SALKANTAY TREK BACKPACKER Cost | Salkantay Trek Backpacking
Salkantay Trek Machu
Sustainable Tourism Operator
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Salkantay Trek Backpacker

Salkantay Trek Backpacker

Salkantay Trek Backpacker is one of the most interesting and important alternative trekking routes to the Inca Trail. This trek perfectly combines cultural and natural beauty with an important mountaintop located Inca site and wide range of biodiversity, different ecosystems, and vantage points where you see Mt Salkantay and Machupicchu Inca sanctuary. The Trail leads you to the head of the valley and uphill towards pass Salkantay (4,600mt/15,000ft) and as you will be ascending, you will need a dose of adrenaline to summit. Upon arriving at the top, you will admire this imposing second highest snow-topped Mt Salkantay considered the "guardian spirit of the jungle by natives of the Andes. Down from the pass, the trail goes through a narrow valley with massive stones spread out in the area. The vegetation is scarce with only straw, cacti, moss, and lichen attached on the rocks. The hike continues down into the subtropical ecosystem with lush vegetation of flowers, trees, and food crops. Finally, the trail leads you to Aguas Calientes located at the bottom of the historical site and one of World seven wonders, the Inca site of Machupicchu. On the last day of the trip, you will explore Machupicchu early in the morning so as to enjoy sunrise and avoid the crowds. Explore "deep into the Andean mountains" traversing one of the most scenic areas of Peru. You will also have the chance to experience native communities by sharing their daily activities. The tour is supported with horses for your convenience, camping equipment, a balanced and energetic diet, and a knowledgeable and experienced crew. Want a remote experience in the Andes? Salkantay Trek is waiting for you!


Responsible Travel Salkantay Trek Machu



Tour Overview

Day 1: Bus journey to the trailhead(Challacancha,3869mt/12693) hike to Soraypampa and Lake Humantay,campsite in Soraypampa.
Day 2: Hike to Pass Salkantay (4,600mt/15,090ft), down to lunch, then, continue to Colpapampa campsite (3,100mt/10,170ft) 

Day 3: Leisurely hike to La Playa Sahuayaco (2,067mt/6,781ft). After lunch, bus to Santa Teresa (1,550mt/5,085ft) and soak in the hot springs.
Day 4: Hike to Hidroelectrica town (1,890mt/6,200ft) and then to Aguas Calientes(2,000mt/6561ft)
Day 5: Visit of the historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu, and return to Cusco by train.


Highlights of Salkantay Cheap Trek:

  • Scenic Andean views 
  • Picturesque villages and Inca sites along the way
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Hike the best alternative trek!!

Departure Point: Cusco - You will be picked up from your hotel.

Departure Time: 04:00 - 05:00

Briefing Point: Our guide will brief you on the hike at your hotel lobby 2 or 1 prior trek departure  

Briefing Time: Between 18:00 - 19:00

Return Point: Cusco - Our driver will drop you off near the main square, then you can take a taxi to your hotel


Service Level: Budget Travel, basic camping equipment such a double tent and foam mattress.

Physical Rating: 3 - Moderately strenuous but accessible to most healthy travellers

Age requirement: 12+ / All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.

Tour Operator: Local Tour Operator

Crew: A Salkantay Trek Machu Representative in Cusco and a professional english speaking Tour Guide, Chef and Horse driver. Our tour guide will brief you on your trek in your hotel 1 or 2 days prior trek departure

Accommodation: 3x campsite, 1x Hostel

Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinners.

Transportation: Tourist transportation and Expedition return Train.


Responsible Travel

Some trekking companies promote themselves as being eco-friendly, however, they have built hotels and  glamping domes along the Salkantay route destroying nature, spoiling the natural beauty, and polluting nature with sewage, etc. Salkantay Trek Machu use tents which can be dismantled and taken away with us, and essentially leave no trace. We are a eco-friendly and  responsible travel company operating tours on the Salkantay 5 day trek.


Please be aware of using responsible companies when travelling, do not support spoiling nature. 


Salkantay Trek Tours:

Salkantay Trek Cheap - Advisor



Day 01: Cusco - Challacancha-Soraypampa

Day 01: Cusco - Challacancha-Soraypampa

You will be picked you in your hotel and  bus to the starting point  of the hike located in Challacancha (3,700mt/12,139ft), The bus takes you to nothwest of  Cusco to the agricultural town of Mollepata (2,800mt/9,186ft). Afte breakfast stop in Mollepata, the bus journey continues to Challacancha trailhead as you enjoy the scenic drive with views of snow-topped mountain Humantay. Upon arrivig at trailhead, you will warm up and get ready for the walk and meet the rest of the crew such as the chef and mule drivers and also last chance to buy snacks or water from  the local shops. The trail gradually slopes up and then goes down to Soraypampa enjoying the natural beauty of the andean region. After 3 hours of steady hike, you will arrive to  the first campsite named  Soraypampa (3900mt/12,795mt). After lunch at the campsite, you will set out to a short hike to lake Humantay (4,200mt/13,780ft), you will enjoy a spectacular view of the bright blue lake Humantay  with snow-topped mountain Humantay in the background. Back at the campsite you will chill  until dinner time, and afterwards you will be briefed on the following day itinerary.

