Our 5day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most scenic and thrilling routes to reach Machu Picchu. With glacier mountains, picturesque lakes like Humantay and Salkantay Lake, and a trek through the Amazon jungle, this is one of the most beautiful and interesting treks in Peru.
Booking this tour with us means enjoying the best services at affordable prices. We provide exclusive camps with newly-built Mountain Sky Huts and glass igloos, along with professional and knowledgeable guides and supporting staff. We offer all-inclusive itinerary options to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. We’ll pass by brilliantly blue lakes, reach heights of up to 4,630 meters, and trek past waterfalls, rivers, and hot springs.
We’ll also trek through the original Inca Trail to the Llactapata ruins, where you’ll get a fantastic view of Machu Picchu from a different angle, motivating you to finish the final stretch before reaching the famous lost city of the Incas.
The 5-Day Salkantay Trek is listed by National Geographic as one of the “World’s Best Treks.” Choose an experienced, highly-rated company for your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, and make it an unforgettable experience.
5 DAYS SALKANTAY TREK SUMMARY
- Start point: Cusco, hotel pick up from 4:30 to 5:00 am
- Pick up: at Machu Picchu reservations office at 5:00 am
- Ending point: Cusco city center – Plaza Regocijo
- Duration: 5 days – 4 nights
- Departure: Daily departures
- Group size: Up to 16
- Duffle Bag: Included (7 kg capacity)
- Machu Picchu tickets: included in the package
- Meals included: 5 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners
- Vegetarian/vegan: Food available upon request at no extra charge
- Free storage: Available
- High season: From april to october
5 DAY SALKANTAY TREK HIGHLIGHTS
- Salkantay Mountain: One of the highlights of the trek is the stunning views of Salkantay Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Andes, which rises to an elevation of 6,271 meters (20,574 feet).
- Humantay Lake: A beautiful turquoise lake located at the base of Humantay Mountain. The trek includes a hike to this lake, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
- High altitude passes: The trek includes two high altitude passes – Salkantay Pass (4,650 meters / 15,255 feet) and Inca Pass (4,200 meters / 13,779 feet), both of which offer incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
- Llactapata ruins: On the fourth day of the trek, you’ll visit the Llactapata ruins, which offer stunning views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective.
- Machu Picchu: The final day of the trek includes a visit to the world-famous Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The trek ends with a guided tour of the ruins, followed by free time to explore on your own.
- Quiswarniyoc camp: Sleep in our exclusive private campsite at Quiswarniyoc, which offers a panoramic view of the Salkantay mountain.
- Amazon Region: Enjoy the Amazon region is full of coffee, banana, and avocado plantations.
- Hot springs: Take a dip in the hot springs of Santa Teresa on the afternoon of the third day, and spend the night in Lucmabamba.
Embark on a captivating journey as we pick you up from your respective hotels or locations in Cusco around 5:15 am, setting off on a two-hour drive to the charming village of Mollepata. Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious breakfast before paying the 20 soles entrance fee to the local municipality (not included in the tour cost).
Continuing by car for another hour, we’ll reach Soraypampa, where our muleteers and horses await, ready to transport our equipment, food, and 7 kilos of personal belongings per hiker during the trek. From here, we’ll begin our two-hour uphill hike to the captivating Humantay Lake.
Once at the lake, spend a couple of hours exploring its beauty, taking photos, and listening to our guide’s insights into the significance of this enchanting lagoon. Following our visit, we’ll embark on a two-hour downhill hike to our exclusive Quiswarniyoc campsite, where a scrumptious lunch will be served.
After lunch, take advantage of free time to explore the spectacular surroundings, including an optional hike to the Salkantay Mirador for awe-inspiring panoramic views. Alternatively, unwind in our Mountain Sky Huts or glass igloos, featuring glass doors, comfortable pillows, sleeping pads, and a mesmerizing illuminated night sky.
Nestled at an altitude of 4,100 meters, the Quiswarniyoc private campsite offers an unparalleled experience with additional short hikes, breathtaking mountain viewpoints, and cascading waterfalls, promising an unforgettable adventure.
Day 01 trekking Details:
- Walking Distance: 13 km, approximately 6 hours of hiking
- Campsite Altitude: 4,100 meters above sea level
- Difficulty: Moderate day (acclimatizing to the Salkantay Trail)
- Weather: Warm and windy during the day, with very cold nights
- Accommodations: Mountain Sky Huts or Crystal Domes
- Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner
- Embark on an invigorating 13 km hike, lasting approximately 6 hours, through the stunning landscapes of the Salkantay Trail. As you acclimatize to the 4,100-meter altitude at our campsite, prepare for a moderate day of trekking through diverse terrain and ever-changing weather conditions.
