The best alternative hike to the traditional Inca Trail is the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, ranked as one of wonderfully scenic to hike in the world boasting a great diversity of ecosystems. During the total length of the hike, you will be amazed by the surrounding scenery, food crops, medicinal plants, bamboos, colorful flowers like begonias, orchids, etc.Traversing the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu in 5 Days/ 4 Nights leads you through the most scenic and biodiverse routes with different ecosystems such as Alpine area, tropical high jungle, cloud forest,etc.The Andean people live off the land, farm cattle, poultry and guinea pigs and keep practicing their old traditions. The Salkantay Mountain soars to 6,271 m/20,700 ft considered by the local people a protector mountain god (Apu), and "Guardian Spirit of the Jungle". Enjoy the striking views of snow-topped Mt Salkantay towering at the head of the valley, and admire views of the valley mountains with remote andean villages located at the base of them. On the penultimate day of the tour, you will be astounded by the view of Machu Picchu from the Inca site of LLactapata located at the back of Machu Picchu, Inca sanctuary of Machupichu. Finally, you will explore the Inca sanctuary of Machupicchu, one of the seven wonders of the world.
Sustainable Tourism: At Salkantay Trek Machu, we are happy to promote and practice sustainable tourism and supporting local communities..
Difficulty Hike: 3 Demanding.
Age Requirements: 12+
Crew: A Salkantay Trek Machu representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guide, Cook and a Horseman with horses.
Accommodation: 3x Campsite, 1x Hotel.
Meals: 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, 4x dinner, 3x afternoon hot beverage
Transportation: Private transportation, train ticket return to Cusco.
Camping Equipment: A double tent, Inflatable sleeping roll mattres, feather sleeping bag (-5 grade), a pair of hiking poles, inflatable pillow camping and others (More details, please check the section Included).
Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Soraypampa
Day 02: Soyrapampa - Collpapampa - Challway
Day 03: Collpapampa - La Playa-Lucmabamba/Santa Teresa
Day 04: Lucmabamba -Llactapata - Hidroelectric- Aguas Calientes/Santa Teresa-Hydroelectric-Aguas Calientes
Day 05: Machu Picchu - Cusco
You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning early.Then you will drive to the town of Mollepata for breakfast and here last chance to buy more supplies. Rejoining the drive, you will head to trailhead located in Challacancha. Enjoy the scenic views of country farms, lush vegetation and scenic view of snow-topped Mt Humantay (5,473mt). Upon arriving, you will start warming up and getting ready for the hike and also meet the rest of the crew. The trail gently ascends the slopes and descends to Soraypampa campsite. As you go on the trail, you are surrounded by lusg green and the views of snow-topped mountain Salkantay become larger. Upon arriving at the campsite, you will rest and enjoy lunch with the view of the imposing snow-topped mountain Salkantay(6,271mt). Afterwards, you will go up to Humantay lake (4,200mt). The trail gradually gets steeper but the lake is located from a short distance from trailhead. Back at Soraypampa campsite, you will rest and later have dinner.
Enjoy breakfast with the morning view of Salkantay mountain.The trail gradually ascends from the head of the valley to pass Salkantay (4,615mt/15,141ft). As you climb up the valley, the Salkantay mountain become larger into view. Upon arriving at the pass, you will admire the imposing mountain and learn about offferings to this god mountain.Then, the trail descends all the way to the valley of Huayracmachay and have a lunch break. After recovering from the previous hike, the trail continues down the valley into a subtropical ecosystem with lush vegetation and food crops. Enjoy the sights of the scenery adorned with begonias, orchid flowers, bamboos , chonta palm tree, colorful birds, etc. Campsite at Challway.
