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Salkantay Santa Teresa 5 days

Salkantay Santa Teresa 5 days

Difficulty: 4

This spectacular trekking route takes walkers through picturesque high Andean scenery and cloud forest ecosystems. After passing through a range of ecological niches, the reward on the final day is a guided visit to Machu Picchu, the greatest surviving legacy of the empire of the Incas. The trail is dominated by the presence of soaring Mount Salkantay (6247 meters / 20,600 feet), which dominates the skyline as hikers skirt highland lakes, cross high passes and descend into fauna-rich cloud forest habitat and plantations where tropical crops are grown. 

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Day 1: Cusco / Soraypampa / Soyrococha

You will be picked up from your hotel in Cusco for the drive to the trailhead in the Apurimac Valley. We will drive as far as Soraypampa (3800 meters). It is here that we will meet our wranglers, who will be responsible for the mules and horses that will carry most of our gear. From Soraypampa we will begin with a hike up a gentle slope with fine views of the southern face of the Salkantay massif (6271 meters / 20,568 feet), dominating the skyline directly in front of us. After about an hour the ascent will become steeper, as the trail takes us up rapidly to Lake Soyrococha. After completing the toughest stretch of our hike, we will make camp and relax by enjoying the spectacular surrounding scenery from our lakeshore vantage point at Soyrococha.

Distance by road: Cusco – Soraypampa: 4-5 hours
Cusco – Mollepata: 99.5 kilometers / 61.8 miles (paved road); Mollepata – Soraypampa: 22 kilometers / 13.6 miles; dirt road:
Trekking distance: 6 kilometers / 3.12 miles
Altitudes: Soraypampa: 3864 meters / 12,677 feet; Soyrococha 4485 meters / 14,714 feet
Meals: Lunch, dinner

Day 2: Soyrococha / Collpapampa

After breakfast we will head up towards the next pass (1km /0.62m.) at the base of Mount Salkantay, where we will be met by even more dramatic views as we stop for a while to rest and take photos. From the pass we will head down to our next campsite (14km /8.69m.).

Leaving the high pass, we will follow a winding trail that will take us down into a broad Andean plain, from where we will continue our descent all the way down to an altitude of just 2831 meters (9288 feet), before arriving at Collpapampa, further down the valley, where we will make our next camp.

Trekking distance: 15 kilometers / 9.56 miles
Altitudes: Soyrococha 4485 meters / 14,714 feet; Salkantay Pass 4622 meters / 15,164 feet. Colpapampa: 2831 meters / 9288 feet
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: Collpapampa / Lucmabamba

After an early breakfast we will leave our campsite and begin the descent through the picturesque Santa Teresa river valley to Lucmabamba. During today’s section of our hike, we will see how the vegetation starts to become denser as we walk through a more tropical habitat, passing through areas of fruit and coffee plantations. We will hike down through the left hand side of the valley. After around five hours of walking, we will arrive at Playa Sahuayacu, from where it is a further 45 minutes to our next campsite at Lucmabamba.

Trekking distance: 16 kilometers / 9.94 miles
Altitudes: Collpapampa: 2831 meters / 9288 feet Lucmabamba 1947 meters / 6387 feet
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: Lucmabamba / Llactapata / Aguas calientes

We will set off early today in order to ensure we arrive at Llactapata with plenty of time to enjoy the outstanding views from our next campsite. Today we will hike along the route taken by the Incas who built the complex network of highways that linked every part of their great empire. It is a demanding ascent to Llactapata, but we will be well compensated by the extraordinary scenery that surrounds us during this section of our trek. As we complete this ascent we will pass through a forested area that is home to abundant birdlife, including hummingbirds, toucans and Peru’s national bird, the fascinating cock-of-the-rock. It is from Llactapata that you will have your first view of Machu Picchu, seen from an angle that very few visitors to Peru’s most emblematic archaeological site ever experience. Your guide will escort the group on a tour of the extensive Llactapata archaeological site, explaining its relevance as one of the series of settlements built by the Incas in this part of their territory.
We will descend further into the valley to the hydroelectric station, venturing deeper into the cloud forest environment that is home to abundant wildlife, and passing through the plantations and smallholdings of local farmers. From here we will take the train to the town of Aguas Calientes located below the ruins of Machu Picchu


Trekking distance: 13.2 kilometers / 8.35 miles (7.7km /4.78m. uphill)
Altitudes: Lucmabamba 2060 meters / 6758 feet. Llactapata Pass 2705 meters / 8874 feet; Llactapata ruins 2588 meters / 8490 feet; Hydroelectric station 1782 meters / 5846 feet; Aguas Calientes 2020 meters / 6627 feet
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 5: Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu / Cusco

Today we will get up early in order to spend as much time as possible visiting this Inca city, which was only rediscovered in 1911. Standing at the top of a steep, forested hill overlooking the Urubamba River, Machu Picchu was hidden by dense vegetation for centuries until the American historian Hiram Bingham began to clear the site. Our guided tour includes the temples, plazas, palaces, watercourses and residential areas of the city. After the tour, you will also have plenty of time to explore the ruins independently. In the afternoon we will return to Aguas Calientes for the train to Cusco, where upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.


Altitudes: Machu Picchu ruins 2460 meters / 8070 feet; Aguas Calientes 2020 meters / 6627 feet


  • All necessary land transport (private vehicle)
  • English speaking guide
  • Camp cook, pack animals and mule drivers, camp assistant(s). Mules carry up to 8 kg participants’ personal gear.
  • Camping equipment: Two-person tents, kitchen and/or dining tent, and toilet tent
  • Inflatable mattress
  • Food: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Snacks in the morning, including fruit, chocolate, candy, etc
  • Hot drinks in the afternoon (tea or coffee)
  • Duffle bags for packing personal gear
  • First-aid kit
  • Round trip bus ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket Hydroelectric station - Aguas Calientes
  • Train ticket Aguas Calientes – Cusco (Expedition Class, we can provide an upgrade to Vistadome upon request)
  • Transfer from the train station in Cusco to the hotel
Not included

  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Sleeping bag (available for hire at an additional cost)
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips

What to bring

  • Passport. 
  • A daypack.
  • Warm clothes (for the Andean section of the trek).
  • Rain jacket
  • Long sleeved shirts (cotton). 
  • Shorts for walking (optional).
  • Hiking boots.
  • Cap and sunglasses.
  • Walking poles (optional).
  • Insect repellent.
  • Sun block.
  • Water bottle for the first day. (We will refill your bottle with boiled water).
  • Binoculars for bird watching enthusiasts.
  • Flashlight.
  • Digital camera.

Please note: Participants must be in good physical condition for this adventure (try to train by walking every day for at least two weeks before departure).


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