The Salkantay 4 Day Tour is an express version of the 5 day Trek, for those with a shorter travel timeframe. Salkantay is a popular alternative to the Ina Trail as it does not require booking months in advance and offers breathtaking vistas as you traverse diverse landscapes and climates.
Listed by National Geographic as one of the top 25 treks in the world, our tour has travelers enjoying stunning views of the snowy Salkantay, visiting lagoons including Humantay and Salkantay Lake, reaching the highest point of the trek at (4,600 m) above sea level and finishing at the lost city of the Incas, with sunrise views and a guided tour of Machu Picchu.
This is a preferred option for those wishing to take a less populated route to Machu Picchu. Generally, trekkers experience a sunny climate during the day but cold temperatures at night (0 ° C June to September). During the rainy season, December to March, we recommend only expert trekkers undertake this route.
Participants are collected from their respective accommodation at 4:30 am and take private transport to Mollepata where we will have an hour to enjoy breakfast and explore the town. We will then continue by car for approximately 45 minutes to Challacancha and the beginning of the trail. On our way to our first camp site, we will be able to appreciate impressive viewpoints of Umantay mountain and the water aqueduct that supplies water to Mollepata town. Upon arrival at Soraypampa, we will have lunch and set up camp. After lunch, we will complete the 1-hour trek to Humantay Lake, situated at the base of Humantay mountain. Here we have the opportunity relax, explore and enjoy the views before returning to the campsite for dinner.
Distance walking: 7.5 miles (12 km)
Walking time: 6-7 hours
Maximum height: 13780 ft (4200 m) asl
Difficulty: Difficult / Moderate
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks
The second day of the Salkantay Trek is often considered the hardest because we reach the highest point of the trek 15190 ft (4630 m) asl and cover a distance of 13.7 miles (22km). However, it also offers some of the most beautiful views as we cross several landscapes – rocky mountains, grassy hills, glaciers, lagoons and waterfalls and conclude our trek in the high jungle.
Due to the distance we need to cover today, we begin early – waking up at 5:00 am to hot coca tea and breakfast, and of course impressive dawn views of snowy Salkantay.
After a 4 hour hike, we’ll reach the highest point of the whole trek, take in the vistas and have the opportunity to make an offering to the Apus (Andean mountain gods). From here we begin our decent to 9515 ft (2900 m). After a lunch break at the 2-hour mark, we’ll continue 3 hours to our camp for the second night, at Chaullay, where we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy a well deserved cold beer while our cooks prepare a delicious dinner.
The 3rd day will see us trekking through the high jungle of Santa Teresa, near the Salkantay river that runs through the centre of the valley. Beginning the day at 6:00 am, we’ll have breakfast before commencing the trek at the town of Sayhuaco. Due to the warmer, more tropical climate we will be hiking through dense vegetation, past plantations of coca, coffee, avocado, passion fruit and bananas, and view colourful flora (orchids) and birds. If we’re lucky we’ll spot the national bird of Peru – The Rooster of The Rocks, or Tunki in Quechua.
After 5 hours we’ll arrive at our lunch point, after which local transport will take us to Hidroelectrica (1.5 hrs). At this point, you’ll have the option of a 3-hour flat trail walk to Aguas Calientes or to take the train for an additional cost of $28 USD. Once in the town of Aguas Calientes we’ll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant and coordinate our visit with our guide to the archaeological complex the following day. The last night of the tour will be spent in a comfortable hostel at the foot of the great Machu Picchu.
Distance walking: 15.5 miles (25 km)
Walking time: 8-9 hours
Minimum height: 5250 ft (1600 m) asl
Maximum height: 9515 ft (2900 m) asl
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Snacks
At 4 in the morning, we will begin our climb to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in order to witness the sunrise at the summit. If walking, you will begin the hike at 4.15am to Puente Inca, before ascending the stairs for approximately 1 hour in order to arrive at the main entrance of Machu Picchu. Alternatively, for an extra fee, you can opt to take the bus – you will need to wait in line for a bus ticket that morning and the drive up will take approximately 25m. Both options should see you arriving at the archaeological complex in time for the sunrise.
We will have a 2.5-hour tour from our guide, allowing you to discover the mysteries and secrets of the ancient Inca citadel. After which we will be free to explore the site independently, if you wish you can go up to the Sun Gate or Inca Bridge. Those travellers who previously booked tickets to Huayna Picchu or Montaña Vieja will be able to access these attractions. These sites are where some of the most iconic images of Machu Picchu are taken and where we will be able to take our own photographs and view the ruins from an aerial perspective.
That afternoon we will descend to the village of Aguas Calientes where we have the opportunity to rest and pick up any crafts and souvenirs before our return train at 6.30pm to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, transport will be arranged to return travellers to Cusco – to their respective accommodation or San Francisco Square.
Distance walking: 2.5 miles (4 km)
Maximum height: 8040 ft (2450 m) asl
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Additional details of the 4-day Salkantay tour are as follows: