Howlanders girl in Machu Picchu
people crossing the bridge of the salkantay river
peruvian jungle on the salkantay trek
group of people hikint on the salkantay trek
two llamas relaxing in Machu Picchu
machu picchu pueblo on the salkantay
salkantay trek sunny day
people beside the railway tracks on the way to Aguas Calientes
horses transporting the backspacks on the salkantay trek
person resting in the sky dome
people having lunch at the campsite
people having a rest admiring the humantay lagoon
people in the ruins of machu picchu
inca citadel of machu picchu
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Salkantay Trek 4 Days

The hike that will take you to the Inca City of Machu Picchu

(29 reviews)

Your date is not available? The best alternative is Inca Trail

Cusco
4 days
Spanish and English
Starts: From your accommodation at 04:30 a.m.
Ends: To the center of Cusco between 09:00 and 10:00 p.m.
Flexible cancellation policy

Briefing

The Salkantay Trek 4 days is one of the most spectacular treks you can do in Peru. 

If you are thinking of trekking to Machu Picchu and want to be away from it all, close to the Andean communities, and appreciate the diverse nature of Peru, this is your ideal route. A 4-day guided trek, with which you will enjoy unique and diverse landscapes such as snow-capped mountains, Andean villages, tropical forests, and a dense jungle. 

Do you want to know the complete itinerary? Here we tell you all the details 👇:

Tour details

Included

  • Briefing (the day before)
  • Professional English/Spanish guide
  • Professional chef and kitchen staff
  • Transport of your luggage on horseback (5 Kg maximum)
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Lodging (2 nights camping + 1 night hotel)
  • Meals (except as indicated in "not included")
  • Return to Cusco by train or bus (according to choice)
  • First aid kit and oxygen bottle

Not included

  • Entrance fee to Humantay lagoon (20 soles)
  • Breakfast day 1
  • Lunch day 4
  • Bus Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu

Important information

To guarantee the conservation of Machu Picchu, 4 different itineraries have been designed within the citadel. When you make your reservation, you will be assigned the best itinerary and schedule available.

⛰️In case of including the extra to visit an additional area (Huayna Picchu, Huchuy Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain), in addition to the general entrance fee, an additional entrance fee will be included in your reservation (subject to availability).❌ It is not possible to visit two of the additional zones on the same day due to lack of time. 

⚡ The availability of tickets to Machu Picchu is very limited and booking two to three months in advance is recommended. Especially if you are traveling in high season.

💡 To learn more about tickets and circuits available in Machu Picchu please contact us.

Cancellation policy

If you cancel more than 5 days before the starting day of the tour you will receive a refund of the total amount of the reservation except 55 USD per person (cost of the entrance to Machu Picchu). The entrance tickets to Machu Picchu are nominative and non-transferable. After this time, or in case of no-show, you will not be entitled to a refund.

*Additional tickets included as extras are non-refundable.

Tour itinerary

PREVIOUS DAY

Briefing - Cuzco Location: Your lodging in Cuzco

The day before the departure of the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu tour, the coordinator will visit you at your accommodation or the place you indicate for the briefing. A small meeting in which he will explain all the details and tell you the time and pick up point.

Main Square Cusco

DAY 1 🚐 Cuzco → Mollepata → Marqoq'asa 👣 Marqoq'asa → Soraypampa → Laguna Humantay

Walking distance: 14 km (8.7 mi) + 7 km (4.35 mi)

Duration: 4 hours + 2 hours

Maximum elevation: 4200 m. (13780 feet)

Lodging: Soraypampa Camp

05:00 A.M.

Pick up in Cusco

The guide will pick us up at our accommodation in Cusco from 4:30 in the morning. When the whole group is gathered, we will start a several hours drive, where we will enjoy the spectacular snowy landscapes of the Salkantay or Humantay mountains.

Mollepata

We will stop in Mollepata to have breakfast and regain strength. We will continue our journey by car for another hour until we reach Marqoq'asa: starting point of our hike.

💡 To keep in mind.

At the Mollepata stop, we will pay for the access to the Humantay Lagoon. This ticket costs 20 soles for Peruvian travelers and 20 soles for international travelers and is not included in the tour. Remember to bring cash to make the payment. The guide will help you to buy the ticket.

valley between the mountains of the alps on the salkantay trek

Marqoq'asa → Soraypampa

Around 9:30 in the morning, we will be ready to start trekking from Marqoq'asa to Soraypampa. This first part of the trail will take us through some deep valleys. After 14 km (8.7 mi) of trekking, we will arrive at the lunch and camping point of Soraypampa.