- Expect warm and windy daytime conditions, but be prepared for cold nights as temperatures drop significantly. At the end of the day, rest and rejuvenate in our unique Mountain Sky Huts or Crystal Domes, offering a comfortable retreat amidst the breathtaking Andean scenery.
- Throughout the day, we’ll provide you with nourishing meals, including breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner, to keep your energy levels high and your spirits lifted as you immerse yourself in this unforgettable trekking experience
On the second day of the trek, brace yourself for the most challenging segment, as you cover 20 kilometers and reach the trek’s highest point at an altitude of 4,630 meters above sea level. Your day begins with a gentle wake-up call at 5:00 am, as our cooks serve you a cup of hot coca tea to help you pack your belongings and prepare for a hearty breakfast at around 5:45 am.
Embark on a 3 to 4-hour uphill hike at a steady, manageable pace towards the trek’s highest point, situated at 4,630 meters. Upon arrival, marvel at the breathtaking mountain vistas, capture photographs, learn about the revered mountain gods, and partake in a traditional Andean ritual to honor the Apus mountain god.
Following this memorable experience, commence a 2-hour downhill hike before pausing for a well-deserved, mouthwatering lunch. Continue your descent for another 3 hours to reach the second camp, Chaullay, nestled at an altitude of 2,900 meters and marking the entrance to the Peruvian Amazon. Here, you will be provided with camping equipment, hot tea, and a delicious dinner.
At Chaullay, take advantage of the optional hot shower for 10 soles, offered by locals, and purchase refreshing drinks such as beer, soda, and water to enhance your camping experience.
Day 02 trekking Details:
- Walking Distance: 22 km, approximately 9 hours of hiking
- Campsite Altitude: 2,900 meters above sea level
- Difficulty: Challenging day (conquering the highest point at 4,650 meters above sea level)
- Weather: Warm and windy during the day, with cold nights
- Accommodations: Mountain Sky Huts
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner
- Prepare for an exhilarating 22 km hike, lasting around 9 hours, as you navigate through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Peruvian highlands. With the campsite situated at 2,900 meters above sea level, this challenging day involves reaching the trek’s highest point at an impressive 4,650 meters above sea level.
- Anticipate warm and windy conditions during the day, but remember that temperatures will drop significantly as night falls. At the end of this demanding day, relax and rejuvenate in the comfortable Mountain Sky Huts, set amidst the stunning Andean backdrop.
- Throughout the day, we’ll provide you with a selection of nourishing meals, including breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner, to keep your energy levels high as you tackle this unforgettable and challenging trekking experience
On the third day of the trek, awaken to the warmth and beauty of the lush jungle. At around 5:30 am, our cooks will serve you a cup of coca tea to help you start your day, followed by a scrumptious breakfast prepared to fuel your adventure.
At 6:30 am, embark on a 5-hour hike through the enchanting Santa Teresa Valley, shaped by the meandering Salkantay River. Your journey will lead you to Lucmabamba, the third campsite and your lunch destination, after 5 hours of trekking.
Throughout the hike, marvel at the thriving plantations of coffee, bananas, avocados, coca, passion fruit, and more. Upon arriving at the campsite, enjoy a delightful lunch before setting off to explore the optional hot springs of Colcampayo in Santa Teresa.
A 1.5-hour car ride will transport you to the Colcampayo hot springs, where you can unwind in the pristine, natural waters for a few hours before returning to camp for tea time, a delicious warm dinner, and a cozy group bonfire. Please note that the hots springs activitie is optional; if you prefer to relax at the campsite, you are more than welcome to do so.
Day 03 trekking Details:
- Walking Distance: 16 km, approximately 5 hours of hiking
- Campsite Altitude: 2,100 meters above sea level
- Difficulty: Easy and relaxing day
- Weather: Warm, hot, and tropical
- Accommodations: Sleeping in tents
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner
- Embark on a leisurely 16 km hike, lasting around 5 hours, as you explore the captivating landscapes and immerse yourself in the warm, tropical climate. With the campsite located at 2,100 meters above sea level, this day offers a more relaxed pace, allowing you to soak in the beauty of your surroundings.
- Expect warm and hot temperatures throughout the day as you make your way through this tropical environment. After a day of hiking, rest and rejuvenate in the comfort of our provided tents, set amidst the lush jungle backdrop.
- To keep you energized and satisfied, we will serve a variety of nourishing meals, including breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner, ensuring a delightful culinary experience throughout this unforgettable trekking day.
On the fourth day, prepare for a unique and memorable experience as you visit the captivating Inca site of Llactapata. Boasting a spectacular view of Machu Picchu from a distinct vantage point, this ancient ruin is a true highlight of the journey. Begin your day with an early breakfast around 5:30 am.
