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Hiking the Salkantay Trek in Peru

The Salkantay Trek to Machu PicchuPeru

The Salkantay Trek is our favourite alternative to the Inca Trail. From high passes between snow-capped mountains and glaciers, to lowland jungle with hot springs and coffee plantations, the Salkantay trek is a study in contrast – like Peru itself!


Cusco, Peru


Cusco, Peru

Maximum group size:

12 Guests


3 5 days


US$ 1,090


wMachu Picchu zOutdoors FHike

Campsite on the Salkantay trek

Campsite on the Salkantay trek

Steve and Elke's first time on the Salkantay Trek

Steve and Elke's first time on the Salkantay Trek

Seeing hot weather plants and snowcapped peaks at the same time is one of Salkantay's attractions

Seeing hot weather plants and snowcapped peaks at the same time is one of Salkantay's attractions

Hike down the Santa Teresa river and out to the high jungle

Hike down the Santa Teresa river and out to the high jungle

My family and I had a great time and the trip was AMAZING. Thank you for everything. Your communication and flexibility prior to the trip exceeded my expectations. Aldo was about the most genuine and pleasant person I could hope for as a guide. Yohan was a fine cook and a pleasure to be around. All such likeable people. We would do the trip again in a heartbeat

– Clay T

The trip in detail

We’ll pick you up at 5am from your Cusco hotel to travel to the start of the trail, stopping along the way for some breakfast. At the trailhead we’ll load our gear onto our packhorses then start hiking. Two hours in, our first destination is the incredibly scenic Laguna Humantay – an incredible glacial blue lake set between spectacular mountains – this is one of the most photogenic places in Peru!

From here it’s a 4.5 to 6 hour hike up to Soyrococha, where we spend the night in the shadow of the impressive Salkantay Glacier.

Meals: Lunch and dinner included

Accommodation: Camping on the Salkantay Trail

Walking: 7.5 miles (12km)

Minimum Altitude: 12,760 feet (3,890m)

Maximum Altitude: 14,700 feet (4,480m)

Altitude of camp: 14,700 feet (4,480m)

After breakfast we begin our steep ascent to Abra Huayracmachay (15,100 feet/4,600m), the highest point in the hike where we’ll enjoy magnificent views of the high glacier of Salkantay. From here it’s a long, easy descent to our second campsite. Total trekking time is about 8 hours.

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping on the Salkantay Trail

Walking: 10 miles (18km)

Minimum Altitude: 9,480 feet (2,890m)

Maximum Altitude: 15,100 feet (4,600m)

Altitude of camp: 9,480 feet (2,890m)

Today’s first section is a lovely descent alongside the Salkantay River. You’ll notice the changing environment as we move down from arid highlands into a tropical ecosystem, with waterfalls, lush vegetation, and eventually coffee, avocado and banana plantations. In the afternoon we’ll likely be accompanied by flocks of colourful parrots, and if we’re lucky we’ll see the bespectacled bears that were the inspiration for Paddington Bear! From the end of the trail our vehicle will take us to the Cocalmayo hot springs where we’ll camp the night – what better place to soak away the tiredness and bask in our achievements on the rugged Salkantay trail?

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Camping at Cocalmayo hot springs

Walking: 9 miles (15km)

Minimum Altitude: 7,070 feet (2,150m)

Maximum Altitude: 9,480 feet (2,890m)

Altitude of camp: 7,070 feet (2,150m)

After another soak in the springs in the morning, we’ll pack up, wave goodbye to our cooks, and drive to the beginning of our very pleasant 10km stroll to Aguas Calientes, through a winding rainforest gorge around the base of Huayna Picchu. Here we’ll enjoy a shower and an early night – we’ll be up early tomorrow to catch sunrise at Machu Picchu!

Meals: All meals included

Accommodation: Basic, comfortable hotel, Aguas Calientes

Walking: 9 miles (15km)

Minimum Altitude: 6,400 feet (2,000m)

Maximum Altitude: 8,860 feet (2,700m)

A spectacular stone city surrounded by incredibly steep, incredibly green mountains, Machu Picchu needs no introduction and is deservedly one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

We’ll get an early start, so there’s time for your guide to show you around Machu Picchu’s main citadel, as well as our favourite hidden nooks and crannies, before the crowds arrive. Then there’s time for your own exploration of the massive, still-mysterious site, before we catch the train back to Cusco.

Meals: Breakfast and lunch included

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How much does this trip cost?

US $



in a group of four to 12 people

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  • Dedicated trekking guide
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu, including extra permit to climb Huayna Picchu (if available at time of booking)
  • Accommodation – three nights in tent, one in hotel (based on twin share. Single Supplement available for US$50)
  • All ground transport (private vehicle and train) including pick up and drop off at your hotel in Cusco
  • All meals as listed
  • Drinking water on trail


  • Tip for your guide(s), cook, and horsemen
  • Sleeping bag and mat (bring your own, or hire from us – US$40 per item)
  • Optional: mule to carry your personal gear (add US$60)

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