This amazing trek runs beneath the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6.271 m/20,569ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Andes. The Salkantay Trek was recently named on the National Geographic Ultimate Adventure bucket list – defined as “The 20 most extreme, hair-raising, legendary adventures on the planet.” It is a trek open to everybody, and the most popular alternative to the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, and rich in natural scenery.
This offers 4 days of trekking through various landscapes including highlands, cloud forest, rain forest and dry mountain. Throughout the trek you have amazing views of Apu Salkantay, Pumasillo Mountain and Humantay Mountain, three of the most stunning peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba Mountain range. On the first night you will feel like you can touch the stars while the variety of sites in addition to the beautiful sky include the glaciers of Apu Salkantay and Humantay Mountain, Salkantay lake, and the moraines (natural formations of small hills produced from the pressure of ice falling from the glaciers above).
Our standard package includes the premium services of lodging in a very nice hotel on the fourth night of the trek, a very unique coffee plantation tour in the afternoon of day 3, and dinner at the best restaurant in Aguas calientes. Your ticket to climb Huayna Picchu mountain after your Machu Picchu tour is also included.
Overall distance hiked: 51 km / 32 miles
Maximum altitude reached: 4,650 m / 15,252 ft
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your trek. Your guide will meet you at your hotel and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
DAY 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Soyrococha
We will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning and have a beautiful scenic drive of 3 hours duration to Mollepata. At Mollepata we will have breakfast at one of the local houses.
After breakfast we will get back on the road for 1 hour and 45 minutes until we reach Soraypampa, the beginning of the trek. During this portion of the drive we will see our first views of the magnificent Salkantay and Humantay Mountains, as well as observe lush vegetation and fields of local families growing potatoes, quinoa, lima beans, etc.
At Soraypampa (3,800 m/12,467 ft) we will meet our support staff, who will pack everything for the trek and load the equipment onto horses. We begin our hike with a visit to the remarkable, high altitude lake, Humantay. It is directly below the Humantay glacier, and remarkably blue…actually we should probably call it turquoise. This is a remarkable 2 ½ hour excursion.
After that expedition, we return to the trailhead and begin the hike to Salkantaypampa. We begin with a gentle 2 hour climb to Salkantaypampa, our lunch spot for the day. During this portion of the trek we will follow a little stream whose source is the Salkantay glacier. We will also see the moraines and the glaciers of Apu Salkantay and Humantay mountains.
After lunch we ascend for two hours to Soyrococha (4,400 m /14,332 ft), our camp for the evening. Humantay Mountain is prominent during this entire segment from Salkantaypampa to Soyrococha.
DAY 2: Soyrococha – Abra Salkantay – Colpapampa
You will wake up to a steaming hot cup of coca tea to begin this challenging day. After breakfast we are going to hike for 1 hour uphill to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay pass (4,650 m / 15,252 ft). At the top we are going to make an offering to Apu Salkantay and talk about the significance of the mountain in Inca culture and why this spot is venerated. From here we will hike 30 minutes to a fantastic lake that is right beneath the Salkantay pass. The is the perfect place to take pictures of Pumasillo mountain, the gorgeous lake, and Humantay mountain in the distance.
Our next task is a 2 hour downhill hike to Huayracmachay (3,800 m/12,464 ft), where we will have lunch. After lunch we will hike downhill for an additional 4 hours until we reach our camp for the night, Colpapampa (3,100 m/ 10,170 ft). During this section we are going to pass from the highlands to the cloud forest and finally into the rain forest.
DAY 3: Colpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba
After working hard on day 2, we are rewarded with a more gentle hike today. We will have a fantastic breakfast and then hike 5 to 6 hours on gentle up and down segments. We will be hiking through the rain forest, following the path of the Santa Teresa river. We will have the opportunity to see multiple coffee plantations, banana plantations, and fields of passion fruit. Along this path you will also see the most beautiful waterfall along the trek.
We will reach Lucmabamba, our campsite for the evening, around noon. Here we will relax and enjoy a delicious lunch!
After lunch, we will do an incredible coffee tour at the plantation adjacent to the campsite. We will begin by browsing the fields, learning about the different types of beans, and picking our own beans. There are also several fields of tomatoes and avocados. We will pick vegetables that the chef will use for dinner that night.
After picking our beans, we will roast them and grind them. Finally, we will brew and drink our own coffee! It is a truly unique experience.
DAY 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata Inca Ruins – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes
We will wake up early and have breakfast. Today´s hike starts with a moderate 3 ½ hour climb through the rain forest until we reach the Llactapata Inca site (2,700 m/8,856 ft), where we will have a thorough tour. This is the location where you will have your first view of Machu Picchu in the far distance. You will also have a first look at the mountain you will hike tomorrow, Huayna Picchu!
Leaving Llactapata, we begin a 2 ½ hour descent to Hydroelectric, where we will have lunch. At 3 pm we will board the train for a 40 minute trip to Aguas Calientes.
On arrival at Aguas Calientes you will check into your hotel. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
DAY 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu mountain you will begin the hike at 10 AM. The ticket price for Machu Picchu mountain is included in the price of your trek. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.
Services Not included:
What to bring:
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Action Peru Treks? Action is a word we are all familiar with and probably use on a regular basis without too much thought! However, it is worth a look at the dictionary to understand what makes the word Action in our name special. ACTION: Doing things that require physical movement and energy; something done so as to accomplish a purpose; involved in the activities of a group and organization.