Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days / 4 nights

Starting at Per Person : $ 490.00

Tour TypeHiking, camping, adventure, history, culture.

Tour Distance90KM

DifficultyModerate, but Challenging if you are not used to hikes

ConsiderationsYou will hike only with your day pack which is way more comfortable than carrying a big bag!

SeasonFrom January 1st to December 31st.

Trail ClosetOpen all year

Peru

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5D / 4N

Video tours
Travel Equipament
Tour Map

Summary

Summary of the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu

  • Cargo mules that will carry your personal belongings (up to 6kg/ 12lbs) – no extra fee
  • You will hike only with your day pack which is way more comfortable than carrying a big bag!)
  • Pick up and drop off from  your hotel in Cusco
  • Hike up to the incredibly beautiful Humantay lake on the first day of the hike
  • Enjoy the views of the stunning Salkantay Pass and Descent to the Amazon Jungle
  • Jungle adventure and coffee Experience
  • Enjoy your first glance of Machu Picchu from Llactapata
  • Pass through different micro-climates. Your scenery will constantly be changing.

mapas salkantay trek hike to machupicchu 5days

Overview Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu

Day 1:
Cusco  – Mollepata – Challacancha –  Soraypampa – Humantay Lake

We will pick you up early at 4:30 a.m.to 5:00.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.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance:  10 km 6.21 miles / (5-6 hours)
  • Campsite altitude: (3,900m/12,795f).high above sea level (chilled weather
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Weather: Cold and windy

Day 2:
Soraypampa-  Salkantay Pass – Descen to the Amazon Jungle

After breakfast, we will set off towards the Salkantay pass (4600m/15092f) which offers an exceptional view of the snow-capped Salkantay (6264m).

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 22 km / 13.65 miles
  • Campsite altitude: 2,900 m / 9,514 ft,(warm weather
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Weather: Cold and windy

Day 3:
Chaullay –  La Playa –  Coffee Experience – Lucmabamba

This day we will walk for only 6 hours through the tropical jungle. We will cross the Lluskamayo River and a variety of small streams so waterproof shoes are a good idea. We will pass through gorgeous valleys and have wonderful views of waterfalls.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles
  • Campsite altitude: 2,900 m / 9,514 ft,(warm weather
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Weather: Warm and Damp

Day 4:
Lucmabamba – Llactapata –  first view of Machu Picchu! – Aguas Calientes

In the morning, we will leave Lucmabamba and start a three-hour climb to reach Llactapata (2.700m/8910ft), an incredible Inca fort from which we will enjoy our first view of Machu Picchu! After some pictures and rest, we will descend for two hours to the Hydroelectric Plant

  • Walking Distance: 25  km / 15.53 miles
  • Starting Elevation: 2000 meters ASL / 6561 feet ASL
  • Campsite Elevation: 2050 meters ASL / 6571 feet ASL (Aguas Calientes hotel)
  • Highest Elevation: 2702 m. / 8858 feet.
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Day 5:
Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

We will have two options to arrive to Machu Picchu: 1) we can hike for one and a half hours from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, or 2) we can take a bus to Machu Picchu. By waking up early, you will witness the magnificent sunrise at this ancient Inca city. At Machu Picchu

  • Machupicchu elevation: 2,400meters/7, 873ft
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Weather: warm

New Regulations

In January 2019, changes to the Machu Picchu visitation rules were implemented. Now, entrance tickets to the citadel are sold for specific time slots, starting at 6:00 AM, 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM.

With this new entry system, visitors board the bus to Machu Picchu one hour or 30 minutes before the visitation time printed on their ticket. This way, they do not have to endure unnecessary queues in Machu Picchu Pueblo, nor do they contribute to crowding at the entrances to the Inca city.

Meanwhile, visitors who wish to walk to Machu Picchu must depart one and a half hours before their designated visitation time.

In January 2021, new visitation routes or circuits were introduced at Machu Picchu with the aim of preserving the archaeological site for future generations. Each visitor follows a circuit according to the type of entrance ticket they have purchased, whether it’s for visiting Machu Picchu only, Huayna Picchu mountain, or Machupicchu mountain.

For more detailed information about the different circuits and specific entrance schedules, we invite you to read this link on Schedules and New Circuits for Visiting Machu Picchu or to contact us directly. We can provide you with all the necessary information and address any questions you may have.

Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Challacancha –  Soraypampa  Humantay Lake

Highlight of the day: Get ready for one of the most incredible views you will ever have: the glorious and spectacular Humantay Lake.

For the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu we will pick you up early at 4:30 a.m.to 5:00.a,m from your hotel in Cusco. We will then  drive for around 3:15 hours, crossing Anta and Mollepata and ending up at Challancha.

After the first 2:15 hours of driving from Cusco, we will stop in Mollepata. Once in Mollepata you will  have to pay 20 soles of the entrance fee to the local municipality. After that we will  continue driving  to Mollepata’s main square where will have the chance to have breakfast and take advantage of the toilet facilities, souvenir shops. We will then continue to Challacancha, the starting point for our trek. There, we will meet our support staff, and they will organize all of the equipment and cargo mules.
At around 09:30 am to 10:00 am, we will begin trekking to Soraypampa (3,900 m / 12,795 ft), the first campsite on our journey. This section of the path takes us over a few deep valleys along the side of a mountain. Along the trail, we’ll follow an ancient Inca canal that still supplies water to farmers in the following valleys. We will travel 7 km (4.35 mi) for 3 hours to Soraypampa, where we will have our lunch at the base camp of Salkantay.

After lunch and a short rest, we’ll hike up to the unforgettable Humantay Lake (4,200 m / 13,780 ft). This is a 3 km (1.86 mi) round-trip which we will walk in a total of 2:30 hours. Humantay lake is one of the most beautiful sights in all the Andes, with unbelievable turquoise water reflecting the mountain glaciers of Humantay, like something out of a dream or fairy tale. Back at our camp, the valley’s background at sunset creates the most peaceful scene with an energy that can only be felt and not described.

Back at camp you will enjoy a delicious dinner, because Soraypampa (our camp) is located in the middle of the glacier valleys, the sky is so immensely clear at night that you can genuinely appreciate the stars, constellations, and even comets shooting across the pitch blackness, uninterrupted by the hustle, bustle, or lights of the city. Take a moment this night to recenter your spirit and consider all the deep things of life in the profound silence and tranquility of Soraypampa.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance:  10 km 6.21 miles / (5-6 hours)
  • Campsite altitude: (3,900m/12,795f).high above sea level (chilled weather
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Weather: Cold and windy


 Day 2: Soraypampa-  Salkantay Pass – Descen to the Amazon Jungle

Highlight of the day: Feel the energy and the great power of the Salkantay mountain, the hike to the top will really be worth it.

After an early wake-up with the first daylight at 5:30 am and a quick but energizing breakfast, we will start trekking up to the highest point of the trail, the Salkantay Pass (4,630 m / 15,190 ft). A 7 km (4.34 miles) difficult ascent awaits us for 3 hours between the rocky valley base and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6,271 m / 20,574 ft).

When we reach the top of the pass, we will appreciate the spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the imposing mountains of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo. Salkantay is the second-highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu.”

After the climax of today’s trek, there is a 7 km (4.35 mi) downhill walk on a serpent-shaped, rocky, gravel path that leads to the Wayracmachay lunch place (3,850 m / 12,631 mi). There is a perfect valley outlook to rest on the way down that is stunning!

In the afternoon, after our meal, we will enter the upper part of the Amazonia, which is also called “the cloud forest.” This is an 8 km / 4.97 mi hike completed in 3 hours on a wide trail in the thick and magical tropical jungle. During this part of the trek, you will notice a dramatic change in landscape and the earth’s energy as we move from the Andes to Amazon!

This hike is truly beautiful; the hills are decorated with colorful scenery, unique wildlife, and native plants. The forests are warm and tropical most of the year, with temperate climates. At the end of this outstanding hike, we arrive at a small village called Chaullay (2,900 m / 9,514 ft) for a well-deserved rest from our long day of trekking. This is our camp for the night, surrounded by valleys, rushing rivers, and lots of vegetation.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 22 km / 13.65 miles
  • Campsite altitude: 2,900 m / 9,514 ft,(warm weather
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Weather: Cold and windy

Day 3: Chaullay –  La Playa –  Coffee Experience– Lucmabamba

Highlight of the day: Explore the lush jungle and learn all about coffee and the process at the plantations. The scent in the air is heavenly.

Today you’ll be woken at 6:00 a.m. for your tea and then breakfast before setting off from the campsite. Our first destination will be La Playa, and we’ll be walking through the Santa Teresa Valley. You’ll enjoy a more leisurely walk today with more downs than ups as you soak in the lush landscape of rivers, waterfalls, orchids, and many plantations, including banana, coffee, and avocado.

