The 5 day hike to Salkantay to Inca Trail involves 3 day hike on the famous Salkantay route and 2 day Inca Trail. This hike is the best alternative hikes to the Salkantay Trek 5 days. Not along the typical tourist trail path, this is an innovating adventure for travelers who want a little more solitude and individuality on their journey. With impressive views, the Salkantay Mountain, Llactapata ruins, Wiñaywayna, Intipunko (Sun door) and Machu Picchu gives you the privacy for peaceful reflection that such a sacred path deserves.
This is one of the most interesting and enjoyable Inca Trail alternatives due to the wide range of plant diversity, various ecosystems, remote Andean villages, and views of the snow-capped Salkantay Mountain as well as of the Llactapata Incan site on the peak of a mountain, just behind the Machu Picchu Mountain, Start the Inca Trail and explore the Chachabamba, Wiñaywayna ruins and view the Machu Picchu by Intipunko (sun door). This trail finally reaches Aguas Calientes, located at the foothill of the historical and archaeological site of Machu Picchu, from where we hike in early morning up to lost city of the Incas to see the sunrise above it. Then our English speaking tour guide takes us around this incredible Incan citadel.
Day 01: Cusco - Soraypampa - Wayracmachay.
Day 02: Wayracmachay - Los Andenes - Luscamayo - La Playa
Day 03: La Playa - Llactapata - Hidroeléctrica - Puente Ruinas
Day 04: Puente Ruinas - Km 104 (Inca Trail) - Wiñaywayna - Aguas Calientes (hotel)
Day 05: Hking to Machu Picchu - Cusco.
Departure Point: Cusco - We pick you up from your hotel.
Departure Time: 05:30
Briefing Point: Our guide will visit your hotel 2 or 1 day before the trek
Briefing Time: Between 17:00 - 18:00
Return Point: Cusco - Our driver will drop-off in your hotel or Airbnb department
Service Level: Comfortable tourist-class accommodations with character, extra porters and private transport.
Physical Rating: 3 - Demanding - Some high-altitude hikes or more strenuous activities, but accessible to most healthy travellers
Age requirement: 12+ / All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Salkantay to Inca Trail Tour Operator: Tierras Vivas Travel
Crew: A Tierras Vivas Representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guige, a Cook, and Horseman for the Salkantay Inca Trail.
Accommodation: Campsites (3 nights) and Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 night).
Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner, 3x afternoon tea.
Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train
Group Availiable: Mix: 2 Max: 8 Trekkers.
Do I need to book it in advance? The Salkantay IncaTrail has departures guaranteed, but train tickets and entrance to Inca Trail are subjet to availability. For that reason, we HIGHLY recommend booking it in advance to ensure you receive exactly what you want!
The Inca Trail starts on the fiveth day of the Salkantay to Inca Trail! if you like to start the tour on the 10th of May, you need to check Inca Trail availability on May 13th!. If there is still availability of the Inca Trail on your date requested in the time of your booking.
Early in the morning you are collected from your hotel for a 3 hour ride to Mollepata. We stop for breakfast and can buy some last minute supplies. We then carry on to Soyrapampa, the trail head. Here we meet the support staff that help us pack all our gear on to the horses. We then begin our hike. The first few hours are uphill. Vegetation is not natural at this altitude, so the landscape is quite stark apart from some grass that has adjusted to the altitude. Eventually we reach the highest point of the hike, the apacheta path (4590m).
The Salkantay Mountain is at 6271 meters above sea level and a powerful sight from this close. Salkantay is a Quechua word that means "Wild Mountain". The rest of the trekking today is easy, we descend to 2890 meters, where is our campsite.
After a nice breakfast, we continue our hike through the upper jungle. Each step of the way the surroundings are altering, there is more plant life, waterfalls, and warmer weather, some small brooks, we pass the Lluscamayo River. After a five hour hike we reach the settlement of Lluscamayo where we have lunch. Then we trek for 3 hours more, passing an awesome waterfall where we can catch our breath and take some photos. The backdrop here, of course, is astonishing. Green valleys, mountains, trees, a diversity of birds and if your lucks in you might see the Peruvain national bird, the "gallito de las rocas". Finally we get to the village of La Playa. From this point you can choose from two options.
