Salkantay Trek 4 Days to Machu Picchu

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4 Days


The Salkantay Trek offers an unparalleled adventure across Peru’s most stunning landscapes, culminating at the world-renowned Machu Picchu. This 56 km trek, set against a backdrop of towering mountains, lush rainforests, and rich Andean culture, is a perfect choice for those seeking a challenging yet immensely rewarding hiking experience. The journey not only tests physical endurance but also provides a profound connection with nature and ancient history.

  • Majestic Views: Experience the grandeur of the Salkantay and Humantay peaks, towering over stunning valleys.
  • Diverse Landscapes: Traverse through varying ecosystems, from the high Andean plains to dense cloud forests.
  • Humantay Lake: Marvel at the turquoise waters of this high-altitude glacial lake, a serene and photogenic spot.
  • Salkantay Pass: Conquer the trek’s highest point at 4,650 meters, offering panoramic views and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Rich Flora and Fauna: Encounter diverse wildlife and exotic plants unique to the region.
  • Machu Picchu Exploration: Conclude the trek with a guided tour of the awe-inspiring Inca citadel, Machu Picchu.
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TicketsAll necessary permits and entry tickets for the trek and Machu Picchu.
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Train TicketsExpedition train ticket from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo
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GuideEnglish speaking, professional local guide
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TranportationPrivate tourist transport Cusco – Soraypampa
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MealsAll meals during the trek (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks)
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Pick upPick up from your accommodation in Cusco city
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AccommodationComfortable camping for three nights with a final night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, ensuring restful sleep.
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MoreProfessional Guidance: Led by experienced, bilingual guides knowledgeable in local history, culture, and ecology. , Accommodations: Comfortable camping for three nights with a final night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, ensuring restful sleep. , Permits and Tickets: All necessary permits and entry tickets for the trek and Machu Picchu. , Transport Services: Round-trip transportation from Cusco, including the train ride to and from Aguas Calientes. , Culinary Delights: Nutritious meals prepared by skilled cooks, catering to a variety of dietary preferences. , Quality Gear: High-quality tents, sleeping bags, and other essential camping equipment for a comfortable trek. , Porterage: Porter service to carry camping gear and a limited amount of personal belongings.
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Last Day Lunch: Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day is not included, allowing travelers to explore local cuisine.
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Personal Gear: Items like backpacks, trekking poles, and specific personal gear are not provided.
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Gratuities: Tips for guides, cooks, and porters are not included and are at the discretion of the traveler.
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Travel Insurance: It is highly recommended to have travel insurance for emergencies, not covered in the trek package.
  • Day 1: Explore Humantay Lake and camp in the shadow of Salkantay.
  • Day 2: Conquer the Salkantay Pass and descend to Ccollpampa.
  • Day 3: Journey through the jungle to Aguas Calientes, gateway to Machu Picchu.
  • Day 4: Discover the magic of Machu Picchu and return to Cusco.

Day 1: Cusco to Humantay Lake

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  • Morning Departure: The journey starts with an early pickup from your accommodation in Cusco. Enjoy the scenic drive towards Mollepata, passing through quaint villages and breathtaking landscapes.
  • Breakfast in Mollepata: A short stop in Mollepata to enjoy a hearty breakfast, an opportunity to fuel up for the day’s hike.
  • Trek to Humantay Lake: Begin the trek at Soraypampa, ascending towards the stunning Humantay Lake. This hike is a great introduction to the high-altitude environment, offering spectacular views of the glacier and the valley below.
  • Lunch and Camp at Salkantaypampa: Post-lunch, continue to Salkantaypampa, your first campsite. Here, amidst the serene beauty of the Andes, you’ll have dinner and rest under the stars.


  • Hiking Time: Around 3-4 hours in total.
  • Distance Covered: Approximately 12 km to Humantay Lake and back.
  • Altitude: Starting at 3,900 meters, ascending to around 4,200 meters at Humantay Lake.
  • Terrain: Gradual ascent with some steep sections.
  • Accommodation: Camping at Salkantaypampa in domos, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

Day 2: Salkantaypampa to Ccollpampa

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  • Ascent to Salkantay Pass: The day starts early with breakfast before tackling the most challenging part of the trek – the ascent to the Salkantay Pass. This is the highest point of the trek at 4,650 meters, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding peaks.
  • Descent to the Cloud Forest: After conquering the pass, the trail descends into a more lush and verdant landscape. This part of the trek allows you to witness the dramatic change in biodiversity as you enter the cloud forest.
  • Lunch and Camp at Ccollpampa: The day’s trek concludes at Ccollpampa, your campsite for the night. Here, amidst the cloud forest, you’ll enjoy dinner and a well-deserved rest.


