howlanders girl in the Inca city of Machu Picchu
sky lodge soraypampa salkantay trekking
inside the sky lodge of soraypampa camp
group of trekkers in the salkantay pass
boy sitting at the door of the jungle dome in salkantay trek camp
camp Jungle Domes Lucmabamba salkantay trek
couple in front of the salkantay mountain in the salkantay trek sky lodge 5 day trek
group and guide smiling in the salkantay trek sky domes 5 days
andean cabins camping in chaullay
girl inside one of the Andean cabins at the salkantay trek camp
snowy salkantay mountain scenery
suyroqocha salkantay trek
group of trekkers in soraypampa during the salkantay trek sky domes
happy couple in salkantay trek sky domes 5 days
salkantay pass at 4600 meters of altitude
girl on her back with snow-capped salkantay mountain in the background
sky lodge of Soraypampa at night
humantay salkantay lake salkantay trek sky domes 5 days
boy jumping at machu picchu citadel
machu picchu archaeological zone and terraces
stairs of machu picchu access salkantay trek
machu picchu archeological ruins
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Salkantay Trek Sky Lodge 5 Days

Hike the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu Picchu sleeping two nights in sky lodges

(6 reviews)

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

5 days
Spanish and English
Starts: From your accommodation in Cuzco at 4:00 a.m.
Ends: To the center of Cuzco between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m.
Flexible cancellation policy


The Salkantay Trek Sky Lodge 5 Days is the perfect alternative to the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu with a plus of comfort: it includes two nights accommodation in Sky Lodges 💫.

A 5-day guided tour with which you will travel a total of 75 kilometers divided into 4 stages until you reach the citadel of Machu Picchu. Get ready to get lost on a steep and remote road that will take you to the impressive Humantay Lake, in front of the Salkantay mountain, through cloud forests, and on the edge of the lushest Peruvian jungle.

You will sleep the first night in a glass igloo at the Sky Camp in Soraypampa. In the Andean cabins of Chaullay the second, in the unusual Jungle Domes of Lucmabamba the third, and you will spend the fourth and last night in a comfortable hostel in Aguas Calientes.

Tour details


  • Machu Picchu Llaqta Machu Picchu Route Ticket (Circuit 2)
  • 1 night accommodation in Sky Dome in Soraypampa
  • 1 night of lodging in Andean wooden cabins in Chaullay
  • 1 night of lodging in Sky Domes in Lucmabamba
  • 1 night of lodging in a hostel with private room and bathrooms in Aguas Calientes.
  • Briefing (previous day meeting to prepare the tour)
  • Expert guides
  • 7 kilos of cargo on mules
  • Food (cook in the group)
  • Snacks and infusions
  • First aid kit
  • Private transportation Cusco - Mollepata DAY 1
  • Return train Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo DAY 4
  • Transportation Ollantaytambo - Cuzco DAY 4
  • One-way bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

Not included

  • Lunch in Aguas Calientes DAY 4
  • Dinner in Cusco DAY 5
  • Entrance to Aguas Termales de Santa Teresa (price: 10 soles)
  • Salkantay entrance (10 soles)*
  • Entrance fee and transportation to the hot springs (20-25 soles)
  • All the services offered in the "extras" section

Important information

Since 2021, the Peruvian Ministry of Culture enabled 5 types of official entrances to visit Machu Picchu and it was decided that the visit to the Inca city should be done only by strict unidirectional routes. For this purpose, 4 circuits were created in order to better organize the traffic of travelers inside Machu Picchu and to preserve and protect the constructions of the archaeological site for the future.

This tour includes the entrance Llaqta of Machu Picchu (Circuit 2) in the first, second or third shift and a guided group visit of 2 hours. If you want to increase your visit time inside Machu Picchu and visit one of the additional areas (Huayna Picchu Mountain, Machu Picchu Mountain or Huchuy Picchu Mountain) it is essential to add the complete corresponding entrance fee to your booking.

  • Entrance Ticket Circuito 3 + Montaña Machu Picchu
  • Entrance Ticket Circuito 4 + Montaña Huayna Picchu
  • Entrance Ticket Circuito 4 + Montaña Huchuy Picchu

✅ From Howlanders we consider it essential to include the additional entrance fee so that travelers who want to visit one of the additional areas of the citadel can enjoy a complete experience in Machu Picchu.

❌ 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 7 days in advance we will refund 15% of the amount paid. If you cancel with less time or no-show, no refund will be made.