From Lucmabamba, embark on a 3-hour uphill trek along the original Inca trail, leading to the enchanting ruins of Llactapata. Once you reach this historic site, take your time to appreciate the awe-inspiring views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountain. If the weather permits, you may also catch a glimpse of the majestic Salkantay Mountain.
Following your exploration of Llactapata, hike downhill for 2 hours towards Hidroelectrica, where you will savor a delicious lunch and enjoy some well-deserved downtime. The final stretch of the day consists of a 3-hour walk along the train tracks, culminating in your arrival at the charming town of Aguas Calientes.
Once in Aguas Calientes, we will guide you to your hotel where you can freshen up and unwind before gathering for a final group dinner at 7:00 pm in a local restaurant. With anticipation building for the ultimate reward of visiting Machu Picchu the following day, retire to your hotel for a restful night’s sleep
Day 04 trekking details:
- Walking Distance: 22 KM – Approximately 8 hours of hiking
- Lodging Altitude: 2,000 meters (high) above sea level
- Difficulty: Challenging and long day
- Weather: Hot, very humid, and tropical
- Accommodations: Overnight stay at a hotel
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
- On this intense yet rewarding day, you will cover approximately 22 kilometers over the course of 8 hours of hiking. The trek’s difficulty is considered challenging due to the distance and varied terrain. The lodging altitude in Aguas Calientes is 2,000 meters above sea level, providing a comfortable and relatively cooler environment for resting after the day’s hike.
- Expect hot, humid, and tropical weather conditions as you journey through the lush landscapes. At the end of the day, you will be accommodated in a cozy hotel, offering a much-needed opportunity to relax and recharge. Throughout the day, you will be treated to a variety of nutritious and delicious meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to keep your energy levels high and spirits lifted.
Arriving at Machu Picchu’s Main Gate from Aguas Calientes: To reach Machu Picchu’s main gate from Aguas Calientes, you have two options. You can either embark on a scenic 1.5-hour hike or take a convenient bus ride that costs $12. The choice is yours, and you can even decide on the same day you plan to visit Machu Picchu. Regardless of the option you choose, your day will begin bright and early at 4 am with a delicious breakfast at your hotel in Aguas Calientes.
If you choose to WALK from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, your journey will begin at around 4:30 am. You’ll start by walking from your hotel in Aguas Calientes to Puente Ruinas, which takes approximately 30 minutes. Puente Ruinas serves as the first checkpoint, where you’ll need to present your Machu Picchu tickets and original passports to gain entry. Once you’ve passed the Puente Ruinas checkpoint, you’ll embark on an uphill hike to Machu Picchu, climbing approximately 1,700 steps. This ascent typically takes between one hour to one hour and 20 minutes. Upon reaching the main gate of Machu Picchu, you’ll meet up with your group and guide to enter the site and begin your unforgettable exploration of this ancient Inca citadel.
If you opt to take the BUS from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, you’ll need to purchase a bus ticket in town, either the night before or on the same morning. Each one-way bus ticket costs $12. Once you have your ticket, join the queue to board the first buses, which depart from Aguas Calientes at 5:30 am. The bus ride takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Machu Picchu. Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, you’ll meet up with your group and guide around 6 am to enter the site and begin exploring the remarkable ancient Inca city together.
MACHU PICCHU GUIDED TOUR:
Our program includes a Machu Picchu ticket, with the primary circuit options being either circuit 01 or 02.
If there is no availability for the first choice, we will include circuit 03 or 04. Ticket availability depends on the time of booking, so if you prefer the primary circuit options, we recommend booking well in advance. For more information about the different circuits and ticket details, please visit our website or contact us directly. Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, our experienced tour guide will lead you on a 2.5-hour guided exploration of the Inca city, following the circuit outlined in your ticket. The guide will share insights about the history and significance of Machu Picchu while allowing time for photographs and taking in the breathtaking views. You’ll visit the most iconic locations within the site during the tour.
At the conclusion of the guided tour, you will have some leisure time to explore and relax on your own. If you have arranged to hike Huayna Picchu (which must be booked ahead of time, as it is a popular option that sells out quickly and costs $60 per person), your guide will direct you to the starting point. The hike will take no more than 2 hours to complete, with a round-trip time.
Alternatively, you may choose to hike Machu Picchu Mountain instead of Huayna Picchu. This hike is more challenging and takes a minimum of three hours for the round-trip (at an additional cost of $60 per person).
For those considering either of the mountain climbs, we recommend opting for the train return to Cusco to allow more time to explore the mountains. If you prefer to return by car, we suggest spending an additional night in Aguas Calientes and departing by car on the sixth day from the Hydroelectric station. This will give you ample time to fully experience the beauty of the mountains and make the most of your journey.