Llacatapata Ruins The route up to Llacatpata is on a part of an aged Inca Trail. Firstly it goes through some old villages of coffee and coca plantations, citrus tree orchids before extending to some exquisite high altitude meadows and then entering into an ancient forest close to the top. The scenery on the way up is the most varied and gorgeous than on the entire Salkantay Trek.
Close to the top, the trail changes to seemingly never ending stone steps as tall as park benches! Which you might find strange as the Incas were not known for being tall! The reason behind this was that the Incas were a very forward thinking population and aimed to build constructions that would not fall apart and that people could not destroy! We reach the top in a little over two hours.
The weather is cold and wet in the forest and then we walk down to the Llactapata ruins. In under 10 minutes we arrive at the ruins, the sight will leave you amazed! Beyond the valley you are rewqarded with the majestic sight of Machu Picchu!
After this we descend to the Hydroelectric plant, it's 913 meters (2995 ft)in one hour. From her the hike to Aguas Calientes is mostly level. En route you will hear a roaring sound which is a powerful waterfallthat cools us down with its spray as we pass by. It is man made and shoots out of a long tunnel in the mountain from the hydroelectric plant, a fascinating and useful. Once there we have our lunch break.
The Hydroelectric plant is also the end of the railway line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Hydro is actually farther than Machu Picchu Town on the train. It is mostly used by locals. The hike to Puente Ruinas is down the railway tracks, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). Its a fun trek, along the tracks, with a wide path and is sheltered by jungle vegetation, trees and flowers. This is ideal after a tough 3 day trail.
Its hard to explain the great happiness when we finally reach the town of Aguas Calientes, you will notice for the first time in days people that look clean with fresh clothing..Day trippers!
We finally arrive to our hotel! Then we have dinner at a restaurant and plan the next day. Overnight in a hostal!
If you chose the Santa Teresa option, we have breakfast and after a short bus trip (1hour) we hike for about 2 hours past the Urubamba River and onward to the Hydro Electric Station, where we have lunch nearby.
Another early morning start along the trail soon brings the group to Km 104, and Inca Trail checkpoint. After about two or three hours along the Inca trail, hikers reach the Incan site Chachabamba for lunch and a rest, and then a guided tour of the site. After a few more hours of hiking through cloud forest and cacti, and a quick stop at a beautiful waterfall, a second Incan site, Wiñay Wayna, is reached and toured. Finally, the trail reaches the Sun Gate (Inti Punku) to watch the sun set over Machu Picchu. Since it is too late to enter the city, the hike descends to Aguas Calientes to sleep in the comfortable hotel beds, which after 4 days of hiking is a welcome break.
A 2 hour hike up to the city of Machu Picchu in the early morning, after breakfast, brings the group to the city early enough to get sunrise pictures of the city and to miss most of the crowds. There is a guided tour of the Incan city, explaining the rich history of the site, after which hikers have the option of hiking to the peak of either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu, two mountains with incredible views of the city from above, another good photo opportunity. Finally, there is time for individual exploration of the city of Machu Picchu.
At the end of the day, there is a train ride from Aguas Calientes to either Ollantaytambo or Poroy, from where a bus will continue the rest of the way to Cusco.
Machu Picchu is currently one of the most well-known Incan sites in Peru, but was not mentioned in any documents from the Spanish. At this point in time, archeologists can only speculate on the purposes of the city. Centuries before Hiram Bingham was brought to the site – by a local child, while the American explorer was searching for Vilcambamba – the local Quechuans had known about the city. Mr. Bingham exposed the site to the rest of the world, and since then, much effort has gone into restoring and studying the mysterious city. Despite this, there are still many questions about which historians and archeologists are uncertain. What is known for certain, though, is that the city of Machu Picchu, the “Lost City of the Incas”, is a truly magical destination.
Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing. Our guide will provided the duffel bag for your personal belonging,
Note: It is very important let us know, where you will be staying in Cusco;
Experienced bilingual Tour Guide. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Note: A group up to 8 participants has 1 Tour Guide, a groups over 8 participants receives 2 Tour Guides
Camping (3 Nights) and Hotel in Machu Picchu (1 Night)
Our tents are of the brand Eureka Mountain double designated for 4 seasons. We provide with 3 person capacity tents; however, just 2 trek participants use it! In this way, we provide you more space and comfort. In case of a single traveller, we provide with a 2 person capacity tent.
