Salkantay Trek 4 days or 5: discover the option that best suits you

salkantay trek

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One of the most famous routes in Cusco and one of the alternative ways to discover the original Inca trails is the Salkantay Trek 4 days or 5. Snow-capped mountains, Andean landscapes, tropical forests and even dense jungle will accompany you during the 64 kilometers of the complete tour. If you can’t wait to visit Machu Picchu and you want to do it in the most special way, this is your best option!

We hope the 64 kilometers didn’t scare you, they are harmless! What worries you is not that? We understand, you don’t know which Salkantay Trek to do. We are here to solve your doubts so we pose you the 4 options you have to get to Machu Picchu by the wildest way.

Salkantay Trek 4 days vs. Salkantay Trek 5 days

You can imagine that the main difference between the 4-day Salkantay Trek and the 5-day one is the speed and the explosiveness of the route. What we mean, is that in 4 days the pace is higher and the demand greater. As for the altitude sickness there is no way to avoid it, you can suffer it both in one and the other. Try to acclimatize your body to the high altitude!

The first and second day is the same for both routes, that is, you leave Cusco and cross the Apus Mountains of Peru along Anta, Mollepata and Challacancha. From this last point you depart to Soraypampa and then to Humantay Lake at 4.200 meters. The second day is the hardest because you reach the highest point of the trail, the Salkantay Passage. You are probably wondering at what altitude is the Salkantay Passage, well, at 4.615 meters.

Salkantay Trek in outline

The third day on the Salkantay Trek 5 days is quiet: 12 kilometers and no variations in altitude that compete with the 22 kilometers of the Salkantay Trek 4 days. There is also a pleasant surprise that the 4-day Salkantay Trek does not give time to visit: the thermal baths of Cocalmayo

Between the third, fourth and even fifth day of the 5-day Salkantay Trek, the points that the 4-day Trek visits in the third day are visited, hence its 22 kilometers.

Salkantay Trek 4 days and 5 days scheme


Destination Distance Difficulty Elevation gain
Day 1 Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa 11 Km Moderate 880 meters
Day 2 Soraypampa – Salkantay Passage – Huayracmachay – Colpapampa 19 Km Difícil 715 meters
Day 3 Colpapampa – Sahuayaco Beach – Santa Teresa – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes 22 Km Challenging
Day 4 Machu Picchu – Cusco 6 Km Moderate 400 meters


Destination Distance Difficulty Elevation gain
Day 1 Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa 11 Km Moderate 880 meters
Day 2 Soraypampa – Salkantay Passage – Huayracmachay – Colpapampa 19 Km Challenging 715 meters
Day 3 Colpapampa – Sahuayaco Beach – Santa Teresa – Cocalmayo 12 Km Moderate
Day 4 Santa Teresa – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes 12 Km Moderate 440 meters
Day 5 Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco 6 Km Moderate 400 meters

Trek Salkantay vs. Trek Salkantay Premium

If you liked the idea of visiting the thermal baths of Cocalmayo, you’ll be surprised that there’s anything better. They are called skydomes and are glass igloos. The proposal is to sleep in one of these, in the middle of the glacial valleys to enjoy the clear sky and the stars. Not a bad plan.

Igloos to sleep in Salkantay Trek

Now, Salkantay Trek Premium 4 days or Salkantay Trek Premium 5 days? The main difference is that in the 4-day Trek is one night in the skydomeand in the 5-day Trek, it is two. Distances covered correspond, with some slight variation, to the data already mentioned and variations are mostly due to the location of the different accommodations.

Now that you have all the information, it’s time for the most complicated task: choosing the best option. Keep in mind your physical condition, do not demand too much! It’s all about enjoying the experience and if you’re not sure, ask us, we’ll be happy to help you! Have you already made your decision?


Lily is happy with a backpack on her back. Every year she travels through one country in Latin America and has repeated several times, especially Peru where she says she feels at home (although she says the same about Argentina, Chile and Bolivia).

She loves ceviche, hiking and Sunday picnics with her friends, although whenever you ask her, she's always planning her next destination.

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