Salkantay to Machu Picchu,5 Day Trekk

US$ 580* per person

This Salkantay to Machu Picchu, an alternative to the ‘classic’ Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is a superb option for travellers looking to reach Machu Picchu UNESCO World Heritage Site via a route also taking in the glacial heights of the high Andes and some fascinating forested frontier land on the fringes of the Amazon Basin.

Celebrating 100 years since its discovery by ‘the real Indiana Jones’ Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu was recently voted one of the worlds ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’ and truly is a ‘must see’ for first time visitors to Peru and South America. From an ecologists perspective this region, known as the Tropical Andes with a myriad of diffe-rent eco-systems reflecting massive climatic changes is reason enough to visit – this is the land of vicuna, wild relative of Llama, the Andean Condor, the planet’s largest flying bird, and of the rare Andean Spectacled Bear, the inspiration for Paddington Bear who came from ‘Darkest Peru’.

Day By Day Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco to Soraypampa.

Today we are picked up early at around 6.00am for our spectacular journey to the edges of the Vilcabamba Mountains and our Salkantay to Machu Picchutrailhead at the small village of Mollepata. In good weather it may be possible to catch glimpses of La Veronica (5750m), one of highest mountains in the Urubamba Range, as well as many of Vilcabamba peaks in the distance. In Mollepata we load our food and equipment onto mules and begin our trek into the high mountains! We pass small mountain settlements and areas of rich cloud forest vegetation, bursting with rare flowers and orchids, not to mention the occasional hummingbird or two for those with sharp eyes. We hike onwards towards the huge snow peak of Tucarhuay (5910m) and slowly the forest and thick vegetation begins to give way to the grass filled valley of Soraypampa at 3700m. Here, after about 7 hours walking we make camp and have a tasty diner while enjoying our wild surrounds. (L.D.)

Day 2: Soraypampa to Chaullay.

After an early breakfast we set off on what is probably the toughest day of the Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek – but also one of the most rewarding. Continuing up the valley we reach Salkantay Pampa just beneath the greatest peaks of the Vilcabamba Mountains. The vast glacial masses of Salkantay and Tucarhuay rise more than 2000m above us, dominating the entire valley. Climbing steeply up the left side of the valley we pass a small glacial lake before reaching Huamantay Pass, our objective and the highest point on our trek at 4600m. Nestled in between the Glaciers of Tucarhuay and Salkantay the views are stunning in all directions – truly a place to remember. After a short break we begin our descent into Huamantay valley, through a steep canyon area and into an area of beautiful cloud forest. We camp at the small community of Chaullay (2950m). (B.L.D.)

Day 3: Chaullay to La Playa.

Beyond Chaullay our trek enters the wild Santa Teresa valley – for the rest of the day we will be following the Santa Teresa River as it rushes downwards towards its meeting with Urubamba River, eventually becoming part of the vast Amazon. The vegetation becomes ever more exuberant on our trail with only the occasional small farming community breaking the dense forest. Some sections of the trail are narrow with sharp drops on one side, so a little care is required! This is a fabulous area for high altitude bird watching, and there are several ‘Colpas’ or Parrot Clay Licks where these colourful and noisy birds gather to eat minerals in the area. A little way down the trail there’s also some hot water springs for a pleasant thermal bath. Further down the trail you can take a cooler shower under a beautiful waterfall – now that’s refreshing! As we continue to hike the Salkantay to Machu Picchu trail, it begins to flatten out and we eventually reach the town of La Playa we’re we camp for the night. Connected with a drivable road and possessing one or two shops this is the biggest metropolis we’ve encountered since the beginning of our hike! (B.L.D.)

Day 4: La Playa to Aguas Calientes.

Following a newly restored section of Inca Trail we hike above the river, passing the ruins of Patallacta where we have lunch and then continue on to the Hydroelectric Station below Aguas Calientes. It is on this section of the Salkantay to Machu Picchu trek that we have our first stunning views of Machu Picchu World Heritage Site. From the Hydroelectric Station we can either take a short train ride or continue walking to the major town of Aguas Calientes a couple hours down the track. We check into our comfortable hotel and the rest of the day is free to enjoy the urban delights of town’s thermal baths, restaurants and bars. (B.L.)