Humantay Lagoon

After the rest, we will begin the ascent and visit the Humantay Lagoon, located at 4220 meters (13845 feet) above sea level. This will be the highest point of the route on the first day. We will make the ascent in 1 hour and 20 minutes approximately, and the descent to the camp in about 40 minutes.

green lagoon with salkantay glacier in the background on the salkantay trek

Soraypampa Camp

Around 18:00 we will be back at the camp, where we will have tea together. Afterward, the cook will serve dinner at 19:30 and we will be able to retire to our cabins where we will have a well-deserved rest.

💬 Howlanders Tip

Remember to carry your personal hygiene products in your backpack. Soraypampa camp does not have showers and it will come in handy to have wet wipes with you. As adventurous mountaineers, we confirm that they are very useful in this kind of trek 😊.

sky domes of the salkantay trek

DAY 2 👣 Soraypampa → Abra Salkantay → Colpapampa

Walking distance: 22 km (13.67 mi)

Duration: 10 hours

Maximum elevation: 4630 m. (15190 feet)

Lodging: Colpapampa Camp

05:00 A.M.

Salkantay Pass

On the second day of the trek, we will wake up early, drink coca tea, and start the trek. Today we will reach the highest point of the trail: the Abra Salkantay, at 4,630 meters (15190 feet) of altitude. From there we will enjoy spectacular views of the valleys and the imposing snow-capped peaks of the Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo mountains. You won't know which way to look!

person walking on the salkantay pass

Huayracmachay → Colpapampa

We will start walking downhill for 2 hours until we reach Huayracmachay where we will have lunch. Later, we will continue hiking for 3 more hours until we reach Colpapampa where we will have a coca tea and dinner. We will also have the opportunity to rent a hot shower from the locals for 10 soles. It is time to relax and recharge our batteries for the next day.

creek in the valley during the salkantay trekking tour

DAY 3 👣 Colpapampa → Sahuayaco 🚐 Hidroeléctrica → Aguas Calientes

Maximum elevation: 2800 m. (9185 feet)

Lodging: Hostel in Aguas Calientes

La Playa Sahuayaco

We go deep into the jungle! The third day of our trek starts early in the morning for breakfast. Then we will start the hike to the small village of La Playa Sahuayaco through the Santa Teresa Valley. We will be in full contact with nature, we will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, and coffee and banana plantations.

Hydroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

After lunch, a private bus will take us to Santa Teresa. Once there, we will take a shuttle to Hidroeléctrica, and from there we will continue on foot for about 3 hours. Following the path left by the train line, we will finally reach the town of Aguas Calientes.

During this journey, you will have to carry all your luggage, as horses are not allowed to travel in this area.

💬 Howlanders Tip: You will be able to coordinate with the guide to send your luggage directly to your accommodation for a small surcharge.

monument of machu picchu pueblo in the main square of Aguas Calientes

Aguas Calientes

Once in Aguas Calientes you will have free time to rest or walk around the town before dinner.

On the third night of the Salkantay Trek, we will stay in a hostel with a private room and bathroom. It will be time to go to bed early and recharge your batteries, because the next day one of the most special moments of our trek awaits us, the imposing fortress of Machu Picchu!

traditional Peruvian clothing at a street market stall in Cusco during the salkantay trek

DAY 4 👣 Aguas Calientes → Machu Picchu → Cuzco

Hiking distance: 6 km (3.7 mi)

Highest elevation: 2400 m (7875 feet)

Aguas Calientes

Last day! We will get up at 4 am to enter Machu Picchu early and appreciate the magnificent sunrise. We will prepare breakfast and head to the Ruins Bridge for 30 minutes. You can decide whether to walk up to Machu Picchu or take the bus for $12 USD.

Machu Picchu

After showing the documentation, we will start walking for an hour to the main gate of Machu Picchu. In the citadel, we will have a guided tour of 2.5 hours in which we will discover the fascinating history of the place. 

In addition, by booking in advance, you can include in your reservation the extra Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu and visit one of these two additional areas. These accesses are available as extras if you choose to return to Cusco by train, and only one is allowed per visit, as there is not enough time to visit both areas.

cute llama observes the camera in machu picchu during the salkantay trek

RETURN TO CUSCO BY TRAIN + BUS 🚆🚐 (RECOMMENDED✅)

If you select the option to return by train + bus, at the end of the visit to Machu Picchu, you can decide whether to go down to Aguas Calientes walking or by bus (for $12 USD). Once there, take the opportunity to stroll around the city and have lunch in one of its restaurants.

