The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days

Duration

5 Days / 4 Night

Price

from: $500

Max. Altitude

4,630 m / 15,190 ft

Group Size

Up to 10 people

Accommodation

Private Camps & Hostel

Difficulty

Moderate

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days

After spending some time in the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco, join us on the Salkantay Trek to the World Wonder of Machu Picchu. The best alternative route to the Inca citadel will take you to the stunning Humantay Lake, the imposing Salkantay Mountain, through the fascinating cloud forest, and then to the edge of the Peruvian jungle.

You’ll spend each night in comfortable accommodation and enjoy some of the tastiest food around – in the middle of the mountains! Experienced guides will be with you all the way to teach you about the history and nature of the region. Enjoy this route in comfort and great company.

DAY 1

Cusco | Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa - Humantay Lake - Sky Camp

Highlight of the day: The glorious and absolutely stunning Humantay Lake - be prepared for one of the most amazing views you’ve ever seen.

Hike to the Jewel in the Mountains

You’ll be up nice and early today to be ready for us to pick you up around 4 am. You’ll travel in our comfy transportation with blankets to enjoy a bit more sleep on the drive. After 2 hours, we’ll enjoy a brief stop in Mollepata for an optional breakfast. We’ll then continue on to Challacancha, where we’ll start our hike.

First, you’ll meet the cooks and horsemen, as well as do a last equipment check. Then, we’ll be on our way. You’ll start with a 3-hour moderate walk to Soraypampa (3,900 masl/12,795 fasl), where we’ll be spending our first night. The first section is relatively flat with a slight bit of uphill through a deep valley of glaciers. You’ll notice that a lot of the trail follows a restored Inca water channel, which local farmers still make use of today. This section is 7 km/ 4.35 miles overall.

Once you get to Soraypampa, you’ll get settled in at our exclusive Sky Camp where you’ll sleep this evening. You’ll have a bit of time to rest after enjoying your first lunch in the mountains. Feeling refreshed, it’ll be time to start the hike up to the incredibly beautiful Humantay Lake (4,200 masl/13,780 fasl).

This round trip takes about 3 hours and covers 3 km/1.86 miles. It’s not far but you need to take things slowly at this altitude. You’ll have some time once you get to the lake to enjoy the fantastic scenery. There aren’t many places in the Andes quite as stunning as the turquoise waters glistening against the Humantay glacier. You’ll feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Back at camp, you’ll enjoy a delicious and well-deserved dinner with a beautiful sunset as your company. You can’t describe the energy here, but you’ll feel its peacefulness for yourself once here. Then it’ll be time to turn in to your Sky Camp igloo. From the glass roof, you’ll be able to enjoy a night under the stars, constellations, and comets, and wake up to see the Apu Salkantay watching over you.

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
DAY 1

Cusco | Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa - Humantay Lake - Sky Camp

Highlight of the day: The glorious and absolutely stunning Humantay Lake - be prepared for one of the most amazing views you’ve ever seen.

Hike to the Jewel in the Mountains

You’ll be up nice and early today to be ready for us to pick you up around 4 am. You’ll travel in our comfy transportation with blankets to enjoy a bit more sleep on the drive. After 2 hours, we’ll enjoy a brief stop in Mollepata for an optional breakfast. We’ll then continue on to Challacancha, where we’ll start our hike.

First, you’ll meet the cooks and horsemen, as well as do a last equipment check. Then, we’ll be on our way. You’ll start with a 3-hour moderate walk to Soraypampa (3,900 masl/12,795 fasl), where we’ll be spending our first night. The first section is relatively flat with a slight bit of uphill through a deep valley of glaciers. You’ll notice that a lot of the trail follows a restored Inca water channel, which local farmers still make use of today. This section is 7 km/ 4.35 miles overall.

Once you get to Soraypampa, you’ll get settled in at our exclusive Sky Camp where you’ll sleep this evening. You’ll have a bit of time to rest after enjoying your first lunch in the mountains. Feeling refreshed, it’ll be time to start the hike up to the incredibly beautiful Humantay Lake (4,200 masl/13,780 fasl).