Hotel Hanaqpacha Inn***

Day 5: Aguas Calientes to Cusco

Starting early we take a 25 minute ride (or walk if you’re feeling inspired!) above Aguas Calientes to the truly awesome Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, a site straddling a mountain top at more at 2380 m above sea level and surrounded by misty cloud forest covered peaks and incredible views on all sides. This site lay undiscovered and engulfed the jungle until Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham chanced upon the site during an archaeological expedition. Since then much of purpose and nature of this site has remained a mystery. After a guided tour of the site you will have time to explore the ruins on your own and if you’re feeling energetic there's the possibility of climbing Huayna Picchu peak, the distinctive steep sided mountain overlooking Machu Picchu. Returning to Aguas Calientes we board the train for Cusco at around 3.30pm, arriving in the early evening. From here you transported back your hotel. Evening free to explore Cusco. End of our Salkantay to Machu Picchu tour service. (B.L.)

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Salkantay to Machu Picchu 5 Day Trek


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A highlight of our Salkantay to Machu Picchu expedition has to be passing just under the awesome ice shrouded beauty of the highest mountain in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range, Mount Salkantay, reaching 6271m into the thin mountain air. Crossing the high pass just under mountain’s western flank it’s easy to understand why the Incas considered these mountains, providers of life giving water and sources of potential mountain tragedy were - and still are - considered Apus, mountain gods

As on all Our  tours, you´re taken care of from beginning to end – airport/dock transfers and domestic flights are included!

Depart any day and customize your Peru tour at no extra charge! We are family tour specialists.

  • Private airport pickup at the beginning of trip and drop off at end of the trip
  • Southern Crossings bilingual guide
  • Domestic flights – Lima-Puerto Maldonado, Puerto Maldonado-Cusco, Cuzco-Lima
  • Seven nights of 3 star hotel accommodation, three nights of camping (on the Inca Trail), two nights 3 star jungle lodge accommodation, one night family stay on Lake Titicaca
  • Four day Inca Trail excursion –  including bilingual guide, food, cooks, porters, tent, sleeping bag and mat
  • Guided tour between Cusco and Puno, including buffet lunch
  • Private two-day Lake Titicaca excursion
  • Three day rainforest lodge excursion
  • Six breakfasts, seven lunches, and six dinners while on Inca Trail, rainforest and Amantani Island excursions
  • Breakfast – included every morning with your hotel stay
  • The Cusco Visitor’s Ticket – which includes entrance to the ruins in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley, and many churches and museums in Cusco
  • Private Machu Picchu excursion – including bilingual guide, round trip train fare, transportation to/from ruins/Aguas Calientes, and entrance to the Machu Picchu sanctuary
  • Private Lima city tour
  • Private Cusco city tour
  • 24 hour customer support line while on tour

Travel Insurance is not included – a good policy covering all tour activities and possible health emergencies is
highly recommended and should be considered a priority.
International flights can be purchased independently or by consulting Machete Tours.
• Tipping is expected in Peru (although this is not essential).
• Airport Tax for international flights (currently $35).
• Meals not specified in the program
• Alcoholic beverages

  • Required documents

    All travelers to Peru are required to have a passport valid for at least six months from date of entry. Visas are not required for E.U., U.S., Canadian, Australian or New Zealand passport holders. For other nationalities, please consult the nearest Peruvian embassy or consulate. An onward ticket and proof of funds may also be required at entry and should be available to show to immigration. Traveler’s checks, currency, or a bank statement, from the bank or printed off the internet, are sufficient for proof of funds.

    Required immunizations

    Travelers may wish to receive hepatitis vaccinations and should be current on all other standard vaccinations. The rainforest area of Peru (approx. 3500 ft. and below, east of the Andes) is a malarial and yellow fever zone. The yellow fever vaccination is reccomended and travelers may wish to take malarial prophylaxis. Please consult your physician or local health department for more information.

