Salkantay Trek Machu
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Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

4 day Salkantay Trek (Short Salkantay Trek) is the best alternative trail to reach Machu Picchu. On this 4 day hike you overcome the highest point of the trek, which is the Salkantay Pass at 4,550 metres above sea level! You also enjoy amazing mountain sceneries with snowy peaks, mountain lagoons and remote Andean villages in the first part of the trek to later experience a subtropical area of Cusco with its warm climate! The icing on the cake is obviously a guided tour of Machu Picchu in the end!

It takes you through differing expanses of scenery and altitudes as we hike around the skirts of Salkantay mountain (6271m/20568ft) and camp within plain sight of the frost topped peak. It fuses cultural and natural beauty; you will appreciate the testing ecosystem and the splendid appearance of the frost-topped Salkantay. This hike takes us back to the time of the Incas and enlightens us to the spirits of the mountains, such as the Tucarhuay or the Humantay which reach higher than 5000 meters (16404 feet).

Before you go


Quick Itinerary:

Day 01: Cusco - Soraypampa - Wayracmachay - Los Andenes

Day 02: Salkantay Mountain - Los Andenes - Luscamayo - La Playa

Day 03: La Playa - Llactapata - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

Day 04: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Highlights of the 4 Day Salkantay Trek:

  • 4 day hike to Machu Picchu with a professional Tour Guide, cook, horseman and horses;
  • Discovery of the best alternative trek to Machu Picchu;
  • Visit of the Llactapata Incan site;
  • View the Salkantay and Umantay Mountain glaciar
  • Andean highlands and cloud forest exploration;
  • Learning about the sacred mountain of the Incas - Apu Salkantay!

Crew: A Salkantay Trek Machu Representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guide, Cook and Horseman on the Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

Accommodation: Campsites (2 nights), hostal (1 night).

Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon hot beverage (Please allow USD 15 - 20 for meals not included).

Transportation: A private transportation, 1x train (Expedition Class).

Camping equipment: You can view our camping equipment.

Day 01: Cusco - Soraypampa - Wayracmachay - Los Andenes

Early in the morning you are collected from your hotel for a 3 hour ride to Mollepata. We stop for breakfast and can buy some last minute supplies. We then carry on to Soyrapampa, the trail head. Here we meet the support staff that help us pack all our gear on to the horses. We then begin our hike. The first few hours are uphill. Vegetation is not natural at this altitude, so the landscape is quite stark apart from some grass that has adjusted to the altitude. Eventually we reach the highest point of the hike, the apacheta path (4590m).

The Salkantay Mountain is at 6271 meters above sea level and a powerful sight from this close. Salkantay is a Quechua word that means "Wild Mountain". The rest of the trekking today is easy, we descend to 2890 meters, where there is more vegetation and warm weather, to our campsite.

Day 02: Los Andenes - Luscamayo - La Playa

After a nice breakfast, we continue our hike through the upper jungle. Each step of the way the surroundings are altering, there is more plant life, waterfalls, and warmer weather, some small brooks, we pass the Lluscamayo River. After a five hour hike we reach the settlement of Lluscamayo where we have lunch. Then we trek for 3 hours more, passing an awesome waterfall where we can catch our breath and take some photos. The backdrop here, of course, is astonishing. Green valleys, mountains, trees, a diversity of birds and if your lucks in you might see the Peruvain national bird, the "gallito de las rocas". Finally we get to the village of La Playa. From this point you can choose from two options.


Inca Trail - Llactapata

From La Playa its a 2 hour walk to Aobamba, where you camp. The next day its a 4 hour hike to the Llacatapata ruins. After the visit you will descend for 3 hours till you reach hidroelectrica.


Santa Teresa Hot Spring

We can take a bus for an hour long ride that will take us to the town of Santa Teresa, the first real town you will find on the trail, that is also known for its hot springs just outside of town.

