5 Days / 4 Nights
Of all the various treks to Machu Picchu, none can compete with the Salkantay Trek in terms of scenery. It’s a spectacular route, passing through jungles and mountain passes, and dotted with azure lagoons. And at the heart of the trek is Salkantay Mountain, which at 6,271 m (20,574 ft) is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range and the twelfth-highest in Peru.
Our 5 day Salkantay trek traverses the flank of this sacred mountain, offering some of the most awe-inspiring views in Peru. It’s one of the more challenging alternative routes to Machu Picchu, simply because of the high altitude. But it also receives far fewer trekkers than the classic Inca Trail, so you can walk through this natural and remote paradise comparatively free from fellow humans – but you might have to share the stunning scenery with Andean condors and other local wildlife.
Our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu begins when we pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at around 5 a.m. We’ll then travel in our private bus to Mollepata, which takes about four hours. It’s a lengthy trip, but it’s needed to get out to this relatively remote region. On the way, you’ll be able to enjoy the wonderful scenery, including views of the Izcuchaca and Limatambo mountain ranges.
Eventually we’ll arrive at the colorful Andean village ...
We will wake early and have breakfast around 5:30 a.m. We have a long day of trekking ahead of us, through some of the most incredible scenery in Peru. This will be our most challenging day, as we ascend to the highest point on the trail.
We first make the climb to a mountain pass at 4,650 m (15,200 ft) – the highest location on the trek. From here, we’ll have sublime views of two huge snow-capped mountains: Salkantay on the right and Tucarhuay on the left. A...
Waking at 6: 30 a.m., we’ll have a hearty breakfast before setting off. Today, much of our trekking takes us through a region of jungle known as the ceja de selva: the swathe of jungle that lies between the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. We’ll cross the Lluskamayo River and find ourselves in a world of waterfalls, tropical fruits and colorful birds. If we’re lucky, we might even see a cock of the rock, Peru’s national bird. The temperature will be much warmer...
On our final day of trekking we’ll have breakfast at 6:30 a.m. before setting off towards Llactapata. It will be a steady three-hour climb, and as we ascend we’ll have wonderful views of the Santa Teresa Valley below us. Eventually we’ll reach Llactapata, an impressive Inca ruin that may have served as an important rest stop and roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu, which it is connected to via the Inca Trail. From here we get our very first glimpse of our ...
To best appreciated Machu Picchu, we’ll wake up early in the morning so we can get to the citadel in good time. You’ll have time for breakfast first, and then your guide will pick you up from the hotel at around 5:40 a.m. We’ll then walk to the bus departure point for the short but zigzagging ascent up the road to Machu Picchu. We’ll then pass through the gates into the Machu Picchu archaeological site. Here you’ll begin your guided walking tour with an e...