Salkantay Trek, is a classic Machu Picchu trek program of 5 days and 4nights, a hike that leads you to Machu Picchu. It runs about 36 miles, starting at the northwest of Cusco city, we will pass the Vilcanota Mountains which are range of impressive mountains, where the highest mountain is the Salkantay, who’s summit reaches “6,271m”, (Salkantay means holly and savage mountain), the salkantay hike offers one of the nicest landscapes of the region, changing landscapes, different ecosystems, glacier summit views, from high valleys descending into a lush high jungle territories are the particular attractions of this trek, with abundant flora and fauna.
The Classic Salkantay trek is considered the best alternate trail to machu picchu, this trail offer a wide amount of landscapes and ecosystems that makes it even more especial, The salkantay hike is a famous tour, that is offered by almost all tour companies, they have set campsites and more than 90% of them has the same itinerary, with this issue on mind we have decided to modify our itinerary, an itinerary that will allow us to run away from the crowds and enjoy the trail without the crowds.
Hike this fantastic classic salkantay trek leaded by expert professional local tour guides. We are 100% local tours operator expert in small groups and private tours.
Day 01: Cusco – Marco Ccasa – Salkantay Pampa Camp: Our Salkantay Trek, starts with early departure from your hotel in Cusco city “05:00 hrs”, and drive to the trail start point, we will pass by several towns and villages before arriving to Mollepata “the last town before the hike” the drive to here, takes about 2 hours, then we continue to marco ccasa, a place where we begin our classic pachu picchu trek, the site has an impressive landscape views (only few people start at this point, 99% of hikers will start at mollepata and follow different path), at the beginning the trail leads by a slight climb. It will be very common to see various plants and native birds along the way, then the trail arrives in to a section where we will hike by a gentle path with flat and gentle ups beside an irrigation canal, the viewpoints amaze always to our hikers, at 13:00 hours we arrive to Soraypampa where we lunch. After lunch, the trail continues by a valley and up to Salkantay pampa, it is a quiet camp ground where we set up our tents and spend the 1st night aver 4,000 masl. After dinner we spend the night in a quietest camp where, there may not be other trekkers
Day 02: Salkantay pampa – summit – Collpapampa: Early morning after breakfast we re-start our hike at approximately 07:00 hrs, the trail goes an uphill zigzagging path right in front of the salkantay mount. After 03 hour we finally summit the salkantay pass 4657m, at the summit we celebrate by sharing hugs and taking pictures for the memory (we may be one of the first groups arriving to the summit because other hikers had camped an hour far), from here we descend by an inca trail, then arrive on a small plateau where we’ll stop for our snacks, then continue banking a white water river and stop at wayracpampa for lunch. From lunch we keep descending the trail that will soon arrive in to the cloud forest, this is the nicest section for those who loves plants, lush forest will make our walk more pleasant, after approximately 3 hours from lunch we will arrive to collpapampa 2,980 m. which at the union of 03 rivers, we camp in the nicest ground.
Day 03: Collpapampa – La playa – Lucmabamba. We will wake up with the natural alarm clock “birds and roosters from the village”, have breakfast and walk an interesting section banking the santa Teresa river, the area offer dense vegetation, numerous birds on the trees, flowers, orchids and also the local fruits. We will walk by lluscamayu which is home of a family, they grow passion fruits and avocados, we’ll try their fruits for as little price than you will not fine better price ever for an avocado. We continue the walk and we may see the Peruvian national bird (gallito de las rocas, rupicola peruviana) then arrive to la playa 2200m (river beach), where our trekking chef wil provide us with the delicious meal to recover our energy. La Playa is a camp site for some hikes, we will continue one hour far and spend the night at lucmabamba in the middle of coffee plantation, we can make our coffee degustation, then after dinner we spend the night in a quiet private camp ground at 2100m.
Day 4: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidro – Aguas Calientes. After breakfast, we re-start our hike, an inca trail will lead us to the archaeological site of llactapata, this is located at 2 hours from the camp on uphill trail. From the we can have a view of machu picchu, then arrive to the site and see on the same way how it has being been discovered, form this point a large switch-back trail will take us down to the river bank, in about 6 hours of walking we get hydroelectric, place for lunch and take local trail to arrive in aguas calientes at around 5.00 pm. (as an optional alternative if you do not want to climb up the mountain we take a local van and drive to hydroelectric, place from where we walk by a trail next to train tracks to aguas calientes, it is an easy path that takes about 3 hours, we still can see machu picchu from the back side, we arrive earlier to aguas calientes “Machu Picchu Town”, our guide will take you to your hotel where you can take shower and relax). At dinner time our guide will meet you and take you to a restaurant where we have dinner in group and after that you return to your hotel and spend the night (nice hotel with hot shower, private bath).
Day 05: Machu Picchu Tour – Back to Cusco. Early departure is needed and after that we take bus for 30 minutes, once we enter in to the archaeological park, we have the opportunity to have the sun rise. the guided tour will take you to visit all the most important sector of the place, the usual guided tour takes 2 hours in a rush time, our guides will do it in 03 hour, we’ll learn about the importance, religious and historical of the place, place to appreciate the fine architecture of the incas after tour if have a ticket for the huayna picchu mountain you can climb up the mountain, this mountains is on the saddle high over the Urubamba River that offers a good overview of the whole area. Another possibility is to walk to the inca bridge. After a great tour in machu picchu it is time to catch bus to aguas calientes, in order to catch train back to Ollantaytambo from where we catch bus to Cusco where our fantastic classic salkantay trek ends.
Average General Estimation: (Trek Difficulty: Medium. Distance: 15kms, walking time: 6 – 7 hours).