Tips to Have a Perfect Trek to Salkantay
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Tips to Have a Perfect Trek to Salkantay

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Tips to Have a Perfect Trek to Salkantay

Its step under the majestic Apu Salkantay of more than 6200 meters leaves no one indifferent. You can almost touch the glaciers that fall 1600 meters below their peak. It has absolutely everything: high mountains, height forests, tropical jungle, towns, camps, valleys, peace, and tranquility. I know that when you read this article you will have the irresistible desire to perform this trek, to see it live, to feel the environment Andean in your own skin. That is why we have created this blog to advise you on your trip.


3 vital points to organize the Salkantay Trek and really enjoy it: 

  • Training and height
  • The route and its difficulty
  • Equipment

1.- Training and altitude

First of all, you need to remember the following thing: We do not recommend realizing the trek after landing in Cusco: why? Imagine that you land in Lima (that is at sea level), fly to Cusco and, suddenly, stand firm at 3.400 meters high. You begin the trek, which is wonderful, but with that plan, you have few possibilities of success. The reason is the altitude sickness that will beat you from Cusco, so imagine how you will spend the night in the first camp in Soraypampa, at 3.900 meters high.

How to prepare for Salkantay trek
How should I organize this route? How should I prepare the acclimatization prior to the height?
First, after landing in Lima and flying to Cusco you need to relax, visit the city and explore the surrounding area. You have a lot of opportunities to see the archeology like the impressive Sacsayhuaman. You also get the chance to enjoy gastronomy which is exquisite. Then, you go on the trek and enjoy the maximum of it because you will find yourself with more strength to realize it. This does not mean that you cannot do the first option, but as you know, altitude sickness does not depend on training, but on good acclimatization and each one genetics. 


Salkantay trek preparation:

We do not believe that a special preparation to successfully complete this journey is necessary. We recommend to do some exercise like walking, running, go biking, etc. at least 4 days a week, 30 minutes a day. Why? The reason is because as you ascent, the lack of oxygen will accelerate the heart. That is completely normal, the only thing you have to do is walking on a rhythm that you can take and avoid taking stops whenever the heart accelerates. If you let your heart rate stabilize you will see that you can carry a constant and comfortable rate (faster or slower, depends on the training), even gasping. But it is normal. 


The fact of doing some exercise 4 days a week will avoid the heart acceleration. Remember not to take medicines if it is not completely necessary and leave the body to follow its normal acclimatization.

Salkantay trek preparation


How fit do I need to be for the Salkantay Trek?

You don't have to be a marathon runner or have climbed many mountains. The most important thing is that you are well acclimatized so that you do not get altitude sickness (headache, nausea, dizziness, heart palpitations, shortness of breath) at an altitude of over 4000 meters. It is certainly valuable if you have already completed a longer hike. You should be able to hike for several hours at a time and have enough stamina for several days. In an emergency, you can also climb on a horse to climb the pass, which will then carry you up to 4600 meters.


In conclusion

Prior acclimatization is very important. It is recommended to spend at least three nights in Cusco (3600m asl) before the trek and do some easier hiking nearby during this time. In general, you should be fit, but you will definitely see young and old of different fitness levels on the route.




2.- The route and its difficulty

The trek to Salkantay is a spectacular path that takes you to Machu Picchu in 5 days. Although it is in the shadow of the famous Inca Trail, this road runs through the places of countless beauty to end in the lost city of the Incas. The difference is that it is not a crowded road and it is ideal for tranquility lovers. Here is a brief summary of the trek:

Day 1: From the Mollepata town to the Soraypampa camp.

  • Start point: Mollepata (2,811 meters)
  • End point: Soraypampa (3,916 meters)
  • Length: 19 KM
  • Overpass: +1280 meters
  • Time: 6-7 hours
  • Difficulty: 2/10 due to the altitude.

This day is very important for the acclimatization of the body to the height. You will feel a slight headache overwhelming feeling because you will sleep in height. It is normal, do not medicate yourself if it is not strictly necessary and enjoy your lunch and dinner you are going to have. Look around the mountains because they are going to impress you.


Day 2: From the Soraypampa camp to the Chaullay town.

