SALKANTAY TREK

5 Days 4 Nights

The SALKANTAY TREK is a 5 day/4 night trek through diverse landscapes culminating in a tour of the magical city of Machu Picchu on the 5th day.

This trek boasts spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers, turquoise lakes, Andean plateaus, waterfalls, and high jungle. It even includes an original Inca trail to a small Inca ruin and a distant view of Machu Picchu, before reaching the famed city itself. This trek is approximately 60 km/37 miles and goes up to 4,600 m/15,092 ft. This is the second most popular trek in the Cusco Region (after the Inca Trail) so it is fairly crowded.

Though it is typically a 5 day trek it can be done in 4 days for the truly motivated.  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).

Meters

Kilometers

Days

Nights

The Nitty Gritty Trek Details

Highlights

Glacial peaked mountains, lush/tropical landscapes, turquoise lakes, Machu Picchu

Location/Terrain

Glacial, snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, multiple high passes, high jungle, plateaus

Acclimatization

3 day acclimatization and multi-day trekking experience recommended

Duration

5 Days/4 Nights

Distance

60 km/37 miles

Altitude

1,870m/6,135ft to 4,600m/15,090ft.

Adventure Rating

★★★★☆
Moderate to strenuous, lengthy, high altitude

Solitude Rating

★★☆☆☆
Crowded, 2nd most popular trek after the Inca Trail

When to Go

Year round but best from March to November

Departures

Daily departures with 2 or more people

Prices USD

6-10 trekkers: 790, 3-5 trekkers: 875,  2 trekkers: 1125 per person

Customizable

Yes! Private, custom, add-ons all available.

DAY 1: CUSCO – SALKANTAYPAMPA

Private transport will collect you from your hotel for a departure time of approximately 6:00am to Mollepata 2900 m/9,500 ft, where we have breakfast in a local restaurant. After breakfast we continue on a beautiful scenic journey through the Limatambo Valley, with stops for panoramic views of the “Apu or Mountain Salkantay.” One can see awesome chains of magnificent snow capped mountains and the lush Apurimac River Valley. After we arrive at the trailhead called Sayllapata 3,500 m/11,480 ft. we meet our Arrieros “horsemen” and trekking staff, (cook and assistants). You will need to apply insect repellent for the start of the trek to lunch. We will trek for about 3 hours before lunch through traditional Andean communities such as Challacancha and Soraypampa where we stop for lunch. We will continue walking for approximately 2 hours through small Andean villages to Salkantaypampa 4,000 m/13,120 ft, at the base of Salkantay Mountain, our first campsite.  Walking distance approximately 12 km/7.5 miles (5 hours).

DAY 2: SALKANTAYPAMPA – CHAULLAY

After an early breakfast we start trekking at approximately 7:00am ascending for 3 hours to the Apacheta pass 4,600 m/15,090 ft. From this point we can enjoy a spectacular view of the Mountain Salkantay, a stunning snow capped mountain (6,264 m/20,500 ft) and the second highest peak in Cusco’s region. We will also see the snow capped mountains Humantay (5,850 m/ 19,192 ft) and Pumasillo (5,800 m/ 19,028 ft), as well as the Salkantay river, small lakes and moraines (terminal point of glaciers). After enjoying the view at the pass we will continue 2 hours downhill to our lunch camp in Huayracpunku (3,800 m/12,467 ft). After lunch we walk 3 more hours downhill and you will notice the marked change in scenery along the way from Andean plateau to high jungle where the landscape is warmer, more humid, and quite lush. As we enter the high jungle you will need to apply insect repellent. We end our 3 hour hike at our campsite Chaullay (2,920 m/9,580 ft). Because this campsite is at lower elevation it will be warmer at night here. Walking distance approximately 19 km/11.8 miles (9 hours)

DAY 3: CHAULLAY – LA PLAYA

After breakfast you will be given snacks and cooled, boiled water for your bottles and you will need to apply insect repellent and continue to reapply the repellent throughout the day. It will usually be warm out in this location so you can hike in shorts if you like. We start at 7:00am with an easy 6 hour hike through the Totora Valley which is part of the high jungle or Ceja de Selva. We will see a wide variety of plants including different fruit, flowers, birds and other various crops (e.g. coca, coffee, avocado, and bananas). Along this trail we will pass a beautiful waterfall and several streams. With luck we can observe the famous Peruvian national bird, “Gallito de las Rocas.” We continue hiking straight to our campsite at La Playa (2,350 m/7,612 ft) where we will enjoy lunch and some time to rest before having happy hour and dinner later in the evening. At this campsite you will be able to take a cold shower if you wish and can also purchase various drinks, avocados, grenadines, and other snacks and fruit. Walking distance approximately 15 km/9.3 miles (6 hours)