Day 03: La Playa - Llactapata - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes

Llacatapata Ruins The route up to Llacatpata is on a part of an aged Inca Trail. Firstly it goes through some old villages of coffee and coca plantations, citrus tree orchids before extending to some exquisite high altitude meadows and then entering into an ancient forest close to the top. The scenery on the way up is the most varied and gorgeous than on the entire Salkantay Trek.

Close to the top, the trail changes to seemingly never ending stone steps as tall as park benches! Which you might find strange as the Incas were not known for being tall! The reason behind this was that the Incas were a very forward thinking population and aimed to build constructions that would not fall apart and that people could not destroy! We reach the top in a little over two hours.

The weather is cold and wet in the forest and then we walk down to the Llactapata ruins. In under 10 minutes we arrive at the ruins, the sight will leave you amazed! Beyond the valley you are rewqarded with the majestic sight of Machu Picchu!

After this we descend to the Hydroelectric plant, it's 913 meters (2995 ft)in one hour. From her the hike to Aguas Calientes is mostly level. En route you will hear a roaring sound which is a powerful waterfallthat cools us down with its spray as we pass by. It is man made and shoots out of a long tunnel in the mountain from the hydroelectric plant, a fascinating and useful. Once there we have our lunch break.

The Hydroelectric plant is also the end of the railway line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Hydro is actually farther than Machu Picchu Town on the train. It is mostly used by locals. The hike to Aguas Calientes is down the railway tracks, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). Its a fun trek, along the tracks, with a wide path and is sheltered by jungle vegetation, trees and flowers. This is ideal after a tough 4 day Inca Trail.

Its hard to explain the great happiness when we finally reach the town of Aguas Calientes, you will notice for the first time in days people that look clean with fresh clothing..Day trippers!

We finally arrive to our hotel! Then we have dinner at a restaurant and plan the next day. Overnight in a hostal!

If you chose the Santa Teresa option, we have breakfast and after a short bus trip (1hour) we hike for about 2 hours past the Urubamba River and onward to the Hydro Electric Station, where we have lunch nearby.

Day 04: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

We have a ver early morning start(before dawn), so we can get to Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate or Intipunku before the crowds. we trek the last 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu. We are one of the first to enter and revel in the view of the sun rising over the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu that we have waited for so long to see. It takes about an hour and a half to reach Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. Once there you will have a two hour guided tour, also time to take plenty of pictures and spare time to discover and explore the ruins at Machu Picchu and walk around on your own.

The you will return to Aguas Calientes where you can have lunch (not included) and take the train back to Cusco.


  • Pre-trek briefing;
  • Transfer by private bus to Soraypampa - the initial point of the trek;
  • Accommodation: Campsites (2 nights) and a hotel (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to the red of Salkantay and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner and 3x afternoon hot beverages;
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide;
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg of each passenger's stuff;
  • Camping equipment: personal double tents, 
  • Inflatable mattress - Terma-a-rest mattress; 
  • Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • A Blanket and pillow
  • Duffel bag for your clothes;
  • Day pack
  • Rain poncho
  • A pair Hiking poles
  • A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco. 

Not Included

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • International and domestic flights nor airport departure taxes;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu ($80);
  • A shuttle bus between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu ($12.00 - one way);
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

Meal budget: Please allow USD 20-50 for meals not included.

Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single room" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent and a single room in Aguas Calientes.

Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!

Inca Trail Vs Alternative Treks

Many people include Cusco Peru in their “Things to do” list before they depart the planet, the main reason being to Trek the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, although what most people don’t know is that there are various Inca Trails Trips to Machu Picchu to pick from in the Cusco region. The difference lies in what kind of an experience you want, hiking the Inca trail and how challenging you like your treks.


