Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days with Llactapata Ruins Included

OVERVIEW

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days is one of the most scenic and thrilling routes to reach Machu Picchu. With glacier mountains, picturesque lakes like Humantay and Salkantay Lake, and a trek through the Amazon jungle, this is one of the most beautiful and interesting treks in Peru.

Booking this tour with us means enjoying the best services at affordable prices (In a basic or confort service). We provide exclusive camps with newly built Mountain Sky Huts and glass igloos, along with professional and knowledgeable guides and supporting staff. We offer all inclusive itinerary options to ensure you don’t miss out on anything. We will pass by brilliantly blue lakes, reach heights of up to 4,630 meters, and trek past waterfalls, rivers, and hot springs.

We will also trek through the original Inca Trail to the Llactapata ruins, where you will get a fantastic view of Machu Picchu from a different angle, motivating you to finish the final stretch before reaching the famous lost city of the Incas.

The 5-Day Salkantay Trek is listed by National Geographic as one of the “World’s Best Treks.” Choose an experienced, highly-rated company for your Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, and make it an unforgettable experience.

5 DAYS SALKANTAY TREK HIGHLIGHTS

  • Salkantay Mountain: One of the highlights of the trek is the stunning views of Salkantay Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Andes, which rises to an elevation of 6,271 meters (20,574 feet).
  • Humantay Lake: A beautiful turquoise lake located at the base of Humantay Mountain. The trek includes a hike to this lake, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains.
  • High altitude passes: The trek includes two high altitude passes – Salkantay Pass (4,650 meters / 15,255 feet) and Inca Pass (4,200 meters / 13,779 feet), both of which offer incredible views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  • Llactapata ruins: On the fourth day of the trek, you will visit the Llactapata ruins, which offer stunning views of Machu Picchu from a different perspective.
  • Machu Picchu: The final day of the trek includes a visit to the world famous Machu Picchu, one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The trek ends with a guided tour of the ruins, followed by free time to explore on your own.
  • Exclusive Campsites: Sleep in our exclusive private campsite, which offers a panoramic view of the Salkantay mountain.
  • Amazon Region: Enjoy the Amazon region is full of coffee, banana, and avocado plantations.
  • Hot springs: Take a dip in the hot springs of Santa Teresa on the afternoon of the third day, and spend the night in Lucmabamba
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 days with Llactapata Ruins Included
Places to Visit: Salkantay Mount, Humantay Lake, Salkantay lake, Llactapata Inca site, Santa Teresa hot springs, Machu Picchu
Physical Level: Challenging

Embark on a captivating journey as we pick you up from your respective hotels or locations in Cusco around 4:00 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 will 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’ll embark on a two hour downhill hike to our exclusive 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 private campsite offers an unparalleled experience with additional short hikes, breathtaking mountain viewpoints, and cascading waterfalls, promising an unforgettable adventure.

Day 01 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.

On the second day of the salkantay trek 5 days, 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 to help you 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, capture 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.

Day 02 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.

On the third day of the trek, awaken to the warmth and beauty of the lush jungle. At around 5:30 am, our cooks will serve you a cup of coca tea to help you start your day, followed by a scrumptious breakfast prepared to fuel your adventure.

At 6:30 am, embark on a 5 hour hike through the enchanting Santa Teresa Valley, shaped by the meandering Salkantay River. Your journey will lead you to Lucmabamba, the third campsite and your lunch destination, after 5 hours of trekking.

Throughout the hike, marvel at the thriving plantations of coffee, bananas, avocados, coca, passion fruit, and more. Upon arriving at the campsite, enjoy a delightful lunch before setting off to explore the optional hot springs of Colcampayo in Santa Teresa.

****A 1.5-hour car ride will transport you to the Colcampayo hot springs, where you can unwind in the pristine, natural waters for a few hours before returning to camp for tea time, a delicious warm dinner, and a cozy group bonfire. Please note that the hots springs activitie is optional; if you prefer to relax at the campsite, you are more than welcome to do so.

