Salkantay Trek Machu
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Salkantay Trek Cheap

Salkantay Trek Cheap

Salkantay Trek Cheap is one of the most interesting and important alternative route to the Inca Trail. This trek perfectly combines cultural and natural beauty with different biodiversity of flora, different ecosystems and of course, everything at a good price. An Inca stays in the top of a mountain facing the back of Machu Picchu Mountain. Finally this trail leads us to Aguas Calientes located at the base of the historical and archaeological site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. We visit it early in the morning to see the sun and avoid the crowds while touring Machu Picchu with our English speaking and knowledgeable guides. Experience the “deep Cusco” walking through one of the most picturesque landscapes of Peru. This Salkantay trek will take you to the base of the sacred snow peak of Salkantay (6,271 meters), considered the “Guardian Spirit of the Jungle by local natives.


You will get the chance to experience to see native communities and ecological biodiversity of the region before arriving at the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. You will need a good dose of adrenaline as you climb one step above 4,600 meters (15,300 feet). The tour is supported with horses for your convenience and we provide you with top quality camping equipment and a very balanced and energetic diet. Want a remote experience in the Andes? Salkantay Trek is waiting for you!

Quick Itinerary


Day 1: Drive to the trailhead - Challacancha, hike to Soraypampa and Umantay Mountain, camp overnight in Soray.
Day 2: Hike to Salkantay Mountain, lunch, then, continue to Colpapampa.

Day 3: Wake up early and walk down to La Plata Sahuayaco. Take a bus to Santa Teresa and visit the hot springs.
Day 4: Continuing the trek to the Hidroelectrica. Then hike past the Urubamba River to the Hidroelectrica. Hike to Aguas Calientes
Day 5: Hike the last stretch to Machu Picchu. Entrance, guided tour of the legendary citadel, return to Cusco by train.


Highlights of Salkantay Cheap Trek:

  • High altitude camping in the beautiful Andes
  • Villages and ruins along the way
  • Guided tour in Machu Picchu
  • Hike in the best alternative trek!!

Departure Point: Cusco - We pick you up from your hotel.

Departure Time: 04:00 - 05:00

Briefing Point: Our guide will visit your hotel 2 or 1 day before the trek 

Briefing Time: Between 18:00 - 19:00

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


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

Physical Rating: 3 - Demanding -  Some high-altitude hikes or more strenuous activities, 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 Tour Guide, Cook and Horseman during the trek. Our guide will visit you hotel a day before the trek for your briefing

Accommodation: 3x campsite, 1x Hostel

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

Transportation: Tourist transportation and Expedition Train return.


Responsible Travel

Some travel companies promote themselves as being responsible, however, they have built hotels and igloos along the Salkantay route destroying nature and landscape in this way. We do not use either igloos or hotels along the route. We focus on using only tents which can be collapsed and taken away after camping. We at Salkantay Trek Machu are a responsible travel company so we leave only footprints behind us on the Salkantay Trek Cheap.
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

Day 01: Cusco - Challacancha

We will pick you up at your hotel to go to the starting point and leave by vehicle to Mollepata, in a 3-hour trip. There we will have breakfast in a restaurant of a local family. We will have time to buy the last items before meeting with the group with whom we will make the trek. After the guide's instructions, we will climb back to the bus that will take us to Challacancha, from where we will begin the trekking. We will walk the path, seeing the first landscapes with mountains and valleys. After 3 hours, we will arrive at the first camp, Soraypampa, at 3900 m.a.s.l m. Here we will have our lunch and time to recover energy. In the afternoon we will go up to the Humantay Lagoon, natural spectacle, at 1 hour and a half of the camp and at 4100 m of altitude, in which you can see the glacier of the same name in the background, weather permitting. On the way back, we will rest a moment before dinner time, in which we will share and receive the instructions of the guide for the next day, before going to sleep in our tents.

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Colcapampa

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Colcapampa

We will start the day with a coca tea in our tents, to get up with energy. After ordering our things, we will meet for breakfast and then get ready to start the walk. We will begin to climb between the mountains, seeing the difference of landscape with that of the previous day, making stops to rest as we gain altitude. The destination is the Abra Salkantay, at 4650 m.a.s.l, where we will have views of the Humantay glacier and the snowy Salkantay. In this, the highest point of the trekking, we will make a small thank you ceremony to the Pachamama and the surrounding Apus (mountains), and then we will continue our way to Huayracmachay, at 3,800 m altitude, for our lunch. After recovering the energies, we will continue descending, going from a cold and mountainous landscape to a warmer and jungle one, until the Chaullay camp (2900 m altitude), where we will have dinner and rest in our tents.

Day 03: Colpapampa - La Playa Sahuyaco - Santa Teresa Hot Spring

Day 03: Colpapampa - La Playa Sahuyaco - Santa Teresa Hot Spring

We will start the morning with a coca tea in our tents, to wake up and order our things. After breakfast, we will say goodbye to the muleteer, who will go ahead with our luggage, and we will start the trek. On the route we will see different plantations, among which are quinoa and pomegranate. The guide will give us explanations about some flowers and their importance in the Andean culture. After 5 hours of walking, we will arrive at Sahuayacu Beach, where we will have our lunch. After having rested, we will follow the road by bus to Santa Teresa, where we will spend our third night. Here, during the afternoon, it will be possible to go to the thermal baths of Cocalmayo (optional, not included), complex with 3 pools of different temperatures, and recover the muscles of the walk of the previous days. 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

We will get up very early to walk from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (or take the bus). We wait for a climb up the stairs to the citadel, where we will meet with our guide and we will have a tour of 1 hour and a half, with explanations about how the citadel was discovered, the time in which it was built and the techniques used, as well as others interesting data. Then, we will have free time to travel and take pictures on our own, or, climb some of the mountains (Machu Picchu mountain or Huayna Picchu) if you included the optional service. After you have traveled the site, there is the return to Aguas Calientes to pick up your things and go to the station half an hour before the departure time of your train to Ollantaytambo. From there, we will take a vehicle that will leave us in the center of the city of Cusco.

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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