Short Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu 3 days

3 days / 2 night
From $449.00 USD per person
$499.00 USD
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Duration3 Days/ 2 Nights
Group Size2/15
Activity LevelModerate / Challenging

The 3-days short Salkantay to Machu Picchu

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most renowned hikes in Cusco and Peru, and the best alternative to the Inca Trail if you couldn't secure a reservation for that route. It's perfect for hikers seeking a more natural experience, with breathtaking Andean landscapes, snow-capped peaks, tropical forests, and jungle. Not only will you enjoy mountain views, but you'll also have the incredible opportunity to explore the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and immerse yourself in its fascinating Andean culture. Highly recommended!

  • Day 01: Soraypampa – Salkantay Pampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay – Collpapampa "Sky Lodge"
  • Day 02: Collapapampa – La Playa – Santa Teresa - Hidroelectrica – Machu Picchu town
  • Day 03: Machu Picchu | Cusco

Day 1 | Salkantay

Soraypampa – Salkantay Pampa – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay – Collpapampa "Sky Lodge"

Salkantay Trek best destination

We only have 3 days to explore Salkantay and Machu Picchu, we'll start the hike as soon as we arrive at Soraypampa. This stretch is the most challenging and cold part of the hike, but experiencing the majesty of the surrounding snow-capped peaks makes it worthwhile. We'll ascend to the Salkantay Pass (4,630 m / 15,190 ft) along a winding and steep trail that will take 3 to 4 hours. Although the air may feel thin due to the altitude and difficult terrain, those in good physical shape and acclimated can conquer it without issues. We also offer the option to go by horse for those needing extra assistance.

After a break and many photographs next to the incredible snow-capped peak, we'll cross the pass and begin the descent towards Wayracmachay (3850 m. / 12631 ft.), where we'll enjoy lunch. We'll continue on to Challway and finally reach our campsite in Collpapampa (2950 m. / 9678 ft.). Along the way, we'll pass through small villages and scattered campsites on the plains, giving us the opportunity to experience local life in these harsh natural conditions. After an evening of tea, dinner, and rest, we'll prepare for the next day of our adventure.

  • Meals: lunch, afternoon tea and dinner
  • Difficulty: Moderate / Challenge
  • Total distance: 22.5 km / 13.9 mi
  • Estimated walking time: 8 hours
  • Maximum altitude: 4630 m. / 15190 ft. (Salkantay Pass)
  • Accomodation: Collpapampa Sky Lodges (2950 m. / 9678 ft.)

Day 3 | Salkantay

Collapapampa – La Playa – Santa Teresa - Hidroelectrica - Machu Picchu Town

Salkantay jungle trail to machu picchu town

After a delightful breakfast prepared by our mountain chef, we embark on our journey from Collpapampa to La Playa (2,060 m / 6,759 ft), where we'll take a break for lunch. Along the way, we'll witness a remarkable transformation of the landscape, transitioning from mountainous terrain to lush jungles, with streams turning into waterfalls, rustic bridges, and stunning vistas, accompanied by the melodies of birdsong.

Following a delicious lunch, we'll travel by car to the Hydroelectric Plant (1,800 m / 5,906 ft), marking the end of the train line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. From there, we'll walk along the train tracks until we reach Machu Picchu Town, also known as Aguas Calientes (2,040 m / 6,693 ft), enjoying a pleasant stroll in the shade of the lush jungle foliage and passing directly beneath the mountain where the Machu Picchu citadel is situated. Once in Aguas Calientes, we'll check into our hotel for a well-deserved rest. Later, we'll gather for dinner at a local restaurant and plan our visit to Machu Picchu for the following day.

Note: If time allows and the group agrees, before or after lunch, we can also visit and enjoy the thermal baths of Cocalmayo (1,600 m / 5,249 ft) near Santa Teresa. But please note that this will delay our arrival and therefore we will arrive a little later in Machu Picchu town.

  • Meals: Breakfast, water, lunch, dinner
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Total distance: 22 km / 13.6 mi
  • Estimated walking time: 10 hours
  • Maximum altitude: 2 950 m. / 9 678 ft. (Collpapampa)
  • Accomodation: Hotel Aguas Calientes (2040 m. / 6693 ft.)

Day 4 | Salkantay

Machu Picchu town – Machu Picchu – Cusco.

