Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu

Panoramic view from Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu

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From $975USD

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Guided

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Highlights

Immerse yourself in the majestic landscapes of the Peruvian Andes on the Salkantay Guided Trek to Machu Picchu

Experience the sights and sounds of the vibrant city of Cusco.

Trek through the majestic landscape of the Peruvian Andes along ancient walking routes.

Take in the natural beauty of a sunrise at the Ancient Inca site of Machu Picchu.

Spend your nights along the tour in a mixture of luxurious hotels and wonderfully scenic campsites.

The Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu is an incredible adventure that will take you through the heart of the Pedruvian Andes to experience the ancient wonders of the Inca people and the beautifully scenic landscape that they called home.

Spend time exploring Cusco, the vibrant capital city of the Inca Empire, before trekking through the Andes Mountains along the Salkantay Trek. After passing through the high-altitude villages of the Quechua people, you will eventually arrive at the breathtaking site of Machu Picchu.

Featuring the perfect mixture of adventure and luxury, the Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu really does have it all, making for an amazing getaway to the Peruvian Andes!

Explore Cusco

Start by exploring the city of Cusco, which has been continuously inhabited since its days as the capital city of the Incan Empire. Old meets new in this city that is full of archaeological discoveries as well as a modern and vibrant nightlife.

Navigating the hustle and bustle of Cusco while acclimatizing to the high altitude is an adventure in itself, but the city will really come alive as you explore the markets and cultural sites that make this city so unique.

Discover the Andes Mountains and Quechua Villages

Then grab your backpack for a 4-day adventure trekking through the Andes mountains. Stretching out for 7,000km along the western edge of South America, the Andes are the longest continental mountain range in the world and the highest outside of Asia.

While exploring these mountains, you will encounter breathtaking scenery at every turn and come across high-altitude villages inhabited by the Quechua people. This fascinating group of people are indigenous to South America and have played a strong role in the region’s history, as they have ancestral ties to historically influential groups such as the Inca and their language, Quechua, is one of the official languages of Peru.

Salkantay and Nearby Mountains

Trekking through the mountainous terrain, you will witness the rugged and awe-inspiring beauty of countless mountains, including Salkantay, the highest peak in the Vilcabamba Range and the twelfth-highest in all of Peru. The name of this imposing peak comes from the Quechua word meaning wild or uncivilized, an apt description for the majestic terrain in this part of the world.

Visit the Ancient Ruins of Machu Picchu

Finally, spend a day exploring the famously mysterious site of Machu Picchu, a 15th Century citadel located high above the Sacred Valley in the Eastern Cordillera of Peru. Although the grand structure is often mistaken as a lost Incan city, many archaeologists now believe that the complex was built as an estate for the famous Inca leader Pachacuti. The site was abandoned only a century after its completion, as the Spanish Conquest put pressure on the Inca people. This caused Machu Picchu to remain hidden from the world until 1911, when Hiram Bingham made the site famous. After watching the sunrise here, take a guided tour of the area, then explore further on your own.

Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail

Comparing the Salkantay Trek vs the Inca Trail is like comparing apples to apples; both are equally scenic and have their own unique qualities. The Inca Trail is the classic route leading to Machu Picchu, which is evident in the fact that it sees higher volumes of foot traffic and implements a permit system designed to limit the amount of travellers on the trail at any given time. Conversely, the Salkantay is less-travelled and features some breathtaking alpine scenery in the Peruvian Andes, making it an ideal choice if you are not overly concerned with the history of the Inca Trail, but would rather take in the natural beauty of your surroundings. No matter which route you do end up choosing, when it comes to the Salkantay Trek vs the Inca Trail you can’t go wrong with either!

Can You Do the Salkantay Trek Without a Guide?

If you are looking to set out on a multi-day adventure in Peru, you may be wondering: can you do the Salkantay Trek without a guide? Attempting the Salkantay Trek without a guide is certainly possible and will likely end up being cheaper; however it will require a fair amount of extra planning on your end. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of planning your adventure in Peru, consider booking one of these incredible Machu Picchu Guided Tours.

Do you need to book the Salkantay Trek in advance

Wondering if you need to book the Salkantay Trek in advance? As it is one of the less-travelled options leading to Machu Picchu, trekkers generally do not need to book the actual Salkantay Trek portion of their adventure that far in advance. However, when it comes to securing your entrance to Machu Picchu itself and the various train tickets involved, you will certainly want to book these well in advance. For this reason, it is recommended to plan ahead and book your entire Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu in advance to avoid any issues upon arrival.

