5D/4N SALKANTAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU: ALL ABOUT THE BEST HIKE OF THE ANDES
Can you imagine yourself doing one of the most famous treks of Peru and America? The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of the best alternatives hikes. Salkantay Pass – Salkantay trek 5 days combines nature, culture and the history of the Incas. Salkantay trek tour shows mountain chains covered with snow and a fairy tale lagoon, Humantay. Finally, it takes you to one of the world wonders, Machu Picchu.
Above all, there are no limited spots and you don’t need to book it months in advance. Not only will you enjoy the wonderful route, but also during the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu you will hike through a great variety of flora and fauna.
On the other hand, Salkantay trek 5 days is considered a privileged destination for tourists. Since it is not very popular, you won’t see crowds of people along the trek. Don’t wait too long to enjoy the fascinating Andean environment!
What is the climate like in the Salkantay trek 5 days – Salcantay pass?
The climate in Cusco presents two distinct seasons during the year, the rainy and the dry season. During, these two seasons, you can appreciate the micro climates of each place that vary depending on the altitude they are at.
Salkantay route has a varied climate. It starts with a very cold climate at an altitude of 4630 m.a.s.l and ends in Machu Picchu with tropical weather at an altitude of 2050 m.a.s.l.
It starts in April and ends in October. The temperature drops to -10 °C and the highest reaches 18 °C on the first 2 days of the hike. On the following days, the temperature drops to -2°C and the highest reaches 26 °C. Likewise, we will get to the eyebrow of the jungle where the weather is much warmer.
This season has sunny days which make it perfect to hike from Salkantay to Machu Picchu. It is less slippery and allows you to walk faster each day. However, you need to be careful with the weather because it is unpredictable. So be prepared.
In addition, you should know that from June to August, it is very dry and cold. Average temperature is 17° C during the day, but, at night the temperature drops to 0° C.
It starts in November and ends in March. The temperature drops to 0°C and the highest reaches 19 °C on the first two days of the hike. Then, on the following days, it drops to 10 °C and reaches 21 °C.
On the other hand, the road is slippery and muddy which makes the roads impossible. This is because of the cloudy and rainy days. However, wearing proper outwear and a good pair of hiking boots can make it an amazing trek perfect for adventurers.
What is the altitude along the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu?
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu offers a great variety of ecosystems along the 5 days and 4 nights of adventure. You’ll be hiking at different altitudes that go from 2100 m.a.s.l (6 900ft) to 4 630 m.a.s.l (15 190ft). Although it is a moderately challenging hike, the amazing journey overcomes the troubles.
DAY 1: CUSCO – MOLLEPATA – SORAYPAMPA
- Mollepata: 2 900 m.a.s.l / 9,514ft.
- Challacancha: 3 600 m.a.s.l / 11,500ft.
- Soraypampa: 3 900 m.a.s.l / 12,795ft.
- Humantay Lagoon: 4 200 m.a.s.l / 13,779ft
DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA – CHALLWAY
- Salkantaypampa: 4 100 m.a.s.l / 13,451ft.
- Soyroccocha: 4 400 m.a.s.l / 14,435 ft
- Salkantay Pass: 4 630 m.a.s.l / 15,190ft.
- Salkantay Mountain: 6271 m.a.s.l / 20,574ft
- Wayraqmachay: 3 912 m.a.s.l / 12,834ft.
- Challway: 2 920 m.a.s.l / 9,514ft
DAY 3: CHALLWAY – LA PLAYA – LUCMABAMBA
- Collpapampa: 2 700 m.a.s.l / 8,858ft.
- Wiñaypocco: 2500 m.a.s.l / 8,202ft.
- Loreta: 2 400 m.a.s.l / 7,875ft.
- Playa Sahuayaco: 2 064 m.a.s.l / 6,771ft.
- Lucmabamba: 2 000 m.a.s.l / 6,561ft
DAY 4: LUCMABAMBA – LLAQTA PATA – HYDROELECTRIC – AGUAS CALIENTES
- Llaqta Pata: 2 702 m.a.s.l / 8,858ft.
- Hydroelectric: 1 890 m.a.s.l / 6,200ft.
- Aguas Calientes: 2 050 m.a.s.l / 6,571ft.
DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES – MACHU PICCHU – CUSCO
- Machu Picchu: 2 400 m.a.s.l / 7,873ft.
- Wayna Picchu: 2800 m.a.s.l / 9,186ft. (Booked in advance based on availability).
- Machu Picchu Mountain : 3 200 m.a.s.l / 10,498ft. (Booked in advance based on availability).
