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Inca Trail via the rugged Salkantay Mountain Joining the Inca trail from Salkantay route
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO | INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO | INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO | INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO | INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO | INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO | INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN
INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN KANDOO INCA TRAIL VIA THE RUGGED SALKANTAY MOUNTAIN

Highlights of the Salkantay Inca Trail


Approach under the base of Salkantay Mountain, the Cordillera's highest peak
A quiet back-door route onto the main Inca trail with very few trekkers
Arrive at Machu Picchu via the famous Sun Gate
Guided tour of the ruins of Machu Picchu
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Click to view Inca trail via Salkantay trip dossier
View Inca trail via Salkantay trip dossier

About the Inca Trail via Salkantay

Located northwest of Cusco, Nevado de Salkantay, the cordillera's tallest peak rises to 6271 meters above sea level. The name Salkantay means 'Savage Mountain' and it is a strikingly beautiful single peak providing a great focal point for this route. The Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek normally takes 7 days walking and has become popular with trekkers wanting to combine a quieter, less trodden route with a visit to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu. For the first 4 days you will be surrounded by magnificent scenery and rarely see other groups of trekkers. On the fifth day you join up with the Inca Trail at Wayllabamba and continue to Machu Picchu, arriving at the Sun Gate.

The trek is only a little more difficult than the Inca Trail, and horses can be used for the first 4 days to carry food and equipment. Since horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, you'll swap over to using human porters for this final section.

This route is only operated as a private trek because of limited demand.

Detailed Itinerary for the Inca Trail via Salkantay

Day 1Arrive Cuzco

Our Kandoo representative will meet you at Cuzco airport and transfer to your hotel. Rest of the day free to recover from the journey and to start to explore Cuzco.

Day 2Acclimatisation day in Cuzco

A day to acclimatise in Cuzco (3500m) and let your body adapt to the altitude. Full and half day tours of Cuzco are available.

Day 3Drive from Cuzco to Soraypampa, trek to Salkantaypampa

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)

  • Elevation: from 3400 metres to 4000 metres
  • Trekking distance: 12 kilometres
  • Trek time: 5-6 hours

 

Day 4From Salkantaypampa to Pampa Japonesa

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.

  • Elevation: 4000 metres to 4400 metres
  • Trekking distance: 14 kilometres
  • Trek time: 6-7 hours
Day 5From Pampa Japonesa to Sisaypampa via Incachiriaska Pass

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.

  • Elevation: 4400 metres to 4200 metres
  • Highest point: 4880 metres (Incachiriaska Pass)
  • Trekking distance: 10 kilometres
  • Trek time: 4-5 hours
Day 6From Sisaypampa to Llulluchapampa

After breakfast, we will hike through the valley to the community of 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 and which is still used today by local farmers. 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.

  • Elevation: 4200 metres to 3800 metres
  • Trekking distance: 11 kilometres
  • Trek time: 6-7 hours
Day 7From Llulluchapampa to Phuyupatamarca via Dead Woman's Pass

From Llulluchapampa the path continues less steeply following an original Inca stone path 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.

  • Elevation: 3800 metres to 3700 metres
  • Highest point: 4200 metres (Dead Woman's Pass)
  • Trekking distance: 16 kilometres
  • Trek time: 8-9 hours

 

Day 8From Phuyupatamarca to Aguas Calientes

Today will bring a noticeable change in climate (warmer), flora, and fauna, as you move close to Peru's cloud forest. From Phuyupatamarka we continue to descend, visiting the site of Intipata (Terraces of the Sun).  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.

  • Elevation: 3700 metres to 2050 metres
  • Trekking distance: 12 kilometres
  • Trek time: 5-6 hours
Day 9Tour of Machu Picchu

An early start to take the bus to the Citadel of Machu Picchu where you will have a guided tour for 2 hours and plenty of free time to explore and take the option of climbing Huayna Picchu. 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.

  • Elevation: 2050 metres to 2430 metres to 3400 metres
Day 10Depart Cuzco

Depart Cuzco for your flight home.

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