Salkantay Trek

   Cusco, Peru
   Moderate difficulty
   60 km
   2800 to 4650 meters

About the Journey:

National Geographic named the Salkantay Trek one of the Top 25 Treks in the World. It is the most popular alternative trek to Machu Picchu (than the Inca Trek) as it is “off the beaten path”. The trek goes around the base of the Salkantay mountain, one of the most iconic mountain ranges in the Cusco region. Hikers will cross the snow-capped Salkantay pass before descending into the deep vegetation of the Peruvian cloud forest where you will find a wide range of animals, plants, and beautiful flowers. The Salkantay trek is one of the few treks where you’ll be able to experience such drastic landscapes in one trek. It is an amazing experience for Machu Picchu travelers looking for a little more privacy.

* Note: The altitude can be a problem for beginner hikers. It is recommended to spend at least three days prior in Cusco to adjust.


Day 1:

We will depart Cusco early morning (around 3 am) and drive to the village of Mollepata (about a two hour drive). From there, we will follow a gradual trail up the side of the valley. All along the trek, we will be surrounded by lush green mountains, plants, beautiful flowers, and hopefully a few different animals. We’ll also have the amazing view of the snow-capped Humantay and Salktantay peaks above us. We’ll climb until we reach Soraypampa (4000m) where we will camp for the night.

Day 2:

This morning we will start the most difficult part of the trek, but also the most beautiful. We will climb gradually towards the beautiful Salktantay pass, the second highest point in the Cusco region. As we descend, the views are amazing through the lush cloud forest and as we pass the blue Salktantay lake. The downhill is long and steady and after about a nine hour journey, we will arrive to our camp at Colpapampa.

Day 3:

We will start today’s trek early and will trek for about five hours along the Ahobamba river to La Playa. We will hike through a cloud forest where the views, animals, and plant species are varied and brilliant. We’ll also have the opportunity to pass through coffee and fruit plantations where we can stop and enjoy sampling some of Peru’s finest. We will journey until we reach the village of La Playa where you’ll be able to stock up on refreshments and take a dip in the hot springs.

Day 4:

Today we will make the ascent towards the ruins of Llactapata. This is the last stretch of the journey before we reach Aguas Calientes, the base of Machu Picchu. We will observe beautiful landscapes and diverse flora and fauna all along our journey. When we arrive in Llactapata, we’ll be able to explore and learn about the Inca culture as we have a great view of Machu Picchu.. Then we will hike back down to the Hydroelectric station and finish our day with a walk to Aguas Calientes where we will stay in a hostel and be able to go out to a restaurant in dinner before we head to Machu Picchu in the morning.

Day 5:

The day will start bright and early as we head to Machu Picchu. We’ll take the bus up to Machu Picchu where we will have a guided tour of the ancient citadel. We’ll then have the opportunity to explore the ruins on our own for a while and we also have the option to hike the Huayna Picchu (although cost is not included in the trek price). We will then take the train back to Ollantaytambo, from where we will take the bus back to Cusco.


Once your payment is done, you spot will be automatically reserved. However, please keep in mind that we require at least three people for any departures to be confirmed. For more information please visit our Cancellation Policy

What's Included:

A Reputable Guide:

All of the guides at Runnatrip are English speaking (fluently, not casually) and are officially certified guides which is important because a lot of tour operators will use non-certified guides because it is cheaper. Our guides are experts in these treks and will make you feel both safe and welcomed. You have the option to meet your guide in our office prior to your trek so you can learn more about what you should expect on your journey. This is very much encouraged, but not required.


Transportation is included from your hotel to the start of trek and from the end of trek to plaza de armas. This is usually a private van. Treks that include Machu Picchu also include the cost of the train ticket into the ruins.

All Fees:

All entrance/trek fees are covered. You are good if you bring no cash at all. However, tip is always appreciated by the guides/porters.

Evacuation Plan & Safety:

There will be at least one horse just in case of accidents, so people can be evacuated fast. We will also have a first aid kit and oxygen tank with us as well.

All Food and Water:

The mules will be carrying all of the food we will need during the trek. The food is typical camping food like soup, noodles, chicken, beans, rice, fruits, tea and coffee. We will also boil clean water to drink each morning and evening, but be sure to bring your own container.

Camping Equipment:

We will also be providing tents and sleeping mats, tables (varies between treks), chairs, and cooking equipment. Each night we will set up a community tent where we will have dinner and enjoy each other’s company before we head off to bed/go our separate ways for the night.

Porters/cookes/mules to carry the equipments and handle logistics. (depending on the trek, mules can carry up to 5kg of your personal stuff (your tent will already be carried)).

What to Bring:

Comfortable and moisture wicking clothing, hiking boots, sleeping bag, toilet paper, trekking poles, lightweight sandals (to hang around campsite), bottle/container for water.

What Not to Bring:

Jeans, heavy books, laptop, knives, drugs, alcohol, and babies.

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