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Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5D/4N

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days

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 Picchuand 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.

  • Overview:

    • Day 1 – Cusco – Soyrococha
    • Day 2 – Soyrococha – Colpapampa
    • Day 3 – Colpapampa – Lucmabamba
    • Day 4 – Lucmabamba – Aguas Calientes
    • Day 5 – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

    Overall distance hiked: 51 km / 32 miles

    Maximum altitude reached: 4,650 m / 15,252 ft

  • Pre-Trek Briefing

    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.

    • Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    • Distance Covered: 8 km/5 miles
    • Time: 6 – 8 hours
    • Lowest elevation: 3,800 m/ 2,467 ft
    • Highest elevation: 4,400m /14,332 ft
    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Sights: Mount Salkantay, Mount Humantay, Moraines

    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.

    • Meals:  Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    • Distance covered: 16 km / 9.9 miles
    • Time: 8 to 9 hours
    • Lowest elevation: 3,100 m/ 10,170 feet
    • Highest elevation: 4,650 m / 15,252 ft
    • Area: Highlands -> Cloud Forest -> Rain Forest
    • Difficulty: Challenging
    • Sights: Mount Salkantay, Mount Umantay

    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.

    • Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    • Distance Covered: 14 km (8 ½ miles)
    • Time: 5 to 6 hours
    • Lowest elevation: 2,050 m /6,725 ft
    • Highest elevation: 2,800 m/ 9,184 ft
    • Area: Rain Forest
    • Difficulty: Easy
    • Sights: Santa Teresa River, Colpapampa village, Lucmabamba

    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.

    • Meals: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
    • Distance Covered: 13 km /8 miles
    • Time: 6 to 7 hours
    • Lowest elevation: 1,800 m /5,905 feet
    • Highest elevation: 3,100 m /10,170 feet
    • Area: Cloud Forest
    • Difficulty: Moderate
    • Sights: Llactapata Inca Ruins, Machu Picchu

    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.

    • Meals: Breakfast
    • Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft
    • Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft

  • Services Included:

    • Bilingual English speaking tour guide
    • Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your trek.
    • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Soraypampa on day 1
    • Four-person tent for each two persons
    • Thermarest Inflatable Mattress and pillow
    • Kitchen tent
    • Dining tent with tables and chairs
    • Toilet tent with portable toilet
    • Expert chef and assistant chef
    • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
    • Horse to carry 8 kg of your personal belongings
    • Duffle bag to pack your personal belongings
    • Emergency horse in case we need it
    • Five breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners
    • Hot water for washing.
    • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
    • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
    • Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
    • Private van transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
    • Ticket for Huayna Picchu mountain
    • Entrance to Machu Picchu
    • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
    • Coffee plantation tour in the afternoon of day 3
    • Lodging in Aguas Calientes on night 4 of the trek (double occupancy)
    • Dinner in Aguas Calientes on night 4
    • Train ticket from Hydroelectrica to Aguas Calientes

    Services Not included:

    • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
    • Day 5 lunch in Aguas Calientes
    • Tips for the crew (muleteers, chef and guide)
    • Hiking poles (can be rented from us)

    What to bring:

    • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)
    • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
    • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, rain jacket)
    • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
    • Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
    • Head lamp
    • Sunglasses
    • Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
    • Binoculars
    • Book to read (you will have some spare time at every camp to read your favorite book)
    • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
    • Insect repellent

  • Group Service

    • US $690 per Person

    Private Service

    • US $750 per Person

  • Rentals

    • Hiking poles – US $20.00 (pair)
    • Sleeping bag – US $25.00

    Upgrades

    • Hotel Upgrades
      • Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (5 star hotel) – US $460 per night (per person, assuming double occupancy)
      • Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel (4 star hotel) – US $234 per night (per person, assuming double occupancy)
    • Train Upgrades
      • Vistadome train -US $35
      • Hiram Bingham train -US $375 for trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
    • Private lodging
      • Private hotel room in Aguas Calientes – US $45
      • Private tent – US $30
    • Buffet lunch at the Tinkuy restaurant in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu on day 5 – US $45
    • Zipline in Santa Teresa – no charge, but will change the itinerary. See the itinerary on our website for Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu plus zipline 5D/4N

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