Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days

Extended 5 day version of the popular Salkantay Trek leading to the sacred Salkantay mountain. Enjoy the amazing natural views before reaching Machu Picchu

5 Days
from USD 550.00

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days

Salkantay or Apu Salkantay is a snowy peak belonging to the Vilcabamba mountain range which is a part of the Peruvian Andes. It measures 6,271 meters above sea level. There is a mountain pass as well as a fluvial course that springs at the mountain and both are called Salkantay too. The course pours its waters into the Urubamba River on its left bank. Salkantay´s proximity to Machu Picchu makes it a perfect alternative to the often crowded traditional Inca Trail.


This 5-day hike leads below the monumental Salkantay Mountain before it takes you to the New Wonder of the World. It is one of loveliest way of how to visit Machu Picchu offering many amazing natural views and connection with the nature. It takes you through diverse climates starting from mountainous sceneries and continuing to a subtropical cloud forest and large fruit and coffee plantations. In addition, you can enjoy a great adventure on the track and make new friends among your fellow hikers.

Quick Itinerary

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha -Soraypampa

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Collpapampa

Day 03: Collpapampa - La Playa

Day 04: La Playa - Llactapata Mountain - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco


Highlights of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:

  • Discovery and exploration of the beautiful landspaces of the trek
  • 5 day trek of Salkantay with experienced local tour guide, Cook, Horseman and horses
  • Explorer the Humantay Lake
  • View the Enigmatic Salkantay Mountain
  • Discover the Humantay Glaciars,
  • Guided tour of the Incan site of Llactapata
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek Distance

  • Walking Distance: 40 miles / 64 Km
  • Starting Altitude: 2850m / 9650 ft.
  • Highest Altitude: 4552m / 14934ft.
  • Finishing Altitude: 2300m / 7545f.t (Machu Picchu Altitude)

Interesting Info:

  • Departure Point: Cusco - We pick you up from your hotel.
  • Departure Time: 05:30 a.m
  • Briefing Point: Hotel or Airbnb
  • Briefing Time: Between 17:00 - 18:00
  • Return Point: Our driver will drop-off in your hotel or Airbnb department
  • Return Time: From Aguas Calientes to Cusco - 14:30 (IncaRail) or 18:30 (Perurail) it depends of the availability
  • Best Alternative hike: We can recommend to do the 5 day hike to Salkantay to Inca Trail.
  • Our departure is 100% guaranteed.

Why to Book Salkantay Trek in Advance?:

This trek has departures 100% guaranteed, security measures and above all Tierras Vivas wants you to have the best experience and memories of your trip. Please note that train tickets and entrance to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain are subjet to availability. For that reason, Tierras Vivas recommend book in advance, in the High trekkers season, it is very difficult find spaces available the train ticket and entrance to the lost city!


Why Choosing Salkantay?

;If you’re looking for adventure and a challenge but also want privacy and authenticity, this is the trek for you! You need to know that making this trek is extremely difficult, but in reality anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can do it. The overall trail distance is around 40 miles from the start to the finish point, which allows you to have the opportunity to see more of this fantastic region than you would see on the Inca Trail.



Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa

Our adventure begins by early morning at 5 am by travelling from Cusco to the village of Mollepata (2,900 m.a.s.l.) which takes about 4 hours. We arrive at around 7.30 am to Mollepata where we make a 45-minute stop. You can have a delicious breakfast at a restaurant if you like (not included in tour´s price). Also, you might buy some last-minute necessities there. Afterwards, we continue the ride for over an hour until we arrive at Challacancha - a trailhead. We meet our Cook, Horseman, horses and mules there. So, you hand over one of your two backpacks to a Horseman to be carried by a horse/mule (max. 5kg!). While your another backpack with your daily necessities is to be carried by you.


From Challacancha, we hike for around four hours till the village of Soraypampa (3,850 m.a.s.l.) which is located among snowy mountains. This part of the route is a mixture of downhill, uphill and flat paths. On the way, we enjoy sweeping views of the majestic Mt Salkantay and the overwhelming Apurimac Canyon. Later on, we get to our first campsite at Soraypampa where we are served lunch. After lunch, we climb up for 2 hours to the Humantay Lake (4,200 m.a.s.l.) lying at the foothil of the Humantay Mountain. There, you might admire the fascinating shades of turquoise colour of the lake and take some awesome pictures of this hidden jewel.


In the end, we descend back to the campsite to find that our staff prepared us dinner in between. You overnight in a comfortable quad tent (with only one more person in it) wrapped in a warm and new feather sleeping bag (you can rent it from Tierras Vivas if you like).

