Sacred Salkantay Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 5 Days

Sacred Salkantay Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 5 Days

Type of Tour : Adventure, Cultural, Mistic Experience

Activity(s) Hiking, Trekking

The trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4600m, descends into the cloud forest and passes through the archaeological place named Llactapata, with one of the wonderful views of Machu Picchu.

The trail starts in Mollepata/Markocasa or Soraypampa, a couple of hours away from Cuzco and ends in Hidroelectrica giving access to town of Aguas Calientes-MachuPicchu. The trek is not as popular as the overbooked Inca Trail but many people find this trek just as beautiful as the Inca trail.

This trek was nominated as the 25 best Trek in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. Salkantay has some outstanding views and the altitude will descend till 1,000 meters above sea level, the lands cape is gorgeous and not too steep.

 The purpose of the Salkantay Inca Trail to Machupícchu was religious and ceremonial, a pilgrimage that included rituals to honor the mountains and peaks and lakes of the route, like Salkantay and Humantay.


Sacred Salkantay Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in 5 Days map


DAY 1: Cusco - Soraypampa Lodge del Cielo campsite.

Walking Time: Approximately 6 hours (including a picnic lunch in the route)
Walk and Terrain: Walk, on open roads, some steep ascending trails

img-Cusco - Soraypampa Lodge del Cielo campsite.

Highlights: Humantay Lake trek

“Smooth trekking day” Acclimatization day. 
Overnight at Soraypampa Lodge del Cielo “Sky Lodge” at 3,869 masl/12,690 ft.

About Our Lodge del Cielo base in Soraypampa: Our camp is located at 10 minutes walking from the village of Soraypampa, this gives us a huge advantage to have a 360 panoramic view of the Humantay lake glacier, also it is a perfect place, away from the crowd and where we can appreciate the beautiful scenery of the Andean Valley and enjoy the company of our pretty Alpacas. 

Note: On the evening before this day there will be a briefing with your guide in Cusco. After an early breakfast at your hotel, our pick up time can vary and will be confirm only on the day of your briefing your Cusco hotel by ITEP guide and vehicle “Pick up time can vary and will be confirmed only on the day of your briefing”. 

Here in Soraypampa our first campsite is going to be” Lodge del Cielo”. After Lunch time, our excursion takes us to Humantay Lake, fed by glaciers far above on the slopes of the impressive Mt. Humantay. Our 4-hour walk is necessary in order to reach the lake, but the view is well worth and those brave enough, can go for a swim! Performed by our local Tour Guide, in full view of the awe-inspiring Mt. Salkantay, tops off this unique experience. Return to the Lodge.

img-Cusco - Soraypampa Lodge del Cielo campsite.

DAY 2: Crossing the Salkantay Pass Challenge day

Walk and Terrain: Walk, on mostly steep trails, and some open slopes.
Overnight at Collpapampa camp site Sky Lodge at 2,870 masl/9,414 ft.

img-Crossing the Salkantay Pass Challenge day

Today very early in the morning at 4:00 am we will wake up with a very hot wake up té, at 4:30 am after a nice breakfast and at around 5:00 am we will be starting our trek to climb the Salkantay Pass “we will take advantage to walk in a fresh early morning and before the sun comes out, the characteristic heat of the Andes.

 We continue our journey towards Machu Picchu, walking up the Rio Blanco valley and circling Humantay Peak across   Salkantay Peak. The highest point of the ride is the Salkantay Pass at 4,638 masl (15,213 ft). At the pass we stop to take a nice view of snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range in every direction, with the glaciated south face of Salkantay towering above us.  We will keep our eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass we descend towards the “Wayracmachay”: (‘the cave where the wind lives’) where we are going to enjoy a delicious lunch, later on we will continue 03 hours trek downhill until we reach our Campsite in the route dinner and overnight at the Sky Lodge.

Trekking Time: Approximately 12 hours (including picnic lunch in the route) our style is just walk slow, enjoy the scenery, and talk with our tour guide.  A local man can make this trail in just 3 hours. But we are going to do it in 10 hours including the Lunch time.

A Little of History:
The name Salkantay or Salcantay is coming from the Inca´s word Salqa, a Quechua word meaning wild, uncivilized, savage, or invincible, and was recorded as early as 1583.The name is  often translated as "Savage Mountain".