- Intipunku: 3 400 m.a.s.l / 11,154ft
5 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Itinerary
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most incredible and impressive treks. It covers the Vilcabamba mountain range, the foothills of the highest snow capped of Cusco: Salkantay and Ausangate. In addition, it crosses the turquoise lagoon, Humantay, another tourist wonder.
To be more precise, doing the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is a great discovery. The mystic atmosphere, nature and history that surrounds the area, will conquer your taste. Furthermore, it is an alternative and cheaper trek compared to the popular Inca Trail. According to the National Geographic Adventure Magazine, Salkantay trek 5 days is considered as one of the top 25 best hikes worldwide, and it is on the list of the 50 places you should visit before you die.
This hike has everything to be on those lists: beautiful landscapes, a variety of flora and fauna, microclimates that go from cold to warm, and dry to rainy. All of that will be seen during the hike until we finally arrive in the impressive wonder of the world, Machu Picchu.
Don’t just read about it, Join us on this adventure and start telling your own story! To get ready for the adventure, we want to share some details on the route that we will hike through.
Let the adventure begin! This day we will pick you up very early from your hotel at 5:00 am approximately. The guide will inform you the exact time for pickup. Then, we will head towards Mollepata town (province of Anta). Likewise, the trip takes 2 hours and a half. You will be able to observe picturesque places with a variety of microclimates and altitudes.
When we arrive in Mollepata, we will have breakfast and buy some snacks for the hike. Then, we will continue on a 30-minute drive to Challacancha. It is here where we will meet the support staff who will carry the camping equipment and our belongings on horses and mules. We will continue to the community of Soraypampa and start the most beautiful hike of our lives.
You should know that from Challacancha to Soraypampa, we will hike for about 2 hours and a half with the fascinating view of the majestic Salkantay, snow mountains, and the valley of the Apurimac river. In addition, we will observe an old Inca channel with crystalline waters and much more. Also, at this place, we will have our delicious lunch, ingeniously prepared by the creative chef. After a brief break, we will continue with the hike.
To arrive in the amazing Humantay Lake, we have to walk for about 2 more hours. The lagoon is just incredible. Its turquoise color and location between the mountains, make it a unique place worthy of admiration. Finally, we will return to our campsite to have dinner. After that, along with the guide and support staff, we will plan the activities for the following day.
- Lodging: Soraypampa Campsite
- Level of difficulty: Challenging
- Hiking Distance: 12km / 7.45 miles
This is the most challenging day of the salkantay trek 5 days. Nature will show us why, the impressive snow capped mountain of Salkantay. Above all, along the trek, you will notice how the view changes from snow capped mountains to a more tropical zone. Firstly, we will start very early in the morning and have our nutritious breakfast. Then, we will start the hike at 6:00 am approximately.
In this first section (1 hour and a half), we will head to Salkantaypampa. It is a place where we can rest for a while and use the toilets. After that, we continue with the second section (1 hour and a half) to Soyroccocha. Finally, the last section (1 hour and a half) will lead us to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point of the trek. Here we will have a fascinating view of Apu Salkantay. Most importantly, you can take as many pictures as you want. And after that, we will go downhill (2 hours) towards our lunch site, Wayraqmachay.
When lunchtime is over, we will go downhill towards our second campsite, Challway. Along the salkantay trek 5 days, we will notice how the landscape view changes from high and cold mountains to a more tropical area. This section takes 3 hours to go through until we arrive in our campsite. Fortunately, when we arrive, we will have dinner ready which will be prepared by the efficient support staff.
- Lodging: Challway Campsite
- Level of difficulty: Challenging
- Hiking distance: 22 km / 13.7 miles.
We will have nutritious and delicious food for breakfast and get ready to start the adventure at around 07:00 a.m. Then, we will go downhill and hike for about 5 hours, going through the dense vegetation of the jungle. Along the route, we will pass through delicious fruit trees such as bananas, passion fruit, and avocados. In addition, you will observe plantations of coca leaves along the route until you arrive in the community of Playa Sahuayaco.
Likewise, on the route we will pass through a town called Collpapampa, also known as “the eyebrow of the cloudy forest”. On the other hand, you will observe the waterfalls, fruit trees, and a great variety of flora and bird species. Furthermore, if we are lucky enough we will be able to observe the famous national bird of Peru, known as “The cock of the Rocks”.
