Our Salkantay Trek is an alternative to the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but this trek actually combines the two!
Salkantay to Inca Trail is one of the most complete authentical Inca´s route that you can find! On the way, you can watch quick landscape changes as going through diverse microclimates. . This Inca Trail hiking tour is challenging and is designed for experienced trekkers that would like to try something new and uncommon. The first part of the trip is supported by horses and the second by Porters (due to strict Inca Trail regulations). We also provide you with a top quality camping equipment and a very balanced and energetic diet so that you do not need to be worried about any facility and just enjoy the trek, which is an unforgettable experience.
Day 1: Cusco - Sayllapata
Day 2: Sayllapata - Salkantay Pampa
Day 3: Salkantay Pampa - Pampacahuarina
Day 4: Pampacahuarina - Llullucha Pampa
Day 5: Llucha Pampa - Chaquicocha
Day 6: Chaquicocha - Wiñayhuayna
Day 7: Wiñayhuayna - Machu Picchu
Cusco | Salkantay Trek | Inca Trail | Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu
We will pick you up from your hotel and travel by bus to the town of Mollepata. 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, and then toward Mollepata, where we will begin our adventure trek. At Mollepata, we will complete the arrangements for our trek and then hike to our first camp at Soraypampa.
We will begin our second day with a trek to Choquekiclla, where we will view the majestic Salkantay Humantay, a sacred mountain capped with snow peaks and we’ll make camp on its skirts (4,000 meters above sea level).
The third day is by far going to be the hardest day on the trek. It’s long, it’s cold, and you have to make your way over the 4,650 meter Salkantay Pass. Nonetheless, waking up at sunrise amidst the sprawling grasslands of Sisaypampa, the sun illuminating the 6264 meter Andean peaks springing up from behind you makes for an energizing and mesmerizing start of the day.
The climb to the pass takes about 3 or 4 hours, and it is fairly steep with narrow switchbacks and steady uphill climbs until the rock structures of the pass finally come into view. Unless hiking in June or July, the trail should not have any snow or ice, although hail, sleet, ice, and rain are possible at any time of the year.
Though the air is thin and the trail is steep, anyone who is fairly physically fit and acclimated to the altitude can make it over the pass. Our group carries extra oxygen if needed, but you can also ride a horse over the pass.
Once having crossed the pass it is the start of a long downhill hike where you will eventually drop over 1,700 meters vertically until you arrive at our campsite in the Inca Canal. During our trek, we will be able to fully appreciate and take in the imposing Andean landscape.
We begin Day 4 by hiking through the Inca Canal, which leads us to Paucarcancha. At Paucarcancha, we will enter the Cusichaca Valley and hike onward to Huayllabamba (Incaracay).
After waking up at around 5:00-5:30am and having breakfast, we will start a steep ascent towards the highest pass: Abra de Warrmihuañusca also known as Dead Woman's Pass at 4200 meters. On this day you should feel proud for reaching the top! After a rest here, we begin the descent to the lunch stop which is located at Pacaymayu (3550 meters). On the way up to the pass we will be able to see lots of hummingbirds and other birds. Also we will have the time to appreciate an incredible variety of native plants and trees such as the Polylepis or Q'ueuña trees which grow in the astonishing cloud forest located at 3650 meters! We will arrive at our campsite, Pacaymayo, by 5 pm.
In our opinion, this is the most impressive day! We will wake up for breakfast around 6am, and start the day with a gentle climb to visit the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca (meaning Town in the Clouds) and to reach the third highest point on the trail at 3680 meters). The views from here of the mountains, canyons and surrounding area are spectacular. The Inca site, Phuyupatamarca, is located a few minutes walk from the third pass and after visiting this, we continue walking (3000 steps!) through the cloud forest and the impressive agricultural Inca site of Intipata until we arrive at our third campsite Wiñay Wayna (2680 meters). Today we have only walked about 4 to 5 hours and have arrived to camp by lunch time! A short distance from this campsite is the Inca site with the same name ,Wiñay Wayna (Forever Young). Even if you are tired after your day’s trek, don’t miss out on visiting the most impressive sites on the trail.
We will leave the last campsite at about 5:30am on the final day (breakfast 3.30-4:00am). It is an early start in order to get to Inti Punku (Sun Gate) at 2730 meters before sunrise. This is the place from where you will have your first dramatic view of Machu Picchu at 2400 meters with the sun rising over it! After some time there, we will walk down the last part of the trail to the spot where you can take the classic photo (picture postcard shot) of this ancient city. Finally we visit Machu Picchu itself! A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. You will meet your guide in Aguas Calientes (it can be reached by bus or on foot) for lunch and to be given your train tickets back to Cusco. Train included in all tours is until Ollantaytambo (Expedition) and then bus to Cusco. Allocations or Itinerary are subject to change depending on time of booking and campsites provided by INC (institution that runs the Inca Trail).
If you like to do the Salkantay to Inca Trail, please first check an availability of Inca Trail. choose year and month when you like to do the tour.
PLEASE NOTE: the Inca Trail starts on the fourth day of the Salkantay to Inca Trail! (For example, if you like to start the hike on the 6th of July, you need to check Inca Trail availability of the day 09th of July!)
If there is still availability of the Inca Trail on your date requested in the time of your booking, the booking of the Salkantay to Inca Trail Tour will be confirmed firstly by our Reservation Department via e-mail. Then your full personal details wil be required as well as a deposit in order to purchase your Inca Trail permit. (Please note that an Inca Trail booking is valid only for 1 hour!! If it is not paid within this time, it expires!!!)
It is very important to book this trek a good time in advance!!! As there are only 500 permits (Tour Guides, Porters and Cooks including) issued per day for the Inca Trail!!
A general recommendation on how long time in advance to book is:
Do I need to book it in advance? Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail has departures guaranteed, but Inca Trail permits, train tickets and entrances to Huayna Picchu Mountain are subjet to availability! For that reason, we HIGHLY recommend booking it well in advance to ensure you receive exactly what you want!!
PLEASE NOTE: May, June and July are peak months of a HIGH TOURIST SEASON in Cusco. It means that Inca Trail permits are SELL OUT MANY MONTHS IN ADVANCE!!