Salkantay Trek Guide

Salkantay Trek Guide

31 July 2018

The Salkantay Trail is an old alternative path to the Inca Trail, along the route you can see beautiful landscapes with ecological diversity of flora and fauna, an excellent trekking route for adventure-loving travelers. Also this excursion is denominated as one of the alternate routes to reach the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

This hike takes its name from the magnificent Nevado Salkantay, a natural work belonging to the Vilcabamba mountain range, located in the province of La Convención, district of Santa Teresa and is also one of the highest mountains in the Cusco region.

This mountain is also considered as one of the main Apus, since for the population it is a sacred place above the valleys, located at an altitude of 6,271 m.s. On this Salkantay trek guide, we left you some tips to make your hike an unforggetable experience.

 Responsible People - Salkantay Trek


Salkantay Trek Guide



Best time to travel

Cusco region has two types of marked climates, rainy season and dry season, so the months from May to October are considered the best dates to make such an excursion since the rains are over and the road is firm; However, this route can be done all year round, except for the month considered the rainiest of the year (February), so we suggest you think it through.


What this trek offers?

  • The route to Salkantay offers privileged views of the Humantay and Salkantay peaks, since with the melting of these two lakes are formed, being the most important and visited by travelers, called Humantay Lagoon, (it is currently visited by tourists from all over the world to enjoy its beauty and leave offerings to the Pachamama, deity that represents mother Earth in the Inca culture)
  • In addition to the snowy mountains, the route shows a variety of flora and fauna as far as the region of the jungle is concerned, since one is surrounded by a green and warm landscape that allows us to breathe pure air that does well to our body.
  • Marvel at vestiges and constructions that our ancestors left us as a legacy.
  • Enjoy magical nights with a starry sky, which makes you think and say that it was worth all the effort made.

Difficulty of the walk

The degree of difficulty for any walk depends a lot on the physical condition that one may have, in addition to already having experience in a similar route and in the state of health that one may have.

This route is considered by many travelers of greater effort since the degree of difficulty is "High", considering it a great challenge for those who do it.

Salkantay Trekking


What to bring

  • Before starting our tour, never forget our travel companion "the backpack" (suggested 30 liters plus).
  • It is always good to be prepared for all kinds of weather changes, that is why it is very necessary to wear a super warm coat, since at night during the route the temperature tends to fall and rain may occur.
  • As for the distance of the walk you have per day, it is essential to have extra clothes change in case any change is required.
  • For protection of our lower extremities, it is good to have hiking pants that are removable, since we can give them double use, shorts during the day and pants during the night; thus we reduce the weight and space in our backpack.
  • Main clothing are trekking shoes, which have grip and is suitable for rough terrain and water resistant.
  • Have accessories that help with our walk, so we have: water bottle, gloves, canes, flashlight and binoculars if we have the privilege of observing wildlife.
  • Bring personal hygiene items such as: Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and other necessary.
  • To not have inconvenience with the photographic captures, to take extra batteries and additional memory card since there will be great variety of landscape that I can photograph.
  • It is very essential to have your original passport and / or identity document which allows you to identify yourself at the control points.
  • Bring health items with you as necessary, such as personal medications in case of any treatment, insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, disposable handkerchiefs and others that you see as convenient.
  • It is necessary to have cash for extra expenses.

Physical training

The preparation for the Road to Salkantay, begins taking into consideration the physical condition that one has, that is why specialists consider having an advance preparation before making such an excursion, since in this way the muscles are strengthened and generate resistance. at the time of our walk to Salkantay.

So much so that gradually your physical condition will be in better conditions, since at the time of making the walk all the muscles will be prepared and in that way also our heart will pump more efficient blood that will make us have more oxygen.



To carry out this tour it is recommended to have at least a couple of days of acclimatization in high altitude cities (more than 3000 masl), so that during the tour you will not have problems with altitude sickness and you will be able to do the walk without major problems. It is recommended to take infusions of "muña" and "coca" and in general enough liquid.

Also it is not advisable to eat in abundance, avoid fruits such as apples and vegetable stew. Those first days rest as much as possible and keep the body warm.


