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Salkantay Trek Peru

What You Need to Know About Hiking the Salkantay Trek Peru in 2023

The Salkantay Trek Peru, or Salkantay Trail, sometimes regarded as an alternative to the Classic Inca Trail route, promises to take you off the beaten road and into the actual wilds of the Cordillera de Vilcabamba Mountain range around Machu Picchu. It’s a journey that will undoubtedly be an adventure of a lifetime. There are ice-capped mountains, glistening alpine lakes, and untrodden valleys filled with rare vicuña herds as you travel to 15,090 feet (4,600 meters) above sea level.


About the Salkantay Trail

Hikers can reach the stunning ruins of Machu Picchu from the Inca city of Cusco via the Salkantay Trail. The highest point of the 46-kilometer (28-mile) Salkantay route is the Salkantay Pass, at an altitude of 15,090 feet (4,600 meters). Thasts standard duration of a Salkantay trek is four to six days, but there are extensions available that may transform the adventure into a massive eight-day expedition in the Peruvian Andes.


Trekking across Salkantay is famous for its isolation. Every day, between fifty and one hundred people go out on the Salkantay hike. Add in the sights, including the pristine waters of Humantay Lake and the winding paths through the desolate Huaracmachay valley. It caters to those with an interest in exploring the most remote regions of South America.


The Salkantay Trail’s History

The Salkantay Trail is well-known for its spectacular scenery and excellent natural surroundings. Along the road, you’ll also come across some Incan history. During your tour, you will get the opportunity to explore the renowned Llactapata ruins. They provide a stark view of what the Urubamba Valley’s Incan villages might have looked like.


The Salkantay Trail also connects with Aguas Calientes. Aguas Calientes is located at the base of Machu Picchu and serves as a rest stop for the tens of thousands of visitors that visit the historic Inca fortress each year. Most visitors finish the Salkantay journey with an early-morning ascent to Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most popular bucket-list vacation destinations.


Furthermore, the peak of Salkantay is extremely important in the Inca cosmology. The rising peak was supposed to be the abode of spiritual creatures known as Apu, who controlled the weather, herded wild beasts, and maintained watch over towns such as Machu Picchu.


The Best Season for Hiking the Salkantay Trail

We strongly advise booking the Salkantay hike to Machu Picchu during the dry season, which spans from early April to late October in the Cusco region. There is no rain during the dry season here. This is vital since you will be trekking over uneven, steep, rocky terrain, and if it gets wet and slippery, it becomes much more difficult (unless you want to push your muscles and hiking boots to their limits!). Although the temperatures are lower during the dry season – anticipate them to drop below zero on occasion – and the path is extremely windy, it is still better to severe rainfall conditions (rainy season goes from November to late March).


How high does the Salkantay hike Peru go?

The Salkantay hike begins at Soraypampa, which is 3,900 meters above sea level. The following is the elevation profile for the remainder of the hike:


Overview of Salkantay Trek 5 Days

The Classic Salkantay Trek lasts 5 days and 4 nights, and we’ve detailed the essential daily site visits and pauses along the trek below.


Traditional Salkantay Trek Peru 5 days


  1. Day : Cusco / Mollepata / Soraypampa / Salkantaypampa
  2. Day : Salkantaypampa, Soyrococha, Abra Salkantay, El Passo, Huaracmachay, and Colpapampa.
  3. Day : Collpapampa / Lucmabamba.
  4. Day : Lucmabamba / Hidroelectrica / Aguas Calientes
  5. Day : Aguas Calientes / Machu Picchu / Cusco


How physically fit do I need to be to walk the Salkantay trail?

Mountains over Humantay Lake on the Salkantay hike to Machu Picchu, Peru

The Salkantay trek Peru is a somewhat difficult walk. The difficulty stems from the amount of elevation and distance you must cover on day one, as well as the height at which you hike.


Day one is by far the most difficult. You not only gain 300 meters to reach the beautiful waters of Lago Humantay, but you also lose them as you descend the mountain and then ascend 720 meters to reach the Salkantay Pass. Because you’re trekking at altitude, you’ll quickly notice how thin the air seems (and how little of it seems to be going into your lungs). If you’re reasonably fit and can manage 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) in a day, you should be fine.


We strongly advise staying in Cusco for at least two days prior to the walk for acclimatization purposes, as well as discussing with your doctor about getting a prescription for Diamox – medicines that assist your body survive at high altitudes. You should take the pills once a day, beginning 24 hours before the walk and continuing until day three, when you won’t need them any more.


What can you do to get ready for the high-altitude Salkantay trek?

While being physically fit and able to walk at least 20 kilometers (12.5 miles) at lower elevations is required, training for high-altitude trekking is difficult. This is because you can’t foresee how your body will react to these settings, especially because it’s unaffected by how fit, young, or healthy you are. Even the healthiest persons can suffer from debilitating altitude sickness.


As a result, the ideal way to prepare for the Salkantay journey is to arrive in Cusco at least two days before the walk starts to allow your body to adapt. Get lots of rest, remain hydrated, and take Diamox to help your body acclimatize.


The Salkantay Trek vs. the Inca Trail

While both paths provide a wonderful opportunity to explore some of the most magnificent mountains on the earth while also learning about tremendous history, the Salkantay Trail may be a better option depending on the sort of adventure you are looking for. If you want a more difficult challenge with more elevation, the Salkantay Trek Peru is the trail for you. If you want to trek on specified dates and the permits for the Classic Inca Trail route are already reserved, the Salkantay Trail is a suitable choice. Furthermore, on the Classic Inca Trail, you have no choice but to sleep in tent camps each night, but on the Salkantay Trail, you can either stay in tent camps or choose to sleep in lodges.


The Salkantay Trail is similar to its more famous cousin, the Classic Inca Trail. It is, nevertheless, the more difficult of the two. For starters, it’s over double the length and rises more than 1,262 feet (384 meters). The terrain is also far more difficult, with much of the trekking taking place in more secluded areas with spectacular vistas.


Whatever trip you choose, it will be an adventure you will never forget. The Classic Inca Trail route immerses you in the world of the Incan Empire over millennia-old routes. The Salkantay Trail takes you through the snow-capped peaks and cloud forests of the Andes Mountain. You cannot go wrong with any option, and you will have an unforgettable time.


What should I pack for the Salkantay Hike?

A backpack with a change of clothes for the duration of the journey

Rainwear (jacket and pants, if available) or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)

Strong footwear, such as waterproof walking boots, is advised.

For more comfort at camp, wear sandals or running shoes.

Warm clothing, such as a jacket and fleeces. Thermal gear is also advised, particularly for sleeping.

Batteries for the flashlight/headlamp

Batteries, film, and camera (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)

Wear a hat or cap to shield yourself from the sun, rain, and cold.

Sun protection

Face and body moisturizing cream or after-sun cream

Minimum recommended insect repellant 20% No malaria risk has been documented when using DEET.


Toilet tissue

Snacks include crackers, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, and so forth. Please keep in mind that we offer a daily morning snack, and our dinner service is quite thorough and well-stocked. This advise applies to all clients who are accustomed to a certain snack, as it is possible that it is not included in our collection.

First morning water container and water Plastic water bottles are no longer permitted within Machu Picchu. Water bottles made of plastic (such as Nalgene) or metal are preferred.

Water-sterilizing pills are optional if you plan to drink water from streams or rivers along the way. Otherwise, we give filtered boiling water, which is safe to drink and has not been associated with any health issues thus far.

Towel, small

Swimsuit (if you desire to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes) (if you wish to go to the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)

Original passport and cash in soles

International Student Identity Card Original (in case you have applied for a student discount)