If your goal is Machu Picchu and you want to achieve it by hiking, but you cannot decide whether to trek the famous Inca Trail or the adventurous Salkantay Trek, now you do not miss even one of them, since you can undertake the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail with us. This trekking expedition takes you to the foothill of the sacred snowy peak of Salkantay (6,271 m/20,700 ft), considered by local native people to be the "Guardian Spirit of the Jungle". The first part of the trek provides you with an opportunity to observe remote native communities and enjoy gorgeous mountain scenaries before joining the Classic Inca Trail. This second part enables you to dicover remote Incan ruins that are hidden to common visitors as they are not accessible by means of transport! In the end, you experience the once-in-a-lifetime atmosphere of the New Wonder of the World - Machu Picchu.
Salkantay to Inca Trail is one of the most complete authentical Inca's paths that you can find! On the way, you can watch quick landscape changes as going through diverse microclimates. This offers fantastic views so do not forget to have your camera ready. The trek is challenging and is designed for experienced trekkers that would like to try something new and uncommon. The first part of the trip is supported by horses and the second by Porters (due to strict Inca Trail regulations). We also provide you with a top quality camping equipment and a very balanced and energetic diet so that you do not need to be worried about any facility and just enjoy the trek, which is an unforgettable experience.
Day 01: Cusco - Sayllapata
Day 02: Sayllapata - Salkantay Pampa
Day 03: Salkantay Pampa - Pampacahuarina
Day 04: Pampacahuarina - Llullucha Pampa
Day 05: Llucha Pampa - Chaquicocha
Day 06: Chaquicocha - Wiñayhuayna
Day 07: Wiñayhuayna - Machu Picchu
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: Superior service all inclusive, extra horses for your equipment 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.
Tour Operator: Tierras Vivas Travel
Crew: A Tierras Vivas Representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guige, a Cook, a Horseman and Porters for the Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Accommodation: Campsites (6 nights).
Meals: 6x breakfast, 6x lunch, 6x dinner, 6x afternoon tea.
Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train
Group Availiable: Mix: 2 Max: 8 Trekkers
The Inca Trail starts on the fourth 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.
We pick you up from your hotel at 5:30 am to take you by private transport for a 3 hour ride from Cusco (3,400 m) to Mollepata (2,803 m/9,196 ft). On the way, we stop in Limatambo (a small town) to visit Tarawasi - very important religious Incan remains! Then, we continue our ride to a one and half an hour far away town of Mollepata where we have breakfast. Then we continue by driving to Challacancha head trail. There we start hiking up to Soraypampa (3,500 m/11,482 ft) and we take then wide gradually ascend to passing various Andean forests and steppes on the route giving us many opportunities to take fantastic photos of birds, flowers and various plants! In Soraypampa, we are given stunning views of the snow-capped peak of Rayuska (5,350 m/17,552 ft). In the end of the day, we get to a place of our first campsite at Soraypampa (3,600 m/10,200 ft).
Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 14 km
Max. elevation: 3,600 m (10,200 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,803 m (9,196 ft)
After an early breakfast, we start our today´s trek. First, we get to Salkantaypampa (4,100 m/13,451 ft) where we join the main route of the Salkantay Trek. From there, it takes approximately an 2 hour to reach Salkantay Pampa, a place of our campsite for lunch. Before we do so, we are given an opportunity to observe a breathtaking scenery of the sacred mountains of Humantay (5,917 m/19,412 ft) and Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft)!! Especially, the Salkantay Mountain is considered by Andean cultures to be "Apus" (a mountain god) of a great importance!! So we continue first through a lovely valley with native flowers and impresive views of the Mountain in front of us at the left side passing through the indigenous villages. Then, we ascend to the Incachiriaska Pass (Frozen Inca Pass; 5,100 m/16,700 ft), the highest point on the entire trek. From this point, we can admire the closest view of Salkantay and whole this area dotted with small mountain lagoons and old glaciers of diverse shades of blue! If we are lucky, we can see a variety of viscachas (chinchillas) and white-tailed deer and hopefully some rare animals such as a condor, guanaco and vicunha!. After the pass we will be hiking down for 20 minutes until Ichupata ( Andean grass place) where we have a stop for a break and pictures, afterward we will descend until Sisay pampa Camp (3790m), at this section we will be able to fully appreciate and take in the imposing Andean topography, quiet and cozy place where you can see Llamas, Alpacas and with luck we might see a condor. Camp near the local kids school. ( 7-8 hours walking ). When in Sisaypampa, we set a campsite to be later served dinner. The night might be a bit colder due to its altitude so do not forget to pack a sufficient number of warm cloths please.
