- 4 Days / 3 Nights
Aracari offers private luxury treks on a private basis only, not as a group tour. We offer guided hikes only as part of a tailormade trip, including all guided excursions and hotels, not as a standalone service.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is the most popular alternative trek to the Inca trail to Machu Picchu, as it doesn’t require a permit in advance, takes the same number of days and is the only alternative trek where you see Machu Picchu from the trail. The Salkantay trek takes in snow-capped peaks from high mountain passes, as as you descend into jungle to end at Aguas Calientes at the foot of Machu Picchu. Aracari arranges the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu on a private basis only, not as a group tour. The trek can only be booked as part of a tailormade trip to Peru, not on a standalone basis.
Why hike the Salkantay Trek with Aracari?
Drawing on over 20 year’s experience offering discerning travelers authentic, private luxury Peru treks, we use state-of-the-art equipment, first-class guiding and special creature comorts that we consider ”appropriate luxury”. We take our social responsibility seriously, paying fair wages that are above the average to all our staff.
- Luxury Exploration Camping: expect the likes of 3-person tents used for just two, ecological bathrooms, shower tents and top-notch cuisine for a genuine luxury camping experience
- Luxury VIP Trekking: Upgrade to all-out luxury, where we’ll bring along your own masseusse
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu Itinerary
Located less than 31 kilometres (50 miles) northwest Cusco, rising to 6,271 metres (20,574 feet) above sea level in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, Salkantay Mountain (a Quechua word, meaning “Savage Mountain”) is an outstanding glacier-capped summit worshipped for thousands of years by locals.
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu route
Mollepata – Soraypampa
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel in a private vehicle and enjoy a scenic, three-hour transfer to Mollepata, a small town with a temperate climate. From here, you will be able to appreciate snow-capped peaks belonging to the Vilcabamba range, some reaching over 6,000 metres (19,685 feet) above sea level. With this picturesque landscape as the backdrop, you will begin your trek. After a stop for lunch, you will continue towards Soraypampa (3,800m/12,467ft), the first campsite. Your total trek today will cover approximately 17 kilometres (10.6 miles), which is about eight to nine hours of hiking.
Soraypama – Challway
Wake at dawn to the sight of the impressive and majestic Salkantay Mountain (6,271m/20,574ft). Enjoy breakfast and set off on your trek through various ecological zones, each containing unique flora. Hike through a gorge to the foothills of the Salkantay, where you will stop for lunch. Then you will continue over Apacheta Pass (4,600m/15,091ft) and descend to where the jungle begins to meet the mountains. Here at Challway (2,920m/9,580ft) you will set up camp for the night. Your total trek today will cover approximately 20 kilometres (12.4 miles), which is about nine hours of hiking.
Challway – Lucmabamba
The third day begins in a new landscape with noticeably warmer temperatures due to the close proximity to the jungle. After breakfast you will continue your journey, trekking through the valley and observing the wildlife. Stop for lunch along the way and then continue to the coffee plantations located in Lucmabamba (2,050m/ 6,725ft), where you will set up camp for the night. Your total trek today will cover approximately 11 kilometres (6.7 miles), which is about six to seven hours of hiking.
Lucmabamba – Aguas Calientes
Following breakfast you will hike over a ridge to the Inca site of Llactapata (2,700m/8,858ft), where you will get your first glimpse of Machu Picchu. Then you will descend to the hydroelectric station adjacent to the Urubamba River. After a brief stop for lunch, you will take a 45-minute train ride to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night at your choice of accommodation. Your total trek today will cover approximately 10 kilometres (6.2 miles), which is about five to six hours of hiking. On the following day you will enjoy a guided visit of the Machu Picchu archaeological site.
Please keep in mind that distances, altitudes and chosen campsites are subject to minor variations as the route undertaken may vary slightly. In addition, trekking time can vary for each hiker and any times detailed in the description below are averages.