Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5D/4N

Many people don’t realize that the world famous “Classic Inca Trail” is in fact only one of many spectacular hiking trails in the region around Cusco. Whilst the Classic Trail does indeed bring you right to the gates of Machu Picchu, it’s popularity can make the trail feel over-crowded at times and restrictions on the number of hiking licenses issued often means booking your place as much as a year in advance.

The Salkantay trail is the most popular alternative to the Classic Trail. As well as being considerably less crowded, it also offers a more challenging hike over a greater distance. This extra challenge is rewarded with climbs to some of the most spectacular mountain vistas, trekking through an exciting variety of different landscapes, visits to iconic Inca ruins and the experience of camping in some of the most remote but beautiful locations in the Andes.

Using the vast experience of our professional guides, we have created this brand new itinerary that reaches areas of the trail far less trodden than many others, whilst still including all of the highlights of other more standard Salkantay treks. We believe that taking the path less travelled really adds to the unique and unforgettable experience of a trek in the Andes.

Resting comfortably on our final night in a hotel in the small town of Aguas Calientes, our tour concludes with a visit to one of the most iconic places on the planet, and one of the 7 New Wonders of the World, the sacred Inca citadel of Machu Picchu.

As with any trek or tour with Vicuña Adventures, you will be accompanied at all times by one of our professional guides, and our awesome team of porters and kitchen staff. Together they will ensure that you have the most exciting, the most comfortable and, most importantly, the safest journey into the majestic Andes.


DAY 1:

CUSCO – SORAYPAMPA – humantay lagoon salkantay pass wayraqmacha.

Distance: 17 km
Walking hours: 8-9hours
Low altitude: 3,750m / 12,300 ft (trail head, Soraypampa)
High altitude: 4,650 / 14,710 ft
Campsite altitude: 3,900m / 13,710 ft

After a good night’s rest, you will have early wake up to enjoy your breakfast before your trek. During this morning, there will be a short team introduction between all trekkers and the Alpaca Staff to ensure a positive, family-like experience. After the introduction, you will give your duffle bags to the muleteers for carrying.
The day´s hike will begin by visiting Humantay Lagoon. This will be a hike of approximately 1.5 hours along a steady uphill. Once at the lagoon, you will enjoy the serene views of the crystalline-blue water of Humantay Lagoon; often described by many as an ¨other-worldly´´ paradise perched on the skirts of Humantay Glacier. If the skies are clear, you will be witness to the first sun rays peaking though the snow-covered peaks, and if you are brave, you will also have the chance to touch the almost-frozen water so that you may stay young forever!
The advantage to visiting Humantay Lagoon in the early morning hours is the quiet surroundings with NO other trekkers besides those in your group. Due to the popularity of this location, this is not something everyone can enjoy!
After breathing in the beauty of such magical place, you will begin making your way back down to the starting point to continue with your hike to the lunch spot in Soyroccocha. This hike will be approximately 3 hours on gradually ascending terrain. On your way, you will pass places such as Salkantay Pampa and will enjoy the outstanding views of the surrounding peaks and snow-covered mountains. After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your hike for about 1 hour more until Salkantay Pass at 4,650 m.a.s.l.- the highest point of the trek. Once here, you will be rewarded with hot drinks before continuing!
From Salkantay Pass, it will only be a remaining 3 hours of hiking downhill to our last campsite for the day, Wayracmachay. Upon arrival to the campsite, the trekking staff will have your tents set up and with your duffel bags ready. They will provide you with warm water to get washed up, so that you may change into something warm. We will have a happy hour with hot chocolate and coffee, followed by dinner. If the weather allows, you will get to enjoy the blue sky, along with a brief introduction to the visible Inca constellations.

Walking Distance: 17km

DAY 2:

wayraqmachay – challway - COLLPAPAMPA

Distance: 8 Km
Walking hours: 4-5hours.
Low altitude: 2,800m / 6,560 ft
Campsite altitude: 2,800m / 6,560 ft

