The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the best alternative routes to the world famous Inca Trail. Long the way you’ll see some of the most incredible landscapes as well as enjoy the adventure of a lifetime. You’ll walk through the Andean mountains surrounded by snowy peaks to the warm and humid jungle.
There are plenty of different species of wildlife and some beautiful flora for you to see, in addition to witnessing Andean life in small villages.
The snowy peak of Salkantay itself is sacred and appreciated by all who live in the area. It’s 125km northeast of Cusco and sits at 6,264 masl. Professional climbers have been hiking the mountain since the year 1952. This is because it’s very easy to access from Cusco.
When booking a trek like Salkantay, you want to be as prepared as you can be. To help you, we’ve come up with a few of the things you should expect when taking this tour.
You’ll be hiking at very high altitude, and going up to a little over 4,600 masl. This can mean you feel light-headed, tired easily, nauseous, headaches, and more. To avoid feeling like this, you should take the proper precautions, which we’ll go over below.
This trek is relatively moderate overall, and most people can complete it if relatively fit, however day 2 is a real challenge. The steep and winding climb up to the Salkantay Pass takes a lot out of you. The rest of the day is downhill but can take its toll on your knees and ankles as you endure a full 10 hours walking this day.
The Salkantay Trek is one of the top choices for many hikers because of the beautiful landscapes and views you see throughout. From snowy mountain peaks to thick jungle, you’ll get to enjoy a whole range of sights. Don’t forget to take a good camera to capture all the flora and fauna.
You’ll need to be well prepared when it comes to clothing as you will experience very cold temperatures during the first day and a half, but will then get very warm as you head down into the jungle. You may also see some rain.
This is the second most popular trail to Machu Picchu, and there’s no limit on numbers like there is for the Inca Trail, so, as you can imagine, it can get busy. This is particularly true during the dry season from May to October.
You need a lot of energy to keep your strength up at such high altitude. Thankfully, a full team of cooks will join you and you’ll be amazed at the food they whip up in the middle of the mountains. There’s no doubt you’ll eat plenty of delicious food on the trek.
Your guide will be informing you all along the way about the history and more regarding your surroundings. Be prepared to come away knowing a lot about the Incas as well as the Andean flora and fauna.
Salkantay is the highest of the peaks in the Vilcabamba mountain range in the Andes. It’s in the region of Cusco and sits about 60km from the city to the north-west.
The Salkantay Trek is rated moderate to challenging. You’ll find some days easier than the others, but it can be difficult. To make sure you’re well prepared you should do some training beforehand and make sure you’re in good shape. You’ll also need to prepare for the altitude so it affects you as little as possible.
To help you know more about this trek, we’ve got some interesting facts to share with you.
To save you from asking too many questions about your trip, we’ve put together some tips to help you with preparation.
Finally, we share with you some recommendations, to make sure your trip goes smoothly and you don’t come up against any issues later on.
pointing-left, some travellers book the trail once they arrive to Cusco, but this sometimes means there’s no space left or that they don’t get to go on the day they had planned. This can be really disappointing when you were looking forward to the trek.
If you plan and book the trek ahead of time, it will give you more time to relax in the city. Your vacation will also be less stressful as everything is already taken care of.
In Peru, we enjoy a dry season and a wet season. Dry season is from May to October, and November to April is wet season. It can rain a lot in those months, so keep that in mind if you want to come during wet season. The temperature tends to be warm from November to April, however.
In the dry season, you see less rain, but it does get very cold at night. You can also expect to see more hikers on the trail. Consider these facts when booking your trip.
As we mentioned before, there are weight limits to your luggage. Make use of a packing list so you bring the right amount of each thing to not go over the weight and to ensure you have everything you need.
Many agencies and operators won’t let you on the trek if you aren’t insured. If they do, they probably aren’t very reputable. If anything does happen to you and you aren’t insured, the health care in Peru can be very expensive.
You’ll get snacks along the way and plenty of food, but it’s always a good idea to take extras, like dried fruits and nuts, as you never know when hunger will strike.
Most trekkers will tip the guides, cooks, and horsemen. Consider their work and how tough it is when thinking of an amount. It’s up to you.