Usually for the Inca Trail, you will need to book in advance, in case it is fully booked, we recommend other best alternatives:

Short Salkantay Trek Information

Salkantay Trek Advisory


Day 1: Early morning at 05:00, we pick you up from your hotel, taken on a 3 hour drive from Cusco to Mollepata. After breakfast continue drive for an hour and a half until Soyrapampa, the trail head to start your Salkantay Trek. Ascend for 4 hours until high pass (Salkantay Mountain), then descend. After lunch descend for two and a half hours more to Chaullay campsite, where we are served dinner.


Hiking to Llactapata or Santa Teresa

Day 2 - 3: Hike through a tropical cloud forest, passing the Lluscamayo River. After a 5 hour trek we reach the settlement of Lluscamayo. After lunch continue the trek for 3 hours, finally reaching the village of La Playa. From this point you can choose from two options for your hike to Machu Picchu.


Inca Trail Trek - Llactapata

From La Playa its a 2 hour walk to Aobamba, where you camp. The next day its a 4 hour hike to the Llacatapata ruins. After the visit you will descend for 4 hours till you reach hidroelectrica, then continue the hike by railway to Aguas Calientes town or Machu Picchu.


Santa Teresa hot spring

The easy route down the valley to Santa Teresa. If your group decide to go straight to Santa Teresa you will take the bus for an additional cost. At Santa Teresa you will visit the hot springs. The next day, continue the trek to Machu Picchu or Aguas Calientes town by railway.


Optional Activity in the Salkantay Trek:

ZIP Line in Santa Teresa: U$ 40


Hiking to Machu Picchu

Day 4: Wake up at 4:00 and walk up to Machu Picchu (1hr 30min), guided tour in Machu Picchu, then free time in the lost city, in the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo, then bus to Cusco


Short Salkantay Trek Aditional Information



  • Walking sticks or trekking poles USD 20 for both
  • You need to take 7 kilos of personal belonging included in the tour price carried by horses ...If you would like to request more porterage for personal items each extra 3 kilos requested is USD 20 additional charge but you can just request this in the office at your checking.
  • Maybe you have to doubt to walk in this trek, you can hire the extra emergency horses, the price is USD 80.


  • The camping equipment to Salkantay trek will be returned to Cusco on day 4th, you need to give to chef the sleeping bag, mattress.
  • The bed (double room) provided in Aguas Calientes town on 4th nights
  • Camping (double tent) provided in 1st, 2nd, 3rd nights
  • This trek to Salkantay included 5 kilos of personal items in the tour price carried by horses. Regarding horses who carry personal items. You will need to carry with you a daypack with your Camera, water bottle, snacks, cold weather clothing and a poncho in case of rain (unlikely in Dry season May to October)- but as a precaution) and anything you will need before lunch as horses do not walk alongside you
  • You will meet up with your bag at lunch and then it will be waiting for you in your tent at campsites.
  • The bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes included in this trek and our guide will provided on day 4



It’s very important to take EXTRA MONEY. You need to take at least 200-300 soles emergency money:

  • The local people built the small markets in the route and you can find the water, snack, chocolate, cola etc.
  • Your first breakfast, last lunch no included
  • Entrence fee to the hot spring
  • If you cannot walk to Salkantay trek, our guide will help to you to up the horse.
  • Tip to Salkantay Machu Picchu: If at the end of your trek you felt your trekking guide(s), and staff did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference: however as a guideline we suggest each hiker contributes USD 50 per person to a collective tipping pool, more is always appreciated.



Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. The horses carry your luggage from Soraypampa (1st day) to Playa camping (3th day). 4 day hike, our chef takes your luggage by bus to Hidrolectrica. From there to Aguas Calientes, you are expected to carry your own luggage (max 3 hrs), in case, the local train running, our chef take your luggage to the town. We recommend keeping the weight under 7 kg/14lb. You will need to carry clothes, sleeping bag.

If very important your take best cover backpacker, because the weather in Salkantay trek is change every date, we can’t predict it raining or no. If you don’t have, we recommended to put your clothes, sleeping bag and other personal equipment inside the plastic bag.

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