This round trip takes about 3 hours and covers 3 km/1.86 miles. It’s not far but you need to take things slowly at this altitude. You’ll have some time once you get to the lake to enjoy the fantastic scenery. There aren’t many places in the Andes quite as stunning as the turquoise waters glistening against the Humantay glacier. You’ll feel like you’re in a fairytale.

Back at camp, you’ll enjoy a delicious and well-deserved dinner with a beautiful sunset as your company. You can’t describe the energy here, but you’ll feel its peacefulness for yourself once here. Then it’ll be time to turn in to your Sky Camp igloo. From the glass roof, you’ll be able to enjoy a night under the stars, constellations, and comets, and wake up to see the Apu Salkantay watching over you.

DAY 2

Soraypampa | Salkantaypampa - Salkantay Pass - Huayracmachay - Chaullay - Andean Huts

Highlight of the day: Witnessing the energy and hugely powerful gigantic Salkantay Mountain - the walk up is really worth it.

The Stunning Salkantay Pass and Descent to the Amazonia

You’ll be woken up today at the first signs of daylight with an energizing cup of coca tea to get you going. Enjoy a nourishing breakfast before we set off on our trek to the highest point of the route; the Salkantay Pass (4,630 masl/15,190 fasl). You’ll be walking 7 km/4.34 miles over 3 hours. It’s a difficult ascent up the ‘trail of the 7 snakes’ rightly named due to its winding path.

Once you reach the top, you’ll appreciate the most magnificent view over the surrounding valleys as well as Salkantay Mountain sitting right next to you (6,271 masl/20,574 fasl), which is the second-highest in the Cusco region and one of the Apus (Inca Gods). You can also observe Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo mountains. After you’ve taken in the views and enjoyed a rest, you’ll start the 6 km/3.72 miles walk downhill to the lunch spot in Huayracmachay (3,850 masl/12,631 fasl), from where you can enjoy amazing views.

This section of the trail is rocky and gravely, and you get some wonderful views down into the valley below. After a re-energizing lunch, you’ll be entering the edge of the Amazon jungle, also known as the ‘cloud forest’. This part is 9 km/5.59 miles and takes around 3 hours. Along the way, you get to enjoy a magical tropical forest and witness how quickly and dramatically the landscape changes from the Andes to the Amazon. You’ll spot colorful scenery, unique wildlife, and native plants. You’ll find the climate becomes much warmer here.

After your longest day of hiking, you’ll be pleased to reach our campsite at Chaullay (2,900 masl/9,514 fasl). You’ll be served a hearty meal before hitting the hay in your Andean hut for a peaceful night’s sleep in the small village. You’re sure to sleep well tonight!

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
DAY 2

Soraypampa | Salkantaypampa - Salkantay Pass - Huayracmachay - Chaullay - Andean Huts

Highlight of the day: Witnessing the energy and hugely powerful gigantic Salkantay Mountain - the walk up is really worth it.

The Stunning Salkantay Pass and Descent to the Amazonia

You’ll be woken up today at the first signs of daylight with an energizing cup of coca tea to get you going. Enjoy a nourishing breakfast before we set off on our trek to the highest point of the route; the Salkantay Pass (4,630 masl/15,190 fasl). You’ll be walking 7 km/4.34 miles over 3 hours. It’s a difficult ascent up the ‘trail of the 7 snakes’ rightly named due to its winding path.

Once you reach the top, you’ll appreciate the most magnificent view over the surrounding valleys as well as Salkantay Mountain sitting right next to you (6,271 masl/20,574 fasl), which is the second-highest in the Cusco region and one of the Apus (Inca Gods). You can also observe Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo mountains. After you’ve taken in the views and enjoyed a rest, you’ll start the 6 km/3.72 miles walk downhill to the lunch spot in Huayracmachay (3,850 masl/12,631 fasl), from where you can enjoy amazing views.

