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Express Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu (4 days)

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Tour Details
Experience the Diverse Landscapes:

Embark on a shorter yet equally captivating journey, the ideal choice for adventurers eager to traverse a myriad of landscapes, from lush tropical jungles to towering snow-capped peaks. Along the way, you’ll encounter sacred Inca mountains, delve into the depths of sub-tropical jungles below Machu Picchu, and marvel at the stunning turquoise hues of the Humantay Lake.

A Unique Trekking Experience:

Unlike the classic Inca Trail, the Salkantay route offers fewer restrictions, providing a sense of freedom and exclusivity. It’s akin to discovering Machu Picchu through a hidden entrance, allowing you to forge your own path and uncover hidden gems along the way.


  • Secluded Camping Experience: Escape the crowds and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature with our intimate camping experience. With fewer fellow travelers, you’ll have more control over your journey and can savor the best views of the breathtaking mountains that surround you.
  • Trek to Machu Picchu: Follow in the footsteps of ancient civilizations as you traverse alongside the awe-spiring Salkantay glacier, eventually reaching the majestic Inca sanctuary of Machu Picchu. This iconic trek offers a profound connection with Peru’s rich history and natural beauty.
  • Exploration of Humantay Lake and Sacred Valley: Discover the serene beauty of Humantay Lake, a shimmering turquoise gem nestled amidst the Andean peaks. Additionally, delve into the enchanting landscapes of the Sacred Valley, where ancient traditions and stunning vistas await your exploration.
  • Guided by Expert Bilingual Guides: Journey through Peru under the expert guidance of our professional bilingual guides, fluent in both Spanish and English. Their extensive knowledge of the region will enhance your experience, providing insights into the culture, history, and natural wonders that you encounter along the way.
  • Diverse Landscapes and Wildlife: Prepare to be mesmerized by the diverse landscapes that unfold before you. From snow-capped mountains to vibrant valleys, cascading waterfalls, meandering streams, and verdant cloud forests, every step of the journey offers a new and captivating vista. Keep your eyes peeled for glimpses of wildlife and unique flora that call this region home, adding to the magic of your adventure.

Price Includes

  • All transfers
  • Bilingual guide (English-Spanish).
  • Cook, waiter and assistant.
  • 3 nights hotel in Cusco
  • Trip briefing before departure.
  • BTG entrance fees to the Inka places
  • Hiking Cusco’s City Tour
  • Sacred Valley tours
  • Wranglers with llamas and horses
  • Emergency horse
  • Private transportation to the trailhead.
  • Entrance to Lares hot springs.
  • High quality camping equipment: Professional double tents, sleeping pads (Thermarest), kitchen, dining and toilet tents, tables, chairs, stools, all kitchen gear.
  • Horses and llamas. Maximum animal weight per passenger: 7kg/15lbs. We provide a duffel bag for your personal belongings but must be returned at the end of the trek.
  • All meals on the itinerary (B= Breakfast L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free meals on request at no extra cost.
  • Portable biodegradable chemical toilet with tent.
  • Round Trip tourist class train Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu town – Cusco
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Round trip bus ticket: Machupicchu town/Machupicchu ruins
  • Machu Picchu entrance fee.
  • Samex tours Peru uses walkie talkies.
  • First-aid kit and oxygen.

