Salkantay Challenge Trek 3 Days
Trekkers can see natural bridges, snowcapped mountains, colorful valleys, waterfalls, wildlife, unique plants, and cloud forest.
TREKKING MAP The Salcantay trek to Machupicchu, it is the best alternative hike to the Inca Trail, designed for those who still wish to hike to Machu Picchu. The ecosystem has a wide-range biodiversity. Come and see yourself an outstanding mountain scenery, biodiversity, and an old-living culture off the beaten path.
WHY TAKE THE SALKANTAY TRAIL?
- The Salkantay Trek is listed as one of the 25 best treks in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine.
- The Salkantay Trek is definitely one of the very best trekking adventures that you will find in Peru and in the continent of South America.
- After the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek is the 2nd most popular trek to Machu Picchu (and a lot less crowded).
- Hiking alongside the magnificent Apu Salkantay and arriving at the ruins of the majestic Machu Picchu is one of the best experiences known to mankind.
- Trekkers can see natural bridges, snowcapped mountains, colorful valleys, waterfalls, wildlife, unique plants, and cloud forest.
- Camping with less people allows you to control your own trip and have the best views of these incredible mountains!
DAY 1: Cusco | Mollepata - Soraypampa - Salkantaypass - ChaullayWalking Distance – 22 km / 13.7 miles
Starting Elevation – 3800 meters ASL / 12467 feet ASL
Campsite Elevation – 2750 meters ASL / 9022 feet ASL
Maximum Altitude: 4650 meters ASL / 15255 feet ASL
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner (Plus snacks and afternoon tea time)
Accommodation: Wooden Camping CHOZAS (Andean Huts)
Adventure: Absolutely, 100%! The raw and breath-taking beauty of this day’s hike along with its challenging nature will quench any wanderlust you’ve been trying to cure!
Today’s Highlights: Hike along the winding Salkantay trail with the mountain’s tallest peak in front of your eyes all morning! Challenge yourself as we make our way up some steep slopes while looking out on the valley far below until we reach the base of Apu Salkantay. Around midday, you will be standing in the middle of the Andes mountain range! In the afternoon, we make our way into the incredible cloud forest and tropical jungle around Chaullay. This is your most challenging day but also your most rewarding! (Click Here to see our CHAULLAY CAMPSITE)
We start the day by picking you up from your hotel at approx 02:30 AM. We will drive for a total of 3.5 hours, crossing Anta, Mollepata, and Challancha and ending up at Soraypampa (3850 MASL – 12631 FASL). After the first two hours of driving, we will stop quickly in Mollepata to take advantage of the toilet facilities and souvenir shops. Through the windows of the bus you can clearly see the white, snowcapped mountains of Apus Salkantay and Humantay: two colossal gods of the Incas. You will also see spectacular scenery of high peaks and low valleys in a colorful and contrasting panorama filling every direction you turn your eyes! In Soraypampa, we will have breakfast (included), meet our support staff, and they will organize all of the equipment and cargo mules.
From here, we will start trekking up to the highest point of the trail: the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL – 15255 FASL). The distance is a 7 km (4.34 miles) of difficult ascent in 3 hours between the rocky valley base and the magnificent Salkantay Mountain (6271 MASL– 20574 FASL). When we reach the top of the pass, we will appreciate the spectacular views of the surrounding valleys and the imposing snowy peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains. Salkantay Mountain is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and one of the Inca gods called “Apu”. Continuing from this climax of today’s trek, there is a 5 km (3.1 mile) downhill walk to the site for lunch. The walk downwards is on a serpent-shaped, rocky, gravel path which leads to the Huayracmachay lunch campsite. To rest on the way down, there is a perfect valley outlook that is absolutely stunning!