In the afternoon, you will take the train that will take you from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo in a journey of about an hour and a half. The trip runs along the banks of the Urubamba River through the Sacred Valley and is considered one of the most beautiful train rides.

At the Ollantaytambo train station, private transport will be waiting to take you back to the center of Cuzco. You will arrive approximately at 10:00. PM.

peru rail train from aguas calientes to ollantaytambo

RETURN TO CUSCO BY BUS 🚐

If you select the option to return by bus, you will have less time to explore Machu Picchu, and you will not be able to add the visit to Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu to your reservation.

Your visit to Machu Picchu will end at 12:00. From there, you will have to walk to Hidroelectrica (approximately 3 hours), where the bus will be waiting for you to leave for Cusco at 3:00 PM.

This option is the longest of all and has a total duration of 6 hours. You will be back in Cusco around 9:00 PM.

🚀Howlanders Tip

If you are thinking of returning to Cusco by bus at the end of the tour, we recommend that you stay one more night in Aguas Calientes, and return to Cusco by bus on the sixth day. This way, you will be able to fully enjoy the experience.

streets of the city of cusco during the night

What to bring to Salkantay Trek 4 Days

  • Passport and migration card
  • Sleeping bag (-15°C)
  • Walking sticks
  • Medium trekking backpack (20 litres)
  • Long sleeved shirts
  • Waterproof pants
  • Thermal clothing
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm jacket
  • Hat or cap
  • Hiking boots (waterproof if possible)
  • Poncho for the rain
  • Sneakers or sport shoes
  • Sandals / flip flops
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Refillable water botle
  • Personal hygiene products and medication
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Insect repellent
  • Snacks
  • Camera and charger
  • Pocket money in soles or USD

Where does the tour Salkantay Trek 4 Days start

The tour includes pick up from your accommodation in Cusco. If your starting point to get to Cusco is Lima, you can arrive by bus (24 hours of travel) or take a plane that has a journey time of one hour.

If you arrive from Arequipa, the bus ride takes ten hours. You can also choose to make the trip by plane, in this case the only airline that offers direct flights is LATAM Airlines.

If you arrive from Puno the best option is to do it by bus, a journey of six and a half hours. We also offer the possibility of making this journey in a tourist bus that makes stops at the most important places along the way. Departure is at 7:00 in the morning and arrival in Cuzco at 17:30.

Finally, LATAM Airlines operates a direct route Iquitos - Cusco. This route is not available on a daily basis, so we recommend you check the dates on which it is available to plan your trip.

Questions & Answers

  • What is the size of the group?

    In order to enjoy this route better, groups are small, with a maximum of 16 people.
  • How is the weather during the nights on the Salkantay route?

    The nights in the camps are quite cold, especially during the months of May to September. If you use a sleeping bag it will help mask temperatures of 10º to 59º Fahrenheit. In case you do not bring your own bag you can rent a sleeping bag for 20 USD. If you want to rent it, simply leave a note when you make the reservation and pay the cost at the destination.
  • Are toiletries included?

    No, each traveler has to carry their own personal hygiene products, including toilet paper.
  • Do the guides carry an oxygen bottle and first aid kit?

    Yes, the guides are prepared for any unforeseen issues. They will always carry a "spray" to mitigate altitude sickness if necessary. In addition, they will have a kit to help with small injuries that need to be cured.
  • Is there a vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free food option?

    Yes, there is a menu available for any special diet: vegetarian, vegan, food allergies, etc. If you want to request a special diet simply leave a note in the space that you will find during the booking process.
  • What is the difference between the 4 and 5 day route?

    The big difference is the distance walked each day. In the 5-day route, days 3 and 4 are divided, walking less distance and making a small variation in the itinerary. If you travel with time, we recommend the Salkantay Trek 5 days to enjoy this experience 😊.
  • What is the difference between Salkantay Trek and Salkantay Trek Premium Skydome?

    The main difference between them are the accommodations. The premium version includes Skydomes and in addition, the itinerary changes slightly. In the normal version a transport is taken to get to Hidroeléctrica instead of walking along the Llactapata route.
  • Do I have to bring water and snacks from Cusco?

    Since we will come across different villages throughout the tour (trek + activities) where the inhabitants sell bottled water, fresh fruits, etc. it is not necessary to transport water and snacks from Cusco.

Salkantay Trek 4 Days tour reviews with Howlanders

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