4-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu: A Journey Through the Clouds

Traverse the Majestic Andean Paths and Uncover the Mysteries of Machu Picchu

Home » 4-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Classic
Location

Cusco, Peru

Duration

4 Days

Difficulty

7/10

Availability

Year Round

Tour type

Adventure

Overview

Discover the spellbinding beauty of the Peruvian Andes on the 4-day Salkantay Trek, a journey that leads you to the iconic Machu Picchu. This trek is a perfect blend of natural splendor and cultural immersion, taking you through some of the most stunning landscapes in Peru. From the majestic Salkantay Mountain, named after one of the most sacred peaks in Incan mythology, to the serene Humantay Lake, each step unveils breathtaking vistas and a rich tapestry of flora and fauna.

Experience the thrill of adventure as you hike through diverse ecosystems, ranging from snow-capped mountains to lush rainforests. The Salkantay Trek is not just a path but a gateway to explore the hidden wonders of the ancient Incan world. Ideal for those seeking both a physical challenge and a cultural journey, this trek offers an unforgettable experience, culminating in the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, a testament to Incan ingenuity and spirit.

Departure & Return Location Your Hotel in Cusco
Departure Time 4:30 AM - 5:30 AM
Estimated Return Time 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Guide Languages Available Guides fluent in English and Spanish
Key Attractions Humantay Lake, Salkantay Pass, Cloud Forests, Coffee Plantations, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Price
FromUSD 690
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  • Standard Large GroupGroup Size: 2 Min – 16ppl MaxStart Time: 04:30
  • Standard Small GroupGroup Size: 2 Min – 8ppl MaxStart Time: 04:30
  • Private GroupGroup Size: CustomizableStart Time: 04:30
  • Deluxe Private GroupGroup Size: CustomizableStart Time: 04:30
  • Solo TravelerGroup Size: 1 personStart Time: 04:30
  • Deluxe Solo TravelerGroup Size: 1 personStart Time: 04:30

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Tour Itinerary

Explore our expertly designed itinerary below, crafted to showcase breathtaking views and provide unique adventures every step of the way.

Our exhilarating trek begins with an early morning pickup from your hotel at 4:30 am. We embark on a 3-hour drive towards Anta-Mollepata, during which you'll be treated to the awe-inspiring sight of the snowcapped Salkantay and Veronica mountains, the sacred guardians in Incan lore. The journey also offers a panoramic view of the vibrant landscapes encompassing both the upper and lower valleys.

Upon arriving in Mollepata, we take a brief halt where you have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast at your leisure (not included in the trek). This stop also allows a moment of rest and preparation for the upcoming hike. After breakfast, we continue our drive to Soraypampa, the starting point of our trek.

In Soraypampa, we meet our support staff, including the cook who will accompany us on our journey. Here, we get ready for the first hike of our trek, setting out towards the magnificent Humantay Lake (4200 m.a.s.l). The 3-hour round trip hike to the lake offers an awe-inspiring view of the Humantay glacier, providing an hour of peaceful exploration and admiration of the natural beauty.

After the visit to Humantay Lake, we head back to Soraypampa where a hearty lunch awaits us, freshly prepared by our cook. Post lunch, we continue our hike towards Salkantaypampa, our campsite for the night. This location, encircled by glaciers, offers a serene atmosphere and a dark sky, perfect for appreciating the stunning constellations and the splendor of the night sky.

Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Hiking: Approx. 6 hours, 10 km

The second day starts with a coca tea wake-up call at 5:00 am. After breakfast and packing up, we embark on the hike to the highest point of the Salkantay trail (4620 masl – 15,255 ft). The 3-hour ascent through a rocky valley offers a chance to witness the grandeur of Salkantay peak, along with possible sightings of chinchillas. Reaching the top, we are rewarded with awe-inspiring views of the Salkantay, Humantay, and Pumasillo peaks.

The descent from the Salkantay Pass takes us on a 3-hour journey along a serpentine trail to Huayracmachay, our lunch spot. The afternoon trek leads us through the enchanting upper part of the rainforest or "cloud forest." Over the next 3 hours, covering 9 km to Challway Village (2900 masl – 9,514 ft), we immerse ourselves in a lush landscape adorned with colorful orchids and native flora, basking in the warm and pleasant climate of the area.

Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Hiking: Approx. 6 hours, 12 km

The day commences with an early wake-up call at around 5:30 am, accompanied by a warm serving of coca tea. After breakfast, we embark on our hike towards La Playa, meandering through the lush jungle and following the Salkantay River's bank. This gradual trail leads us through a thick rainforest, offering opportunities to enjoy local fruit and vegetables such as passion fruit, banana, coffee, avocado, mango, orange, and papaya from several family hamlets along the route. Keep an eye out for the "Cock of the Rocks," Peru’s national bird, known for its vivid plumage and unique appearance.

This day's hike covers a distance of 16 km and takes approximately 7 hours to reach Lucmabamba, our lunch spot. In Lucmabamba, a small town surrounded by coffee trees, we'll have the chance to taste fresh coffee and enjoy basic facilities including toilets, electricity, shopping, and souvenirs. Post-lunch, we take a local van for an hour's ride to Hydroelectric and then board a train to Aguas Calientes, the town at the foot of Machu Picchu. Once in Aguas Calientes, we check into our hotel, enjoy a dinner out, and rest overnight in preparation for the final day of our trek.

Accommodation: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Hiking: Approx. 7 hours, 16 km

On this magical fourth day, we rise early for the bus journey to Machu Picchu. Upon arrival at the entrance, we present our passports and start our exploration of this ancient Inca city. The hike to the guardhouse offers a classic viewpoint for those iconic postcard pictures of Machu Picchu. Following this, we embark on Circuit 2 for a comprehensive 2-hour guided tour, revealing the historical and cultural significance of the site.

For those who have booked in advance, the option to hike Huayna Picchu after the tour is available (Note: This requires a separate entrance ticket). Post exploration, we return to Aguas Calientes and board a train back to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, a bus takes us back to Cusco, concluding our memorable trek. We aim to have you back at your hotel in Cusco by approximately 7:30 pm, carrying with you a treasure trove of memories from this incredible journey.

Accommodation: N/A
Meals: Breakfast
Return to Cusco: Train to Ollantaytambo, then bus to Cusco

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Tour Highlights

  • Humantay Lake Hike: Experience the breathtaking beauty of the turquoise Humantay Lake, nestled at the base of the Humantay glacier. This serene spot is perfect for photography and reflection.

  • Camping at Salkantaypampa: Spend a night at Salkantaypampa, a campsite surrounded by majestic glaciers. This location is ideal for stargazing and experiencing the tranquility of the Andean night sky.

  • Salkantay Pass Ascent: Challenge yourself with the hike to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point of the trail, where you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, and Pumasillo.

  • Cloud Forest Exploration: Descend into the lush cloud forest, a unique ecosystem adorned with colorful orchids and native plants. This area is known for its warm and pleasant climate.

  • Journey through the Jungle: Traverse through a thick jungle along the Salkantay River, enjoying the local flora and fauna, including a chance to spot the vibrant “Cock of the Rocks,” Peru’s national bird.

  • Cultural Interaction at Lucmabamba: Savor the fresh coffee and local fruits at Lucmabamba, a quaint town surrounded by coffee plantations, and interact with the local community.

  • Train Ride to Aguas Calientes: Board a scenic train to Aguas Calientes, the gateway town to Machu Picchu, offering picturesque views along the route.

  • Exploration of Machu Picchu: Visit the awe-inspiring Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and immerse yourself in the rich history and architecture of the Incas during a comprehensive guided tour.

Prices

Discover our diverse tour offerings, catering to various interests and providing unforgettable experiences for every traveler.
Payment Terms

Payment Terms & Cancellation Policy

Kindly take a moment to read our Payment Terms & Cancellation Policy before booking. Happy adventuring!

Payment Terms

Beginning Your Adventure - Booking Confirmation and Deposit

Your journey starts with a commitment: a 30% deposit of the total tour cost. This initial investment is pivotal in activating the extensive preparatory process, ensuring every aspect of your tour is curated to perfection.

Final Payment: The Last Step Before Your Journey Begins

The remaining 70% of the tour cost is due no later than 48 hours before the commencement of your tour. This timely payment is critical to finalize all logistical arrangements, guaranteeing a hassle-free start to your adventure.

Expansive Payment Options for Ease and Flexibility

In line with our commitment to your convenience, Huaynas Expeditions accepts a variety of payment methods, including bank transfers, credit cards, and PayPal. Please be aware that additional fees may apply depending on the payment method selected. Detailed payment procedures and potential fees can be found on our dedicated payment page.

Implications of Late Payments - Protecting Your Reservation

Adherence to the payment schedule is crucial. Late payments can unfortunately lead to the cancellation of your reservation, with the deposit being retained as a non-refundable fee. We urge you to maintain timely payments to safeguard your tour plans.

Policy for Last-Minute Adventurers

For those inspired to join this tour on short notice, namely less than 15 days before departure, full payment is required at the time of booking. This ensures that we can expedite all necessary preparations for your inclusion.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation Terms for Clients

We recognize that life is ever-changing. However, due to the elaborate planning and expenses involved in preparing for this tour, we maintain a strict no-refund policy after booking confirmation. This underscores the importance of obtaining comprehensive travel insurance, which can offer protection against unforeseen cancellations.

Navigating Unpredictable Circumstances - Force Majeure

In extraordinary situations beyond our control, such as natural disasters or political upheavals, Huaynas Expeditions will strive to offer alternative arrangements. This may include rescheduling your trip or issuing a credit for future travel, based on current availability and discretion.

Emphasizing the Need for Comprehensive Travel Insurance

To cover unexpected events, including trip disruptions and medical emergencies, we cannot stress enough the importance of securing comprehensive travel insurance. It’s your safety net, ensuring peace of mind throughout your journey. Please note, Huaynas Expeditions does not bear responsibility for costs arising from incidents not covered by your travel insurance.

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Discounts

Special Discounts

 

  • Adult (12+ Years): Standard rates apply for travelers over 12 years old.
  • Student (-25 Years with Student Card): Save USD 20 with a valid Student Card for those younger than 25 years old.
  • Child (3 – 11 Years): Save USD 30 for children between 3 and 11 years old.
  • Infant (0 – 2 Years): Infants younger than 2 years old are free (must ride on the adult’s lap; for a separate seat, add them as a child).
  • Group Discount: Automatically applied during online booking.
    • Save USD 10/person for groups of 5-7 people.
    • Save USD 15/person for groups of 8-10 people.
    • Save USD 20/person for groups of 11+ people.

Please note that the applicable age is considered at the time of completion of the trip.

View age and group-based discount details.

Inclusions & Exclusions

Dive into our in-depth guide on what’s included and not included for all package options on the 4-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Classic. With these carefully put-together lists, you’ll know exactly what to anticipate when booking the journey of a lifetime.

Standard Inclusions

Our Standard package offers a range of amenities and services for a comfortable and enjoyable trip experience. All package options include the following:

Not Included

The following items are not included in our trek packages. Please consider these additional costs when preparing for your trek. Note that some exclusions may be included in the Deluxe package, as mentioned in the Additional Inclusions section:

Additional Inclusions (Deluxe Package)

Upgrade to our Deluxe package for an enhanced and luxurious trekking experience. The Deluxe package includes these premium amenities and services, which can also be added individually to the Standard package:

What to Pack

When embarking on the 4-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Classic, it’s crucial to pack the right items for a successful and enjoyable experience.

Packing List

Provided Duffle Bag and Packing Tips

We’ll supply the duffle bag during the pre-trek briefing with your guide, held 1-2 nights prior to the tour’s start. This allows you to familiarize yourself with the bag and pack efficiently.

The briefing covers essential trek details, such as itinerary, safety guidelines, and last-minute updates. It’s an excellent chance to ask questions, meet fellow trekkers, and prepare for your adventure.

Packing Tips:
  • Adhere to the 7 kg weight limit: Keep the weight of your personal items in the duffle bag within the 7 kg limit to maintain a manageable load for the horses.
  • Place non-essential items in the duffle bag: Store items you won’t need during the day, like extra clothes, toiletries, and sleeping bags, in the duffle bag to lighten your day pack.
  • Label your duffle bag: Add a luggage tag or other identification to your duffle bag to prevent mix-ups with other trekkers’ bags.
  • Keep valuables in your day pack: Store passports, cameras, cash, and other valuable items in your day pack for added security and easy access.

