3day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

3 Days

Salkantay Trek 3 days is an exciting and less-traveled option for adventurers seeking a shorter route to Machu Picchu. With daily departures offered by Machu Picchu Reservations, this trek is accessible and affordable for those with limited time or budget constraints.


Despite its shorter duration, the 3-Day Salkantay Trek offers a stunning journey through diverse landscapes, including glaciers, rivers, lagoons, and jungle valleys. You’ll reach the trek’s highest point, Abra Salkantay, at an elevation of 4,630 meters (15,226 feet), and witness the breathtaking beauty of the Peruvian Andes.

To make the trek more feasible within three days, Machu Picchu Reservations ensures that you will join a group at the first camp, complete with experienced guides, cooks, and support staff. This arrangement allows you to enjoy the trek with a reasonable price and the support necessary for a successful journey.

The 3-Day Salkantay Trek begins and ends in Cusco, with some distances shortened by car to accommodate the tighter schedule. While the walking distance may be slightly longer than other Salkantay trek options, it remains manageable for well-prepared and adventurous trekkers.

Embarking on the 3-Day Salkantay Trek offers the opportunity to experience the best of the Salkantay trail while visiting the iconic Machu Picchu on the final day before returning to Cusco in the afternoon. This condensed itinerary makes it an excellent choice for travelers eager to explore the Andes’ stunning landscapes without committing to a longer trek.


  • Marvel at the breathtaking vistas of the majestic Salkantay mountain range, offering a unique and unforgettable experience.
  • Indulge in a comfortable stay at the exclusive Chawllay Mountain Huts, designed to provide a cozy and immersive retreat.
  • Embark on an exhilarating hike to the Salkantay Pass, where you’ll find yourself in close proximity to the awe-inspiring Salkantay mountain.
  • Delight in the rich biodiversity of the Amazon region, teeming with coffee, banana, and avocado plantations – a true feast for the senses.
  • Conclude your adventure with a visit to the enchanting Inca city of Machu Picchu, an iconic testament to the ancient civilization’s ingenuity and craftsmanship.


Unforgettable Adventure: Cusco to Quiswarniyoc, Salkantay Pass, and Chawllay Camp
Begin Your Journey with an Early Start in Cusco: Transfer to Soraypampa and Embark on the Salkantay Trek

Start your adventure early with a 2:00 am pick-up from your hotel in Cusco, followed by a 3-hour transfer to Soraypampa, the starting point of your memorable hike.

Upon arriving at Soraypampa, join your Salkantay trek group for a hearty breakfast before preparing for your 20-kilometer hike. At around 6:30 am, commence your ascent to the highest point of the entire Salkantay trail, standing at 4,630 meters above sea level.

After approximately 3 hours of hiking, celebrate reaching the summit and revel in the stunning views of Salkantay mountain. Take a moment to make an offering to the Apus (Andean gods) in appreciation of their guidance.

Begin your descent, covering a total of 15 kilometers downhill to reach an elevation of 2,900 meters. This downhill trek is divided into two sections. The first segment, from the summit to the lunch point, takes about 2 hours. After a well-deserved lunch break, continue for another 3 hours to your second camp at Chawllay.

Throughout your trek, marvel at the diverse landscapes – from glacier-capped mountains and lagoons to rocky hills and verdant grasslands. As you approach the camp, immerse yourself in the lush, jungle environment.

Once you arrive at Chawllay, take the time to relax and, if you desire, enjoy a cold beer while the cooks prepare a comforting tea time and a scrumptious dinner to refuel for the next day’s adventure.

- Covering a Distance: of 25 km – Approximately 9 Hours of Hiking
- Campsite Altitude: Situated at an elevation of 2,900 meters above sea level
- Notable Achievement: Conquering the highest point of the trek at 4,650 meters above sea level
- Weather Conditions: Warm and windy during the day, with colder temperatures at night
- Accommodations: Experience a cozy stay in the Mountain Sky Huts
- Meals Provided: Savor a delicious selection of meals, including breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

On the second day, find yourself immersed in the lush jungle environment. Begin your morning with a gentle wake-up call around 6:00 am, accompanied by a cup of invigorating coca tea. Savor a delicious breakfast to fuel up for the day ahead.