Price Excludes

  • Domestic flights. (we can book for you)
  • Travel and health insurance.
  • Entrance ticket to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain Peak
  • Sleeping bag with liner $25.
  • Single tent available $25.
  • Walking pole set $25.
  • Breakfast first day, dinner 6th night, and lunch last day in Aguas Calientes
  • Personal items like individual gear, room services, sleeping bag, medicines, laundry, telephone calls, airline excess luggage charges, visa fees, vaccinations, etc.
  • Passengers should bring a lightweight pack (25 liters) for their personal effects can use during the hike: Bottle water, suncream, camera, insect repelent, jacket, rain gear, cap, etc.
  • Towel for washing.
  • Any unexpected situations occurred during the journey and which are beyond our control, including changes in scheduling trains or flights, delays, strikes, cancellations, missed connections, etc., shall be covered by the passenger as a whole. If you cannot continue the trek or walk due to physical or health reasons and you would require emergency evacuation then all charges incurred such as transportation, hotel, ambulance, doctors, medication, hospitalization, etc… will be at passenger’s expense. You will be accompanied by our staff member back to Urubamba in the Sacred Valley or Cusco. This is why we recommend purchasing travel and health insurance. This is money well invested! Samextoursperu will help you obtain all the necessary documents for you to file a claim with your insurance company.


  • Original passport and (University, College valid student card if applicable).
  • Backpack or a daypack to carry water to drink and personal items.
  • A warm and good Sleeping Bag (Minus 8ºC) : (Can be rented at Samextoursperu office)
  • Hiking boots (sneakers or running shoes are not recommended)
  • Trekking poles
  • Warm clothes layers for variable temperatures especially at night
  • Flashlight with extra batteries necessary
  • Sun Protection : Hat, Sunscreen, Sunglasses
  • Thermals, Wool Socks & Woolen Hat for cold nights
  • Gloves, Scarf
  • Insect Repellant for Valleys and Machupicchu
  • Rain Poncho / Good rain jacket
  • Toiletries, Toilet paper, small towel
  • Bathing clothes for the hot springs
  • Trekking pants or similar
  • Water bottle, Water purification tablets.
  • Extra money for souvenirs, drinks & tips to your staff
  • OptionalLittle presents for kids of communities along the trail such as school supplies, second hand clothes, toys, etc.

Day 1Cusco - Mollepata - Soraypampa - Humantay Lake - Salkantaypampa

We’ll begin your 4-day Salkantay trek with a prompt pick-up from your hotel at 5:00 am. As we depart Cusco, the morning’s soft light unveils the magnificent snow-capped peaks of Salkantay and Veronica, painting the landscape with their pristine beauty. Our journey leads us through Anta, and after about 3 hours, we’ll arrive at Mollepata, where a delightful breakfast awaits us.

From Mollepata, our adventure continues towards Soraypampa. Here, you’ll be introduced to our dedicated team, including skilled cooks and horsemen. After a final equipment check, we’ll set off on our trek towards Laguna Humantay (4200m / 13779ft). The initial stretch of the trail is relatively flat, offering a gentle warm-up before ascending towards the lake. Upon arrival, we’ll take about 30 minutes to explore the breathtaking Humantay Lake, absorbing its serene beauty and tranquil surroundings.

Following our exploration, we’ll make our way back to Soraypampa, where a delicious lunch awaits. Take this opportunity to relax and recharge amidst the picturesque landscape. Tonight, we’ll rest in tents, nestled under the vast expanse of the starry sky.

  • MEALS: Lunch and dinner
  • DIFFICULTY: Moderate
  • WALKING DISTANCE: 6 kilometers / 3.72 Miles (6 to 7 hours)
  • ELEVATION: 3,800 m / 12,467 ft – 4,200 m / 13,780 ft

Day 2Soraypampa - Salkantay Pass - Wayracmachay - Chaullay

Our skilled cook will gently wake you at 5:00 am with a soothing cup of coca tea delivered right to your tent. After a swift packing session, we’ll gather to enjoy a hearty breakfast before setting off on our ascent towards the highest point of the Salkantay trail (4620m/15,255ft). The 7-kilometer journey typically takes about 4 hours to complete.

As we ascend through the rocky valley, the majestic silhouette of Salkantay peak (6217 masl – 20,341 feet) will dominate the horizon, offering a breathtaking backdrop to our hike. Upon reaching the summit, we’ll be rewarded with awe-inspiring panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including the imposing snow-capped peaks of Salkantay, Humantay, and Pumasillo.