  • Hiking Time: Approximately 7-8 hours.
  • Distance Covered: Around 15 km.
  • Altitude: Ascending to 4,650 meters at the Salkantay Pass, then descending.
  • Terrain: Steep ascent to the pass followed by a gradual descent through changing ecosystems.
  • Accommodation: Camping at Ccollpampa in the midst of lush cloud forests.

Day 3: Ccollpampa to Aguas Calientes

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  • Jungle Trail: The day begins with a descent through the increasingly dense jungle. This portion of the trek is rich in flora and fauna, with opportunities to see orchids, ferns, and maybe even some local wildlife.
  • Lunch at La Playa: The trek continues to La Playa, where you’ll have lunch. This small settlement is a perfect place to experience the local culture and enjoy some fresh tropical fruit.
  • Train to Aguas Calientes: From La Playa, you’ll be transported to the Hydroelectric station to catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. This train journey offers stunning views of the landscape and a comfortable ride after the day’s trek.
  • Overnight in Aguas Calientes: In Aguas Calientes, you’ll check into a hotel to enjoy a hot shower, a comfortable bed, and perhaps explore the town.


  • Hiking Time: Around 5-6 hours.
  • Distance Covered: Approximately 15 km.
  • Altitude: Descending from 2,900 meters to lower elevations.
  • Terrain: Mostly downhill and flat, passing through subtropical areas.
  • Accommodation: Overnight stay in a comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes, offering a chance to relax and explore the town.

Day 4: Machu Picchu and Return to Cusco

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  • Early Visit to Machu Picchu: An early start ensures you reach Machu Picchu in time to witness the sunrise over the ancient city. A guided tour provides insights into the history and significance of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Free Time to Explore: After the guided tour, you’ll have some free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. You might choose to climb Huayna Picchu or simply wander through the ruins.
  • Return to Aguas Calientes: Descend to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included in the package) and some last-minute exploration of the town.
  • Train and Bus Back to Cusco: In the afternoon, board the train back to Ollantaytambo, followed by a bus journey to Cusco. Reflect on the unforgettable adventure as you return to your accommodation.


  • Visit to Machu Picchu: Early morning exploration of the Inca citadel.
  • Tour Duration: Around 2-3 hours for the guided tour, with additional time for independent exploration.
  • Altitude: Machu Picchu is located at 2,430 meters.
  • Terrain: Mixed with some steep stairs and flat sections within the ruins.
  • Return Journey: Train back to Ollantaytambo followed by a bus to Cusco.
  • Daypack: A small and comfortable daypack to carry essentials like water, snacks, camera, sunscreen, and rain gear.
  • Water Bottle: Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated during the hike. There are refill stations along the Inca Trail.
  • Comfortable Hiking Shoes: Sturdy, broken-in hiking shoes or boots with good ankle support for the challenging terrain.
  • Clothing: Dress in layers for varying weather conditions. Pack lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing for daytime and warmer layers for the evenings.
  • Rain Gear: A waterproof jacket or poncho and rain pants to stay dry during potential rain showers.
  • Hat and Sunglasses: Protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
  • Sunscreen and Lip Balm: High-altitude sun exposure can be intense, so bring sunscreen and lip balm with SPF protection.
  • Insect Repellent: Keep pesky bugs away with a good quality insect repellent.
  • Personal Medications: Bring any necessary medications, as well as a basic first aid kit with bandages and antiseptic.
  • Toiletries: Biodegradable soap, wet wipes, and toilet paper for maintaining personal hygiene during the trek.
  • Headlamp or Flashlight: A headlamp or flashlight is essential for navigating in the dark, especially during early morning starts.
  • Camera and Extra Batteries: Capture the stunning landscapes and historical sites along the way.
  • Personal Documents: Carry your passport, travel insurance, and any required permits or tickets.
  • Moisture-Wicking Base Layers: Wear lightweight, moisture-wicking tops and bottoms to keep sweat away from your skin.
  • Long-Sleeve Shirts and Pants: Protect yourself from the sun and bugs with long-sleeve shirts and pants.
  • Insulating Layers: Bring a fleece or down jacket for cooler evenings at higher altitudes.
  • Warm Hat and Gloves: Keep warm during chilly mornings and evenings with a hat and gloves.
  • Socks: Moisture-wicking and comfortable hiking socks to prevent blisters.
  • Sandals or Camp Shoes: Comfortable sandals or lightweight shoes to relax in at the campsites.
Pets, Smoking, Alcohol and drugs, Bags, Umbrella
  • Acclimatization: Spend a few days in Cusco before the trek to acclimate to the altitude and reduce the risk of altitude sickness.
  • Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the hike to stay hydrated, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Pack Light: Keep your backpack as light as possible to make the trek more enjoyable. Porters will carry camping gear, but you should carry your daypack with essentials.
  • Respect the Environment: Practice responsible tourism by following Leave No Trace principles. Dispose of waste properly and avoid damaging the delicate ecosystems.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how you feel during the hike. If you experience any symptoms of altitude sickness or exhaustion, inform your guide immediately.
  • Cash: Bring enough cash in local currency for personal expenses and tips for your guide and porters.
  • Disconnect: Embrace the opportunity to disconnect from technology and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Andean landscape.

