Salkantay Trek 4 Days to Machu Picchu | 4 Day Trek to Machu Picchu
Salkantay Trek Machu
Sustainable Tourism Operator
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Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Salkantay Trek 4 days (Short Salkantay Trek) is the best alternative hike to  Machu Picchu. The trail reaches Salkantay pass (4,615mt), the highest point of the route. It is a millenarian Andean ritual to honor the imposing snowy mountain using coca leaves to wish us good luck on our trip to Machupicchu. The paramo ecosystem down the pass is littered with huge stones spread out all over the area with scarce vegetation of straw, shrubs, moss, lichen, etc. Small rodents like chinchillas inhabit this area, usually seen jumping over the rocks, Andean gull, Andean goose, and Andean flicker salute your passing.  The local's farm different varieties of tubers, especially potatoes of different varieties, and also horses and mules used as pack animals. In the following days, the ecosystem changes radically to subtropical with lush vegetation, food crops, fruit trees, and rising temperature. Finally, the Salkantay Trek 4 days trail reaches the Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu and brings you back in time to the Incas' days which makes you feel spiritually enlightened.



Essential Information

Sustainable Tourism: At Salkantay Trek Machu, we are happy to promote and practice sustainable tourism and support local communities.

Difficulty Hike: 4 Demanding.

Age Requirements: 12+ 

Crew: A Salkantay Trek Machu representative in Cusco and a professional Tour Guide, Cook, and a Horseman with horses.

Accommodation: 2x Campsite, 1x Hotel.

Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner, 3x afternoon hot drinks 

Transportation: Private transportation, train ticket return to Cusco.

Camping Equipment: A double tent, Inflatable sleeping roll mattress, feather sleeping bag (-5 grade), a pair of hiking poles, inflatable pillow camping, and others (More details, please check the section Included).


Quick Itinerary:

Day 01: Cusco - Soraypampa - Salkantay Mountain - Chaullay Campsite

Day 02: Chaullay - Lluscamayo - La Playa-Aobamba

Day 03: La Playa-Aobamba - Llactapata Inca site - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

Day 04: Hike to Machu Picchu - Cusco


Highlights of the Salkantay 4 Day Trek:

  • 4-day Salkantay hike to Machu Picchu with a professional Tour Guide, Cook, Horseman, and horses;
  • Discovery of the best alternative trek to Machu Picchu;
  • Visiting the Llactapata Inca complex or enjoying the thermal baths (hot springs) of Santa Teresa;
  • View the Salkantay and Humantay Mountain glaciers;
  • Andean highlands as well as cloud forest exploration;
  • Learning about the sacred mountain of the Incas - Apu Salkantay!

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 at Salkantay Trek Machu 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 are a responsible travel company so we leave only footprints behind us on the Salkantay Trek 4 day.

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

Please note! We DO NOT permit the exploitation of horses/mules!! Our horses/mules can carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!!


Responsible Travel Salkantay Trek Machu


Salkantay Trek Tours:

Day 01: Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa- Salkantay pass - Chaullay

Salkantay trek Machu picks you up early in the morning from your hotel between 04:15am and 04:45am for the bus journey to  Mollepata at 5am, upon arriving , you will enjoy breakfast. Afterwards  you will rejoin the bus trip to Soraypampa (trailhead). The trail gradually slopes up to Salkantay pass(4,600mt) from the head of the valley offfering striking views of the mountains. From the pass,you will have a stunnig close view of Salkantay. Then, the trail slopes down to lunch spot in Wayraccmachay. After a well deserved rest, the trail continues down the valley with increasingly lush vegetation towards our first campsite named Chaullay.



Day 02: Chaullay- Playa Sahuayaco - Lucmabamba/Santa Teresa

After breakfast, you will hike leisurely to playa Sahuayaco. As you walk through this valley, you will appreciate a lush biodiversity and  food crops like maize, and potatoes perched on steep slopes, and passion fruits fields cultivated on the flats and fronds of bamboos lining up the edge of the trail. Lunch at la playa, a big town located on the shores of Salkantay river. After lunch, there is two options:


1. Bus ride to Santa Teresa for campsite and hike to hydroelectric town on the following day.

You will be driven to Santa Teresa town and stay overnight at a campsite. Before dinner, you can go to hotsprings or chill in town 


2.Short walk to Lucmabamba village

After lunch, you will walk to Lucmabamba village and set up camp site and late aftenoon, you will tour the coffee fields and give it a  taste

Day 03: Lucmabamba - Llactapata - Hidrolectrica - Aguas Calientes/Santa Teresa-Hidroeletrica-Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, you will continue with the or


This day, we also get up early to enjoy our breakfast. Then, we begin hiking while appreciating a variety of coca crops, considered the sacred leaf of our ancestors which is currently cultivated in this tropical zone.


1. If your group decided to go straight to Santa Teresa town, you walk on an easy route down the valley till you reach Santa Maria town. There you get on a bus (for additional 10 soles) and ride to Santa Teresa where you enjoy its thermal baths (hot springs), likely the best in the whole Cusco region!! You spend the night at a hostel in Santa Teresa.


Optional activity: ZIP Line in Santa Teresa for an extra US$ 40.


2. If you are in the group towards Llactapata, then you start your day by a 4-hour hike towards the hidden Inca complex of Llactapata where you receive a guided tour. After that, you descend for 4 hours to Hidroeléctrica (a hydroelectric plant and a same-named railway station). At Hidroeléctrica, we walk again, this time along rails, to get to Aguas Calientes town after 2 hours. (Optional: you can take a train). In Aguas Calientes, we accommodate ourselves in a comfortable hostel and then we can relax at the local thermal bath (hot springs). We spend the night in the town and get ready for the last day of the Salkantay Trek 4 day adventure.


Day 04:Machu Picchu tour - Cusco

Today is the most important day of our trip!

1. If you are at the group in Santa Teresa, you are picked up from your hostel after a very early breakfast and taken by private vehicle to Hidroeléctrica (a hydroelectric plant and a same-named railway station) where you board a train to Aguas Calientes (then, the program is same as for the second group below). 


2. If you are in the group already in Aguas Calientes, then you wake up at around 04:30 am and start trekking after breakfast to the Lost Citadel of the Incas - "Machu Picchu". We climb up for 2 hours till we arrive at the Machu Picchu Sanctuary at 06:00 am to begin our guided tour of approximately 2 hours. Our professional guide takes us through the most important places of this archaeological complex. After the tour, we are given free time to be spent either at the site or by a visit to the mountain of Wayna Picchu or the Machu Picchu Mountain (both are optional and must be booked in advance!). In the afternoon, we return to the town of Aguas Calientes where we board the return train to the town of Ollantaytambo. This is where our transport awaits us to bring us back to Cusco City, where we finish this Salkantay Trek 4 days tour.

What is included?

1. Pre-Trek Briefing

Our guide visits your hotel to brief you about the Salkantay Trek of 4 days to Machu Picchu. S/he also gives you a duffel bag for your personal belongings.

Please note: For this reason, it is very important to let us know where you stay in Cusco!


2. Professional English Tour Guide

Our experienced bilingual Tour Guides all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional and will ensure you are safe and happy.

Please note: A group of up to 8 participants receives 1 Tour Guide while a group of over 8 participants receives 2 Tour Guides.


3. Accommodation

Campsite: 2 Nights

Hotel in Machu Picchu Town: 1 Night


Our tents are of the brand Eureka Mountain designated for 4 seasons. We provide 3-person capacity tents; however, they serve to accommodate only 2 participants. In this way, we provide you with more space and comfort. In case you are a solo traveller, we give you a 2-person capacity tent.


A comfortable and clean hostel room in Aguas Calientes (just below Machu Picchu) has a private bathroom and hot water. You can choose from a double or matrimonial room. Alternatively a single room for a surcharge.


4. Camping Equipment

Excepting the above mentioned personal tents of the Eureka brand, you can count on the following personal camping equipment:


Inflatable Sleeping Mattress:

We provide an inflatable mattress of the brand Therm-A-Rest. The mattress is 3 cm high and ensures you sufficient isolation from the cold earth! It gives you extra comfort during the Salkantay hike


Sleeping Bag:

We use only feather sleeping bags that suit up to -16°C! It means you do not need to worry about cold as temperatures at night do not fall below 0°C!


Extra Gear Provided for Your Hike: 

  • A pair of hiking poles;
  • A blanket for your sleeping bag;
  • A inflatable pillow camping;
  • Day pack rain cover;
  • Rain poncho;
  • Duffel bag (for your personal belongings);
  • A T-shirt of the Salkantay Trek Map.

Other Equipment:

Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, a dining tent, a bottled gas and a toilet tent.


 5. Entrance Tickets

All entrance fees are at Salkantay and Machu Picchu are included!


6. A Professional Cook + Meals

Meals: 3x breakfast, 3x lunch, 3x dinner, 2x afternoon hot beverages, and a snack every morning.


Our Salkantay Trek Machu Cook prepares delicious meals that many previous trekkers have appreciated a lot! Meals are usually served as a buffet. If you are a vegetarian or have any diet restriction, our Cook prepares special food for you. For this reason, please advise us well in advance! A vegetarian meal is for no extra cost!