Estimated trekking time: 8 hours
Trekking distance: 15 km
Max. elevation: 4,100 m (13,451 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,600 m (10,200 ft)
Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
Today, we leave the main route of the Salkantay Trek to change for the route of Inca Trail. From our campsite after breakfast We start descending to the Cusichaca Valley until the small village of Pampacawana (4,000 m/13,123 ft), a place where we can appreciate old Incan channels! We set a next campsite nearby and after dinner, we go to sleep.
Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 14 km
Max. elevation: 5,100 m/16,700 ft
Min. elevation: 4,000 m/13,123 ft
Hard trekking expects us today so we finish our breakfast to gain more energy and get ready for the trek. First, we hike for 3 hours to get to Paucarcancha (3,205 m/10,515 ft). There, our Tour Guide shows you around antique Inca´s ruins called Inkaracay! Then we descend for a couple of minutes to the town of Wayllabamba (3,000 m/9,842 ft). There, we say good-bye to our horseman and horses and welcome our Porters as we join the route of Inca Trail where only Porters are permited. Before we continue climbing, we enjoy lunch. During hiking, we can appreciate a cloud forest with its native trees, orchids, mosses, ferns as well as birds. Finally we get to our next campsite at Llullucha Pampa (3,855 m/12,650 ft)
Estimated trekking time: 7 hours
Trekking distance: 13 km
Max. elevation: 3,855 m/12,650 ft
Min. elevation: 3,000 m/9,842 ft
Early after breakfast, you start ascending towards the highest point of the trail - Abra Warmiwañusqa (Dead Woman´s Pass) at 4,200 metres passing through the cloud forests of Yunkachimpa and Corral Punku offering excellent views of surrounding snowcapped peaks. From Warmiwañusqa, you descend to the Pacaymayo Valley (3,300 m), where you have a lunch break. Then you continue hiking through the valley to the Inca´s ruins of Runkuracay where a guided tour follows. Afterwards, you climb up and get over the second pass - Abra Runkurakay (3,860m) walking on this "Royal Inca´s Highway" down to the next Incan site - Sayacmarca. On the way, you pass the Yanacocha Lake. In the end, we get to our second campsite - Chaquicocha (3,670 m).
Estimated trekking time: 7-8 hours
Trekking distance: 12 km
Max. elevation: 4,200 m (12,630 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,500 m (11,480 ft)
Today, we start hiking passing through lovely subtropical vegetation and many important archaeological sites. Before we reach the first site, we get over Phuyupatamarca Pass (3,670 m) and just behind it, we can see the Phuyupatamarca Incan complex (3,600 m), one of the best preserved and most completed sites of the trek. The complex is located on the top of a mountain and it corresponds with its Quechuan name that means the "Town above the Clouds". After a guided tour, we have lunch there. Then, we start a steep descent via a cloud forest offering an opportunity to see beautiful orchids and different bird species on the way to our last campsite at Wiñay Wayna (2,700 m). There we have a guided tour of the same-named impressive archaeological complex consisting of a religious sector, urban sector and an agricultural center with lots of stepped terraces. Afterwards, we are served dinner and then we go to sleep to get ready for the "icing on the cake" of the trail - Machu Picchu!!
