Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu 4D / 3N
- 4 Days / 3 Nights
- group Tour
During the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu you will have the help of our horses to carry 6 kilos of your personal belongings, including your sleeping bag and floor insulation, for which we will provide you with specially designed bags for the trek, where you will be able to place the things that will be carried by our horses.
Keep in mind that your sleeping bag will weigh approximately 1.1/2 kg and your floor insulation (or mattress) 1 kg. This makes a combined weight of 3 kg. Leaving the other 3 kilos so that you can place other personal items such as (sleepwear or thermal clothing, cleaning supplies, etc.) in the briefcases that will be delivered to you at night for your informative talk
However, you still need to bring a 20-liter personal backpack where you will place items (such as water, sunscreen, hat, camera, passport, etc.). This is because the horses do not walk by your side and you will only be able to access your items. personal only in the camps along the Inca Trail
New Regulations for Visiting Machu Picchu
Starting from January 2019, entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are sold with specific visiting hours, ranging from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Visitors are required to board the bus that will take them to Machu Picchu in advance to avoid unnecessary queues in Machu Picchu Pueblo and congestion at the entrance gates.
Since January 2021, new visiting circuits have been established based on the type of entrance ticket purchased, whether for Machu Picchu, Huayna Picchu mountain, or Machu Picchu mountain. For detailed information regarding the circuits and schedules, you can refer to our “Schedules and New Circuits for Visiting Machu Picchu” link or contact us for further assistance. We are here to ensure you have an unforgettable experience at Machu Picchu.
It is important; that you know that there will be tourists with different walking paces and different languages in your Salkantay group. Our guides are highly experienced and will work to meet the needs of all of our tourists in a safe and friendly manner.
However, if you and your friends or family have the same level of fitness and you prefer to trek in a private group, contact us today to book a private service for your Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu adventure!
- Type of Tour: Hike, Adventure, Camp, Ecology
- Distance of the route: 75 km
- Difficulty Level: Moderate but can be difficult due to height and lack of physical preparation
- Income Required: Which we will reserve for you
- The best time: From April to November
- Closing date: In February for Maintenance
Itinerary of the Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
Day 1 Cusco -Mollepata- Chalacancha – Soraypampa
We will pick you up at your Hotel at 05:00 – 05:15 a.m. With the transportation of the agency to travel for approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes, during the route we will observe beautiful views of the mountains that surround the Cusco valley, including the Salkantay mountain and several high Andean towns and extensive areas of potato and corn cultivation. . We will arrive at the town of Mollepata 2900 m in this town we will have the option to have breakfast and do the last minute purchases (ponchos, batteries, sunscreen, etc.).
Then we will take the transport again to travel for an hour to Challacancha 3,675 m. In Challacancha we will meet all our team on the way (cook, muleteers, muleteers) they will give us a warm welcome and then prepare for our adventure in the mountains.
Meanwhile, our team places your backpacks in the mule, a brief explanation will be given before the walk, we will walk for 2 hours and we will observe the Nevado de Humantay that has a height of 5,917 m.
Arriving at our camp Soraypampa 3,850 m we will observe the impressive mountain of Salkantay, at the camp our team will be waiting for us for lunch, after enjoying lunch and the respective rest we will begin our ascending trek for approximately 1 hour and a half towards the beautiful lagoon of Humantay where we will have time to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the lagoon and the glaciers on the mountain, then we will descend for 1 hour to the camp, where we can enjoy tea time and an hour later dinner.
- Distance to travel: 10 km
- Walking time: 5 to 6 hours including rest
- Camp height: 3,850 meters above sea level.
- Difficulty: Moderate.
- Temperature: Cold and windy in the afternoon
Day 2 Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Chaullay
We start early at 05:00 a.m., after enjoying our breakfast we will prepare to undertake the most difficult walk of the road, we will put our luggage in order and start walking for approximately 1 hour to the site called Salkantaypampa 4,100 m here we will have a brief rest and continue walking uphill for 1 hour to the place of Soyrococha 4400 meters above sea level, the ideal time to rest, hydrate and enjoy a snack, the path continues for 1 more hour to the highest point of the trek, Abra Salkantay 4,632 m the point the highest is located between the 2 imposing snow-capped peaks of Humantay 5,917 m and Salkantay 6,271 m “The Wild Mountain” in the native language of Quechua; In this place we will observe the snow-capped mountains, Salkantay glaciers, we also appreciate the magnificent view of the entire chain of mountains.