Renowned as the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and revered as one of the primary Inca deities, “Apu Salkantay” holds significant cultural importance. The challenging ascent to its summit marks one of the most demanding sections of our trek.

The subsequent 3-hour descent leads us along a winding, snake-like trail through rocky terrain to our lunch spot at Huayracmachay. In the afternoon, we’ll transition into the lush beauty of the cloud forest, also known as the “top of the rainforest.” Our trek covers 9 kilometers in approximately 3 hours until we reach Challway (2,900 masl – 9,514 feet), our base camp for the evening.

During the second half of our descent, we’ll be immersed in the dense foliage of the forest, adorned with vibrant orchids and native flora. Throughout most of the year, the weather remains warm and pleasant, enhancing our trekking experience.

  • MEALS: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • DIFFICULTY: Moderate, Challenging
  • WALKING DISTANCE: 21 kilometers / 13.04 miles (8 to 9 hours)
  • ELEVATION: 3,900 m / 12,795 ft – 4,630 m / 15,190 ft

Day 3Chaullay - Colpapampa - La Playa - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

At around 5:30 am, you’ll awaken to the invigorating aroma of coca tea, signaling the start of another exciting day. After indulging in a nourishing breakfast, we’ll commence our trek directly towards La Playa, navigating through dense jungle and tracing the meandering path of the Salkantay River. Along the way, we’ll pause at several family-owned farmhouses, where you’ll have the opportunity to sample an array of locally grown fruits and vegetables, including passion fruit, banana, coffee, avocado, mango, orange, and papaya.

The trail spans a distance of 16 km, with an estimated walking time of 7 hours, leading us to Lucmabamba, our base camp for the evening. Nestled amidst coffee trees, Lucmabamba offers basic facilities such as toilets, electricity, and shopping options, serving as an ideal lunch spot.

Following a satisfying lunch, we’ll embark on a scenic one-hour bus ride to Hidroeléctrica. From there, our journey continues on foot along the train tracks, eventually bringing us to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, we’ll check into a hotel and gather for a celebratory dinner with our guide, accompanied by a final briefing for the upcoming day’s adventure.

  • MEALS: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • DIFFICULTY: Moderate
  • WALKING DISTANCE: 25 kilometers / 16.77 miles (8 to 9 hours)
  • ELEVATION: 2,000 m / 6,562 ft – 2,040 m / 6,693 ft

Day 4Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Ollantaytambo - Cusco

After enjoying breakfast at your hotel, you’ll rendezvous with your guide to embark on your journey to Machu Picchu. Rising early ensures you beat the crowds and witness the breathtaking sunrise over the ancient citadel. A short walk from your hotel brings you to the bus station, where a 25-minute scenic ride delivers you to the entrance of Machu Picchu, just as the first rays of sunlight cast a golden glow upon the city of the Incas.

Once inside, our knowledgeable guide will lead you on a comprehensive 2-3 hour tour of Machu Picchu, unveiling its fascinating history and significance. You’ll explore all the key landmarks of this UNESCO World Heritage site, gaining insight into its architectural marvels and cultural significance.

After the guided tour concludes, you’ll have ample time to further explore the site at your leisure or embark on a hike up Huayna Picchu, if pre-booked. This additional ascent offers captivating panoramic views of Machu Picchu from atop the Huayna Picchu mountain, providing a unique perspective of the ancient city.

When it’s time to depart, we’ll board the bus back to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll have the opportunity to dine at a restaurant of your choice before catching the return train. At the designated time on your ticket, you’ll board the train bound for Ollantaytambo.

Upon arrival, your driver will be waiting to transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco, concluding your unforgettable Machu Picchu adventure.

  • MEALS: Breakfast
  • WALKING DISTANCE: 02 kilometers / 1.60 Miles (2 to 3 hours)
  • ELEVATION: 2,648 m / 8,694 ft – 2,720 m / 8,922 ft