Salkantay Trail
Salkantay Trek Machu
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Salkantay Trail

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Salkantay Trail

One of the most incredible ways to visit Machu Picchu is through the Salkantay Trail. This 5-day Salkantay hiking route crosses the imposing Salkantay mountain and then reaches the Wonder of the World. Would you like to know Machu Picchu with this adventure surrounded by amazing landscapes? Know everything you need to know about the Salkantay trek.

Salkantay Trail:

The Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu passes through stunning landscapes varying from the cloud forest to the high mountains. Along the way you will see the fantastic views of second highest mountain in the Cusco area - Salkantay ("Savage mountain" from Quechua) standing at 20,574' (6,271 m). Salkantay trail to Machu Picchu goes through unfrequented areas and combines culture and tradition with the incredible flora and fauna offered by Peru. You will be in the real Andes and the perfect conditions to get a sense of the life in the area.

Salkantay Trail Distances: 

  • Day 1: Mollepata to Salkantaypampa: 13 Km (8.08 miles) 
  • Day 2: Salkantaypampa to Collpapampa: 22 Km (13.67 miles) 
  • Day 3: Collpapampa to La Playa: 16 Km (9.94 miles) 
  • Day 4: La Playa to Aguas Calientes: 19 Km (11.81 miles) 
  • Day 5: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu: 4 Km (2.49 miles) 
  • Total Distance: 74 Km (45.98 miles)

Salkantay Trail:

The Salkantay is a mountain whose name translated from Quechua means ‘Wild Mountain’. This summit is known as ‘Apu’ (‘Lord’) for its majesty and elevation.The ‘Apu’ Salkantay is located in the Vilcanota range mountain in the southern of Peru. This mountain is the second largest in Cusco, after the Ausangate the famous Rainbow Mountain of Peru. The mountain Salkantay reaches 6,271 meters above sea level. The trek route leading to Machu Picchu has its highest point in the ‘Salcantay Pass’, at 4,650 meters above sea level. From there you can see the mountain peak.

Salkantay Trek Altitude:

Cusco is located at an elevation of 3,400 meters above sea level, which may pose challenges for certain individuals. Therefore, we strongly advise spending a minimum of 48 hours in Cusco before embarking on the trek. During this time, it is recommended to stay hydrated by consuming ample water, abstain from alcohol, and ensure you get sufficient rest.


The trek to Salkantay reaches its highest point at the stunning Salkantay pass, situated at an altitude of 4,600 meters. The lowest elevation along the trek is 2,200 meters at the final campsite in Sahuayaco.


Hiking Conditions on Salkantay Trek:

You should encounter no difficulties completing this route as long as you are in good health, reasonably fit, and accustomed to walking. However, if you are not a regular walker, it is advisable to undergo some training before your trip to Peru.


Age to do the Salkantay Trek:

This journey is appropriate for individuals of all ages, provided that you are in decent physical condition and don't face any walking-related issues. Parents bear the responsibility for children aged 10 who participate in the Salkantay trek.


Salkantay Trek Difficulty Level:

The following are the grades of difficulty:

  • Easy: Suitable for individuals in good overall health.
  • Moderate: Appropriate for those who engage in moderate sports activities and are accustomed to walking in diverse terrains, without bearing much additional weight, for a 4 to 6-hour duration.
  • Challenging: Feasible for physically active individuals with trekking experience lasting 6 to 7 hours.
  • Demanding: Achievable for those possessing a high level of fitness, strength, good health, and prior trekking experience involving carrying one's own equipment.
  • Strenuous: Feasible for individuals mentally and physically prepared for a trek requiring significant physical exertion, adventure, and often entailing carrying one's own gear.

Considering the difficulty levels outlined above, Salkantay Trekking falls within the range of Easy to Moderate.


Salkantay Trail: Weather, Flora and Fauna

The mountain in itself presents an extremely cold climate (several degrees centigrade below 0º). The climate during the Salkantay trail, on the other hand, is varied. The intense sun and the cold night in the first days change for the tropical environment of the last. Now talking about the flora and fauna, the 5 days and 4 nights that the Salkantay trek lasts covers landscapes with a great variety of flora and fauna. Among the species of flowers and plants stand out the orchid and the ichu (Andean grass). Among the species of birds and animals, we should mention the llama, alpaca, vizcacha, condor, spectacled bear and the cock of the rocks (national bird of Peru).


salkantay trail 5 days


Do you know?

During Salkantay Trail, you will observe many kind of orchids, some of them have a history. It is said that this beauty orchids are tears of an inca princess. The legend is called " The wakankis" Now We will tell you more about this love history:

Wakanki legend:


In the kingdom of the Andes there was a beautiful young princess. She fell in love with a brave and attractive Inca warrior. Once their father found out about the relationship, forbid them to see each other since the princess was destined for the Sun God. When the princess learned of her decision, she ran across the Andes, crying for her forbidden love and became the beautiful "Waqanki" flower. So, every time the warrior found this flower in the Andes, He also cried remembering his lost love. "The spirit of beauty is still there, also expressed in our days in a song that we can hear even now:


"You will cry, my most beautiful flower with your beautiful eyes, for you envy surrounds me, I am committed to you, beautiful Waqanki, flower that you bloom in the heights, How will your song be when I take you In my heart"


This is the only testimony of appreciation that orchids existed in the empire of the Incas and has been preserved to this day orally transmitted from one to another. It is believed that there are about 350 native species in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. More than 100 of these species can be easily seen in these orchid trails in their natural habitat. 


Interesting Info:

The Best Alternative hike to the Salkantay Trail




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