Salkantay Trek 5 days to Machu Picchu
Embark on the 5-day Salkantay Trek to breathtaking Machu Picchu. Our journey invites you to traverse some of Peru’s most magnificent terrain, with towering glacier-covered mountains, the pristine beauty of Humantay and Salkantay lakes, and the lush diversity of the Amazon rainforest.
With our trek, you will enjoy top quality services at competitive prices. Rest in the comfort of our exclusive Mountain Sky Huts and glass igloos, designed to combine outdoor adventure with luxury. Our team of professional guides and support staff is committed to enriching your trip with their vast knowledge and experience.
Our comprehensive itinerary guarantees a non-stop adventure where you will encounter vibrant blue alpine lakes, climb heights up to 4,630 meters above sea level, and navigate waterfalls, meandering rivers, and rejuvenating hot springs. Our route also includes the historic Inca Trail, leading to the enchanting ruins of Llactapata, where breathtaking views of Machu Picchu await, encouraging you to reach the grand finale of your journey.
Choosing our esteemed company for your Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu guarantees you an extraordinary expedition. We are dedicated to creating an experience that is not just a journey, but a pivotal moment of exploration that will resonate with you long after you have returned home. Book now to secure your place on this trip of a lifetime.
5 day Salkantay Trek Highlights
The Salkantay Trek is another popular trekking route in Peru, known for its stunning scenery and adventure. Here are five of the best things about the Salkantay Trek:
- Diverse Landscapes: The route passes through various microclimates, from snow-capped mountains to high jungle, offering an extraordinary sample of Peruvian biodiversity.
- Breathtaking Views: Includes panoramic views of the snow-capped Salkantay, one of Peru’s highest and most sacred peaks, as well as other impressive Andean landscapes.
- Majestic Lagoons: Passes by vibrantly colored lagoons such as the Humantay Lagoon, whose turquoise waters are a sight to behold.
- Less Travelled: Being less known than the classic Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek tends to be less crowded, providing a quieter and more personal experience.
- Adventure and Challenge: With a maximum altitude of 4,630 meters above sea level, the passage through the Abra Salkantay is a real challenge that offers a sense of significant accomplishment.
- Cultural Encounters: The tour provides the opportunity to interact with local communities and learn about their traditional way of life.
- Inca Ruins: Includes visits to lesser known ruins such as Llactapata, from where you can get a unique view of Machu Picchu.
- Lodging Options: Unlike the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek offers a variety of lodging options, including open-air campsites and more comfortable accommodations such as Mountain Sky Huts.
- Complete Experience: The 5-day trek allows for gradual acclimatization and the ability to fully enjoy the journey without rushing, with time for reflection and absorption of the views.
- Access to Machu Picchu: The last day culminates with arrival at Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, with a guided tour to better understand this fascinating archaeological site.
- Discover the authenticity of Peru with SAP Adventures, your family travel agency based in the heart of Cusco. With a rich heritage and years of trekking experience, we are a 100% Cusco tour operator.
- Our dream as a local company is to design tailor-made experiences, from tours to treks, carefully curated by our professional local staff, guaranteeing personalized service and the highest quality at every step of your adventure.
- At SAP Adventures, we pride ourselves on being a responsible and sustainable tour operator. We value our staff as family, committing to their well-being through fair wages and ongoing support, which is reflected in the exceptional service we provide to our clients.
- We recognize the importance of trusting an honest and reliable tour operator. That’s why we invite you to explore our reviews and certificates of excellence on TripAdvisor and leading travel blogs. Whether you choose the renowned Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trail, the Inca Jungle Trail, the peaceful Lares Trek or an immersion in the Sacred Valley, with SAP Adventures you will experience more than a trip: you will experience ‘the journey, not just the destination…’.
- Choose SAP Adventures for an experience in Peru that promises not only to discover breathtaking destinations, but also to create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime.
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Salkantay trekking 5-day Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa Humantay Lake.
We will pick you up at your hotel at 4:30 in the morning and drive for two hours to Mollepata, after paying the entrance fee, we will stop for a break and delight ourselves with an exquisite breakfast prepared by our chef.