We’ll pass through a small village called Collpapampa, and after, descend through a valley where you’ll observe waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit trees, and plenty of flora and fauna. You might be lucky enough to see the national bird of Peru, the ‘Cock of the Rock.’

In La Playa, we’ll devour a tasty lunch before we head to Lucmabamba (2,000 m / 6,562 ft), just another hour away. In the afternoon, you will have free time to explore the tropical surroundings and visit an organic coffee farm, especially perfect for those who are coffee lovers. Even if you are not a fan of a cup of coffee, the smell in the air is delicious. This is the main agricultural industry in the jungle that exports products to the United States, Asia, and all of Europe. You will also visit avocado and orange plantations.

After dinner, of course, you will go to bed for the night. While resting, you can listen to the different sounds of nature and feel in harmony with mother earth.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Walking distance: 18 km / 11.18 miles
  • Campsite altitude: 2,900 m / 9,514 ft,(warm weather
  • Difficulty: Challenging
  • Weather: Warm and Damp

Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata –  first view of Machu Picchu! – Aguas Calientes

Highlight of the day: Visit the fascinating Inca archaeological site of Llactapata Get your camera ready for your first glimpse of Machu Picchu!

This morning you’ll be able to walk along a bit of the original, world-famous Inca Trail! After a 2 hour uphill climb and fascinating views over the Santa Teresa Valley, you’ll reach Llactapata (2,700 m / 8,858 ft), an Inca archaeological site right in front of Machu Picchu.

Llactapata is the first Inca site you’ll see on the trek, and you’ll learn all about the mysteries of the ancient culture and the extraordinary site. You even get to have your first exciting glance of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu from here. Your guide will fill you in on all the history of the Incas while you take all the photos you want to share your fantastic experiences with friends and family back home.

After some pictures and rest, we will descend for two hours to the Hydroelectric Plant, where we will have our final lunch. Once in Hydroelectric, you have a couple of options:

1) If you’re tired out after all the trekking, you can opt to board a train to Aguas Calientes (US$ 40.00 extra).

2) If you want to enjoy the last stretch of the trek, you can enjoy the flat walk along the side of the tracks to Aguas Calientes, which takes around 3 hours. It’ll be one more chance to enjoy your warm jungle surroundings as you hike.

Along the way, you’ll see Intihuatana, an ancient rock the Incas used as a sundial, which worked together with the sundial stone at Machu Picchu. These were used to measure and read the winter solstice, meaning the beginning of the farming season for the Incas. Next, you’ll reach the train tracks that lead to Aguas Calientes. Once in the small town, you’ll enjoy dinner at a restaurant and spend the night in a comfortable hotel.

 Importan Note: During the rainy season, the hike up the Llactapata Trail isn’t 100% guaranteed due to safety concerns. When there’s frequent heavy rain, this trail can become very dangerous.

  • Walking Distance: 25  km / 15.53 miles
  • Starting Elevation: 2000 meters ASL / 6561 feet ASL
  • Campsite Elevation: 2050 meters ASL / 6571 feet ASL (Aguas Calientes hotel)
  • Highest Elevation: 2702 m. / 8858 feet.
  • Difficulty: Challenging

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Highlight of the day: Get ready for the experience of a lifetime that will allow you to travel back in time to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World: The majestic and magnificent Machu Picchu.

We will have two options to arrive to Machu Picchu:

1) You  can hike for one and a half hours from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu,

2) You can take a bus to Machu Picchu. By waking up early, you will witness the magnificent sunrise at this ancient Inca city. Once in the Inca citadel, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of approximately two hours through the most relevant sectors of this incredible ancient site. You’ll see houses, temples, terraces, crop fields, among others. You will be impressed by the intelligence of the Incas in terms of engineering work, which was way ahead of its time and remains a mystery in many aspects.

After your tour, you can choose to go to Huayna Picchu Mountain (2,720 m / 8,924 ft) or Machu Picchu Mountain (3,000 m / 9,843 ft); these tours will take you one and a half and three hours up and down, respectively (tickets must be booked in advance).

Make sure you’re back in Aguas Calientes for a spot of lunch before boarding your train to Ollantaytambo, which leaves 18 :20 pm approximately (subject to availability). Our private transportation will collect you from the next station and drive you back to your hotel in Cusco at around 10 pm. You can now put your feet up and enjoy much-needed rest; however, your heart will still be beating the rhythm of the Andes for many weeks, months, and years to come!