By following these packing guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your trekking adventure. We look forward to guiding you on this exciting journey!

Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We’ve got answers! Dive into our FAQ section for detailed responses to common queries. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, our team is just a click away to assist you.

How difficult is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is considered challenging due to its altitude and length. It’s recommended for individuals who are reasonably fit and acclimatized to the altitude.

Can I store my luggage at the Huaynas Expeditions office while I’m on the trek?

Yes, Huaynas Expeditions offers a secure luggage storage service at our office in Cusco. You can leave any belongings you don’t need during the trek, such as suitcases or extra clothing, with us.

Do I need any vaccinations before the trek?

While no specific vaccinations are required for the trek, we recommend being up-to-date on routine vaccines. Travelers should consider speaking with their doctor about their travel plans and any recommended vaccinations.

Do I need to carry a first aid kit?

While it’s always a good idea to carry basic first aid supplies, our guides will have a comprehensive first aid kit for emergencies.

How are meals handled on the trek?

Meals are prepared by a professional chef and include breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a variety of healthy options. Snacks are also provided during the trek.

What is the best season to do the Salkantay Trek?

The trekking season is typically from April to October when the weather is drier. June to August are the busiest months, so booking in advance is recommended.

Can I charge my devices during the trek?

Charging facilities are scarce on the trek, so it’s advisable to bring extra batteries or a solar charger.

What type of guide will be leading the trek?

Our treks are led by experienced, English-speaking guides who are knowledgeable about the region’s history, culture, and flora/fauna. Our guides are certified and trained in wilderness first aid and altitude-related health issues to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants.

Will there be a briefing before the trek begins?

Yes, there will be a pre-trek briefing the day before the trek starts. During the briefing, our experienced guides will provide detailed information about the trek, answer any questions, and ensure that all participants are adequately prepared for the adventure.

Can I rent trekking gear from you?

Yes, we offer rental of trekking gear such as walking poles and sleeping bags. Please contact us directly for more information on our rental options and prices.

Where does the tour start and end?

The tour starts and ends in Cusco. We provide pickups and drop-offs at your hotel in Cusco.

Do I need to tip the trek crew?

While tipping is optional, it’s a kind gesture to show appreciation for the services provided by the guide, chef, and other team members.

What is the altitude like on the Salkantay Trek?

The trek reaches high altitudes, with the highest point being the Salkantay Pass at approximately 4,650 meters (15,255 feet). Acclimatization days in Cusco are recommended before starting the trek.

Can children participate in the Salkantay Trek?

The trek may be suitable for older children who are accustomed to hiking and have a high level of fitness. Please consult with us for age recommendations and requirements.

What makes your Salkantay Trek unique?

Our trek stands out due to exclusive campsites like Salkantaypampa, offering a quieter experience away from the crowds, more intimate interaction with nature and locals, and a carefully planned itinerary for better acclimatization and enjoyment. Choose us for a more authentic adventure and stunning, secluded vistas.

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  • Overview
  • Tour Itinerary
  • Prices
  • Inclusions & Exclusions
  • What to Pack
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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Why Choose Huaynas Expeditions

At Huaynas Expeditions, we believe that every journey should be an unforgettable experience filled with warm memories, new friendships, and exciting discoveries. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love exploring with us

Local Expertise

As a Cusco-based travel agency, our knowledgeable local guides and travel experts have an in-depth understanding of Peru's history, culture, and hidden gems, ensuring an authentic and immersive experience.

Experienced Team

Our dedicated team shares a deep love for Peru and its diverse offerings, ensuring you receive a memorable and uniquely crafted travel experience.

Personalized Itineraries

We understand that every traveler has unique interests and preferences. That's why we work closely with you to create customized itineraries tailored to suit your travel goals and desires.

Top Support

Our devoted team is available 24/7 to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have, ensuring a stress-free and enjoyable travel experience.

Safety and Reliability

Your safety and well-being are our top priorities. We adhere to strict safety protocols and maintain strong relationships with trusted local partners to provide you with the best possible experience.

Competitive Pricing

We strive to offer high-quality travel experiences at competitive prices, ensuring you receive excellent value for your investment.

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