Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days


Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu 4 days Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of the Andes with our 4-Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, an ideal choice for adventurers with limited time but eager to experience the best of the Salkantay Trail. This condensed itinerary showcases the highlights of the 5-Day Salkantay Trek, taking you on a journey through diverse landscapes, from majestic mountains to stunning lagoons and glaciers.

Our 4-Day Salkantay Trek follows the same path as the 5-Day journey for the first three days, culminating at the Santa Teresa camp around 1:00 pm on Day 3. After a rejuvenating lunch, you will continue by car to the hydroelectric station, followed by a picturesque 3-hour hike along the train tracks to the charming town of Aguas Calientes.

Upon arrival, you will be escorted to your accommodation, where you will join a group that began their trek a day earlier. Together, you will enjoy dinner and embark on a guided tour of Machu Picchu on the final day.

Occasionally, we have enough participants to form exclusive 4-Day Trek groups, allowing you to journey solely with fellow adventurers and guides on the same itinerary.

  • Witness the mesmerizing turquoise waters of Humantay Lake on the first day of your trek, surrounded by the majestic Andean peaks.
  • Experience an authentic Andean camping experience at the exclusive Quiswarniyoc private campsite, offering unparalleled views of the surrounding landscape.
  • Conquer the challenging Salkantay Pass, bringing you up close and personal with the breathtaking Salkantay Mountain, a towering symbol of the Andes.
  • Immerse yourself in the vibrant Amazon region, teeming with coffee, banana, and avocado plantations, showcasing the remarkable biodiversity of the area.
  • Discover the enchanting Inca city of Machu Picchu on the final day of your tour, exploring one of the world’s most iconic archaeological sites.
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days
Places to Visit: Cusco, Humantay lake, Quiswarniyoc, Salkantay mount, Santa Teresa, Aguas Calientes, Machu Picchu
Physical Level: Demanding

Embark on a captivating journey as we pick you up from your respective hotels or locations in Cusco around 5:15 am, setting off on a two-hour drive to the charming village of Mollepata. Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious breakfast before paying the 20 soles entrance fee to the local municipality (not included in the tour cost).

Continuing by car for another hour, we’ll reach Soraypampa, where our muleteers and horses await, ready to transport our equipment, food, and 7 kilos of personal belongings per hiker during the trek. From here, we will begin our two hour uphill hike to the captivating Humantay Lake.

Once at the lake, spend a couple of hours exploring its beauty, taking photos, and listening to our guide’s insights into the significance of this enchanting lagoon. Following our visit, we will embark on a two hour downhill hike to our exclusive Quiswarniyoc campsite, where a scrumptious lunch will be served.

After lunch, take advantage of free time to explore the spectacular surroundings, including an optional hike to the Salkantay Mirador for awe inspiring panoramic views. Alternatively, unwind in our Mountain Sky Huts or glass igloos, featuring glass doors, comfortable pillows, sleeping pads, and a mesmerizing illuminated night sky.

Nestled at an altitude of 4,100 meters, the Quiswarniyoc private campsite offers an unparalleled experience with additional short hikes, breathtaking mountain viewpoints, and cascading waterfalls, promising an unforgettable adventure.

Trekking Details:

  • Walking Distance: 13 km, approximately 6 hours of hiking
  • Campsite Altitude: 4,100 meters above sea level
  • Difficulty: Moderate day (acclimatizing to the Salkantay Trail)
  • Weather: Warm and windy during the day, with very cold nights
  • Accommodations: Mountain Sky Huts or Crystal Domes
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

Embark on an invigorating 13 km hike, lasting approximately 6 hours, through the stunning landscapes of the Salkantay Trail. As you acclimatize to the 4,100-meter altitude at our campsite, prepare for a moderate day of trekking through diverse terrain and ever-changing weather conditions.

Expect warm and windy daytime conditions, but be prepared for cold nights as temperatures drop significantly. At the end of the day, rest and rejuvenate in our unique Mountain Sky Huts or Crystal Domes, offering a comfortable retreat amidst the breathtaking Andean scenery.

Throughout the day, we’ll provide you with nourishing meals, including breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner, to keep your energy levels high and your spirits lifted as you immerse yourself in this unforgettable trekking experience.

On the second day of the trek, brace yourself for the most challenging segment, as you cover 20 kilometers and reach the trek’s highest point at an altitude of 4,630 meters above sea level. Your day begins with a gentle wake up call at 5:00 am, as our cooks serve you a cup of hot coca tea, pack your belongings and prepare for a hearty breakfast at around 5:45 am.

