100% Operated by Inti Sun Trek, we never put you with other tour operators.
- Porters that will carry your personal belongings (up to 7kg/ 15lbs) – no extra fee
- You will hike only with your day pack which is way more comfortable than carrying a big bag!
- Small intimate groups, will provide you a big adventure
- Pick-up and drop-off to your accommodation in Cusco
Hike through the Vilcabamba Mountain Range and pass through stunning landscapes, varying from the tropical Cloud Forest, to the high Andes on this beautiful Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.Camp the first night next to Salkantay mountain, surrounded by stunning views of the snow-capped peaks. In the evening, enjoy stargazing with out telescopes to learn about the Incan constellations. Camp the second night in our private, ecological campsite, surrounded by green, lush vegetation, as well as some fruit plantations, such as bananas, mangos, avocados and coffee. Pass through different micro-climates. Your scenery will constantly be changing. Experience the most popular itinerary of the Alternative Treks to Machu Picchu. Enjoy more the nature than big groups of tourists.
Cusco – Mollepata – Salkantay Pass – Huayracmachay Challway
We will pick you up early at 3:00 a.m. from your hotel in Cusco. We will then travel by private van to the village of Mollepata in the rich countryside of the Apurimac valley. We will continue our journey towards Soraypamapa, the start of our trek, at (4000m/12,750ft). After a light breakfast that we will provide, we will start hiking up a moderate slope for four hours until we reach Salkantay Pass (4600m/15200ft). From this point, we can soak up the spectacular views of Salkantay. At the pass you can leave a piece of rock carried from the bottom as a present for the mountain spirit. We will continue a downhill trek for two hours to Huayracmachay 3800m/ 12540ft .Where we will stop for lunch, After a quick rest, we will continue our hike for three and a half hours through the rain forest (do not forget your bug spray!). We will then reach our first campsite, Challway (2900m/9800ft) and have dinner.
Campsite at Challway: (2900mt – 9,514 ft.)
Starting point elevation: 3,500mt
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: sleeping tents
Maximum Altitude: 4650mt
Minimum Altitude: 2900mt
Walking distance: 22km to Chaullay
Chaullay – La Playa – Santa Teresa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes
At 6:00 am we will start our trek to La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. We will be hiking for approximately 6 hours. During the hike, we will see waterfalls, wild orchids and different types of plantations such as coffee, banana and avocado. During the day, you will also have the chance to taste passion fruit and granadilla. We will then see a village called Colpapampa or “forest cloudy brow” where waterfalls, thermal hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, varied flora and birds can be observed. After having lunch at La playa, we will catch a local transportation to the Hidroelectrica train station. From there, you will have two options: 1) If you are exhausted you may take the train to Aguas Calientes. 2) If you are still eager to hike, you may walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the train track. Once in Aguas Calientes we will go to the accommodation which is included in the tour and have dinner at a local restaurant around 7:00pm.
All the expenses in Aguas Calientes are covered by the company, which include breakfast, lunch, dinner and the overnight stay at a hotel.
Walking Distance – 26km / 16.1 Miles
Starting Elevation – 2750 meters / 9022 feet
Campsite Elevation – 1600 meters / 5249 feet
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3: Aguas Caliente – Machu Picchu – Cusco
After breakfast, our guide will pick you up from your accommodation and lead you to the bus station where you will board the bus up to Machu Picchu. If you want, you can also wake up early and hike up for about one hour and a half to the citadel. In Machu Picchu, you will have a two-hour guided tour through all of the most important sites in Machu Picchu: the Main Square, Round Tower, Sacred Solar Clock, Royal Rooms and Temple of the Three Windows, among others. After the tour, you will benefit from free time to explore the ruins further, hike to the Sun Gate, or eat lunch back in Aguas Calientes.
In the evening, you will board the return train to Ollantaytambo in Aguas Calientes (please be in the Aguas Calientes station at least thirty minutes before your train is scheduled to depart). A car will be waiting at Ollantaytambo station to take you back to Cusco.
US$390 per person
Please Note: Our Salakantay Trek service begins and ends in your hotel in Cusco
For the 3 days Salkantay Trek, we will lend you a duffel bag at the briefing for the trek the night before we depart to put all of your belongings. By using standardized bags, we will ensure that all of your belongings will fit properly on the horses. The duffel bags easily fit 6 Kilograms/12 pounds per person including your sleeping bags.