Directly to the north of Salkantay lies Machu Picchu, which is at the end of a ridge that extends down from this mountain. Viewed from Machu Picchu's main sundial, the Southern Cross is above Salcantay’s summit when at its highest point in the sky during the rainy season. The Incas associated this alignment with concepts of rain and fertility, and considered Salkantay to be one of the principal deities controlling weather and fertility in the region west of Cusco.

About Our campsite “Lodge del Cielo” in Collpapampa: Our camp is located at 10 minutes walking from the village of Chaullay. Our Camp site in Collpapampa gives us a huge advantage to have a 360 panoramic view of the Salkantay Valley, also it is a perfect place, away from the crowd and where we can get to know the local families

img-Crossing the Salkantay Pass Challenge day

DAY 3: Descending into the Cloud Forest

A short 30-minute walk through an avocado orchard brings us to our “Sky Lodge” in Lucmabamba. Dinner and overnight at our Sky lodge

Trekking Time:  Approximately 5 hours
Walk and Terrain: Walk on narrow trails 

img-Descending into the Cloud Forest

Overnight at Lucmabamba Sky Lodge “Lodge del Cielo” at 2,062 masl/6,765 ft.

This day we walk along the Santa Teresa river valley, through more populated rural areas. We pass through banana, passion fruit, avocado orchards and coffee plantations. The coffee from this region is considered as the best organic coffees in the world.
Our ride will take us to fascinating place named “Llactapata Inca Trail”, where we say goodbye to our horses and equestrian staff.

About Our Lodge del Cielo base in Lucmabamba: Our camp is located at Lucmabamba, it is a perfect place, away from the crowed groups and where we be in touch with a local family.

At this time their economic activity is based in the Coffee plantations and is our responsibility to help them and also, we can learn a little bit more about the coffee.

Optional: If you request a Private Service, we can have a Local Coffee Experience 

Responsible Tourist Development for the inka Community, "Heir of Machu Picchu"

The Coffee of the  Inka´s 
Peru is quickly building a global reputation for producing traditionally cultivated, shade grown, high quality coffee beans.
Coffee production came to Peru in the 1700s. After two centuries, the heirloom typical variety still comprises 60 percent of the country's exports. There are more than 110,000 coffee growers in Peru, most of them are indigenous to these landscapes and speak Spanish as a second language. 
The 'Flor de Cafe' (Coffee Flower) Rural Community Tourism Association from Lucmabamba - Bayona is located in the Inca Trail (Lucmabamba-Llactapata-Aobamba), with a final destination in Machupicchu, at a height of 2026 m. a.s.l it was a dream of 15 families.

These families found an opportunity to improve their quality of life through touristic activities, sharing their ancient knowledge inviting tourists to live the experience of flavors and knowledge of the Coffee Tour (Ruta del Cafe). 

img-Descending into the Cloud Forest

DAY 4: Inca Trail by Llactapata 1st view Machupicchu

Overnight in Aguas Calientes at 1,900 masl/6,232 ft.
Hiking Time: 5–6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to challenging.

img-Inca Trail by Llactapata 1st view Machupicchu

After a healthy breakfast, we tackle the last day of our trek. We head uphill for 2-3 hours towards Llactapata Pass (2,736 m.a.s.l/8,974ft), where we come upon a distant with an spectacular view of Machu Picchu Sanctuary, from the southeast view, few travelers ever get a chance to admire the magnificent of the place, we take a short break to explore Llactapata archaeological place, which had been recently restored. 

Lunch is served at a scenic viewpoint, looking out to Machu Picchu. After we begin our final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests, orchards and coffee plantations. 

We arrive to Hydroelectric Village “Train station Village”, we continue our walk a side of the rail way until Aguas Calientes also known as Machupicchu Village (approx. 3 hours) 
Upon arrival, we check into the hotel for a celebration dinner with our guide and one last briefing for our next day experience!
Note - Those who prefer not to hike from Hydroelectric Village to Aguas Calientes can take the train experience, 40 minutes’ trip “price is not included”.  They will meet the rest of the group at the train station in Aguas Calientes together. (The guide confirms your preferences the night before.)
About Our overnight in Machupicchu Village: Hotel in Aguas Calientes will vary according your request and expectations.

Bingham first discovered Llactapata in 1912. "We found evidence that some Inca chieftain had built his home here and had included in the plan ten or a dozen buildings. Bingham locates the site "on top of a ridge between the valleys of the Aobamba and the Salcantay, about 5,000 feet above the estate of Huaquina." "Here we discovered a number of ruins and two or three modern huts. The Indians said that the place was called Llactapata." Bingham did not investigate the ruins thoroughly so they were not studied again for another 70 years.

