Machu Picchu from afar
4.9
| 56 reviews

Trek the Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu

7 nights
Challenging

The younger, cooler sister of the over-crowded Inca Trail

What's Included?

Activities & Certified Guides

All itinerary activities with local, certified and friendly English-speaking guides

Hotel & Camping

4 nights in hotels (3 in Cusco, 1 in Aguas Calientes) and 3 nights camping on the trail

Meals

Local food cooked by your very own chef during the trek

Transfers & Porterage

Airport transfers, local transfers, and porters and horses to carry your luggage on the trek

Equipment & Permits

Everything you need for camping along the trail including your tickets and entry fees

Small Like-minded Groups

Solo-friendly by design, join our small n’ sociable groups of up to 14 like-minded, active and outdoorsy people
From

excluding flights

What's it like?

4.9
| 56 reviews
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
May 2024
Sophie W.
Highly Recommended
May 2024
Chris M.
Highly Recommended
May 2024
Chris M.
Highly Recommended
May 2024
Chris M.
Highly Recommended
May 2024
Chris M.
Highly Recommended
May 2024
Chris M.
We really enjoyed this trek, the scenery wa...
November 2023
Tasha
We really enjoyed this trek, the scenery wa...
November 2023
Tasha
We really enjoyed this trek, the scenery wa...
November 2023
Tasha
We really enjoyed this trek, the scenery wa...
November 2023
Tasha
This is my second Much Better Adventures tr...
November 2023
Erin
This is my second Much Better Adventures tr...
November 2023
Erin
This is my second Much Better Adventures tr...
November 2023
Erin
This is my second Much Better Adventures tr...
November 2023
Erin
Absolutely loved the trip, our local guide...
July 2023
Jacob
Absolutely loved the trip, our local guide...
July 2023
Jacob
Absolutely loved the trip, our local guide...
July 2023
Jacob
Absolutely loved the trip, our local guide...
July 2023
Jacob
Absolutely loved the trip, our local guide...
July 2023
Jacob
Beautiful scenery from glaciers to jungles,...
May 2023
Alice
Beautiful scenery from glaciers to jungles,...
May 2023
Alice
Beautiful scenery from glaciers to jungles,...
May 2023
Alice
Beautiful scenery from glaciers to jungles,...
May 2023
Alice
Beautiful scenery from glaciers to jungles,...
May 2023
Alice

Voted one of the top 25 treks on the planet by National Geographic

Trek through rainforest, cloud forest, over high passes and around glaciers - your feet might get tired, but your eyes never will

Sleep in picture-perfect campsites, so close to the Milky Way you can almost touch it

Can’t get enough of Incan cities? Check out our Choquequirao trek, where you can hike to both Machu Picchu and its ‘sacred sister’

Key Information

Day 1

Arrive in Cusco and get to know your crew

View of one of the main squares

Arrive at your hotel in Cusco this afternoon, perfectly located off one of the main squares. If you’ve got the time, head out to wander the streets for your first real taste of Peruvian culture. Join your guide later for dinner at a nearby restaurant, where you can sample the local cuisine and music, as well as get to know your fellow adventurers. After dinner, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Day 2

Tour of the Sacred Valley

The ruins

The Sacred Valley was a crucial area for the Inca Empire, functioning as an agricultural, spiritual and political hub. You’ll visit the two main sites, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, to experience their ancient ruins, cobbled streets and learn about their history. On returning to your hotel in Cusco, you’ll meet your guide for a quick pre-trek briefing. Afterwards, the evening is yours - relax, grab some dinner and probably have an early night, ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 3

Trek to Humantay Lake

Humantay Lake

Hiking

4-5hrs · 10km · 420m up · 400m down

You’ll be up picked from your hotel for a scenic drive to Mollepata, the starting point for the Salkantay route, where you’ll enjoy breakfast in a local house. After brekkie, you’ll make your way to the start of your trek in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba at Challacancha (3780m), getting your first glimpse of the Salkantay and Humantay mountains on the way. After packing the horses, it’s time to set off towards Soraypampa (3800m), the location of your first campsite. From here you’ll trek up to the high altitude and bright turquoise waters of Humantay Lake (4200m), sitting below the Humantay Glacier, before descending back down to the camp at Soraypampa.

