The snowy Salkantay: complete information – SALKANTAY TREK TO MACHU PICCHU

What does Salkantay mean?
The Salkantay is a snowy mountain whose name translated from Quechua would mean ‘Wild Mountain’. This summit is known as ‘Apu’ (‘Lord’) for its majesty and elevation.

Where is it located?
The pu Apu ’Salkantay is located in the Vilcanota Mountain Range in the Andes of southern Peru. This snow-capped mountain is the second largest in Cusco, after Ausangate (Mountain of the 7 Colors).

How high is the snowy Salkantay?
The snowy Salkantay reaches 6,271 meters above sea level (m.s.n.m.). The trek route that leads to Machu Picchu has its highest point in the ‘Abra Salcantay’, at 4,650 m.a.s.l. From there you can see the peak of the snow-capped mountain.

How’s the weather?
The snowy in itself presents an extremely cold climate (several degrees Celsius below 0º).

The climate during the Salkantay trek, on the other hand, is varied. The intense sun and the nightly cold in the early days are changed by the tropical environment in the latter.

What is the flora and fauna like?
The 5 days and 4 nights of the Salkantay trek cover landscapes with a great variety of flora and fauna. Among the species of flowers and plants, the orchid and the ichu (Andean grass) stand out. Among the species of birds and animals, it is worth mentioning the llama, alpaca, vizcacha, condor, spectacled bear and the cock of the rock (national bird of Peru)




This day we leave Cusco early (about 4am) and drive for approximately 3 ½ hrs to Soraypampa where we will start the hardest day of the whole Salkantay trek 4 days 3 nights. We will be walking 7.5km to the highest point of the trek, enjoying magnificent panoramas of snow-capped mountains on the way. Once we reach the top we will have spectacular views of the sacred mountain, Salkantay. At 6245 metres it is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region. After 2 hours downhill we will have our delicious lunch around 1:00 p.m. in Huayracmachay. Then we continue approximately 3 hours downhill to our camp in Chaullay or Collpapampa (2900 metres) where your tent will be ready and waiting for you with a bowl of hot water for washing up. Then there is time to rest, nap or write. Around 7 p.m. we will have happy hour, dinner. Then we’re off to bed and a well-earned sleep.


Around 6.30am, we start with our breakfast before beginning our trek through the high jungle. We cross the Lluskamayo valley and a variety of little brooks to reach La Playa (Sahuayaco) trekking about 6 hours. You will pass through wonderful landscapes and see waterfalls, rivers, beautiful plants and orchids. At La playa (Sahuayaco) we’ll have our lunch and the horses will go back to Mollepata. After lunch and another 30 minutes uphill you will reach our campsite at Lucmabamba. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy our coffee tour or, as an optional extra, take a local van to Santa Teresa to soak in the natural hot spring optional extra. At the end of the day we have our happy hour, dinner and then a briefing for the next day.


We will have our delicious breakfast at 6 am and leave our campsite. After about 5 minutes you will step onto the original Inka Trail, and for the next 3 hours you will follow this historic trail to the summit for your first view of Machu Picchu across the valley. Then we will descend to our lunch spot by the Hydrolectric Station. After lunch we will walk 3 more hours or take a train for 45 minutes to Aguas Calientes where your beautiful hotel and dinner will be waiting for you.


Early morning, after the breakfast at the Hotel, you will go up by walking or you can take the bus to Machu Picchu where you meet with our Tour Guide for a private introductory tour of the Citadel. For the next 2 hours you will learn of the history, the structure and the stories of this important World Wonder. Then you will have free time to take pictures, relax and explore Machu Picchu by yourself. If you have reserved a climb up Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, our Tour Guide show you where you start.

After exploring Machu Picchu, you will walk or take a bus down to Aguas Calientes. There you will collect your luggage at the Hotel and board the train to Ollantaytambo. When you arrive at Ollantaytambo, you will transfer to a van for a ride back to Cusco by van where you will be dropped off at your hotel or hostel.