However, you will still need to carry your day pack with all of your essentials like water, sunscreen, passport, etc.
We offer a discount of US $20 to students with a valid International Student Identity Card (ISIC) and to children under the age of 16 years old. Scanned copies of your ISIC card or child’s passport must be provided at the time of payment of the deposit for the trek in order to qualify for the international discount.
Storage during your Salkantay Trek: Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you in our office.
Train for the end of your Salkantay Trek
The most common departure times that we book for our tourists are the 6:20 p.m. or the 7:00 p.m. train. However, we can also book an afternoon train departure time of 2:55 or 4:12 p.m. for you if you prefer, at an extra cost of US $25. The train we will book depends on availabilty and will be confirmed at your briefing. There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train for an extra US $65 per person.
- Hotel in Aguas Calientes (double or triple rooms, private bathrooms, hot showers, wifi, and storage while you visit Machu Picchu)
- Weight allowances: 6kg/12lb per trekker (weights to be carried by horses and mules as you will only trek with your day pack which is way more confortable than carrying a big bag!)
- Horses (to carry tents and cooking equipment and the 6kg/12lb of personal belongings)
- Wrangler’s health insurance paid by INTI SUN TREK
- Transport: pick-up from your accommodation on the first morning of the trek and transfer in private transportation to starting point of the trek
- Professional tour guide who is fluent in English
- Machu Picchu entrance ticket
- Two hours walking tour in Machu Picchu
- Personal tents: We use 4 places tents that only need to be shared by 2 people. This allows some room to spread out and keep your duffels safely with you.
- Sleeping mattress (pad)
- Meals cooked by an experienced chef: breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks!
- Delicious food rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking
- All our food is prepared from organic vegetables and fresh ingredients
- Vegetarian/special diet options available
- Wake up tea: every morning at the campasite we will wake you up with a cup of coca tea and coffee
- Daily snacks- day 1, 2 and 3: our snacks consist of local fruits, biscuits, chocolate or caramels. We will give you snacks for the day at the beginning of each day trek
- First aid kit including an emergency oxygen bottle and a horse you may ride if the altitude affects your ability to complete the trek
- Dinner in Aguas Calientes on Day 2
- Breakfast in Aguas Caliente on Day 3
- Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Water along the way
- Train tickets from Hidroeléctrica to Aguas Caliente
- Round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Drink (pops, mineral water or beer) at the dinner in Aguas calientes on the 3rd day
- Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
- Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (10 soles)
- Tip for the guide, cook and wranglers
What you need to bring:
- Original passport
- For students: ISIC card
- Insurance card/certificate
- Hiking boots
- Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
- Warm jacket
- Hat and gloves
- 2-3 t-shirts
- 2 pairs of pants (1 for hiking, 1 for camp)
- Long underwear for sleeping/thermal underwear
- Hand sanitizer
- Comfortable trousers
- Hat or cap
- Insect repellent
- Water and/or water purification tablets
- Personal medication
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Extra money for tips/snacks/beer. (We recommend at least 200-350 extra soles = USD $120)
Optional items to take:
- Walking stick
- Basic First Aid Kit
- Bathing suit for hot springs
Before you go
What will the personal porter carry?
This Salkantay trek includes the services of a porter for no extra cost. You can give him a maximum of (6kg/12lbs) of your belongings to carry. Your sleeping bag will weigh approximately 2kg and your air mattress approximately 1kg. This makes a combined weight of 3kg, leaving and extra 3kg of personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc.) to add to the porter-carried bag.
However, you will still need to bring a daypack with your essentials such as water, sunscreen, hat, camera, etc.
When will I receive my duffel bag to put my belongings in?
We will lend you one of our specially designed duffel bags at the briefing for the trek the night before we depart. We use these bags to insure that they fit securely and comfortably on the porters bags
Hiking in the Andes: Is something that everyone can do no matter their age, but it is never easy. You will need some level of fitness to be able to complete it comfortably. Each trail involves inclines that can take your breath away if you are not in shape and downhill hiking that can be tough on one’s knees. Walking sticks are recommended for everyone. Please remember the group treks are open to everyone, all abilities, so be patient and help those struggling with some kind words.