    Things to bring

    One should come prepared for outdoor activity at temperatures ranging from 35° to 85° Fahrenheit / 2° to 30° Celsius, and for extremes of sun and the possibility of rain. A recommended list of things to bring:Please note: We provide a sleeping bag, foam mat, and of course tent. While hiking the Inca Trail, porters will accompany us to carry most of our things, including all the camping gear. Each passenger is allowed 15 pounds of personal items which will also be carried by the porters. Such items would include warm clothing for camping, toiletries, a book, music, or other entertainment, etc. During the day we’ll be using a daypack and will just need to carry water, snacks, rain gear, and a layer or two for changing weather conditions. Most people also carry a camera.

    • Passport and, if necessary, visa
    • ATM card (notify your bank you will be travelling to Peru)
    • Airline ticket
    • Photocopies of airline ticket and documents
    • Wearable pouch for documents and money
    • Sturdy backpack or suitcase
    • Smaller, comfortable day pack
    • Hiking boots or sneakers, comfortable and worn-in
    • Sandals or flip-flops
    • Rain poncho or jacket
    • Waterproof pants
    • Sun hat
    • Hat for cold weather
    • Warm clothing for cold weather (think layers)
    • T-shirts
    • Socks (thin wool or biking socks are best), undergarments
    • Swimsuit for hot springs
    • Camelback or Nalgene refillable bottle (optional)
    • Flashlight and/or head lamp
    • Sunscreen (biodegradable & eco-friendly)
    • Insect repellent (biodegradable & eco-friendly)
    • Lip balm
    • Earplugs
    • Alarm clock or watch
    • Sanitizing hand wipes or gel
    • Camera / Camera batteries
    • Binoculars
    • Reading material
    • Toiletries

    It is best to bring from home such items as prescription medications, eyewear and care, unusual film and camera batteries. Please bring all used batteries back home with you to recycle!


    For your international flights, please check with your airline. Within Peru, you are allowed 20 kilos (44 lbs) of checked baggage, as well as one carry-on and another small, purse-like item. The carry-on size regulations are the same as international carry-on size regulations.


    Rain is possible at any time of year, especially in high mountains and cloud forest, and one should always be prepared. The climate in sites we will visit is as follows:

    Cusco and the Sacred Valley: days are warm if sunny, slightly chilly if cloudy. Nights are chilly in Cusco.
    Lake Titicaca: similar to Cusco but colder.
    Lima: warm to hot days, cool evenings, almost never any rain.
    Amazon basin: hot and humid year-round. We recommend light clothing (in weight and in color) that fully cover arms and legs to avoid mosquito bites.

    Money guide

    The unit of currency in Peru is the nuevo sol. Automatic cash points are available in Lima and Cuzco. Visa, MasterCard, Plus, and Cirrus are the most common usable types of cards. Traveler’s checks are difficult to cash (American Express is best but you may be charged 5-8% to cash) or a Visa or MasterCard for cash advances are also options. Do not bring Money Grams or International Money Orders, as they are extremely difficult to exchange. Banks and exchange houses are available in Lima and Cuzco. For currency, U.S. dollars are recommended and most easily exchanged. Please note that cash must be untorn. It can be older-looking, but even the slightest tear on an edge will make it un-changeable. Acceptable bills come out of the ATMs in country. Expect to spend about US$3-10 on a meal, US$2 on a beer, water or soft drink in Peru. Artisan market prices are usually lower than people expect. Alpaca sweaters, for example, run between $5 and $30. Currency Converter

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Happy Stories

We had a great time and everything went perfectly. Machete Tours planned everything so well that we had a completely stress-free time. We look forward to planning our next South American excursion with Machete Tours. We would highly recommend them to anyone interested in visiting the area.

Amber Hitchens

Will definitely recommend you to others. Excellent service in all areas- transfer, guides- all at reasonable cost.

Richard Hope

Machete Tours

Machete Tours is dedicated to providing the best customer service possible.
at Machete Tours we ensure that you have the trip of a lifetime


Get special discount on select treks, this week. Call +51 84 224829