Much Better Adventures

Adventures / Epic Treks

Trek the Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu

The younger, cooler sister of the over-crowded Inca Trail

Duration

7 nights

Annual Leave

1 week off work

Location

Peru

Starts & Ends

Alejandro Velasco Astete Airport, Cusco

Average Rating

4 Reviews

Difficulty

Challenging

The steep terrain and altitude can make the going tough at times, but anyone with good fitness and the right attitude will love it.

Why it's Much Better

Voted one of the top 25 treks on the planet by National Geographic

Combined with exploring Cusco, the Sacred Valley and of course Machu Picchu itself, this is the ultimate Inca trekking week

Trek through rainforest and cloud forest. Over high passes and under glaciers. Your feet might get tired but your eyes won't

Pass 3 of the most stunning peaks in the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountain range

Stay in a colonial house overlooking the ancient city of Cusco, a hotel in the heart of the Sacred Valley and camp along the trail

Be one of the few allowed to hike to Huayna Picchu, for a vantage point of Machu Picchu like no other

The Route

What's Included

Guides

Local, certified and friendly English-speaking guides

Accommodation

3 nights in Cusco, 1 in Agua Calientes and 3 nights camping on the trail

Meals

Local food cooked by your very own chef during the trek

Transfers

Both airport transfers and local transfers

Porterage

Porters and horses to carry your luggage on the trek

Equipment

Everything you need for camping along the trail will be provided and set up for you

Permits

All your tickets and entry fees will all be covered and organised in advance

Happiness Guaranteed

We're so confident that your holiday will be your best yet, we actually guarantee it

Feel Good Vibes

We mitigate 4x the carbon emitted by all our travellers and support important conservation projects

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Cusco and get to know your crew

Activity

Easy day

Accommodation Type

Hotel

Meals

Dinner

Arrive at your hotel in Cusco, perfectly located off one of the main squares. If you’ve got the time, head out to wander the streets for your first real taste of Peruvian culture.

Join your guide later for dinner at a local restaurant where you can sample the local cuisine, music and get to know your fellow adventurers.

After dinner, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest – and perhaps a night cap.

Day 2

Tour of the Sacred Valley

Activity

Easy day

Accommodation Type

Hotel

Meals

Breakfast and lunch

The Sacred Valley was a crucial area for the Inca Empire, functioning as an agricultural, spiritual and political hub.

You’ll visit the two main sites, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, experience their ancient ruins, cobbled streets and learn about their history.

On returning to your hotel in Cusco, you’ll meet your guide for a quick pre-trek briefing. Afterwards the evening is yours to relax, grab some dinner and probably an early night ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 3

Trek from Soraypampa to Soyrococha via Humantay Lake

On your Feet

Approx. 6-8 hours of trekking

Distance

8.2km

Elevation

992m up / 377m down

Accommodation Type

Wild camping

Meals

All meals

You’ll be up picked from your hotel for a scenic drive to Mollepata where you’ll enjoy breakfast at one of the local houses.

After brekkie, you’ll make your way to the start of your trek at Soraypampa (3800m), getting your first glimpse of the Salkantay and Humantay mountains on the way.

After packing the horses, it’s time to set off. You’ll trek to the high altitude turquoise lake, Humantay, below the Humantay Glacier. From here, there’ll be a gentle climb to Salkantaypampa for lunch.

After lunch, you’ll ascend to Soyrococha (4400m) where you’ll set up camp with Humantay as your backdrop.

Day 4

Trek from Soyrococha to Colpapampa

On your Feet

Approx. 8-9 hours of trekking

Distance

15.3km

Elevation

234m up / 1884m down

Accommodation Type

Wild camping

Meals

All meals

Today’s a tough one. After breakfast, you’ll start with an uphill hike to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay Pass (4630m). At the top, you’ll make an offering to Apu Salkantay and learn the significance of the mountain to Inca culture.

Descend to Huayracmachay (3800m) for lunch, passing turquoise lakes with the Pumasillo and Humantay mountains in the distance.

After lunch, you’ll descend further through highlands, cloud forest, and rainforest, until you reach camp at Colpapampa (3100m).

Day 5

Colpapampa to Lucmabamba Coffee Plantation

On your Feet

Approx. 5-6 hours of trekking

Distance

15.5km

Elevation

320m up / 1141m down

Accommodation Type

Wild camping

Meals

All meals

A much gentler day, you’ll head through the rainforest along the Santa Teresa River, trekking past lush vegetation and waterfalls, before reaching camp by noon and stopping for lunch.