Firstly, when we arrive in the sector of Playa Sahuayaco, we will have lunch. Second, we will walk for one hour approximately heading towards our third campsite located in the sector Lucmabamba. In the afternoon, all this magic is present near the river and the forest where the night is accompanied by the song of the cicadas. Most importantly, our campsite is located here in Lucmabamba. The support staff will be waiting for you with all the tents installed. Then you will have a delicious dinner and enjoy a lovely night.
Finally, the guide will give some instructions for the following day hiking.
- Lodging: Lucmabamba Campsite
- Level of difficulty: Moderate.
- Hiking Distance: 18km / 11.19 miles.
Today, we will get up very early to say goodbye to the muleteer who will return home. He doesn’t join the rest of the salkantay trek 5 days. This is after having a delicious and nutritious breakfast. Firstly, we will head to the area of Llaqta Pata, a beautiful archeological site that connects you to the Inca site of Sayacmarka and wonder of the world, Machu Picchu. Second, we will go downhill along with the first rays of the sun for about 3 hours.
In addition, at the archeological complex of Llaqta Pata, we will have enough time to explore this beautiful Inca site, take pictures and have a privileged view of the Llaqta of Machu Picchu, surrounded by impressive mountains. After that, we will start going downhill until the zone of “Hydroelectric” (an electrical power station). It takes 1 hour and half approximately.
Likewise, when we arrive in Hydroelectric, we will continue the hike towards Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours approximately. It is easier to walk straight following the railway. On the other hand, you can take the train from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes, which costs USD 35. After the exciting 4-day journey, we will arrive in Aguas Calientes where we spend the night in a pleasant hotel room. Before going to bed, we will have dinner at a local restaurant. We need to rest in order to have energy for the following and most important day of the trek, the day when we finally visit the impressive Machu Picchu.
- Lodging: Hotel (Aguas Calientes).
- Level of difficulty: Mild.
- Hiking Distance: 17 km / 10.6 miles.
As they say, “Anything good is worth waiting for”, and that is what we have on this last day of salkantay trek to machu picchu. Firstly, we will get up early in the morning (05:00 am approximately) to have breakfast and to take one of the first buses to the Inca citadel Machu Picchu. It would be great to arrive at the sunrise and observe the first rays of the sun in the enigmatic place.
If you wonder why you have to get up very early, the following two reasons must convince you to be one of the first ones entering Machu Picchu:
- It is worth getting up early since you will be able to watch the sunrise in Machu Picchu avoiding the crowds.
- Our guide will take you on a 2-hour tour through the most important parts of Machu Picchu. You will learn more about the history of the temples and altars of the Inca citadel. After the guided tour, we recommend climbing Huayna Picchu (optional, but you have to book it in advance). From this mountain, you have a spectacular view from above. It takes 1 hour and a half roundtrip. You will have time to take valuable and beautiful photos.
After the guided tour, we will return to Aguas Calientes and have lunch there. Then we will take the train back to Ollantaytambo. In Ollantaytambo, the bus will be waiting for you to take you back to Cusco. We will drop you off at your hotel in Cusco.
Level of difficulty: Easy
Fauna and Flora
Flora and Fauna in the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu
Along the Salkantay pass, we will hike through beautiful areas with a great variety of flora and fauna. Something special about this route is the microclimates that you will be exposed to when you arrive in the sierra of Cusco and the eyebrow of the jungle, where we will find some species such as the following:
Hiking through tropical zones and high Andean regions, we will be able to observe a great variety of flowers and plants. All of them are beautiful for their shape and colors. There are plants that have weird shapes and some of them have been used for medicinal purposes since the Inca time.
Below you can find some of the flora you will observe along the salkantay trek 5 days:
- Queuña (Polylepis racemosa).
- Jarava ichu(Stipa ichu).
- Platanillo (Alpinia purpurata).
- Sanchezia peruviana
- Fuchsia alpestris Gardner
- Chimpu chimpu (Fuchsia boliviana)
- Tucnay (Hyptidendron arboreum).
- La Campanella (Fuchsia La Campanella).
- The angel’s trumpet (Brugmansia arborea)
- Marvel of Peru or Four o’clock flower (Mirabilis jalapa).
- Tree Ferns (Cyathea Caracasana).
- Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica).
- Senna obtusifolia
- Lady’s purse (Calceolaria glauca).
- Begonia (Begonia bracteosa).
- Red Vein Indian Mallow(Abutilon striatum).
