Salkantay Trek | Responsible Tourism | Alemana Tours

Salkantay Trek 5D/4N

Overview

The Salkantay Trek is an excellent alternative for the Inca Trail. This trek provides the perfect combination of natural, scenic and cultural beauty varying from snowy mountains to tropical jungle. All this in a unique and unforgettable hike to Machu Picchu, with magnificent views to some of the most beautiful snow peeks of the Andes, the Salkantay (6264m/2055ft) and other beautiful snow covered mountains of the Vilcabamba Cordillera. While the Inca Trail stands out for its archaeological richness, the Salkantay Trek convinces by its enormous ecological exuberance and landscape beauty as well as by the limited number of tourists. The level of difficulty of this trek is moderate and variable.

  • Departure: On request
  • Service: Guided group tour
  • Language guide: English and Spanish
  • Tour Category: Cultural, Historical, Adventurous, Nature, Trekking

Tour description

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa (Humantay Lake)

You will be picked up at 5 am from your hotel and have a four hour drive to Challacancha via Mollepata, where we stop to have breakfast. On the way you will enjoy a spectacular scenery of high peaked mountains and valleys. Beautiful are the snowcapped mountains of Apus Salkantay and Humantay.

At Challacancha is the starting point of the trek. After meeting the support staff you will start at 9.30 am your trek!

After a three hour hike you will reach Soraypampa, your first place to camp. During the hike on a path along the site of a mountain you will be able to see an old aqueduct that still supplies water to local farmers. Arriving at Soraypampa you will have lunch.

After lunch you will go for a three hour roundtrip to hike to Humantay Lake (4200 m). The water of the lake is of a beautiful green-blue color and reflects the mountain glaciers of Apu Humantay.

Back at the camp Soraypampa you will enjoy dinner and at night you can appreciate the stars, constellations and even comets if you are lucky. The sky is here immense clear, because the camp is located in the middle of glacier valleys.

Distance: 7.5 miles/12 km (6.5 hours)

Altitude campsite: 3920 m.a.s.l.

Difficulty: Moderate

Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Wayracpunku – Chaullay

Today is the most challenging day of the trek. After an early breakfast you will start hiking to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay Pass (4650m). Reaching the top you will have amazing views on the surrounding valleys and the snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucurhuay and Pumasillo.

On your descent to the lunch campsite Huayracmachac, you can enjoy stunning views on the valley.

After lunch you will reach the upper part of the Amazon jungle, also called ´the Cloud Forest´. It is a big change from mountains to tropical forest, from Andes to Amazon. This hike is of a very colorful scenery with wildlife and native plants.

Finally you will reach Chaullay Village, the camp to overnight, where you can rest after a long day hiking, before you go for dinner.

Distance: 10.5 miles/17 km (10 hours)

Altitude campsite: 2750 m.a.s.l.

Difficulty: Challenging

Day 3: Chaullay, Collpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba

Today you get up early again, have breakfast and start hiking on a serene and empty trail. You will pass through the Santa Teresa Valley to the small town of La Playa. During the trek you will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, and plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado. You can taste the passion fruit along the way. With some luck you will see the national bird of Peru, “The Cock of the Rock”. You will pass a village called Collpapampa, also called the “brow of the cloud forest,” where waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, and other flora and fauna can be observed.

After a good lunch in La Playa you hike another hour to the base camp Lucmabamba where you overnight. Here you will visit an organic coffee farm, a great experience for the coffee lovers among us as you will taste freshly prepared coffee. After this visit you will also explore an orange plantation and an avocado plantation.

Walking distance: 12.4 miles/20 km (6.5 hours)

Altitude campsite: 2.400 meters

Difficulty: Easy

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes

After breakfast you will hike to the first archeological site of this trek: Llactapata. You will climb over a small part of the famous Inca Trail to reach this site. On this site the guide will explain you about the amazing Inca culture. From here you will be able to see Machu Picchu itself, Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain.

After the visit of Llactapata you descend to Hidroelectrica. On the way down you can see Machu Picchu and a natural waterfall of 300 meters that generates electricity for the entire Cusco region. Arriving at Hidroelectrica you will have lunch.

After lunch you will visit Intiwatana, a famous ancient rock used as a sundial in the Incan era. Intiwatana worked together with the famous sundial stone on the Machu Picchu site. The people used these two stones to measure and read the winter solstice, which was the beginning of the new farming season for the Incas.

After this visit you have two options: If you are very tired, you can take the train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes (33 USD). Or you continue walking for three hours on a path next to the rail track. It is the same trail used by the American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries being lost to the outside world!

Arriving at Aguas Calientes you will overnight in a hotel.

Note: During the rainy season, the hike up the Llactapata Trail is not 100% guaranteed due to safety concerns. When heavy rains are frequent, this trail becomes very dangerous.

Walking distance: 11.2 miles/18 km (9 hours)

Altitude Agua Calientes: 2.000 meters

Level: Moderate to challenging

Day 5: The big final – Machu Picchu!

Today, one more time, you get up early to beat the crowds and reach the site before most other tourists. You will hike up to Machu Picchu (bus is an option for 12 USD) and you will have a guided tour of 2 hours on this magical place, considered as one of the seven modern world wonders! You will see temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. It is still partially a mystery how the Inca´s built this city without any modern tools: True engineering ingenuity.