Embark on a 3 to 4-hour uphill hike at a steady, manageable pace towards the trek’s highest point, situated at 4,630 meters. Upon arrival, marvel at the breathtaking mountain vistas, take photographs, learn about the revered mountain gods, and partake in a traditional Andean ritual to honor the Apus mountain god.

Following this memorable experience, commence a 2 hour downhill hike before pausing for a well-deserved, mouthwatering lunch. Continue your descent for another 3 hours to reach the second camp, Chaullay, nestled at an altitude of 2,900 meters and marking the entrance to the Peruvian Amazon. Here, you will be provided with camping equipment, hot tea, and a delicious dinner.

At Chaullay, take advantage of the optional hot shower for 10 soles, offered by locals, and purchase refreshing drinks such as beer, soda, and water to enhance your camping experience.

Trekking Details:

  • Walking Distance: 22 km, approximately 9 hours of hiking
  • Campsite Altitude: 2,900 meters above sea level
  • Difficulty: Challenging day (conquering the highest point at 4,650 meters above sea level)
  • Weather: Warm and windy during the day, with cold nights
  • Accommodations: Mountain Sky Huts
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

Prepare for an exhilarating 22 km hike, lasting around 9 hours, as you navigate through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Peruvian highlands. With the campsite situated at 2,900 meters above sea level, this challenging day involves reaching the trek’s highest point at an impressive 4,650 meters above sea level.

Anticipate warm and windy conditions during the day, but remember that temperatures will drop significantly as night falls. At the end of this demanding day, relax and rejuvenate in the comfortable Mountain Sky Huts, set amidst the stunning Andean backdrop.

Throughout the day, we’ll provide you with a selection of nourishing meals, including breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner, to keep your energy levels high as you tackle this unforgettable and challenging trekking experience.

Immerse in Jungle Wonders: Day Three Adventure through Santa Teresa Valley and Aguas Calientes

On the third day, you will awaken to the lush jungle surroundings at 6:00 am, greeted with a cup of invigorating coca tea. Enjoy a delicious breakfast before embarking on your journey at 7:00 am, as you hike towards La Playa Sahuayaco for approximately 5 hours. Traverse the captivating Santa Teresa Valley, carved by the Salkantay River, and marvel at the abundant plantations of coffee, bananas, avocados, coca, passion fruit, and more.

Upon reaching La Playa Sahuayaco after five hours of hiking, take a local transport for an hour-long ride to Santa Teresa. Here, you will stop for a well deserved lunch. Continue your journey by car for another 45 minutes to the Hydroelectric Station, and then walk for 3 hours along the train tracks towards the quaint town of Aguas Calientes. This leisurely stroll offers a unique perspective of the surrounding landscape.

Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, check into your hotel to freshen up and relax. In the evening, gather for a delightful dinner at a local restaurant around 7:00 pm, before retiring for the night to recharge for the following day’s adventures.

Journey Details: A Day of Adventure and Rewarding Hike

  • Walking Distance: A 25 km hike, approximately 8 hours of trekking
  • Lodging Altitude: 2,000 meters (6,561 feet) above sea level
  • Considered: A challenging yet gratifying day
  • Weather: Warm, hot, and tropical climate
  • Accommodations: Comfortable hotel stay
  • Meals: Nutritious breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided

  • Arriving at Machu Picchu’s Main Gate from Aguas Calientes: To reach Machu Picchu’s main gate from Aguas Calientes, you have two options. You can either embark on a scenic 1.5-hour hike or take a convenient bus ride that costs $12. The choice is yours, and you can even decide on the same day you plan to visit Machu Picchu. Regardless of the option you choose, your day will begin bright and early at 4 am with a delicious breakfast at your hotel in Aguas Calientes.
  • If you choose to WALK from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, your journey will begin at around 4:30 am. You’ll start by walking from your hotel in Aguas Calientes to Puente Ruinas, which takes approximately 30 minutes. Puente Ruinas serves as the first checkpoint, where you’ll need to present your Machu Picchu tickets and original passports to gain entry. Once you’ve passed the Puente Ruinas checkpoint, you’ll embark on an uphill hike to Machu Picchu, climbing approximately 1,700 steps. This ascent typically takes between one hour to one hour and 20 minutes. Upon reaching the main gate of Machu Picchu, you’ll meet up with your group and guide to enter the site and begin your unforgettable exploration of this ancient Inca citadel.
  • If you opt to take the BUS from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu, you’ll need to purchase a bus ticket in town, either the night before or on the same morning. Each one-way bus ticket costs $12. Once you have your ticket, join the queue to board the first buses, which depart from Aguas Calientes at 5:30 am. The bus ride takes approximately 30 minutes to reach Machu Picchu. Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, you’ll meet up with your group and guide around 6 am to enter the site and begin exploring the remarkable ancient Inca city together.


