Adventures / Wild Hikes

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Tick off 'one of the 25 best treks in the world' to the infamous Machu Picchu.

Wild Hikes
7 Nights

Voted one of the best 25 treks in the world by National Geographic, this trail takes you on a spell binding journey beneath the magnificent Salkantay mountain (6271m). You’ll pass through rainforest, cloud forest, highlands and high mountain passes, beneath glaciers, around turquoise lakes, and past three of the most stunning peaks of the Cordillera Vilcabamba Mountain. This is the most popular alternative to the over trodden Inca trail, and widely regarded to be more impressive. Combined with exploring Cusco, the Sacred Valley and of course Machu Picchu itself, this is the ultimate Inca trekking week.

Your hassle-free adventure includes

  • 3 nights in a boutique hotel in Cusco
  • Day trip to explore the Sacred Valley
  • 4 day Salkantay trek
  • 3 nights camping
  • 1 night in a hotel in Agua Calientes
  • Walking tour of Machu Picchu
  • Local, certified English speaking guide
  • Porters, horses, camping equipment and chef
  • Welcome dinner, all breakfasts, all meals during trek
  • Airport and local transfers
  • Tickets to all sites, including Macchu Picchu
  • All taxes, insurances and licenses

Perfect for

The Salkantay trek is a great challenge for those looking to explore the most iconic parts of Peru. The steep terrain and altitude will make the going tough at times, but anyone with good fitness and the right attitude will love it.

Need To Know

  • Four-person tent for each two persons
  • Thermarest Inflatable Mattress and pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent with portable toilet
  • Expert chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
  • Horse to carry 8 kg of your personal belongings
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Duffle bag to pack your personal belongings
  • Hot water for washing and drinking
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles
  • Group oxygen bottle and medical kit

Experienced chefs will be on-hand to make amazing meals in the middle of the mountains. Expect plenty of hot food and drinks with every meal. The chefs are used to preparing dishes for people with different food restrictions or lifestyles, so please let your host know your preferences and we will make sure to meet your dietary needs.

In the Andes, there are two main seasons – wet and dry. The wet season runs from November to April and is wet but usually warmer overall. The dry season runs from May to October and has hot clear days but cold nights.

On the coast, it is usually quite hot although during the winter (April-August) it can get chilly early in the morning and at night.

The only one thing you can say about the weather in Peru is that it is difficult to accurately predict. You can have beautifully clear hot days in the middle of the wet season and hail storms in the dry season – it’s one of the beauties of Peru.

No, for this trek you do not need to organise an Inca trail permit, and entrance to Machu Picchu is included in the price of the trip.

The Inca Trail has all the fame, but in our humble opinion, this is a better, less crowded trek. It passes through more dramatic landscapes, past Inca ruins, and still ends at Machu Picchu. It is widely regarded as the best alternative trek, and though that does mean you won’t have the trail to yourself, our local guides will keep you away from the crowds and camping away from other groups.

The following are not included in the trip price:
- Flights to and from Cusco
- Snacks and drinks outsides meals
- Sleeping bag (can be rented from host)
- Lunch on Day 1, lunch and dinner on Day 2, lunch and dinner on Day 7
- Tips for the crew (muleteers, chef and guide)
- Hiking poles (can be rented from host)
- Personal expenses
- Travel insurance

This trip will run with a minimum of 2 people, and a maximum of 12.

Sure can! A lot of people do, and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Your host recommends to pack:

  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (available to rent)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece or down jacket, wicking base layers, a few t-shirts, hiking socks, light long pants, gloves, warm beanie, quality rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
  • Sun hat
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Binoculars
  • Book to read (you will have some spare time at every camp to read your favorite book)
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, available to rent)
  • Insect repellent
  • Day rucksack (25-35l) to carry spare snacks, water and clothing in day

Other recommendations are:
- Camera
- Mobile phone
- Personal medicine if required (please inform your guide in case of emergency)

Unfortunately, this trip is only available for adults. Children 14+ can do the trip on a private booking.

We’ve teamed up with the guys at World Nomads to offer insurance designed for adventurous travellers across 140 countries that includes overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. To get yours sorted, click here.

Got a question not covered here? Contact the host.


View map

Cusco was once capital of the Inca Empire and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. It’s the gateway to an Andean countryside dotted with villages, high-altitude hamlets and ruins of ancient Andean culture.

The Sacred Valley is one of the most popular attractions in the region. This was a crucial area for the Inca Empire and it functioned as both an agricultural, spiritual and political centre. Throughout its length, there are many colonial towns and isolated villages to be visited offering traditional markets, charming cobbled streets and ancient stories.

One of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu is on many peoples’ must-see list; this 15th-century abandoned Inca citadel is renowned for its sophisticated dry-stone walls that fuse huge blocks without the use of mortar, and intriguing buildings that play on astronomical alignments and panoramic views. This ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century; although it’s former use is yet to be discovered.

Start point

Start Point: Cusco Airport: any time on Day 1

You’ll be met by private transfer when you land at Cusco airport (CUZ) and taken to your hotel.

Finish point

Finish Point: Cusco Airport: any time on Day 8

You will be taken to Cusco airport (CUZ) by private transfer any time to meet your onward flight.

What to Expect

Day 1: Arrive in Cusco

Your private transfer will wisk you to your hotel in Cusco, perfectly located off one of the main squares. If you’ve got the time, head out to wonder the magical streets and soak up this amazing town.

Join the group and your guide later dinner at a local restaurant where you can sample local Peruvian cuisine, music and get to know your fellow adventurers.

