Salkantay Trek to Machupicchu – 5 Days

Tour Type: Trekking/hiking, cultural, adventurous.
Good For: Those in moderate shape, or better.
Difficulty: Challenging.
Considerations: In order to include Humantay lagoon (Turquoise Lagoon) and Llactapata (amazing camping spot with Machu Picchu in the distance) we need to leave the afternoon before the trek starts making this trek 5.5 days and 5 nights.


Salkantay to Machupicchu

AFTERNOON 1: Transfer to Campsite

We will pick you up at 3 p.m. from your hotel, where you will meet your Puma trails team. From here, we will head in our private van for a 3.5 hour drive to the campsite in Soraypampa, located at 3,800 m.a.s.l. We will arrive just on time to take photographs of the sunset over the glacier peaks.

At the campsite, your guide will settle you in your tents before enjoying your dinner along with some hot drinks. Your night will be accompanied by the countless stars adorning the night sky.

** Because you will likely be checked out of your hotel before the departure time, the meeting point for this trek is at our office which is located very close to the main square.


Elevation at Campsite: 3800 msl.
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season.

**When you book this trek, please choose the day you want to start the hike (so Day 1). Departure is the night before where you will stay at our private camping site and enjoy your first dinner prepared by your Alpaca Expeditions chef.


After a good night’s rest, you will have early wake up to enjoy your breakfast before your trek. During this morning, there will be a short team introduction between all trekkers and the Puma Trails Staff to ensure a positive, family-like experience. After the introduction, you will give your duffle bags to the muleteers for carrying.

The day´s hike will begin by visiting Humantay Lagoon. This will be a hike of approximately 1.5 hours along a steady uphill. Once at the lagoon, you will enjoy the serene views of the crystalline-blue water of Humantay Lagoon; often described by many as an ¨other-worldly´´ paradise perched on the skirts of Humantay Glacier. If the skies are clear, you will be witness to the first sun rays peeking though the snow-covered peaks, and if you are brave, you will also have the chance to touch the almost-frozen water so that you may stay young forever!
The advantage to visiting Humantay Lagoon in the early morning hours is the quiet surroundings with NO other trekkers besides those in your group. Due to the popularity of this location, this is not something everyone can enjoy!

After breathing in the beauty of such magical place, you will begin making your way back down to the starting point to continue with your hike to the lunch spot in Soyroccocha. This hike will be approximately 3 hours on gradually ascending terrain. On your way, you will pass places such as Salkantay Pampa and will enjoy the outstanding views of the surrounding peaks and snow-covered mountains. After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your hike for about 1 hour more until Salkantay Pass at 4,650 m.a.s.l.- the highest point of the trek. Once here, you will be rewarded with hot drinks before continuing!

From Salkantay Pass, it will only be a remaining 3 hours of hiking downhill to our last campsite for the day, Wayracmachay. Upon arrival to the campsite, the trekking staff will have your tents set up and with your duffel bags ready. They will provide you with warm water to get washed up, so that you may change into something warm. We will have a happy hour with hot chocolate and coffee, followed by dinner. If the weather allows, you will get to enjoy the blue sky, along with a brief introduction to the visible Inca constellations.

Walking Distance: 18km.
Elevation Gained: 850 meters.
Elevation Descended: 850 meters.
Weather: Cold, windy, rainy in the wet season.


Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. Hopefully, as you open your tent, you will see the sunrise over glacier peaks and clouds, lifting from the green cloud forest. You will have time to pack up and enjoy a nice breakfast prepared by your trekking chef.

At around 7 a.m., you will begin the day´s hike by hiking for approximately 4 hours downhill until reaching the lunch spot at Ccollpapampa (2,700 m.a.s.l.). In this hike, you will begin to notice the micro-climate and fauna & flora changes. You will begin from cold, glacier views to warmer, lush, jungle surroundings. There will be many different species of orchids to see, as well as ferns and begonia flowers. Humming birds will be above you, a difference from the day before.

After lunch and a well-deserved rest, you will continue with your trek to the next private campsite called La Loreta at 2400 m.a.s.l. This hike will be approximately 4 hours on gradually downhill terrain. Along the way you will explore beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and again, flora and fauna. This will be another micro-climate called tropical forest, where local people farm coffee, passion fruit, papayas, oranges and avocados. Upon arrival to the campsite, you will be welcomed by your trekking staff and will have time to enjoy a free hot shower, hot Jacuzzi and perhaps even swim in our swimming pool. There will also be time to walk around our ecological garden to see some of our garden of coffee, avocado, chillies, tomatoes and pineapples. Dinner tonight will be at our building with views to the Salkantay River which you will hear below to help you fall asleep at night.

Walking Distance: 18 km.
Campsite Elevation: 2,400 meters.
Elevation Descended: 1,400 meters.
Weather: Warm and hot.


After a delicious breakfast, you will get started on your shortest, but most interesting day of the trek. Today you will experience the most beautiful sights along your trekking route to Machu Picchu. You will explore the tropical forest and will have a visit to a local, organic coffee farm. At the farm, you will have the opportunity to explore some of the orange and avocado plantations and taste some of the freshly-brewed coffee. Also at the farm, you will have a brief introduction regarding the coffee in this region and its importance as the main farming product to all locals. As you will learn, the coffee in this region was introduced to the region after the Spanish conquest and most of the harvested coffee is exported to countries including the United States, Asia and Europe.