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Collpapampa

This day demands more effort as it is the longest and most difficult day. For that reason, we wake up and have a nutritive breakfast very early in the morning. First off, we begin hiking in a moderate pace for an hour until we reach Soyrococha. Secondly, we climb uphill for about 3 hours (small stops including) till we get to the highest point of the hike – Salkantay Pass (4,800 m). At this point, we get very close to the majestic frosty peaks of Salkantay (6,271 m) and Humantay (6,100 m). Salkantay is the 2nd highest peak of the Cusco Region.

The pass offers us stunning view of awesome scenery. We also can see there many heaps of stones called “apachetas” which our offerings to the natural deity “Apu Salkantay”. After a break, we start descending towards Wayracmachay (3,800 m) reaching it after an hour. There, we are served lunch and we rest for a while. The last section of the hike consists of descending only. After 3 hours, we arrive at our campsite in Collpapampa.

Day 03: Collpapampa - La Playa - Santa Teresa (Aobamba)

After early breakfast, we start hiking firstly on a narrow mountainside trail. Later, the climate changes so we are able to discover various orchid kinds as well as other plant species. The lower we descend the more abundant the vegetation becomes. We might see some fields of corn and fruit plantations. Also, we get a chance to pass along a fantastic waterfall on the way.


After 5 hours of walking, we arrive at La Playa. There, we take a bus (45-minute ride) to the Santa Teresa Town. Upon arrival, we pitch a campsite. Afterwards, we might visit the best thermal baths of Peru which are located only 45 minutes by foot of the town (optional). In the evening, we are served dinner and then, we go to rest.


Please note: There is another option of how to continue from La Playa, it means hiking towards Aobamba for two hours. This place would serve as a campsite in case you would like to visit the nearby Inca complex called Llactapata. Please discuss this option beforehand.

Day 04: Santa Teresa (Aobamba - Llactapata) - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes-

At Santa Teresa, we have breakfast to later continue by private vehicle for an hour. Then, we start hiking for 2 hours passing over Urubamba River and onwards till the railway station of “Hidroelectrica” (Hydro-electric plant). *Near the station, we enjoy lunch. Afterwards, we continue along the railway for 3 hours until getting to the town of Aguas Calientes. Once there, we check ourselves in a hostel. In the evening, we are served dinner and go to sleep afterwards.


If you chose the second option of visiting the Llactapata complex, you begin hiking from Aobamba for 4 hours. Once in Llactapata (2,860 m), your Guide explains you about these renovated Inca remains, from which you can overlook both, Machu Picchu and Mt Salkantay! After that, we begin descending to the Aobamba River getting through exuberant bamboo groves, coffee plantations and orchards. These places give us perfect opportunities for bird watching. After 4 hours, we arrive at the “Hidroelectrica” (hydroelectric plant) railway station. *From this point the continuation is the same as described above. 

Day 05: Machu Picchu - Cusco

After another early breakfast, we take a bus taking us uphill to the entrance of Machu Picchu. (Optional: instead of taking the bus, you can climb 9 km uphill.) Once there, we enjoy a guided tour of the New Wonder of the World. Later, we are given free time to be able to relax there, take more pictures or climb up to Huayna Picchu/Machu Picchu Mountain (Optional. It needs to be booked in advance.) In the afternoon, we take a return train to Ollantaytambo and there we change for a private vehicle bringing us to Cusco.

What is included in this hike?

  • Pre-trek briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing);
  • Early morning transfer by private bus to Challacancha - the initial point of the trek;
  • Accommodation: Campsites (3 nights) and a Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to the red of Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner and 4x afternoon hot beverages (please advise us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • Snack every morning;
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide (a group of up to 8 participants receives 1 Guide, a group over 8 persons receives 2 Guides);
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg of each passenger's stuff; 
  • An emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower;
  • Water every day (excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own);
  • Camping equipment Personal double tents (4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks);
  • Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress); 
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • A pair Hiking poles
  • A blanket per person
  • A pillow
  • Day Pack Rain Covers;
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • Rain Ponchos;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • A T-shirt of the Salkantay Trek Map;
  • A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town;
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

Not included:

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu ( U$25);
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu (U$12 - one way);
  • Travel insurance;
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory)

What to Bring for the Salkantay Trek

  • Warm clothes for the first 2 days,
  • Light clothes apart of the third day,
  • Backpack,
  • Hat, 
  • Trekking shoes,
  • Waterproof coat/poncho,
  • Trekking pants,
  • Sun protection cream,
  • Sunglasses,
  • Swimsuit,
  • Water bottle,
  • Bottle of water,
  • Water purifying tablets,
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Snacks,
  • Personal medicine (if applicable),
  • Cash in Soles.