Salkantay Trek Altitude

When it comes to the Salkantay Trek, altitude will certainly be a concern for many travellers. The highest point along the route is located at approximately 4,630 m/15,190 ft above sea level, which is more than high enough to feel the effects of altitude sickness. Due to the Salkantay Trek’s altitude, it is highly recommended that anyone looking to complete the Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu should spend at least two days in Cusco prior to the start of the tour.

Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Cusco

Welcome to Cusco, Peru! Transportation from the airport to your hotel will be arranged for you, and once there you will meet your guide for an overview of your tour. Depending on what time you arrive, you should have time to explore the city. Cusco is set high in the Andes and it was the capital of the ancient Incan Empire. There are many remains left from this time and you can also see Spanish mansions and churches. Cusco also offers a vibrant nightlife and wonderful Peruvian restaurants.

Overnight Location
Jose Antonio Hotel, Cusco (3,399m, 11,200’)
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 2 Explore Cusco

To help you acclimatize before your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu adventure, spend a day exploring the wonderful city of Cusco. There is much to see, do, and learn here in South America’s oldest, continuously inhabited city. What was once the Inca’s capital city has now become the archaeological capital of South America.

This tour includes a choice of optional guided daytrips, and you can choose between the Sacred Valley Tour and the Maras Moray Tour.

The Sacred Valley Tour is a full day of experiences. You’ll visit an Indian market in Pisac to experience this colourful tradition. You can barter with the local craftsmen to purchase unique, handmade souvenirs. You’ll then travel to the town of Ollantaytambo, a town of narrow streets and canals that are largely unchanged since the time the Incas inhabited it. Finally, visit the Chinchero market. This market is more authentic and less geared toward tourists. According to legend, Chinchero is the birthplace of the rainbow. When you are finished in Chinchero, return to Cusco. Note you will need to pay for admissions fees on this tour.

The Maras Moray tour begins with a drive from your hotel to Moray (approx. 1.5 hours). Moray is known as the “Inca agricultural greenhouse or laboratory.” Here, the Incas carved amphitheatre-like terraces in a bowl shape. It is thought that these were used to test and determine optimal growing conditions for different crops. After exploring Moray, continue another two miles to visit the Maras salt mines. In this area, you can see a series of tiny channels carved so that the highly salty water coming from a natural spring would run into terraced ponds. Exposed to the sun, the water dries and leaves the salt behind. It is believed that salt was harvested in this way in this place since a time before even the Incas. After exploring the Maras salt mines, return to Cusco. Note you will need to pay for admissions fees on this tour.

Overnight Location
Jose Antonio Hotel, Cusco (3,399m, 11,200’)
Distance
As Required
Meals
Breakfast

Day 3 Transfer to Mollepata , Hike to Soraypampa

On this first day of the Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu, meet your guide at the hotel at 5:00 AM for a bus ride to Mollepata (2,900 m / 9,515 ft). Begin your hike here, with a 3-hour trek to Cruzpata. The views here are breathtaking as you see the snow-capped peaks of Salkantay (6,271 m / 20,575 ft) and Humantay (4,120 m / 13,500 ft). Eat lunch at this viewpoint, then continue hiking through the spectacular landscape. Your first campsite is also the coldest and highest elevation campsite of this tour, at Soraypampa (3,886 m / 12,750 ft).

Overnight Location
Soraypampa Camp (3,886 m / 12,750 ft)
Distance
4-5 hours, 7km / 4.4 miles
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 Trek to Challway

Begin your hike today by climbing to the highest pass on this trek, at 4,650 m (15,200 ft). Two majestic mountains tower over you as the pass crosses between Salkantay Mountain on your right side and Tucarhuay (5,910 m / 19,390 ft) to the left. There is a possibility of snow at this pass, but it’s a great place to rest and take in the awe-inspiring view. As you continue your hike, descend through an impressive cloud forest, and stop for lunch at Huayracpunku, which is sometimes called Huayracmachay. Another 3 hours of hiking after lunch will bring you to your second campsite at Colcapampa (3,000 m / 9,800 ft). Depending on the pace of your group, it is possible to continue to campsites at Challway or Andenes instead.

Overnight Location
Challway Camp (3,000 m / 9,800 ft)
Distance
8 hours, 16km / 10 miles
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 Trek to La Playa through a Cloud Forest

Start your day with another wonderful breakfast, then begin today’s trek around 6:30 AM. The trek begins through the upper part of the jungle and crosses the Lluskamayo River via a few small creeks and brooks. As you pass through the valleys, you’ll be greeted by beautiful waterfalls and a stunning variety of tropical fruit and plant life. Enjoy the warmer climate of La Playa (2,500 m / 8,202 ft), where you’ll set camp for the night. There are hot springs nearby, and after a few days on the trail you may find a soak in these waters to be wonderfully soothing.