- Italian arum (Arum italicum)
- Garden balsam (Impatiens SP)
- Sano sano (Cyathea)
- Tomato (solanum licopersicum)
- Banana (Musa X paradisiaca)
- Laureamana (Lantana SP)
- Coffee (Coffea Arabica)
- Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea SP)
- Achiote (Bixa Orellana)
- Papaya (Carica papaya)
- Garden Sage (Salvia SP)
They are among the most appealing species that you can observe in the Inca Trail and Salkantay trek to machu picchu. Surprisingly, there are more than 300 species of orchids along the route. You will be marveled by their colors, shapes and delicious smell. The most representatives are listed below:
- Wiñaywayna (Epidendrum Secundum).
- Oncidium pentadactylon
- Prosthechea crassilabia
- Waqanki (Masdevallia veitchiana).
- Oncidium cimiciferum
- Restrepia contorta
- Stenia angustilabia
- Xylobium bractescens
- Maxillaria gigantea
- Encyclia aspera
- Sudamerlycaste fimbriata
- Stelis inca
- Pleurothallis Lamellaris Lindley
- Pleurothallis racemiflora
Along the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, we will observe a great variety of birds and mammals. Some of them are listed below:
- Chinchilla (Chinchilla chinchilla).
- Vizcacha (Lagidium peruanum).
- Spectacled bear or Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus).
- Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus).
- Chiguanco thrush (Turdus chiguanco).
- Glossy-black thrush (Turdus serranus).
- Blue-gray tanager (Thraupis episcopus).
- Beryl-spangled Tanager (Tangara Nigroviridis).
- White-winged Dove (Zenaida asiatica).
- Eared dove (Zenaida auriculata).
- House wren (Troglodytes aedon)
- Olivaceous Siskin (Carduelis olivacea).
- Rufous-collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)
- Royal cinclodes(Cinclodes aricomae)
- Andean Guan (Penelope Montagnii)
- American kestrel (Falco sparverius cinnamominus)
- Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)
- Band-tailed Seedeater (Catamenia analis)
- Saffron-crowned tanager (tangara xanthocephala).
- Royal Tangara (Tangara ruficervix inca).
- Thick-billed euphonia (Euphonia laniirostris)
- Giant Hummingbird (Patagona gigas peruviana).
- Mexican violetear (Colibri thalassinus)
- Sparkling violetear (Colibri coruscans).
- Chestnut-breasted coronet (Boissonneaua matthewsii).
- White-bellied hummingbird (Amazilia chionogaster)
- Green-and-white Hummingbird (Leucippus viridi cauda).
About Machu Picchu
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu – Salkantay Trek 5 days
Actually, it does. Most of the tourist agencies that operate this route include the entrance ticket to Machu Picchu citadel. This means that you will visit Machu Picchu on the fourth day of the trek. That is to say, you will have a 2-hour guided tour approximately. On the Machu Picchu tour, you will visit the main attractions of the Inca Citadel. Once the tour is over, you won’t be able to re-enter the citadel. Therefore, you have to ask the guide for some tips to stay a bit longer inside the citadel of Machu Picchu.
On the last day, you will visit Machu Picchu citadel. The guide will take you on an average 2-hour guided tour. This is enough time to visit the main circuit that includes the most important sites of the Historical Sanctuary. Once the guided tour is over, you will have some more minutes to visit the site on your own. On the other hand, once you leave the Inca citadel, you won’t be able to reenter the site.
However, if you have bought the entrance tickets for either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, the extra hikes, you will have the chance to enter the site a second time. To hike any of them you need to be aware of the entrance time. The guide will show you the way to the checkpoint after the guided tour.
Likewise, you need to be aware of the return train time. Leave the Inca citadel with plenty of time to take the bus to Aguas Calientes and to have lunch at the town. Finally, you will return to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel.
On day 5 and after the guided tour of the Llaqta of Machu Picchu, it is possible to do one of the famous extra hikes that are called Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu. However, none of these extra hikes are included in any tour that tourist agencies offer. What you have to do in case you want to hike these mountains is to pay an extra cost of an average of 25USD. Likewise, it is important to book them in advance, at least 4 or more months in advance. This is because there are limited spots for each day and many tourists are eager to hike one of them.
Below you can read some characteristics of each mountain:
Huayna Picchu Mountain:
It is also known as the “young mountain”. Since it is the most popular, tickets are sold very fast. We recommend booking it at least 5 months in advance. This mountain is located Northeast of Machu Picchu citadel, at 2700 m.a.s.l. You can observe some archeological remains, narrow and steep paths defying all laws of gravity. That is its main attraction.
Machu Picchu Mountain:
It is also called “old mountain”. This mountain is not as popular as Huayna Picchu, but the hike is very impressive. You will observe abundant flora, wide paths which are easier to walk. It is located Southwest of Machu Picchu citadel, at 3070 m.a.s.l. The hike is not as challenging as Huayna Picchu mountain and the views from the top are breathtaking. There are limited spots, but they aren’t sold as fast as the Huayna Picchu tickets. We recommend booking this mountain at least 2 months in advance.
If you decide to book any of these mountains, you need to be aware of your train departure. Note that you have to be at the train station 30 minutes before the train leaves. So make sure you leave Machu Picchu ruins with plenty of time to take one of the buses to arrive in Aguas Calientes to have something to eat, and to be on time to take the train back to Ollantaytambo.
Once you are in Aguas Calientes on day four, you will spend the night in a hotel. This way, the following day you will be able to get up very early to visit Machu Picchu citadel. On day five, you can leave your luggage at the storage room of the hotel you are staying in. It is safe and free. Before taking the train back to Ollantaytambo, you can go to the hotel and pick up your belongings to start the journey back to Cusco.
About the hike
What you should know about the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu
Age limit: This salkantay trek to machu picchu is not recommended for children who are under 12 years old or older than 65 years old. How hard is the salkantay trek 5 days?The level of the trek is challenging and you will experience extreme weather which requires a good physical condition.
Health: Although the trek is appropriate for a general audience, health is an important factor to take into account. It is not recommended for people who have respiratory and heart. The pressure of the air that surrounds you is called barometric pressure. When you go to higher altitudes, this pressure drops and there is less oxygen available which makes trekking more challenging.
Another important thing to consider before the salkantay trek tour is to inform your tour agency of any allergy or food restriction you have. If that is your case, take your medications with you. Remember that there are no hospitals along the tour salkantay pass.
Once the tourist agency is informed about your allergies or food restriction, they will arrange or reprogram a healthy diet for you. This way you will enjoy your trek much more.
We highly recommend arriving some days before you start the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu which has different altitudes that vary from 4630 m.a.s.l to 2010 m.a.s.l. Therefore, arriving 2 or three days in advance in Cusco will be enough to acclimate. Take advantage of these days visiting sites around the city as long as they are not challenging. Besides having time to rest, it is also important that you eat light meals, and stay hydrated. This way you will avoid altitude sickness and stay in good condition. Some symptoms of altitude sickness are headache, shortness of breath, vomiting, dizziness, etc.
Training in advance is the key to succeed on hiking the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Without it, you may not be able to complete the circuit since the trail presents different types of terrain which go from easy to challenging levels to finally arriving in Machupicchu. Performing some activities at home or at the gym will make the difference. You can do activities that make the legs, arms, heart and back work.
According to the opinion of some specialists, you should do the following things:
We recommend going hiking gradually. You can start with 2 kilometers to 10 kilometers per day. Above all, hiking strengthens the muscles and improves your resistance. In addition, you can go mountain hiking which is a bit more challenging. This way you will get better prepared for when you do the second day Salkantay trekking – salkantay pass which covers 22 kilometers.
To do the Salkantay trek 5 days is important to keep the pace of our steps with our breathing to avoid getting tired easily. Therefore, we recommend doing deep breathing exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, complete breathing and alternate nostril breathing.
A balanced and nutritious diet is very important when doing the salkantay trek 5 days. Therefore we recommend eating food rich in iron and vitamin B which help to improve blood flow. You should preferably eat green vegetables and fish.
Staying hydrated during the salkantay trek machu picchu is vital. Doing so, you will avoid loss of energy and headaches.
Although there are restrooms and showers along the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, they are basic services. Fortunately, those services are getting better. On the first campsite, there is no shower because it has frozen weather while there is a hot shower at the second and third campsite. The cost of the hot shower varies from 10 to 20 soles.
In most parts of the route, it is possible to have electricity to charge our camera or cell phone battery. This service has an additional cost of 10 to 20 soles. To avoid extra expenses, we recommend carrying extra batteries or portable chargers.
Two years ago the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu didn’t have internet access nor wifi. However, nowadays, each campsite has internet access. The wifi service costs from 10 to 20 soles per hour.
Note: Internet signal is not good since it is located in a distant area from the city.
The campsites where we spend the nights in the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu are varied. In most of them we will have basic services such as showers and restrooms. On the other hand, the camping areas you stay at will depend on the tourist agency you hire to take you on this trek. Below you can see the most frequently chosen campsites:
DAY 1: Soraypampa: 3 900 m.a.s.l / 12,795ft.