Machu Picchu citadel

This will be our final day and the day we visit Machu Picchu. We'll start with breakfast at the hotel at 5:00 a.m. Then, we'll head to the Aguas Calientes bus station and travel to the entrance of the Inca city of Machu Picchu. To enter, you'll need to present your original passport, the entrance ticket (included in the tour), and the university student card if applicable. Afterwards, your guide will accompany you through Machu Picchu and its most important sites, ruins, and temples between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.

Note 01: According to Machu Picchu regulations, once inside the Inca City, you're not allowed to backtrack on the same paths, as it's a one-way route. There are many signs indicating the route to follow, and it's prohibited to stop at certain places. Therefore, we recommend enjoying every moment spent at each Inca site.

Note 02: According to Machu Picchu regulations, entrance tickets are valid for a single entry. This means that once you leave the Inca City, you won't be able to return unless you obtain a new ticket.

In Machu Picchu, you'll have the option to climb one of the mountains to get breathtaking aerial views of the entire Inca citadel. Tickets are required, and some sell out quickly, so plan ahead (not included in the price):

  • Hike to Huayna Picchu mountain (2 hours round trip), the most famous but quite challenging destination due to its steep slope.
  • Hike to Machu Picchu Mountain (3 hours round trip), a slightly longer but less challenging destination, with stunning views from the top.
  • Hike to Huchuy Picchu, a smaller mountain located very close to Machu Picchu and more easily accessible compared to the other two destinations.

In Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town, you'll have enough time to participate on your own in one or more of the following activities (not included in the price):

  • Enjoy a relaxing bath in the thermal waters of Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town.
  • Visit the butterfly sanctuary.
  • Visit the new local museum.

After exploring the magnificent Inca city, you'll use your bus ticket to descend to Aguas Calientes, take the train back to Cusco via Ollantaytambo. The Expedition Train departs at 6:30 p.m. and arrives in Ollantaytambo after 2 hours. In Ollantaytambo, a vehicle will be waiting to take you to Cusco, concluding your journey around 10:30 p.m.

You can adjust your train schedule to arrive in Cusco earlier or later (depending on train availability), depending on the activities you choose, with prior coordination.

  • Meals: Breakfast at hotel
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Estimated walking time: 2 hours
  • Maximum altitude: 2430 m. / 7972 ft. (Machu Picchu)

*Note: "Machu Picchu mountain" refers to the peak opposite the main Machu Picchu ruins.


What's Included?

  • Pre-tour information: You will meet your Salkantay guide at our offices (or another agreed-upon location) around 18 hours for an informative session about the tour.
  • Transportation
  • Pick-up from your hotel in Cusco.
  • Tourist transportation from Cusco to Soraypampa.
  • Tourist transportation from La Playa to the Hidroelectrica.
  • Consettur bus to the Machu Picchu archaeological site (round trip).
  • "Expeditions" tourist train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • Tourist transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • Personnel
  • Highly qualified professional English and Spanish-speaking guide for the Salkantay Trek.
  • Highly qualified professional English and Spanish-speaking guide for Machu Picchu.
  • Trail chef specialized in trail cuisine and assistant who will prepare all meals during the trek.
  • Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by our porters and horses).
  • Entrance tickets
  • Entrance tickets to Salkantay.
  • Entrance tickets to the Machu Picchu Archeological Site.
  • Accommodation & meals
  • 1st night: Collpapampa Sky Lodge, with comfortable beds and camping mattresses surrounded by the Sacred Mountains.
  • 2nd night: Hotel in Machu Picchu town, Aguas Calientes. The 2-star Casa de la Luz Hotel or similar is included, known for its double or triple rooms with private bathroom, hot shower, WiFi, breakfast, and luggage storage while visiting Machu Picchu. Alternatively, you can upgrade to a 3 or 4-star hotel upon request.
  • 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free at no additional cost).
  • Supply of boiled, filtered, and chilled water from the first lunch. We recommend bringing your own water bottles (approximately 3 liters).
  • Coca tea every morning at the campsite.
  • Daily tea time during the hike.
  • Others
  • Duffle Bag: We can provide a duffle bag for your personal luggage, up to 5 kgs (11.02 lbs), including your sleeping bag. This bag will be carried by our horses and returned at the end of the tour.
  • First aid kit, including an emergency oxygen bottle.
  • 24-Hour Customer Service: We offer a 24-hour telephone service to facilitate communication with our agents before your trek.
  • Free Luggage Storage: We provide complimentary luggage storage at our offices in Cusco. You can leave your luggage before starting your tour (exclusive to our passengers).

What's Not Included?