In Challacancha, we will meet our trekking staff and begin our trek to Soraypampa, where we will spend the night. After lunch, we will hike for 3 hours to the impressive Humantay Lake, known for its blue-green waters and mountain reflections.
We will return to the camp to have tea, dinner and rest in our cabins.
- Transportation to Challacancha: a private minibus will take approximately 3 hours from Cusco.
- Estimated hiking time: 5 to 6 hours.
- Hiking distance: approximately 10 km (6.21 mi).
- Maximum altitude: 4,200 m (13,780 ft).
- Campsite altitude: 3,900 m (12,795 ft).
- Starting altitude: 3,800 m (12,467 ft).
- Difficulty level: moderate to challenging.
- Meals: lunch, tea, and dinner will be provided.
- Accommodation: Andean Huts with a maximum of two persons per room.
Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay – Chaullay
On the second day, we will wake up with coca tea and embark on a challenging 22-kilometer hike to the highest point.
After breakfast, we will hike for 4 hours to reach the Apacheta pass, which offers views of the Salkantay peak and a diverse fauna where we will stop to explore and take pictures.
After a rest, we will descend 7 kilometers to Huayracmachay for lunch. The second half of the hike takes us through the rocky valley, transitioning into the Amazon jungle. The 8 km trail reveals vibrant scenery and exotic flora.
We will arrive at Chaullay camp (2,900 m) for dinner and a peaceful night’s sleep.
- Duration of Walk: Around 10 hours.
- Distance Covered: 22 kilometers / 13.67 miles.
- Maximum Altitude Reached: 4,650 meters / 15,256 feet.
- Elevation of Campsite: 2,900 meters / 9,514 feet.
- Starting Elevation: 3,900 meters / 12,795 feet.
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging.
- Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Tea Time, and Dinner.
- Accommodation: Andean Huts (maximum 2 people per room).
Day 3: Chaullay – La Playa – Lucmabamba.
On the third day, we will wake up at 6:00 a.m. and enjoy a coca tea before embarking on a five-hour hike through the Santa Teresa Valley. Along the way, you will witness the beauty of the area with its rivers, waterfalls and orchids. We will visit small villages and taste local products such as passion fruit and coffee.
In La Playa Sahuayaco, we will take local transportation to Santa Teresa, where we will have lunch. Optionally, we can visit the hot springs of Colcamayo for a few hours before returning to camp for tea, dinner and a campfire. These activities are optional, and it is also possible to relax at the camp.
- Walking Time: Approximately 5 to 6 hours.
- Walking Distance: Approximately 18 km / 11.18 mi.
- Highest Elevation: 2,900 m / 9,514 ft.
- Campsite Elevation: 1,500 m / 4,921 ft.
- Starting Elevation: 2,900 m / 9,514 ft.
- Difficulty: Moderate.
- Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, tea time and Dinner.
- Accommodation: Andean Huts (maximum of 2 persons per room).
Day 4: Santa Teresa – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes
On the fourth day, we’ll start early and take a short transportation to Lucmabamba. You’ll experience a part of the Inca Trail, visit a local coffee farm, and hike to Llactapata, where you’ll see Machu Picchu for the first time.
We’ll explore the Inca site and continue with a downhill hike, always with Machu Picchu in sight. Lunch will be at the Hidroelectrica train station, and we’ll visit Inwatana, an ancient sundial stone. From there, you can either take a train or walk along the train tracks to Aguas Calientes. We’ll have dinner, and the next day you’ll visit Machu Picchu.
- Duration of Hike: 8 hours
- Distance Covered: 25 km / 15.53 mi
- Starting Altitude: 1,800 m / 5,906 ft
- Altitude in Aguas Calientes: -1900 m / 5902 ft
- Level of Difficulty: Demanding
- Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
- Accommodation Type: Hostel with rooms for 2 or 3 people.
Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco
It’s the day to visit Machu Picchu! Wake up early, have a packed breakfast, and walk to the Puente Ruinas checkpoint. After passing, climb stairs for an hour to reach the main gate by 6:00 am. Your guide will show you the best spots for sunrise and provide a two-hour tour of the citadel.