Day 4

Soraypampa to Huayracmachay

Trekkers on the Salkantay Route

Hiking

6-8hrs · 12km · 830m up · 710m down

Today’s a tough one. After breakfast, you’ll start with an uphill hike to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay Pass (4630m). At the top, you’ll make an offering to Apu Salkantay and learn the significance of the mountain to Inca culture. Descend to Huayracmachay (3920m), passing turquoise lakes with the Pumasillo and Humantay mountains in the distance.

Day 5

Huayracmachay to Lucmabamba

Waterfall and bridge

Hiking

9-10hrs · 21km · 50m up · 1870m down

Descend through the rainforest along the Santa Teresa River, trekking past lush vegetation and waterfalls. Stop for lunch at Colpapampa then continue to Lucmabamba. After arriving you'll have a chance to visit a nearby coffee plantation and roam the nearby tomato and avocado fields to pick vegetables for the chef to use in tonight’s dinner.

Day 6

Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata

Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata, Peru, Action Treks

Hiking

6-7hrs · 13km · 870m up · 880m down

After breakfast, you’ll embark on an easy(ish) trek through the rainforest to the Llactapata Inca site (2700m). You’ll have plenty of time to explore the area and catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu in the distance. From Llactapata, you’ll descend for lunch before boarding a train to 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 crew.

Day 7

Ah...Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu from afar

Hiking

4hrs · 3.5km · 296m up · 296m down

Today you’ll head to Machu Picchu itself, one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites, with a breathtaking location to match. You'll catch the bus there and have a guided tour to hear all about the hidden secrets of this ancient site. After a long day, you’ll return by bus to Aguas Calientes and continue your journey back to Cusco via the expedition train to Ollantaytambo, and then bus it from there. You’ll be back at your hotel with a drink in hand by 21:00, no doubt ready to drop.

Day 8

Time to go home

Coloured blankets

After your Peruvian adventure, 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 onward journey.

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 5

Campsite · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 6

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 7

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 8

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Whilst trekking, an experienced chef will be on-hand to make amazing meals in the middle of the mountains. Expect plenty of hot food and drinks with every meal. Snacks such as chocolate or granola bars, cookies, dried or fresh fruit will be provided in addition to three meals a day during the hike. Breakfasts typically include things like oats (or 'kiwicha', a local supergrain), eggs/omelettes, jam and toast, pancakes and granola. Lunches are usually soups, salads, pasta, or potato-based dishes and dinners tend to be three-course cooked meals complete with dessert! Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Cusco

During your time in Cusco, you’ll stay in a 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).

Salkantay trek

During the trek, you'll camp along the route. Your host will provide a four-man tent for every two people, complete with 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 loo. There will be shower facilities at the Day 5 campsite only (at Lucmabamba), with basic wash-bowl facilities provided for freshening up at the other wild camps on Days 2-4.

Aguas Calientes

On the last night of the trek, you'll stay in either the La Cabana Machu Picchu or Andina Luxury in Aguas Calientes for a good night's sleep before heading up to Machu Picchu the following day. Both hotels are modern, clean, very friendly and serve a brilliant breakfast.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

This trip has been rated as Challenging

A little tougher and higher than the classic Inca Trail (and without any of the permit faff), the Salkantay Trek is a great challenge for those with good fitness who are after quieter trails and dramatic Andean landscapes. The two nights in Cuzco (3350m) before the trek double up as acclimatisation days, but nevertheless - the steep terrain and high altitude will make the going tough at times, particularly on the first three days of the hike. No previous experience is necessary, but you will need to be able to walk for up to 10 hours a day with considerable ascent and descent for four consecutive days. Porterage is included, so you'll only need to carry a small daypack with extra layers and bits for that day.

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.