  • Trekking poles are not included but is highly recommend for the hike. You can bring your our or rent from us.
  • Sleeping bag.
  • Additional entrances (Huayna Picchu mountain, Machu Picchu Mountain or Huchuy Picchu mt.).
  • The first breakfast and the last lunch are not included.
  • Train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes.
  • Additional costs or delays beyond our control, such as natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, itinerary modifications due to passenger health issues (suffering from an illness or health problems), pandemic, changes in government policies, political instability, strikes, etc.

Note: If you prefer, you can rent trekking poles, sleeping bag, additional entrance fees, train from Hidroelectrica, upgrades for the hotel or another services, and lunch can be arranged on-site.

Additional Services

  • Trekking poles. ($15.00 USD)
  • Sleeping bags. ($25.00 USD) - 3kg
  • Economical breakfast in Mollepata. ($10.00 USD)
  • Economical Lunch in Machu Picchu town. ($15.00 USD)
  • Lunch at Sanctuary Lodge. ($45.00 USD)
  • Simgle Tent at the campsites. ($50.00 USD)
  • Cargo horse, weight limit 20kg. ($90.00 USD)
  • Saddle horse, for one person. ($150.00 USD)
  • Train from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes. ($36.00 USD)
  • Huayna Picchu mountain entrance, subject to availability and time slots: 7:00 am / 8:00 am / 9:00 am / 10:00 am ($60.00 USD)
  • Machu Picchu mountain* entrance, subject to availability and time slots: 7:00 am / 8:00 am ($60.00 USD)
  • Guided tour for Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain*. ($75.00 USD per group)
  • Upgrade to the Vistadome train. ($50.00 USD)
  • Upgrade to Vistadome Observatory train Return. ($75.00 USD)
  • We can assist you in booking hotels (standard and luxury) throughout Peru.

*Note: "Machu Picchu mountain" refers to the peak opposite the main Machu Picchu ruins.

Note 2: If you choose the option of Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain, depending on availability, you may need to add an additional cost for a private guide in the city of Machu Picchu.


Salkantay to Machu Picchu 4D $ 499.00 USD

Discounts in Salkantay

  • 18 - 24 years old: We offer a $20 discount per student. To qualify as a student, you must have a valid student identity card and be under 25 years of age at the time of your trip. Scan and email us the copy at the time of booking.
  • Under 18 years old: We offer a $20 discount per child. (you will need to scan and email us a copy of the passports).

What to Bring on the Salkantay & Machu Picchu?

  • Original passport (and valid student ID if applicable).
  • Personal hygiene items or day Pack.
  • Personal medication.
  • Waterproof jacket / rain poncho.
  • Warm clothing, sun hat, and gloves.
  • Hiking boots/shoes.
  • Hiking Socks.
  • Casual mountains wear for evenings
  • Short or long-sleeved shirts.
  • Comfortable pants, trekking pants.
  • Cold-weather jacket.
  • Sunglasses.
  • Sunscreen (recommended SPF 35).
  • Reusable plastic or metal bottles, or a camelback.
  • Insect repellent.
  • Photo/video cameras and chargers.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.

Extra Items to Bring

  • Shorts.
  • Trekking poles (with rubber tips).
  • Bandages and bandages.
  • Comfortable shoes/flip-flops.
  • Breathable dry fit top-wear.
  • Sandals.
  • Bathing suit for the hot springs.
  • Binoculars.
  • Extra money for personal expenses, tips (recommend 200 Peruvian nuevos soles for extra expenses).

Questions and Answers / 3-days Salkantay

Important Information

  • The itinerary may change based on the Peruvian government, weather conditions, and the health status of the trekkers.
  • The train schedule may vary depending on the availability of the train company.
  • We provide the Expedition train to Ollantaytambo: if someone books a train ticket last minute, it's not guaranteed they can be on the same train as the rest of the group.
  • If you wish to change the schedule or tickets for your train, you will need to pay an additional fee for transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco and for the train price difference.

How long does the Salkantay Trek take?

The classic Salkantay Trek typically lasts for 5 days and 4 nights, covering around 74 kilometers (46 miles).

What are the highlights of the Salkantay Trek?

The highlights include stunning views of Humantay Lake, Mount Humantay, Mount Salkantay, diverse landscapes, Andean villages, and the opportunity to visit Machu Picchu and hot springs.

How difficult is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is considered moderately difficult, with steep ascents and descents, high altitude, and varied terrain.

