Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

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Departing from Cusco, drive north across Antapampa into the Apurimac watershed. Mollepata is the starting point of our five-day trek across the Cordillera Vilcabamba, past Mt. Humantay and Salkantay into the headwaters of the Santa Teresa valley. Hiking down this cloud forest area we ascend to the Pass of Paltallacta. Great views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective. Hike into the Aobamba Valley and arrive near the hydroelectric works, downriver from the citadel, spend the night in Aguas Calientes. Next morning we will visit Machu Picchu ruins before heading back to Cusco.


5 Days / 4 Nights


March – December


Every Sunday


Day 1Cusco/ Mollepata/ Soraypampa/ Salkantaypampa

Leaving Cusco, we go across the plateau of Anta, an area that’s considered the breadbasket of Cusco, important for grains and cattle. We reach the pass of Limatambo with an amazing view of mountains Salkantay and Humantay and the panorama of the lush agricultural valley below. We visit the ruins of Tarawasi with its long asymmetric Inca stonewall. Continue on the paved road for a short while and turn off on a winding road which zigzag’s uphill until reaching Mollepata at 2,900m (9,454ft). We continue on a narrower track for another hour passing Cruzpata, Oncopata and Checchicancha getting our first view of Mt. Humantay close up, with a view of Mt. Yanantay. The last part of the track brings us to 3,900m (12,815ft) at Soraypampa where there are small settlements of cattle herders. We´ll continue up to the Pampa, below Mt. Salkantay where we camp at 4,145m (13,599ft). (L/D)

Trekking time: 3 hours

Day 2Salkantaypampa / Apacheta / Collpapampa

Leaving our campsite we head towards the terminal moraine, from here the trail begins to ascend past boulders, reaching a scree slope which we traverse to reach the Apacheta Pass at 4,636m (15,210ft), a great opportunity to look towards the other pass at Incachiriaska, into a small lake below Mt. Salkantay’s ice flute and the huge expanse of the moraine. The trail winds its way through the landscape downhill towards a large Pampa called Wayrahmachay (3,919m / 12,858ft). We begin our descent all the way to the Sta. Teresa River and arrive at our campsite (2,950m / 9,678ft). (Trek: 8 hours / 12kms). (B/L/D)

Trekking time: 8 hours

Distance: 12 Km

Day 3Collpapampa / Lucmabamba

From our campsite we start the descent to Lucmabamba, through the Sta. Teresa river valley. In this section of adventure, vegetation begins to be lusher because we are getting to the cloud forest. We will descent through the left side of the valley, in the middle of the forest. As we descend we will see a small road on the opposite side of the valley. After 2 hours walking, we will arrive to Playa Sahuayaco, and from then 2 more hours down to Lucmabamba, where we are going to rest in our camping site. 2,048 m / 6,719 ft. (B/L/D)

Trekking time: 4 hours

Distance: 7 Km

Day 4Lucmabamba / Hidroelectrica/ Machu Picchu Village

Today we begin our ascent to the pass of Q’elloqasa at an attitude of 2,875m/9,430ft. Traversing dense cloud forest with a chance to hear birdcalls, we pass a pre-Inca site. From here we get the first view from the distance of the southern face of Machu Picchu. We continue our descent to the junction of the Aobamba and Urubamba valleys and arrive at the hydroelectric station, from where we will take a short train ride to Machu Picchu Village where we spend the night at a local hotel (not included), dinner on your own. (B/L)

Trekking time: 7 hours

Distance: 10 Km

Day 5Machu Picchu / Cusco

A half hour bus ride will bring you to the citadel for a guided visit which on average takes three hours as your official guide walks you through the different sectors of the hill-top citadel, with astonishing views, learning about the aspects of Andean life, taking you back in time. Afternoon return to the village where the train will take you to back to Ollantaytambo or Cusco. (Hotel overnight and dinner on your own). (L)

Services Included
Services Not Included
  • Transportation to road head and return from Ollantaytambo to Cusco (or Sacred Valley)
  • All meals on trek and lunch at Machu Picchu local restaurant (day 5)
  • Two-man three season tents and inflatable mats
  • Kitchen and dining tent with stools and tables
  • Bilingual guide
  • Cook and camp crew
  • Porters that carry equipment and luggage
  • First aid kit and oxygen
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Tips
  • Taxes
  • Personal gear
  • Laundry services
  • Additional tours
  • Personal insurance
  • Airline tickets (where applicable)
  • Sleeping bags (available for rent)
  • Extras

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