DAY 4: LA PLAYA – AGUAS CALIENTES

After breakfast, around 7:00am we begin our trek to the village Lucmabamba where we will see the remains of an original Inca trail. We are fortunate enough to trek on this rising trail along which we will see plantations of coffee, banana, passion fruit, avocado, and we will have a lovely view of the lush Santa Teresa Valley. We follow the Inca trail climbing up for 3 hours to Llactapata (2,700 m/8,858 ft) an Inca ruin. From here we can see Machu Picchu from a distance and enjoy some free time to rest, use the restroom (1 sol), and buy drinks or snacks if you wish. After visiting Llactapata we walk 2 hours downhill to the hydroelectric plant 1,870 m/6,135 ft and have lunch in a local restaurant near the hydroelectric train. At 4:45pm we will take the 45 minute train journey to Aguas Calientes, the town below Machu Picchu (2,000 m/6,561 ft). Once in town you will be taken to a hotel for the night to have a hot shower, put your stuff down, and you can visit the local hot springs (open until 9pm, 10 soles per person, bring your own towel and sandals) if you wish before or after our dinner in a local restaurant. Walking distance approximately 15 km/9.3 miles (5 hours). 

DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – OLLANTAYTAMBO – CUSCO

Wake up call and breakfast is very early (Approx 4am) in order for us to take one of the first (5:30am, 25 min ride) buses directly to Machu Picchu (2,400 m/7,875 ft). Once we arrive at Machu Picchu you will show your entrance ticket and passport. If you are a student you must bring your ISIC card to the entrance or you will not be permitted entrance. From the entrance, it is a 15-minute walk to the famous views from the South Zone of the farming terraces at the end of the Inca trail. Enjoy watching the sun rise over the ruin site and the fascinating tour of Machu Picchu with your guide who will unfold the mysteries of this magical site, explaining the history and flora/fauna. Your guide will spend about 2 1/2 hours relating interesting and amazing stories, explaining temples and special sectors. Your tour of Machu Picchu will finish between 9 and 9:30am after which you will have a little free time to take photos and explore. The new rules for 2019 have split the entrance times into three slots per day. Our tour includes the first ticket (6-10am) so at 10am you would need to exit the ruin site unless you choose to purchase an extra time slot (or two). If you wish to do one of the extra hikes within Machu Picchu (Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain) you would need to prepurchase a permit as well as an extra time slot in Machu Picchu (these new rules are dictated by the Peruvian government and we are sorry for the inconvenience). After you are done exploring the ruin site, either at 10am or later if you’ve booked more time, take one of the many, frequent buses down to Aguas Calientes.  There are many restaurants to choose from and your guide can also help suggest a nice place to eat. After grabbing a bite to eat you will take the train back to Ollantaytambo where private transport will drive you back to your hotel in Cusco.
  • Meals: Breakfast in the hotel, snacks on the tour
  • Overnight: Not Included

Helpful Info:

  • There are no bathrooms in the ruin site. There are bathrooms right outside the entrance, cost is 1 sol per entrance, and they provide a little toilet paper. If you leave close to the time your ticket expires it is likely they will not permit re-entry.
  • You are allowed to take in a small backpack (under 20L)
  • They are no longer allowing box lunches to be brought into the ruin site. We recommend bringing extra snacks (we provide snacks too) or going down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and returning depending on how much time you’ve booked in Machu Picchu
  • They no longer allow plastic water bottles so please come prepared with water bladders/reusable water bottle(s)
  • Please do not climb on or deface the rocks or leave trash/debris of any kind.
  • Our recommendation is to add one extra time slot to allow for more time in the Ruin Site (with or without an extra hike).

Machu Picchu Entrance Times: in 2019 there will be 3 time slots with only 2800 people allowed to enter Machu Picchu each day (down from 4000 in 2018)

  • First Entrance: 6am to 10am
  • Second Entrance: 9am to 1pm
  • Third Entrance: 12pm to closing
    • Note: there will potentially be 4-5 entrance times in 2020

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. 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).

We recommend the 10am time slot as Machu Picchu tends to be cloudy in the morning. You are only allowed to hike one of these mountains on a given day so if you would like to do both you would need to return the next day to hike the other one.

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 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
  • Dining tent with tables and stools
  • Cook, kitchen tent and cooking equipment
  • Toilet, Toilet tent and toilet paper
  • Horsemen and horses (to carry tents/food/cooking equipment)
  • Hot water every morning/evening for hand washing purposes
  • Boiled water to fill water bottles every morning/afternoon
  • Tourist train from Hydroelectric plant to Aguas Calientes
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex for the first time slot (6-10am)
  • Round-trip bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu 
  • Hotel (double room) in Aguas Calientes and dinner in a local restaurant
NOT INCLUDED ON THE TRAIL
  • Flights
  • 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 (20 soles)
  • Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Hike (85USD each) – advanced booking essential as they sell out early. The extra hike includes the second time slot at Machu Picchu
  • Travel/medical insurance
  • Tip for your guide(s) and trek staff are optional but highly encouraged if you enjoy your trek
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: 790 USD per person. Price for 3-5 trekkers: 875 USD per person. Price for 2 trekkers: 1125 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
From March to November. This trek is rated as a moderate to strenuous hike considering the high altitudes, multiple passes, and length of walking especially on the 2nd Day. 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
  • Sunglasses
  • 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
  • Sandals
  • 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.

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.
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.

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