Salkantay Trek 5 Days / 4 Nights

Travelers can opt for the Salkantay trek if the traditional Inca Trail has no spaces left or if they are seeking a more remote footpath that sees far less travelers and leads to a magnificent wilderness not seen on the other routes. The trail is only slightly more difficult than the traditional route, but with amazing sights of the Nevado de Salkantay, the cordillera's tallest peak at 6271m. Salkantay, in the native language, means Savage Mountain, which may refer to the swirling clouds that rise up from the rainforest lowlands and engulf the peak. The mountains of the Cordillera Vilcabamba form a jagged chain between the Urubamba and Apurimac rivers, creating a unique landscape to the area. On the north side of the cordillera, massive snow peaks emerge from lush tropical rain forests.

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Included
  • Price

Day 1: Cusco–Mollepata–Soraypampa

Day 2: Soraypampa–Seven Snakes Pass–Challhuay

Day 3: Challhuay–La Playa–Santa Teresa

Day 4: Santa Teresa–Aguas Calientes

Day 1: Cusco–Mollepata–Soraypampa
We pick you up from the hotel around 5:00 AM and travel by local bus or car to Mollepata (2,800 m/9,186 ft). Mollepata is a small community located along the main road from Cusco to Abancay. Mollepata is where we start our trip and meet our arrieros(horsemen) and trek crew to help us with our hike.
This morning we walk approximately 3 hours appreciating the diversity of the flora and fauna along the way, and then we stop to enjoy our delicious lunch at the quiet site of  Sayllapata.
In the afternoon we have a relaxing 3 hour hike before we arrive at our first camp site of Soraypampa (3,800 m/12,467 ft). In the early evening we have dinner and pass the first night.

Day 2: Soraypampa–Seven Snakes Pass–Challhuay

We wake up very early and after a good breakfast, we depart from Soraypampa. This is the harder day because we have to climb to Seven Snakes Pass (4,600 m/15,000 ft), the highest part of our trek. From here we can get a spectacular view of Salkantay, a stunning snow-capped mountain (6,271 m/20,574 ft), the Humantay and Huayanay mountains, small lakes, morraines, and the flora and fauna of the climate. The first part of the day will take approximately five hours.

Upon descent we will find some streams and many kind of birds. Our hike will bring us to our campsite of Challhuay where we will have dinner and spend the night. From here, the climate begins to take on semitropical characteristics because of the cloud forest.

Day 3: Challhuay–La Playa–Santa Teresa

We rise at 6:00 AM to have breakfast and begin our third day of hiking to La Playa. At La Playa is where we stop to have lunch.
After lunch we will have an easy downhill hike through the jungle highland of Ceja de Selva. In this jungle you will be able to see coca, coffee and several native plantation fruits.
Later in the afternoon we have a two-hour bus ride downhill to the village of Santa Teresa. There, we will have dinner and spend the night in tents.

- Option for quality shower at the thermal springs in Santa Teresa, Entrance  US$4.00 and bus US$4.00 

Day 4: Santa Teresa–Aguas Calientes

We have breakfast and after an hour-long bus ride, we walkfor two hours to get to the Urubamba River the hydroelectric station for lunch.  We then continue on our three-hour walk towards the town of Aguas Calientes. There, we will check into our hostel, dine, and rest up before the next day in Machu Picchu!

NOTE: If you don't want to walk after lunch, you can take a train from the hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes, but it only leaves in the late afternoons and can be a long wait.

Day 5: Machu Picchu–Cusco

We wake up at 5:00 AM for breakfast. We leave our luggage at the hostel and take an early bus up to Machu Picchu, which includes an English-speaking guide. We arrive at Machu Picchu early in the morning. This early in the morning it is empty and we will have the best chance to enjoy the beauty and the magic of Machu Picchu.

A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious city by yourselves. If you still have energy, you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2,720 m/8,923 ft). It takes 45 minutes to reach the top of Huayna Picchu.

We suggest that after visiting Machu Picchu that you take the bus down to Aguas Calientes by 13:00 PM at the latest (assuming the train from Aguas Calientes to Cusco departs at 18:45). Buses to Aguas Calientes depart every 10 minutes. Check with the guide for actual times.

You can expect to arrive back in Cusco by 10:00 PM. From there we will provide you a transfer back to your hostel.

Arrival into Cusco might change depending on availability of trains.

Trek Price Includes:

  • Professional, bilingual (English and Spanish) tour guide
  • Collection from your hotel on Day 1 to the start of the trail
  • Spacious, personal tents
  • Sleeping mat
  • Hot water every morning and evening for washing purposes (while hiking). With adequate advance notice, we can supply boiled water to fill your water bottle or hydration pack.
  • Accommodations: 3 nights camping, 1 night hostel
  • Horses for days 1-3 (for equipment and 6 kg of your personal items), including horsemen
  • Excellent Meals (4 Breakfast, 4 Lunch, 4 Dinner
  • Food includes pancakes, omelettes, soups, fresh fruit, avocado, pasta, chicken, fish, meat, rice, all rich in carbohydrates and suitable for trekking
  • Tea time before dinner (tea, coffee, biscuits, popcorn)
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee
  • Trail entrance fee
  • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Cusco

What You Need to Bring:

  • Original passport (and *International Student card (ISIC), if applicable)
  • Travel insurance (strongly recommended but not required)
  • Sleeping bag (also can be rented from us)
  • Walking boots
  • Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
  • Warm jacket
  • Hat and gloves
  • T-shirts
  • Comfortable trousers
  • Sun hat
  • Sun protection cream (SPF 35 or higher recommended)
  • Insect repellent
  • Re-usable plastic or metal water container or a hydration pack such as Camelbak
  • Water (only for first 4 hours of trek, then we will provide you with previously-boiled drinking water throughout the trek)
  • Toiletries (including toilet paper)
  • Personal medication
  • Camera
  • Torch with spare batteries (headlamps are useful)
  • Cash in local currency (Peruvian Soles) to purchase items along the trail and tips for porters

*To qualify as a student, it is necessary to have a valid ISIC card. Please scan and email us a copy at the time of booking.
If desired, the train back to Cusco can be upgraded to Vistadome (+$20)

Optional Items to Bring:

  • Shorts
  • Walking sticks or trekking poles. Trekking poles used are required to have rubber tips.
  • Bandages or moleskin
  • Sandals
  • Bathing suit for Santa Teresa hot springs
  • Entrance fee for hot springs

Optional Services (Not Included):

  • Sleeping bag rental, $20.00
  • Breakfast on Day 1, lunch on Day 5, dinner on Day 5
  • 1 extra horse to carry personal items, $30 per day
  • Walking sticks, $8

Prices for 2014:

Number of People 2 3 4 5 6-10
Price per Person ($ USD) $580 $550 $540 $480 $470

Cusco Native is a company comprised of certified and licensed local tour guides. All tours booked with Cusco Native are led and staffed by Cusco Native employees. We will never pass you onto another tour company for your trek. We are a local company with professional employees and guides who are knowledgeable in all of the main (like the Inca Trail) and alternative (Lares, Choquekirao to Machu Picchu) treks.


In the event of a cancellation we need to be informed in writing. Cancellation charges plus forfeiture of the non-refundable deposit will be applied as shown below calculated from the day written notification is received by Cusco Native.

Our cancellation table is as follows:

Days Prior to Start of Trek Percentage Lost of Total Trek Price
29 to 22 60%
21 to 9 80%
8 to 0 100%

In the event of partial cancellations, the remaining passenger may have to pay any remaining charges (e.g. single room supplements or double-occupancy).