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Salcantay Trek To Machu Picchu – 5 Days

  • Service type: Private
  • Physical rating: Strenuous
  • Group size: Max: 16
  • Min age: 10+
  • Departure: Contact us
  • Duration: 5 Days

The Salkantay Trek is the number one alternative to the Inca Trail with high snow-capped mountains, lowland jungle and a visit to the Inca site of Llactapata the trek offers a perfect mix of trekking, culture and nature. Located northwest of Cusco, Nevado de Salkantay, the cordillera’s tallest peak, is at the eastern end of the chain and rises to 6271 meters above sea level. The name Salkantay means ‘Savage Mountain’ which may refer to the swirling clouds that rise up from the jungle lowlands and engulf the peak

Private Services:

These services are arranged just for you and your party, and offer the possibility to choose the departure date, the group size and the duration of the trek. This not only has the advantage of adapting the pace to your physical condition, but also usually means enjoying quieter campsites and meeting less travelers along the route. All private groups include additional services, such as extra porters/wranglers to carry your personal gear, among other benefits.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa – Humantay Lake.

Early departure by our private transport to Mollepata town. A beautiful 3-hour scenic journey through Izcuchaca and Limatambo, with a stop for breakfast in the colorful village of Mollepata. We then head to the starting point of our trek. During the drive, enjoy the impressive views of Salkantay and Humantay Mountains. In Challacancha, we’ll meet up with the porters, mules and horses that will be helping us along our journey. The trek begins now. We’ll hike to Soraypampa in the glacier valleys where we’ll eat lunch and relax a bit. After lunch, we continue the challenging walk up to Humantay Lake where the reward will be breathtaking views of the turquoise glacier water. Our day ends back in Soraypampa where we camp for the night.

  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: camping
  • Maximum Altitude: 4,250 m / 13,943 ft
  • Minimum Altitude: 3,850 m / 12,631 ft
  • Distance Travelled: 12 km / 7.4 miles.

Day 02: Salkantaypampa - Collpapampa Camp

After an early breakfast we start to climb for 3-4 hours to reach the heist point of this adventure, Apacheta Pass or Salkantay Pass (4650m / 15,255 ft). This is a challenging ascent. From this point we can appreciate spectacular views of Cusco’s second highest peak, the stunning snowcapped Mount Salkantay (6,264 mts / 20,551 ft). We continue 2 hrs downhill to lunch in Huayracmachay, we continue our journey along a wide trail through stunning mountain landscapes and thick forest 3-4hours approx. Be prepared to see plenty of native flora and wild fauna. We finish the day’s hike in the village of Chaullay (2920 m / 9580 ft), where we’ll set up camp in the beautiful high jungle.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: camping
  • Maximum Altitude: 4650 m / 13,943 ft
  • Minimum Altitude:2920 m / 9,580 ft
  • Distance Travelled:22 km / 13.7 miles

Day 03: Chaullay – Llucmabamba Camp. “Coffee Farm & Hot Springs”

Today we continue our hike with an easy walk along the Salkamayo River, surrounded by lush vegetation, passing by waterfalls and passion fruit and coffee plantations. We stop for lunch and camp at Lucmabamba at 2100 m / 6890 ft, an organic coffee farm, where you’ll be able to savor the delicious coffee from this region and, if you’d like, purchase some Peruvian coffee beans to enjoy at home. There is also an option to take a relaxing soak in the nearby hot springs of Colcalmayo (45minutes driving from camp by local transportation) Optional bath in the hotsprings of Cocalmayu

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Accommodation: camping
  • Maximum Altitude:2920 m / 9,580 ft.
  • Minimum Altitude:2100 m / 6,890ft
  • Distance traveled: 15km / 9.3 miles

Day 04: Lucmabamba - Llaqtapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

We begin our trek early in the morning from Lucmabamba where we see the remains of an Inka trail. We follow this rising trail after climbing for 4 hrs to reach Llaqtapata 2,700 m / 8860 ft. we can observe in the distance Machupicchu (Inca city). Then 2 hours continuous downhill to the Hydroelectric Plant at 1,870m where we have the last lunch with our staff (So here is our chance to say goodbye and express our appreciation). There is a train station here, aptly named Hidroelectrica. We’ll follow the train tracks until we reach the town of Aguas Calientes which sits at the foot of Machu Picchu 3hrs aprox. We’ll be staying in Aguas Calientes for the night so we’ll check into our accommodation, take a warm shower, refuel with a delicious dinner and a good night’s sleep.

