Located northwest of Cuzco, 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 4 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.
One of the reasons the Salkantay trail is so popular is the incredible diversity of the views and ecosystems. Voted among the top 25 best treks in the world the walk is dominated by the 20,500-feet-high Mount Salkantay and cuts through the beautiful Mollepata Valley and passes Salkantay at an altitude above 15,000 feet before traversing around the mountains to arrive at Aguas Calientes. The trek is only a little more difficult than the Inca Trail, and horses are used to carry food and equipment.
A Kandoo driver will meet you at the airport and take you to your hotel in Cuzco. The rest of the day is yours (depending on when your plane lands) to explore the city, or rest up for tomorrow.
Cuzco itself is one of the highest points on the trek, so it provides an opportunity to get used to exertion at altitude and a comfortable night's sleep afterwards.
Several full- and half-day tours of Cuzco are available (payable locally) and well worth your time.
The bus trip to Mollepata takes us through several picturesque towns, the beautiful Limatambo Valley, and past the ruins of a place called Tarawasi.
At Sayllapata our trek begins properly with a hike to the camp at Salkantaypampa.
Day four sees us ascend to the highest point of our trek, the Salkantay Pass at 4600m where we can take time out to see the sacred, snow-capped Mount Salkantay. In the afternoon we will descend to our campsite at Collpapampa.
Day five is a steady downhill walk into the jungle at Ceja de Selva. After lunch at Playa, we will proceed to Lucmabamba.
We will trek to the archaeological site of Llactapata, from where we will catch our first sight of the Lost City of Machu Picchu in the distance. After our last camping lunch, we will follow the railway into Aguas Calientes where you will spend the night in a hotel.
Today we'll bring you back to Machu Picchu for a full tour with one of our guides and the option of climbing nearby Huayna Picchu . Permits to climb the mountain must be purchased in advance.
Afterwards we will return to Aguas Calientes by bus, then by train back to Ollantaytambo. Of course, we'll drive you from the train station to your hotel in Cuzco.
Your last day in Peru. Our Kandoo driver will take you to the airport and make sure you set off safely and in good time.
Q1HOW DIFFICULT IS THE SALKANTAY TREK?
In general, the Salkantay Trek is considered more difficult than the Inca Trail. Whilst not dramatically difficult, a good level of fitness is required. The Salkantay Pass which stands at 4,650 meters is considered to be the most difficult section.
Q2WHAT IS THE DISTANCE OF THE SALKANTAY TREK?
The total trek distance is 45 miles or 72 kilometres.
Q3WHAT IS THE SCENERY LIKE ON THE SALKANTAY TREK?
The trail passes through spectacular mountain landscapes where lowland jungle gives way to high alpine scenery and glaciated mountains.
Q4DO I NEED A PERMIT TO HIKE THE SALKANTAY TREK?
No permit is required for the Salkantay Trek.
Q5SHOULD I BOOK IN ADVANCE?
The Salkantay Trek is certainly not as busy as the Inca Trail, but it is always safer to book early. We recommend at least 1 month in advance.
Q6WHEN IS THE HIGH SEASON FOR THE SALKANTAY TREK?
The high season is during the dry season from May to September.