This section of the trail is rocky and gravely, and you get some wonderful views down into the valley below. After a re-energizing lunch, you’ll be entering the edge of the Amazon jungle, also known as the ‘cloud forest’. This part is 9 km/5.59 miles and takes around 3 hours. Along the way, you get to enjoy a magical tropical forest and witness how quickly and dramatically the landscape changes from the Andes to the Amazon. You’ll spot colorful scenery, unique wildlife, and native plants. You’ll find the climate becomes much warmer here.

After your longest day of hiking, you’ll be pleased to reach our campsite at Chaullay (2,900 masl/9,514 fasl). You’ll be served a hearty meal before hitting the hay in your Andean hut for a peaceful night’s sleep in the small village. You’re sure to sleep well tonight!

DAY 3

Chaullay | Colpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba - Jungle Domes

Highlight of the Day: Exploring the luscious jungle and learning all about coffee and the process at the plantations - the aroma in the air is heavenly.

The Adventure Continues to Aguas Calientes

Today you’ll be woken at 6 am for your tea and then breakfast before setting off from the campsite. Our first destination will be La Playa, and we’ll be walking through the Santa Teresa Valley. You’ll enjoy a more leisurely walk today with more downs than ups as you soak in the lush landscape of rivers, waterfalls, orchids, and many plantations, including banana, coffee, and avocado.

In one village named Colpapampa, you’ll observe waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit trees, and plenty of flora and fauna. You might be lucky enough to see the national bird of Peru, the ‘Cock of the Rocks’.

In La Playa, we’ll devour a tasty lunch before we head to Lucmabamba (2,000 masl/6,562 fasl), just another hour away. This’ll be our camp for the night. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the tropical surroundings and visit an organic coffee farm - especially perfect for those who are coffee lovers. Even if you’re not partial to the odd cup of Joe, the smell in the air is delightful. This is the main farming industry in the jungle and they export products to the US, Asia, and across Europe. You’ll also visit avocado and orange plantations.

Once you’re ready for bed, after dinner, of course, you’ll be settling down for the night in another one of our exclusive campsites, the Jungle Domes. As you drift off, you’ll be able to hear the many sounds of nature and feel at one with the earth as you gaze up at the stars through the top of the dome in your comfy bed.

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
DAY 3

Chaullay | Colpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba - Jungle Domes

Highlight of the Day: Exploring the luscious jungle and learning all about coffee and the process at the plantations - the aroma in the air is heavenly.

The Adventure Continues to Aguas Calientes

Today you’ll be woken at 6 am for your tea and then breakfast before setting off from the campsite. Our first destination will be La Playa, and we’ll be walking through the Santa Teresa Valley. You’ll enjoy a more leisurely walk today with more downs than ups as you soak in the lush landscape of rivers, waterfalls, orchids, and many plantations, including banana, coffee, and avocado.

In one village named Colpapampa, you’ll observe waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit trees, and plenty of flora and fauna. You might be lucky enough to see the national bird of Peru, the ‘Cock of the Rocks’.

In La Playa, we’ll devour a tasty lunch before we head to Lucmabamba (2,000 masl/6,562 fasl), just another hour away. This’ll be our camp for the night. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the tropical surroundings and visit an organic coffee farm - especially perfect for those who are coffee lovers. Even if you’re not partial to the odd cup of Joe, the smell in the air is delightful. This is the main farming industry in the jungle and they export products to the US, Asia, and across Europe. You’ll also visit avocado and orange plantations.

Once you’re ready for bed, after dinner, of course, you’ll be settling down for the night in another one of our exclusive campsites, the Jungle Domes. As you drift off, you’ll be able to hear the many sounds of nature and feel at one with the earth as you gaze up at the stars through the top of the dome in your comfy bed.