Overnight Location
La Playa Camp (2,500 m / 8,202 ft)
Distance
6 hours, 15km / 9.3 miles
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6 Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata

Finish the Salkantay Trek today. Begin with a hearty breakfast at 6:30 AM, then hike to Llactapata (2,700 m / 8,858 ft). It will take about 3 hours of steadily climbing, but your efforts will be rewarded when you reach this amazing Incan fort and take in the incredible view of Machu Picchu. This is a wonderful place to rest and take photos. From here, the trail descends for about 2 hours through cocoa and banana plantations until you reach your lunch stop at the hydroelectric dam. Another 2 hours of hiking will bring you to Aguas Calientes (2,000 m / 6,561 ft), where you will enjoy a comfortable night in a beautiful hotel. If you want to, there are hot springs in the town of Aguas Calientes that you can enjoy for an additional fee (10 soles).

Overnight Location
Hatun Inti Boutique, Aguas Calientes (2,000 m / 6,561 ft)
Distance
6 hours, 12km / 7.5 miles
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7 Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Rise and shine early today, eat breakfast and be ready to leave the hotel by 5:40 AM. A short bus ride from Aguas Calientes brings you to Machu Picchu in time to watch the sunrise. Then enter the Citadel for a 2-hour guided walking tour of the complex, after which you’ll have time to freely explore this mysterious ancient city.

If you are interested in climbing Wayna (Huayna) Picchu, the mountain behind Machu Picchu, this can be arranged for an additional fee. The Wayna Picchu hike allows you to see Machu Picchu from a new perspective, as well as view steps that the Incas cut into the rocks. It is a wonderful view of Machu Picchu.

Return to Aguas Calientes by bus for lunch, then take the train back Poroy, where you will be picked up and transported back to your hotel in Cusco.

Overnight Location
Jose Antonio Hotel, Cusco (3,399m, 11,200’)
Distance
As Required
Meals
Breakfast

Day 8 Departure from Cusco Airport

Sadly, your Salkantay Trek has reached its end. After breakfast, depending on your flight times, you are free to explore the Cusco, and possibly enjoy extra optional activities until it is time for your transfer to the airport. Have a pleasant journey!

Overnight Location
N/A
Distance
None
Meals
Breakfast

Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu Price and Dates

For this guided Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, you can choose to either join a group tour or create a custom trip for just your group. The prices below are per person sharing a double room and tent.

Prices for a Private Guided Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

  • Guided group of 2: $1,370USD per person
  • Guided group of 4: $950USD per person
  • Guided group of 6: $850USD per person
  • Guided group of 7+: on request

Join a Group Tour for the Guided Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Make new friends by joining a group tour! The prices below are per person:

Day Of WeekPrice Per Person *
MondayNot Available
Tuesday
$975USD
Book Now
WednesdayNot Available
Thursday
$975USD
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Friday
$975USD
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SaturdayNot Available
Sunday
$975USD
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* Single Supplement may apply

Accommodation on the Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu Tour

This tour is based in hotels and camps. Four nights are spent in hotels and three nights along the Salkantay trek are spent in camps. Hotels on this trip are 4-star and offer modern conveniences that can make this trip more pleasant. The accommodations have been carefully chosen so you will feel comfortable and pampered. Rooms are double occupancy, and single travelers will pay a supplement.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other, comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travelers
You can pay a single supplement of $400USD to have a private room in a hotel. Contact us and we can try and match single travelers up, where possible.

Jose Antonio Hotel, Cusco

A comfortable hotel in a great location for exploring the city. Be sure to visit the rooftop terrace for wonderful views of the city and don’t miss their excellent breakfast.

Night 3-5

Camping in campsites along the Salkantay Trek

Sleep under the starry sky in comfortable tents in the campsites along the Salkantay Trail. Spend your nights in camps surrounded by stunning peaks of Peruvian Andes.

Hatun Inti Boutique, Aguas Calientes

Stay in a suite room in this fabulous and luxurious hotel with mountain and river views. The location is convenient for exploring Machu Picchu and the decor will immerse you in Andean culture.

Jose Antonio Hotel, Cusco

A comfortable hotel in a great location for exploring the city. Be sure to visit the rooftop terrace for wonderful views of the city and don’t miss their excellent breakfast.

Hotels on Standard Tour

What’s included in the Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu Tour?

Meals

7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 afternoon snacks, 4 dinners, and other various snacks along the trek.

Accommodations

Hotel accommodations for 4 nights, 3 in Cusco and 1 in Aguas Calientes. Also, 3 nights in campsites along the Salkantay Trail are included too.