After dinner and laughs, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest – perhaps a nightcap first.

Day 2: Sacred Valley Tour

Today, you’ll embark on a tour of the Sacred Valley; a crucial area for the Inca Empire, the Sacred Valley functioned as an agricultural, spiritual and political centre.

Throughout its length, there are many Inca and Pre-Inca sites that can be found. You’ll visit the two main sites, Pisac and Ollantaytambo; experience their ancient ruins, cobbled streets and handicraft markets and uncover their prehistoric stories.

At the end of the day, you’ll return to your hotel in Cusco. You’ll have a pre-trek briefing with the guide to prepare for the days ahead, then you’ve got some free time to relax, have dinner and probably an early night ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 3: Trek From Soraypampa to Soyrococha via Humantay Lake

Your guide will collect you from your hotel this morning for the 3-hour scenic drive to Mollepata where you’ll enjoy breakfast at one of the local houses.

After breakfast, you’ll get back on the road as you make your way to the starting point of your trek at Soraypampa (3800m), gaining your first glimpse of the Salkantay and Humantay mountains along the way.

After packing the horses and meeting your support team, it’s time to set off. You’ll commence your trek with a 2-and-a-half-hour journey to the high altitude turquoise lake, Humantay, positioned directly below the Humantay glacier. From here, you’ll embark on a gentle climb 2-hour to Salkantaypampa for lunch.

After lunch, you’ll ascend to Soyrococha (4400m) where you’ll set up camp with Humantay Mountain as your backdrop.

6-8 hours trekking, 8km

Day 4: Trek From Soyrococha to Colpapampa

Today’s a challenging one; after breakfast, you’ll begin with an uphill hike to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay pass (4650m). When you reach the top, we are going to make an offering to Apu Salkantay and learn the significance of the mountain to Inca culture.

From here, you’ll descend to Huayracmachay (3800m) for lunch, passing magnificent lakes with the Pumasillo and Humantay mountains in the distance.

After lunch, you’ll descend further through highlands, to cloud forest, and rainforest, until you reach camp at Colpapampa (3100m).

8-9 hours trekking, 16km

Day 5: Colpapampa to Lucmabamba Coffee Plantation

You’ll be rewarded with a gentler hike today over up and down segments through the rainforest along the Santa Teresa river. After a trek through lush vegetation and waterfalls, you’ll reach tonight’s camp by noon and stop for lunch.

After lunch, you’ll be treated to a tour of the coffee plantation adjacent to camp; browsing the fields, you’ll learn about the different types of beans and even try your hand at picking your own to later grind, roast and enjoy.

Before returning to camp, you’ll roam the nearby tomato and avocado fields and pick vegetables for the chef to use in tonight’s dinner at camp.

5-6 hours trekking, 14km

Day 6: Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata Inca site

After breakfast this morning, you’ll start a moderate trek through the rainforest to the Llactapata Inca site (2700m), where there is plenty of time to explore the site thoroughly. This will also be your first sighting of Machu Picchu in the distance and tomorrow’s hike, Huayna Picchu.

From Llactapata, you’ll descend to Hydroelectric where you’ll enjoy lunch before boarding the train at around 15:00. The train journey will take just 40-minutes to arrive in Aguas Calientes.

On arrival, you’ll check in to your hotel and perhaps indulge in a power-nap before visiting a local restaurant to enjoy dinner with the group.

6-7 hours trekking, 13km

Day 7: Explore Machu Picchu

After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll head to Machu Picchu itself!

After a 2-hour walking tour of Machu Picchu, you’ll prepare to climb Mount Huayna Picchu (2720m). This is an optional climb and if it’s not for you, you’ll have free time to explore more of Machu Picchu. However, if you do push yourself to the top, you’ll be rewarded with an unbelievable high-rise view of the lost city below.

After a long day and a lot of selfies, you’ll return by bus to Aguas Calientes and continue your journey back to Cusco via the expedition train to Ollantaytambo, and private bus from there. You’ll be back at your hotel with a drink in hand by 21:00, no doubt ready to welcome your bed.

Day 8: Time to go home

After a great week of sights, experiences and achievements, it’s time to head home.

Your transfer will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco and take you to the airport in time for your forwarding journey.

Note: This itinerary and the duration of the activities are subject to change due to group abilities and preferences, and weather conditions and forecasts.


During your time in Cusco, you’ll stay at centrally located stylish boutique hotel, such as the Tierra Viva Cusco Hotel or similar. This highly rated hotel is set in a classic colonial house just off the Plaza de Armas (main square). It offers comfortable twin rooms on a same-sex sharing basis. Single rooms are available, and your host will be able to help with this request. Breakfast will be served at the hotel.

The hotel also has a cosy lounge, communal sittings rooms, and many balconies and terraces which overlook the city.

During the trek, you will camp at various points along the route. Your host will provide four-person tents for each two people, and a thermarest inflatable mattress and pillow. You’ll be accompanied by a group camp chef and porters, bringing a kitchen tent, dining tent with tables and chairs, and a toilet tent with portable toilet.

You’ll stay in a quality hotel in Aguas Calientes on the last night of the trek for a good nights sleep before heading up to Machu Picchu. Typically we use La Cabana Machu Picchu, or Andina Luxury depending on availability.

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Dates & Prices

Prices include

Accommodation · Airport Transfers · Equipment · Guide · Local Transport · Meals As Described · Happiness Guaranteed · 100% Financial Protection

Please note: Flights are NOT included and must be purchased separately.

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