The Salkantay route is located to the north of the city of Cusco. The trek reaches an altitude of 4,600 meters above sea level at its highest point and the climate is very sunny during the day but cold at night. At night the temperature falls below 0 ° C during the months of June to September and from December to March it is rains heavily, which is why the road is closed during these months. The geography changes dramatically with the first days walking through landscapes of snow covered peaks (here Salkantay is at a height of 6,264 m). In the following days Andean forests are traversed to reach more tropical areas where there is coca, (sacred plant of the Incas) coffee, bananas and other fruit.
Due to restrictions on the sales of tickets to the Inca Trail, it has become increasingly difficult to book. Once numbers reach the limit of 500 people per day no more requests for reservations are accepted. It is for this reason that this hike is offered as an alternative to Machu Picchu Inca Trail. The Salkantay route has scenic beauty but it is less crowded than the classic Inca Trail, which increases its appeal.
Day 1 : Cusco, Mollepata and Soraypampa
We pick you up from your hotel at 5:00 am and board transport to the town of Mollepata, which lasts about 2 and a half hours. On reaching the village we will have breakfast and then continue by car to Cruz Pata to begin our trek. After about 3 hours we arrive at Sayllapata, where we have lunch and time to rest. After we continue our walk towards Soraypampa (3,850 m). In this part we can see the first of Mount Humantay. At 5 pm we arrive at our first camp, settle in and have dinner after a brief rest.
Day 2: Soraypampa and Chaullay
Very early in the morning after breakfast we headed towards Mount Salkantay (4,540 m), which is the highest point along the route. Our walk lasts about four hours. We will stop for a short break to take some pictures of the impressive Salkantay. Then we descend for about 1 hour, eat lunch, and then continue walking for about 3 hours. We ascend to Chaullay, the place of our second camp. Dinner and overnight.
Day 3 : Chaullay , Sahuayaco and Santa Teresa
At 7:00 am we eat breakfast and continue our walk towards Collcapampa, using narrow trails with abundant native life, different varieties of orchids and waterfalls. After 5 hours we walk along Sahuayaco, the riverbank, and take our transport to Santa Teresa (1,645 meters). We arrive in Santa Teresa around 3.00 pm and will stay at a hostel here. After a short break we can go to the hot springs (optional). Dinner and overnight.
Day 4 : Santa Teresa and Aguas Calientes Hydroelectric Dam
At around 8:00 am we have breakfast and go by car to arrive at the Hydroelectric Dam, a trip that takes about 30 minutes. At the dam we will continue walking along the railroad, a common way to arrive at Aguas Calientes. Our walk will last around 3 hours. In Aguas Calientes we will stay at the hotel and arrange the climb the next day to the city of Machu Picchu.
Day 5: Aguas Calientes , Machu Picchu and Cusco
At 5am we will have breakfast, then head to the bus to take us to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu. We will have our guided tour of around 2 hours and you will be able to take in the sunrise. The guide will take us through the most important points of the citadel, after which you will have free time to take photos and explore Machu Picchu. In addition, you can climb Huayna Picchu. (Tickets to Huayna Picchu must be purchased in advance, as space is limited.) Finally, after free time in the Citadel we will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes and go to station to wait for the train to take us back to Ollantaytambo. Then we head by bus to Cusco.