Price

490 dollars per person

Please Note: Our Salkantay Trek service begins and ends in your hotel in Cusco

Returning train Included in the cost of this tour/trek is the Expedition train, which departs either at 6:20 pm or 7:00 pm and 8:20 p.m. DEPENDING ON AVAILABILITY.

Can I get an early train ticket?
We can also book an afternoon train that departs 2:55 p.m. or 4:22 p.m. at an extra cost of US $35 per person the train we will book DEPENDS ON AVAILABILITY.
Please, notice that 35 dollars extra you will pay also will cover your private transportation to bring you back from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco

There is also an option to upgrade your train to the Vistadome train which is the extra US $75 per person. Please let us know your preference at the time of booking the tour. Unfortunately, none of the trains go straight to Cusco—they run either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy. In either case, we will transfer you back by bus to Cusco.

Can I change my return train ticket by myself?
At the time of your tour, it may be possible to make changes to your return train ticket if you don’t want to take the 18:20 p.m train. You will have to take your train ticket personally to the train station in Aguas Calientes and ask them to change the return ticket for an early one. You will probably be asked to pay an extra administration fee, which will depend on the train service and departure time. Please notice that once you will change your returning train you will responsible to cover your own transportation back to Cusco

How long is the journey back to Cusco?
You will be traveling for approximately 3 hours before you arrive back in Cusco. First, you will travel for 1.5 hours by train to the Ollantaytambo train station. Then you will be picked up by your driver outside of the train station. The driver will be holding a sign with your name on it so that there will be no confusion. If you do not see the driver initially, wait for them outside of the train station. Once the driver has picked you up, you will travel for another 1.5 hours in a private van/car to your hotel/hostel in Cusco. Arrival time in Cusco will depend on train availability. You will receive your return train tickets once your guide has finished your walking tour of Machu Picchu.

WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO COLLABORATION

In case we do not meet the minimum group size or we do not have enough people to operate the tour ourselves, we reserve the right to occasionally collaborate with other tour operators. In these cases, the client will always be notified in advance.

Important Notice Regarding Student Discounts: 

The ISIC card is no longer valid for purchasing Machu Picchu or Inca Trail tickets with a student discount.

Students can still obtain this discount with their student identification card issued by the university where they study, which is the only valid document for this end at this time. For more information, please visit the following link: http://www.machupicchu.gob.pe/items/estudiantes.html

Inclusions

What is included Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu in the price?

  • Basic hotel night in Aguas Calientes double or triple rooms, private bathrooms, hot showers, wifi, and storage while you visit Machu Picchu
  • Weight allowances: 6kl/12lb per trekker (weights to be carried by horses and mules you will trek only with your day pack which is way more comfortable than carrying a big bag!)
  • Horse (to carry tents and cooking equipment and the 6 kl/12lb of personal belongings)
  • Wrangler’s health insurance paid for by INTI SUN TREK
  • Transport: collection from your hotel in the morning and transfer in private transportation to the starting point of the trek
  • A Professional tour guide who is fluent in English
  • Machu Picchu entrance fees
  •  Included in the cost of your tour is one-way bus tickets up from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu on the day you will visit citadel. However, bus tickets down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes after your walking tour in Machu Picchu are not included, in the interest of reducing your costs. You may either walk back down to Aguas Calientes (about one hour) or pay for the bus tickets at the Machu Picchu site exit.
  • Two hours walking tour in Machu Picchu
  • Personal tents: We use 4 men, 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
  • Water (we will provide you with boiled and filtered cold water during the trek starting on the second day. However, you will need to bring a container to carry your water in. Also, you need to ensure that you pack a sufficient amount of water for the first day of the trek.
  • We strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Inca trail and in Machu Picchu.
  • Wake up tea: every morning at the campsite we will wake you up with a cup of coca tea and coffee
  • Daily snacks- day 1,2,3 and 4: our snacks consist of local fruits, biscuits, chocolate, Caramels we will give this snack at the beginning of each day trek
  • First aid kit including an emergency oxygen bottle and a horse you may ride on if the altitude effects your ability to complete the trek
  • Bus from La Playa campsite to Santa Teresa
  • Dinner in Aguas Calientes on Day 4
  • Breakfast in Aguas Caliente on Day 5
  • Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco

Not included:

