You will be picked up at your hostel between 3:30 and 4:30am. In the city center you will meet your guide and the rest of the group and be transferred to Mollepata (approx. 3 hours). At Mollepata you will stop for breakfast (not included) and can buy more snacks and water – then you will continue another half an hour by truck to the trailhead. Here, you will organize your luggage* – then, a full day of hiking begins. Spectacular mountain scenery and breathtaking views will fill the day until arriving at the first campsite Soraypampa at approx. 3800m. Here, we will enjoy a nice lunch prepared by our cook and have some time to relax. Those who still have energy can do another optional small hike to the nearby lagoon. We’ll go to bed early after dinner and spend the night at Soraypampa. Trekking distance:
*Read more about the luggage at the end of the page.
We start trekking early in the morning after a good breakfast to start the hardest and most beautiful part of our trekking: with spectacular views and the massive Salkantay smiling down at you, you will start climbing up step by step to the Salkantay Pass at 4600m, the highest point of the trek (approx. 2,5 hours, depending on your speed and the speed of your group). Here, while catching your breath and having some snacks, your guide will explain a little about the Salkantay, the region and its people. Then you start descending for another 2 hours until we arrive our lunch point Huayracmachay (4000m). After a well-deserved lunch we continue walking down into a greener scenery and milder climate to our next campsite Challway at approx. 3000m.
You wake up surrounded by the mystic scenery of green mountains and thick clouds hanging low over the trees and valley. After breakfast we continue our hike crossing rivers and bridges until we reach Playa Sahuayaco. Here, a van will be waiting for you and take us down the dusty winding road to the village of Santa Teresa. After a short rest at the campsite we will visit the nearby hot springs where you can enjoy a well-deserved bath, have a cocktail and relax after the challenging days of trekking. In the evening you will have a briefing with your guide about the options the next day – then, there is usually a little party at the campsite.
You will have breakfast at around 7:00am, then there are different options to choose from.
After the re-union at Hidroeléctrica, you will have lunch with your group and then start the last part of your trekking: under palm trees, with the river one side and the train track on the other, you walk for approx. 2,5 more hours to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town). Arriving in Aguas Calientes you will check into your hostel with comfortable beds, hot shower and WiFi and have some time to visit the hot springs of Aguas Calientes (entrance: 10 Soles), get your snacks for the next day and relax. In the evening you will meet at a restaurant for dinner and your guide will give all the information about the next day as well as your Machu Picchu and train tickets. Make sure to charge your camera and/or smartphone for your visit to Machu Picchu!
Today is the day! You get up early to start walking up to Machu Picchu at around 4:30am, a quite steep ascent on old Inca stairs (approx. 1,5 hours). Optional you can take the first bus (US$ 12.00 one way, be aware that you’d have to line up early to catch the first bus leaving at 5:30am). You will meet your group & guide at the entrance of Machu Picchu and be one of the first groups entering the sanctuary that opens its gates at 6:00am. There will be a 2 hour guided tour given by your guide visiting the most important places of the Inca City. Then you will have the rest of the day to explore Machu Picchu on your own (we recommend bringing snacks and staying until the gate closes at 5:00pm. Usually in the afternoon there are less people). You can do optional short hikes, for example to the Inca Bridge or the Sun Gate, take the obligatory Machu Picchu photo from the view point and chase the numerous Lamas walking around the complex to take a funny picture. Optional you can hike up Huayna Picchu (US$ 10.00) or Machu Picchu Mountain (US$ 7.00). In the afternoon you return to Aguas Calientes (walking down or taking the bus, US$ 12.00 one way). You will have time to pick up your luggage at the hostel and have dinner before your train to Cusco departs (NOTE: there are different train departures depending on availability and tour price. More information below!). An 1,5 hours train ride will bring you to the village of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas where a transport will be waiting for you to bring you back to Cusco (approx. 2,5 hours, arrival at Plaza Regocijo in the city center. From there you have to walk or take a taxi to your hostel. There are safe taxis around at any time).
INFORMATION & RECOMMENDATION
The tour price includes tents (2 people per tent), conventional sleeping mattresses and cooking equipment. You have to bring your own sleeping bag or can hire one from us for US$ 20.00. Please let us know when you book you tour or (latest) at the welcome briefing the night before the trekking.
Horses and mules will carry the group’s camping equipment, cooking equipment, food, as well as 5kg personal luggage per person (this includes your sleeping bag). During the day, your luggage will be packed on the mules and will not be accessible. You will get the luggage when you arrive at the campsite. On day 4, there are no more mules allowed on the route, so you will have to carry all of your personal luggage yourself from Santa Teresa to Aguas Calientes and back to Cusco. You will not have to carry the sleeping bag though, as it will be sent back to Cusco.
Therefore, we recommend to take with you:
Day 1 to 3 you will be accompanied by a cook who will prepare delicious meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the whole group. On day 4 you will have lunch at local restaurants along the way and enjoy a nice dinner at a restaurant in Aguas Calientes. There are vegetarian and special diet options available, please let us know when you book the tour!
Your last meal included will be breakfast in Aguas Calientes on day 5. In Aguas Calientes you will find various nice restaurants to have lunch and dinner before catching your train back to Cusco.
You will have to bring and carry your own water for the trekking. Make sure to bring enough water from Cusco for day 1. On the campsites you can refill your water bottle or buy water from the locals running the campsites (please be aware that due to the remote location of the campsites the bottled water is more expensive than in Cusco as people have to carry it up the mountain by horses). If you chose to refill your water bottle and don’t feel comfortable drinking tab water, we recommend bringing water purification pills to filter your water.
At the campsites and in small shops run by locals along the way you can purchase snacks such as fruit, cookies, chocolates and other sweets. Like the water, snacks will be more expensive than in Cusco. Also, if you want special snacks such as nuts or granola, you should bring it from Cusco.
To do the Salkantay, you should be well acclimatized. We recommend staying in Cusco at least 2 or 3 days before starting the trek. To prevent altitude sickness (Soroche) we recommend drinking Coca Tea and a lot of water and eating light the first day. As a precaution you can take Soroche Pills. If you have any problems with the altitude in Cusco upon your arrival, please let us know immediately so (worst case situation) we can re-schedule your trekking or change you to an easier route.