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 4-day 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!

Before you go

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 to the Inca Trail

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 taxi your hotel


Service Level: Budget Travel, basic camping equipment such double tent and syntetic 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, a return train EXPEDITION


Salkantay Cheap Advisor


Day 01: Cusco - Challacancha

Day 01: Cusco - Challacancha

Early morning, we pick you up from your hotel to take you for a 3 hour ride from Cusco (3,400 m) to Mollepata (2,803 m) where we briefly stop to have breakfast. Then we continue our ride for one and half an hour until we reach Challacancha, hear trail to Salkantay Trek. There, we start a gentle hike ahead to a valley of the Soraypampa (3,850 m), first camping. Continuning we walk up to Humantay Mountain, you can appreciate the beatiful lake and glassiar. Return to camping 

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Colcapampa

Day 02: Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Colcapampa

Wake up early morning and breakfast. This day the trek goes steeply uphill first, then follows a serie of zigzags. After a 4 hour climb, we reach the highest pass of the trek - Salkantay Mountain (4,550 m). There, we have an opportunity to observe a stunning scenery of the sacred mountains of Peruvian Andes - Huamantay and Salkantay!! These views quite compensate our big effort reaching this top marked by a pile of stones growing daily as each traveler adds his/her pebble to thank these "Apus" (Salkantay mountain spirits) for a safe trip and good luck! To catch a breath after that, we drop down gently towards the small Soirococha Lagoon, a place where we stop for lunch and short rest. Later on, we descend  at Wayracmachay (3,750 m) where we are served lunch. Continuing the hike, we leave the beautiful pyramid-like peak of the Salkantay Mountain behind us. Fauna and flora start changing since now as we enter a tropical cloud forest discovering its lush vegetation of wild bromelias, orchids and also beautiful birds on the way. We keep descending to the forest through bamboo groves. But you should not forget to look back sometimes as you can see snow-peaks framed by bamboo fronds behind you. After a 4 hour descent, we reach a tiny settlement of Collpapampa (2,850 m) where we set up our next campsite. We relax or walk around this site.dinner, before we go to sleep.

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

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

After a healthy breakfast, we keep descending through a valley deeper into the forest following increasingly tall trees and bamboo groves providing some bird-watching opportunities without missing views of the chaotic Santa Teresa River. We follow an incredibly untouched path where wild strawberries grow at our feet while passion fruits can be found above our heads. This everything is decorated by begonias and purple orchids! Finally, we arrive to La Playa where have a lunch.We take a local bus for an hour long bus ride wich will bring us to the town of Santa Teresa, which is the first actually town that you’ll encounter along the trek, and is also famous for the Santa Teresa hot spring that bubble up right outside of town.
Optional: Santa Teresa Hot Springs U$ 5 or S/ 15 soles extra. After a rest, we will go to the hot springs and enjoy the well-deserved soothing water!

Day 04: Santa Teresa - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

Day 04: Santa Teresa - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

After breakfast you will walk for four hours until you reach the Urubamba River and have lunch by the hydro-electric station there.Hydrolectrica is actually farther than Machu Picchu town on the train. It is mainly used by locals. There we follow trails leading us to Aguas Calientes town located at the foothill of Machu Picchu Mountain!. Walking along the train line is much more enjoyable than we anticipated as a wide path undulates beside the tracks. Almost the entire distance is shaded by jungle foliage, trees and flowers, the incline is very gradual. Arrived to Aguas Calientes and basic hostel.


Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Day 05: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

After an early morning breakfast, we continue for about 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu that we enter for the early morning best photos opportunities! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the Incan city and explains us about its history and purposes. After the guided tour, we can enjoy hiking Machu Picchu Mountain(1 and half and hour up and the same time down) or Huayna Picchu(45 minute climb), these are peaks above Machu Picchu that are used to take some panoramic pictures of the Incan city! Then, we are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on our own. In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo, from where we are taken by van back to 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
  • Sleeping mattress
  • 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;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu (U$80) or Machu Picchu Mountain (U$80);
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu (U$12 - one way - U$ 24 round trip);
  • Water every day;
  • 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)
  • Travel insurance (+ copies for a case of lost),
  • 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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