We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco shortly after 4 a.m. to go by private van to Mollepata. This is a spectacular scenic drive through the Anta plains with beautiful and panoramic views across a vast plateau of the majestic Salkantay and other mountains covered with snow. Then marvel at the spectacular winding descent into the Valley of Apurimac River. After 2½ hours we stop in Mollepata to have breakfast and shop for last minute supplies. There will be time for leg-stretching or to use the bathrooms, before continuing to Marcocasa. There we will meet with our support staff. They will load the equipment on horses and mules. Around 8:30 a.m. we will start our trek toward Soraypampa (3900 meters above sea level) if we keep a regular pace we will take 4 hours approximately to reach Soraypampa for lunch at our first campsite. After lunch in the afternoon we have an option to go up to see Umantay Lake a glacial lake below the peak of Salkantay at (4200meters above sea level). This side tour takes 3 hours to hike back and forth from the camp. Alternatively, if we are moving at a slow pace; we will have lunch at halfway between Soraypampa and Marco Casa on our way to Soraypampa. Either way our camp will be at Soraypampa. Sleeping tents will be ready and we will have a warm delicious dinner in the evening.


In the morning we will wake you up with the coca tea at 5:30 a.m. and we will have a nutritious breakfast around 6 a.m. Today we will start the hardest day of the whole Salkantay trek. We will be walking up to the highest point of the trek. After 7 kilometers uphill through the magnificent landscape of rocky mountains, valleys and flood plain and changing views of Mount Salkantay above us. At the top of the trek we will have spectacular views of the mountains and the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay (6245) meters above sea level, the second highest mountain of the Cusco region. Then we go 2 hours downhill around 1:00 p.m. to where we will have our delicious Peruvian lunch, in the area called Huayracmachay. Afterward we continue our hike approximately 3 hours downhill to our camp in Chaullay (2900 meters above sea level) or Colcapampa (3000 meters above sea level). The sleeping tents and warm wash water will be ready and waiting for you. Then after a well-earned hot meal we will retire to our tents for a well-deserved sleep.


Around 6.30am, we start trekking through the high jungle crossing the Lluskamayo valley with its rich variety of flora and fauna to reach La Playa (Sahuayaco) after about 6 hours. We will pass through valleys and have wonderful views of waterfalls, tropical fruits and plants. You will taste the famous passion fruit or granadilla. We will have lunch when we arrive at La Playa. After lunch our horses will go back to Mollepata while we go on to Lucmabamba Campsite where we will spend the night. Here you can choose to go on our coffee tour or opt for a bus drive to Santa Teresa to enjoy the natural hotspring it is famous for. (Bus fares and entrance fees to the natural hot spring is not included in this tour), (coffee tour Is included).


We will have our delicious breakfast at 6 a.m. Then we will walk for about 3 hours up to Llactapata and along the original Inka Trail to Llactapata. From this beautiful archeological site we will be able to see part of Machu Picchu and into the amazing Urubamba valley. Afterwards we have another 3 hours down hill until we arrive to the hydrolectric where we are going to have lunch. Then we will walk for 3 more hours or take a 45 minute train ride to Aguas Calientes to your hotel. After you have settled in we will get together for dinner and a briefing on how to get the most out of your visit to Machu Picchu tomorrow.


After an early breakfast at the hotel you will walk 1 hour 30 minutes or take bus up to Machu Picchu, so we can be the first ones into Machu Picchu to enjoy the sunrise. You will have a private 2 hour guided tour followed by free time in which you will be able to go on to explore Machu Picchu by yourself. If you have booked the Huayna Picchu in advance climb or the walk up Machu Picchu mountain this is the time for you to set off.

Afterward Machu Picchu you will go back down to Aguas Calientes town to catch the train to Ollantaytambo. There our private van will meet you and take you back to Cusco and drop you off at your hotel or hostel.


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