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    5 Days
    Cusco
    Salkantay, Machupicchu
    Min Age : 14+
    Max People : 20
    Overview

    What to Know Before Starting the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – 5 Days and 4 Nights

    Location: Salkantay, in the Inca Quechua language, means “salqa” (wild) and “antay” (produces celajes or avalanches). It is usually preceded by the word APU, which in Quechua means Lord. It is a mountain that is located in the Vilcabamba mountain range and stands at an altitude of 6,264 meters / 20,545 feet. The Salkantay trek is an alternative route to reach Machu Picchu.

    Type of Tour: Cultural and adventure hike.

    Difficulty Level: Difficult.

    Recommended for people with a moderate to good physical fitness level.

    Considerations:

    Day 1: Optional visit to Humantay Lagoon (Turquoise Lagoon).

    Day 4: Visit to the archaeological site of Llactapata, a remarkable place with a spectacular view of the Machu Picchu citadel.

    Season: From March 1st to January 10th.

    Closed: From January 10th to February 28th due to the rainy season.

    ITINERARY SUMMARY:

    Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa – Humantay Lake – Soraypampa Camp.

    In the morning, we will hike to Soraypampa camp, where we will have lunch and spend the first night. In the afternoon, we will visit the Humantay Lake, a famous tourist spot.

    Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay – Collpapampa Camp.

    This is a challenging day as you ascend to the highest point of the Salkantay trek, where you can observe the peak of the second highest snow-capped mountain in Cusco. Then, you will descend through a cloud forest to our campsite.

    Day 3: Collpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba Camp.

    You will enjoy the day’s hike, passing by waterfalls and through jungle vegetation. You will arrive at the lunch spot, which will also be our campsite. In the afternoon, you can choose to do a coffee tour in the camp or relax in the hot springs.

    Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes Village.

    In the morning, you will hike 700 meters / 2,200 feet in 2 ½ hours to the archaeological site of Llactapata, where you will have a beautiful view of the Machu Picchu citadel. Then you will descend for 2 hours to the Hydroelectric station, where we will have lunch before arriving at the town of Aguas Calientes to rest in a comfortable hotel.

    Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco.

    This day is considered the most important, as in the morning you will have a guided tour of the Machu Picchu citadel. After the tour, you will return to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch, and then take the train to Ollantaytambo station. In the evening, you will return to the city of Cusco.

    Tour Details

    Itinerary

    Prices

    Inclusions and Exclusions

    Travel Information
    INTRODUCTION:

    Salkantay, the name given to this mountain in the Quechua Inca language, means “wild” and “to produce avalanches or avalanches” which is usually preceded by the word “apu” meaning “lord”. It is situated in the Vilcabamba mountain range and has an altitude of 6,640 meters / 20,545 feet. Salkantay trek is an alternative route to Machu Picchu.

    DETAILED ITINERARY:

    Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha – Soraypampa – Humantay Lake – Soraypampa Camp

    Our guide will pick you up from your hotel at 5:00 am and transport you in our vehicle for 2 hours to Mollepata town, where you will have breakfast (not included). After breakfast, we will board our transportation and travel for another hour to Challacancha, where the trekking adventure begins. Before starting the hike, the guide will introduce our support staff, including the muleteers responsible for carrying all the luggage and camping equipment, and the cook who will be in charge of preparing our meals.

    We will begin hiking 7 kilometers / 4.4 miles for 3 hours to the lunch spot and our first night’s campsite, Soraypampa, located at 3,900 meters / 12,795 feet. After lunch, you will have time to rest before starting our hike to the Humantay Lake, which is at an altitude of 4,200 meters / 13,780 feet. The hike to the lagoon will take 3 hours and will have a distance of 3 km / 1.86 miles up and down. You will be able to enjoy a spectacular view of the turquoise water of the Humantay Lake. After the visit to the lake, we will descend to our campsite to enjoy our tea time, which our support staff will prepare, including hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies, etc. During tea, our guide will brief you on the next day’s plan and answer any questions or doubts you may have. After dinner, we will go to sleep.

