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Salkantay Trek Backpacking

Salkantay Trek Backpacking

Salkantay is an ancient and remote trail in the same area as the Inca Trail, however, less visited but with much more spectacular views. This trek is an excellent option for those who want to escape from the most congested routes and in a faster way, or for those who are looking for ab alternative when the traditional Inca Trail is congested. You can appreciate the change of the various ecological floors, from subtropical areas and impressive glaciers, until reaching the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. It is famous for its landscape that most guides give faith. You will have the chance of seeing large numbers of mammals such as foxes, deer, chinchillas, and with luck, the spectacled bear. There is a lot of variety of plants too. As we said before, it is a trek through the typical Andes that takes you up to the imposing glaciers, then descends through lush valleys with coffee plantations and finally climbs to the high jungle. In the Salkantay Trek Cheap cost or backpacking you still get the chance to trek the beautiful Salkantay snow-capped mountain at a good price!

Salkantay Trek Backpacking

Salkantay Tour Overview

Service Level: Travel Budget and tourist transportation.

Physical Rating: 3 - 4 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.

Tour Operator: Local tour operator

Crew: A Representative in Cusco and a profesional Tour Guide, Cook and Horseman during the trek. Our guide will visit you hotel a day before the trek for your briefing

Accommodation: 3x campsite, 1x Hostel

Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinners.

Transportation: Tourist transportation, a return train EXPEDITION


Quick Itinerary

Day 1: Driver to the trailhead - Challacancha - Hike to Soraypampa and Umantay Mountain - Soray.
Day 2: Hike to Salkantay Mountain - Huayracmachay (Lunch) - Chaullay.

Day 3: Chaulla - La Playa Sahuayaco (Lunch) - Local bus to Santa Teresa and visit the hot springs.
Day 4: Santa Teresa (ZIP Line optional) - Hydroelectric (Lunch) - Aguas Calientes.
Day 5: Hike to Machu Picchu - Guided tour in Machu Picchu - Train return to Cusco


Highlights of the Salkantay Cheap

  • High altitude camping in the beautiful Andes
  • Villages and ruins along the way
  • Guided tour in Machu Picchu
  • Hiking to the best alternative trek to the Inca Trail


Meeting & Starting point

Departure Point: Cusco - We pick you up from your hotel.

Departure Time: Between 04:30 to 05:00

Briefing Point: Our guide will visit your hotel 2 or 1 day before the trek 

Briefing Time: Between 18:00 - 19:00

Return Point: Cusco - Our driver will drop-off in your hotel or Airbnb department


Salkantay Trek all inclusive

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Day 01: Cusco - Challacancha

Early morning, we pick you up from your hotel to take you for a 3 hour ride from Cusco (3,400 m) to Mollepata (2,803 m) where we briefly stop to have breakfast. Then we continue our ride for one and half an hour until we reach Challacancha, hear trail to Salkantay Trek. There, we start a gentle hike ahead to a valley of the Soraypampa (3,850 m), first camping. Continuning we walk up to Umantay Mountain, you can appreciate the beatiful lake and glassiar. Return to camping 

Day 2: Soray - Salkantay Mountain - Colcapampa

Wake up early morning and breakfast. This day the trek goes steeply uphill first, then follows a serie of zigzags. After a 4 hour climb, we reach the highest pass of the trek - Salkantay Mountain (4,550 m). There, we have an opportunity to observe a stunning scenery of the sacred mountains of Peruvian Andes - Huamantay and Salkantay!! These views quite compensate our big effort reaching this top marked by a pile of stones growing daily as each traveler adds his/her pebble to thank these "Apus" (Salkantay mountain spirits) for a safe trip and good luck! To catch a breath after that, we drop down gently towards the small Soirococha Lagoon, a place where we stop for lunch and short rest. Later on, we descend  at Wayracmachay (3,750 m) where we are served lunch. Continuing the hike, we leave the beautiful pyramid-like peak of the Salkantay Mountain behind us. Fauna and flora start changing since now as we enter a tropical cloud forest discovering its lush vegetation of wild bromelias, orchids and also beautiful birds on the way. We keep descending to the forest through bamboo groves. But you should not forget to look back sometimes as you can see snow-peaks framed by bamboo fronds behind you. After a 4 hour descent, we reach a tiny settlement of Collpapampa (2,850 m) where we set up our next campsite. We relax or walk around this site.dinner, before we go to sleep.

Day 03: Colpapampa - La Playa Sahuyaco - Santa Teresa Hot Spring

After a healthy breakfast, we keep descending through a valley deeper into the forest following increasingly tall trees and bamboo groves providing some bird-watching opportunities without missing views of the chaotic Santa Teresa River. We follow an incredibly untouched path where wild strawberries grow at our feet while passion fruits can be found above our heads. This everything is decorated by begonias and purple orchids! Finally, we arrive to La Playa where have a lunch.We take a local bus for an hour long bus ride wich will bring us to the town of Santa Teresa, which is the first actually town that you’ll encounter along the trek, and is also famous for the Santa Teresa hot spring that bubble up right outside of town.
Optional: Santa Teresa Hot Springs U$ 5 or S/ 15 soles extra.

After a rest, we will go to the hot springs and enjoy the well-deserved soothing water!

Day 04: Santa Teresa - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

After breakfast you will walk for four hours until you reach the Urubamba River and have lunch by the hydro-electric station there.
Hydrolectrica is actually farther than Machu Picchu town on the train. It is mainly used by locals. There we follow trails leading us to Aguas Calientes town located at the foothill of Machu Picchu Mountain!. Walking along the train line is much more enjoyable than we anticipated as a wide path undulates beside the tracks. Almost the entire distance is shaded by jungle foliage, trees and flowers, the incline is very gradual. Arrived to Aguas Calientes and basic hostel.


Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After an early morning breakfast, we continue for about 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu that we enter for the early morning best photos opportunities! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the Incan city and explains us about its history and purposes. After the guided tour, we can enjoy hiking Machu Picchu Mountain(1 and half and hour up and the same time down) or Huayna Picchu(45 minute climb), these are peaks above Machu Picchu that are used to take some panoramic pictures of the Incan city! Then, we are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on our own.

In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo, from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.


What is included in this trek?

  • Pre-trek briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing);
  • Early morning transfer by tourist bus to Challacancha - the initial point of the trek;
  • Accommodation: Campsites (3 nights) and a Hostel in Machu Picchu (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to the red of Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch and 4x dinner (please advise us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide (a group of up to 8 participants receives 1 Guide, a group over 8 persons receives 2 Guides);
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 5 kg of each passenger's stuff; 
  • Personal double tents
  • Sleeping mattress
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

Not Included:

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (U$ 25);
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu (U$12 - one way - U$ 24 round trip);
  • Water every day;
  • Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress) U$ 25; 
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C) U$ 20;
  • ZIP Line in Santa Teresa U$ 45
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

What to take on the Salkantay?

  • Original passport (+ copies for a case of lost),
  • Original ISIC (an international student card if applicable)
  • Travel insurance (+ copies for a case of lost),
  • Pocket money in Nuevos Soles,
  • A backpack
  • A small rucksack,
  • Rain gear (a rain-jacket and a waterproof trousers or a rain poncho - this can be purchased in Cusco),
  • Resistible footwear, waterproof trekking shoes are recommended,
  • Sandals (for a higher comfort while at a campsite),
  • Warm clothes such as a jacket, a fleece (thermal clothing is also recommended for cold nights during camping),
  • Hat or a cap (to protect you against the Sun, rain as well as cold),
  • Sun cream or sun block,
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body,
  • Insect repellent – recommended minimum is 20% DEET (please note that no malaria cases have been reported during this trip!),
  • Camera and its charger/batteries (please note that batteries are consumed quickly under cold conditions),
  • Flashlight/headlamp + batteries,
  • Handkerchiefs and toilet paper,
  • Small towel and toiletries,
  • Sufficient reserve of underwear,
  • Swimsuit (to visit the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes),
  • Snacks (biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.)
    Please note: we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. The recommendation of taken own snack applies only for customers who like a specific snack that might not be in our menu.
  • Bottled water for the first morning and a water bottle to be refill.
  • Optional: walking sticks, Sleeping bag; you can also rent it from us,
  • Please note: Water, It is not included during the entire trek, but if you like to use water from streams along the trail, you need to take some water-purifying tablets with you.

