Mount Salkantay Trek

Mount Salkantay Trek 5 days 4 nights

Trek through the finest high Andes landscapes of Peru, amid some of Cusco’s highest peaks. This spectacular trekking route takes walkers through some of the finest scenery of Peru’s high Andes and into tropical cloud forest ecosystems. After passing through a range of pristine ecological niches, the reward on the final day is a visit to Machu Picchu, the greatest surviving legacy of the empire of the Incas.

YOUR DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY AND SERVICES:

Day 1: Cusco – Soraypampa – Lake Humantay - Soyrococha

From Cusco we will drive to the trailhead in the Apurimac Valley. We will drive as far as Soraypampa, where 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 Mount Salkantay (6271 meters / 20,568 feet), dominating the skyline directly in front of us. Today, we will also visit Humantay, a stunningly beautiful glacial Andean lake, with green and turquoise waters surrounded by soaring snow-covered mountains. After completing the toughest stretch of our route, we will make camp and relax by enjoying the magnificent surrounding scenery. 

Day 2: Soyrococha - Collpapampa

After breakfast we will head up towards the next pass at the base of Mount Salkantay, where we will be met by even more dramatic views as we stop to rest and take photos.  From the pass, we will head down to our next campsite. This day’s hiking will take us from the high Andes into a cloud forest environment. Just one hour after passing the highest point of the trail, we will find ourselves amid tropical vegetation, with temperatures much warmer than those experienced on the first day. These forests are the habitat of many species of orchids and a number of endemic bird species, including several varieties of hummingbird.

Day 3: Collpapampa – Lucmabamba

We will make an early start today to ensure that we have plenty of time to enjoy this area, with its varied flora and abundant birdlife, including Peru’s national bird, the cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana). The trail will take us further into a valley filled with beautiful scenery, dotted with the smallholdings of local farmers who grow tropical fruits and coffee.

Day 4: Lucmabamba - Llactapata – Hydroelectric station – Aguas Calientes

Today’s early start will give us plenty of time to visit the Inca ruins of Llactapata and appreciate the fine surrounding scenery. We will hike along the route established by the Incas who built the complex network of highways that linked every corner of their vast empire. It is a demanding ascent to Llactapata, but we will be well rewarded by the extraordinary scenery that surrounds us during this section of our trek. As we complete the 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 get your first view of Machu Picchu, seen from an angle that very few visitors to Peru’s most emblematic archaeological site experience. The next part of the hike is much less demanding physically, while the scenery that surrounds us is some of the most rewarding of the entire trip. We will descend further into the Urubamba canyon, venturing deeper into a cloud forest environment. After passing the hydroelectric station, we will continue to the town of Aguas Calientes by train (around one hour), where we will spend the night in a local hotel. 

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Today we will get up early in order to visit the Inca city of Machu Picchu, 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. Your guided tour will include the temples, plazas, palaces, watercourses and residential areas of the Inca city. In the afternoon we will return to Aguas Calientes to board the train to Cusco, where upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.

EXTENSIONS: DO YOU HAVE MORE TIME TO SPEND IN PERU?

Other travelers added the following extension to this Peru itinerary...

CUSCO CITY TOUR Half day 
Explore historic Cusco and its major attractions during a half-day excursion: Colonial-era Cusco, with its cathedral and the Inca Temple of the Sun, or Qorikancha. The enormous Inca temple complex of Sacsayhuaman, located at the top of the hill overlooking Cusco’s main square, and other archaeological sites in the hills around the city. 

CHECK TO SEE WHAT'S INCLUDED AND WHAT YOU NEED TO BRING...

Included
  • All land transport (private vehicle)
  • English speaking guide
  • Camp cook, pack animals and mule drivers, camp assistant(s). Mules carry up to 8 kg of each participant’s personal gear
  • Camping equipment: Two-person tents, kitchen and/or dining tent, and toilet tent
  • Inflatable mattress
  • Meals: 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
  • Hotel in 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
  • Sleeping bag (available for hire at an additional cost)
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips
What to bring:
  • Passport
  • Daypack
  • Warm clothes (suitable for the Andean region)
  • Rain jacket
  • Long sleeved shirts (cotton)
  • Shorts for walking (optional)
  • Hiking boots
  • Cap and sunglasses
  • Walking poles (optional)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun block
  • Water for the first day (we will refill your bottle with boiled water)
  • Binoculars for birdwatching enthusiasts
  • Flashlight
  • Camera

 

FAQs - Frequently asked questions

How far in advance do I need to book a trek or hike?

For trekking and hiking routes other than the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you should make your booking at least five days in advance, so we can make the necessary preparations, although we recommend that you make your booking up to 90 days in advance. Full refunds (minus administration costs) can be offered 45 days before your scheduled departure date. After 45 days, only partial refunds will be given. 

I would like to trek with my friends, can I book now and my friends book later?
Yes, for trekking and hiking routes other than the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you can add other travelers to your group before departure. Write to us for more information on the treks, hikes and tours we have available. 

What is the maximum group size? Is there a maximum?
The maximum group size is 16 persons. For more than 16 persons, a second group must be organized. A single guide travels with 8 participants. For larger groups, an assistant guide will also accompany the participants.

If I am traveling alone can I have my own tent / hotel room?
If you are traveling alone and are willing to share a tent, with a member of the same sex or partner, family member or friend, then there is no additional cost. If, however, you would like your own private tent an additional supplement will be payable. Please contact us in advance, because on some trekking and hiking routes this option may depend on the availability of spaces at campsites designated by the Peruvian Ministry of Culture.

What do we do for water?
Use of plastic bottles on the network of Inca Trails to Machu Picchu is not permitted. Other treks and hikes do not have this restriction, but we always recommend and encourage our travelers to use reusable canteens or second use plastic water bottles. Our cook will provide you with boiled water to refill your bottle at all the campsites.

What food safety processes do you have in place?
All foodstuffs are purchased immediately before departure to guarantee freshness, and they are correctly packaged and handled by our trained staff to ensure food safety. We use cloth bags when making our purchases, rather than plastic. The produce is fresh and bought directly from local farmers. Also, we pack the produce in cloth bags and hermetic multiuse containers, avoiding the use of plastic in order to make our operations as green as possible. 

What do I need to carry?
You will need to carry your daypack with all the personal items you need during the day. The rest of your luggage will be transported by us (van / porters). Porters are only permitted to carry 8 kilos for each person (including sleeping bag). As a company, Andean Adventures Peru is committed to the well-being of its porters during treks and hikes, ensuring that they are properly paid, well fed, and comfortable at our campsites. On some of our trekking and hiking routes, pack animals are used. 

What type of camping gear is used for treks and hikes?
We supply all the camping equipment needed for groups to enjoy the great outdoors safely and comfortably: 4-person tents for every two participants; air mattresses; complete table service; dining tent, chairs and tables; kitchen tent; latrine tent; sleeping bags on request (many travelers choose to bring their own sleeping bag; however, we also offer sleeping bags for hire at an additional cost). 

What processes are in place to ensure the equipment is always in perfect condition?
Our full time logistics staff continuously maintain and/or replace all our equipment. To ensure proper use of our equipment, all gear is handled by our trained field crew during treks and hikes.

Do you provide sleeping pads?
Yes.

What food safety processes do you have in place?
All foodstuffs are purchased immediately before departure to guarantee freshness, and they are correctly packaged and handled by our trained staff to ensure food safety. We use cloth bags when making our purchases, rather than plastic. The produce is fresh and bought directly from local farmers. Also, we pack the produce in cloth bags and hermetic multiuse containers, avoiding the use of plastic in order to make our operations as green as possible. 

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