Excluding the first 4 hours of this Salkantay 4 day trek, when you need to bring your own water, we supply you with water. The water is boiled, filtered, and then cooled, before distributing. You need to bring your own water bottles (we recommend 3-litre capacity) for this purpose as our Cook refills your bottle during each meal.


7. Horseman + horses/Muleteer + Mules

Our horses/mules carry all camping equipment during the Salkantay Trek of 4 days plus up to 7 kg of your personal belonging (including a sleeping bag). 

An emergency horse can be ridden in case you feel ill.

Horseman/Muleteer is responsible to lead the horses/mules.

Please note! We DO NOT permit exploitation of horses/mules!! Our horses/mules can carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!!


8. Tourist Train

There are two train companies that operate the route between Cusco and Aguas Calientes: IncaRail and PeruRail. So you can choose from two times for your return train from Aguas Calientes:

- 2:55 pm

- 7:00 pm


Important Note: During the high tourist season (June to September), it is very important to let us know well in advance about your preference since tickets sell out quickly.


9. Machu Picchu Bus

A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town.


10. Private Transportation

Day 1: Early morning transfer by private bus from Cusco to Mollepata - the initial point of the Salkantay hike.

Day 4: The train service finishes at the railway station of Ollantaytambo, where our driver awaits us to take us on the private vehicle back to Cusco City.


11. First Aid Kit + Oxygen Bottle

Our guide has been trained in providing first aid. S/he always carries a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and a bottle of oxygen in case of emergency so you do not need to be worried about the health.

Not Included:

  • Breakfast on day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu (extra $80);
  • A shuttle bus up from Aguas Calientes to 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;


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

Meal budget: Please allow USD 20-30 for meals not included.

Inca Trail Vs Alternative Treks

Many people include Cusco Peru in their “Things to Do” list. The main reason is they would like to trek the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. But it is a pity that they do not know there are various authentic Inca Trails Trips to Machu Picchu in the Cusco Region. The difference lies in what kind of experience you like, whether hiking in the mountains, enjoying subtropical areas, visiting Inca sites; or how difficult your trek would like to be.


Usually, the Inca Trail needs to book many months beforehand. However, if it is fully booked, we suggest other excellent alternatives to reach Machu Picchu:

Short Salkantay Trek Information

Salkantay Trek Advisory



  • Up to 7 kg of your personal belonging (including a sleeping bag!) is included in the price of the Short Salkantay Trek and this is carried by horses/mules. If you would like to take extra stuff with you, you can request this at our office - 3 kg extra costs USD 20. 
  • If you have some doubts about your ability to hike, you can hire an extra emergency horse for USD 80.
  • Single Room/Tent: Please note that if you have booked the "Single Room" option for this trek, you receive your own single room and a tent.


  • The camping equipment of the Salkantay 4-day trek returns to Cusco on the last day, so you need to give back to the Chef your sleeping bag and mattress.
  • Although horses/mules carry your personal items, you still need to carry a daypack with your camera, water bottle, snacks, warm clothes and a rain poncho (it is unlikely to rain during the dry season from May to October), and anything you need before lunch/dinner as horses/mules do not walk alongside you.
  • You can get your bigger backpack/duffel bag for lunch/dinner.
  • Your Guide gives you a ticket for the shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes on the 4th day.


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:

  • Your first breakfast and/or last lunch (which are not included).
  • Entrance fee to thermal baths (hot springs) that costs around 10 Soles.
  • If you cannot walk on the Short Salkantay Trek, you can ride an emergency horse.
  • Local people tend to build small tents on the route where you can find bottled beverages, snacks, chocolate, biscuits, etc.
  • If you feel at the end of your trek that your Guide(s), and other staff have done an excellent job, tipping is always highly appreciated. The amount is entirely up to you, 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 La Playa camping (3rd day). On the 4th day, your chef takes your luggage by 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 of 4 days to Machu Picchu might change very quickly. If you do not have it, we recommended you to put your clothes and sleeping bag inside the plastic bag.

What to Bring with You:

  • Original passport (+ copies in case of lost);
  • Original ISIC (an international student card if applicable);
  • Travel insurance (+ copies in case of lost);
  • Pocket money in Nuevos Soles (PEN - Peruvian currency);
  • A backpack;
  • A small rucksack;
  • Rain gear (a rain-jacket and 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 rain, sun, or cold);
  • Sunscreen or sunblock;
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream;
  • Insect repellent – a minimum recommended is 20% DEET;
  • Mobile phone with a camera and/or a 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 (if you like to visit the thermal baths of Santa Teresa and/or Aguas Calientes);
  • Snacks (biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.);
  • Bottled water for the first morning and a water bottle to be refilled.
  • Please note: we provide 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.

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