After this guided tour you could visit Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain. These options need to be booked in advance and are not included in the basic price. Both mountains take around three hours to hike up and down.

Another option which is for free is to hike to the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), which is the main entrance to Machu Picchu. From here you have a spectacular view on the mountains and Machu Picchu in all its glory. This hike takes around 2.5 hours.

A fourth option is to walk to the Incan Bridge.

Then you will descend by bus to Aguas Calientes where you can enjoy your last lunch in a local restaurant. This is optional and not included. Later in the afternoon you will take the train back from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo where you will continue by bus going back to Cusco to your hotel.

Walking distance and level: 2-5 hours exploring and optional 2-3 hour strenuous hike; Machu Picchu is at 2430 m.a.s.l.

Included

Included in the tour:

Professional bilingual guide (English and Spanish). 1 guide for a group of 2 until 10 persons and 2 guides for a group of maximum 12 persons.

Transportation: The bus from your hotel to Challacancha, the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and the bus from Ollantaytambo back to your hotel in Cusco.

Entrance fees: The entrance fee to Machu Picchu.

Accommodation: All accommodation during the trek. In Aguas Calientes this is a hotel (double room).

One mattress of 2.5 inches thick.

Cargo mules: Will carry a maximum of 7 kg / 15.4 lbs of luggage per person.

Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment.

Food: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners are included. Also you will receive a snack on every trekking day.

Water: Every morning you will receive boiled, filtered and cooled water (1 liter).

Not included:

Entrance fee to Salkantay Trail (10 soles per person).

Sleeping bag: Mummy form with a sleeping liner (-15ºC).

Walking sticks, possible to rent.

A duffel bag. If you rent such bag you will receive it on your briefing the night before the Inca trail. This duffel will be carried by a horse and cannot weight more than 7kg / 15.4 lbs including your sleeping bag.

Breakfast on the first day and lunch and dinner on the last day.

Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.

Train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes.

Bus tickets Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu (up or down)

Price

Price of this tour is 445 USD per person.

If you wish to hire additional equipment:

Sleeping bag: 15 USD

Walking Sticks (pair): 10 USD

If you want to use additional forms of transportation:

Train ticket Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes: 33 USD

Bus ticket Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu: One way 12 USD and round way 24 USD

If you want to include a visit to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain we will charge you an additional 25 USD.

Practical information

Briefing

The night before your trek, you will have a briefing of your trek at the office of the operator of your trek. Alemana Tours will make sure you will know where to be and at what time. At this briefing you will receive, detailed and important information about your trek. You will also receive equipment that you rented for your equipment like a duffel.

What to bring

Backpack with rain shelter

Sleeping bag if you didn´t hire this

Clothing for warm and cold climate like a waterproof jacket

Rain pants and lightweight pants

Trekking shoes

Slippers or sandals for showers and hot springs

Woolen or synthetic socks and a sweater

Long- and short-sleeved polo’s/t-shirts

Rain poncho and a hat

Bathing suit for the hot springs

Sunscreen, insect repellent, disinfecting alcohol and gel, water bottle or Camelbag, toiletries and toilet paper

Camera (wrapped in plastic bag), a flash light and batteries

Original passport, original ISIC student card and extra money in soles

Since the weather can be very cold and moistly, your clothes - once gotten wet - won’t dry at night. So take some clothes to change

Food and Water

You will be surprised about the quality and great taste of the food during a trek. Every trek is accompanied by a cook. It is no problem if you have special diet wishes, or if you are vegetarian or vegan, let us know in advance. During the trek you will also be given a variety of snacks.

During your trek you will be supplied with drinking water. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributed. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back.

Weather Conditions

It is impossible to predict the weather during a trek. Dry season in the region of Cusco is from April until October. In the other months you can expect a lot of rain. But in the mountains it is not possible to predict the weather accurately. It also can rain during dry season. Because of the many micro-climates you will pass, the weather can change drastically during one day.

You will have to be prepared for all weather conditions: warm and cold, dry and wet. Bring proper rain gear and a warm winter jacket, also bring gloves. Layers are always a good answer on the changing weather conditions.

Altitude

Here in Cusco and during a trek you are at quite a high altitude. This can cause altitude sickness, especially the first days. This is because there is a lot less oxygen in the air than at sea level and your body needs some time to adjust to that. Symptoms are mostly mild like: headache, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, trouble sleeping and trouble breathing during exercise. If you get these symptoms, they mostly go away after a few days.

What can you do about altitude sickness:

Take your time to acclimatize, take it easy the first days. It is better the first days not to do hard physical activities.

Drink lots of fluids like coca tea or water, but don´t drink alcohol or coffee.

You can visit your doctor before and get medication against the altitude.

Health and Fitness

A trek means multiple days, walking longer distances, at a higher altitude. So it definitely will help if you are in a reasonably good shape and bring an adventurous attitude. It is highly recommended to acclimatize to the altitude a few days before you do a trek. If you think you have concerns about your health, we recommend you visit your doctor first. Let us know about any health issues that could affect your trek.

Insurance

We strongly recommend you take a travel insurance going on vacation to Peru and doing a trek. Having a travel insurance will help you and avoid a lot of problems in case you need medical assistance or you lose your luggage for example.

First aid

On your trek there will be an emergency first aid kit available including oxygen. Your tour guide has received a training in first aid.

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