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. May and June are two of the most popular months to trek in the Andes as the weather tends to be more stable. If you're spending time in Lima before or after the trip then be aware that the season is the reverse of this so you can expect some grey skies. For current advice about travelling in Peru, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages here.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Cusco Airport (CUZ)

Flexible - arrive any time on Day 1

Ends

Cusco Airport (CUZ)

Flexible - catch any flight home on Day 8

Transfers

Catch any flight you like. Your host will pick you up on arrival and drop you off on departure. Just bear in mind that if you arrive at the crack of dawn your room may not be ready for check-in. The usual hotel check-in time is at 1pm. An arrival airport transfer is included even if you decide to arrive earlier than the trip start date - just provide your flight details with the host.

Travel options

There are currently no direct international flights from Europe or the US into Cuzco. Flights generally involve one or two changes and go via Lima. If you prefer to break up the journey, you could consider flying into Lima a day early and booking an onward flight to Cuzco the following day. Airport hotels are available in Lima or, if you have more time to spare, why not stay in the popular Miraflores district of Lima and use this as a base to explore the city? See Optional Extras below for prices for extra nights in Cuzco or Lima before or after the tour.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Tent, inflatable mattress and pillow
  • Duffle bag for your personal belongings
  • Group oxygen bottle and medical kit

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking poles

What do I need to bring?

  • Day pack (25-35 litre)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm fleece or down jacket
  • Hiking boots
  • Wicking base layers
  • Light long walking trousers
  • Few t-shirts
  • Hiking socks
  • Winter gloves
  • Beanie and sun hat
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag
  • Warm layers for the first night camping at 4400m
  • Ear plugs
  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 35+ recommended)
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle

FURTHER INFORMATION

  • You'll be given a duffel bag during the trek briefing to pack your trekking gear into. You'll have an 8kg limit per person for porterage, so you'll only need to carry your day pack.

  • Your camp crew will provide you with boiled water every day, which is safe to drink. Should you have any concerns about the water quality, please feel free to bring additional water purification tablets.

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Sleeping Bag Hire

Payable Before Departure

Sleeping Bag Hire

Trekking Pole Hire

Payable Before Departure

Trekking Pole Hire

Pre/post accommodation in Cusco (Twin/Double/Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Cusco (Twin/Double/Single)

Per Night

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Single)

Per Night

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Twin/Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Twin/Double)

Per Night

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Per Person

Jen O.(June 2024)
Just Incredible in so many ways!

Wow, wow, wow! These guys are amazing and what a trip! Our guides Christian and Eddie were just superb and the rest of the team from the chefs to the horsemen were also incredible. The trek was insane and well within reach of anyone with ‘fairly decent’ fitness and a great attitude (I’m nearly 50 and have ‘fair’ fitness although injuries to contend with) The altitude was fine to contend with - I took dried/sugared ginger to munch on, drink plenty and we did breathwork each morning to get our oxygen levels up. No dramas! The scenery, people and experience as a whole was second-to-none. Peru is just beyond stunning. Ealing up with a glacier view from your tent was unbelievable. Every little thing was thought of and the whole team were so accomodating. How they knocked up these awesome 3 course meals in tiny mountain huts and camp kitchens etc was insane! The knowledge, story telling and connection till to the land is something you will never forget. Nothing was too much trouble and the guides were so attentive - working so hard so keep everyone safe. Truly soul inspiring and such a magical break from the materialism and ego of ‘western society’. This is so much more than a trek. It’s a life changing, soul nourishing reality check that many of us so badly need. We opted to head to Machu Picchu the earliest we could on the last day and the 4am wake up was well worth it. To arrive at this historical site before sun rise when it was so quiet and watch the sun rise over the mountains was worth its weight in gold. Barely anyone there but us to witness this awe inspiring sight. My fellow trekkies were the best, if I could do this all again I would choose these beautiful folks to do it with. We laughed together, cried, shared stories and learned about each other and supported each other in so many beautiful ways. I would do it all again tomorrow if I could. I don’t want to add many pics as I don’t want to spoil it lol. Thanks so much guys, I love you all forever and every single part of this trip holds a special place in my heart forever 💕🥹

David A.(June 2024)
Breathtaking from start to finish

Couldn't recommend highly enough, had a wonderful time surrounded by breathtaking scenery and our guide Dario was awesome, everything was so well organised.

