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Salkantay trek - prices, itineraries and best time to visit

Salkantay Trek

While the Inca Trail is deservedly one of the most famous in South America, the Salkantay Trek offers a wilder and perhaps more authentic approach to the Incas’ most famous monument. No trip to Peru can be considered complete without a visit to the mystical mountaintop ruins of Read More

Salkantay Trek - 19 Trips with 1 Review

Highlights
  • Discover the mystical beauty of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the Inca Empire..
  • Opportunity to see beautiful landscapes with a variety of endemic flora and fauna..
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Tierras Vivas

Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu

Our classic Salkantay Trek is a customized alternative to the usual Inca Trail. Not on ... Read More
  • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
  • Operator Tierras Vivas
From US$ 500 5 days View Tour
Next Departures
Jun 22
Jun 23
Highlights
    Read More
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    Condor Expeditions
    Free Cancellation

    Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu

    If you did not manage to reserve permits for the Inca Trail, we highly recommend ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Condor Expeditions
    From US$ 770 5 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 22
    Jun 23
    Highlights
    • Challenge yourself with the Salkantay trek.
    • Travel to the Inca site of Llactapata.
    • Explore the incredible Machu Picchu.
    Read More
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    Inka Rainbow

    Salkantay Trek & Machu Picchu

    Worried that you could not get the permit for the Inca Trail? We bring to ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Inka Rainbow Active 2 hours ago
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    From US$ 595 4 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 22
    Jun 23
    Highlights
    • Spend time exploring the former Inca capital of Cusco and its surrounding..
    • An amazing 8 days culturally rich and rewarding travel experience in Peru..
    • Hike up and over Salkantay Pass for breathtaking views of the valley below.
    Read More
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    Inkayni Peru Tours
    Free Cancellation

    Trek Along The Salkantay - Machu Picchu

    This is a cultural adventure and a trekking adventure. You will get to experience Peru ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Inkayni Peru Tours
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    From US$ 1,790 8 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 22
    Jun 23
    Highlights
    • Explore the Sacred Valley.
    • Travel to the famous Inca ruins of Cusco and its surrounding areas.
    • Enjoy the beauty of the Andean landscape.
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    Terra Peru

    Salkantay Trek

    of 1 review
    See the best of Cusco and the Sacred Valley and challenge yourself with the Salkantay ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Terra Peru Active 1 hour ago
    • Tour Type Private Tour
    From US$ 1,151 9 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 30
    Jul 1
    Highlights
    • Salkantay snowpeak.
    • Llactapata archaeological site.
    • Machu Picchu.
    Read More
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    Apu Andino

    The Ultimate Trek To Machu Picchu: Salkantay Trek 5 Days

    Salkantay Trek is a popular alternative to the very-crowded classic Inca Trail. It offers more ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Apu Andino Active 1 day ago
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    From US$ 765 5 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 22
    Jun 23
    Highlights
    • Enjoy the lesser-trekked route to Mount Salcantay before joining up with the classic Inca Trail.
    • Explore the iconic ‘lost city’ of Machu Picchu at the best time of day.
    • Trek among the lush valleys, alpine lakes and rugged snow-capped peaks of the Peruvian Andes.
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    World Expeditions

    Salcantay Base Camp To Machu Picchu Trek

    Experience one of Peru's best treks and the delights of Cusco. The soaring peaks ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Lima/Lima View Map
    • Operator World Expeditions
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    SavingUS$ 130
    From US$ 2,469 15 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 26 10+ seats left
    Jul 10 10+ seats left
    Highlights
    • One of "the best 25 new treks in the world" by National Geographic.
    • Salkantay is a majestic peak of over 6300 meters (20,000 feet!).
    • The trek combines hiking in the Andes with the cloud forest.
    Read More
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    Inkas Destination Tour Operator

    Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu

    This 5-day 4-night Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an excellent substitute for the Inca ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Inkas Destination Tour Operator
    • Tour Type Private Tour
    From US$ 590 5 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 22
    Jun 23
    Highlights
    • 8-Day Classic Inca Trail Journey to Machu Picchu, from Cusco.
    • Embark on a multi-day, small-group trek to Machu Picchu along the famed Inca Trail.
    • Spend time exploring the former Inca capital of Cusco and its surrounds..
    Read More
    Add to Your Tour Wish List
    Inkayni Peru Tours

    Trek Along Salkantay To Machu Picchu

    This is a cultural adventure and a trekking adventure. You will get to experience Peru ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Inkayni Peru Tours
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    From US$ 1,099 8 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 22
    Jun 23
    Highlights
    • Hike among 6,000m Andean peaks.
    • Cross snowy high passes with incredible views.
    • Reach the comfort of Aguas Calientes town.
    Read More
    Add to Your Tour Wish List
    Bamba Experience

    Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 5D/4N (Start Trek On Day 1)