    Meals: lunch and dinner.

    Hiking distance: 10 km / 6.21 miles.

    Hiking time: 5-6 hours.

    Maximum altitude: 4,200 meters / 13,780 feet.

    Difficulty level: moderate to challenging.

    Camp altitude: 3,900 meters / 12,795 feet.

    Day 2: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay – Collpapampa Camp.

    After being woken up with hot coca tea, you’ll enjoy a hearty breakfast prepared by our cook. We will start the hike, walking for 3 ½ hours and covering a distance of 7 km/4.34 miles to reach the Salkantay Pass, which is the highest point of our trek at 4,630 m/15,190 ft. From here, you can observe the majestic Salkantay, the second highest snow-capped mountain in the Cusco region, with a height of 6,271 meters/20,569 feet. Take some pictures and enjoy the breathtaking view before beginning the 2 ½ hour, 7 km/4.34 mile descent to our lunch spot, Huayracmachay, located at 3,850 m/12,631 ft. This part of the trail is steep and rocky, but it offers the best views of the surrounding landscape.

    After lunch, we will continue hiking for 3 ½ hours, entering the edge of the tropical rainforest known as the “cloud forest”. Our destination is Collpapampa, where we will set up camp for the night. We will hike a total distance of 8 km/4.97 miles.

    After a long day of hiking, you’ll enjoy some tea and snacks at the camp while the guide provides information about the plan for the next day. Dinner will be served, and you can then retire for the night.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Hiking Distance: 22 km/13.67 miles.

    Hiking Time: 10-11 hours.

    Maximum Altitude: 4,630 m/15,190 ft.

    Difficulty Level: Challenging.

    Camp Altitude: 2,900 m/9,514 ft.

    Day 3: Collpapampa – La Playa – Camp Lucmabamba

    Our support staff will wake you up with a hot cup of coca tea, and then you will enjoy a delicious breakfast before we begin our hike. We will pass through coffee, banana, avocado, and passion fruit plantations, and make a brief stop to taste the freshly harvested fruits. During the hike, we will pass by waterfalls and beautiful valleys with native trees of the area. We will descend for 900 meters / 2050 feet over the course of 6 hours until we reach our camp at Lucmabamba. Once we arrive, our support staff will have prepared our lunch. After lunch, you will have some free time to rest, and in the afternoon, your guide will take you on a hike around the camp to have a coffee tour. You will have the option to participate in the process of harvesting and elaborating the coffee, from farm to cup. This is an excellent opportunity to learn about the main agricultural industry in the jungle, which is exported to the United States, Asia, and Europe.

    At 5:30 p.m., we will enjoy some freshly brewed coffee with cookies and popcorn. As usual, the guide will give you information about the next day during tea time. After dinner, you can enjoy a campfire with a drink before heading to bed to rest up for the next day.

    Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

    Hiking distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles.

    Hiking time: 5-6 hours.

    Maximum altitude: 2000 meters / 6562 feet.

    Difficulty level: moderate.

    Camp altitude: 2000 meters / 6562 feet.

    Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hydroelectric Plant – Aguas Calientes Village.

    After a hot breakfast, you will start your hike to the top of the mountain for 2 and a half hours, enjoying the views of the river and the Santa Teresa valley along the way. Once you reach the top, you will descend for 30 minutes to reach the archaeological site of Llactapata, which is located at an altitude of 2,700 meters / 8,858 feet, in front of Machu Picchu. Here, you will enjoy a stunning panoramic view of the citadel.

    Your guide will give you a guided tour of Llactapata, where you will learn about the mysteries of the ancient culture and the purpose for which it was built on top of the mountain. Then, you will hike downhill for 2 hours on a zigzagging path until you reach a hanging bridge. From there, it is a 45-minute walk to the Hidroelectrica train station, located at an altitude of 1,800 meters / 5,906 feet, where you will have lunch. After lunch, you will have two options:

    Option 1: Board the hydroelectric train to the town of Aguas Calientes for a 45-minute ride (train ticket not included).