What is the starting point of the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek typically begins in Mollepata, a village located about 3 hours by car from Cusco.

Do I need a permit for the Salkantay Trek?

No, unlike the classic Inca Trail, permits are not required for the Salkantay Trek, unless Machu Picchu is included in your package.

What is the highest point of the Salkantay Trek?

The highest point is the Salkantay Pass, reaching an altitude of approximately 4,600 meters (15,091 feet).

How do I prepare for altitude on the Salkantay Trek?

It is recommended to spend a few days in Cusco acclimatizing to the altitude before starting the trek.

What is the weather like on the Salkantay Trek?

The weather can vary, but it is generally cold at higher altitudes and warmer in lower areas. Be prepared for rain and temperature fluctuations.

Do I need a guide for the Salkantay Trek?

While it is possible to hike independently, it is recommended to hire a guide for navigation, safety, and cultural knowledge.

What is the best time of year to do the Salkantay Trek?

The dry season (May to September) is generally the best time for hiking, with clearer skies and less rain.

Can I do the Salkantay Trek during the rainy season?

Yes, it is possible, but be prepared for wet conditions and muddy trails, especially from November to March.

Are there alternative routes for the Salkantay Trek?

Yes, there are several alternative routes and itinerary options available based on preferences and time constraints.

Is camping required on the Salkantay Trek?

Yes, camping is usually part of the Salkantay Trek experience, with designated campsites along the route.

What should I pack for the Salkantay Trek?

Essentials include sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing, a sleeping bag, rain gear, sunscreen, insect repellent, and plenty of water.

Are meals provided on the Salkantay Trek?

All our packages include buffet breakfast and lunch on our Salkantay Trek, which generally consists of abundant Peruvian dishes.

Is water readily available on the Salkantay Trek?

Salkantay Trek provides filtered and boiled water at each of our campsites, so we recommend bringing reusable bottles.

Are there toilets along the Salkantay Trek?

Basic toilet facilities are available at designated campsites, but be prepared for rustic conditions. Except for the night in your hotel.

Is it possible to do the Salkantay Trek with children?

While physically demanding, older children accustomed to hiking can complete the trek with proper preparation.

Are there age restrictions for the Salkantay Trek?

There are generally no strict age restrictions, but participants should be in good physical condition.

Do I need travel insurance for the Salkantay Trek?

Travel insurance covering emergencies, medical evacuation, and trip cancellation is highly recommended.

What wildlife might I encounter on the Salkantay Trek?

Possible wildlife sightings include Andean condors, llamas, alpacas, and various bird species.

What cultural sites are visited during the Salkantay Trek?

Along the way, hikers can visit traditional Andean villages, Inca ruins, and remote settlements.

Is it safe to hike the Salkantay Trail alone?

While experienced hikers can do solo hikes, it is generally safer and more enjoyable to do it with a group or a guide.

Are there emergency evacuation procedures on the Salkantay Trek?

Tour operators usually have emergency plans in place, including access to satellite phones and evacuation services if necessary.

What permits are required for Machu Picchu on the Salkantay Trek?

Entry permits to Machu Picchu are required and must be arranged in advance through a tour operator.

What is the earliest hour to arrive at Machu Picchu on the Salkantay Trek?

Hikers typically arrive at Machu Picchu early in the morning to witness the sunrise over the ruins.

Are there options to extend the Salkantay Trek beyond 4 days?

Yes, longer trekking itineraries are available, including additional days to explore Machu Picchu and its surroundings.

Can I hire porters for the Salkantay Trek?

INKA TRAIL offers extra cargo services for those who need to carry additional equipment or lighten the load they will carry.

What is the waste disposal policy on the Salkantay Trek?

Hikers are expected to follow Leave No Trace principles, packing out all waste and disposing of it properly.

How much does it cost to do the Salkantay Trek?

Costs vary depending on the tour operator, itinerary, and services included, but the budget ranges from $500 to $1000 USD per person.

What languages do the guides of the Salkantay Trek speak?

Guides typically speak Spanish and English, although other languages may be available upon request.

Are there opportunities for photography on the Salkantay Trek?

Absolutely! The Salkantay Trek offers countless opportunities for stunning landscape photography.

Is it possible to see the Milky Way from the Salkantay Trek?

Yes, the clear night skies of the Andes provide excellent opportunities for stargazing, including views of the Milky Way.

Is altitude sickness common on the Salkantay Trek?

Altitude sickness can affect some hikers, especially at higher elevations. It is important to acclimatize.


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