Then we will descend for approximately 2 hours to Wayracpampa, which will be our second stop for lunch. Then we will continue our descent path for 3 hours and a half observing the change of vegetation and we will notice the change of climate until we reach our second camp “Chaullay”
- Distance to travel: 14 km
- Walking time: From 9 to 10 hours including rest and stop for lunch
- Camp height: 2,900 meters above sea level.
- Difficulty: Difficult – Moderate
- Temperature: Mild and windy in the afternoon
Day 3 Chaullay – La Playa- Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes
We will get up at 05:00 a.m. to have breakfast and start our walk for 6 hours to “the Beach”, this day will be unforgettable because along the way we will see a large amount of flora and fauna, the road has several ups and downs in different sections.
On this day we can also appreciate beautiful waterfalls of natural waters, orchids and strawberries. after a break we will continue descending through the jungle edge until we reach the 2,200 m beach where we will have lunch, after lunch we will take the bus to Hydroelectric for one hour Once in hydroelectric we will start our last 3 hours of walking towards Agua Calientes, upon arrival in Aguas Calientes we will take you to your hostel where you will do your respective “check in” after a good rest we will pick you up for dinner and coordinate the last details of your visit to Machu Picchu the next day.
- Distance to travel: 14 km
- Walking time: 5 to 6 hours including rest and stop for lunch
- Camp height: 2,050 meters above sea level.
- Difficulty: Moderate.
- Temperature: Mild and windy in the afternoon
Day 4 Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Retorno a Cusco
On this day you will have two options to visit Machu Picchu 1) Continue walking for 1 hour and a half through an ascending path with several stairs until you reach the entrance of the citadel or 2) Buy your bus ticket that you have a value of $12 up or $24 up and down. Once in Machu Picchu 2,490 m we will have a guided tour of approximately 2 hours.
After your visit to Machu Picchu you will have to return to the town of Aguas Calientes so you can have lunch, in the town you will find many restaurants and you can choose the one you like best. After your lunch you will have to go to the train station and board it for approximately 1 and 30 minutes to the Ollantaytambo station, there the transport will be waiting for you with your name and you will be transferred to the City of Cusco the trip lasts 1 hour and 30 minutes approximately.
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Price of The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
$300.00 per person.
The return train schedule at the end of the Tour/Trek: It is the Expedition Train at 18:20pm or 19:00pm DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.
If you prefer the earlier train return we can reserve it for an additional cost of 35 dollars per person; the times you can choose are: 14:55pm or 16:35pm. We also offer the option to reserve the 3:40pm Vistadome train for an additional cost of $65 per person.
Please, tell us in advance what is the train schedule of your preference. We inform you that none of the reserved trains go directly to Cusco, the trains only arrive at the Ollantaytambo or Poroy stations. In any of the cases we will always guarantee the shipment of a transport that will pick them up and bring them back to Cusco.
Can I exchange my return train ticket for an earlier one? in the same station of Aguas Calientes?
Yes, you can make this change in person at the Aguas Calientes train station. However, they will ask you to pay an additional fee to change the ticket and this change will be subject to the availability of spaces and schedules on the train.
How long does the return trip to Cusco take?
It’s about 3 hours. You will first board a train in Aguas Calientes to the train station in Ollantaytambo for 1h30m; then a transfer from our office will be waiting for you at the exit of the train station with a sign that will have your name on it to take you to our car/van back to Cusco for approximately 1h30m; finally it will take you to your hotel/hostel. You will receive your train tickets once your tour in Machu Picchu has finished.
For children under 18 years of age, the discount is $20 dollars per person
For children of 7 years the discount is $50 dollars per person
How do I get the student discount?
The ISIC Card IS NO LONGER VALID to buy the Ticket to Machu Picchu or the Inca Trail with a student discount.
Now students will be able to access this benefit with the UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD from the university where they study, this being the only valid document for this purpose. For more information visit the following link http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/items/estudiantes.html
WE DO NOT RESERVE THE ENTRANCE FOR THE HUAYNA PICCHU MOUNTAIN
Rent camping equipment?
Yes, in case you do not have the appropriate equipment to carry out the Walk, then we can offer you for rent:
Sleeping bags: 15 dollars per person
Canes: 10 dollars for a pair
Matras (air mattresses) 15 dollars per person
Additional tents: 25 dollars per person
What it includes in The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
- Income to Machu Picchu
- Basic hostel in Aguas Calientes
- Allowed weight: 6 kilos per person including the sleeping bag (weights to be carried by horses)
- Transportation: pick up from your hotel/hostel in the morning and transfer by private transport to Callacancha (starting point of the trek)
- professional guide in English / Spanish
- sleeping mats
- Personal tents for 4 people only for two people with enough capacity to store their backpacks.
