Salkantay Trek to Machu Pichu

Duration 5 or 6 day (6 day recommended)

Day 1  – Arrive to Cusco – we pick you up
Day 2 – Rest day or start of hike
Day 3 – From Cusco – Mollepata; Trek to Humantay lake at 14,000 feet above sea level
Day 4 – Cross over the highest point of trek “Salkantay pass”
Day 5 – Catch a glimpse of Machu Picchu – trek thru the rain forests to coffee plantation
Day 6 – trek or train to aguas Calientes
Day 7 – explore Machu Picchu

Salkantay is a geographical area located in the western part of the city of Cusco, and positioned within its confines is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region, the sacred Salkantay. Situated at over 20,500 feet above sea level, Salkantay since ancient times has been considered by the Incas and the cultures that preceded them as a sacred place, and is one of the main reasons why the spiritual city of Machupicchu was built on the same mountain range.


We shall pick you up from your hotel at 5:00 AM and start the drive to Mollepata. After a two and a half hour journey we will arrive and enjoy a light breakfast and an opportunity to buy snacks for the trail if you desire. From Mollepata we will travel a short way to Soraypampa, located at 12,696 feet above sea level, here we will introduce you to the entire team who will be supporting you throughout your trek. These team members will include your chef, the horsemen who will be transporting all of our supplies and other assistants.

Today we will trek to Umantay lagoon (Humantay), located at almost 14,000 feet above sea level. The trek takes roughly 2 hours of ascent and about one hour to descend. Humantay Lake was formed by a geological moraine as a consequence of rocky landslides thousands of years ago, The Umantay mountain glacier (19,620 feet above sea level) sits behind the lake, and is both majestic and tranquil.

From Umantay Lake we shall descend back to Soraypampa where we will have lunch and then continue climbing to the camp of Salkantaypampa (13,615 feet above sea level). This is our first campsite and is located at the base of the Salkantay Mountain. Here we are blessed with a panoramic and impressive view of the snow-covered peak and the starry night skies.  We encourage you to stand beneath the massive sheet of stars above you and appreciate a view that few others get to experience in an entire lifetime.  This is why you are here…take it in and enjoy.


The day will start early at 5:00 AM, and after enjoying a warm and filling breakfast we head straight to the highest point of our trek – Salkantay pass, located over 15,255 feet above sea level. This climb takes about 3 hours as we walk in the shadows of Salkantay and the glacial surroundings.

From here we continue downhill to Wayraj Machay where we will enjoy a hearty lunch prepared by our chef and his team. Take note of the changes in vegetation as you descend.  After our lunch we continue down for about three hours until the second camp of Collpapampa 9350 feet above sea level. As you walk down the mountain, you will notice that the landscape changes from cold and dry with little vegetation, to a temperate and green environment and as you descend farther you shall enter a subtropical climate with jungle landscapes and abundant vegetation all around you. After a long day of trekking, we will arrive at our camp to find everything ready and waiting for us, and after sharing in a delicious dinner, we shall brief you with what follows for the next day.


After our breakfast we leave by a horseshoe road that is still used by the local population. We then follow the course of the river Collpapampa to Sahuayaco beach, a section which will take us approximately 4 hours. During this leg of the journey we will cross through crops of passion fruit and coca leaf plantations, all of them cultivated in a traditional way on terraced hillsides. We will arrive at our campsite approximately at 2:00 pm. Our site is located close to a coffee plantation, and after having our lunch and a restful break we shall tour the plantation, culminating in a tasting of organic local coffee, which we will roast ourselves. After the tasting, we will again have time to relax before enjoying dinner and a campfire before heading to bed for the night.


We will leave very early in the morning heading to Llaqtapata, an Incan settlement that was recently rediscovered. We will learn about the importance of this place and for the first time, we will get a look at the city of Machu Picchu off in the distance. We will then descend for a further 2 hours where we will catch a train to Aguas Calientes, the small tourist oriented town which is situated a very short distance from Machupicchu.  We will arrive in Aguas Calientes around 4:30pm.

Upon our arrival, we will check in to our hotel and rest before dinner. In Aguas Calientes, there are a number of thermal springs, and if you wish, we can arrange for you to visit. There are also some spas where you can have a relaxing massage, which we can also arrange for you upon request.


We will awaken very early in the morning, before sunrise, to take the public bus from Aguas Calientes to get to Machupicchu. This ride will take us around 30 minutes. Once our bus arrives, we will start the tour of the magical city of Machupicchu. Our initial tour will take around 3 hours before we climb Wayna Picchu, which is the picturesque mountain on the postcards located at the back of the sacred city. We will start our climb at 10 am reach the top around 1.5 hours later. The view of the city of Machu Picchu from the top of this rugged mountain is quite impressive! You will observe the ingenuity and strength of the Inca architects in the construction of this amazing place. After descending down to Machupicchu we will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes where we will enjoy lunch before taking our train to Ollantaytambo. At the station in Ollantaytambo, a private shuttle will be waiting for our group to take us to our respective lodging.

NOTE: You have the option of spending a few days in the Sacred valley. Indulge yourself and relax at some of the top 25 rated accommodations in the world or simply head back to Cusco. We would be more than happy to help arrange this part of your itinerary for you. Just ask!

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