Your trekking team will wake you up with a hot drink to help you start the day. Hopefully, as you open your tent, you will see the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds, lifting from the green cloud forest. You will have time to pack up and enjoy a nice breakfast prepared by your trekking chef.
At around 8:30 a.m., you will begin the day´s hike by hiking for approximately 4 hours downhill until reaching the lunch spot at Ccollpapampa (2,800 m.a.s.l.). In this hike, you will begin to notice the micro-climate and fauna & flora changes. You will begin from cold, glacier views to warmer, lush, jungle surroundings. There will be many different species of orchids to see, as well as ferns and begonia flowers. Humming birds will be above you, a difference from the day before.
After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your trek to the next private campsite called La Loreta at 2400 m.a.s.l. This hike will be approximately 4 hours on gradually downhill terrain. Along the way you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, flora and fauna. This will be another micro-climate called tropical forest, where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges and avocados. Upon arrival to the campsite, you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and will have time to enjoy a free hot shower, hot Jacuzzi and perhaps even swim in our swimming pool. There will also be time to walk around our ecological garden to see some of our garden of coffee, avocado, chillies, tomatoes and pineapples. Dinner tonight will be at our building with views to the Salkantay River which you will hear below to help you fall asleep at night.

Walking Distance: 9 km

DAY 3:

COLLPAPAMPA – LA PLAYA sahuayaco - lucmabamba

Distance: 15 Km
Walking hours: 6-7 hours
Low altitude: 1,800m / 6,068 ft
High altitude: 2,950m / 9,676 ft
Campsite altitude: 1,850m / 6,068 ft

After breafast we will continue with your trek to the next lucmabamaba campsite, 2300 m.a.s.l. This hike will be approximately 4 hours on gradually downhill terrain. Along the way you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, flora and fauna. This will be another micro-climate called tropical forest, where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges and avocados. Upon arrival to the campsite, you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and will have our lunch then time to enjoy a hot shower,

in the afternoon we will explore the tropical forest and will have a visit to a local, organic coffee farm. At the farm, you will have the opportunity to explore some of the orange and avocado plantations and taste some of the freshly-brewed coffee. Also at the farm, you will have a brief introduction regarding the coffee in this region and its importance as the main farming product to all locals. As you will learn, the coffee in this region was introduced to the region after the Spanish conquest and most of the harvested coffee is exported to countries including the United States, Asia and Europe.

DAY 4:


Distance: 12 km
Walking hours: 4-6 hours.
Low altitude: 1,850m / 6,068 ft
High altitude: 2,700m / 8,900 ft
Aguas Calientes: 2,050m / 6,724 ft

In the early morning, we will begin our  climb to the Llactapata Pass at 8,900 feet (2,700 meters). Llactapata is an Inca construction that is located in the rear of Machu Picchu. From here you will be able to see the Machu Picchu citadel and part of the third day of the classic Inca trail. From Llactapata we will descend through thick vegetation, tall trees, and incredible bird diversity. After we reach the hydroelectric site, we will take a local train to the Aguas Calientes village where we will spend the night.

DAY 5:


After an early morning breakfast at 5:00 am, we will take the first bus to Machu Picchu where we will arrive to the Citadel and be among the very first visitors to the site that day. We will be able to enjoy the magic and the beauty of its buildings, landscapes surrounded by mountains, valleys, rivers, and magical landscapes with minimal interference from other tourists as we will be there before people arriving from the classic Inca trail and tourists arriving by train. Guidance will be approximately 2 hours long by the most important sites, then you will have a free time to explore around the Citadel or have the opportunity to climb the Huaynapicchu. We will take the bus to Aguas calientes to board the train back to Cusco in the afternoon.



  • English-speaking tour guide (additional tour guide for groups of 8 people or more)

  • Pre-departure briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your salkantay Trail

  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Soqma village trail head

  • Four-person tent for every 2 people

  • Inflatable mattress

  • Kitchen tent

  • Dinning tent with tables and chairs

  • Toilet tent

  • Chef

  • Horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)

  • Horse to transport 8 kg of your personal gear

  • Duffel bag for your personal gear

  • Emergency horse in case we need it

  • Four breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners

  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit

  • Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo

  • One-night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (double room)

  • Ticket for Huayna Picchu Mountain optional

  • Entrance to Machu Picchu

  • Roundtrip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Not Included:

  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)

  • Day 1 Breakfast

  • Day 5 Lunch in Aguas Calientes, after you tour Machu Picchu on your own

  • Gratuity for the crew (guide, chefs and Horse Man.

What to bring:

  • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)

  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)

  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, tops, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, thermal underwear, light long pants, gloves, poncho, rain jacket)

  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)

  • Sunblock (SPF 35+ recommended)

  • Head lamp

  • Sunglasses and sun hat

  • Camera

  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)

  • Insect repellent



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