- Three nights of camping
- Cook and kitchen equipment
- Horses (to take to the tourist tents)
- Two hours of guided tour in Machu Picchu
- Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, the train schedule will depend on availability, which can be 6:20 p.m. or 9:55.p.m
- Transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to Cusco
- Meals mentioned in the itinerary
- Vegetarian option available on request, without any extra charge.
- Wake-up tea: every morning in the camps During the tour we will wake you up with a cup of coca tea.
- Snack during the days of the walk: our snacks consist of local fruits, cookies, chocolate, candies we will give you the snacks at the beginning of each day of the walk
- First aid kit
Does not include in The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
- Breakfast on the first morning
- water for the road
- The use of a canteen is mandatory along the Camino, the authorities will not allow the use or entry of plastic bottles in Machu Picchu
- Bus from camp to Santa Teresa camp
- Entrance to the hot springs of Santa Teresa
- Zip Line in Santa Teresa (optional)
- Train ticket from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes
- Bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Transportation of your backpacks from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes (10 soles)
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the last day
- Entrance to the hot springs of Aguas Calientes (10 soles)
- Tips for guides, cooks and muleteers
- Drinks such as (coca cola, mineral water or beer) at dinner in Aguas Calientes on the 3 day in Aguas Calientes
- Breakfast on the 4th day
what to bring
What you need to take on The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
- original passport
- Valid STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
- Sleeping bag
- Immigration card (delivered on the plane when entering Peru)
- Good backpack (smaller, better)
- Camel Back or canteen for water because the government of Peru will no longer allow the entry of disposable plastic bottles on the Inca Trail, Salkantay Trek and in Machu Picchu .
- Comfortable shoes for the walk (light with good soles)
WHAT YOU SHOULD PLACE IN THE HORSE SUITCASE:
Our horses will carry up to 6kg of your personal items. This should include your sleeping bag and mats or floor insulation (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3 kg.
- 2-3 wicking t-shirts
- 2-3 hiking pants
- 4 sets of underwear.
- 4 sets of socks appropriate for the walk
- 1 fleece
- 1 warm jacket: it gets very cold at night
- 1 jacket and rain pants
- 1 sun hat
- 1 wool hat
- Headlamp: Essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, better)
- Comfortable shoes for camping
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Waterproof jacket / rain poncho
- Quick Dry Towel We offer small, you can enjoy something a little bigger.
- Small bottle of soap: We provide warm water every day to clean; it could make you feel fresh if you take some soap.
- Battery charger: no place to plug it in while trekking!
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean and dirty
- face moisturizer
- Insect repellent
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- toothbrush and paste
- Toilet paper
- personal medication
- First aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, etc.
What to put inside your small backpack:
Backpacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend that the smaller the better. Inside Machu Picchu, the entry of a backpack of more than 25 liters will not be allowed. If it’s larger, you’ll need to store outside the citadel gates. For water you have to bring your Camel Back or Canteen
Music on any device
Toilet paper and a small plastic bag for waste.
Extra money for souvenirs, drinks and tips
Faq of The Classic Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
Allowable weight of 6 kilos per person to be carried by horses
For the Salkantay trek, we include a 5 kilo weight allowance that will be carried by our horses throughout the trek. This weight will be delivered at the moment where we will meet with our muleteers.
We recommend that you have a large backpack where you can put your things that will be carried by the horses; you will have access to your personal things once you arrive at the camp. It is important that you take into consideration that sleeping bags are part of the 5 kilos allowed
However, you will still need to have a small backpack in which to carry some essential items like water, sunscreen, passport, etc.
Drinking water is included? No, during the trek you will have to buy water directly from the local people every 2 hours or at each campsite. Remember that the price of water will not be the same as the price in the city.
However at meal time we will give you tea, coffee etc to drink. If you don’t want to buy water from local people you can buy and take it from Cusco or in Mollepata (beginning of the trek), in Soraypampa (first night) and in Chalhuay (second night).
The other option you may have is to catch water from the fountains or small streams along the way where you can fill your water bottle. We recommend that you have purification tablets for this.
Is there a minimum group size and what happens if Inka Trail Backpacker does not meet the minimum size requirement? We require a minimum size of 7 people to start the trek. For the last few years Inka Trail Backpacker has always managed to meet the minimum group size for all of our departure dates and we have never had to cancel any groups.
In the event that we do not reach the minimum number of people required for our outings, we reserve the right to combine our clients with another trekking company of similar cost.
What is the best time of the year to do the Salkantay Trek?
It is difficult to determine an exact time to visit Peru and do the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu; for the variety of weather conditions it offers; it is possible to say that travelers can come in any season of the year.