Salkantay Trek Cheap 4 Days

Salkantay Trek Cheap 4 days is the best alternative to the Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek Superior. On this 4 day hike you overcome the highest point of the trek, On the first day it is easy hike, you walk between the Challacancha to Soraypampa (3700 meters). On the second is hard day, you will walk up between Soraypampa 3700 meters to Salkantay Mountain.4,550 meters above sea level! also enjoy amazing mountain sceneries with snowy peaks, mountain lagoons and remote Andean villages to later experience a subtropical area of Cusco with its warm climate! The icing on the cake is obviously a guided tour of Machu Picchu in the end! 

Salkantay Machu Picchu Condor / 5 Days

The famous Salkantay Trek is considered one of the 25th best treks in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. It’s a trek open for all the people and without space limits at least for now. This famous trek connects Cusco Town with Machu Picchu. It is an ancient and remote path located on the snowy mountains and it’s surrounded by an exuberant tropical rain forest. This trek is beautiful with a lot of variety: from the glaciers to the steam of the tropical forests, as well as the vestiges of the Inca culture. You will see the way people live their lives in the mountains on farms and in small villages. The first 2 days of this challenging hike are the most difficult as you walk around the ice covered skirts of the Salkantay Mountain (6271m / 20568ft), then we go for a high pass to continue on a path inland part of the country, rocky in some places until we join the famous Inca Trail and we observe the largest bird on the planet: The Andean Condor

Hiking The Inca Trail / 5 Days

This tour involves a 5 day Inca Trail hike and a Machu Picchu Tour. The Inca Trail is a trek that starts in the mythic 82 kilometer near Ollantaytambo. It is one of the most popular and exclusive trek in Peru. It comprises a journey of more than 23 km where different ecoregions, altitudes, temperature variety and amazing landscapes can be found. All of this makes your journey unforgettable. The route ends in Machu Picchu. The scenery and landscapes changes among the trek. In the first two days the landscape is an Andean type with the presence of steep mountains, snowy mountains, woods and streams. On the other hand, the vegetation is more tropical on the third day. You get the chance to see llamas, hummingbirds, hawks, lizards and even sometimes deer among the way. You can also trek across of Incan traces used by them to communicate different cities of their empire.

Cachicata Inca Trail Trek / 4 Days

The trek to Cachicata is one of the new alternative trek that the region of Cusco offers. This place was dedicated to carved and extraction of stones that were used for the construction of Ollantaytambo and many establishments nearby. This place is located 9 kilometers away from Ollantaytambo, on the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Tourist can see the great work done in the moment the gigantic stones were moved translated to build the enclosures of some those ancient establishments. We can also find the “Tired Stones” that stayed during the journey to it and in some parts of the town. The trail ends at Ollantaytambo, where the trekkers have the chance to visit it and then take the train to Machu Picchu. The most exciting thing about this trek is probably the Inca Canyon and the visit of Machu Picchu on the last day. With mummies, chullpas and preserved incan ruins, this is one of the most interesting places to visit in Cusco.

Days 5
per person
$ 360.00
Activity level
Activity level
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responsible people foundation

The Responsible People foundation is registered under the Peruvian Non-Profit Organization Act. With an annual contribution from Tierras Vivas, we support our operating costs as well as a significant portion of project development costs.

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