At 7:00 am, commence your hike to La Playa Sahuayaco, a journey that takes approximately 5 hours. Traverse the picturesque Santa Teresa Valley, shaped by the winding Salkantay River. As you explore the valley, discover an array of plantations, including coffee, bananas, avocados, coca, and passion fruit, among others.

After your 5-hour hike, arrive at La Playa Sahuayaco and take local transportation for a one-hour ride to Santa Teresa. Enjoy a well-earned lunch break before continuing by car for another 45 minutes to Hidroelectrica. From there, embark on a leisurely 3-hour walk along the train tracks, heading towards the charming town of Aguas Calientes.

Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, check into your hotel for a refreshing shower and some relaxation. In the evening, gather around 7:00 pm for a delightful dinner at a local restaurant. Afterward, head back to your hotel for a good night’s sleep, preparing for the next day’s adventure.

- Covering a Distance: of 25 km – Approximately 8 Hours of Hiking
- Lodging Altitude: Situated at an elevation of 2,000 meters above sea level
- Considerations: Prepare for a long and challenging day of trekking
- Weather Conditions: Warm, hot, and tropical climate
- Accommodations: Enjoy a comfortable stay at a hotel
- Meals Provided: Indulge in a variety of meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner

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.


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

  • Attend a Salkantay trek briefing at 7:00 pm the day before departure at the Machu Picchu Reservations office
  • Receive a duffle bag to pack 7 kilos of your belongings, which will be carried by horses during the trek
  • Benefit from the guidance of professional English/Spanish-speaking tour guides
  • Enjoy meals prepared by a professional chef and the use of high-quality cooking equipment
  • Take advantage of horses to carry up to 7 kilos of personal luggage and other required gear
  • Enjoy pick-up service from your hotel in Cusco
  • Travel in private transportation to the head of the Salkantay trail
  • Relish 3 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners provided throughout the trek
  • Experience 1 night of camping and 1 night at a hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Unwind in Mountain Sky Huts featuring thick mattresses, glass doors, night lighting, and panoramic views for the first night
  • Rest on a personal double foam pad (2.5 inches thick)
  • Sleep comfortably with pillows provided at the first camp
  • Utilize transportation from La Playa to Hidroelectrica
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu included
  • Enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Travel back from Aguas Calientes to Cusco by train or car, depending on your preference
  • Savor vegetarian/vegan meal options upon request with no additional charges
  • Stay prepared with first-aid equipment and an oxygen bottle for emergencies

The Trip Cost Excludes

  • Entrance Fee for The Salkantay Trek: The local government of Mollepata charges a fee of 20 soles for access to Salkantay trail.
  • Sleeping Bags: If you do not have a sleeping bag, you can rent one from us for $10 USD, which covers the entire duration of the trek.
  • Travel Insurance: Please note that travel insurance is not included and is recommended to cover any unforeseen circumstances during your trip.
  • Extra Expenses: Any additional expenses incurred during the trek, such as snacks, drinking water or souvenirs, are not included in the package.
  • Tips: Gratuities for the trek staff are not included and are left to your discretion, depending on the level of service you feel was provided

Frequently asked Questions

How fit do I need to be to do this trek?

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.

How long do we walk every day when doing Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

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.

What is the highest altitude reached in this trek?

The highest altitude reached is 4190m. This is the elevation of Annapurna Base Camp. ABC is the highest we will climb in this trek.

What about battery charging and hot shower facilities?

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.

Are there ATMs on the way to Annapurna Base Camp?

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.

What about internet access?

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.

Is it necessary to hire Guides/trekking agency for Annapurna Base Camp trekking?

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.

How much do guides and porters cost?

For Annapurna region, pay for guides range from $20 to $30 per day and porters take $15 to $25 per day.

You can send your enquiry via the form below.

3day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
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