Tour itinerary

DAY 1 Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Humantay Lake - Soraypampa

Walking distance: 6,21 mi. (10 km)
Starting altitude: 12467 ft. (3800 m.)
Maximum altitude: 13780 ft. (4200 m.)
Difficulty: moderate
💫Accommodation : Sky Camp Soraypampa - Altitude 12795 ft. (3920 m.)

4 : 00 AM

Pick up in Cuzco

The guide will pick you up at your accommodation in Cuzco at 4:00 am. With the whole group assembled, you will begin a journey of several hours by car, where you will enjoy the snowy landscapes of the Salkantay and Humantay mountains.

We will stop in Mollepata for breakfast and, after regaining our strength, we will continue our journey by car until we reach Challancha: the starting point of the trek.

views of the snow-capped Salkantay mountain during the beginning of the Salkantay trek

Soraypampa - Humantay Lagoon

Around 9:30 a.m. we will start the trek to Soraypampa. The first part of the trail will pass through deep valleys. We will stop for lunch and after a short rest, we will continue to the Humantay Lagoon. Its blue-green waters will impress you and you will understand why it is regarded as one of the most impressive places in the Andes.

couple sitting on their backs in the humantay lagoon on the first day of the salkantay trek

💫 Soraypampa Sky Lodge

We will continue until we reach the imposing Sky Camp of Soraypampa, where you will spend the night. On the first night of the 5-day Salkantay Trek, you will sleep in a spectacular glass igloo (Sky Dome) located between glacial valleys.

From inside the igloo, you will see the sky and the clearest stars you have ever seen since at this point there is no light pollution.

crystal igloos at night under the starry sky at the Sky Camp of Soraypampa

DAY 2 Saraypampa - Salkantay Pass (Abra Salkantay) - Huayracmachay - Chaullay

Walking distance:  13,67 mi (22 km.)
Starting altitude: 12795 ft. (3900 m.)
Maximum altitude: 15190 ft. (4630 m.)
Difficulty: High
🏠 Lodging : Andean cabins in Chaullay - Altitude 9514 ft. (2900 m.)

Abra Salkantay (Salkantay Pass)

Today we will wake up around 5:30 a.m. and after breakfast at Soraypampa camp we will start the trek to the highest point of the route: the Salkantay Pass, at 15190 ft. (4600 m.) altitude. From there we will have spectacular views of the valleys and snow-capped peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay, and Pumasillo.

group of trekkers at the salkantay pass


We will continue the route for 3.1 miles (5 km) downhill to Huayracmachay, where we will have lunch. After lunch, we will access the more tropical zone called "ceja de selva", also known as "cloud forest". We will walk 6.2 miles (10 km) through a magical semi-tropical forest 🌿.

descent to Huayracmachay during the salkantay trek sky lodge 5 days

Chaullay Camp

At the end of this beautiful hike, we arrive at Chaullay, where we will have dinner and spend the night in Andean cabins located in front of a spectacular valley.

boy inside a hut in the Andean camp of chaullay

DAY 3 Chaullay - Colpapampa - La Playa - Lucmabamba

Walking distance: 11,18 mi. (18 km.)
Starting altitude: 9514 ft. (2900 m.)
Maximum altitude: 9514 ft. (2900 m.)
Difficulty: Moderate
Lodging : Jungle Domes in Lucmabamba - Altitude 6562 ft. (2000 m.)

6 : 00 AM

Santa Teresa Valley - La Playa

We will wake up early and after breakfast we will start our hike to the small village of La Playa, crossing the Santa Teresa Valley. During the hike, we will see a different ecosystem, composed of rivers, waterfalls, beautiful wild orchids, and plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado among other local crops.

hikers traversing the jungle of the santa teresa valley on the salkantay trek

Jungles Domes Lucmabamba

We will also see the village of Colpapampa, known as "the top of the cloud forest" where we will stop for lunch. After lunch, we will walk for 1 hour until we reach Lucmabamba camp, where we will spend the night in the spectacular Jungle Domes.

A very special smell will begin to envelop us, the incomparable aroma of freshly roasted coffee. Coffee is the main agricultural industry in this local town and we will have the opportunity to visit a coffee farm, as well as an avocado plantation. The flavors and smells of the jungle will accompany us during this day making the experience even more authentic.

Jungles Domes camping in Lucmabamba during the Salkantay Trek

DAY 4 Lucmabamba - Llactapata - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes

Walking distance: 25 km.
Starting altitude: 6562 ft. (2000 m.)
Maximum altitude: 9186 ft. (2800 m.)
Difficulty: High
🚿 Accommodation : Hostel in Aguas Calientes - Altitude 6693 ft. (2040 m.)