A mid-2003 study of the site conducted by Hugh Thomson and Gary Ziegler concluded that the location of Llactapata along the Inca trail suggested that it was an important rest stop and roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu. This and subsequent investigations have revealed an extensive complex of structures and features related to and connected with Machu Picchu by a continuation of the Inca Trail leading onward into the Vilcabamba. Llactapata may have been a member of the network of interrelated administrative and ceremonial sites which supported the regional center at Machu Picchu. It probably played an important astronomical function during the solstices and equinoxes.

img-Inca Trail by Llactapata 1st view Machupicchu

DAY 5: Visiting Machu Picchu Sanctuary

Returning to Cusco: 3,360 masl/11,021 ft.
Meals: Breakfast
Distance: 6 km/3.7mls
Difficulty: Easy

img-Visiting Machu Picchu Sanctuary

After a very early buffet breakfast at your hotel, we make our way to the bus station for the ride up to Machu Picchu Sanctuary (30 min). Our trip leader will give an introductory guided tour of the Inca city.

Machu Picchu Guided Tour: Machu Picchu Inca City opens at 6 am. We are  going to be in the Inka City between 6 am and 7 am, after we show our entrance ticket , we will climb the best point to take some pictures in the  “The Guardian House”, after a 30 minutes  free time at your own discretion, your guide  will give you  information about the Inka City for around 1 hour.

After the guardian House Guided explanation, you are going to have 02 options.
1. - After the explanation of your Tour Guide from the Guardian´s House. – You can choose to climb the Sun gate. A trek up around one hour, a really great option to get the best panoramic pictures of all the Andes and the fascinating MACHUPICCHU. Those who make the Inca trail will arrive trough the Sun Gate later on; you can come back to the Inca city and Visit by your own the Inka City.
2. - After the interpretation of your Tour Guide from the Guardian´s House. – We continue into the Inca city by another 1 hour, passing the main plaza, the temple of 03 windows and much more, once we arrive to the Sacred Rock “very close to the entrance gate for Huayna Picchu Sacred Mountain”, our tour guide will give you some free time in order to explore the Inca city at your own. Climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (not included in the price, spaces are limited, please let us know)
Very Important 1: According Machu Picchu regulation, once you enter to the sacred City is not allow to get back by the same paths is just one way tour “there are a lot of signs about which route we should follow, and is forbidden to stop in some places”, For that reason we advise you to enjoy every minute you will be in each Inca place. 
Very Important 2: According Machu Picchu Regulation, entrance fees are only one time, it means once you go out from the Inka City, you can’t return, unless you get a new ticket.
Back to Cusco: You will descend to Aguas Calientes by bus (included) and later board the Expedition train by 4:22pm (it depends of the train availabilities) to the Ollantaytambo Train Station where you will meet our private van and be transferred to Cusco arriving around 8:30pm.
Returning to Cusco: 3,360 masl/11,021 ft.

img-Visiting Machu Picchu Sanctuary

More Information


Pre-departure briefing: You will meet your Salkantay guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. In case you can’t come at this time “please let us know” to coordinate another time. 
Touristic Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Challacancha, the starting point of the Salkantay trek.
Adventure Experienced Salkantay Tour Guide: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route, including leading your group in ancient ceremonies! He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so you can enjoy your time along the Inca path and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Tour Guide in Machupicchu Cultural Experienced: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide with tourism certification. For visit the sacred city of Machupicchu.
Private campsites: Each campsite is carefully choosed for have a very local experience.

Night 1: Relax on your soft bed in our Lodge del cielo in Soraypampa Campsite under the watchful eye of Apus,  sacred mountains Humantay and Salkantay. Spend as many hours as you would like star-gazing through your elegant glass ceiling! 
Night 2: Enjoy our 2nd night in our Lodge del cielo in Collpapampa campsite. You will find comfortable bed and a thick camping mattress free of charge. Camping is surrounded by the Sacred Mountains.
Night 3: Experience our 3rd night in our “Lodge del Cielo”, in your dome, you will find a comfortable bed, twin or double (depending on your stated preferences). Raw surrounding landscape of the cloud forest. We going to be very close to the local Families, they are heirs of the Inka culture and are very happy to share their lands with us.
Night 4: The prices of hotels will vary according to your expectations and budget. However, we can offer you the option of joining us at our local accommodation Hotel Encanto Machupicchu "at no extra cost". Our hostel in Aguas Calientes have double or triple rooms, private bathroom, hot shower, Wi-Fi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.

