girl howlanders photographing machu picchu
salkantay pass at salkantay trek
group of hikers walking along the hydroelectric railroad tracks
laguna humantay peru
stones marking the trail of the salkantay trek
two llamas lying on the terraces of machu picchu
view of the machu picchu terraces
person resting in the sky dome
people having lunch together in the campsite
horses transporting the backspacks of the travellers
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Salkantay Trek 5 Days

The perfect alternative to the Inca Trail in its full version

(7 reviews)

🚨Your dates are not available? We recommend the Inca Trail.

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


The Salkantay Trek 5 days is the perfect route for travelers who have more time. Get ready to complete one of the most spectacular treks that can be done in Peru in 5 stages.

If you have additional time in your trip, and you are thinking of doing a trekking route to Machu Picchu away from everything and in contact with the Andean communities, this is your ideal route. A 5-day guided trek, with which you will cross snow-capped mountains, Andean landscapes, tropical forests, and even dense jungle.

Here we tell you all the details:

Tour details


  • Briefing (the day before)
  • Professional English/Spanish guide
  • Professional chef and cooking equipment
  • Transport of your luggage on horseback (5 Kg maximum)
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu + 2 hour guided tour
  • Lodging (3 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)
  • Entrance fee and transportation to Santa Teresa hot springs.
  • Bus Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
  • Breakfast day 1
  • Lunch day 5

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


Briefing in Cuzco

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

Cuzco main square

DAY 1 Cusco - Soraypampa - Humantay Lagoon - Soraypampa

Initial elevation: 10892 ft. (3320 m.)

Highest elevation: 13779 ft. (4200 m.)

Elevation of the campsite: 12795 ft. (3900 m.)

Difficulty: moderate

05:00 A.M.

Pick up in Cusco

The guide will pick us up at our accommodation in Cuzco between 4:30 and 5:15 in the morning. When the whole group is together, we will begin a journey of several hours by car, in which we will enjoy the spectacular snowy landscapes of the Salkantay or Humantay mountains.

We will stop in Mollepata to have breakfast and regain strength. We will continue our journey by car for another hour until we reach the starting point of our trek.

salkantay trek 5 days view to the mountain

Start of the Salkantay trek

Around 9:30 in the morning we will be ready to start the trek to Soraypampa. This first part of the trail will take us through some deep valleys. After 2 hours of hiking, we will arrive at the incredible Humantay Lagoon, its blue-green waters make it one of the most impressive places in the Andes. We will have time to explore and the guide will explain its significance.

humantay lake at salkantay trek

Soraypampa Camp

After visiting the lagoon, we will begin our 2-hour descent to the exclusive Soraypampa Camp. Once we arrive, we will enjoy a delicious lunch prepared by the cooks and we will be able to rest in the glass cabins. In the afternoon, we will hike to the Salkantay viewpoint where we will appreciate the sunset. We then will return to the camp, and have tea and dinner.

sky domes in the salkantay trek

DAY 2 Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Colpapampa

Hiking distance: 11,8 mi. (19 km.)

Initial elevation: 12795 ft. (3900 m.)

Highest elevation: 15141 ft. (4615 m.)

Elevation of the campsite: 9186 ft. (2800 m.)

Difficulty: moderate

05:00 A.M.

Salkantay Pass

On the second day of the trek, we will wake up early, drink coca tea, and start trekking. Today we will reach the highest point of the trail: the Abra Salkantay, at 15190 feet (4,630 m) 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 where to look!

the salkantay pass in peru

Huayracmachay - Colpapampa

Then, we will start walking downhill for 2 hours until we reach Huayracmachay where we will have lunch. Later, we will continue walking 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.

stream in the valley during the salkantay trekking tour

DAY 3 Chaullay - Sahuayaco - Hot springs - Santa Teresa - Lucmabamba

Hiking distance: 12,43 mi. (20 km.)

Initial elevation: 9186 ft. (2800 m.)

Highest elevation: 9186 ft. (2800 m.)

Elevation of the campsite: 5118 ft. (1560 m.)

Difficulty: moderate

06:00 A.M.