A DAY 2: Challway: 2 920 m.a.s.l / 9,514ft.
DAY 3: Lucmabamba: 2 000 m.a.s.l / 6,561ft.
DAY 4: hotel in Aguas Calientes: 2050m / 6,571ft.
Tips to Book Salkantay Trek
How to book the Salkantay Pass trek?
Without a doubt, the best option is to hire a tourist agency. This way you can avoid any inconvenience mentioned earlier and enjoy the itinerary. Although you can go on your own, it is not as simple or easy as it may seem.
On the other hand, to hire the services of a reliable tourist agency, you need to research about the licensed tour operators that offer this trek.
One way to find the perfect agency for you to do the 5 day/4 night Salkantay trek Machu Picchu is visiting some travel platforms. On these platforms you can find travelers recommendations. You can check their posts and reviews on different tourist agencies. Here you find a list of some important online platforms worldwide:
The cost of the 5 day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is varied. Each tour agency has its own prices and it depends on the type of service you ask for. Above all, it is important to make sure the agency you choose has all the equipment and logistics needed for the treks and tours. In the case of Salkantay pass trek, you need to hire a high quality and licensed agency.
It is a service in which 15 or more people join the group. The cost of the group service varies from 400 USD to 600 USD per person. However, being part of a group is not always recommended. For example,if you want to make any change, all the group has to agree. Also, since there are many people the service is not personalized.
It is a more personalized service, only for the people who have chosen to be in your group. The cost of the private service varies from 700 USD to 900 USD per person. This means that all the staff will offer a high-quality service and equipment to make the most of the experience.
Note: As they say “you get what you pay for.” Therefore, we recommend hiring an average service that costs no less than 550 USD. This way you will receive good service and you are contributing to a fair salary for the staff of the agency you are hiring for the salkantay pass hike.
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is always available since you don’t need a special permit to hike it. Consequently, you can hike it any time of the year being the most recommendable from March to December. However, from January to March, months of the rainy season, the hike is dangerous and very challenging because of the rainfalls.
On the other hand, some agencies have set departure days you can join. But, if you want to hire a private service, there is always availability and there are daily departures.
Above all, the most important document that you should bring to the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, is your passport or Identity Card. Bring the one you used to book your Machu Picchu ticket. Furthermore, you need to bring your university student card if you have booked as a student (note that it is only for students under 25 years old). Otherwise, you won’t be able to enter the citadel of Machu Picchu. In addition, keep in mind that copies or photos of the personal documents are not accepted.
Passport or Identity card has to be updated and must not expire at least in 8 months before your traveling date. If your documents are about to expire, you should update them to avoid any inconvenience at the moment of entering Machu Picchu.
For instance, if your trip is in November, your documents must not expire before April next year.
You can book the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu at least 48 hours in advance. To do so, you need to have a reliable tour operator that offers daily departures. Likewise, there must be Machu Picchu available spots for your preferred days. It is most recommended booking at least 2 months in advance. Doing so the agency you book through will have enough time to arrange your trip with complete logistics. Above all, the support staff and the professional guides will make this a unique experience.
Chefs and Porters
Staff – Chefs and Muleteers in the Salkantay Pass Trek
They are part of the support staff in the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. The support staff is very important along the hike, among them we have:
- Chef: He is the person in charge of preparing the meals for 4 days of the hike. They were trained at Culinary Schools where they learned how to prepare delicious dishes that will surprise you. It is usually the guide who introduces the chef on the first day of the hike.
- Muleteer: He is the person in charge of guiding the horses that carry the equipment, and food supplies that will be used on the hike. They are people who live in the high Andean area of Cusco. Most of them are farmers. Therefore, hiring their service through a reliable agency contributes to generate a new source of income.
You should know that if you hire the service of a cheap tourist agency, muleteers will be most affected by your choice because they will be paid the minimum salary (a very cheap salary).
During the Salkantay pass trek to Machu Picchu, there won’t be any ATMs, or exchange houses. Therefore, we recommend taking cash with you. It will be ok to take about 400 or 500 Peruvian Soles for personal expenses. You may want to buy some snacks or drinks. Likewise you need cash for tips that you might want to give the staff who have helped along the trek and contributed to the memorable experience.
It is not mandatory to tip the guide or support staff. If you feel that you have received a high-quality service, you are free to tip the staff. You need to take some cash with you to do so. The tips will be given when you say goodbye to the staff. Therefore, in the case of the muleteer, you can leave him a tip at the campsite on the second day. The amount of money can be between 50 to 100 soles. Usually, the chef receives double (between 100 to 200) since he has to carry food ingredients and prepare the meals, which are well elaborated and marvel tourists. He will say goodbye on day 4.