DAY 4

Lucmabamba | Llactapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

Highlight of the day: Exploring the luscious jungle and learning all about coffee and the process at the plantations - the aroma in the air is heavenly.

Enjoy Your First Glance of Machu Picchu from Llactapata

You’ll be eager to put on your hiking boots for your last day of trekking after you’ve filled up on fuel at breakfast. This morning you’ll be able to walk along a bit of the original world-famous Inca Trail! After a 2 hour uphill climb and fascinating views over the Santa Teresa Valley, you’ll reach Llactapata (2,700 masl/8,858 fasl), an Inca archaeological site right in front of Machu Picchu.

Llactapata is the first Inca site you’ll see on the trek and you’ll learn all about the mysteries of the ancient culture and the extraordinary site. You even get to have your first exciting glance of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from here. Your guide will fill you in on all the history of the Incas while you take all the photos you want to share your fantastic experiences with friends and family back home.

Afterward, you’ll walk downhill for 2 hours, where you get another couple of peeks at the Inca citadel, Machu Picchu, along the way - only making your anticipation for tomorrow stronger. We stop for lunch in Aobamba before we continue on to Hidroeléctrica (1,800 masl/5,906 fasl).

You have a couple of options here: 1) If you’re tired out after all the trekking, you can opt to board a train to Aguas Calientes ($34 extra). 2) If you want to enjoy the last stretch of the trek, you can enjoy the flat walk along the side of the tracks to Aguas Calientes, which takes around 3 hours. It’ll be one more chance to enjoy your warm jungle surroundings as you hike.

Along the way, you’ll see Intiwatan, an ancient rock the Incas used as a sundial, which worked together with the sundial stone at Machu Picchu. These were used to measure and read the winter solstice, meaning the beginning of the farming season for the Incas. Next, you’ll reach the train tracks that lead to Aguas Calientes. Once in the small town, you’ll enjoy dinner at a restaurant and spend the night in a comfortable hostel.

Note: During the rainy season, the hike up the Llactapata Trail isn’t 100% guaranteed due to safety concerns. When there’s frequent heavy rain, this trail can become very dangerous.

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
DAY 4

Lucmabamba | Llactapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

Highlight of the day: Exploring the luscious jungle and learning all about coffee and the process at the plantations - the aroma in the air is heavenly.

Enjoy Your First Glance of Machu Picchu from Llactapata

You’ll be eager to put on your hiking boots for your last day of trekking after you’ve filled up on fuel at breakfast. This morning you’ll be able to walk along a bit of the original world-famous Inca Trail! After a 2 hour uphill climb and fascinating views over the Santa Teresa Valley, you’ll reach Llactapata (2,700 masl/8,858 fasl), an Inca archaeological site right in front of Machu Picchu.

Llactapata is the first Inca site you’ll see on the trek and you’ll learn all about the mysteries of the ancient culture and the extraordinary site. You even get to have your first exciting glance of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from here. Your guide will fill you in on all the history of the Incas while you take all the photos you want to share your fantastic experiences with friends and family back home.

Afterward, you’ll walk downhill for 2 hours, where you get another couple of peeks at the Inca citadel, Machu Picchu, along the way - only making your anticipation for tomorrow stronger. We stop for lunch in Aobamba before we continue on to Hidroeléctrica (1,800 masl/5,906 fasl).

You have a couple of options here: 1) If you’re tired out after all the trekking, you can opt to board a train to Aguas Calientes ($34 extra). 2) If you want to enjoy the last stretch of the trek, you can enjoy the flat walk along the side of the tracks to Aguas Calientes, which takes around 3 hours. It’ll be one more chance to enjoy your warm jungle surroundings as you hike.

Along the way, you’ll see Intiwatan, an ancient rock the Incas used as a sundial, which worked together with the sundial stone at Machu Picchu. These were used to measure and read the winter solstice, meaning the beginning of the farming season for the Incas. Next, you’ll reach the train tracks that lead to Aguas Calientes. Once in the small town, you’ll enjoy dinner at a restaurant and spend the night in a comfortable hostel.

