Classic Salkantay: A 4-Day Trek to Machu Picchu's Wonders

Embark on the iconic Salkantay Trek, a four-day journey through diverse landscapes, culminating in the awe-inspiring 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

Journey through the heart of the Andes on the 4-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, a trek that promises an unparalleled blend of natural splendor and ancient wonder. Traversing this path, you’ll encounter a variety of landscapes, from stark mountain peaks to lush jungles, each offering its own unique beauty and challenge. Witness the majestic Salkantay and Veronica mountains, symbols of strength and serenity in the Peruvian landscape. The trek to the stunning Humantay Lake is not just a hike; it’s an exploration of the breathtaking beauty that defines the Andes. The journey includes nights under the stars at pristine campsites like Salkantaypampa, where the sky becomes a canvas of constellations, adding a touch of magic to the adventure.

Navigating this trail is as much about cultural discovery as it is about personal exploration. The transition from the high Andean peaks to the cloud forest reveals a diverse ecosystem, home to vibrant flora and fauna. In small villages like Lucmabamba, the trek becomes an intimate experience with local life, where the aroma of fresh coffee and the warmth of Andean hospitality enrich the journey. The expedition culminates with a scenic train ride to Aguas Calientes, setting the stage for the grand finale at Machu Picchu. Here, the ancient Inca citadel awaits, its secrets and splendor forming the ultimate reward for this remarkable trek. This journey transcends a simple trek; it’s an odyssey that weaves together the marvels of nature with the mystique of ancient history.

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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Select a package
  • 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.

Your Salkantay Trek adventure kicks off with an early morning pickup from your hotel at 4:30 am. Embark on a scenic 3-hour drive towards Anta-Mollepata, where the breathtaking views of the snowcapped Salkantay and Veronica mountains await. This journey isn't just a travel segment; it's a panoramic spectacle showcasing the diverse landscapes of both the upper and lower valleys.

Arriving in Mollepata, we pause for a quick breakfast, a perfect time to gear up and mentally prepare for the hike ahead. From here, our drive continues to Soraypampa, the starting line of our trek. At Soraypampa, we gear up and set out on a 3-hour round trip hike to the stunning Humantay Lake. This hike isn't just a physical journey but a visual feast, with the Humantay glacier's icy beauty as the centerpiece. Enjoy an hour at the lake, immersing in its tranquility and natural splendor.

The hike back to Soraypampa concludes with a fulfilling lunch, prepping us for the next leg of our trek to Salkantaypampa. As night falls, our campsite at Salkantaypampa offers a serene setting, perfect for stargazing and soaking in the high-altitude atmosphere.

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

Day two begins with a coca tea wake-up call at 5:00 am, an Andean tradition to start the day. After breakfast, we embark on a 3-hour ascent to the highest point of the Salkantay trail. This hike isn't merely a climb; it's an encounter with the grandeur of the Andes. The Salkantay peak looms large, and if we're lucky, we might spot chinchillas along the way. Reaching the summit, the vistas of Salkantay, Humantay, and Pumasillo peaks are nothing short of majestic.

The descent from the Salkantay Pass is a 3-hour journey to Huayracmachay, our lunch spot. The afternoon's trek takes us through the "cloud forest," a part of the upper rainforest where the air is fresh, and the landscape is dotted with colorful orchids and native flora. This 3-hour hike covering 9 km to Challway Village immerses you in a world where nature's beauty is at its rawest.

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

The third day of your trek begins with an invigorating wake-up call at 5:30 am, accompanied by a warming serving of coca tea. After breakfast, we set off on our hike towards La Playa, a journey that takes us through the heart of the lush jungle along the Salkantay River. This trail is not just a path but a corridor through an abundant rainforest, teeming with local fruits and vegetables. Here, you can taste the freshness of passion fruit, banana, coffee, avocado, mango, orange, and papaya, handpicked from family-owned orchards along the route.

Be on the lookout for the "Cock of the Rocks," Peru’s vibrant national bird. The day's hike, covering a distance of 16 km, culminates in approximately 7 hours, leading us to Lucmabamba. This quaint town, nestled amongst coffee trees, offers a chance to indulge in fresh coffee and experience the simplicity of rural life.

Post-lunch in Lucmabamba, we hop onto a local van for a short ride to Hydroelectric and then board a train to Aguas Calientes. This train journey is an experience in itself, winding through the Andean landscape to the town located at the foot of Machu Picchu. Once in Aguas Calientes, check into your hotel, enjoy a delightful dinner, and rest well for the upcoming climax of our trek.

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

Day four dawns with excitement and anticipation. We rise early for the bus ride to Machu Picchu, embarking on the final leg of our journey. As we enter the ancient Inca city, a sense of wonder and history envelops us. The hike to the guardhouse provides the classic, breathtaking viewpoint for those iconic Machu Picchu postcard pictures.

During our comprehensive 2-hour guided tour of Circuit 2, we delve into the history and culture of Machu Picchu, uncovering the mysteries of this ancient wonder. For those who've booked in advance, the option to hike Huayna Picchu post-tour is an exciting addition (requires a separate ticket).

After exploring Machu Picchu, we return to Aguas Calientes and board a train back to Ollantaytambo. From there, a bus will take you back to Cusco, completing your incredible Salkantay Trek. We aim to have you back at your Cusco hotel by approximately 7:30 pm, with a heart full of memories and a spirit enriched by this unforgettable journey.

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

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Tour Highlights

  • Exploration of Humantay Lake: A highlight of day one, the hike to the turquoise waters of Humantay Lake is both invigorating and visually stunning, offering breathtaking views of the Humantay glacier.

  • Camping at Salkantaypampa: Experience camping in the midst of nature, surrounded by glaciers and under a star-filled sky, providing an unforgettable high-altitude evening.

  • Ascent to Salkantay Pass: The challenging trek to the highest point of the trail, Salkantay Pass, offers exhilarating views of the surrounding peaks and the chance to witness local wildlife, including chinchillas.

  • Journey Through the Cloud Forest: Trek through the lush “cloud forest” with its diverse flora, including colorful orchids and native plants, making the transition from high mountains to tropical jungle.

  • Cultural Immersion in Lucmabamba: Enjoy the unique experience of tasting fresh coffee and experiencing rural life in the small town of Lucmabamba, surrounded by coffee plantations.

  • Train Ride to Aguas Calientes: A scenic train journey takes you through beautiful Andean landscapes to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu.

  • Exploration of Machu Picchu: The climax of the trek, a guided tour of the iconic Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, unveils its history, architecture, and cultural significance.

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, 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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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 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.

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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