Finally, the guide will say goodbye at the end of the guided tour in Machu Picchu. What the guide receives is of your personal appreciation, but it has to be more than what you leave the chef since the guide is the person that is always taking care of you. Note that the amount of money mentioned is only referential and it is not mandatory to leave a tip. Leave a tip only if you feel very motivated to do so, not if someone forces you to.
During the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu – Salkantay pass tour, the tourist guide plays an important role. He is the person in charge of making the adventure an unforgettable experience. Sharing all his knowledge of the natural life and the history side of the sites, he will turn the hike into a fascinating book read for the first time ever. You will learn more about the cultural and historical aspects as well as the flora and fauna that you will observe along the hike.
Recommended Equipment Salkantay Trek 5 days / Salkantay pass Tour
To do the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is important to bring only the most essential equipment. Therefore, some days prior to your trek, you will meet your guide and he will give you further information about the tour. He will also hand you your duffel bag.
The duffel bag is a small bag where you put all your belongings for the Salkantay trek 5 days – salkantay pass tour. You can carry until 7kg/15.4 pounds inside the duffel bag. It is important to mention that the sleeping bag and airmat, that go in your duffel bag, both weigh 3.5 kg. Therefore we recommend packing light. In addition, you will see your duffel bag and have access to it only at the end of the day. This is because the muleteers, who also carry the equipment and food, always walk faster than the tourists and arrive first at the lunch or campsite.
For the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, we recommend packing light. Here you have a list of the most essential things you should bring for the Salkantay trek 05 days:
- 1 warm jacket.
- 1 rain jacket / rain poncho.
- Beanie, 1 pair of gloves, a hat, and sunglasses.
- 3 Polo shirts (quick-dry)
- 2 pairs of trekking pants and 2 pairs of waterproof trousers.
- 4 pairs of socks and underwear.
- 1 pair of trekking boots
- Trekking shoes or sport sandals.
- Sandals and swimsuits.
- Headlamp and batteries.
- Camera and film recorder.
- Sunscreen (SPF 35+)
Inside your backpack you should carry the items that will go with you and that you will need while hiking the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu:
- Personal Medication
- Toilet paper
- Wet wipes
- Mosquito repellent (Eco friendly option highly recommended)
- Alcohol gel
- Coca leaves
- Trekking poles
You need to bring the following items since you won’t find them along the Salkantay Trek 5 days – salkantay pass:
- Mosquito repellent (an eco-friendly repellent is highly recommended)
- Face Moisturizer
- Alcohol gel.
- Wet wipes
- Quick-dry towels
- Toothbrush and paste
- Soap and Shampoo
- Toilet paper
- Personal medication.
- First aid kit: bands, cotton, alcohol, etc.
Note that you should only take the most essential things with you on the Salkantay trek 5 days – salkantay pass tour. All the extra luggage that you have brought for your trip to Peru can be stored in the storage room of the hotel that you are staying at in Cusco. In case, the hotel doesn’t have a storage room, you can leave your luggage in the storage room of our agency at no additional cost.
Frequently Asked Questions
Salkantay trek 5 days / Salkantay Pass Frequently Asked Questions
The best season to do the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is from April to October since there are no rainfalls. These months are part of the dry season. In addition, the road is firm and safe which makes it possible to hike this section in less time.
Some tourist agencies offer daily departures all year long without any restriction. However, January and February aren’t recommendable months to hike from Salkantay to Machu Picchu. This is because there are rainfalls, landslides, fog and the roads are impossible. This means that you won’t be able to enjoy the experience and face many challenges.
The rainy season starts in November and ends in March. During these months there is great presence of rains everywhere, being January and February months with more rain. We don’t recommend doing the Salkantay Trek 5 days – salkantay pass tour during the rainy season. In January and February, you will notice cold temperatures making the roads impossible. Consequently, there are fewer tourists during the rainy season.
One never knows when an accident or any inconvenience can happen, even if you are on vacation!
Although it is not mandatory to have travel insurance to do the Salkantay trek 5 days, we highly recommend getting one. This way you can prevent any inconvenience that can happen during your trip. It is also essential to have travel insurance to enter other countries in the world.
So, having travel insurance has some advantages like being protected in case of baggage loss, flight cancelation for health problems or climate changes, documents loss, legal and funeral assistance.