Climate of Salkantay

Days are usually very sunny, but nights tent to be cold. However, the night´s temperature rarely falls below 0 °C (only between June and September). From the mid December to the early March, it is the high peak of a rainy reason. For that reason, it is recommended to not trek at this season. The best time to hike is from the mid March till September.



  • March: a little rainy
  • April to October: an excellent time to hike
  • October to November: a little rainy
  • December to February: rainy season

What Are You Going to See on the Track?

There can be seen herds of sheep and cattle, spectacled bears (also called Andean bears), a variety of birds, orchids, medicinal plants, coffee plantations, fruit trees such as babanas, oranges, papayas, mangos and many more.

Tips for the Salkantay Trek

  • You need to get acclimatized 2-3 days in Cusco (or another high-altitude place) prior the Salkantay Trek because altitude sickness (soroche) is the most common difficulty.
  • Drink a lot of soft drink and coca leave tea. However, avoid alcoholic beverages or greasy meals.
  • Eat plenty of sweets (e.g. biscuits, chocolate, bonbons, etc.).  
  • Exercise a little prior the Salkantay Trek. Please note: you do not need to be in a perfect physical shape, but some exercise helps a lot.
  • Wear warm clothes during the first 2 days and especially nights of the Salkantay Trek.
  • Plan and consider every small detail of the Salkantay Trek by yourself too.

Salkantay Trek - Group Service:

USD 500 per person


Salkantay Trek - Private Service:

 If you like to undertake the private service, the prices are the following:

2 trekkers: USD 755 per person
3 trekkers: USD 730 per person
4 trekkers: USD 680 per person
5 trekkers: USD 655 per person
6 trekkers: USD 625 per person
7 trekkers: USD 615 per person
8+ trekkers: USD 595 per person

  • All prices are given U.S. dollars.

Student Discounts:

USD 20 per person

If you are a student or an ISIC card holder or if you are aged 17 or less, you can apply for a student discount. Please note that we require a copy of your ISIC and your passport to be able to book your Machu Picchu entrance for a discounted price. Please send all documents at


How to Do the Salkantay Trek Booking?

In order to proceed with your booking, we require the next personal details for every traveller.

  • Full name and surname,
  • Passport number,
  • Date of bith,
  • Nationality.

Please note! It is very important to fill in all required details correctly in order to obtain your Machu Picchu and train tickets! Apart of that, please do not forget to read through and accept the service policies before you click on the "Registration & Payment" button.


Payment Options:

We require a 50% deposit of the total amount in order to complete your booking! The remaining balance may be settled in cash (or in another way) upon your arrival to Cusco, Peru.


To pay your deposit, you may choose one of the next options:

  • PayPal - To pay by this means, please send an email to our Sales Department at and we email you back a PayPal payment form.
  • Western Union - After you have done the payment, please do not forget to send us a correct tracking number (MTCN), your (the sender's) name and a country´s name from where money was sent.
  • A bank transfer - Please make a payment using the details below. Afterwards, do no forget to email us a proof of your payment please so that our staff can check the bank account and match the payment. 


Our contract

All bookings are made with Responsible People (RUC: 20603955618 / Peruvian Government) (us/we). and Responsible People will contact and book your trip with Tierras Vivas tour operator. By booking a trip with us you are deemed to have agreed to these Booking Conditions (which constitutes the entire agreement between you and us) and your booking will be accepted by us on this basis. The services to be provided are those referred to in your booking confirmation invoice.


Acceptance of booking

Book your trip with Responsible People and send us your personal information required by email. Once confirmed our staff will send a email for the next step to payment and it issue a confirmation invoice. A contract will exist between us from the date we issue the confirmation invoice or if you book within 2 days of departure the contract will exist when we accept your payment.


Please refer to your booking confirmation invoice for details regarding payments. If this balance is not paid on or before the due date we reserve the right to treat your booking as cancelled.


Deposit requirement & Final Payment

We will require the 50% pre-payment, this is per person per trip for your booking to be confirmed. This pre-payment is for your Hotel, Train and Machu Picchu ticket.


Final Payments

The remaining balance you can pay in our office in Cusco at least 2 days or 1 day before your hike. However, it can also be paid in advance through PayPal with a 5.5% fee paid by the traveller or you can deposit our account bank. Please notify us if paying by wire transfer.


You can pay in cash in our office in Dollars or Peruvian soles. We do not accept any torn bills. If you are not arriving to Cusco 2 days before your tour begins, please arrange your payment with the Responsible People team before your arrival.


Non-Refundable & Non-Transferable Deposit

If you deposited, we needed to book any trips with Tierras Vivas. For all full itineraries which include hotels, the needed deposit is 50%. The deposit can be made through PayPal or Bank Account. All deposits are fully non-refundable and non-transferable. In the event that you need to cancel your trip, cancellation fees will be assessed as outlined below under our cancellation policy. If canceling, you may not transfer your deposit to another person’s trek.



Responsible People reserves the right to cancel a program in case any of the following circumstances occur:


  1. Client's failure to pay the final balance two days prior to departure date.
  2. Force majeure: Impossibility to operate the program or trek due to unusual or unforeseen circumstances outside Responsible People's control. Ie. Weather conditions not permitting, strike not allowing operation or putting it at risk, sudden inaccessibility of route, etc.
  3. Increments in Case of Protests, Strikes (FORCE MAJEURE): In the event of a protest / strike, which is not uncommon in Cusco, it may be necessary to leave a day or even 2 days earlier than scheduled so that we are able to comply with other services. In this case, an increment will be charged to cover costs incurred.


The following refund policies apply in each case:

  1. In the event of a client's failure to pay the due balance, the client will not have any right for the deposit refund.
  2. In case force majeure occurs, Responsible People will propose viable solutions to operate the program within the available dates, or if impossible, will then propose an alternative program. If the alternative program chosen by the client is of lower value than that originally booked then the client is entitled to a refund of the price difference. All costs derived will be at the expense of the client. In case none of these would be feasible, Responsible People would refund all the money paid except all the incurred expenses so far.



Please note that the program deposit is non-refundable. The deposit is used to purchase the space within the group and once a space is purchased it cannot be resold afterwards.


  1. Cancellation with at least one month prior to departure: Responsible People will refund 75% of the program costs in case the full amount has been paid, or 50% of the program deposit in case only the deposit has been paid. Cost of the refund transfer will be at the client's expense.
  2. Cancellation between one month and two days prior to departure: Responsible People will refund 50% of the program costs in case the full amount has been paid. In case only the 50% deposit has been paid, the client will have no right to refund. Cost of the refund transfer will be at the client's expense.
  3. Cancellation with less than two days prior to departure: will be considered a No Show and no refund will be applicable.
  4. If the trek balance is not paid two days before the trek departure date, Responsible People will assume the client is canceling the trek and the deposit will not be refunded.


Cancellations regarding custom itineraries and mountain climbing programs will depend on each specific program and will therefore be agreed upon between Responsible People and the client by e-mail accordingly. Responsible People reserves the right to modify the above-mentioned cancellations and refund policies. All modifications will be immediately informed to the affected client through written communication.


Travel Documents

The client must be in possession of a valid passport and all visas required for the whole of the journey and the client accepts responsibility for obtaining the same. Any information or advice given by the company on visas, vaccinations, climate, clothing, baggage, special equipment, etc is given in good faith but without responsibility on the part of the company.



The company shall not be liable for any damage or loss if the failure to carry out the contract is:

1) Attributable to the client

2) Attributable to a third party unconnected with the provision of the services contracted for and the event is unforeseeable or unavoidable

3) Due to unforeseen and unusual circumstances beyond the company's control, the consequences of which could not have been avoided even if all due care had to be exercised

4) Due to political disputes, industrial action, climate or other matters of a similar nature and any other force majeure

5) Due to an event, which the company, even with all due care could not foresee or forestall. Any liability is limited to the full price paid for the tour. In all cases the company specifically excludes all liability for indirect or consequential loss or expense including loss of profits.


Claims and Complaints

If a client has a complaint against the company the client must first inform the trek guide or company representative while on the tour in order that the guide/representative can attempt to rectify the matter. Any further complaint must be put in writing to the company within 7 days of the end of the tour. I have had sufficient opportunity to read this entire document. I have read and understood it, and I agree to be bound by its terms.


Optional activities

Optional activities not included in the trip price do not form part of the trip or this contract. You accept that any assistance given by your group leader or local representative in arranging optional activities does not render us liable for them in any way. The contract for the provision of that activity will be between you and activity provider.


Travel insurance

Travel insurance is mandatory for all our travellers and should be taken out at the time of booking. Your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses and emergency repatriation with a recommended minimum coverage of US$200,000 for each of the categories of cover. We also strongly recommend it covers cancellation, curtailment, personal liability and loss of luggage and personal effects. You must provide proof of your travel insurance on the first day of your trip; you will not be able to join the trip without it. If you obtain travel insurance through us you acknowledge that you are satisfied with the level of insurance we have arranged.




After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next Responsible People trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at and we will send it on to you.


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