This is the express version of the Classic 5 day, 4 night Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. With this itinerary, you will complete the trek in 3 days and spend the 4th day at Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu runs beneath the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6,271 m/ 20,569 ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Andes. The Salkantay Trek was recently named on the National Geographic Ultimate Adventure bucket list – defined as “The 20 most extreme, hair-raising, legendary adventures on the planet.” It is a trek open to everybody, and the most popular alternative to the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
You will have 3 days of trekking through various landscapes including highlands, cloud forest, rain forest and dry mountain. Throughout the trek you have amazing views of Apu Salkantay, Pumasillo Mountain and Humantay Mountain, three of the most stunning peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba Mountain range.
Our standard package includes the premium services of lodging in a very nice hotel on the third night of the trek and dinner at the best restaurant in Aguas Calientes. Your ticket to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain after your Machu Picchu tour is also included.
If you are a strong, outdoors experienced person the Salkantay Express version of the trek might be perfect for you!
You will have a thorough briefing with your guide 1 or 2 days before your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. Your guide will meet you at our office in Cusco and you can take this opportunity to ask questions and make any final preparations.
We will pick you up from your hotel early in the morning and have a beautiful scenic drive of 3 hours duration to Mollepata. At Mollepata we will have breakfast at one of the local houses. During this portion of the drive we will have our first views of the magnificent Salkantay and Humantay Mountains, as well as observe lush vegetation and the fields of local families growing potatoes, quinoa, lima beans, etc.
At this point we will arrive at Soraypampa (3,800 m/12,467 ft), the trailhead for the Salkantay trek, and meet our support staff, who will pack everything for the trek and load the equipment onto horses. We begin the hike with a gentle 2 hour climb to Salkantaypampa. During this portion of the trek we will follow a little stream whose source is the Salkantay glacier. We will also see the moraines and the glaciers of Apu Salkantay and Humantay mountains.
From Salkantaypampa we will hike steeply for 1 ½ hours until we reach Soyrococha, our lunch spot. After reaching this location we continue to climb steeply for 2.5 to 3 hours to the Salkantay pass where we will make small offerings to the Apus (mountain spirits). This is the highest point of the trek (4,600 meters/ 13,451 feet).
Our next task is a 2 hour downhill hike to Huayracmachay (3,800 m/12,464 ft), our camp for the evening.
We will wake up early this morning and see a gorgeous view of Salkantay and Humantay Mountains. We will have breakfast and then begin a 3 and ½ hour downhill hike to Colpapampa. During this segment we will be in the cloud forest and pass by the Village of Chaullay. We will have lunch at Colpapampa.
After lunch we will be hiking through the rain forest, following the path of the Santa Teresa river. This portion of the trek has up and down portions and lasts approximately 5 to 6 hours. We will have the opportunity to see multiple coffee plantations, banana plantations, and fields of passion fruit. Along this path you will also see the most beautiful waterfall along the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu.
We will reach Lucmabamba, our campsite for the evening, around five pm.
We will wake up early and have breakfast. Today´s hike starts with a moderate 3 ½ hour climb through the rain forest until we reach the Llactapata Inca site (2,700 m/8,856 ft), where we will have a thorough tour. This is the location where you will have your first view of Machu Picchu in the far distance. You will also have a first look at the mountain you will hike tomorrow, Huayna Picchu!
Leaving Llactapata, we begin a 2 ½ hour descent to Hydroelectric, where we will have lunch. At 3 pm we will board the train for a 40 minute trip to Aguas Calientes.
On arrival at Aguas Calientes you will check into your hotel. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.
You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take a very early bus (5:30am) along the winding road to Machu Picchu to see the magnificent sunrise. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.
If you have elected to climb Machu Picchu mountain you will begin the hike at 10 AM. The ticket price for Machu Picchu mountain is included in the price of your trek. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have free time to explore Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.
When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.