Tourist agencies that offer the Salkantay trek 5 days – salkantay pass tour and other hikes recommend having Travel insurance. You can buy it in your country. Treks and tours don’t include travel insurance.
So, you should know that the cost of the travel insurance is not always the same. It depends on the type and the length of the insurance.
- Ahart Frinzi & Smith
- World Nomads
- Amex Assurance
Along the journey that will take from Salkantay to Machu Picchu, you don’t need to worry about the food you will be served. As long as book the trek through a reliable agency, they will make sure there is enough and delicious food for all days of the hike. The chef will prepare typical dishes of the Cusco region and Peru. The typical dishes will be prepared with products from the region bought at the traditional market of San Pedro in the city of Cusco. Among the dishes you will enjoy, we have the following:
- Ceviche of vegetables with corn and mushroom
- Stuffed Fried Wonton with ham, cheese or sausages
- Guacamole with nachos
- Mixed salads
- Stuffed Caigua
- Papa a la huancaína
- Risotto of quinoa
- Criolla soup (vegetable soup with pieces of chicken)
- Wheat soup, Vegetable soup with noodles, quinoa with vegetables, Minute Soup
- Cream of corn, chuño (dehydrated potato), moraya soup
- Rolled Trout
- Lomo saltado
- Spaghetti with beef stew
- Fried Trout
- Chicken stew
- Stuffed peppers
- Rolled chicken
- Locro of Olluco
- Flamed bananas
- Peach stew
- Chamomile, anise, coca tea
Note: If you have any food restriction, it is important to inform the tourist agency that you hire. This way they can arrange food that will be better for you and avoid any inconvenience.
We recommend bringing trekking poles for the Salkantay trek 5 days, especially if you have any knee problems. Trekking poles help you keep the balance and provide two more points of support.
Bring trekking poles with rubber tips to avoid damage. Most agencies don’t include the cost of the trekking poles on the price tour, this means you will have to rent them paying an additional cost.
- Trekking poles help you keep the balance
- They help improve oxygenation.
- Provide two more points of support.
- Your knees have no pressure while hiking downhill.
- You will save 15% more energy.
For the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, your tourist agency will provide everything you need for the 4 night campsite. However, it does not include sleeping bags, you can rent one from the agency or bring one from home. We recommend bringing one that is -10 °C at least.
ON YOUR OWN:
Yes, it is possible to do the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu on your own. Since there is no regulation established to do this hike, you can do it without hiring a tourist agency nor a guide. However, it is important to show respect taking care of the environment. If you decide to go on your own, you can read some tips to do this hike, things to do before and during the hike:
Transportation from Cusco to the start point:
The transportation from Cusco to Mollepata town is located on Arcopata av. In the case of the buses, the cost is from 12 to 15 soles. Once you arrive in Mollepata town, you can take a taxi to Soraypampa or get to Challacancha as the itinerary shows. This service you have to hire in Mollepata town.
It normally costs from 60 to 70 soles. If there are more people with you, the price may be a bit more expensive.
Note: If you have heavy backpacks, we recommend hiring the service of a muleteer, which is 100 soles per each day. He will go with you until Challway which is the second campsite.
After hiking for 2 days, you will arrive at the campsite of Challway and spend the night there. Then on the third day, if you don’t want to hike you can hire private transportation that takes you to Hydroelectric. It costs 60 to 80 soles approximately. The cost varies according to the number of passengers.
Once you arrive in Hydroelectric, you can continue the hike walking through the railway until Aguas Calientes. It takes 3 hours approximately to arrive there; or you can take the train from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes. When you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you have to rent a room to spend the night. Next day in the morning, you will visit the citadel of Machu Picchu.
After visiting the fascinating Machu Picchu, you have 2 options to return to the city of Cusco:
- Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo: This is the easiest option to return to Cusco. You need to buy the train ticket according to the day you will return. Above all, it is better to buy the ticket before starting the salkantay trek 5 days. This way you can find a good deal.
- Minivan Hydroelectric – Cusco: This is a good option for hiker lovers because this means that after hiking Machu Picchu, you will hike to the town of Hydroelectric. There you can take the minivan and return to Cusco. The cost is between 30 to 40 soles.
Food: You need to bring non perishable food for the hike since there isn’t any restaurant on the first two days. We recommend bringing what you need for the 4 day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. On day 5, you will be able to buy food in Aguas Calientes.
Lodging: In the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, you won’t find any hotel or lodging. Therefore, you need to bring your camping equipment (sleeping bag, airmat, tent, etc).