Today is a leisurely hike with lush vegetation of trees, flowers and food crops. The trail undulates its way to La Playa village located in a subtropical forest ecosystem. The balmy weather makes of your trip pleasant and enjoyable to admire the surrrounding scenery and the rivers are quite inviting for a soak in. Walk past agricultural hamlets and fruit trees like passion fruit, peach, banana, avocado, etc. Upon arriving at La Playa town, you will enjoy lunch and decide for 2 different options:
1. La Playa town to Lucmabamba campsite (30 minutes walk)
After lunch, you will walk to Lucmabamba village following a scenic road with coffee plantations, avocado trees, banana trees, ect and colourful blooming flowers
2. Bus journey to Santa Teresa
You will bus to Santa Teresa town (not included) and set up campsite, then you can soak up in the hotsprings (optional)
There are two itineraries on the fourth day:
1.-Lucmabamba-Llactapata inca site-Hydroelectric -Aguas calientes town
From Lucmabamba, you will hike to Llactapata, this is a 3 hour climb to the hidden archaeological site of Llactapata (2,840 m) located at the back of Machupicchu. After enjoying the view of the back of Machupicchu inca town and guided tour of the inca site of LLactapata, you will descend to Hydroeléctric settlement and then,you will walk alongside the railway to Aguas Calientes town ( train is optional). Upon arriving in Aguas Calientes, you will go to the hotel and get settled, and then you can go to the hot springs to relax. After dinner, you will go back to the hotel and rest so the next day you will enjoy the last day of the Salkantay Trek 5 day adventure visiting the inca sacntuary of Machupicchu.
2.-Santa Teresa town-Hydroelectric settlement-Aguas Calientes town
You will walk to the hydroelectric settlement and then continue to Aguas Calientes walking alongside the railway, do not miss to enjoy the views of the back of Machupicchu inca site, Urubamba river with birds sunbathing on top of the rocks, and sitting on top of the trees singing melodious voices,etc. Upon arriving in Aguas Calientes, you will go to the hotel and get settled, and then you can go to the hotspeings to relax. After dinner, you will go back to the hotel and rest so the next day you will be rested to enjoy the last day of the Salkantay Trek 5 day adventure visiting the Inca sanctuary of Machupicchu.
Today is the most important day of this Machu Picchu trek!
After breakfast, you will either bus or walk up to the historic inca site of Machupicchu and then check in the site by showing your original passport and machupicchu pass,then you will start exploring Machupicchu conducted by your tour guide for approximately 2h:30min. After the tour, you can stay by yourself to keep exploring the site or hike Wayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (both are optional and must be booked in advance!).Afterwards, you will bus down to Aguas calientes for a well-deserved rest and lunch. After completion of the Salkantay Trek 4 Days, you will take the train to Ollantaytambo and change for a bus back to your hotel in Cusco
Emergency riding horse
Meal budget: Please allow USD 20-30 for meals not included.
Most people include Cusco-Peru in their bucket list when visiting south America. The main reason is to hike the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, however we want to let you know that there are various original Inca Trail hikes to Machu Picchu in the Cusco Region. The difference lies in what kind of hike you would like to experience, whether hiking in the mountains, enjoying subtropical areas, visiting Inca sites or strenous hikes but with incredible scenic beauty
Usually, the Inca Trail needs booking in advance. However, if it is booked up, we suggest other excellent alternatives hikes to reach Machu Picchu:
There are also other alternative treks leading to other not less interesting sites such as:
Salkantay Trek Machu is an experienced, established, and dynamic tour operator. We run Salkantay Treks to Machu Picchu and have been providing tours for more than 8 years! Our experience, knowledgeable, reliable, friendly personnel and personalized customer service and it is the main reason why our customers return year after year. Salkantay Trek Machu operator offers a wide range of different types of adventure trips to suit any person's needs. We would like to welcome you to our Salkantay family and make your trip an unforgettable reality.
Generally speaking, you should pack as light as possible! The horses carry your luggage from Soraypampa (1st day) to La Playa camping (3rd day). On the 4th day, your chef takes your luggage on a bus to Hidrolectrica. From there to Aguas Calientes, you are expected to carry your own luggage (2-3 hours). We advise keeping the weight under 7 kg/14lb. You need to carry clothes as well as a sleeping bag. It is also advisable to take a cover of your backpack because the weather on the Salkantay Trek might change very quickly. If you do not have it, we recommended you to put your clothes and sleeping bag inside the plastic bag.
It is very important to take some EXTRA MONEY. You should take at least 200-300 Soles with you in case of urgency/need. You might need, for instance: