It is an old and remote alternative path to the Inca Trail, it has much more spectacular views and with different ecological levels we will walk among lagoons, impressive snow-capped mountains such as Salkantay and Humantay, crossing rivers and subtropical areas of abundant vegetation and fauna.
This impressive excursion passes under the magnificent mountain Salkantay (6,710 m / 22,014 ft), one of the highest and most impressive of the Peruvian Andes. Its first two days will be dominated by the impressive snow-capped mountains of Salkantay and Humantay, as it travels through the high Andean landscape. The third day will descend to the warm cloud forest, to reach Aguas Calientes on the fourth day. The impressive sacred citadel of the Incas Machu Picchu is visited during the last day of the program.
This excursion is an interesting alternative for those who have not found space on the route from the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The excursion to Salkantay was recently named by the National Geographic Adventure Travel magazine among the 25 best excursions in the world. This road is an excellent option for those who want to escape from the most congested routes and in a faster way, or for those who are looking for an alternative when the spaces of the traditional Inca Trail are occupied.
Tour Operator: Alpaca Expeditions
Activity: Hiking, camping, natural, history, culture
Difficulty Level: Challenging
Accommodation: Night three includes our best camping site, Enjoy the sunrise and sunset over Machu Picchu.
High season: March to January.
Closed: From January 11th & February due to weather conditions
Day 1: Soraypampa–Salkantaytampa–Salkantay High Pass–Wayracmachay
Day 2: Wayracmachay–Chaullay–Ccollpapampa Loreta (Private Campsite)
Day 3: Loreta - La Playa Sahuayaku – Lucmabamba Coffee Farm – Inca Trail – Llactapata – Camp in Front of Machu Picchu
Day 4: Llactapata Mirador – Hydroelectric Water Falls, Mandor Hiram Binghams Farm – Aguas Calientes Hotel
Day 5: Machu Picchu (The Sacred City Of The Incas) – Return to Cusco
We will pick you up from your hotel (Must to be located in Cusco) at 4:30 a.m. to begin our expedition to Machu Picchu. We drive drive three hours in our private van to the trail head, Soraypampa. You will enjoy your first breakfast, prepared by your trekking chef, and then you will start preparing for your journey. If the weather allows, the views from this area are breathtaking. You will be looking at two big mountains, called Humantay (5,900 meters above sea level) and Salkantay (6,215 meters above sea level). At around 8:30 a.m., you should be hiking, on your way to Machu Picchu. For two hours, you will partake in gradual, uphill hiking along the Salknatay valley, until we arrive to Salkantay Pampa, located at 4,000 meters, for a break and some beautiful views of the Salkantay glacier peak and the Salkantay river. After your break, you will continue the last one hour uphill, by switchback, to our lunch spot at Laguna Suyroccocha, located at 4,200 meters high. You will be impressed with the view along the way, as you pass by streams, waterfalls from the hillsides and views of both mountains (Salkantay and Humantay). For your first lunch, you will be met by your trekking chef and porters, who will be ready with hot beverages, followed by an amazing family-style meal for you to enjoy. This spot is located close to the mountain of Salkantay, so you will be able to see and hear some avalanches falling from the hill of the Salkantay glacier peak. You can have a small nap after lunch until its time to continue your expedition. It will begin with the last uphill portion of the day, towards Salkantay Pass at 4,650 meters high, the highest point of the trek. This will take about an hour, We will reward your hard work with some hot drinks, or coca tea. As the sky starts changing colors, you will be able to enjoy these amazing views without any other tourists. The views will surround you. You will be looking out at Salkantay peak, valleys, waterfalls, clouds lifting over the valleys and the beginning of the sunset, over the mountains. If there is enough time, you will take a short walk to enjoy the small, colorful lake, located at the foot of the glaciers. Finally, your last two hours will be downhill to our first campsite, called Wayracmachay, located at 3,800 meters high. Again, you will experience some impressive views. You will enjoy the back side of the mountain, which always has snow on the roof, and the cloud forest at the bottom of the valley. Hopefully, the weather will allow you to watch the sunset over this magical location, and see the condors flying above. At around 5:30 p.m., you will get to your campsite, located at the foot of Salkantay mountain, and your trekking staff will have your tents set up and with your duffel bags ready. They will provide you with warm water to get washed up and change into something warm. We will have a happy hour with hot chocolate and coffee, followed by dinner. If the weather allows, you will get to enjoy the blue sky, as your tour guide will show you the Inca constellations.
Walking Distance: 15 km
Elevation Gained: 850 meters
Elevation Descended: 850 meters
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season
Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. Hopefully, as you open your tent, you will see the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds, lifting from the green cloud forest. You will have time to pack up and enjoy a nice breakfast prepared by your trekking chef. Shortly after you begin to walk from breakfast, you will notice that the micro-climate changes from cold glacier views to a warmer forest with green, lush jungle and beautiful flora and fauna. Around 7 a.m., you will begin the hike which will be four hours downhill until you arrive at your lunch spot, Ccollpapampa at 2,700 meters high. There will be many different species of orchids to see, as well as ferns and begonia flowers. Humming birds will be above you, a difference from the day before. After lunch, you will take short siesta and then begin the hike for four more hours, on a gradual downhill, to our private campsite called La Loreta at 2400 m. Along the way you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, flora and fauna. This will be another micro-climate called tropical forest, where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges and avocados. Upon your arrival to the campsite, you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and have time to enjoy the free hot shower, hot Jacuzzi and perhaps swim in our swimming pool. There will also be time to walk around our ecological garden to see some our garden of coffee, avocado, chillis, tomatoes. and pineapples. Dinner tonight will be at our building with views to the Salkantay river which you will hear below to help you fall asleep at night.
Walking Distance: 18 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,400 meters
Elevation Descended: 1,400 meters
Weather: Warm and hot
After a delicious breakfast, you will get started on your shortest, but most interesting day. You will experience the most beautiful sights along your trekking route to Machu Picchu. You will explore the tropical forest and have a visit at an organic coffee farm, where you will be able to taste the coffee, prepared by the local people. Coffee is the main farming industry for the local people. They farm big hectares of coffee to export to the United States, Asia and Europe. You will also explore some orange and avocado farms. When you are finished, you will get the opportunity to climb part of the Inca trail for two and a half hours. You will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley, until you arrive at the Llactapata Inca site, right in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first site you see, of the Lost City of the Incas. You will be able to see the Machu Picchu ruins, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountain from this spot. You will explore and learn about the Inca site with your tour guide. There will be plenty of time to take photos. It will then be 15 minutes downhill, to your lunch and campsite area. This campsite is owned by a local family, and only Alpaca Expeditions has permission to stay there. This is a great place to enjoy the sunset and sunrise over Machu Picchu. After lunch, you will have some free time to enjoy the views and relax from the hiking. Again, we will serve a lovely happy hour, with tea and coffee, and your chef will prepare a delicious meal for dinner. Once the stars come out, you can enjoy the Milky Way and the Inca constellations. This is where Incan astronomers studied the sky to predict the weather.
Walking Distance: 12 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,700 meters
Elevation Gained: 400 meters
Weather: During day time hot and humid, chilly at night
There will be an early wake up, with a hot glass of coca tea. You will get ready for today’s activities and enjoy your last breakfast prepared by your trekking chef. You will begin your hike on a two hour, downhill path, with views of Machu Picchu, until you arrive at the hydroelectric station. The impressive part of this area, is the natural waterfall, at 300 meters high, which generates the electricity for the region of Cusco. You will then arrive at the famous Intiwatana (sun dial rock). According to history, this Inca stone used to work with the famous sun dial rock in Machu Picchu, during the winter solstice, which was the beginning of a new farming season for the Incas. After you pass this small Inca site, you will reach the train rain road, which has a nice path to walk on. It will take approximately three hours to arrive in Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the valley of Machu Picchu. This section is interesting because it is a trail used by the American Professor, Hiram Bingham, who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost. He walked along this valley looking for the lost city of Vilcabamba. Finally, upon your arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy a packed lunch. You will then go to your hotel to enjoy a hot shower and a visit to the famous, hot springs (10 soles, not included), of Aguas Calientes. In the evening, you will enjoy your final dinner with your trekking chef and say good bye to him.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 meters
Today is the most important day in your expedition. To get the most out of the day, we encourage every group to have an early breakfast before catching one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu (starting at 5:30 a.m.). The hotel will hold your bags for you, until you return from your tour. The bus will take 30 minutes to get to the top. Once you arrive, your guide will introduce you to Machu Picchu. You will head directly to a beautiful place to watch the sunrise and to take pictures. Your guide will walk you around the citadel, for two and a half hours, teaching you more of the history and culture of the Incas. At the end of the tour, you will have some time to yourself or, if you arranged to hike Huayna Picchu (must be booked in advance, as it sells out and costs $75 per person), your guide will show you where to begin this hike, which will take no more than two hours round-trip. You should start heading to the bus line to head back to Aguas Calientes around 3 p.m., as your train will typically leave at 4:20 p.m. (your guide will inform you if the train time is earlier). You take a two hour train back to Ollantaytambo, followed by a two hour car ride, back to your hotel for drop off.