    Forget the Inca Trail and hike to Machu Picchu along the higher and more beautiful ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
    • Operator Bamba Experience Active 1 day ago
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    SavingUS$ 35
    From US$ 655 5 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 24 10+ seats left
    Jun 26 Only 4 seats left
    Highlights
    • Hike among 6,000m Andean peaks.
    • Cross snowy high passes with incredible views.
    • Reach the comfort of Aguas Calientes town.
    Read More
    Add to Your Tour Wish List
    Bamba Experience

    Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 6D/5N (Start Trek On Day 2)

    Forget the Inca Trail and hike to Machu Picchu along the higher and more beautiful ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
    • Operator Bamba Experience Active 1 day ago
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    SavingUS$ 35
    From US$ 670 6 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 23 Only 4 seats left
    Jun 25 Only 5 seats left
    Highlights
    • Hike among 6,000m Andean peaks.
    • Cross snowy high passes with incredible views.
    • Reach the comfort of Aguas Calientes town.
    Read More
    Add to Your Tour Wish List
    Bamba Experience

    Salkantay Trek To Machu Picchu 4D/3N (Start Trek On Day 1)

    Forget the Inca Trail and hike to Machu Picchu along the higher and more beautiful ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco View Map
    • Operator Bamba Experience Active 1 day ago
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    SavingUS$ 35
    From US$ 655 4 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 24 Only 7 seats left
    Jun 26 Only 10 seats left
    Highlights
    • Conquer the Salkantay Pass.
    • Explore Machu Picchu.
    • Take a ride on an Expedition train.
    Read More
    Add to Your Tour Wish List
    Apu Andino

    Salkantay Trek & Machupicchu Tour

    Book your place in this guided, 5-day tour and conquer the trail that is a ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator Apu Andino Active 1 day ago
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    From US$ 780 5 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 27
    Jun 28
    Highlights
    • Hike up the Salcantay Pass (4,638m) and admire the amazing views.
    • Trek the picturesque Salcantay region with dramatic mountain scenery & enjoy 3 hearty meals a day on trek prepared by our cooks.
    • Discover the enigmatic ruins of Machu Picchu before the crowds arrive.
    Read More
    Add to Your Tour Wish List
    World Expeditions

    Salcantay Trek & Machu Picchu

    Arguably the best short trek alternative to the classic Inca Trail. Arguably the best short ... Read More
    • Starts /Ends Cusco/Cusco
    • Operator World Expeditions
    • Tour Type Group Tour
    SavingUS$ 90
    From US$ 1,709 7 days View Tour
    Next Departures
    Jun 26 10+ seats left
    Jul 3 10+ seats left
    Free Cancellation
    Free cancellation on most tours.
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    Create your custom-made trip to Peru

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    Salkantay Trek Reviews

    5.0 - Excellent Based on 1 customer reviews
    Unforgettable trip! Reviewed Tour: Salkantay Trek
    Lisa From France At
    5 - Excellent
    “What an amazing trip. We love adventure and treks, they were able to make a custom trip to offer us the dream trip. From the famous Salkantay Trek in the South of Peru to the Cordillera Blanca in the North, we were blown away by the wonderful landscapes of Peru. Thanks again for the organization, we will definitely come back for another epic trek”

    Salkantay Trek - Facts, itineraries and best time to visit

    While the Inca Trail is deservedly one of the most famous in South America, the Salkantay Trek offers a wilder and perhaps more authentic approach to the Incas’ most famous monument. No trip to Peru can be considered complete without a visit to the mystical mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu, but more intrepid travellers are now looking for alternatives to the overcrowded experience of the Inca Trail. The Salkantay trek being of the many alternative treks to Machu Picchu besides the Inca Trail. 

    Overview

    The Salkantay Trek is a less crowded alternative to the Inca Trail and is the only trekking route that affords views of Machu Picchu even though the trek doesn’t actually finish at the ruins of Machu Picchu. It includes crossing the Salkantay Pass at 4600 m on the second day while the Dead Woman’s Pass on the Inca Trail is 4200 m. So, the altitude on this trek is higher than the Inca Trail. Salkantay trek offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, among which stands Salkantay mountain itself, before descending through cloud forests that are rich in wildlife. On the final day, trekkers are usually taken to Machu Picchu for a tour of the ruins before returning to Cusco.