Afterwards, explore on your own or hike Huayna Picchu (pre-booking required). If you have a ticket for Machu Picchu Montaña, the hike takes about 3.5 hours. After visiting, it’s time to return to Cusco.
What is included in the Salkantay Trek 5 days?
- Pre-trip briefing: Salkantay Trek briefing at 18:00, one day before departure, at the “Sap Adventures” office.
- Travel bag service: A duffel bag to pack up to 7 kilos of your belongings, carried by horses during the entire trek.
- Bilingual tour guides: Professional English/Spanish speaking guides to enhance your trip.
- Outdoor gourmet cuisine: Exceptional meals prepared by a professional chef, including cooking equipment for a high quality dining experience.
- Support horses: Reliable horses to carry up to 7 Kilos of personal luggage, ensuring a comfortable trekking experience.
- Hotel pick-up service: Convenient pick-up from your hotel in Cusco, ensuring a good start to your adventure.
- Private Transportation to the Trailhead: Private and comfortable transportation to the Salkantay trailhead.
- All Inclusive Meals: Includes 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners, prepared to fuel your trip.
- Camping accommodation: 3 nights camping with quality equipment.
- Hotel stay in Aguas Calientes: Relaxing 1-night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes, offering comfort after your trek.
- Mountain Sky lodges: For the first and second night, stay in exclusive Mountain Sky cabins with thick mattresses, glass doors, night lighting and panoramic views.
- Comfortable sleeping pads: Personal pillow provided (double foam, 2.5 inches thick) for sleeping comfort.
- Efficient transportation: Smooth transportation from La Playa to Hidroelectrica, enhancing your trekking experience.
- Entrance to Humantay Lake and Salkantay.
- Entrance to Machu Picchu: Entrance to the iconic Machu Picchu is included.
- Guided tour to Machu Picchu: In-depth guided visit to Machu Picchu, discovering its mysteries and history.
- Flexible return options: Choose your return trip from Aguas Calientes to Cusco BY TRAIN or CAR.
- Dietary Accommodations: Vegetarian / vegan meal options available upon request at no additional cost.
- Safety First: Equipped with first aid equipment and an oxygen bottle for emergencies, ensuring a safe trek.
- Sleeping Bags – If you do not have one, you can rent from us for $10 USD for the entire trek.
- Ticket for Cocalmayo Hot Spring 10 soles
- Train ticket from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes
- Optional bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu at an additional cost of US$12 each way
- Optional entry fee to Huayna Picchu (US$20) or Machu Picchu Mountain (US$20)
- Travel Insurance is not included and is highly recommended
- Tips for our staff: tipping is customary on any excursion in Peru. While we do pay salaries to our entire team, any additional tip is always appreciated, especially considering the hard work they do.
- Additional costs or delays beyond our control: including but not limited to landslides, bad weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to security issues.
Packing List for Salkantay Trek 5 Days
- We suggest bringing only essential luggage for the Five-day tour. It is recommended to leave large backpacks with unnecessary equipment in Cusco, either at your hotel or our main office. On the briefing day, we will provide you with a duffle bag that can accommodate 7 kilos of your personal belongings to be carried by a horse throughout the trek. You will only carry a small backpack containing things you need for the day hike, and the duffle bag will be accessible at each camping site.
- Here are the items that you need to pack in your duffle bag:
- 2-3 moisture-wicking t-shirts
- 2-3 hiking pants
- 4 sets of undergarments
- 4 sets of hiking socks
- 1 fleece
- 1 warm down jacket
- 1 rain jacket and pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Waterproof gloves
- Comfortable shoes for camping
- Hiking boots
- Sandals/Flip flops
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Quick-dry towel
- Small bottle of soap
- Battery charger
- Large plastic bags
- Sleeping bag rated at least minus 5 celsius. You can rent one from us for $10 USD for the whole trek.
Here are the essential toiletries:
- Face moisturizer
- Insect repellent
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication
- First aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, etc.
Inside your daypack, you can pack the following items:
- Water bottle
- Trekking poles (optional)
- Sun hat
- Rain gear
- Snacks such as chocolate, cereal bars, candies, nuts, energy bars, etc.