Day 02: Soraypampa - Pass Salkantay - Collpapampa

Day 02: Soraypampa - Pass Salkantay - Collpapampa

You will be nicely awakened with coca tea or coffee served in your tent. After a nutritious and hearty breakfast, the trail gradually slopes up to pass Salkantay (4,600mt/15,141ft). As you ascend the views of the Mt Salkantay are more imposing. Arriving at the pass, you will learn how ancient cultures gave offfering to the mountain using coca leaves. Afterwards, the trail descends to Wayaracmachay hamlet for a well-deserved rest. Then, it narrows and descends to Collpampa. On the way down to campsite, the vegetation gradually becomes lush with flowers such as begonias, orchids,  lillies, trees with moss and liquen on them, pampas grass, food crops, etc. and also the temperature becomes warmer. Campsite at Collpapampa (3,100mt/ 10,200ft).

Day 03: Colpapampa - La Playa Sahuayaco - Santa Teresa Hot Springs

Day 03: Colpapampa - La Playa Sahuayaco - Santa Teresa Hot Springs

You will wake up sipping coca tea or coffee served in your tent. The trail goes undulating to  La Playa town and as it drops in altitude the temperature increases suitable for other different crops such as coffee, banana fields and avocado trees, etc. After 5 hours hiking through lush ecosystem, you will arrive to La Playa town  and have lunch. After resting, you will ride to Santa Teresa and set up campsite. In the afternoon, there is an optional activity to go to the hotsprings of Cocalmayo, this an arranged in diffferent sizes and temperatures you can jump in and recover from the previous hike. During the night, we will have dinner, the instructions for the next day, time to share with the group and rest.

Day 04: Santa Teresa - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

Day 04: Santa Teresa - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

The day starts with breakfast to face the hike to Hidroeléctrica with energy. We will continue seeing the diversity of landscape, already traveling altitudes between 1700 and 2000 m, where it is possible to appreciate the jungle landscape to our destination. On the other hand, there is the option (no include) of taking a zipline during the morning, which involves several meters of cable between the hills, to finally arrive at Hydroelectric for lunch. After lunch, and the group has already gathered, we will walk along the train line for 3 hours to Aguas Calientes. Here, we will settle in our hostel until dinner time in a restaurant in the city. After lunch, we will receive the guide's instructions for the next day, as well as a snack for the road between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu, before going to rest.

Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Wake up early to explore the Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu, you can go either by foot (1h:30min)  or bus(20min).On arriving at the entrance of Machupicchu, you will meet your guide and have a 2hour guided tour of the largest and holiest Inca town of Machupicchu. Then, you will have free time to explore the site by yourself, or, climb one of the sacred mountains (Machu Picchu mountain or Huayna Picchu, please book them in advance). Afterwards, you will bus down to Aguas Calientes for lunch and enjoy a well-deserved rest the return to Aguas Calientes. Finally you will board the train to Ollantaytambo and then change for a bus back to your hotel.

Included on the salkantay Trek

  • Pre-trek briefing (Our guide will visit your hotel a day before the trek for your briefing);
  • Early morning transfer by tourist bus to Challacancha - the initial point of the trek;
  • Accommodation: Campsites (3 nights) and a Hostel in Machu Picchu (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to the red of Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner and Hot drinks in the evening (please advise us in advance if you are a vegetarian; this option is for NO extra additional cost);
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide (a group of up to 8 participants receives 1 Guide, a group over 8 persons receives 2 Guides);
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 5 kg of each passenger's stuff; 
  • Personal double tents
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco;
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle.

Not Included:

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu (U$25);
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu (U$12 - one way - U$ 24 round trip);
  • Inflatable mattress (Term-a-Rest Mattress) U$ 25; 
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C) U$ 20;
  • ZIP Line in Santa Teresa U$ 45
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

What to take on the Salkantay?