Hotel in Machu Picchu: with private bathroom and hot water (Single, Double or matrimonial room)
We provide with inflatable mattresses of the brand Therm-A-Rest. The mattresses are 3 cm heigh that will ensure you a sufficient isolation from the cold earth!
This inflatable mattress for more comfort to sleep in the trail
We use only feather sleeping bags that are suitable up to minus 16°C. This means you do not need to be worry about cold as temparature at night at each trek reaches just up to 0°C (maximum -5°C)!!
Included fee to the Salkantay Mountain, Inca Trail and Machu Picchu.
4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner, 3x afternoon´s hot beverages and Snack every morning
The Tierras Vivas chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. If you are a vegetarian or have any restrictions, our chef will prepare special food, please advise us in advance. A vegetarian meal option is for NO extra cost. Food is typically served and buffet.
Excluding the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own, Tierras Vivas will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
Our horses will carry the all camping equipement for your trek and 7 kg for your personal beloging + Sleeping bag;
An emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower;
Muleteer is responsible to take the horses;
Tierras Vivas DOES NOT permit this exploitation!! We guarantee that our horses carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!!
From Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo, there are two companies train (Incarail and Perurail),you can choose two time of your train return to Cusco
If you take the train return at 14:55, you will be in Cusco at 18:00
If you take the train return at 19:00, you will be in Cusco at 22:00
On the high season, it is very important let us know in advance, because it is very difficult find spaces available.
Tables and chairs, cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas
A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town
Early morning transfer by private bus to Challacancha - the initial point of the trek;
The train service is finishing in Ollantaytambo Train station, then our driver is waiting for you and he will take to Cusco;
Our guide has received training in first aid from a physician. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single room" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent for all nights.
Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!
It’s very important to take EXTRA MONEY. You need to take at least 200-300 soles emergency money:
The camping along this trip is full service, which means that the employees will set up and strike tents, cook, and clean, and hikers only have to carry their day packs. There are also dining and toilet tents, and warm bowls of water each morning and evening for washing up.
The hotel for the final night is not a three star hotel. However, it is clean, comfortable, and safe, and the staff are friendly and helpful. It has hot water and small private bathrooms, and is located close to the train station and 10 minutes from the hot springs. In order to best fit budgets, this was the included hotel, but upgrading hotels is possible. For either changing hotels or getting a single room, communicate with the office while booking and we will do our best to accommodate, although it will cost more.
IMPORTANT: You will need to show both your passport and TAM immigration slip upon checking into the hotel. Peruvian nationals and foreigners staying over 60 consecutive days will be charged the 18% national sales tax. This will be applied to the whole room even if it doesn’t apply to both guests. Take care to not lose this immigration slip, and it is also recommended to make a copy.
The Salkantay Trek is one of the many treks that can be found in the Cusco region, Peru. It is about 75 km (46 miles) in distance and about 3,000 m (10,000 ft) in altitude, so it is considered to be a tough trek, compared to the other trekking options in the area.
The Salkantay trek is all about the Salkantay pass. These 4580 m of altitude are the highlight of the route and one of the reasons why the Salkantay trek is not easy. You can suffer from altitude sickness while doing this hike. Later, we will tell you what you can do to prevent it from happening to you. The Salkantay trek was named after the Salkantay mountain, also known as Salcantay or Sallqantay, in Quechua. It is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range and is called the wild mountain. This is because the word Sallqantay means something like wild, uncivilized, or invincible. Now do you understand why we ask you if you are Sallqantay enough?
We hope that the previous paragraph did not scare you. You might believe that the Salkantay trek is extremely difficult. Don't worry, it isn't. You will not be climbing mountains like Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro. None of the itineraries of the tours to Machu Picchu are designed for mountaineers. They are designed for tourism, which means that all people with a moderate physical condition are capable of doing them. The same applies to the Salkantay trek. It is not easy, but it is not very difficult to achieve either. When considering doing the Salkantay trek, you just need to be aware of a few things. We list them here.
If you are thinking of doing the Salkantay trek, it is good to know what weather conditions you are in. The Cusco area in Peru has two distinct seasons: the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season lasts from April to October and the driest months are June, July and August. The latter is also the season with the highest number of visitors. Don't worry, it's not like the classic Inca Trail, so you don't have to worry too much about permits.