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper and small plastic bag for waste
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks, and tips
Make sure to bring these essentials:
- Original passport
- Valid student card (if applicable)
- Immigration card
- Good daypack
- Water storage (enough for at least 2-3 liters)
- Comfortable hiking boots with good soles.
How to Book Salkantay Trek 5 days?
To Book The Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 5 Days, Follow These Simple Steps:
- Click on the “Book Online” option, choose your preferred date, and complete the booking form. It’s advisable to designate one person to fill out the form for your entire group to ensure a joint reservation. Be ready with your passport for accurate information.
- For online payments, please note that there’s a 2.9% processing fee, which customers are responsible for covering.
- To confirm your booking for the 5-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, a deposit of $180 per person is required. This deposit is vital for obtaining the necessary permits and tickets from the Peruvian government.
- Optionally, you have the choice to pay the entire tour cost upfront to eliminate any future payment concerns.
- If you opt to pay only the deposit, the remaining balance must be settled 24 hours before the tour commences. Payment can be made in cash (in soles or dollars) at our Cusco office or by card with a 3.9% transaction fee. Alternatively, you can also clear the balance online using any card, incurring a 2.9% processing fee.
By adhering to these uncomplicated steps, you can easily secure your reservation for the 5-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and shift your focus to preparing for your upcoming adventure.
Payment for the 5-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu can be made online using any debit or credit card. Please be aware that there is a 2.9% processing fee associated with online payments, which customers are responsible for. To confirm your booking, a deposit of $180 per person is required. This deposit is essential for securing the necessary permits and tickets from the Peruvian government. You have the option to pay the entire tour cost upfront to eliminate potential payment concerns. If you choose to pay only the deposit, the remaining balance must be settled 24 hours prior to the tour’s commencement. Payment can be made in cash (in soles or dollars) at our Cusco office or by card with a 3.9% transaction fee. Additionally, you can clear the balance online using any card, incurring a 2.9% processing fee.
Please ensure that your passport remains valid for a minimum of 6 months beyond your intended entry date to Peru. If your passport’s expiration date is within 6 months, it’s advisable to renew it before your trip. If your passport expires within 6 months but you wish to secure a reservation for the 5-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and Machu Picchu tickets, you can complete the tour booking and subsequently update your passport details with us after renewal. Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of permits and tickets.
We strongly recommend obtaining comprehensive travel insurance to safeguard your investment. We advise purchasing insurance before your departure and collaborating with a reputable agency to obtain cost-effective coverage.
Please note that the $180 deposit per person for the 5-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is non-refundable and non-transferable.
In the event that you opt to pay only the deposit, the outstanding balance should be settled 24 hours before the tour’s commencement. Payment can be made in cash (in soles or dollars) at our Cusco office or by card with a 3.9% transaction fee. Alternatively, you can also clear the balance online using any card, incurring a 2.9% processing fee.
If your student identification card meets the requirements set by the Peruvian government, you can reserve the tour with a deposit and settle the remaining balance upon your arrival in Cusco. The student discount will be applied at that time.
Salkantay Trek 5 Days Cost
The Price of SALKANTAY TREK 5 DAYS will depend on how you want to back to Cusco after Machu Picchu.
Returning To Cusco By Train
Take the picturesque train back to Cusco, allowing more time for exploring Machu Picchu. For those hiking Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, the train is recommended. Be at Aguas Calientes Train station by 4:22 pm. Two train options: 8:30 pm arrival in Cusco or a switch in Ollantaytambo for a 2-hour final leg, arriving at 10:30 pm.
- Student: 400 USA Dollars
- Adult: 420 USA Dollars
Returning To Cusco By Car
Returning to Cusco by car is a budget-friendly option, but it allows less time for exploring Machu Picchu. Hiking Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain may be challenging due to time constraints. If choosing this option, leave Machu Picchu by midday and trek for three hours to Hidroelectrica to meet the car at 3:00 pm. For those hiking and considering this option, staying an extra night in Aguas Calientes and returning to Cusco on the 5th day is recommended for a better experience.