Sahuayaco Beach

The third day of our trek starts early in the morning for breakfast. Then we will start the 5-hour hike to the small village of La Playa Sahuayaco through the Santa Teresa Valley. We will stop for lunch, rest for a while, and a private bus will pick us up to take us to Lucmabamba, where we will spend the night.

Arriving at our camp, we will have the option to visit the thermal baths located in Cocalmayo (Santa Teresa) which are not included in our package, and return to our camp at 6.00 PM, for our tea and dinner.

santa teresa village in peru

DAY 4 Lucmabamba - Llactapata - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

Hiking distance: 7,45 mi. (12 km.)

Initial elevation: 5118 ft. (1560 m.)

Highest elevation: 6561 ft. (2000 m.)

Elevation of the campsite: 6561 ft. (2000 m.)

Difficulty: moderate

06:00 A.M.

Lucmabamba - Llactapata

After breakfast, we will begin a 3-hour hike along an Inca trail until we reach Llactapata. We will enjoy the ruins and the views of Machu Picchu.

railroad tracks from hidroelectrica to aguas calientes

Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

Afterward, we will walk for 2 hours until we reach Hidroeléctrica. We will have a nutritious lunch and rest. Then, 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 in the main square of aguas calientes

Aguas Calientes

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

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

peruvian handmade clothes in a traditional stall in aguas calientes

DAY 5 Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Hiking distance: 3,72 mi. (6 km.)

Initial elevation: 6561 ft. (2000 m.)

Elevation of the campsite: 7874ft. (2400 m.)

Difficulty: moderate

5 : 00 AM

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. At the citadel, we will have a 2.5 hour guided tour in which we will discover the fascinating history of the site. 

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

a llama in machu picchu

Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo - Cuzco

The way back to Aguas Calientes can be done by panoramic train + bus or only by bus.


By booking this option you will be able to include in your reservation the extra Huayna Picchu or Huchuy Picchu (subject to availability) and visit one of these two additional areas. These areas are only available if you select to return to Cusco by train.

Finally, you will return on foot or by bus (not included) to Aguas Calientes, take the opportunity to stroll around the town and have lunch in one of its restaurants.

In the afternoon, you will take the panoramic train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (schedule according to availability) in a journey of an hour and a half. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo a private transport will be waiting to take you back to the center of Cuzco, where you will arrive at approximately 22:00.


If you decide to return only by bus you will have less time for your visit to Machu Picchu, and at 12:00 you will have to head to Hidroeléctrica, walking again the 3 hours that separate it from Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, transportation will be waiting to take you to Cuzco.

🚀Howlanders Tip

If you are thinking of selecting to return to Cuzco by bus, we recommend that you stay one more night in Aguas Calientes, and return to Cusco the next day. This way, you will be able to fully enjoy Machu Picchu. 

⚠️ The exact train schedule and entrance to Machu Picchu (circuit and timetables) are subject to availability.

city of cuzco plaza de armas

What to bring to Salkantay Trek 5 Days

  • Passport and migration card (given by the Immigration Officer upon arrival)
  • Sleeping bag (-15°C)
  • Walking sticks
  • Medium trekking backpack (20 litres)
  • 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
  • Swimsuite
  • 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 5 Days start

Cuzco is the main tourist city of Peru and is very well connected. If your starting point is Lima you can get a bus (24 hours trip) or take a plane that has a route of one hour. The flight options vary between low cost airlines such as Peruvian Airlines, LCP or StarPeru, or other airlines such as Latam or Avianca. If you arrive from Arequipa, the bus trip is ten hours. If you decide to travel by plane, the only airline that offers direct flights is Latam. 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 a trip on a tourist bus that stops at the most important places on the route. The departure is at 7:00 am and you will arrive in Cusco at 5:30 pm.

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 diets: 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 main difference is the distance walked every day. On the 5-day route, days 3 and 4 are shared. Therefore, you will have less distance to walk. It also alters the itinerary. In case you have enough days we recommend the 5 day option.
  • 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.
  • 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 5 Days tour reviews with Howlanders


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