The famous Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay Trek), named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits (at least for now). Connecting the city of Mollepata, Cusco with Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is an ancient and remote footpath located in the same region as the Inca Trail where massive snowcapped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests.
Located less than fifty miles northwest of the city of Cusco in south central Peru by the Cordillera Vilcabamba and rising to 6271 meters above sea level (20574 ft) Mt. Salkantay is an outstanding glacier-capped summit worshipped for thousands of years by local indians. The name Salkantay is a quechua word meaning “Savage Mountain”.
This trek is better suited for more adventure some trekkers who are able to handle a little more altitude and distance. This trek takes you up and along Salkantay, which is the second largest mountain in the Cusco region (6280 msn). On the first night, you will sleep not too far away from the snowcapped peak. The second day will be the hardest day of the tour. While you work a bit harder to get there, the views at the top are even more stellar. After you reach the 4,600 meter pass, it is almost pure downhill, descending into a more tropical area on the far side of the mountain. You will take the forty five minute train ride to Aguas Calientes from the famous Hydro Electric Dam and then spend the rest of the 4th evening relaxing in the town. In the morning you take the bus up to Machu Picchu for your tour.
*Participants need to be in good physical health and condition to be able to enjoy the excursion. The trekking will be difficult if you have not exercised regularly before your trip. To fully enjoy this adventure, we advise passengers to get into an exercise program for their own safety and enjoyment. If a passenger suffers from any medical condition, we advise him/her to consult a physician about joining an Expedition like this and plan to spend at least 2 full days in Cusco (3 days is better) prior to start the trek.
Early in the morning we pick you up from your hotel and transfer you in a private bus to Mollepata passing by traditional towns like Iscuchaca , Ancahuasi and Limatambo, as well highlands plateaus and landscapes with great views of snowcapped mountains that belong to the cordillera Vilcabamba. The bus ride will take 3 hours to Mollepata and then the hike will be about 6 or 8 hours . The trail climbs a little up from Mollepata pass through the pastures, farming lands, afterwards descending until the campsite through the high brush down to Soraypampa (3950 masl). (L , D).
Early in the morning you leave from Soraypampa and keep going up the beautiful valley walking just below the majestic snowcapped mountain named Salkantay (6270 masl) after 1:1/2 hours the trek becomes steep zigzagging for a while after that we get the pass named Salkantay pass, 4650masl from where you will be rewarded with superb views . The trail descends through an old moraine passing great pastures down to the camp of Huayroqmachay located at 4000masl. After lunch the way is going down to the second camp site at 2950 masl. (B, L, D).
You wake up with lovely mountain scenery and a good morning tea. Continue to the north down to the lush jungle through different ecosystems watching birdlife like hummingbirds, trashes, finches, tanagers, sparrows, guans, parrots, etc It will be a long descending day towards the cloud forest where people live taking advantages of nature, also you will pass great waterfalls. At the end of the day we will see passion fruit fields. The hike will last approximately 5 or 6 hours; the campsite is at the community named “Santa teresa” (1900 masl), overnight and enjoy the hot springs great dinner (B, L, D)
Leaving from the playa the trek continues through plantations of coffee, banana, and tropical fruits. After you’ll descend until Hydroelectric ( 1800 masl) and continue to Aguas Calientes just below Machu Picchu Inca sanctuary, this afternoon you can go to have an optional bath in the natural hot springs a great place to relax after this challenging trek. Overnight at selected accommodation (B, L).
Early bus ride for 25 minutes to go to Machu Picchu city, guided tour for 3 hours and plenty of free time for further exploring, photos and optional climb of the mountain Huayna Picchu, Temple of the Moon, or the Gate of the Sun. An according time, we will go down to the Aguas Calientes town to return to Cusco City. Reception at the train station and transfer to your accommodation (B).
RECOMMENDED TIME OF YEAR FOR THIS TREK
MAY TO NOV AND FROM DEC TO APRIL
(Rainy season) it’s possible to do this trek but it’s hard. This trek is rated a moderate to difficult hike considering the high altitudes and length of walking especially on the 2nd Day. You need to acclimatize in Cusco at least 2 full days (3 days is better) prior to start the trek
Regarding horses who carry personal items. You will need to carry with you a daypack with your Camera, water bottle, snacks, cold weather clothing and a poncho in case of rain (unlikely in Dry season – May to October)- but as a precaution) and anything you will need before lunch as horses do not walk alongside you. You will meet up with your bag at lunch and then it will be waiting for you in your tent at campsites.
NOTE: You will need to leave your luggage in the Cusco hotel; all the hotels in Cusco provide a secure luggage deposit. Put any valuables in their safe.