NOTE: (1) You have the option to take the train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes. (2) During the rainy season, the hike up to Llactapata can be dangerous and might not be feasible for safety reasons.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Hostel in Aguas Calientes included
  • Maximum Altitude: 2700 m / 8860 ft
  • Minimum Altitude: 1800 m /5900 ft
  • Distance Travelled: 18 km / 11.1 miles.

Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machupichu –   Cusco

After an early breakfast, we take the bus up to Machu Picchu. You will have a private guided tour of the site for 2 or 3 hours before having a bit of free time or, alternatively, climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Note: These need to be reserved in advance and has an extra cost of $80pp) making your way back on the bus to Aguas Calientes in time for some lunch before boarding the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo with private transportation back to Cusco city

  • Meals: breakfast.
  • Accommodation: Hotel in Cusco not included
  • Entrances fees: Included

TICKET FOR HUAYNAPICCHU or MACHUPICCHU MOUNTAIN. – For hikers who want to add a climb to Huaynapicchu mountain once you finished the tour at Machu Picchu tour, please let us know far in advance to secure spots… the cost of the ticket is US$ 80.00 pp extra.

What is Included:
  • Pre- trek briefing with guide on eve of departure
  • Private transportation to Mollepata- soraypampa (starting of our trek.)
  • 2 person Igloo tents (large and comfortable) and a roll pad mattress.
  • English-speaking experienced professional mountain guide. (2 guides for large groups)
  • 7 kilos porterage service for your personal items ie extra clothes, sleeping bag to be carried by mules, (so you just need to carry your small day pack with bottle of water and everything you will need during the day).
  • Full board meals 4 Breakfast, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners.
  • Dining tent and cooking tents with tables and chairs. Experienced Chef and cooking equipment and kitchen tent.
  • First-aid kit including emergency oxygen tank
  • Mules to carry tents, mattresses, food, cooking equipment Hot water for washing purposes.
  • Boiled water to fill in your bottles at campsites.
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Admission Ticket to Machu Picchu Archaeological Complex.
  • Complete guided tour in Machu Picchu, time to explore on your own
  • Train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Ollanta and private transport to Cusco.
  • Hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes for the night before Machupicchu.
What is not Included:
  • Hotel accommodation in Cusco
  • Admission ticket to Huaynapicchu mountain (extra cost of $80)
  • Meals that are not mentioned in the itinerary.
  • PeruRail train ride from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes.
  • Breakfast and Water to drink on Day 1, lunch day 5
  • Air mattress $20 - Sleeping bag (minus 8 ºC) $25
  • Travel interruption & travel medical/evacuation insurance (required)
  • Tips for your guide, cook and staff are optional, not mandatory.
  •  Special dietary requirements: We are happy to cater for any special dietary
    needs. Please let us know at time of booking.
  • Sleeping bag hire:If required these can be hired for U$20 per person. Please let us know at
    time of booking.
  • Sleeping mattress hire:we include a basic foam mattress but many find an inflatable mattress more comfortable. These can be at hired for U$20. Please let us know at time
    of booking
What you need to bring:
  • Original passport
  • Daypack  20 litres (any bigger will not be allowed into Machu Picchu)
  • Sleeping bag (can be hired at time of reservation for US$25)
  • Rain jacket or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco for a few dollars)
  • Strong, comfortable footwear
  • Complete change of clothing
  • Warm clothing for the evenings ( can reach minus 5 Celsius/23 Fahrenheit)
  • Water bottle
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Sun hat  – Sun block
  • Insect repellent
  • Toiletries, towel and toilet paper
  • Selection of small snacks, chocolate, dried fruit, biscuits etc,
  • Camera, and spare batteries
  • Swimsuit (it may be possible to visit the hot springs at Cocalmayu )


  1. We suggest you arrive in Cusco at least two days before your trek to allow yourself time to acclimatize. The more acclimatized you are the more you will enjoy the trek.
  2. Please let us know the name and telephone number of your hotel in Cusco so we can locate you if needed.
Adventure Travel FAQs:

Do I need to be in good physical condition to hike in the Andes?

Our treks; Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, Ausangate, Lares trek, Choquequirao trek, etc. are moderately difficult, lengthy and traverse rough mountain terrain. We kindly recommend that if you want to immerse and hike the Andes to be in relatively good physical condition and acclimatization.
We suggest a regular and moderate exercise routine to improve endurance and stamina. Also, we suggest you arrive in Cusco at least two/ three days before your trek to allow yourself time to acclimatize. The more acclimatized you are the more you will enjoy the trek.