In the afternoon after our meal, we will enter the upper part of the Amazon jungle, which is also called “the cloud forest”. This is a 10 km (6.2 mile) hike completed in 3 hours on a wide trail in the thick and magical tropical forest as temperatures increase with decreasing altitude. During this part of the trek, you will notice a dramatic change in landscape and the earth’s energy as we move from Andes to Amazon! This hike is truly beautiful; the hills are decorated with colorful scenery, wildlife, and native plants. The forests are warm and tropical most of the year with temperate climates. At the end of this outstanding hike, we arrive at Chaullay Village (2900 MASL – 9514 FASL) for a much-deserved reward of rest from our long day of trekking! This is our base camp in the jungle as we continue to make our way to Machu Picchu.
DAY 2: Chaullay | La Playa - Santa Teresa - Hydroelectric - Aguas CalientesWalking Distance – 26km / 16.1 Miles
Starting Elevation – 2750 meters ASL / 9022 feet ASL
Campsite Elevation – 1600 meters ASL / 5249 feet ASL
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Plus snacks)
Adventure: Absolutely! You will be in the middle of the tropical forest you have dreamt about!
Today’s Highlights: We leave our camp early today to enjoy a serene and empty trail and appreciate landscape, scenery, and wildlife, including the roaring river below us in the valley us for much of the day. While trekking through the luscious jungle, you will find countless wild fruits such as banana, avocado, passion fruit, and granadilla. There are also waterfalls and streams where you can refresh your feet and cool off! After having lunch in the small town of La Playa, we will take a private car to Hidroelectrica. As we walk to Aguas Calientes, relish in one of the best views of the Urubamba valley! Don’t forget to turn around and see Apu Salkantay again in the background before you look forward to have your first glance at the glorious Machu Picchu!
Optional: Train ride from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes.
At 06:00 AM, we will start our trek to the small town of La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. You will be able to soak up this new, lush landscape during our 6 hours of hiking today! During the hike we will see rivers, waterfalls, wild orchids, and plantations of coffee, banana, and avocado. You can taste the famous passion fruit and granadilla fruit along the way! We will see a village called Colpapampa, also called the “brow of the cloud forest,” where waterfalls, birds, hot springs, fruit-bearing trees, and flora and fauna can be observed. If we are lucky, we will even be able to see the beautiful bird called “The Cock of the Rocks,” the national bird of Peru!
After a hearty lunch at La Playa, we will take local transportation to the Hidroelectrica train station. Here you will have two options: 1) If you are exhausted, you may take the train to Aguas Calientes ($31.00 extra). 2) If you are still eager to hike, you may walk from Hidroelectrica to Aguas Calientes for about 3 hours along the train track. There is a nice path next to the tracks through the warm paradise of the cloud forest. This is the same trail used by the American professor Hiram Bingham who rediscovered Machu Picchu after centuries of it being lost to the outside world! Once in Aguas Calientes, you can rest a bit before dinner or walk around this alluring place that has the ambience of a California Gold Rush town. There are no cars in Aguas Calientes, so it is an especially peaceful place to be. At 7:00 PM, we will have dinner at a local restaurant. All the expenses in Aguas Calientes are covered by the company, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the overnight stay at our hostel. In your room, you will have a private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, breakfast in the morning, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
DAY 3: The Most Important Day – Machu Picchu!Activity Overview: Touring Machu Picchu with optional hike
Activity Level: Touring: easy, hike: strenuous
Activity Length: 2-5 hours exploring and optional 2-3 hour strenuous hike; Machu Picchu is at 7,972’ elevation
Today’s Highlights: Your excitement for our rendezvous at Machu Picchu will rise as we are hiking early in the morning through the forest to reach the site before most other tourists – even the Inca Trail trekkers!! You will have plenty of time to explore this truly magnificent World Wonder while you enjoy the beautiful sunrise from this once-in-a-lifetime viewpoint. Your group will learn about this mystical place in a two-hour guided tour of the ruins. Afterwards, you can opt to climb Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain (if you have pre-booked tickets) or walk to the Sun Gate (without extra tickets).
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hostel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. We will hike up to Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. Here we will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 16:22 hrs (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 20:00 hrs. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!
What is Included?
- Pre-departure briefing: You will meet your guide and group in our office for an orientation before your trek. At this time, we will provide you with the duffle bags which will be carried by our horses. The meeting will be at 6:00 PM the evening before the trip begins.