Transportation during the Tour

Planned transportation throughout the tour is included. This includes:

  • Transportation to/from the Cusco Airport at the beginning and end of the tour
  • Transportation from Cusco to Soraypampa
  • Train tickets (expedition class) from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes and from Aguas Calientes to Poroy. (Can be upgraded to the Vistadome class for $50 USD per person)
  • Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back. (approx 25 min)
  • Transportation from Poroy train station to your hotel in Cusco

Also Included

  • Tour briefing on the day you arrive in Cusco
  • Professional, English-speaking guide
  • Entrance fees to the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu
  • Horseman and mules to carry cooking and camping equipment during the trek
  • Lares Valley entrance fee
  • First Aid kit
  • 24/7 support and emergency line available throughout the tour

Not included

  • Meals and drinks other than those mentioned in the itinerary (extra meals can be arranged upon request)
  • Optional tours and excursions
  • Personal items such as souvenirs or telephone calls
  • Personal camping and trekking equipment, such as sleeping bags or walking sticks (many of these items can be rented for an additional fee)
  • Any damages you might cause to the bus or camping equipment
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Personal porter who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag
  • Travel insurance
  • Evacuation in the event of a serious medical issue or injury

Optional Extras

  • Climb Wayna (Huayna) Picchu - $80USD per person
  • Upgrade train tickets from Expedition class to Vistadome class - $55USD per person
  • Additional activities in Cusco (all prices are per person):
    • Cusco City Tour: A tour of many different significant landmarks in and around Cusco- $40 + $33 entrance fees
    • South Valley: Head south from Cusco to tour an Andean village with Pre-Incan architecture, plus the Incan Pikillagta (Temple of Water) and Tipon (the 17th Century “Sistine Chapel of Cusco”) - $50 + $26 entrance fee
    • Gastronomic Tour at Market & Cooking Class: Learn to prepare authentic, traditional local dishes from shopping at the market for ingredients to preparing and serving the meal - $60
  • Personal horse to ride during the trek (max weight - 110 Kg) - $85USD per person

Frequenty Asked Questions about Salkantay Trek Guided Tour to Machu Picchu

How hard is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is a moderate difficulty trek, and we rate this tour as a 3 / 5. The trek is moderate but hikers unaccustomed to hiking at higher altitudes will notice the additional strain caused by the elevations.

Do I need a Visa?

Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.

Are meals included?

7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 afternoon snacks, and 4 dinners are included. Additional meals can be arranged upon request.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory to have Health and Medical insurance to join this trip. Get your Travel Insurance.

How do I get to Cusco to start this tour?

Fly to Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco. Many international flights will connect through Peru’s capital city of Lima. The flight from Lima to Cusco takes about 1 hour.

Are the tours in English?

Yes, the tour guide is English speaking.

Where does the tour end?

The tour ends where it begins, in Cusco. Transportation from your hotel to the Cusco Airport is included.

What should I pack?

Don’t forget your passport (and visa if needed). Bring layers of clothing to keep you comfortable as you are hiking, as well as warm enough on cold nights. Please keep clothing lightweight. Rain gear is important to keep you dry and warm on rainy days. Sun protection is very important, especially at higher elevations. Sunblock, sunglasses, and a hat are recommended. You may also be glad to have insect repellent. Bring a backpack (preferably waterproof). Be sure you have sturdy shoes for hiking.

Do I need vaccines?

Check with your family doctor.

Are there any travel restrictions for this country?

Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.

Is the Salkantay Trek at high altitude

The Salkantay Trek does go to high altitudes, and you should consult your doctor before doing this tour. While the trek goes to high altitudes, only one night is at an elevation higher than Cusco. Although this tour has an extra day in Cusco at the start, to help with acclimatization, many guests choose to add additional nights at the start of the tour to aid in acclimatization.

What do I do do if I'm tired on Salkantay Trek?

If you are concerned about the distances or elevation, you can rent a horse and a horseman. This way you can sit on the horse for days where you are tired. The price of the horse is $85 per person for the trek and the horse can carry maximum of 110 kg.

When is the best time to travel to Peru for this tour?

The best time to travel to Cusco Region for this trek is during April through November as December through March are considered to be the rainy season.

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Prices

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Difficulty

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Hotels / Camps

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Tour Difficulty

The Salkantay Trek Tour to Machu Picchu is a moderate difficulty trek, and we rate this tour as a 3 / 5. The trek is moderate but hikers unaccustomed to hiking at higher altitudes will notice the additional strain caused by the elevations.


Read about our scale for Tour Difficulty Ratings.

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