The rainy season is from November to March and the worst months to trek to Machu Picchu are December, January and February. It's not impossible, but you have to ask yourself if it's worth it. Do you like rain? Then go ahead! At least the Salkantay trail, unlike the classic Inca Trail, is not closed in February.
The Salkantay pass is your biggest obstacle during the Salkantay trek. The pass has an altitude of 4600 masl (15 100 feet). On a typical Salkantay trek you are more likely to cross the pass on the second day. It is essential to take things slowly. If you are prone to altitude sickness, then this is where it can occur. Luckily once you cross it, you will descend quite quickly. This will aid acclimatization and should resolve the worst symptoms of altitude sickness.
Altitude sickness (AMS) can ruin your trip to Machu Picchu. Often people who want to do the Inca Trail or the Salkantay are in a hurry and fly from Lima, which is at sea level. Then they are in Cusco at an altitude of 3399 meters above sea level. To give you perspective, mountaineers like to ascend the so-called "three thousand" mountains at 3,000 meters above sea level. You can understand that Cusco is high and from there it goes even higher because the Salkantay trek crosses the Salkantay pass (4600 m). There are a good “four thousand”. Keep in mind that there are treks that go much higher than that, such as the ascent to Huayna Potosien Bolivia, which reaches 6000 meters above sea level. However, at 3000 meters, symptoms can appear and the dangers of altitude sickness must be taken seriously. Our trekking experts always advise those interested in the Salkantay trek to spend at least one day in Cusco. The ideal is to spend two days. And why not? There is so much to do. It is a great city and spending some time there will help you get used to the altitude. Our experts are well aware of the dangers of altitude sickness. They have blogged about MAM while trekking in Nepal and know not to rush up Mount Kilimanjaro. There is a golden rule that applies during altitude trekking:
When the body needs to rest, it tells you. Listen carefully to your body. You should be vigilant and talk about the symptoms of altitude sickness. Let your friends, the guide and the porters know how you feel and take a break. Don't let it get worse. Eat all you can. Don't skip meals, even if you don't like what you have on your plate. Trust us, you will enjoy food in Peru. The body works hard and needs a lot of carbohydrates to go further and overcome altitude. Forget about the diet and buy extra nutrition bars. Trekking is hard work and you can easily burn more than 4,000 calories a day. In fact, perhaps it is one of the reasons why you like trekking. Eat, the body will thank you.
If you drink alcohol, you will surely also drink during the Salkantay trek. Some trekking companies do a ritual to get lucky in the Salkantay pass. But be careful, because it will not help acclimatization. You will have to increase your water consumption. This is much easier when it's hot and you're sweating, but at high altitude, you need to have discipline. Drink 3 to 5 liters a day and a little tea when you can. You're out on a hike and not partying, so save (most of it) the alcohol for after the trip. Alcohol stimulates mountain sickness and it's not just because it dehydrates you.
The Inca Trail that leads to the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Cusco, is one of the most popular and well-known excursions in Peru. The walk from Kilometer 43 groups a series of incredibly preserved Incas archaeological remains. Along the route the natural landscape is impressive, with incredible views of snow-capped mountains and the cloud forest.
Visitors from all over the world come to Peru, not only to see Machu Picchu, one of the Seven New Wonders of the World, but also to do the Inca Trail. Hiking the Inca Trail
Choquequirao, is a lost city where the Incas took refuge from 1536. Located in the Valley of Vilcabamba in the rainforest at 3300 MASL.
This archaeological center is considered as important as Machu Picchu. The journey begins in the city of Cusco. After 145 km of asphalted road and 10 of affirmed road you reach the town Cachora, where the 32 km road is born surrounded by imposing landscapes, on the route we can also appreciate the flora and fauna of the Apurimac Canyon the deepest in the world , until arriving at the "Cradle of Gold" of the Incas. Choquequirao Trek
This hike will take you through the dazzling Mount Salkantay, which is the second largest mountain in the Cusco area (6,277 MASL). In this walk you will appreciate the wonderful snowy peaks, for example, the Salkantay mountain and the Humantay mountain. Pass through mountain and jungle landscape until you reach Machu Picchu. Condor Sight to Salkantay Trek