Estimated trekking time: 5-6 hours
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 3,670 m (12,040 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,700 m (8,860 ft)
Early morning of the last day, we climb antique steps to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) to see the sunrise above the long-expected citadel of Machu Picchu!! Then, you enjoy a 2 and half an hour guided visit of the so called "Lost City of the Incas"!! Afterwards, you have an opportunity to climb the peak of Wayna Picchu (45 minutes up and the same time back) on your own to take some panoramic pictures of Machu Picchu!! In the afternoon, you descend to the town of Aguas Calientes to take a train back to Cusco. Arrival in the evening.
Estimated trekking time: 3 hours
Trekking distance: 4 km
Max. elevation: 2,700 m (8,860 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,400 m (7,875 ft)
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
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:
Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. The horses carry your luggage from Soraypampa (1st day) to Huayllabamba (3th day). 4 day Inca Trail hike our porter carry your luggage from Huayllabamba to Wiñayhuayna. Our porter takes your luggage to the Aguas Calientes town. They will leave in a restaurant your luggage and that finishing the trek, you can meet. We recommend keeping the weight under 7 kg/15lb.
If very important your take best cover backpacker, because the weather in Salkantay trek and Inca Trail is change every date, we can’t predict it raining or no. If you don’t have, we recommended to put your clothes, sleeping bag and other personal equipment inside the plastic bag.
Climate in Cusco: The highland region of Cusco has well defined winter and summer seasons. Winter days (June - August) are very sunny and warm, but the temperature drops to near freezing at night. Rainy season is from January to March. December and January are two of the nicest months for trekking with only the occasional shower and blooming flowers.
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the five, Six and seven day (if sunny) and in Machu Picchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machu Picchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Salkantay Inca Trail Trek involves a 5 day hike on the famous Salkantay route and 2 days along the original Inca Trail. This hike is the best alternative hikes to the 7 day Salkantay to Inca Trail trek. 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 to Machu Picchu Trek gives you the privacy for peaceful reflection that such a sacred path deserves. Salkantay Inca Trail Trek
The traditional, wildly popular Inca trail is hiked in completion on this trek, with three full days of hiking and two separate visits to the city of Machu Picchu, once through the Sun Gate from the Inca Trail and once from the city of Aguas Calientes. This extra time means that the last two days of the trip are completely dedicated to exploring the lost Incan city and rejuvenating from the trek, regardless of if that means napping in a hotel or relaxing in the hot springs. The Inca trail itself passes several other incredible ruins, and is a challenging experience but worth every step – due to its popularity and the government regulations, try to get one of the 500 daily slots as early as possible to take this trek.
Hiking the Inca trail
This trek visits one of the most underappreciated Incan cities in Peru. So few people visit this site, because it can only be reached by hiking, there is no train or bus for the hike back. The city of Choquequirao was the last fortress of the Incas against the Spanish conquistadores, and has been largely passed over in favor of the sister city of Machu Picchu. This trek is equally incredible, scenic, and rich with Incan history and culture. There are two days of hiking in each direction, and the third day is spent almost entirely at the site, where there is both a guided tour and time for individual exploration.
This trek includes a visit to Machu Picchu on the final day as well as a visit to the Condor Canyon lookout, which is a good opportunity to see the massive birds, which have a wingspan of 7 to 8 feet and can live almost as long as humans. The Salkantay trail shows examples of the different Andean ecosystems, which range from vibrant cloud forests to the snowy peaks of the towering mountains. Aside from the condors, this trip is relatively secluded, as most tourists opt for the traditional Inca trail to Machu Picchu.
This incredible trek is full of breathtaking views and unique experiences. Salkantay is less popular than the Inca Trail, so the trip is more personalized and isolated, with many fewer tourists. For example, on the third day of the trip, there are options for visiting the Llactapata ruins or the hot springs of Santa Teresa. Instead of joining up with the famous Inca trail, this trip continues directly to Aguas Calientes via a different route, and then goes up to Machu Picchu on the final day. There is a wide variety of plants and animals, as well as beautiful mountains and a waterfall, to see along this trek.