What is altitude sickness “Soroche”?

Altitude sickness is caused by ascending too rapidly, which doesn’t allow the body enough time to adjust to reduced oxygen and changes in air pressure. Symptoms include headache, vomiting, insomnia and reduced performance and coordination.

How can I reduce the risk of altitude sickness?

Arrive in Cusco at least 3 days prior your trek to have time to acclimatize, avoid rapid ascents specially on your first day and get enough sleep/rest. Drink plenty of fluids / water and stay hydrated is vital (coca tea, a local remedy). Eating light/ small meals will help your body digest food more efficiently at high altitudes. If you feel symptoms of altitude sickness, descend to a lower altitude immediately and rest until you feel better. Please consult your doctor if you have concerns about being at altitude. There are many medications that they can be provided.

Weather in Cusco and treks to Machupicchu

Cusco’s climate is divided into two seasons: the rainy season, from November to March (the heaviest rains generally occur between January and March); and the dry season, from May to September.
Along the Inca Trail (May to September, high tourist season), temperatures range from 15° – 20ºC (59°F-68°F) during the day if it is sunny, and from 05-10ºC (41°F-50°F) during the day if it is not sunny and from 0-05ºC(32°F-41°F) during the night in between the first and second campsites. In Wiñaywayna and Machu Picchu, which is a subtropical zone, at a lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer, although warm clothing is still recommended at night.

What is the weather like in Machu Picchu year-round?

Temperature: Machu Picchu is located in a tropical cloud forest and rain is present throughout the year, even in the dry season months. The average temperature ranges between 54ºF and 75ºF (12ºC and 24ºC). On the hottest days, it is possible to reach 79ºF (26°C).

Inca Trail Important Notice

According to the Resolution #002-2004-UGM-CD, published on Nov 12, 2004, the Inca Trail Regulation that refers to Inca Trail space bookings, bookings will only be guaranteed by the governmental institutions when providing full names, nationalities and passport numbers of passengers, and when having paid the full amount for passengers and staff (cook and team of porters) entrance fees.

Inca trail availability

Due to the popularity of the Inca Trail, we highly recommend that you book as far in advance as possible in order to secure a place. There are only a limited number of permits issued per day. We do of course have many other exciting treks to should you be too late to secure a permit.

Ticket for huaynapicchu or machupicchu mountain. –

For hikers who want to add a climb to Huaynapicchu mountain once you finished the tour at Machu Picchu tour, please let us know far in advance to secure spots. There is a limit number of permits issued per day!

Is the water safe and included in my tours?

We water at our private transportation for all of our tours and boiled water along our treks. We insist on a “Leave no trace” tourism by implementing plastic-free tours. Everyone should carry their canteens to reduce the use disposable bottles. (Eco friendly Attitude, we provide the water and you bring the bottle!)

What equipment will be provided by Andes Immersion on the treks?

We always make sure to have the best equipment on our treks. On the basic trek, you will always find sleeping tents (double occupancy), dining tents (with tables, stools, and dining tools) and cooking tents (where our staff will prepare delicious meals).

Appropriate clothing along the treks

Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light rain gear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required in the first two campsites, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the third day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the Pack List.

Extra Gear and Clothing

We genuinely believe that when our staff is treated well and everyone is equipped with quality hiking equipment, clothing, and anything else they may need to do their job the very best they can, everyone wins. If you have equipment or clothing you may not use again, you can donate it to a porter! Headlamps, sleeping bags, trekking poles, clothing are all greatly appreciated.

Where can I store my baggage that I don't need for the trail?

Certainly, any baggage that is not necessary for your trek may be stored in your hotel in Cusco (most hotels offer this service free of charge). However, In the case that your hotel may not provide this service, we will store your baggage safely in our office free of charge.

Environmental responsibility “Leave no trace tourism”.

Nowadays, we are all concerned about the environment and care of Mother Nature (Pachamama), we understand the potential harm that can come from taking groups through many of the delicate environments, we are licensed operators and we do insist in a policy of …” “Leave no trace tourism”. our tours are plastic-free; everyone should carry their canteens to stop using disposable bottles.


Please ensure you have adequate travel insurance to cope with any medical emergencies, any costs incurred due to delayed or cancelled flights and for loss or delay of baggage.
People visiting Peru can buy travel health plans to protect themselves and their traveling companions from large out-of-pocket expenses due to unforeseen injury or illness. Although health concerns are the primary reason people purchase trip insurance for Peru. we recommend World Nomads™ – Travel Insurance Peru