  • Our program includes a Machu Picchu ticket, with the primary circuit options being either circuit 01 or 02. If there is no availability for the first choice, we will include circuit 03 or 04. Ticket availability depends on the time of booking, so if you prefer the primary circuit options, we recommend booking well in advance. For more information about the different circuits and ticket details, please visit our website or contact us directly. Upon arrival at Machu Picchu, our experienced tour guide will lead you on a 2.5-hour guided exploration of the Inca city, following the circuit outlined in your ticket. The guide will share insights about the history and significance of Machu Picchu while allowing time for photographs and taking in the breathtaking views. You’ll visit the most iconic locations within the site during the tour.
  • At the conclusion of the guided tour, you will have some leisure time to explore and relax on your own. If you have arranged to hike Huayna Picchu (which must be booked ahead of time, as it is a popular option that sells out quickly and costs $60 per person), your guide will direct you to the starting point. The hike will take no more than 2 hours to complete, with a round-trip time.
  • Alternatively, you may choose to hike Machu Picchu Mountain instead of Huayna Picchu. This hike is more challenging and takes a minimum of three hours for the round-trip (at an additional cost of $60 per person).
  • For those considering either of the mountain climbs, we recommend opting for the train return to Cusco to allow more time to explore the mountains. If you prefer to return by car, we suggest spending an additional night in Aguas Calientes and departing by car on the sixth day from the Hydroelectric station. This will give you ample time to fully experience the beauty of the mountains and make the most of your journey.
After immersing yourself in the wonders of Machu Picchu and exploring its surroundings, it’s time to make your way back to Cusco. We offer two convenient options for your return journey: by car or by train. Both options ensure a smooth and comfortable trip to Cusco.
  • If you choose to return BY CAR, you will need to begin your walk from Machu Picchu to Hidroelectrica around 10:30 am. This trek typically takes 3 to 3.5 hours to complete. It is essential to reach Hidroelectrica by 2:00 pm in order to board the car, which is scheduled to depart at 2:30 pm. The car journey from Hidroelectrica to Cusco takes approximately 6 hours, and you can expect to arrive in Cusco around 9:30 pm. Upon arrival, you will be dropped off in the city center of Cusco.
  • If you opt to return BY TRAIN to Cusco after visiting Machu Picchu, you have two options for getting to the town of Aguas Calientes. You can either walk down for 1.5 hours, or take a bus that takes just 30 minutes but costs 12 dollars. Once you arrive in Aguas Calientes, you’ll have time to explore the town and have lunch before returning to your hotel to gather your belongings and head to the train station. The train to Ollantaytambo is available at either 2:30 pm or 2:55 pm, depending on availability, and the journey takes 1.5 hours, offering stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, a transfer arranged by 69 Explorer or with your name on it will be waiting to take you back to Cusco, a 2-hour journey, arriving around 6:30 pm and dropping you off in the city center.

Whats is Included in the Salkantay Trek?

  • Salkantay trek 4 days briefing at 7:00 pm a day before the departure at our office
  • A duffle bag to pack 7 kilos of your belonging that will be carried by horses during the trek
  • English/Spanish speaking professional tour guides
  • Professional chef and cooking equipment
  • Horses for carrying up to 7 Kilos of personal luggage and other required equipment
  • Pick up from your hotel in Cusco
  • Private transportation to head of Salkantay trail
  • 5 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 4 dinners
  • 3 nights of camping
  • 1 night hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Mountain Sky Huts with Thick Mattresses, glass door, Night Lighting, and Panoramic for the first and second night
  • Personal pad (double foam – 2.5 inches thick)
  • Pillows at the first and second camp
  • Transportation from La Playa to Santa Teresa
  • Transportation from Santa Teresa to Lucmabamba to do the Llactapata trek
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Guided visit to Machu Picchu
  • Return journey from Aguas Calientes to Cusco BY TRAIN
  • Vegetarian/Vegan options available on request with no additional charges
  • First-Aid equipment and oxygen bottle for emergencies

What is Not Included for the Salkantay Trek?