Getting to Cusco: The airport in Cusco is currently only for domestic flights, so all international travellers who arrive by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.
The best way to get to Cusco is by air and there are several options in airlines. LATAM tends to be the most expensive, but has the most options and flights.
Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.
Storage during your trek to Machu Picchu: Most of our trekkers leave their belongings that they do not want to bring on the trek in the hostel they were previously staying in. These hostels/hotels usually have a secure, locked room where you can securely store your belongings. If you do not trust your hostel, we would be more than happy to store your belongings for you in our office. Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.
Your Safety is our first concern: Trekking the Andes is not your typical vacation. And most of the people who hike with us have little to no experience with hiking in altitude. We understand the large responsibility we have in ensuring that you are well taken care of every step of the way.
First Aid: Each year, Inti Sun Trek guides receive training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February to which every single guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better. It is important to be very honest with your guide as soon as you are experiencing any discomfort. If you suffer from any medical conditions, please let your guide know during the briefing so he is prepared to give you extra attention, if needed.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way to bring you to a clinic. You will never be left alone and will have a member of the team escorting you during every step until you are safely brought to a doctor. When you are feeling better, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
Travel Insurance: To protect your travel investment, we highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged and very easy. This is a great way to protect yourself while visiting Peru.
Altitude: Altitude sickness is serious and has the potential to ruin your trip. The biggest mistake you can make is to fly directly to Cusco and expect to hike the next day. Give yourself several days to adjust to the altitude first. You will thank yourself for this during the trek.
The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, it is even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may experience headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping or trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor. Altitude sickness must be taken seriously.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the Coca Plant contain alkaloids, which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Weather: Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant. You will notice that there is a large variation between the minimum and maximum temperatures on the trek. In general, when the sun is out it will be very hot. In this heat, you need to drink plenty of fluids to remain hydrated. The early hours of the morning and night can be very cold. As a result, you need to be prepared for just about every weather condition.
What to wear for the trek: One of the most important investments for this trek is a sturdy pair of hiking boots. Your feet will thank you after the long trek if your shoes are well worn in and waterproof. The temperature varies throughout the trek, so it is best to dress in layers. Avoid cotton, as cotton does not dry quickly and wet clothing will be a problem when the temperatures drop pack for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. A t-shirt, a long sleeve shirt, a sweater/microfleece, and a waterproof jacket. These items will provide you with enough warmth and will allow you to “peel off” layers as it gets warmer or your body temperature increases. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm winter-weight jacket.
During the rainy season: Rain pants are a good idea as we will encounter a lot of mud, rivers, and rain. A plastic poncho is also great because it will keep you and your pack dry. You can also pack your belongings inside of plastic bags to ensure that your belongings stay dry.
Do I need to bring hiking boots? Hiking boots are recommended, as they provide ankle support to reduce the risk of injury, especially when trekking in the wet season (December – March). However, it is important that your boots are comfortable and well worn-in. Many people prefer to trek in tennis shoes but extra care should be taken. We do not recommend trekking in sandals, using new boots, or renting boots prior to the trek. Make sure the shoes are sturdy enough for the duration of the trek and will not fall apart.
Can I use walking sticks on the Inca Trail? Many people like to hike with trekking poles or walking sticks. This is fine as long as the poles will not cause damage to the stone paving along the Inca Trail. If the trekking poles have metal spikes, then these must be protected by rubber tips. We recommend bringing some spare rubber tips with you. These rubber protectors can be purchased in Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Wooden walking sticks are fine as long as you bring them with you from home.
Recently, government authorities have stopped trekkers from using wooden sticks that could have come from local forests to prevent deforestation of the protected Andean region.
Strikes in Peru: A popular way for the people in Peru to communicate unhappiness with the government is to strike. This area sees quite a few strikes a year that can sometimes affect the logistics involved in our tours. Most strikes are well organized and planned in advance so the office will have at least a few hours to make arrangements if needed.
Changes for logistics: Often this involves leaving for your trek the night before. Please understand we will do everything we can to get you to and from the trail and will give you the information you need as soon as we have it. We will always get you to and from the trail very safely.
Environmental Impact: We use biodegradable soap and transport all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.