Uncover Machu Picchu: 3-Day Salkantay Express Trek

Fast-track your way to Machu Picchu with our 3-day Salkantay Trek. Experience majestic mountains, lush forests, and Incan heritage.

Home » 3-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Express

Cusco, Peru


3 Days




Year Round

Tour type



Experience the thrill of the Salkantay Trail condensed into an exhilarating 3-day trek, leading you through a tapestry of stunning landscapes and culminating at the iconic Machu Picchu. This express adventure is tailored for those who wish to immerse themselves swiftly in the beauty of the Peruvian Andes while experiencing one of the most revered treks in the world. Your journey begins in the ancient city of Cusco, whisking you through diverse terrains, from the lofty Salkantay Pass to the lush environs of the cloud forest. Witness the grandeur of Salkantay Mountain, a revered peak in Incan mythology, and feel the transformation of the landscape as you descend towards the serene Collpapampa.

The second day unfolds with a scenic hike through the cloud forest, rich in biodiversity, leading to the tranquil town of Aguas Calientes. A blend of hiking and travel by train ensures a comfortable pace, allowing you to soak in the magnificent vistas of the Peruvian countryside. The final day is a momentous ascent to Machu Picchu, where ancient Incan history comes alive. The guided tour of this magnificent citadel unveils its architectural marvels and secrets, offering a once-in-a-lifetime experience. As the trek concludes, you’ll return to Cusco, carrying with you memories of an extraordinary adventure that combines the essence of the Andean experience with the wonder of Machu Picchu.

Departure & Return Location Your Hotel in Cusco
Departure Time 3:30 AM - 4:00 AM
Estimated Return Time 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Guide Languages Available Guides fluent in English and Spanish
Key Attractions Salkantay Pass, Cloud Forests, Coffee Plantations, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
FromUSD 660
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Select a package
  • Standard Large GroupGroup Size: 2 Min – 16ppl MaxStart Time: 03:30
  • Standard Small GroupGroup Size: 2 Min – 8ppl MaxStart Time: 03:30
  • Private GroupGroup Size: CustomizableStart Time: 03:30
  • Deluxe Private GroupGroup Size: CustomizableStart Time: 03:30
  • Solo TravelerGroup Size: 1 personStart Time: 03:30
  • Deluxe Solo TravelerGroup Size: 1 personStart Time: 03:30

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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.

Embark on the Salkantay Express with an early rise, as we pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 3:30 am. The journey to Soraypampa, our hike's starting point, includes a brief stop in Mollepata, where you can enjoy breakfast and prepare for the day ahead.

The trek towards the formidable Salkantay Pass begins at Soraypampa, taking you through landscapes that captivate with their stunning beauty. As you navigate the trails, witness the grandeur of Salkantay Mountain, an iconic peak deeply rooted in Incan mythology. Reaching the summit of the pass is a moment of awe and achievement, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding vistas.

Our descent from the Salkantay Pass to Collpapampa is a journey of changing sceneries, from rugged mountainous terrains to the verdant expanse of the cloud forest. The day concludes with a serene camp set up in Collpapampa, amidst the tranquil wilderness of the Andes.

Accommodation: Camping
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Hiking: Approx. 8-9 hours, 20 km

Day two begins with a refreshing hike from Collpapampa to Playa Sahuayaco. This segment of the trail takes you through the cloud forest's lush foliage, offering a glimpse into the region's diverse flora and fauna. It's a peaceful walk that allows you to connect deeply with nature.

Upon arrival at Playa Sahuayaco, we transition from hiking to a transport segment towards Hydroelectrica, providing a relaxing interlude through picturesque countryside views. From Hydroelectrica, a train ride to Aguas Calientes awaits. This charming town serves as the base for your Machu Picchu visit. Settle into your hotel accommodation and later enjoy a dinner in town, sampling the local culinary offerings.

Accommodation: Hotel in Aguas Calientes
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Hiking: Approx. 5-6 hours, 15 km

The climax of your Salkantay Express adventure unfolds on Day 3 with an early start in Aguas Calientes. A short bus ride brings you to the gates of the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu. This moment marks the pinnacle of your trekking journey, as you stand at the entrance of one of the world's most renowned ancient wonders.

Your exploration begins with a guided tour of Machu Picchu. Delve into the rich history and impressive architecture of this Incan citadel, learning about its construction, cultural significance, and the mysteries that still shroud this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tour provides insights into the lives of the Incas and the purpose of this extraordinary city.

After the guided experience, take the opportunity for personal exploration. If you have pre-booked, you can hike Huayna Picchu for an exhilarating view of the ruins and the surrounding landscape. This additional adventure offers a unique perspective of Machu Picchu and the Andean peaks.

Later in the day, you'll journey back to Aguas Calientes and board a train to Ollantaytambo. Reflect on your incredible experiences as you travel through the scenic Andean landscape. A bus from Ollantaytambo will take you back to Cusco, marking the end of your thrilling and memorable 3-day Salkantay trek.

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

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Tour Highlights

  • Early Morning Departure from Cusco: Start your adventure with a pre-dawn pickup from Cusco, setting the stage for an exhilarating trekking experience.

  • Salkantay Pass Ascent: Traverse the challenging yet stunning Salkantay Pass, offering breathtaking views of one of the most significant peaks in Incan mythology, the majestic Salkantay Mountain.

  • Diverse Landscapes: Experience a dramatic change in scenery as you hike from rocky mountain terrains to the verdant cloud forest, showcasing the diverse ecological beauty of the Andes.

  • Cloud Forest Exploration: Immerse yourself in the lush cloud forest, home to a rich array of flora and fauna, adding a touch of tranquility and natural beauty to your trek.

  • Journey to Aguas Calientes: Enjoy a mix of hiking and travel by vehicle to Aguas Calientes, providing a relaxing interlude through the scenic Peruvian countryside.

  • Machu Picchu Tour: Explore the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a guided tour that delves into its history, architecture, and cultural significance.


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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, Peru Tripper 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, Peru Tripper 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, Peru Tripper does not bear responsibility for costs arising from incidents not covered by your travel insurance.

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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 3-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Express. 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 3-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Express, 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 Peru Tripper office while I’m on the trek?

Yes, Peru Tripper 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.

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  • Inclusions & Exclusions
  • What to Pack
  • Frequently Asked Questions

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