  • Entrance ticket for the  Humantay lake charged by the local government of Mollepata = 20 soles per person
  • Sleeping Bag – If you do not have one you can rent from us for $20 USD for the whole trek
  • Trekking Poles – If you do not have one you can rent from us for $15 USD for 01 pair for the whole trek
  • Travel insurance
  • Extra expenses such a hot shower in the second camp for 10 soles or maybe if you like access to internet wifi for 10 soles
  • Tips

Essential Packing List for the 4-Day Salkantay Trek

To fully prepare for the 4-Day Salkantay Trek, ensure you have personal trekking gear and a sleeping bag. If you don’t have a sleeping bag, you can rent one from us, along with trekking poles if desired. We provide the rest of the necessary equipment.

Personal Trekking Gear:

  • A comfortable 20-30 liter backpack for daily essentials
  • Wool hat or beanie
  • Sun hat
  • Scarf
  • Gloves
  • 2-3 T-shirts (long sleeves preferred)
  • 2 layers (sweater, fleece)
  • 2 pairs of long pants (leggings acceptable)
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • 2 pairs of wool socks
  • Small headlamp
  • Shorts
  • Sandals or flip-flops
  • Small towel
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunglasses
  • Toothbrush and personal toiletries
  • Toilet paper
  • Water bottle
  • Rain gear (pants, jacket or rain poncho)
  • Optional thermal clothing for the first night at 4,000m
  • Snacks (chocolate, cereal bars, candies, nuts, energy bars)
  • Extra cash in Peruvian Soles

Essential Documents:

  • Original passport
  • Original student card (if applicable for a discount)

Note: 69 Explorers provides a duffle bag for up to 7 kilos of your personal belongings, which will be carried by horses during the trek. Carry your small backpack with daily essentials, while the rest of your belongings go in the duffle bag. Access the duffle bags at each campsite.

Frequently Asked Questions Salkantay Trek 4 Days to Machu Picchu

What is the best time of year to do the Salkantay Trek?

The best time to do the Salkantay Trek is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. However, the trek is available year-round. Keep in mind that the rainy season, which occurs from November to March, may make the trek more challenging due to wet and muddy conditions.

How difficult is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is considered a moderately difficult trek. The highest altitude reached is 4,650 meters (15,255 feet) at the Salkantay Pass. The trek involves several hours of walking each day, with some steep inclines and declines. It is essential to be in good physical shape and adequately acclimatized to the altitude before starting the trek.

Do I need a permit to do the Salkantay Trek?

Unlike the Classic Inca Trail, you do not need a permit to do the Salkantay Trek. However, you still need to pay an entrance fee to the local municipality.

What kind of accommodation can I expect on the trek?

During the first two nights of the trek, you will stay in campsites with basic facilities, such as Cabines, Igloos On the third night, you will stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, where you will have access to private rooms and bathrooms.

What meals are provided on the trek?

Meals during the trek typically include breakfast, lunch, and dinner each day. Vegetarian and vegan options are available upon request at no extra charge. It is essential to inform the trek organizers of any dietary restrictions or allergies before the trek begins.

Is it possible to rent trekking equipment?

Yes, you can rent trekking equipment such as sleeping bags and trekking poles from the trek organizers. The prices are usually around $10 USD for a sleeping bag and $10 USD for a pair of trekking poles for the entire trek.

Can I hike the Salkantay Trek without a guide?

While it is possible to hike the Salkantay Trek without a guide, it is strongly recommended to join a guided tour. A guided tour ensures that you have a knowledgeable guide who can provide information about the trail, navigate the route, and assist with any emergencies. Additionally, the trek organizers will arrange transportation, permits, and meals, making the experience more convenient and enjoyable.

How much should I tip the trekking staff?

Tipping is not mandatory but is customary in Peru. As a general guideline, you can consider tipping the trekking staff (guide, cook, and porters) around 10% of the trek cost. It is essential to bring enough cash in Peruvian Soles for tipping, as ATMs are not available during the trek.

Which is better Inca Trail or Salkantay trail?

The ancient Inca Trail 4 Days, originally part of the Inca Road system interconnecting the Inca Empire. This classic trek hike through diverse scenery. The Salkantay Trek, on the other hand, is more strenuous and famous for its mountain scenery.

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