• Overview
  • Trip Outline
  • Trip Includes
  • Trip Excludes
  • FAQ

Nevado Salkantay is the highest mountain close to Machu Picchu in the Vilcabamba mountain range. Since ancient times people hold this mountain sacred as a giver of life for the jungle below. This trail is great for your first time in altitude because the high pass on the trail, Salkantay pass (4,650m = 15,252ft) is relatively easy. After that the trail descends into the lower elevations of cloud forest. On this trek you will stay in comfortable cabins after hiking each day.

Inca Trail vs Salkantay Trek. The Salkantay trek is the most popular alternative trek to the Classic Inca Trail, with many groups going each day. But our opinion is that the Salkantay Ahobamba Trek is the best of them all.

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Itineraries

Day 1

Cusco – Mollepata – Soray Pampa (3,888m/12,752ft)

You will be picked up at your hotel in the morning by our transport and we will take a two and a half hour ride to the town of Mollepata. Here we will have breakfast and buy any last necessities. Afterwords we will continue in our transport for one more hour to Sayllapata, where we will begin the start of our trek. We will arrive at Soray Pampa for lunch and stay here for the night in cabins. In the afternoon you may rest and acclimatize or take a short hike to a glacial lake at the foot of Nevado Tucarhuay. At night we will relax, eat dinner and take in the views of Salkantay.

Day 2

Soray Pampa – Abra Salkantay (4,650m/15,252ft) – Collpapampa (3,850m/12,628ft)

After breakfast we will trek to the highest point of our journey, the pass of Abra Salkantay located at an elevation of 4,650m = 15,252ft. From here we can appreciate the spectacular views that the Cordillera Vilcabamba has to offer. We will then descend the other side of the pass to Huayracmachay, where we will have lunch. In the afternoon we will start descending into the high amazon jungle where we can observe the environment change and a large quantity of plants and animals of this zone. In the evening we will arrive to Collpapampa where we will stay for the night in cabins.

Day 3

Collpapampa – La Playa (2,046m/6,710ft) – Santa Teresa (1,500m/4,920ft)

In the morning we will trek 5 hours to the town of Playa. Along the way we can observe the variety of flora and fauna as the climate becomes more tropical. In Playa we will go by taxi to Santa Teresa where we will have lunch. Here we will stay at a hostel in the town. In the evening we may visit the thermal baths of Ccocalmayo. (There is an alternative option if you want to change day 3 & 4 to hike up to a mountain ridge overlooking Machu Picchu. The alternative would be: Day 3: Collpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba (11.2 miles) In the morning we trek 5 hours to the village of La Playa and have lunch. Another hour hiking brings us to our cabins among coffee farms. Where we will stay for the night.)

Day 4

Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes

After our breakfast we will take a local transport to Hydroeléctrica. From here we will walk for about two and a half hours along the train tracks and arrive to Aguas Calientes. We will check in to a hotel and relax before our day at the Ruins. At a convenient time we will meet together with our guide to have dinner and discuss the next day on Machu Picchu. (Option 2: Lucmabamba . Llactapata - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes (11.5 miles) After breakfast we will hike up to the Archeological ruins of Llactapata, which lies on a mountain ridgetop across the valley from Machu Picchu. the hike is 3.5 hours up and 2 hours down to Hydroelectric. In Hydroelectric the group has lunch and then hikes the final 2.5 hours to Aguas Calientes and checks in to the hotel.)

Day 5

Machu Picchu – Return to Cusco

We awake at the hour of your choosing and go by bus to Machu Picchu. In the afternoon or night we will go by train to Ollantaytambo and then by collective transport to Cusco.
  • Transportation
  • All group camping equipment
  • Official Tourism Guide
  • Food from Breakfast Day 1 until Breakfast Day 5. (Lunch/Dinner Day 5 Not Included)
  • Cabins with beds
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Entrance and Guide in Machu Picchu
  • Roundtrip Bus from Aguas Calientes up to Machu Picchu site
  • Dinner day 4 and lunch/dinner day 5 (on Machu Picchu)

- Trekking Boots (Waterproof)
- Clothing for hiking (light, breathable, quick drying)
- Clothing for cold and rain (down jacket and rain jacket/pants)
- Brimmed hat and winter beanie
- Sunglasses and sunscreen
- Water bottle (Nalgene or similar)
- Backpack
- Duffel Bag

It is very important to acclimatize properly. If you are just arriving to Cusco, I recommend at least 3 full nights in Cusco (3,300mts/10,824ft) before sleeping higher than 4,000mts (13,120ft).

It is recommendable to climb a peak of 5,500 meters, before a 6,000 meter peak if you have the time. If you are already well acclimated, it is possible to go directly to climb an easier 6,000mts peak like Ausangate, Chumpe or Yayamari. These guidelines should be regarded as the minimums. Often people have a tight schedule and want to do as much as possible with their time, but acclimatization is important for you to be able to accomplish your goals.