More Information – Salkantay Trek

Ideal Season

Best Trekking Season: April to November

  • Weather Conditions: This period typically has the clearest and driest weather, ideal for trekking. Daytime temperatures are comfortable, though nights can be cold, especially at higher altitudes.
  • Landscape Beauty: During these months, the visibility is better, and the trails are less muddy, offering stunning views of the snow-capped peaks and lush valleys. Wildflowers and local flora are in bloom, adding to the scenic beauty.
  • Tourist Flow: While this is the peak season, the Salkantay Trek is less crowded than the more famous Inca Trail, offering a more serene experience.

Difficulty Level

Moderate to Challenging

  • Physical Demands: The trek involves long daily walks, steep ascents, and descents, and traversing uneven terrain. It requires a good level of physical fitness, stamina, and mental preparedness.
  • Altitude Factor: The high altitude, with the highest point at 4,650 meters, adds to the difficulty. Participants should be prepared for more strenuous exertion than at lower elevations.
  • Preparation Tips: Regular cardiovascular training, strength exercises, and some prior hiking experience are recommended to prepare for the trek.

Altitude Sickness

Awareness and Precautions

  • Understanding Symptoms: Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, and shortness of breath. These can occur when ascending too quickly and not acclimatizing properly.
  • Acclimatization: Spend 2-3 days in Cusco or a similar altitude before starting the trek to adjust to the elevation.
  • On-Trek Precautions: Ascend slowly, stay hydrated, avoid alcohol and heavy meals, and inform your guide immediately if symptoms arise. Medications like Acetazolamide can be taken after consulting a doctor.

Supporting Local Communities

Sustainable Tourism and Community Benefits

  • Economic Impact: The trek supports the local economy by employing local guides, porters, and cooks. This provides vital income for communities in the region.
  • Cultural Exchange: Trekkers have opportunities to interact with local people, learn about their cultures and traditions, and purchase local crafts, which helps preserve cultural heritage.
  • Environmental Efforts: Many trek operators implement sustainable practices like waste management and trail maintenance, minimizing environmental impact and promoting conservation efforts.

Why book with us?

Choose us for an unforgettable journey that enriches both you and the destination.

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Is previous hiking experience required for the Salkantay Trek?
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Previous hiking experience is beneficial but not mandatory. The trek is challenging, so good physical fitness and mental preparedness are essential.
What are the risks of altitude sickness, and how can it be mitigated?
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Altitude sickness is a risk due to the high elevations. To mitigate this, it's recommended to acclimatize in Cusco for a few days, stay hydrated, eat light meals, and consider medication after consulting with a healthcare professional.
Can I do the trek if I have dietary restrictions?
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Yes, most dietary needs, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and allergies, can be accommodated with prior notice.
What is the best time of year to do the Salkantay Trek?
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The best time is during the dry season, from April to October. The weather is generally clearer, although cold at night.
How large are the tour groups, and can I book a private tour?
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Group sizes vary but are typically small (2-8 people). Private tours are available and can be arranged upon request.
What kind of wildlife might I see on the trek?
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You may encounter various birds like the Andean condor, hummingbirds, and the Cock of the Rock. Mammals like chinchillas and spectacled bears are more elusive but possible.
Are there charging facilities for electronics on the trek?
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Charging facilities are limited. It's advisable to bring extra batteries or a portable charger. Some campsites might offer charging for a small fee.
Is travel insurance required for the trek?
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Travel insurance is highly recommended. Ensure it covers high-altitude trekking and emergency evacuation.
What should I do to prepare physically for the trek?
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Engage in regular cardio exercise (like hiking, jogging, or cycling) and strength training, particularly for your legs, several weeks before the trek.
Can children do the Salkantay Trek?
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The trek is challenging and not typically recommended for young children. Teenagers who are physically fit and have prior hiking experience can participate.
What is the policy on environmental conservation during the trek?
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All trekkers are encouraged to follow Leave No Trace principles, including disposing of waste properly, respecting wildlife, and minimizing campfire impacts.
Are there any cultural sensitivities I should be aware of?
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Yes, respecting local customs and traditions is important. This includes dressing modestly, asking for permission before taking photos of locals, and being considerate of sacred sites.



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