- Transport: You will be picked up from your hotel in the morning and will travel by private transportation to Challacancha, the starting point of the trek.
- Experienced Guide: English speaking, professionally educated, and official tour guide. Your guide will explain the culture and surroundings along the entire route, including leading your group in ancient ceremonies! He or she will keep you safe, sound, and comfortable on your trek so that you can enjoy your time worry-free!
- Personal accommodation in private campsites: Like our ancestors, we are very considerate of the Pachamama (Mother Earth). Therefore, our campsites and lodges are adapted to the environment to avoid generating negative impacts.
- Night 1: Enjoy our camping huts, made of ichu (Peruvian feather grass) and wood to guarantee a pleasant rest with protection during cold nights in the mountains. (Click Here to see photo) 2 people will stay in each 4-person tent inside of each individual hut. We provide you with a thick camping mattress free of charge.
- Night 2: Hostel in Aguas Calientes
- Camping equipment: Dining and kitchen tents, tables, chairs, and cooking equipment (all carried by the horses).
- Entry ticket to Machu Picchu Archeological Site
- Hostel in Aguas Calientes: The last night of this trek is spent in a hostel in Aguas Calientes with a double or triple room, private bathroom, hot shower, wifi, breakfast, and luggage storage while you visit Machu Picchu.
- 1 Duffle Bag: You can put your personal luggage, up to 7 kgs (15.4 lbs), including your sleeping bag, in this bag to be carried by our horses.
- Cargo Mules: On day 1, cargo mules carry the all camping equipment and your allowance of personal baggage (7 kgs/15.4 lbs). On day 2, your luggage will be carried by car or train to your destination.
- Trekking Cook: A chef specialized in cooking on the trail, with an assistant, will prepare all of your delicious meals along the journey to replenish your energy. You will never go hungry!
- Meals: 3 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 2 Dinners (Vegetarian, vegan, or special menus are available at no extra cost)
- Wake up tea: Every morning at the campsite, you will woken up with a cup of coca tea! Our staff will bring the tea to your tent so that you will be warmed from inside out before you start your day.
- Tea time daily: Every afternoon before dinner, the cooks will provide popcorn, biscuits, coffee, hot chocolate, teas, hot water, etc. After a long day of hiking, you will not have to wait until dinner to relax, warm up, and enjoy a bite to eat!
- Snacks on the trail daily: Our snacks consist of local fruits, biscuits, chocolate, caramels, etc. We will give this snack to you at the beginning of each day in your cloth bag.
- One cloth snack bag per person: To avoid the usage of plastic bags that contaminate our environment, we will give you a cloth bag for your snacks.
- Products for hygiene: You will be provided with a small towel before each meal to clean your hands.
- Medical kit: Our crew will bring a first-aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle
- Train tickets: From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (“Expedition” service with Peru Rail at 16:22 hrs (subject to availability))
- Transport: Private transport from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco (Day 3)
- 24-hour guest service: We have telephone service available 24 hours/day for ease of communication and preparation with the agency leading up to your trek.
- We will create a Memorable Lifetime Experience for you.
- Entrance fee to Salkantay Trail (S/.10 per person)
- Sleeping Bags: (you can hire from our company), our sleeping bags are -18ºC-comfort (0ºF), mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use and have a maximum usage of 30 trips.
- Walking Sticks: you can hire from our company
- Last Day: Lunch and Dinner in Aguas Calientes.
- Personal clothing and gear.
- Travel insurance.
- Tips for our staff: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.
- Additional costs or delays caused by management out of control like landscape, bad weather condition, in case of itinerary modification with a view to safety concern, illness, change of government policy, political instability raises strike, moment etc.
Thank you for choosing Salkantay Trekking! We will do everything within our means to take care of you and ensure an enjoyable trip of a lifetime in Peru!
IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR THE SALKANTAY TREK
Please read carefully the following information – it will help you with any questions you may have about our services.