Note: During the rainy season, the hike up the Llactapata Trail isn’t 100% guaranteed due to safety concerns. When there’s frequent heavy rain, this trail can become very dangerous.

DAY 5

Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo – Cusco

Highlight of the day: One of the New Seven Wonders of the World: The majestic and magnificent Machu Picchu - get ready for the experience of a lifetime and to be transported back in time.

Tour of the Incredible Incan Fortress Citadel: Machu Picchu

Today’s the day you’ve been waiting for since you first set foot on the trail. You’re finally going to visit one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! You’ll need to be up early today to make sure you beat the crowds and enjoy the serenity of the site in the early morning light.

After making our way up to the Inca citadel, you’ll enjoy a 2 hour guided tour of this incredible ancient site to see temples, terraces, palaces, priest's houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. You’ll be blown away by the Inca’s engineering ingenuity, which was way ahead of its time and still a mystery in many ways today. They didn’t have the tools we use today, but yet they were still able to construct and organize their community on the side of a mountain and even create a water system with aqueducts and canals.

Bonus fact: When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation, and in a state of disrepair. It’s since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by people from every corner of the globe.

After your tour, you have plenty more time to enjoy the site as you please. You can opt to climb Huayna Picchu (2,720 masl/8,924 fasl) or Machu Picchu Mountain (3,000 masl/9,843 fasl) (tickets must be booked in advance), which takes around 3 hours, up and down. There’s also the option of the Sun Gate (2,729 masl/8,942 fasl) or Incan Bridge. Alternatively, you can explore other areas further or enjoy a very well-deserved rest looking out over one of the best views in the world.

Make sure you’re back in Aguas Calientes for a spot of lunch before boarding your train to Ollantaytambo, which leaves between 1:37 pm and 6:20 pm (subject to availability). From the next station, our private bus will collect you and drive you back to your hotel in Cusco at around 8 pm. You can now put your feet up and enjoy much-needed rest, however, your heart will still be beating the rhythm of the Andes for many weeks, months, and years to come!

The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
The Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days
DAY 5

Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo – Cusco

Highlight of the day: One of the New Seven Wonders of the World: The majestic and magnificent Machu Picchu - get ready for the experience of a lifetime and to be transported back in time.

Tour of the Incredible Incan Fortress Citadel: Machu Picchu

Today’s the day you’ve been waiting for since you first set foot on the trail. You’re finally going to visit one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! You’ll need to be up early today to make sure you beat the crowds and enjoy the serenity of the site in the early morning light.

After making our way up to the Inca citadel, you’ll enjoy a 2 hour guided tour of this incredible ancient site to see temples, terraces, palaces, priest's houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. You’ll be blown away by the Inca’s engineering ingenuity, which was way ahead of its time and still a mystery in many ways today. They didn’t have the tools we use today, but yet they were still able to construct and organize their community on the side of a mountain and even create a water system with aqueducts and canals.

Bonus fact: When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation, and in a state of disrepair. It’s since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by people from every corner of the globe.

After your tour, you have plenty more time to enjoy the site as you please. You can opt to climb Huayna Picchu (2,720 masl/8,924 fasl) or Machu Picchu Mountain (3,000 masl/9,843 fasl) (tickets must be booked in advance), which takes around 3 hours, up and down. There’s also the option of the Sun Gate (2,729 masl/8,942 fasl) or Incan Bridge. Alternatively, you can explore other areas further or enjoy a very well-deserved rest looking out over one of the best views in the world.

Make sure you’re back in Aguas Calientes for a spot of lunch before boarding your train to Ollantaytambo, which leaves between 1:37 pm and 6:20 pm (subject to availability). From the next station, our private bus will collect you and drive you back to your hotel in Cusco at around 8 pm. You can now put your feet up and enjoy much-needed rest, however, your heart will still be beating the rhythm of the Andes for many weeks, months, and years to come!

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