    Highlights

    • Spectacular scenery including views of Salkantay mountain (6271 m)
    • Crossing the Salkantay Pass (4600 m) with stunning views
    • Views of Machu Picchu nestled in surrounding forests below the trail
    • Less crowded than the classic Inca Trail
    • Visiting Machu Picchu on the final day

    Lowlights

    • High altitude trek, proper acclimatisation necessary to avoid altitude sickness
    • Temperatures can plummet during the night at high altitudes
    Map of Salkantay trek
    Overview map of Salkantay trek

    Trek Facts

    • Difficulty: Challenging. 5 days of walking for up to eight hours a day through tough, mountainous terrain.
    • Trek Duration: 5 days for the standard itinerary 
    • Remoteness: Remote. The route passes through remote villages, desolate mountain scenery and 15 distinct ecosystems. While some of the settlements at either end of the trek have road or rail connections, most of the trek is on mountain paths inaccessible except on foot or horseback.
    • Maximum Altitude: 4,600 m
    • Accommodation Type: Tents on the mountain campsites. Although some hikes include stays in luxury lodges on the trail.
    • Best Season: April to October
      • The dry season is from around April to October and it is best to attempt the Salkantay trek during these months since the wet season (November to March) sees the trail muddy and wet with an increased risk of slipping.
      • The Salkantay trail is busiest from June to September but the weather is at its best during May and October when it is also less busy, meaning these are possibly the two best months to go.
      • Salkantay trek can be attempted year-round, the coldest months are during the dry season. For the best trekking experience, plan your trek around May - July which coincides with the best time to visit Machu Picchu.
    • Start / End Locations: Mollepata or Soraypampa - Aguas Calientes 
    • Permits Required: No for the trek. If you plan to visit Machu Picchu, you should reserve your tickets in advance and you will need your passport to enter the site.
    • Fitness Level Required: Good

    5D/ 4N Salkantay Trek: Standard Itinerary

    • Day 1: Mollepata (2,900 m) - Soraypampa (3,850 m) 

    The trek starts at Mollepata  and includes a steady climb of around seven or eight hours through verdant, rugged mountains as the peak of Mount Salkantay rears its snow-topped head in the distance. Camp is made at Soraypampa, where temperatures can be very cold, especially at night.

    • Day 2: Soraypampa – Collpapampa (2,800 m)

    This is the most gruelling part of the trek as the trail leads up to the vertiginous Salkantay Pass at 4600 m, from where there are spectacular views if the weather is clear. Having crossed the pass, the trail descends into the mysterious cloud forest on the way to Collpapampa, where camp is set for the night.

    • Day 3: Collpapampa – La Playa (2,200 m) 

    The trekkers will follow the Lluskamayo River through an area rich in wildlife down to the jungle town of La Playa, at an altitude of 2200 m.

    • Day 4: La Playa – Aguas Calientes (2,040 m) 

    The day starts with the ascent to the Inca ruins of Llactapata (2650 m), affording spectacular views of Machu Picchu nestling on a mountaintop below. From here, it is possible to hike either to Santa Teresa or to the hydroelectric station, the second option being the more demanding but also more rewarding. There is a train connection to Aguas Calientes (also known as Machu Picchu Pueblo), from where visitors can access Machu Picchu itself. 

    • Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu (2,430 m) 

    This is the big day of visiting Machu Picchu! Start your journey on foot or by bus from Aguas Calientes for a visit to the world-famous ruins. From here on, you can either catch a bus or a train back to Cusco. 

    7D / 6N Salkantay Trek: An Alternative Itinerary

    A seven-day option is also available, with a drive to Soraypampa on day 1, a trek out to Lake Humantay on day 2 and the crossing of the Salkantay Pass on day 3. Trekkers arrive at Llactapata on day 6, before heading to Aguas Calientes by train and making the ascent to Machu Picchu on the final day.

    Safety Considerations

    • This trek is not particularly dangerous if participants are fully prepared but it should not be taken lightly. At no point does the trek descend below 2000 m, and at its highest point, it reaches well above 4000 m. At these altitudes, it is easy to become fatigued and trekkers should not push themselves to do more than they can manage.
    • The weather in the mountains is unpredictable and at the highest parts of the trek, including the camp at Soraypampa, it is certain to be cold, so trekkers should ensure they have the proper clothing and equipment.
    • It is possible to walk the trail without a guide or porters and those who do so are free to choose their own itinerary – it is even possible to finish in four days. Attempting the Salkantay Trek without a guide is only recommended for experienced trekkers and should only be undertaken with the proper equipment and supplies.

    Altitude sickness

    Altitude sickness while trekking at altitudes of above 2,000 m - 2,500 m can be a problem. It is highly recommended to spend two days in Cusco to acclimatise before attempting the trail. Early symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache and dizziness, and anyone displaying these symptoms should immediately descend to a lower altitude to recover.

    For those looking to escape the crowds of the Inca Trail – or for those who do not manage to book a place on the more famous walk – the Salkantay Trek offers a challenging and rewarding alternative. The sight of Mount Salkantay looming above as you traverse the Salkantay Pass or the view of the magical ruins of Machu Picchu perched on a ledge far below as you reach Llactapata will be some of the sights that far fewer visitors to Peru are fortunate to experience. 

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