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.
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).
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
Please note! We DO NOT permit the exploitation of horses/mules!! Our horses/mules can carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Excepting the above mentioned personal tents of the Eureka brand, you can count on the following personal camping equipment:
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.
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!
Tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, a dining tent, a bottled gas and a toilet tent.
All entrance fees are at Salkantay and Machu Picchu are included!
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.
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!!
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.
A shuttle bus down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes Town.
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.
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.
Meal budget: Please allow USD 20-30 for meals not included.
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 an 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:
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:
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.