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Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu

Trek through the quiet and remote Salkantay valley
Fascinating range of bio-diversity from mountain to jungle
Private tour of Machu Picchu and chance to climb Huayna Picchu
Explore Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire
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8 days

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. 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1Arrival

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. 

Day 2Acclimatisation day in and around Cuzco

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.

Day 3Drive from Cuzco to Mollepata, trek to Salkantaypampa

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.

  • Elevation: From 3400 metres to 2800 metres to 4000 metres
Day 4From Salkantaypampa to Collpapampa, via Salkantay Pass

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.

  • Elevation: From 4000 metres to 2950 metres
  • Highest point: 4600m (Salkantay Pass)
Day 5From Collpapampa to Lucmabamba

Day five is a steady downhill walk into the jungle at Ceja de Selva. After lunch at Playa, we will proceed to Lucmabamba.

  • Elevation: From 2950 metres to 2150 metres
Day 6From Lucmabamba to Agua Calientes

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.

  • Elevation: From 2150 metres to 2050 metres
Day 7Tour of the ruins at Machu Picchu

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.

  • Elevation: From 2050 metres to 2430 metres to 3400 metres
Day 8Departure

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.


What's Included

  • Hotel accommodation in Cuzco for two nights before and one night after your trek on a B&B basis
  • Prices are based on 2 people sharing a twin room and tent
  • Transfers to and from your trek start point
  • Hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes for one night on a B&B basis
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee
  • Standard train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Service of our qualified guides, cooks and porters / horsemen
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner on the trek
  • Private toilet tent for use by the group
  • Return airport transfers
  • Access to emergency oxygen and first aid kit
  • Foam sleeping mat
Not Included
  • International airfare and departure taxes
  • Entry visa for Peru (not required for UK, USA, Canadian, Australian or EU passport holder. Other nationalities may require a visa)
  • Personal trekking insurance (must cover trekking to 4500m as a minimum. Some routes may go to higher altitudes)
  • Permit to climb Huayna Picchu is not included but can be booked separately
  • Single tent and hotel occupancy costs an additional £180 / US$220 per person and must be requested at time of booking
  • Tips for the crew
  • Personal hiking/trekking gear
  • Meals, snacks and drinks not specified
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Personal medicine


Last Updated March 10 2017
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Frequently Asked Questions


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.


The total trek distance is 45 miles or 72 kilometres.


The trail passes through spectacular mountain landscapes where lowland jungle gives way to high alpine scenery and glaciated mountains.


No permit is required for the Salkantay Trek.


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.


The high season is during the dry season from May to September.

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