After immersing yourself in the wonders of Machu Picchu and exploring its surroundings, it’s time to make your way back to Cusco. We offer two convenient options for your return journey: by car or by train. Both options ensure a smooth and comfortable trip to Cusco.
If you choose to return BY CAR, you will need to begin your walk from Machu Picchu to Hidroelectrica around 10:30 am. This trek typically takes 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. It is essential to reach Hidroelectrica by 2:00 pm in order to board the car, which is scheduled to depart at 2:30 pm. The car journey from Hidroelectrica to Cusco takes approximately 6 hours, and you can expect to arrive in Cusco around 9:30 pm. Upon arrival, you will be dropped off in the city center of Cusco.
If you opt to return BY TRAIN to Cusco after visiting Machu Picchu, you have two options for getting to the town of Aguas Calientes. You can either walk down for 1.5 hours, or take a bus that takes just 30 minutes but costs 12 dollars. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you’ll have time to explore the town and have lunch before returning to your hotel to gather your belongings and head to the train station. The train to Ollantaytambo is available at either 2:30 pm or 2:55 pm, depending on availability, and the journey takes 1.5 hours, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, a transfer arranged by Machu Picchu Reservations or with your name on it will be waiting to take you back to Cusco, a 2-hour journey, arriving around 6:30 pm and dropping you off in the city center.
The Trip Cost Includes
- Salkantay trek 5 days briefing at 7:00 pm a day before the departure at Machu Picchu Reservations office
- A duffle bag to pack 7 kilos of your belonging that will be carried by horses during the trek
- English/Spanish speaking professional tour guides
- Professional chef and cooking equipment
- Horses for carrying up to 7 Kilos of personal luggage and other required equipment
- Pick up from your hotel in Cusco
- Private transportation to head of Salkantay trail
- 5 breakfasts
- 4 lunches
- 4 dinners
- 3 nights of camping
- 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Mountain Sky Huts with Thick Mattresses, glass door, Night Lighting, and Panoramic for the first and second night
- Personal pad (double foam – 2.5 inches thick)
- Pillows at the first and second camp
- Transportation from La Playa to Santa Teresa
- Transportation from Santa Teresa to Lucmabamba to do the Llactapata trek
- Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
- Guided visit to Machu Picchu
- Return journey from Aguas Calientes to Cusco BY TRAIN or BY CAR depending on your choice
- Vegetarian/Vegan options available on request with no additional charges
- First-Aid equipment and oxygen bottle for emergencies
The Trip Cost Excludes
- Entrance ticket for the Humantay lake charged by the local government of Mollepata = 20 soles per person
- Sleeping Bag – If you do not have one you can rent from us for $10 USD for the whole trek
- Trekking Poles – If you do not have one you can rent from us for $10 USD for 01 pair for the whole trek
- Santa Teresa Hot Springs: Going to the hot springs on the third day afternoon is an option that you can decide whether to go or not once you arrive at Lucmabamba camp since you have a free afternoon to relax. If you like to go to the hot springs, the guide will organize local transportation to take the group to the hot springs they charge 30 to 40 soles for round-trip service and takes around 01-hour drive each way and the entrances for the hots springs is 10 soles and you can stay around 2 hours enjoy the nice and relaxing hot springs.
- Travel insurance
- Extra expenses such a hot shower in the second camp for 10 soles or maybe if you like access to internet wifi for 10 soles
Annapurna Base Camp is a Grade B or a moderately difficult trekking route. So any fit person can do this trek, even if you do not have any previous experience. You should be aware of what to expect and mentally prepare for it. Then, as long as you will to, you can.
On average, you walk about 4 to 6 hours per day. One or two days can be as less as 3hrs and one or two days can be as long as 7hrs.
The highest altitude reached is 4190m. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. ABC is the highest we will climb in this trek.
Yes, you can charge batteries en route. Charger should be brought. There are hot shower facilities as well. You may have to pay certain amount for both ($1-$2). Negotiate. Also, hot water facility could be free at lower elevation.
No. There are no ATMs on this trek route. You will have to draw enough cash in Pokhara or Kathmandu. There are a number of ATMs in these cities. Everything is paid in Nepali rupees. So money should be exchanged before the start of the trek.
Yes. Internet can be accessed in most places. Sometimes, there might be some technical problems. Internet in Nepal is not as fast as you are used to and at times you can just lose connection.
Not really. It depends on you. If you want, ABC trekking can be done independently. You could hire a guide and a porter by yourself instead of going through an agency or not hire a guide at all. Although, not having a guide can be a little problematic during off season.
It really depends on you. Is it your first time in Nepal? How confident are you of being able to find your way around? How pressed on time are you? If you go through an agency, it will be costlier but everything will be planned. You will only have to come, trek and return.
For Annapurna region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.