  • Sleeping bags. These can be rented in our office for the entire trek (the US $20). Every sleeping bag is washed prior to each use
  • Breakfast on the first morning
  • Bus from La Playa campsite to Santa Teresa
  • Entrance to the thermal spring in Santa Teresa
  • Zip Line in Santa Teresa(optional
  • Train ticket from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes
  • Bus ticket from  Machu Picchu  to Aguas Calientes
  • Lunch in Aguas Calientes on the final day
  • Entrance to the thermal springs in Aguas Calientes (20 soles)
  • Tips for the guide, cooks, and wranglers
  • Drink( coke, mineral water or cerveza) in the dinner in Aguas Calientes on the 4 day
  • Tip for the guide. cook, and Wrangler

Packing List

What you need to bring Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu:

ESSENTIALS:

  • Original passport
  • Valid, STUDENT CARD (if you booked as a student)
  • Sleeping bag
  • Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
  • Good daypack ( smaller, the better)
  • Water storage: we strongly recommend to bring your Camel Back and water canteen due to that government of Peru will not allow disposable plastic bottles anymore on the Salkantay Trek and in Machu Picchu.
  • Comfortable hiking boots (lightweight with good soles)

FOR YOUR DUFFEL:

Porters will carry up to 6 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you bring/rent one). From us these two items weigh 3.5 kg.

  •  2-3 wicking t-shirts
  • 2-3 hiking pants
  • 4 sets of undergarments.
  • 4 sets of hiking socks
  • 1 Fleece
  • 1 Warm, down jacket: gets very cold at night
  • 1 Rain jacket and pants
  • 1 sun hat
  • 1 wool hat
  • Headlamp: essential
  • Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
  • Comfortable shoes for camp
  • Walking boots
  • Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
  • Quick-dry towel. We provide small ones, you might enjoy something a little larger.
  • Small bottle of soap: we provide warm water each day to clean – might make you feel fresh if you had a little soap.
  • Battery Charger: There is no place to plug in while trekking!
  • Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty.

TOILETRIES:

  • Sunscreen
  • Face moisturizer
  • Bug spray
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Wet wipes
  • Toothbrush and paste
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medication
  • First aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, etc.

INSIDE YOUR DAYPACKS:

Daypacks can be any size for hiking, but we always recommend the smaller, the better. Inside Machu Picchu, no bag larger than 25L will be allowed in. If larger, you will need to store outside citadel gates.

  • Water beginning from your second day will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or Camel Back. We recommend carrying about 2L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal
  • Sunhat
  • Rain gear
  • Fleece
  • Camera
  • Music (iPhone)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper and a small plastic bag for waste
  • Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips
  • Earplugs

Before you go

What will the personal porter carry?

The Salkantay Trek includes the services of a personal porter for no extra cost. You can give him up to 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 3kg/8lbs of personal items (clothing, toiletries, etc) to add to the bag carried by the porter. However, you will still need to bring a daypack with 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´ backs.

Will the personal porter carry my duffle bag to Aguas Calientes?

Yes. We will store your belongings in a secure place in Aguas Calientes before you arrive there.

Pre-Trek Briefing

All briefings are done at our office at 6:00 PM the night before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Inti Sun Trek office team. Briefings are approximately 30 -45 minutes long.

Renewal or change passport number?

If you plan to renew or change your name on your passport between making your trek booking and starting your trek, you can book your trek or tour with your current passport number or name, but you must send us a copy of your old passport and a copy of your new passport when you have them. We can then make the change with the government before you arrive. The extra cost to make the change is US$25 per person. (This will cover the change in number or name for your Inca Trail Permit, Machu Picchu Entrance, and train.)

If you do not advise us of the change or do not want to pay the fee, bring the original of both passports (the old and new one). You can enter Peru with your new passport but you must show the government authorities your old passport in order to enter the Inca Trail, Machu Picchu or train. If you cannot do so, you will not be allowed to start your trek by the government officials. All names and numbers must match!!

Pickups

For Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu we will pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city,we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.

Storage during your Salkantay 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 Make sure your bags have some kind of identification on them so they are easy to locate.

Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Very small hotels and Air BNBs are often located on streets that cars can not pass through. They also are often located up on the hillside, with long steep climbs to the property, difficult to maneuver with luggage. We highly recommend that you do not stay at one of these places.

Hiking in the Andes

Is something that everyone can do no matter what 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 encouraged 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 currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers 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.

Your Safety is our first concern

Trekking the Andes is not your typical vacation. And most people who come to visit us have little to no experience of life this high up in the mountains. 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 guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – 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 off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone, you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, 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 Cuzco 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, 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 have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.

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 help 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 arrange the 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 transports 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.

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