    Option 2: Walk along the railway for 3 hours, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and the stunning view of the landscape. You will also be able to appreciate the citadel of Machu Picchu, which is located on top of the mountain of the same name. Upon arrival in the town of Aguas Calientes, your guide will take you to your hotel to freshen up and rest until dinner time, which will be in a tourist restaurant. Your guide will give you information about the next day, which is the most important day of your trip: the visit to the citadel of Machu Picchu. Afterwards, you can return to your hotel to get some rest.

    Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.

    Walking distance: 25 km / 15.53 mi

    Hiking time: 8-9 hours

    Maximum altitude: 2,800 meters / 9,186 feet

    Difficulty level: Challenging

    Hotel altitude: 2,040 meters / 6,693 feet

    Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Ollantaytambo – Cusco.

    Today is the most awaited day since you started the hike on day 1. After breakfast, your guide will come to pick you up at your hotel to go to the bus station that will take you to the citadel of Machu Picchu. You will have a guided tour of approximately 2 ½ hours, touring the most important sites of Machu Picchu. You will have plenty of time to take pictures and receive an explanation about the history and purpose of the Incas in building Machu Picchu on top of the mountain, and later the discovery in 1911. After the guided tour, you will return to the town of Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included). Then, your guide will provide you with information to return to the city of Cusco, give you your train tickets and you must be at the train station 30 minutes before to take the train to Ollantaytambo station. The trip will take 1 hour and 45 minutes. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, our vehicle will be waiting for you and will take you back to the city of Cusco to your hotel of choice. Meals: Breakfast. Hiking time: No hiking this day. Maximum altitude: 2,430 m/7,972 ft. Difficulty level: Easy.

    WHAT IS INCLUDED:
    • Briefing before the start of the trek: one night before, your guide will give you information about the entire 5 days and 4 nights tour.
    • Professional tour guide with extensive knowledge of history, first aid, and bilingual.
    • Camping equipment: Eureka Timberline tents for 4 people that will be used only by 2 people.
    • Duffel bag: you will receive a duffel bag to carry your personal belongings, with a maximum weight of 7 kgs/15.4 lbs (weight includes sleeping bag).
    • First aid kit and oxygen tank: will be carried by your guide in case of emergency.
    • 24/7 customer service.
    • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners.
    • Water for the trek: will be distributed after each meal. You will only need one bottle.
    • Coca tea: every morning after waking up, you will receive hot coca tea.
    • Transportation:
      • Day 1: transfer from Cusco to the trailhead.
      • Day 5: transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to Cusco city.
      • Bus ticket up and down from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on day 5.
      • Return train ticket on day 5, from Aguas Calientes town to Ollantaytambo train station.
    • Permits and entrance fees:
      • Entrance ticket to Salkantay.
      • Entrance ticket to the citadel of Machu Picchu.
    WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED:
    • Sleeping bag: you can rent it in our office.
    • Walking sticks.
    • Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu mountain ($60.00).
    • Lunch and dinner on day 5.
    • Train ticket from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes on day 4.
    • Tips for support staff.
    WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

    VERY IMPORTANT:

    • Passport
    • Valid student card (if you booked as a student).
    • Migration card given at the airport when entering Peru.
    • Backpack (the smaller the better)
    • Water container: we recommend containers such as aluminum bottles, but enough for at least 2 liters.
    • Comfortable hiking boots (light with good soles)
    • 4-5 T-shirts
    • 3-4 hiking pants
    • 5 sets of underwear
    • 5 pairs of hiking socks
    • 1 windbreaker
    • 1 warm jacket: it gets very cold at night, if it is a down jacket it is better
    • 1 waterproof jacket and pants
    • 1 sun hat
    • 1 wool hat
    • Head flashlight
    • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, bring them)
    • Extra comfortable shoes for camp after the hike
    • Raincoat/rain poncho
    • Wet wipes
    • Battery charger: no place to plug in during the hike
    • Large plastic bags: to help organize and separate clean and dirty items
    • Sleeping bag: we recommend bags for a minimum of -10°C.