The Peruvian highlands have two seasons: the dry season (without rain) runs from April to October and is commonly recommended. At the same time it is the coldest season of the year, due to the frigid winds typical of this region during these months, during the night temperatures drop to 4º C – 5º C and some nights it is possible to have temperatures as low as 0º C. June July and August are the most popular months to visit Cusco due to the different festivities that take place throughout these months.
On the other hand, the rainy season begins in November and lasts until March, which also has a lot to offer since during this time the Salkantay trek shows biodiversity in all its splendor, greener landscapes, wild flowers and more than 100 species of orchids in blooming season, with rains that can last for hours but at the same time with warmer temperatures, it is possible to observe some travelers and hikers who do not mind getting muddy and experiencing an adventure that is slightly more extreme and different than which is lived in the dry season.
Is the entrance to Machu Picchu included in the Salkantay trek?
Yes, the entrance to Machu Picchu is included in the Salkantay trek package.
How many people are there per group?
The maximum size of our group service on the Salkantay trek is 17 people per group. For groups of 14 people or more, we employ an assistant guide to help the group and for groups of 17 we divide the groups so that they have different guides
For confidentiality reasons we will not be able to inform you who will be part of your online group, it is impossible for us to answer precisely. Generally, it is a group of hikers of different nationalities and ages. You will meet the members of your group the day we carry out the orientation or briefing one night before the departure of the tour
Is there an oxygen balloon available during the walk?
Yes, all our guides carry an oxygen balloon with them along the way and it will be provided as needed.
Is medical assistance available during the trek?
Unfortunately not, for this reason we recommend that you spend at least 2 to 3 days acclimatizing in Cusco before starting the Salkantay / Inca Trail trek.
Health and Safety: All our participants must inform us if they have or have had any illness that may affect their personal or group progress during the walk. They will also need to bring their own medications. We recommend that you visit your doctor before making your reservation if you have any health problems.
How long does the walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu last?
The walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu lasts approximately 1 hour and a half. one way and one hour back
Do I have to bring extra money to the trek? Yes, in order to cover some extra expenses that are not included in the Salkantay trek package, for example: the first breakfast, buying water, lunch on the last day and tips for the porters, cooks and guides or any other expense that may arise during the walk, etc. Preferably carry Peruvian soles and in denominations of 50, 20 or 10 soles since larger bills are not easy to obtain change on the route. We also recommend you to have coins.
Is it possible to recharge the batteries during the trek, and if so, how often?
Yes, you can recharge your batteries at the Chaullay camp but it will cost 15 soles per battery.
Where do you pick us up for the start of the trek and where do you drop us off at the end? We will pick you up from your hotel/hostel on the morning your trek begins. Please wait for us at the reception inside your hotel/hostel for pick-up.
Because in the center of Cusco the streets are narrow our bus / van will not be able to enter certain areas of the city center, in those cases you will have to walk together with the guide a short distance to the bus / van that will be hoping for. If your hotel / hostel is a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas it will be easier to locate it and if it is not close we will coordinate an exact pick-up point for your departure.
On the last day, at the end we will leave you at Plaza de Regocijos (next to the main square) or Plaza San Francisco (2 blocks from the main square). Then you must take a taxi to take you back to your hotel/hostel in Cusco. Prices vary between 5 to 7 soles per ride.
Is breakfast, lunch and dinner included in the price every day?
Yes, all meals mentioned in the itinerary are included, except for the first breakfast on the first day and lunch/dinner on the last day.
Are there restrooms on the Salkantay trek? Do I have to pay to use them?
Many toilets have been built on the Salkantay trail, including in the camps for a small fee. This has helped a lot to improve the sanitary conditions on the trail although the conditions are not always perfect. The owner of each flushable toilet will ask you to pay 1 soles. We recommend that you take the hand sanitizing gel with you after using the public toilets.
Are there showers in the camps? We do not have showers in the first camp, however there are showers in the second camp, for an additional cost of 15 soles, the temperature of the water is not very hot but it will help you to clean yourself, in the third camp if there are showers with additional cost, the fourth night you will have the shower at your disposal in the basic hotel of hot waters
How warm are the sleeping bags you rent?
Our sleeping bags are suitable to withstand temperatures as low as 10 and 15 °C degrees below zero since sometimes (not always) the nights reach low temperatures.
If I am traveling alone can I have my own tent?
If you are traveling alone and are willing to share a tent with a member of the same sex, then there is no additional cost. If, however, you would like your own tent it will cost an additional $25.
How much should I tip guides and porters?
