This amazing Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu 6 Days runs beneath the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6.271m/20569ft), one of the highest and most stunning in the Peruvian Andes. . The Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay 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, daunting even for the world’s elite athletes.” It is a trek open to everybody, and the most popular alternative to the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, and rich in natural scenery. The trek´s namesake, Apu Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft) is taller than the highest mountain in North America, Mt McKinley (6,194 m/20,332)in Alaska and highest peak in Africa, Mt Kilimanjaro (5,892 m/19,331 ft).
The six day version of the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu has many advantages. First of all the trek begins at Marcoccasa, which is 9 km before the traditional start of the Salkantay trek at Soraypampa. Those who have hiked the Marcoccasa to Soraypampa portion of the trail say it, “is a destination in its own right and could be an enjoyable overnight trip for those with limited time.” Additionally having 5 days to complete the trail instead of four means you have more opportunities to visit “off the beaten path locations” and will see less crowds! You will have more time to be immersed in the natural beauty that surrounds this mountain due to its unique geographical location!
It is a trek open to everybody, and the most popular alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
Overall distance hiked: 75 km/ 46 miles
Maximum altitude reached: 4650 m/ 15088 ft
Overall trek difficulty: challenging
Before the Salkantay trek, your guide will meet you at our office in Cusco for an in-depth briefing. This provides an opportunity to ask questions and do any last-minute shopping before leaving Cusco.
We will pick you up at your hotel early to drive until Mollepata (2800 m/ 9184ft) where we will stop to get breakfast. Then we drive for about one hour until Marcoccasa where we are going to start our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. We hike up for about 2 and a half hours until we reach the high point for today. Then we go down for about 1 ½ hours to Challacancha (3600 m/ 11,808 ft) where we will have lunch. After a delicious lunch we walk two hours until our camp at Soraypampa (3,850m / 12,600ft).
After breakfast we hike up for about 3 ½ hours until Soyrococha (4200 m/ 13,776 ft) where we are going to have lunch. After that we will continue up for one hour until we reach the highest point of our trek, Abra Salkantay (4650 m/ 15,088ft). After taking pictures and talking about the mountains we will go down for 2 hours to our next camp at Huayracmachay (3,800 m / 12,500ft).
This day is all downhill for four hours. On the way down there is an Inca site called Andenes (3,500 m/ 11,480ft). We will stop here and have a tour. At this site you will see Inca Terraces. We will continue our hike with an easy downhill walk along the Salkantay River, enjoying the increasingly lush vegetation, passing waterfalls, passion fruit and coffee plantations. The arid highland landscape begins to transform into a cloud forest filled with trees and bromeliads. After 1 ½ to 2 hours we arrive at the settlement of Chaullay, and after another 45 minutes to the town of Colpapampa (2900 m/ 9514 ft).
After working hard on day 2, we are rewarded with a more gentle hike today. We will have a fantastic breakfast and then hike 5 to 6 hours on gentle up and down segments. We will be hiking through the rain forest, following the path of the Santa Teresa river. 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 trek.
We will reach Lucmabamba, our campsite for the evening, around noon. Here we will relax and enjoy a delicious lunch!
After lunch, we will do an incredible coffee tour at the plantation adjacent to the campsite. We will begin by browsing the fields, learning about the different types of beans, and picking our own beans. There are also several fields of tomatoes and avocados. We will pick vegetables that the chef will use for dinner that night.
After picking our beans, we will roast them and grind them. Finally, we will brew and drink our own coffee! It is a truly unique experience.
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 at 2 to 3 hour walking tour of the site.
If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu mountain you should choose the 11 AM time. The ticket price for Huayna Picchu mountain is included in the price of your trek. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have free time to explore the site before you return back to Aguas Calientes by bus.
Upon return to Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo you will travel by minivan to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.