- Student: 390 USA Dollars
- Adult: 410 USA Dollars
- For individuals aged 18 to 25 years old, a discount of $20 USD is available upon presentation of a valid student card containing the following information: name of university, student name, photo of student, expiration date, etc. A copy of the card must be provided at the time of booking for government approval of the discount.
- For individuals under 18 years old, a discount of $20 USD is available. A copy of your passport must be sent at the time of booking.
- For individuals under 11 years old, a discount of $30 USD is available. A copy of your passport must be sent at the time of booking.
- For groups of 5 or more, a discount of $20 USD is available. To qualify for the discount, all members of the group must book the trek together at the same time.
- Trekking poles: $10 USD per pair per trek (professional poles that can be extended)
- Extra night in Aguas Calientes – Starting from:$20 USD (depending on availability)
- Vistadome Train upgrade: $35 USD per person (For the return to Cusco (Poroy) at 14:55 or 15:20)
- Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain tickets: $20 USD per person (Please request when you make your Trek reservation)
Frequent Ask Questions
What Is Salkantay?
Salkantay is a prominent peak located in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It’s the highest peak of the Vilcabamba mountain range, standing at an impressive 6,271 meters (20,574 feet) above sea level. Salkantay is revered for its stunning beauty and is a popular destination for trekkers, especially known for the Salkantay Trek, an alternative route leading to Machu Picchu. This trek is often chosen by those looking for a less crowded, more scenic path compared to the more famous Inca Trail. The name “Salkantay” is from the Quechua language, meaning “Savage Mountain.
What is Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay Trek is a renowned and adventurous hiking trail in Peru that offers an alternative route to the famous Inca Trail for reaching Machu Picchu. This trek typically spans 4 to 5 days and covers a diverse range of landscapes, from lush cloud forests to rugged high-altitude mountain passes.
A highlight of the trek is the challenging passage over the Salkantay Pass, which sits at an elevation of about 4,600 meters (15,092 feet). The route offers spectacular views of the Salkantay Mountain, diverse flora and fauna, and a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of the Andean communities. The trek is popular among those who seek a less crowded and more natural experience than the Inca Trail.
What is the distance of the Salkantay trek 5 days?
The classic Salkantay route covers approximately 70 to 75 kilometers in total. This trekking route offers a combination of demanding ascents and descents and varied terrain, making it a rewarding and memorable trip for hikers.
What is the level of difficulty of the Salkantay Trek 5 days?
The Salkantay Trek has often been described as an invigorating challenge for the common traveler or tourist. It is important to note that the trek requires a certain degree of physical fitness and adequate preparation to ensure optimal performance. We strongly recommend all prospective trekkers to spend at least two days in Cusco, acclimatizing to the altitude before embarking on the trek. It is pertinent to mention that altitude sickness can manifest irrespective of fitness levels; hence, all trekkers should educate themselves about preventative measures and be prepared to manage any symptoms that may arise.
What is the best time of the year for the Salkantay trek?
The best time to do the Salkantay Trek in Peru is typically during the dry season, which runs from May to September.
Can you do the Salkantay trek in 4 days?
If it is possible to do the Salkantay Trekking in 4 days, click on the link and see the itinerary.
Can I hike the Salkantay Trek on my own?
Indeed, embarking on the Salkantay Trek as a solo hiker is feasible, but it may entail some risks due to occasional lack of trail markers. Engaging the services of a tour company such as Sap Adventures provides the benefit of seasoned guides who possess a thorough understanding of the route.
What is the difference between the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Trail?
The most notable difference is the price, the Inca Trail is usually much more expensive due to the requirements: permits, availability, porters, duration, campsites. On the other hand, Salkantay is much simpler, it does not require so much paperwork, it is just a matter of hiring our guide and the horses.
In terms of service, both trails lead to Machu Picchu and each one is a unique experience. Comparing them would be a mistake and what we recommend is to choose one of these two and enjoy. if you want to know more about the differences between Salkantay trek and Inca Trail click here.
5 day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Video
Here you have our complete video of Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, with unpublished images!