    TOILETRIES:

    • Sunscreen
    • Facial moisturizer
    • Insect repellent
    • Hand sanitizer
    • Toothbrush and toothpaste
    • Toilet paper
    • Personal medications
    • First aid kit

    How many days of acclimatization do I need before starting the trek?

    A: We recommend that you arrive in Cusco city at least 2 or 3 days before the start of our Salkantay tour to adapt to the altitude and avoid possible symptoms of altitude sickness. To help you acclimatize, we offer various tours around the city of Cusco, such as CITY TOUR, SACRED VALLEY, MARAS MORAY, MARAS SALT MINES, and WALKING TOUR.

    Season: Our season runs from March 1st until December.

    Road closure: For safety reasons, we do not offer the tour to our clients between the months of January and February, as the rains are intense.

    Briefing:

    A briefing will be held one night before the start of the hike. During this meeting, which lasts approximately 30 to 45 minutes, you will receive information about the 5-day and 4-night tour. If you are unable to attend, please inform us by email to arrange another date or time to meet your guide.

    Payment of the balance of the trek (in Cusco):

    The balance of the trek must be paid during the meeting or one day before. We prefer cash payments, and you can withdraw money at ATMs in Cusco’s Plaza de Armas or on Avenida El Sol. Please note that we do not accept bank checks or traveler’s checks.

    Travel bag or duffel bag:

    You will receive a duffel bag or travel bag that will be carried by the horses. Please pack your clothes for the 5-day trek, sleeping bag, and sleeping pad in this bag. Note that you will also need a backpack to carry personal items such as sunscreen, water, rain gear, sunglasses, etc.

    Huayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain:

    The citadel of Machu Picchu is most beautiful when seen from above, so hiking up one of the mountains next to the ruins is highly recommended.

    Huayna Picchu: This is the most popular option and must be booked in advance as tickets sell out quickly. The hike takes approximately 45 minutes to ascend and another 45 minutes to descend. Tickets are sold in timed sessions, indicating when you can start the hike. The first session runs from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m., and the second session runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. We usually reserve the second session so that you can enjoy your tour of the citadel of Machu Picchu with your guide before starting the hike.

    Machu Picchu Mountain: This hike is slightly longer than Huayna Picchu, with a 1.5-hour ascent and another 1.5-hour descent. The first session is from 7 AM to 8 AM, while the second session is from 9 AM to 10 AM. Peru Infinite Travel will provide the second session for this tour.

    Strikes/Demonstrations:

    Unfortunately, strikes are frequent in Peru and can disrupt our tours. Roads are often blocked, and trains may be stopped. We will ensure that your trek continues as planned, even if it means leaving the night before the start date. In some cases, tours may need to be canceled, but our operations department will coordinate with you in such a situation. Your safety is always our top priority.

    Lost and Found:

    Each client is responsible for their belongings throughout the tour. Be mindful of where you leave your belongings and remember to pick up all items from our vehicles, stores, restaurants, etc. Other hikers or teams may accidentally pick up your items without knowing who the owner is.

    Return to Cusco:

    After your visit to Machu Picchu, logistics are required to return to Cusco. Below is the information about the logistics included in the tour:

    There is a 25-minute bus ride from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes. Buses operate all day and operate on a first-come, first-served basis.

    You will then take a train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo train station. Your guide will give you your train tickets with the corresponding time. Be sure to arrive at the train station 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

    The train ride from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes 1 hour and 45 minutes.

    Once you arrive at the train station, look for a member of our company who will have your name written on a board. We will pick you up in our private transportation and take you directly to your hotel in Cusco.

    The travel time from Ollantaytambo to Cusco city is approximately 2 hours.

    Map

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