After the coffee farm visit, you will continue with your trek to Llactapata by hiking along a section of the Inca trail for approximately 2.5 hours. On your way to the Llactapata Inca site, you will see amazing views of the Santa Teresa valley. At Llactapata, you will get the first glance of Machu Picchu – including the main archaeological site, Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. You will also have the opportunity to explore the Llactapata Inca site along with your guide and take photographs for the books!. From here it will be an additional 15 minutes downhill to your lunch and campsite area. This campsite is owned by a local family, and only Puma Trails has permission to stay there. You will find the campsite to be great place to enjoy the sunset and sunrise over Machu Picchu.

After lunch, you will have some free time to enjoy the views and relax from the hiking. Again, we will serve a lovely happy hour, with tea and coffee, and your chef will prepare a delicious meal for dinner. Once the stars come out, you can enjoy the Milky Way and the Inca constellations – just like the Incan astronomers did to predict the weather.

Walking Distance: 12 km.
Campsite Elevation: 2,700 meters.
Elevation Gained: 400 meters.
Weather: During day time hot and humid, chilly at night.


Your trekking team will wake you up early with a hot drink to help you start the day. You will get ready for today’s activities and enjoy your last breakfast prepared by your trekking chef. The day´s hike will begin with a 2 hour, downhill path, with views of Machu Picchu, until Hidroeléctrica Station. The most impressive part of this area is the natural 300 meters high waterfall which generates the electricity for the region of Cusco. From Hidroelectrica Station, you will then continue to the famous Intiwatana (sun dial rock). According to history, this Inca stone used to work with the famous sun dial rock in Machu Picchu, during the winter solstice, which was the beginning of a new farming season for the Incas.

From the Intiwatana, you will continue to the train tracks, which have a nice path to walk on. The hike along the train tracks will be approximately 3 hours and will lead to the town of Aguas Calientes, located at the foot of the valley of Machu Picchu. This section of the hike will be interesting as it was the trail used by the American professor, Hiram Bingham, when rediscovering Machu Picchu. On his way to Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham met with local farmer Melochor Artaega, who eventually guided him to Machu Picchu. On your hike, you will hike pass Melochor Artaega´s farm, where you will see many species of flora and fauna, including the famous Peruvian national bird called Cock of the Rock, tucanets, propendolas, parrots and orchids.

Finally, upon your arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will enjoy your packed lunch. You will then go to your hotel to enjoy a hot shower and a visit to the famous, hot springs (10 soles, not included), of Aguas Calientes. In the evening, you will enjoy your final dinner with your trekking chef and say good bye to him.

Walking Distance: 14 km.
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 meters.
Weather: Hot.
Accommodations: inti punku (or similar)


Today will be the most important day of your expedition. To get the most out of the day, we encourage every group to have an early breakfast before catching one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu (starting at 5:30 a.m.). The hotel will hold your bags for you while in Machu Picchu. This way, you will only be required to take your personal backpack with all essentials up to Machu Picchu. The bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will take approximately 30 minutes.

Once in Machu Picchu, your guide will introduce you the beauty of Machu Picchu. You will head directly to a well-sought out location from where you will watch the sunrise and take photographs. Your guide will then guide you around the main sectors of the citadel, for a total of 2.5 hours. During this guided tour, you will learn some more about the history and culture of the Inca Empire. At the end of the tour, you will have some time to yourself or, if you arranged to hike Huayna Picchu* (must be booked in advance, as it sells out and costs $35 per person), your guide will show you where to begin this hike, which will take no more than 2 hours round-trip.

For your return from Machu Picchu, we recommend to begin heading back to Aguas Calientes town by no later than 2 hours prior to your train departure. Your guide will inform you of your train times prior to your return. The train return from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo will take approximately 2 hours. In Ollantaytambo, our Puma Trail Staff will be waiting for your right by the station´s exit door ready to bring you back to Cusco by car. The car ride to Cusco will be approximately 2 hours and will have you dropped off at your hotel in Cusco.

Machu Picchu Mountain may be hiked as well, instead of Huayna Picchu Mountain. This hike is more challenging and takes three hours minimum, round-trip (at an extra cost of USD $35 per person). You always have the opportunity to climb to the Sun Gate for free. This is a much easier walk of two hours, round-trip.

Included in the tour:

  • Transportation from Cusco to Mollepata (by tour bus)
  • Professional Guide.
  • Additional guide for groups of 14 individuals and up.
  • Cook experienced in cooking on the trail.
  • Assistant cook for groups of 10 and up.
  • 4 Breakfasts.
  • 4 Lunches.
  • 4 Dinners.
  • Horses (For carrying camping equipment, food, and 5 kilos of luggage per client for 3 days) The 5 kilos is enough for a sleeping bag, sleeping mat, and other mall items, any excess weight you wish to bring you will be responsible for carrying.
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu.
  • One night in a basic hostel in Aguas Calientes.
  • Return trip ticket in train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, in the Expedition, or tourist class, train, from 6:35 pm to 9:30pm.
  • Transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco- Plaza San Francisco (shared tour bus)

Not Included in the tour:

  • Breakfast the first day, approximately S/10.00 soles.
  • Lunch on the last day, approximately S/70.00 soles.
  • Boiled water during the trek.
  • Transportation from Santa Teresa- Hydroelectric, S/20.00, paid directly.
  • Train from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes, $18.00 USD, paid directly.
  • Entrance to Huaynapicchu, $15.00 USD. Be sure to request this at the time of your reservation; space may be limited and this option depends upon availability.
  • Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, $13.00, one-way.
  • Sleeping Bag.
  • Inflatable mattresses.
  • Any extra costs or spending money.

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