Altitude sickness

Also known as mountain sickness, soroche or proper altitude sickness, it is in itself a physical discomfort caused by the difficulty of adaptation to low atmospheric pressure which generates headache, nausea, difficulty breathing due to lack of oxygen in the body. blood.

Usually this symptom is shown in travelers who live in countries or places that are at lower altitude, since those people who live in plains or countries of similar altitude are more likely to suffer it.


How to avoid altitude sickness:

  • It is recommended a day before your arrival, have a better rest, eat something light and avoid alcoholic beverages.
  • To avoid or make it more bearable, it is recommended to acclimatize, take a rest or not make physical efforts that may shake it, it is recommended in the first days of your arrival in the city of Cusco.
  • It is suggested on the day of your arrival to drink coca tea, as the first natural remedy. Consider inhaling air, go up slowly, hydrate continuously, avoid tobacco, choose easily digested food, warm up very well and avoid taking tranquilizers.

How can we collaborate with the care of the environment during the walk to Salkantay?

One of the most visited destinations, recommended by all travelers who had the opportunity to do so. It was declared by the National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine among the 25 best Treks in the world.

However, the environmental impact that this tourist attraction suffers from day to day is irreversible and represents a risk for the conservation of this cultural legacy. The impact is gradual, slow and safe; can reach its total alteration, impacting on the locals and their natural environment, and affect the safety of visitors.

The environmental problem in the Road to Salkantay, is caused by camping activities, soil deterioration, loss of exotic vegetation, isolation of wildlife, generation of solid waste, deforestation, environmental pollution, water pollution, pollution by noise, erosion of slopes, landslides, etc.

Here are some recommendations to avoid contamination of the trail:

  • Minimize, the option to generate garbage, from the moment you prepare your walk, for the Salkantay Trek.
  • Return all the garbage you generate with you.
  • Avoid leaving any food on the floor.
  • Do not throw cigarette butts to the ground.
  • Take water bottles, not plastic bottles with water.
  • Do not start wild flora.
  • Do not consume wild fruits.
  • Walk, on the permitted paths.
  • Do not innovate, new paths.
  • Check that the camps are armed, only in permitted places.
  • Leave the site clean, without a trace of its presence.
  • When walking in a group, do not separate from the group, so the impact will be less severe.
  • Do not step on plants or mosses, they are very fragile and slow to recover.
  • Do not use, soap or shampoo, unnecessary and contaminate the water.
  • Be alert for the kitchen staff, do not use detergents, for washing.
  • The hot water replaces the detergent very well.
  • Do not capture, nor chase the animals.
  • Do not extract archaeological evidence (ceramic fragments, rocks and others).
  • Do not paint, on the Inca walls.
  • Do not tread, or sit, or climb the walls of the Inca buildings.
  • Do not camp in the archaeological remains.
  • Let's be silent, in our journey, the noise alters the transit and the flight of the animals.
  • Do not follow the animals, just observe them as far as you can, so do not disturb them.
  • Avoid leaving food residue in the way, so not only keeps the place clean, but also prevent animals from altering their food.
  • Help protect the natural flora and fauna, refraining from buying their skins, handicrafts from their parts, medicines, etc.
  • Do not make bonfires.
  • Do not buy wooden poles, in this way you avoid unnecessary felling of trees.

With these recommendations of our Salkantay trek guide and many others that you should have knowledge of, we are sure that we will be able to conserve the road to Salkantay, and we will be collaborating with responsible tourism, maintenance and sustainability..

Salkantay Trail - Responsible People



Tour Operators

Alpaca Expeditions

Alpaca Expedition is a local tour operator for the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek and the alternative hikes to Machu Picchu. Alpaca Expeditions has got positive reviews and five-star ratings on TripAdvisor.
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Llama Path

15 years of experience of Llama Path in operating the Inca Trail and loads of positive reviews ensure you an awesome trekking experience! Moreover, it offers guaranteed trek departures.
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Tierras Vivas

Tierras Vivas Travel is a highly professional trek and tour company that focuses on both young and older travelers alike, making sure everyone arrives to his/her intended destination.
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United Mice

United Mice was started by an experienced Inca Trail Guide and has developed a sterling image over the almost 30 years of activity. United Mice offers superb hiking services along with bilingual Guides.
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