PER-90 /5-day trip / Grade: T2


Incas built a huge network of trails throughout their empire, many of them concentrated on the most populated and important areas. Machu Picchu, one of the most important spots, has several different paths stretching in all directions to and from the citadel. One of them is the spectacular trail of Salkantay, which follows the beautiful Mollepata Valley, climbing up to Huayracpampa mountain pass (4460 m) and then dropping down into subtropical cloud forest, ending in the Urubamba river valley in the town of Aguas Calientes (hot springs) that is located at the base of Machu Picchu.

The name Salkantay means “Savage Mountain” in quechua language. The mountain reaches an altitude of 6271 m, flanked by impressive ridges and faces that go from the valley floor to the summit. The diversity of landscapes, flora and temperature is an important part of the experience, which resembles some of the long Himalayan treks, just in a condensed form. The landscapes along the trail and breathtaking!
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Day 1 Cusco – Soraypampa (3900 m)
Day 2 Abra Salkantay pass (4630 m) – Chaullay (2865 m)
Day 3 Lucmabamba (2130 M)
Day 4 Hidroelectrica (1830 m) – Aguas Calientes (2100 m)
Day 5 Machu Picchu (2420 m) – Return to Cusco
Day 1

Cusco – Soraypampa (3900 m)
Early hotel pick up, around 05:00 AM, for a 4 hours road trip to the town of Mollepata (2800 m). Mollepata is an attractive small town constructed on the slopes of the upper part of the Apurimac River Valley, from here a short drive to Challacancha (3675 m) where the trailhead is. The staff will prepare the pack animals and logistics for the trek, while the team gets ready for the walk. The hike takes about 3 hours over a rock bed road to the first campsite located in Soraypampa (3900 m). During the walk, it is possible to appreciate the typical Andean flora and fauna and at the end of the valley the impressive Salkantay Mountain rises above the valley and all other neighboring summits.
There is the option to do an extra acclimatization hike up to Humantay Lake (4250 m), which is advisable for those that feel well, following a good mountain trail that leads the way up the lake for 1,5 h and 1 descending back to Soraypampa.
Night in tent.
Ascent to Soraypampa: 225 m / Highest altitude: 3900 m / Distance to Soraypampa: 7,08 km / Activity duration: 3 h
Humantay Lake from Soraypampa: Ascent: 350 m / Descent: 350 m / Highest altitude: 4250 m / Distance one-way: 1,8 km / Activity duration: 2,5 h
Included meals: Lunch, Dinner

Day 2

Abra Salkantay pass (4630 m) – Chaullay (2865 m)
Today is one of the trip’s highlights, crossing over the Abra Salkantay mountain pass (4630 m), just below the impressive Salkantay mountain.
The day starts quite early, leaving Soraypampa up the valley to the glacier lake of Soyrococha (4470 m). From here the trail becomes steeper and the altitude also settles in, making this section slow to walk. The big prize is reaching the Abra Salkantay (4630 m) mountain pass, the treks highest point! The landscapes are great, on one side the hanging glaciers of the “Savage Mountain” and to the other side a valley that drops into a green and tropical vegetation. There is also a spectacular view of mountains peaks such as: Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo. After a short break to enjoy such views, the trtail follows the valley, passing the Humantay Lake, down to Ichupata and Huayraccmachay. The changes in vegetation become visible from high mountain area into tropical jungle with its dense forest. The day ends at Chaullay (2865 M), in a total different climate and atmosphere to the previous day.
Night in tent.
Ascent: 730 m / Descent: 1765 m / Highest altitude: 4630 m / Distance: 17,4 km / Activity duration: 8-9 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3

Lucmabamba (2130 M)
The trail this day goes down the Santa Teresa River valley through cloud forest and, further down, coffee plantations and tropical orchards of passion fruit, papaya and avocado, all decorated with towering mountains to either side. The vegetation is very dense and it is possible to see a variety of orchids and impressive water falls. The hike passes La Playa settlement and then takes the path to Lucmabamba, where an original Inca trail still remains to this day. Upon arrival, there will be a tour to visit the coffee plantations and to experience the traditional processes the local families use to produce coffee, ending with a coffee taste.
Night in tent.
Descent: 735 m / Highest altitude: 2130 m / Distance: 19,7 km / Activity duration: 5-6 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Hidroelectrica (1830 m) – Aguas Calientes (2100 m)
Last hiking day, a gradual uphill climb through lush sub-tropical forest up to Abra Llactapata pass (2815 m) and then down to Llactapata (2740 m), an archeological site first discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1915, subsequently lost to science, and then rediscovered in the 1980s. From the site there is a stunning view of the backside of Machu Picchu amongst the neighboring peaks. After a visit to the Llactapata’s ruins, down towards the Urubamba Valley to the hydro-electric power station. On the other side of the bridge there is the train station, the end of this amazing trek!. A 30 minute amazing train trip to Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu, by the side of the Urubamba River.
Night in hotel.
Ascent: 680 m / Descent: 985 m / Highest altitude: 2815 m / Distance: 12 km / Activity duration: 4-5 h
Included meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Machu Picchu (2450 m) – Cusco
We enjoy an early morning visit to the fabled ruins, spending the day with both guided and individual exploration. After we visit the most fascinating features of this astounding and mysterious Inca settlement, some will want to take the optional hike to an amazing overview of the site, while other may prefer to investigate Machu Picchu’s multitude of hidden nooks and corners. After a full-on experience of this glorious monument to the Inca achievement, we return to Aguas Calientes and board the return train to Cusco (Poroy). Transfer from here to the hotel in Cusco.
Total kilom: 25 km / Initial altitude: 2100 m / Final altitude: 2450 m
Included meals: Breakfast

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  • Local bilingual guide on the trek
  • Transportation to and from Cusco
  • A pre-departure information meeting briefing
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • High quality 2 people tents including comfortable sleeping pads.
  • A duffle bag to store your luggage during the trek (please return upon your arrival in Cusco)
  • Bus tickets from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu and back
  • Expedition train tickets from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo.
  • All transfers
  • Hotel night in Aguas Calientes in 3 star hotel
  • First aid kit
  • Oxygen tank
  • Horseman and horses
  • Meals according to the day to day itinerary


  • Domestic and international flights
  • First day breakfast and last day lunch
  • Extra price for the entrance fee to Huayna Picchu or Montaña Picchu – This is in addition to the Machu Picchu entrance fee (subject to availability).
  • Personal gear
  • Camping gear
  • Insurance
  • Tips
  • Everything not mentioned in the “Included” list

AGUAS CALIENTES: Hotel Presidente 3* (no website) or similar



Salcantay Trek – Cordillera Vilcabamba:

Tags: Trekking, Machu Picchu, Peru, Cusco, Salkantay, T2, Soraypampa, Challacancha, Humantay, Mollepata