Day 03 trekking Details:

  • Walking Distance: 16 km, approximately 5 hours of hiking
  • Campsite Altitude: 2,100 meters above sea level
  • Difficulty: Easy and relaxing day
  • Weather: Warm, hot, and tropical
  • Accommodations: Sleeping in tents
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, tea time, and dinner

Embark on a leisurely 16 km hike, lasting around 5 hours, as you explore the captivating landscapes and immerse yourself in the warm, tropical climate. With the campsite located at 2,100 meters above sea level, this day offers a more relaxed pace, allowing you to soak in the beauty of your surroundings.

Expect warm and hot temperatures throughout the day as you make your way through this tropical environment. After a day of hiking, rest and rejuvenate in the comfort of our provided tents, set amidst the lush jungle backdrop.

On the fourth day, prepare for a unique and memorable experience as you visit the captivating Inca site of Llactapata. Boasting a spectacular view of Machu Picchu from a distinct vantage point, this ancient ruin is a true highlight of the journey. Begin your day with an early breakfast around 5:30 am.

From Lucmabamba, embark on a 3 hour uphill trek along the original Inca trail, leading to the enchanting ruins of Llactapata. Once you reach this historic site, take your time to appreciate the awe inspiring views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu Mountain. If the weather permits, you may also catch a glimpse of the majestic Salkantay Mountain.

Following your exploration of Llactapata, hike downhill for 2 hours towards Hidroelectrica, where you will savor a delicious lunch and enjoy some well deserved downtime. The final stretch of the day consists of a 3-hour walk along the train tracks, culminating in your arrival at the charming town of Aguas Calientes.

Once in Aguas Calientes, we will guide you to your hotel where you can freshen up and unwind before gathering for a final group dinner at 7:00 pm in a local restaurant. With anticipation building for the ultimate reward of visiting Machu Picchu the following day, retire to your hotel for a restful night’s sleep.

Day 04 trekking details:

  • Walking Distance: 22 KM – Approximately 8 hours of hiking
  • Lodging Altitude: 2,000 meters (high) above sea level
  • Difficulty: Challenging and long day
  • Weather: Hot, very humid, and tropical
  • Accommodations: Overnight stay at a hotel
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner

On this intense yet rewarding day, you will cover approximately 22 kilometers over the course of 8 hours of hiking. The trek’s difficulty is considered challenging due to the distance and varied terrain. The lodging altitude in Aguas Calientes is 2,000 meters above sea level, providing a comfortable and relatively cooler environment for resting after the day’s hike.

Expect hot, humid, and tropical weather conditions as you journey through the lush landscapes. At the end of the day, you will be accommodated in a cozy hotel, offering a much needed opportunity to relax and recharge. Throughout the day, you will be treated to a variety of nutritious and delicious meals, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to keep your energy levels high and spirits lifted.

MACHU PICCHU DAY: 
  • 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.

MACHU PICCHU GUIDED TOUR:

  • Our program includes a Machu Picchu ticket, with the primary circuit options being either circuit 01 or 02. 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 $75 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.
  • 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.
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 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 will have time to explore the town and have lunch (Not included) 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 Machu Picchu Reservations 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 5 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 $15 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
  • Santa Teresa Hot Springs: Going to the hot springs on the third day afternoon is an option that you can decide whether to go or not once you arrive at Lucmabamba camp since you have a free afternoon to relax. If you like to go to the hot springs, the guide will organize local transportation to take the group to the hot springs they charge 30 to 40 soles for round-trip service and takes around 01-hour drive each way and the entrances for the hots springs is 15 soles and you can stay around 2 hours enjoy the nice and relaxing hot springs.
  • 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

For the five days of Salkantay treks, you need personal trekking gear and a sleeping bag. If you do not have a sleeping bag is possible to rent one from us also if you like trekking poles, you can rent them from us. The rest needed for this trek we provide.

Here is a general packing list for the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu that you can use as a reference:

Clothing:

  • Hiking boots or shoes
  • Hiking socks (wool or synthetic)
  • Long pants (hiking pants or leggings)
  • T-shirts or breathable shirts
  • Fleece jacket or sweater
  • Waterproof jacket or rain poncho
  • Warm hat and gloves
  • Swimwear (for hot springs or swimming)
  • Sandals / Flip flops
  • A towel

Gear:

  • Backpack (20-30L)
  • Sleeping bag (rated to 0-5 degrees Celsius/32-41 degrees Fahrenheit). If you do not have one, you can rent one from the company
  • Headlamp or flashlight (with extra batteries)
  • Trekking poles (optional but recommended), if you do not have one pair you can rent from the company
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat or cap
  • Water bottle or hydration system (at least 1.5 liters capacity)
  • Personal toiletries (toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, etc.)
  • Personal medication (if necessary)

Optional:

  • Camera or phone for taking pictures
  • Portable charger or power bank
  • Book or Kindle for reading during downtime
  • Snacks (such as energy bars, trail mix, or dried fruit)
  • Cash in soles (for buying souvenirs or optional activities)
  • Also, keep in mind that the weather can be unpredictable in the Andes, so it’s recommended to dress in layers and bring both warm and waterproof clothing or rain ponchos.

DOCUMENTS YOU MUST CARRY DURING THE TREK

  • Original Passport
  • Original student card if you have applied for a student discount.

NOTE: We do provides a duffle bag in which you can pack up to 7 kilograms of your personal belongings, which will be carried by horses during the trek. During the trek, you will carry a small backpack with the necessary items for the day hike. The rest of your belongings can be packed in the duffle bag, which will be accessible at each campsite.

Map Salkantay 5 Days

Frequently Asked Questions Salkantay Trek 5 Days to Machu Picchu + LLactapata trek

How long is the Salkantay Trek? 

The Salkantay Trek is approximately 89 km/55 miles and takes about 5 days to complete.

What is the difficulty level of the Salkantay Trek?

For the average traveler or tourist, the Salkantay Trek is considered challenging but achievable. Physical fitness is required, and all trekkers should spend at least 2 days in Cusco to acclimatize. Altitude sickness can occur, even for those who are extremely fit.

What is the most challenging part of the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Pass, located at an altitude of 4,650 meters above sea level, is considered the most difficult part of the trek. Hikers may experience wind, cold temperatures, and symptoms of altitude sickness. Oxygen will be provided if necessary.

What is the minimum age for the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu?

While there is no strict age limit, children under 12 years old may not enjoy the trek and should be able to walk for 90 minutes without needing to be carried.

What is the best time to hike the Salkantay Trek?

The best time to hike the Salkantay Trek is during the dry season, which lasts from April to November in Cusco. May and October offer the best weather conditions.

Can I hike the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu on my own?

Yes, it is possible to hike the Salkantay Trek independently, but it can be risky as the trail is not well-marked at all points. Hiring a tour agency like Mystic Salkantay offers the advantage of experienced guides who know the route well.

Can I hike the Salkantay Trek with children?

Children over 12 years old who are in good physical shape and used to hiking long distances are allowed to hike the Salkantay Trek.

Is there cell phone coverage during the Salkantay Trek?

Cell phone coverage is sporadic during the trek and there is no opportunity to charge your phone. A satellite phone will be carried by one of the trek leaders for emergency use only.

What is the weather like on the Salkantay Trek?

The weather on the Salkantay Trek is varied due to the different terrains and altitudes encountered on the trail. The Salkantay Pass and nearby areas are the only places where weather is a serious concern, with temperatures that can fall below freezing.

Is the Salkantay Trek closed during certain times of the year?

The Salkantay Trek is closed February every year due to weather conditions. The trek is open and has the best conditions from March 1 to January.

What is the difference between the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail?

The Salkantay Trek is more strenuous and famous for its mountain scenery, while the Inca Trail is a classic trek that offers diverse scenery. Salkantay is considered slightly harder than the Inca Trail, but less challenging than other trails like Choquequirao.

Inca Trail HikeSalkantay Trek to Machu Picchu
SceneryMountains, cloud forest, and Incan Archaeological SitesMountains  and abundant wildlife
Distance26 miles over 4 days46 miles over 5 days
DifficultyModerate (3/5)Strenuous (4/5)
Highest Altitude13,828 feet15,000 feet
Availability200  people per day, book in advance. More customizable than Salkantay.No permit restrictions, an average of 50 hikers per day.
FacilitiesMid-range camping or luxury glamping. Porters are available to carry gear.Options from rudimentary camping to luxury lodges.
Best ForTravelers in good hiking shape who value comfortable camps and don’t mind a popular trail.For experienced, hikers who want to get off the beaten path and value solitude, mountain scenery, opportunities to view wildlife, and a wider range of overnight options.
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