Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu 5 days

trail to machu picchu in peru

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is listed among the 25 best treks in the world by National Geographic Travel Magazine and undoubtedly one of the best alternative treks in Cusco. You will find lakes, glaciers, different landscapes, orchids, coffee farms and you will venture into the cloud forest. The best option if the Classic Inca Trail is exhausted and you want to be off the beaten track


  • Follow the paths of the Inca along the Cordillera de Vilcabamba.
  • Explore Humantay Lake and Llactapata.
  • Enjoy a Pachamanca and coffee tour.
  • Arrival at Machu Picchu before dawn.
  • Return to Cusco by Vistadome train.
Full Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco – Soraypampa – Laguna Humantay – Campamento Base

Pick up from your hotel in Cusco at 4:30 am and travel to Soraypampa (3870 m / 12696 ft). After breakfast, you will walk for 2 hours to the Humantay lake. Explore the beautiful views. Then another 4 hours to the camp at Salkantaypampa (4000 m / 13123 ft).

Camp Altitude: 4000 m / 13123 ft
Maximum Altitude: 4200 m / 13779 ft
Distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
Duration: 6 hours
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Campsite
difficulty: moderate

Day 2: Campamento – Paso del Salkantay – Collpapampa

Wake up in your tent with a cup of coffee or tea. Then hike for 2 hours to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay pass (4630m/15190ft); once you reach the top, you will take some time to explore and enjoy the views of the snow-capped peaks. From here you descend for 6 hours to the second camp at Collpapampa (2800 m / 9186 ft).

Camp Altitude: 2800 m / 9186 ft
Maximum Altitude: 4630 m / 15190 ft
Distance: 18 km / 11.1 miles
Duration: 8 hours
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Campsite
Difficulty: Moderate to extreme

Day 3: Collpapampa – Lucmabamba – Llactapata

After breakfast, continue for 3 hours downhill through the valley of the Salkantay River, passing waterfalls and varied flora and fauna. Lunch is a special Pachamanca underground barbecue followed by a coffee tour. After lunch, you will hike for 3 hours along an ancient Inca Trail to Llactapata. Camp in front of Machu Picchu.

Camp altitude: 2735 m / 8974 ft.
Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
Duration: 6 hours
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Campsite
difficulty: moderate

Day 4: Llactapata – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes

Today you will wake up, open your tent and see Machu Picchu. After breakfast, you will begin an easy 2-hour descent to Hidroeléctrica and then head to Aguas Calientes. On the way, you will visit the Intihuatana, the Mandor gardens and walk around Machu Picchu. Spend the night in a hotel.

Altitude of Aguas Calientes: 2,000 m / 6560 ft.
Distance: 14 km / 8.6 miles
Duration: 6 hours
Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Accommodation: Hotel
difficulty: moderate

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Discover Machu Picchu with an exclusive guided tour of the citadel before the crowds arrive. Your expert guide will take you to the most beautiful places in Machu Picchu for approximately 3 hours. In the afternoon, I boarded the Vistadome panoramic train back to Cusco.

Machu Picchu Altitude: 2400 m / 7872 ft.
Tour duration: 4 hours.
Meals: breakfast at the hotel

What´s Included:

  • Complimentary airport pickup and drop-off.
  • Pick up from your hotel in Cusco. 
    Carry up to 7 kilos of your things.
  • Pack mules to carry food and equipment.
  • Professional tour guides 
    Second tour guide for groups 9+.
  • Camping equipment (tents, tables, chairs, portable potty).
  • First aid kit, satellite phones, oxygen tank.
  • 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 snacks, 4 dinners.
  • Foam mattress to sleep on, pillows, hot water bottles.
  • Salkantay entrance ticket.
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu.
  • One night in a 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Round trip bus tickets to Machu Picchu.
  • Vistadome Panoramic Train back to Cusco.

Not Included:

  • Sleeping bag, trekking poles, air mattress (can be rented).
  • Huayna Picchu or Mountain tickets.
  • Lunch on the last day in Aguas Calientes.
  • Tips (optional).
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended).

Important information:

  • Group tours depart every day, subject to availability of permits.
  • Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available.
  • Travelers must have a moderate level of fitness.

Cancellation policy:

  • To reserve the Salkantay Trek 5 days, an initial payment of USD 50 per person is required.
  • The initial payment is non-refundable and non-transferable.
  • Cancellation with 24 hours or less, 90% of the total price must be paid.
  • The trip can be canceled due to force majeure.