotton takes a very long time to dry. It is also recommended to bring true hiking boots or trail running shoes as regular running shoes do not get very good traction especially when it has rained
- Sleeping bags and walking poles (poles must have intact rubber bottoms)
- Recommend a sleeping bag rated for below freezing
- Sleeping bag liner (for your sleeping bag if you wish)
- Mattress pad – while we provide a mattress pad, being rested is essential for a great hiking experience and we find that sleep habits are very individualized. Therefore we recommend bringing your own pad that you know you are comfortable sleeping on, as well as any other sleep items you might want to have (camp pillow, etc).
- Sunscreen: the sun is very strong in Cusco
- Sun hat
- Lip balm
- Hiking shoes/boots
- Hiking pants and shirts (layers)
- Layers – long underwear and/or warm sleep pants for cold nights
- Hand warmers if you wish
- Warm hat, gloves, scarf and thick warm socks (or you can buy a traditional Peruvian hat and scarf – they are beautiful!)
- Daypack and rain cover
- Rain gear – rain jacket and rain pants (optional for the pants), can buy an inexpensive poncho before the trek
- Cash for tipping porters, cooks, horsemen, guides, buying items along the trail, for in town, emergencies, etc. Note: Cash should be in perfect condition (ripped, damaged soles are NOT accepted anywhere in Peru)
- Swim suit, flip flops, towel for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes if you wish to go
- Torch/flashlight/headlamp (and batteries)
- Insect repellent
- Extra snacks if you wish (beyond snacks provided by us)
- E.g. if you have a favorite protein bar as Cusco doesn’t sell items like this
- First aid kit, including blister protection (though your guide will have one, you may wish to carry one of your own)
- Personal medication and toiletries you might want
- Camera, extra memory cards/film, batteries
- Water bottle or water bladder to refill
- Passport (must be valid 6 months past your travel dates for most countries)
- Copies of passport (keep copies separate, give to travel friends to keep, etc)
- Power adapter/converter
- Travel lock(s) approved by TSA (or they cut them off – US only)
- Tickets, itinerary, emergency contact information
- Any medications you currently are taking or need/may need (see suggestions below)
- Small quick-dry pak towels and/or wipes for a quick wipe down at the end of the day
What to bring: medications – medications are optional and depend on your specific needs
- Antibiotic for travelers diarrhea or UTI
- Antibiotic for a severe bacterial infection
- Medication for upset stomach/indigestion
- Anti-diarrhea medication
- Anti-nausea medication for motion sickness/altitude sickness if needed
- Cold/flu medication
- General pain killer/fever reducer
- Vaccinations – recommend bringing all boosters up to date (MMR, tetanus, etc)
View latest travel advisories and recommended vaccinations and medications for the regions you plan to visit. For Lima, Cusco, and Machu Picchu there are generally no vaccinations required. If you are going to the jungle or any other higher risk area you may need: yellow fever vaccine, medicine for malaria, typhoid vaccine, etc. Click here for updated info: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.aspx NOTE: Please visit your doctor several weeks before your trip to discuss any health restrictions you may have, medications he/she might recommend for you personally, and to seek more information about any vaccinations or medications recommended for Peru (or any of your other destinations). Additionally: speak with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter and/or prescription medications alone or combined.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Itinerary is subject to change and Killa Expeditions is not responsible for loss of personal effects, interruption in your travels (from illness or other reason), or inclement weather/natural phenomena. Please see our disclosure agreement for further information. All trekkers will be required to sign an accident waiver form at time of departure and travel/medical insurance is highly recommended.