The Inca Trail via Salkantay
- Trekking & Hiking
our UK team
All trekkers need to organise their own flights to Cuzco Airport (CUZ). From the airport we will arrange an airport transfer for you. That evening you will meet your local Kandoo representative and have a full pre-trek briefing.
The city of Cuzco sits at an altitude of 3400m and is a great place to acclimatise before you start your Salkantay and Inca Trail trek. You’ll have plenty of time to explore this charming city and soak up the local atmosphere.
We will pick you up early from your hotel for a private transfer to the start of our trek, which will take around 4 hours. Along the way, we will pass through the picturesque towns of Pampa de Anta (Izcuchaca, Zurite, and Ancahuasi). Our journey will take us into the Limatambo Valley, where we will see the ruins of Tarawasi, and then toward Soraypampa, where we will begin our expedition. At Soraypampa, we will complete the arrangements for our trek and meet our arrieros (horsemen). We begin by hiking up to Humantay Lake, the stunning turquoise lake at the base of the Humantay glacier. We then continue to ascend to our campsite at Salkantaypampa. From here we have great views of the peaks of Tucurway (5910m), Humantay (5917m) and Salkantay (6917m).
Today we leave the main Salkantay trail to skirt around the southern edge of Mt Salkantay. As we gradually ascend to Pampa Japonesa (Japanese Climbers Base Camp) we will be surrounded by snow-capped mountains, deep valleys and glacial lakes. The campsite is only 1km away from the peak of Salkantay, so we will hear the glaciers creaking during the night. Due to the altitude, the temperatures can drop below freezing and there may be snow.
Day 5 begins with a slow challenging ascent for around 4 hours to reach the Incachiriaska Pass, which translates as ‘the place where the Inca cools down’. At 4880m, this is the highest point of our trek. If we are fortunate, we may see the Andean condors that live on the rocky crags. From the pass we will descend to our campsite at Sisaypampa.
After breakfast, we will hike through the valley to Pampacahua. Here the valley widens and we will find the Inca Canal, where the Inca harnessed the water from Mount Salkantay to irrigate their crops in the valleys below. At the end of the valley we will reach our first archaeological site at Paucarcancha. From here we enter the Cusichaca Valley and trek to Wayllabamba where we will join the Inca Trail. Here we will say goodbye to our arrieros and hello to our porters who will be with us until we reach Machu Picchu. After lunch, we will hike for around 3 hours to our campsite at Llulluchapampa.
From Llulluchapampa the path continues less steeply for 2 hours until we reach the highest point of this section, the Warmihuañusca Pass (Dead Woman Pass) at 4200m. This climb is the most difficult part of the Inca Trail. After a short break at the summit, we continue our hike down with a long and steep descent to the river Pacaymayo where we will have lunch. After lunch we ascend again towards the Runkurakay Pass (3900m) from where we will descend until we reach our camping site at Phuyupatamarca.
Today will bring a noticeable change in climate, flora, and fauna, as you move close to Peru's cloud forest. From Phuyupatamarka we continue to descend, visiting the site of Intipata. We stop for lunch at Winay Wayna, where we say goodbye to our team of porters. In the afternoon we continue on the Inca Trail to finally reach the Sun Gate, the entrance to Machu Picchu. You will not tour the ruins today but will have plenty of time to soak up the view before catching the bus down to Agua Calientes for the overnight stay at a hotel.
An early start to take the bus to the Citadel of Machu Picchu where you will have a guided tour for around 2½ to 3 hours. There is also the option of climbing Huayna Picchu, the iconic mountain behind the Machu Picchu, but you will need to book a permit in advance. After the tour of the ruins we will take the bus down to Aguas Calientes where you will catch the train to Ollantaytambo to be met by our driver who will take you back to your hotel in Cuzco.
We will collect you from your hotel and transfer you to Cuzco Airport for your departing flight.
In general, the Salkantay Trek is considered more difficult than the Inca Trail. You will be trekking at least 6 or 7 hours each day for four days, over mountain trails.
Due to the high altitude reached, and the long hours trekking each day, a good level of fitness is required.
well-fed on your trek is absolutely vital, especially when conditions are such
that you might not want to eat or drink as much as you should. Because
so many trekkers experience a loss of appetite at altitude, our head chef has
developed special menu plans that are appealing, healthy, and filled with all
the energy you need to make it to Machu Picchu. By default, our meals include
fresh fruit and vegetables every day, as well as fresh meat and fish.
is usually fairly hearty. Of
course, you’ll also have hot drinks, generally a choice of tea, coffee or hot
chocolate. Let your guide know if you are still hungry, or even if you think
you could ‘pack in a few more bites’. Our cooks always try to provide more
food than necessary to ensure everyone gets a good meal.
is packed for you, to carry in your rucksack.
Tea is served at the end of the days walking, once you get to camp. In
addition to tea and other hot drinks, there are plenty of snacks to help
restore some of the energy you’ve just burned off.
are quite filling. They usually begin with a nice hearty soup, and then a
main course with fresh vegetables, and plenty of rice, pasta or potatoes,
followed by a yummy dessert.
the trek, we filter and boil all the water that we give to you for drinking.
You may wish to bring purification tablets as an extra precaution but they
are not essential. Every morning we will fill up your water bottles or
hydration bladder with at least 2 litres of water.
tea is thought to help relieve the symptoms of altitude sickness. In Cuzco,
all the hotels have dried leaves and hot water available throughout the day
so you can make your own tea whenever you wish.
On the trek we will take coca leaf tea bags for you.
We use only the very best high altitude
mountain tents, Eureka K-2 XT, to ensure you stay warm, dry and comfortable on
trek. Please bear in mind, these are proper mountain tents, designed to cope
with extreme conditions so don’t expect to be able to stand up and walk around
The Peruvian Sol can be purchased in
advance, although US Dollars are also widely accepted in larger establishments.
If you want to change money when you arrive we can take you to an ATM or
foreign exchange bureau. When changing money, request small denominations
(10’s, 20’s and 50’s) as the larger notes can be hard to spend. If you withdraw
money from an ATM, you are likely to receive 100 sol notes.
If you are relying on a credit or debit
card for emergency funds, make sure you tell your card issuer that you will be
using it abroad, or you may find that it won't work when you really need it.
We realize that tipping may not be a
common practice in all countries but for Peru it is a standard practice that
all operators support. The decision on how much to tip should be determined by
how well the team served you while you were on the trek. Tips are always
discretionary and if you are not happy with the service you have received you
do not have to pay tips. Tips can be made in US dollars or Peruvian Sols. It is
very important that US bills be new (post 2006), crisp and untorn.
We say goodbye to our crew at the Hidroelectrica station, before we continue to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. Any
tips that you wish to give to the cook and arrieros will need to be carried on the trek with
you’ve decided to rent gear, then below is a list of equipment available.
Just let our team know what you’d like to hire at your Pre-Trek
payments are made locally in US
Dollars (cash only):
Face 0° Sleeping Bags $15
must be packed in your main equipment bag. They
should not be attached to the outside, as we are not responsible if items
fall off when the bags are being carried on the trek. The sleeping bags weigh
approximately 2kg each
Want to ask us a question or book a private trip? Don't hesitate to contact us!Contact us