Llactapata Archaeological Center

We will wake up with the first rays of the sun after spending the night in the Jungle Domes located in a unique environment. After breakfast, we will begin a 2-hour ascent with impressive views of the Santa Teresa Valley, which will take us to the Inca site of Llactapata from where we can also see Machu Picchu.

We will have time to enjoy this unique place. We will continue our trekking with a downhill hike that will take us about 2 hours.

Llactapata Archaeological Center during the salkantay trek


After lunch, we will continue walking to Intiwatana, an ancient rock used as a sundial in Inca times, from where we will continue on foot for another 3 hours following the train line until we reach Aguas Calientes, the town from where Machu Picchu is visited and where we will stay in a family-run hostel.

intiwatana ancient rock used as a sundial in Inca times

Aguas Calientes

Once in Aguas Calientes, you will have free time before dinner to rest or visit the town and its market. At 10:00 we will have dinner together at a local restaurant and coordinate with the Machu Picchu guide to prepare for tomorrow's visit. Tonight we will stay in our hostel with a private room and bathroom.

city of aguas calientes in peru

DAY 5 Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

Machu Picchu

Today we will get up early, as one of the most magical moments of the tour awaits us, to see how the clouds clear in Machu Picchu and the sun illuminates the citadel. The tour includes a two-hour guided tour so you can discover all the secrets of the Inca city. Afterward, you will have free time to visit it on your own.

At the end of the tour, you can decide to go back down to Aguas Calientes on foot or by bus (12 USD).

arrival to machu picchu with the salkantay trek sky domes 5 days

Aguas Calientes 🚆 Ollantaytambo 🚐 Cusco City

You will have lunch on your own in Aguas Calientes and in the afternoon you will take the train from there to Ollantaytambo. At the train station in Ollantaytambo, a minibus will be waiting for you to take you to your hotel in Cuzco City, where you will arrive approximately between 20:00 and 22:00 (depending on the train schedule).

aerial views of the city of cuzco in peru

What to bring to Salkantay Trek Sky Lodge 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 Sky Lodge 5 Days start

The tour includes pick up from your accommodation in Cuzco. If your starting point to get to Cuzco 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 - Cuzco. 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 bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu (round trip)?

    It is the bus that connects Aguas Calientes with Machu Picchu in 20 minutes, walking this route takes an hour and a half walking. From Howlanders we recommend including this extra, since the outbound bus prevents you from having to start the tour on foot at 4:30 in the morning. The return bus is especially practical if you include an additional zone, since if you don't include it the schedule is very tight.

  • What is the difference between Huayna Picchu and Montaña de Machu Picchu?

    Both are optional visit areas located within the citadel of Machu Picchu. The main difference is that the visit to Huayna Picchu consists of a walk of about an hour and a half with a lot of inclination and steps. And it is a route not suitable for people with vertigo. On the other hand, the visit to Machu Picchu Mountain consists of a route of approximately 3 hours and a half, by a wider path and with little inclination. If you choose this second option, it is important to keep in mind that as the duration of the visit is longer, you will have less time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. Likewise, the return train from Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo will be assigned to you at a later time.

  • What is the Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes train?

    It is the train ride that covers the last stretch of the trek, a 9 km journey that connects Hidroeléctrica with Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Picchu village). In the original itinerary of the Salkantay Trek, this section is done walking, but if you prefer you have the option to add this extra and do it aboard this emblematic train.
  • What is the size of the group?

    In order to enjoy this route better, groups are small, with a maximum of 12 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.
  • I travel alone, do I have to share a room?

    Yes, in this tour the availability in the Skydomes and Biodomes is very limited. Therefore, it is not possible to reserve accommodation in the camps for only one person. Keep in mind that if you plan on traveling alone you will need to share a room with another traveler of your same gender.
  • Is it possible to book Salkantay with return by bus?

    No, at Howlanders we do not offer this option because it is a poor quality service that does not allow to visit Machu Picchu as it deserves to be seen. The return begins at 11AM, so we do not want to offer such a short time to experience all that this beautiful location has to offer. Therefore, the Salkantay tour is only offered with return by train. Although there is a slight increase in the price, it greatly improves the experience, which for us is the most important. Returning by train allows you to stay in Machu Picchu much longer, rest on the comfortable train and reminisce about the stunning landscape.

Salkantay Trek Sky Lodge 5 Days tour reviews with Howlanders


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