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Llamas in Machu Picchu

Classic Salkantay Trek

Via Hidroelectrica - Example 9 Day Tour
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This 5-day trekking route leading to Machu Picchu is a less traveled alternative to the Inca Trail. The Incas considered Salkantay to be one of the main deities controlling weather due to its location. The stunning views of Salkantay and Lake Humantay are highlights on this trek. Start hiking from Soraypampa and spend the next 4 days trekking over mountain passes, through plantations, and stopping in different local communities before making the way towards magnificent Machu Picchu. Enjoy exploring the mystical Lost City of the Incas as a finale for this ultimate trekking itinerary in Peru. Inca Trail passes are NOT required with this trip.
Trek in PeruMachu Picchu ancient ruinsA local Peruvian womanTrek in PeruAndean condorLlamas in Machu Picchu
  • Trek through the less traveled route of the Salkantay trail
  • Encounter different communities during the 5-day trek
  • Explore the ruins of Machu Picchu
Activity Level: Challenging
Requires high-intensity physical efforts that push the limits of one's fitness. May include tours with multiple days in a row of strenuous physical activity or single requiring more than 7 hours of activity. Recommended for travelers maintaining a demanding fitness level.

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive Lima

Arrive to Lima on the flight of your choice today. After picking up your luggage and clearing customs, walk across the street to the comfortable and conveniently located Wyndham Costa del Sol Hotel. Settle into your room and rest up for your Peru tour ahead. Your exciting trip is filled with ancient ruins, local markets and hiking through the beautiful Andes Mountains!

Day 2: Fly to Cusco

Andean history comes alive in Cusco. Quechua-speaking descendents of the Incas fill the streets and markets, colonial churches sit atop bases of smooth stonework laid centuries before the Conquistadors, and campesinos (Peru's rural farmers) in colorful dress move busily back and forth across the plazas. In the afternoon, you'll explore Cusco's largest open market and the adjacent witches' market. After tasting a few unique local foods, visit the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, a local organization committed to preserving the region's weaving traditions (if visiting the Sacred Valley on Sunday, you will visit their center in Chinchero instead). Watch weavers demonstrate their craft and learn about the history and processes of Peru's most well-known art form.

Day 3: Explore Cusco

Today is free to relax and explore with your guide or on your own. You can visit the churches and surrounding ruins, such as the enormous Sacsayhuamán ruins that overlook Cusco (these ruins showcase building blocks the size of pickup trucks). You can also wander through the bustling Plaza de Armas in the heart of Cusco, shop for love potions in the local markets, or people watch from the cafes and restaurants that line these lovely streets. For those bursting with energy, horseback riding, mountain biking, or even whitewater rafting (Class III-IV) can be arranged. The evening is yours to take in some of Cusco's varied and exciting nightlife where live folk music and excellent food abound!

Day 4: Cusco to Soyrococha | Start Trekking

Early this morning your driver will pick you up and transfer you to the starting point of the trek. On the way, pass through the towns of Izcuchaca and Limatambo, after driving for two hours, stop to stretch your legs in Mollepata before continuing on to the community of Soraypampa (3850m/12628ft) where you'll have lunch before starting out on your trek. From Soraypampa, you will hike for 5-hours towards Soyrococha (4400m/14432ft) while enjoying great views of the impressive west face of Mount Salkantay (6264m/20546ft).

Day 5: Cross Salkantay Pass | Colpapampa Village

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After having breakfast, begin today's 7 hours trek. Hike up and over Salkantay pass (4750m/15580ft) before making your way down to the settlement of Huayracmachay (3800m/12464ft). During this portion of the hike, you will have the permanent view of the amazing mount Salkantay. If you are lucky enough you may also be able to observe the flight of the amazing condor, known as the 'King of the Andes'. Leaving the Huaracmachay plain, you will start an impressive descent into the deep canyon of the Salkantay river. The highland landscape suddenly turns into a cloud forest with lush grasses, and trees covered with beautiful bromeliads. After stopping for lunch en route and passing through the small settlement of Challway, you'll hike for another 40 minutes-1 hour before arriving at Colpapampa village where you will spend the night.

Day 6: Colpapampa village to Lucmabamba

  • Hotels
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
Today you will hike for approximately 5 hours to La Playa. The trail follows along the north side of Santa Teresa River. On the way, you will observe plantations of banana, coffee, granadillas (a typical fruit from the area), and avocado trees. The sound of parrots will follow you during the hike and you may even catch a glimpse of the fast-flying kingfisher searching for food in the river. After stopping for lunch in La Playa, continue hiking down the valley for an hour and a half where you'll reach your next campsite near Lucmabamba.

Day 7: Llactapata | Aguas Calientes

After breakfast, the trail joins up with another original Inca trail where you will steadily climb for 3-4 hours up to the Mirador of Llactapata (6,600ft). From this Inca site, you will have a spectacular view of the Lost City of the Incas, Machu Picchu. Stop to rest and eat lunch before continuing the descent into Aobamba valley where you'll reach La Hidroelectrica (operation area of the hydroelectric power plant). Board the local train for a 1-hour ride to the town of Aguas Calientes. Your guide will take you to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.

Day 8: Explore Machu Picchu | Return to Cusco

Early in the morning your guide will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the bus station. After a 30-minute bus ride to Machu Picchu Citadel, you will tour Machu Picchu with your guide, visiting the main areas while learning more about the Inca culture. In the afternoon, return to Aguas Calientes to take the Vistadome train back to Cusco. Upon arrival to Poroy train station in Cusco, you will be transferred to your hotel.

Day 9: Fly to Lima and Return Home

Or with more time, extend your trip with a visit to the Amazon or to Lake Titicaca. Click here to see our Peru extensions!


Wyndham Costa Del Sol Lima Airport

Costa del Sol, Lima Airport
Costa del Sol, Lima Airport
Costa del Sol, Lima Airport

Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Pueblo) - Hotels

Cusco - Hotels

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  • 8 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners, 1 Box Lunch
  • 8 Nights Accommodations
  • 7 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Gear Rental: Camping Gear; sleeping bags included
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Internal Flights: Lima - Cusco - Lima


When to Go

Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.


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