  • Original passport (+ copies for a case of lost),
  • Original ISIC (an international student card if applicable)
  • Pocket money in Nuevos Soles,
  • A backpack
  • A small rucksack,
  • Rain gear (a rain-jacket and a waterproof trousers or a rain poncho - this can be purchased in Cusco),
  • Resistible footwear, waterproof trekking shoes are recommended,
  • Sandals (for a higher comfort while at a campsite),
  • Warm clothes such as a jacket, a fleece (thermal clothing is also recommended for cold nights during camping),
  • Hat or a cap (to protect you against the Sun, rain as well as cold),
  • Sun cream or sun block,
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body,
  • Insect repellent – recommended minimum is 20% DEET (please note that no malaria cases have been reported during this trip!),
  • Camera and its charger/batteries (please note that batteries are consumed quickly under cold conditions),
  • Flashlight/headlamp + batteries,
  • Handkerchiefs and toilet paper,
  • Small towel and toiletries,
  • Sufficient reserve of underwear,
  • Swimsuit (to visit the thermal baths of Aguas Calientes),
  • Snacks (biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.)
    Please note: we do provide a daily morning snack and our meal service is very complete and well supplied. The recommendation of taken own snack applies only for customers who like a specific snack that might not be in our menu.
  • Bottled water for the first morning and a water bottle to be refill.
  • Optional: walking sticks; you can also rent it from us,
  • Please note: we provide with filtered boiled water during the entire trek, but if you like to use water from streams along the trail, you need to take some water-purifying tablets with you.

Salkantay Tour operators

Salkantay Trek Machu Tour Operator is an experienced, established and dynamic travel company. We are a tour operator of Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. We have been providing tours for more than 8 years and our reliable, friendly and personal service is why our travellers come back year after year. We count on personnel who are highly prepared and always available to offer you a personalized service in Peru. Salkantay Trek Machu Operator offers adventure trips with a wide-range of different styles to suit any person's requirements.Welcome to the Salkantay family, we will make your dream trip an unforgettable reality.

Frequent questions:

What is Salkantay Trek

Salkantay Trek links the city of Cusco with the Citadel of Machu Picchu. The start of this 5-day pedestrian excursion is from the town of Mollepata, a few kilometers from Cusco, and is done in one direction, from Cusco to Machu Picchu; the return is always made in a motorized way in train. 


Who will participate in Salkantay Trek with me? 

We propose 2 types of Trek: in private or in groups. In private, only your friends and our staff will be part of Salkantay Trek; although it is the type of Trek preferred by some, it is the most expensive. However, most prefer, by their own wishes and for budget reasons, a group Trek; that is, you would do the Trek accompanied by other hikers. As it is impossible to know in advance (in addition to questions of confidentiality) who will be part of your group, it is impossible for us to respond accurately. Generally, it is a group of hikers of different nationalities and ages. We can summarize by saying that it is a small group of hikers with guides, pack horses and muleteers. It should be noted that, as far as possible, (tourists without a fixed travel date, etc.) we try to group a maximum of people of the same nationality and age range on the same trek.This is the cheapest option.  


What are the dates of departure? 

It would not be pleasant or prudent to do this Trek in the rainy season; that is why we only propose it when the weather conditions are favorable. These conditions may vary from year to year and there are departures during all year but we preffer to do the trek on these periods, which are generally from April to September. During these periods, we offer departures every day of the week, including holidays. 

I've heard about a "local" train, can I take it? 

Indeed, there is a train called "local" for the route Cusco - Aguas Caliente, but by decree of the government is reserved for Peruvian residents, upon presentation of an identity document. No tourist can take it.  

Can I do the Salkantay Trek by myself?

It is not recommended. The Trek of Salkantay is only accessible to hikers accompanied by certified expert guides, who know the way very well.So it is imposible to hike Salkantay without a tourism guide.

What to do with my luggage during Salkantay Trek

Most of the places where you will be staying (hotel, hostel or lodging houses) can store your luggage for free during the Trek. But we also, gladly, can keep it; All you have to do is bring it to our agency on the eve of the Trek. 

Do you practice an ethical trade? 

Ethical trade aims, let's remember, to make a trade that respects social conditions (rights and guarantees of employees, decent wages, etc.) and the environment (respect and protection of the environment, places, flora and fauna ). As it is a very important point for us, we can say with great pride that we respect the employees in general and the porters in particular (because they are very numerous and surely make the job more difficult). We always work with the same carriers, which is a guarantee for them, for us and for our customers. We do not choose porters based on their availability (many are independent) because we have ours. Regarding respect for the environment, we can mention as an example that during the Salkantay Trek we carry garbage bags for the classification of waste, we also carry biodegradable portable toilets, we keep the waste throughout the Trek to be discarded at the exit, 4 days later, etc. Finally, the answer is yes, not out of necessity but out of conviction and ethics.


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