Tips are for the porters, cooks and guides, they are always welcome and are organized by the group on different days. They will also be very grateful for small gifts that can be for themselves or their children.
The suggested amount for tips is 40 to 50 soles for each porter and 80 to 90 soles for the cook and his guide. We clarify that this amount is a suggestion and is not an obligation. Tips are collected from all members of the group and is not an individual contribution.
The food on the Salkantay Trek: It is always fresh and with organic ingredients, they contain the adequate amount of daily proteins and carbohydrates; They include vegetables, meat, chicken, fish and other options.
At the time of serving food, all our tourists sit down to eat together at the table, thus guaranteeing a family atmosphere. Our chefs are trained to prepare food according to the tourist’s requirements: gluten-free, sugar-free, anti-allergic diets, vegetarian and vegan options.
Where to store your things: You can leave or store the things that you will not take to the Inca Trail in the hotel or hostel where you are staying. Most of these establishments have warehouses where they will store your things. If you do not trust the place where you are staying, we will gladly store your belongings in our office.
Visa for Peru: In general, if you are Latin American, North American or European, you will not need it. If you are a citizen of Mercosur, all members can enter Peru just by carrying your DNI or with a valid passport. If you are from a non-Mercosur country then you will need a valid passport and in some exceptional cases depending on your country of origin, a visa. Here the complete relationship.
If you are a minor you will need to pass in the company of your parents. If you are a father and you are traveling with children, you will need a marriage certificate, birth certificate of the child.
Vaccines: No vaccine is mandatory, but the Peruvian Ministry of Health “recommends” getting vaccinated against Yellow Fever to go to certain regions of the jungle. Normally nobody does, so it’s up to you if it’s worth the risk or not. In several countries this vaccine is free and when it costs, it is not expensive.
Climate and environment in Cusco: If you are Argentine, Ecuadorian, Chilean, Colombian or you come from a place where it is hot in summer as much as possible, in Cusco it is the opposite. Do not think that your summer is replicated in this region.
The periods of intense and cold rain are between December and April while in the capital it is very hot. Be it summer or winter, in Cusco at some point of the day it is cold. Always wear a coat. It is typical that in sunny places you feel hot and in shady places cold. The sun is radiant, and with the climate of the place it can damage your skin. Bring sunscreen and/or buy cocoa paste pills at pharmacies, which are very cheap and useful.
Machu Picchu, unlike the city of Cusco, is located on the edge of the jungle, that is, at a hybrid point where the mountains meet the jungle and the vegetation changes, showing characteristics of both regions at times. The best season to visit is usually between July and October (high season) when there is not much rain and always blue skies, however this place is visited all year round and it never disappoints.
Altitude sickness: Perhaps you have never experienced a lack of oxygen. This is commonly felt in Cusco due to the height and makes everything cost triple the effort so you do not have your usual physical resistance which will be diminished. Your digestion will be a little slower and your sleep dense and deep. The ideal is to stay calm the first day to acclimatise. It is very normal that all pharmacies sell pills for altitude sickness. Coca tea also helps as well as candies.
Health and safety: The city of Cusco is safe in the places where you see yourself surrounded by tourists, the center, the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu. Avoid walking alone in the night markets or too far from the center with things of value and tourist appearance.
Be aware of your pockets at fairs or areas where you are very close to people. In one of the most touristic cities in the world, petty theft and scams are predictable. To avoid this, simply do not leave your valuables alone or trust free things. Do not trust the excesses of unjustified kindness of strangers who will usually always want something from you.
Hygiene is very important to maintain health. Try whenever possible to see how the food served to you is treated. It is common for tourists to get sick to their stomachs from trying everything. To avoid this, be careful, and avoid things that are sold on buses and street vendors, especially fried foods and artisanal cheeses that can be carriers of dangerous bacteria. Boiled, freshly cooked, or well-washed food will almost always be fine.
Long walks on rocky terrain can make you easy prey to dislocations or similar injuries. Wear good shoes. Cusco has good health care places that cater specifically to tourists. To access them do not forget to have travel insurance. Compare them all here so you can choose the cheapest travel insurance.
Discounts: If you are a student, it is convenient to get the ISIC card (International Student Identity Card) that allows you to have discounts in hostels, in addition to getting the ticket to go up to Machu Picchu (it costs 152 soles) at half price as well as the tourist ticket in Cusco and other advantages. (costs about 20 dollars)
Lodging: Peru is one of the cheapest countries in South America so you can get rooms at ridiculously low prices. However, what you get is directly related to what you pay. You can review lodgings, see the photos and compare all the lodgings at http://hospedaje.mochileros.org so you will have a clearer idea.