  • Start point: Soraypampa (3,850 meters)
  • End point: Chaullay (2,920 meters)
  • Length: 21 KM
  • Overpass: +645 meters/-1,670 meters
  • Time: 8 hours
  • Difficulty: 3/10 due to the altitude.

This is the key day since the altitude is of 4,200 which will be the personal record for many people. This is the highest point of the trek.


Day 3: From the Chaullay town to the Santa Teresa town.

  • Start point: Chaullay (2,920 meters)
  • End point: Sahuayaco “La playa” (2,920 meters)
  • Length: 15 KM
  • Overpass: -900 meters
  • Time: 5 hours 30 minutes approx.
  • Difficulty: 2/10

Enjoy the rainforest and the path. Pay attention to the plants, the animals, the spectacular butterflies and enjoy the hot spring at the end of the day.


Day 4: From the Santa Teresa town to Aguas Calientes.

  • Start point: Santa Teresa
  • End point: Aguas Calientes (2,920 meters)
  • Length: 22 KM 
  • Overpass: +950 meters/-790 meters
  • Time: 7 hours
  • Difficulty: 2/10

The second part of the day is amazing, you will see Machu Picchu on the top of the mountains.


Day 5: From Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu.

  • Start point: Aguas Calientes (2,100 meters)
  • End point: Machu Picchu (2,430 meters)
  • Length: 8 KM
  • Overpass: +400 meters/-400 meters
  • Time: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: 3/10

3. – Equipment 

We recommend you take a lightweight luggage, in this trek you have carriers that will carry all your equipment except your daypack. Keep in mind that if you continue your trip by Peru after the trek, you must carry everything you take. 

This is our recommendation of the material for a trip to Peru that includes the Salkantay trek

  • Sleeping bag
  • Waterproof clothing (technical or poncho, it does not matter because a rain can fall at any moment)
  • Feather coat or something thick. It is very cold at night in Salkantay.
  • 2 thick t-shirts
  • 2 thin t-shirts
  • 4 changes of underwear
  • 1 pair of long thick pants
  • 1 pair of long thin pants
  • 1 pair of shorts 
  • 3 pairs of trekking socks
  • 2 pairs of thin socks
  • Cap or hat
  • Gloves
  • Boots or trekking shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Personal medication suggested by your doctor
  • Insect repellent
  • Toilet paper, towel
  • Sterilizing tablets
  • Candies and chocolates
  • Bath clothes
  • Walking canes.

When is the best time for the Salkantay Trek?

In general, the dry season between April and October is considered the best time for hiking in the Andes. During this time it is unlikely (but not impossible of course!) that much rain will fall and you should have great visibility. However, we would recommend checking the weather forecast before the trek. For example: In June, you will have the best weather. In the evenings it gets very cool at high altitudes.




How to train for Salkantay Trek

Tips for visiting Machu Picchu

What time is best to visit the Machu Picchu

For some time now, you can only buy morning and afternoon tickets for the Machu Picchu visit (easiest in Cusco or online). In return, those responsible are now allowing almost twice as many people to visit the site of the ruins. Escaping the crowds is almost impossible, but if you want to spend nice moments alone, you can do it skillfully. Either you get up very early in the morning or you stay longer than everyone else. Especially in the late afternoon (it closes at 5 p.m.) there are not many people to be found. By the way, anyone who has the morning ticket will not be checked if they stay longer. But beware: There are no toilets on the site.


What scheduled train is best for return from Salkantay?

We recommend you take the train and return to Cusco at 14:30 (Inca Rail) or 14:55 (Perurail), Why? This train will be arriving at Cusco at 18:30 and it isn't late. The last train is at 18:30 (Perurail) or 19:00 (Inca Trail) and this trail will be in Cusco at 22:00 which is late.

Caution: Unfortunately, you can no longer move freely on the site, but only in one direction. If you're keen on the classic Machu Picchu motif, you should take the photo at the beginning, because once you're down by the houses you can't go back. And many employees with loud whistles let you know if you try.


Top Seller Trips to Peru

Many are the routes that take you to Machu Picchu, but none is like the Inca Trail Tours, the most famous pedestrian path in the Americas. After flying from the capital of Perú, Lima, you will arrive in Cusco to walk for four days along a path through forests and dense fog, millenary stone steps and discovering the ruins of ancient fortifications and Inca cities, and all the time enjoying majestic views.



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