After being fed, you’ll have a tour of the coffee plantation near to camp. You’ll learn about the beans and pick your own to later grind, roast and enjoy.

Before returning to camp, you’ll roam the nearby tomato and avocado fields and pick vegetables for the chef to use in tonight’s dinner.

Day 6

Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata

On your Feet

Approx. 6-7 hours of trekking

Distance

21.4km

Elevation

1634m up / 1604m down

Accommodation Type

Hotel

Meals

All meals

Train ride

40 minutes on the train

After breakfast, you’ll embark on an easy(ish) trek through the rainforest to the Llactapata Inca site (2700m). You’ll have plenty of time to explore and you’ll also catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu in the distance.

From Llactapata, you’ll descend for lunch before boarding a train to Aguas Calientes.

On arrival, you’ll check in to your hotel and perhaps indulge in a power-nap before visiting a local restaurant to enjoy dinner with the crew.

Day 7

Ah... Machu Picchu

On your Feet

Approx. 4 hours trekking

Distance

3.5km

Elevation

296m up / 296m down

Accommodation Type

Hotel

Meals

Breakfast

Train ride

1.5 hours on the train

Today you’ll head to Machu Picchu itself. After breakfast you’ll take a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu and, if you fancy it, prepare to climb Mount Huayna Picchu (2720m). If you do you’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable high-rise view of the lost city below.

After a long day, you’ll return by bus to Aguas Calientes and continue your journey back to Cusco via the expedition train to Ollantaytambo, and then bus it from there. You’ll be back at your hotel with a drink in hand by 21:00, no doubt ready to drop.

Day 8

It's time to go home

Activity

Easy day

Meals

Breakfast

After your Peruvian adventure its time to head home.

Your transfer will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco and take you to the airport in time for your forwarding journey.

Please Note

All our adventures take place in wild places. Things can go wrong in wild places. Your perfectly planned itinerary may change a bit (or a lot) if the weather turns, someone gets hurt, or a volcano erupts. Usually though, changes make it all the better.

Accommodation

Cusco

Accommodation

Hotel

Rooms

Twin share

Meals

Breakfast

During your time in Cusco, you’ll stay in a centrally located stylish boutique hotel, such as the Tierra Viva Cusco Hotel or similar. This highly rated hotel is set in a classic colonial house just off the Plaza de Armas (main square). Private rooms are available but do speak to your host in advance.

Salkantay trek

Accommodation

Wild camping

Rooms

Twin share

Meals

All meals

During the trek, you'll camp along the route. Your host will provide a four-man tent for every two people, complete with a Thermarest inflatable mattress and pillow. You’ll be accompanied by a group camp chef and porters, bringing a kitchen tent, dining tent with tables and chairs, and a toilet tent with portable loo.

Aguas Calientes

Accommodation

Hotel

Rooms

Twin share

Meals

Breakfast

On the last night of the trek, you'll stay in either the La Cabana Machu Picchu or Andina Luxury in Aguas Calientes for a good night's sleep before heading up to Machu Picchu the following day. Both hotels are modern, clean, very friendly and serve a brilliant breakfast.

Need To Know

Meeting Point

Start

Where

Cusco Airport (CUZ)

When

Flexible

You’ll be met by a private transfer when you land at Cusco and taken to your hotel.

End

Where

Cusco Airport (CUZ)

When

Flexible

You'll be picked up from your hotel and taken to the airport in time for your flight home.

Kitlist

Bag

  • Day pack (25-35l)

Clothes

  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm fleece or down jacket
  • Hiking boots
  • Wicking base layers
  • Light long trousers
  • Few t-shirts
  • Hiking socks
  • Winter gloves
  • Beanie and sun hat

Sleeping

  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag
  • Warm layers for the first night camping at 4400m
  • Ear Plugs

Other

  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 35+ recommended)
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle

What's included?

  • Tent, inflatable mattress and pillow
  • Duffle bag for your personal belongings
  • Group oxygen bottle and medical kit

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking poles

Meet Your Host

Roxner and team

You’ll be led Roxner and his team of local, fully-licensed and friendly guides who have grown up in the small villages around Machu Picchu. They have a unique knowledge of the Sacred Valley and love to share its magic and history with others, they may even introduce you to Qhechua, the Inca language. Just by trekking with them you’ll be supporting local communities and backing positive porter welfare.

Contact Host

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