Note: It is not usual that the campsites, lodges or hotels change after the confirmation, however it can vary per government regulations and authorization, also for bad weather conditions and maybe because physical condition of our visitors: Any changes in this matter ITEP travel will be informing you previously and as soon as possible.
Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our porters and horses).
Entry ticket to Salkantay/Humantay lake
Entry ticket to Machu Picchu Inka Site
Bus Consettur to Machupicchu inca City: Most of the times the wait to board the bus to Machupicchu is from 1 hour to 1:30 min, So we prefer that you decide a day before your visit to the Inca city of Machupicchu. If you wish to take the bus considering the waiting time. Or if you prefer to do the last stretch of ascent walking up 45 to 1 hour "everything will depend on your physical state, after the trekking done".
Loading Mules/horses: We will give you a duffel bag at your briefing the night before; to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until you arrive at your evening campsite. On days 1 and 2, our mules/horses carry all camping equipment and your allowance of personal baggage (5 kgs/11.02 lbs.). On days 3 and 4, your luggage will be carried by car or train to your destination until we arrive to Machupicchu.
Professional Trekking Chef: A professional chef specialized in cooking on the trail, with an assistant will prepare all of your delicious meals along our journey on the Trail to replenish your energy every day. You will never go hungry!
Meals: 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners (Vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost) Please be in mind (1st breakfast and last lunch is not included”
Boiled Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, Inka Trail Expeditions 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.
Wake up tea: Every morning at the campsite, you will wake up with a cup of coca tea! Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
Tea time daily during the Trek: Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide our tea time with popcorn, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait until dinner to relax, warm up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
Products for hygiene: You will be provided with a small towel before each meal to clean your hands and every morning will be also a bucket with warm water for washes your personal hygiene.
Medical kit and Oxygen bottle: Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle.
Train tickets: From Aguas Calientes “Machupicchu village” to Ollantaytambo train station (departure time is confirmed the day of briefing and it´s subject to availability)
Transfer back to Cusco: Touristic transport from Ollantaytambo train station to Cusco (Day 5)
24-hour guest service: We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for easy communication and preparation with the agency leading up to your trek.

CONFORT (All previus Classic service +)

Hotel 4* in Machu Picchu
Train Hidroelectric Tran Station to Machu Picchu
Return Train in Vistadome Panoramic service

Sleeping Bags: You can rent one from our company if you do not have your own. Our sleeping bags are effective and durable to protect from temperatures as low as -18ºC (0ºF). They are mummy form and include a sleeping liner. The bags are cleaned after every use. 
Walking Sticks: You can rent a set from our company if you would like.
Day 1: Breakfast: Approx. Usd5 to usd 10.00, Price can vary according your selection.
Last Day: Lunch and Dinner in Aguas Calientes. Approx. Usd 20 to 25.00, Price can vary according your selection.
Personal clothing and gear
Travel Insurance
Tips for our staff: Please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish “Recommendation usd 6 to usd 8 per day per traveler for all the trek staff”- Once again it is optional and can vary according your satisfaction. 
Option: If you feel tired after the trek to and from Llactapata, you have the option to take a train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes. (Cost: USD $34.00)
Additional costs or delays out of control of the management (landscape, bad weather condition, itinerary modification due to a safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability/strike, etc.)

  Machupicchu + Huayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain Machupicchu + Huayna Picchu / Machu Picchu Mountain
Salkantay 4D - 2024 USD 519.00 + USD 75.00 USD 649.00 + USD 75.00


Original Passport
Day Pack   
Full rain gear or poncho
Gloves (thin riding and warm gloves) 
Headlamp Sunglasses             
Hiking Socks Sunscreen
Insect repellent Bathing suit
Trekking pants
Breathable dry fit top-wear 
Comfortable shoes/flip-flops
Cold-weather jacket
Long-sleeve fleece/sweater Wool hat
Hiking boots
Baseball cap, sombrero and bandana
Headlamp Sunglasses             
Hiking Socks Sunscreen
Insect repellent 
Bathing suit
Casual mountains wear for evenings 
Photo/video cameras and chargers 
Refillable water bottle (hydration bags are recommended) 

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