IS IT FOR ME?The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a great alternative for the Inca Trail trek and better suited for more adventurous trekkers who are able to handle higher altitude and longer distances. Ascending to reach the famous Apacheta Pass at 4650 MASL - 15088 FASL is not too strenuous since it is at the beginning of the trek, neither is it very steep, but it does require stamina and a little time in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude before beginning the trek.
THE BRIEFINGThis meeting will take place the night before the trek’s departure at 6 PM at our office which is located at Triunfo Street 392, Office 212 (second floor). We are 1 block from the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) of Cusco.
WHAT ABOUT THE BALANCE?It would be greatly appreciated if you pay in cash at our office (US dollars or Peruvian soles) here in Cusco. We have many cash machines in the historical center to withdraw money. You can also pay by VISA or PAYPAL online but you will have to pay a 8% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. To pay your balance through PAYPAL, you need to log into your PAYPAL account using our email address of firstname.lastname@example.org
DUFFEL BAG FOR Salkantay Challenge 3 DaysThe evening before you start your trek, you will be given a SMALL DUFFLE BAG to pack your clothes for the next four days. Your weight allowance is up to 7 kg/15.4 lbs. Our horseman will carry your duffle bag for you together with the food and camping gear. It is important to be aware that you will not have access to your items in the duffle bag until the end of each day as the horsemen and horses will always be ahead of the group. During the travel, you need a day backpack big enough to carry your personal belongings such as a warm jacket, raincoat, camera, sunscreen, snacks, water, etc. Usually, a 30 to 50 litre backpack is sufficient.
CAN I STORE MY LUGGAGE AT YOUR OFFICE?Of course! During the travel, your main luggage can be stored at our office or at your hotel, both free of charge.
HOW TO BOOK THE Salkantay Challenge 3 DaysFIRST To make a booking, please email us to check availability and receive customized booking forms. You can also download a generic form from: Passenger Details form.
Please be ready with the following information (FROM EACH PARTICIPANT in your group). We cannot purchase any Salkantay Challenge 3 Days permits or entrance tickets without the following information:
- Personal information (Full name, exactly as on your passport):
- Passport number
- Date of birth (dd / mm / yyyy)
SECOND, we require a deposit of US$200 per person in order to purchase a permit for the Salkantay Challenge 3 Days. You can make you deposit by clicking on the VISA or PAYPAL.
OUR HIKING TEAM
Our Tour GuidesYour tour will be led by a trained and highly experienced professional with a very solid guiding background, years of hiking and wilderness experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into unforgettable adventures.
They never stop learning so that they can be the best possible guides. They all speak English and of course they also speak Spanish and even Quechua, the Incan Language. They are all able to communicate with natives from around the area and will have lots of history to share with you. Check out the Meet Our Team page for staff bios.
Our CooksAfter a challenging trek we know how important a good hot meal can be to prepare your body and warm you up. That’s why on every trek with Salkantay Trekking we employ chefs with years of experience cooking on the trails so that they provide filling and nutritious meals using fresh ingredients and a variety of flavors.
Every chef prepares different meals depending on what food is available. ...More info.
Meals: What to ExpectAll of our hiking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.
For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.
We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee. ...More info.
Our Horseman and HorsesOur Horseman and his horses are in charge of all our gear and will always await us within the safe and comfortable camp sites.
Our horsemen are hired from the areas where the trekking route goes and therefore have extensive knowledge of the area.
Besides trekking and camping gear every horse carries a total of 40 kg of guest's belongings.
You will have a personal allowance of 7kg/165lb for your gear....More info.
Terms and Conditions
Our Challenge 3D/2N Salkantay Trek includes extra horse to carry up to 7kg/16lbs of your belongings. The last night of this trek is spent in a hostel in Aguas Calientes
We are the only Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu that works exclusively with specialists and experts.
The Salkantay Trek is our passion and customer satisfaction our success!”
Deposit via Paypal & Credit Card
Please, After your deposit, send Us, Transfer Number to: email@example.com, After we are going to confirm your deposit and reservation.
Thank you so much for choosing Salkantay Trekking!!!.