There are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Porters will carry up to 8 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.
Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.
This is a 3 star hotel and is based on sharing a room – either double, matrimonial or triple. There is a single room surcharge of $30 if you are booking alone. Rooms all include private bathrooms, with hot showers and wifi. We can also upgrade your hotel, if you prefer something fancier. Below is a list of possible upgrade options, although we can usually work with most hotels in Aguas Calientes.
During the five days of the Salkantay trek, your steps will take you through different places with different climates depending on the season. During the first two days, the temperature will fall little by little as we approach the pass of the Salkantay, at 4600 meters high.
After the passage, we will descend little by little to the region of the jungle brow, where humidity and heat are the protagonists. The greenery in the trees and mountains announces that we are getting closer to Machu Picchu.
The climate of the region is divided into two seasons: the rainy season and the dry season.
From December to March, the rain waters the fields, the mountains and the road, making it slightly more difficult to travel. Nothing that can not be solved with good walking shoes that you will carry in your travel backpack to Salkantay. However, the vegetation of the jungle area shows its best side and offers a vivid green color to the visitor.
We recommend you to take this walk during the months of May to October, during the dry season. The rains cease and the road is firm. In addition, the landscape is completely illuminated by the sun and you will have starry camp nights.
Any extra luggage you have with you can be left safely in Cusco at either your hotel or with us at the Alpaca Expeditions deposit while you trek. We will grab from you the morning of your trek and return once you are back in Cusco. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
If you want to do the private service:
2 Trekkers: $755 per person
3 Trekkers: $730 per person
4 Trekkers: $680 per person
5 Trekkers: $655 per person
6 Trekkers: $625 per person
7 Trekkers: $615 per person
8 or more Trekkers: $595 per person
If you are student, you can present the UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD and we can offer the student discount or who is 17-years-old less, We require a copy of your passport. These copies is for your book your entrance fee to Machu Picchu. Please send all to firstname.lastname@example.org
To complete your book, we will require your personal details for each travellers.
Please note: It is very important that you will complete all information correctly to obtain your train and Machu Picchu tickets! Except of this, please do not forget to read and accept our service policies before clicking on the Registration & payment option.
To complete your booking, we require a deposit of 50% of the total amount! The remaining balance can be paid in cash upon your arrival to Cusco.
To pay your deposit, you can choose one of the following methods:
In this tour is not included departure wire transfer
All bookings are made with Responsible People (RUC: 20603955618 / Peruvian Government) (us/we). and Responsible People will contact with Alpaca Expeditions and we will book your trip with their. 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.
You can book your trip with Responsible People, you can send us your personal information requried by email and we accept your booking, Once confirmed our staff will send a email 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.
We will require to pay 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.
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 traveler, or by 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.
If you deposited, we needed to book any trips with Alpaca Expeditions. For all full itineraries which include hotels, the needed deposit is 50%. The deposit can be made through PayPal, which will incur a 5.5% PayPal merchant fee paid by the traveler, or Bank Account. Please notify us if paying by wire transfer. 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.
Notification of cancellation must be made in writing to email@example.com. If you wish to cancel within eight weeks of your tour start date, further payment is needed as follows:
If you cancel eight weeks or more days before departure: Cancellation fees equal the amount of your deposit.
Eight to four weeks before departure: 60 percent of the total tour price is due.
Four weeks to five days before departure: 80 percent of the total tour price is due.
Five days to 72 hours: 90 percent of the total tour price is due.
72 hours or less before departure: 100 percent of the total price is due.
We charge these fees because there are a great deal of expenses that Alpaca pays to set up these tours. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions. We would be happy to supply a letter for your insurance company to help recover some of the cost.