The South Face Salkantay: Get away from the crowds and enjoy the unbeaten path

Things are changing all the time in Cusco. As the country develops and new highways are built to give more access to remote communities, trekking routes continue to change. That´s why in Explorandes, we are always looking for new alternatives that can guarantee our adventurers that uniqueness and off the beaten path experience that they are looking for while they travel through the Andes.

The classic, North Face Salkantay Trek has been an excellent alternative for all those who haven´t been able to purchase their permit for the Inca trail.   However, with the increase in demand of hikers trying to get to Machu Picchu through the North Face Salkantay Trek route, development has hit the attractiveness’ of a beautiful route once again. Since it lies outside  the boundaries of Machu Picchu Sanctuary and has no permit limitations or camp regulations, this classic route has become crowded. The impact hikers have had, has made camping areas unhygienic and killed the essence of walking in the wilderness of the Andes. These days, there is an auctioning of lands looking for new business opportunities (food and beverage, lodging) on the route and it has lost that sense of being in a natural space.

As pioneers, we have always sought to make trekking in the Andes a unique experience,  keeping the interaction between nature and the adventurer  as positive as possible. Our routes along ancient Inca paths  go through beautiful landscapes, with views of snow-capped mountains and different types of vegetation.  We trek in remote areas during the day, and at night the  Andean skies full of stars and the moon shine on our carefully selected campsites so as to enjoy the sounds of nature and not human sounds when relaxing in camp.

We invite you to walk with us along the South Face Salkantay Trek, as the main alternative to the Inca Trail. Following are some facts that make this route interesting and different:

  1. No crowds on any section of the route as we travel over ancient Inca trails.
  2. Great campsites where you and your group will be able to rest surrounded by nature and far from development and encroachment.
  3. Incredible views of the South face of Mt. Salkantay
  4. You will get to see incredible and unique archeological sites such as the Wayna Qente and Machu Qente which have been recently restored and have no visitors.
  5. You can connect this trek with the Short Inca Trail Express (Km.104 Hike). About the Inca Trail Express:
    1. This day hike consists of walking the last day of the Inca Trail. For many, the most iconic day as you walk through cloud forest and enter Machu Picchu through Inti Punku or commonly named the Sun Gate.
    2. This section of the Inca Trail has different permit than the regular 5D/4N classic Inca trail as it has a different entrance point and does not involve camping.
    3. As many travelers undertake an alternative trek because they are not able to get permits in time to do the Classic Inca Trail, this combination can be a good alternative for an incredible trek and experience the most iconic day of the Inca Trail as permits usually run out 2 weeks before the departure and not 6 to 8 months as happens on the Classic Inca trail.

Note*: To get on the Short Inca Trail Express, you will have to board on a train from Km.88 to Km. 104.


This 2018 we´ve been piloting this route  with our direct sales, and to be honest, we have gotten very good feedback from our trekkers. We will continue to promote it as many of our passengers and partners find this experience an incredible alternative to trek to Machu Picchu. I am sure that this will be a route that will start getting more popular as we work with the local communities to sustain the area and limit the encroachment of land and informal development of infrastructure. Explorandes has a lot to work to do over the next years with these communities the help keep this route as wild as possible and not let development hit its most valuable asset: it´s remoteness.

If you would like to receive  more information about this new trek, you can see the detail on the presentation sent in the newsletter. If you want even further detail, please contact your Destination Specialist.


    • This new South Face Salkantay Trek has fixed departures every Wednesday. As an alternative to our classic 5D/4N Inca trail.
    • We will continue offering the classic North Face Salkantay Trek. But it will have only one departure every Sunday as an alternative to our classic 5D/4N Inca Trail. We do understand that some travelers are still interested in trekking the classic route as it has popular demand.
    • We present these routes as alternatives when the Inca Trail Permits run out. We just want to give better alternatives to our travelers and partners.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

Leave a comment

Send us your question

All your doubts and questions will be solved by our team.

Recent News

Explorandes Sustainability Policy
5 December, 2018
Explorandes Mission and Vision / Values
5 December, 2018
Why is travelling alone a unique lifetime experience?
26 September, 2018
Explorandes joins Regenera in the search of the 0 carbon footprint operations
4 September, 2018
The Chachapoyas kingdom: Lord of the Clouds and Waterfall Valley by Daniela Mendez
4 September, 2018