The Salkantay route is located to the North of Cusco. At its highest point, the hike reaches an altitude of 4,600 meters above sea level. The climate is sunny during the day and cold at night and the temperature at night falls below 0 ° C June to September. The geography changes dramatically throughout the hike. The first day you walk through a landscape with mountains and snow, (here Salkantay has a height of 6,264 m.) In the following days Andean forests are traversed to reach tropical areas where you can see coca plantations (a sacred plant of the Incas) coffee, bananas and other fruits.
Due to the ticket restrictions of the Inca Trail it has become increasingly difficult to book as there is a limit of 500 people per day. For this reason Salkantay is offered as an alternative. It has the same natural beauty but is less crowded than the classic Inca Trail, which increases its appeal.
Day 1 : Soraypampa and Chaullay
Pick up time is 5:00 am at the hotel. From there we head towards the town of Mollepata, a trip of approximately 2 and a half hours where we have breakfast. It is another 2 hours by bus to the town of Soraypampa (3,850 m). Here we begin the trek toward Nevado Salkantay (4,540 meters) which is the highest point of the entire route. The walk is approximately four hours. We stop for a short break to take pictures of the mountain. For about 1 hour we descend and then stop for lunch. We continue walking for about 3 hours until reaching Chaullay, where our camp is located. Here we have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 2 : Chaullay , Sahuayaco and Santa Teresa
After breakfast at 7am we continue trekking towards Collcapampa. On the way we pass through narrow trails abundant with native flora, different varieties of orchids and waterfalls. After about 5 hours we get to Sahuayaco, where we take a combi 45 minutes to Santa Teresa (1,645 m). After arriving at Santa Teresa around 3.00 pm and settling in the hotel one can go to the hot springs (optional). This is the town where we will have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 3: Santa Teresa and the Aguas Calientes Hydroelectric Dam
Have breakfast and leave at around 8am by car to reach the dam. After the 30 minute ride it is a 2 and a half hour walk along train tracks through flat tropical forests to Aguas Calientes. Once there, we will settle in at the hotel and arrange the next day’s ascent to Machu Picchu.
Day 4: Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu and Cusco
At 5:30am we have breakfast and head to the bus station to go to the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary. There is a two hour tour where the guide will take us through the most important parts of Machu Picchu. After there will be free time to take pictures, explore and climb Huayna Picchu. Free time depends on the time your train departs at Ollantaytambo.) After we take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and then go to the station and wait for the train to take us back to the town of Ollantaytambo. Then we go by bus to Cusco.