Evan T.(June 2024)
Great trip and great people.

Great trip and great people. It was a decent challenge, but doable.

Steven A.(June 2024)
Salkantay Adventure

First trip with MBA. Absolutely brilliant experience, and couldn't have asked for better guides in Dario and Eddie. Trip well thought out and a nice little challenge too.

Would effortlessly recommend.

Katelyn M.(June 2024)
Salkantay Route to Machupicchu 1-7 June

I had an amazing time with Eddy and Dario trekking the Salkantay route to Machupicchu. I learned so much about Incan history and the views were more beautiful than I could have EVER imagined.

I sprained my ankle badly and Eddy was so kind and helpful. I cannot think of a better group of people and guides to have made these memories with.

Sul Pikey Wikey!!!

Hugh V.(June 2024)
Excellent trip to Machu Picchu via the Salkantay Trail

The whole trip was an incredible experience.

All of the guides were excellent including Dario, SuzieQ and Eddie.

The chefs provided excellent meals for us every day.

The itinerary was excellent and the hiking was we planned out and catered for a group of various fitness levels.

The hosts weee in communication and kept everything running smoothly.

Gemma H.(June 2024)
This trip exceed all my expectations… absolutely incredible A true bucket list experience!

From arrival to Cusco to the last day at Machu Picchu everything was just awesome!

Our guides Christian and Eddie were amazing… Christian was so knowledgeable and passionate and looked after us all so well! He was super friendly and nothing was ever too much effort. Eddie was awesome, and the offering to the mountains was so powerful and something that will stay with me forever! The rest of the team, especially the cooking team, were amazing and the food was hotel quality - we never went hungry.

This was my first Much Better Adventures Trip and it certainly will not be my last

Top Tip: Make sure you a fit enough because this is challenging - especially the altitude day.

Paul S.(June 2024)
A must for any trekker!

Where do I start! What an adventure. From the second you land in Cusco to the last moment of your final pick up, perfect, professional and so well organised. This trip is an absolute must for any adventurer, trekker. We were a party of 14, mostly from the UK but with an Australian, Dutch and an American. What a team. We got on from the first briefing, dinner and the fun carried throughout the entire trek. I've made friends for life and experienced some of the best times, shared with strangers that so quickly became 'family'. I will never forget this adventure and the sad part is that I've now done it, but wish I could do it all again for the first time. The trek itself was tough but as I was expecting really, but the final days climb to the very top of Huayna Picchu was just incredible. The view is probably one of the best views the world has to offer. I just want to relive it all over again with the same trekkers. We are planning another trek together for next year and I really hope this happens and if it does it will be through 'Much Better Adventures' for sure - Thank you.

Leigh M.(May 2024)
Another Incredible MBA Adventure

MBA do it again, another incredible adventure! This is my fourth MBA trip and all have been amazing. The group were lovely, our guide Lino was brilliant and really looked after us, and Peru was definitely worth visiting. Great to have such a quiet trail through beautiful scenery and see Machu Piichu wonder of the world. With many other sights on the way. I would definitely recommend this trip and MBA.

Doug S.(May 2024)
The terrain was beautiful and

The terrain was beautiful and diverse. The guides did a great job. The food was fresh and delicious.

Sophie J.(May 2024)
😍😍😍

What an incredible trip! From touch down in Cusco through to the last day in Machu Picchu it was an awesome week! The highlight for me was the hiking and camping. Spending the days climbing towards some amazing views will stay with me forever and I think now hooked on trekking. Some amazing climbs and insane views. You are also fabulously looked after by Lino and his team. My top tips would be to make sure you’re fit enough to do it so you can properly enjoy!

Sophie W.(May 2024)
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.
Amazing trek through stunning Peru.