Salkantay to Machu Picchu – complete trekking guide

Humantay lake, Soraypampa
Stunning Humantay lake at Soraypampa, Salkantay trekking guide

Salkantay trek is a high altitude 74km/46 miles hike in Cusco region, Peru. The route starts at Mollepata, a small town 100km from Cusco. It takes you through some incredible nature areas of the Andes with breathtaking scenery and amazing wild life. Trekking includes a visit to two Inca sites; Llactapata and Machu Picchu both history and nature lovers will enjoy Salkantay trek.  It is considered to be a less touristy alternative to the famous Inca trail though it goes through completely different area and unlike Inca trail Salkantay finishes in Aguas Calientes (from where you walk to MP) not at Machu Picchu itself. 

If you want to know more about different hikes in Peru check go to best hikes in Peru.

Salkantay trek facts

  • Total distance – 74km/46 miles
  • Required number of days – 5 days
  • Starting point – Mollepata
  • Finishing point – Aguas Calientes
  • Average altitiude – 3000m
  • Highest point – Apacheta or Salkantay Pass, 4580m
  • Permits – no special permits are needed, the trek can be done independently or with a guide.

Information on other hikes around Cusco you can find on our Ausangate trek guide and Choquequirao trek guide

Best time for trekking Salkantay 

There are two seasons in Cusco region; the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season is from April to October, the driest months June to August – very little rain, lower temperatures, especially at night time. July – August are the peak tourist season expect prices to be higher and sights are busier. The rainy season is from November to March, with the most rain falling between December and February. During this period temperatures are higher, it’s very humid, rains a lot, not many tourists. December – February is the worst time for hiking in Cusco.


Practical information about the trek

  • Salkantay trek, especially the first two days of it, is a high altitude hike, good acclimatization is essential.
  • Drink enough water – hydration is very important for this hike.
  • There are many streams and rivers on the way but we’d recommend to use water purification tablets or life-straw bottle due to many alpacas walking around local water is not safe for drinking.  
  • On the first and second day of the trek you gain altitude quite fast don’t push yourself too hard if you feel tired; stop, rest, drink water.
  • There are a couple of steep descends on the trek hiking poles will be quite handy they will take away some pressure from your knees.
  • From the third day on there will be villages on the way where you can get cooked meals or buy some food e.g. pasta, tuna, instant soup, snacks, cool drinks etc.

How we rank Salkantay trekking

  • Difficulty level – 4 out of 5; first two days are quite demanding; high altitude and steep ascends, other days are easier.
  • Scenery – 5 out of 5; Humantay and Salkantay lake and glacier were the highlights.
  • Touristy – 3 out of 5; quite busy compare to Choquequirao or Ausangate trek.

Salkantay trek packing list

If you decide to hike without a guide you’ll need camping gear; tent, mattress, camping stove, gas, pots etc. If Salkantay is the only trek you’re going to do rather rent camping gear than bring your own from home, if you’re planning to do a couple of hikes – having your own stuff is better.

Backpack with rain cover – even if you hike in dry season use a rain cover to protect you backpack and the stuff inside from dust and humidity. If you hike independently you’ll need a good and comfortable  60-70L backpack to be able to fit all the gear and attach a tent. If you do it with a company you’ll need only a day pack your stuff will be carried by horses or driven by car in big dry bags.

Tent – you camp 4 night on the trek it’s important to have a good reliable tent that won’t fail in case of rain, strong wind or snow. We became big fans of MSR tents, they’re not the cheapest but one of the best especially for hiking and long term traveling; light, strong, pack small, easy to pitch – perfectly designed for adventure in the mountains.

Sleeping bag – make sure your bag can go down to 0°C/30°F in summer and to -5°C/20°F in winter, it gets quite cold up in the mountains. Down bag vs synthetic bag – both have their advantages and disadvantages; for dry cold season a down sleeping bag will work great; it packs small, light and warm the main problem is if it gets wet but in dry season chances of rain are quite small. For wet season synthetic bag will be better; it dries quick, some modern bags are quite small and light as well.

Mattress – we have inflatable camping mats; light and small – fit in a backpack, soft, comfortable, good isolation. After we tried them once we decided not to use foam mattresses again.

Detailed packing list for hiking in Peru you’ll find in this post.

Download our complete Salkantay trek packing list.

Salkantay trek cost

Without a guide, per person

  • Transport – 30 Sol/US$10 bus Cusco – Mollepata, bus Hidroelectrica – Cusco – 60 Sol/US$18; train Aguas Calientes – Hidroeléctrica (optional, you can walk) –  60 Sol/US$19 one way.
  • Shopping (food, gas)  – 100 Sol/US$30.
  • Entrance fee – 230 Sol/US$70, if you want to go up Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu mountain – 280 Sol/US$86.
  • Accommodation – 3 nights camping – between 10-30 Sol/US$3-10 (there are free campsites with limited facilities and private campsites/locals’ houses where you pay about 10 Sol/US$3 per tent). One night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes – from 26 Sol/US$8 pp in a hostel.
  • Gear rental (optional) – depending on what you rent prepare to pay between 160 Sol/US$50 and 260 Sol/US$80.

Total; 476 Sol/US$146 (500 Sol/US$152 with Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu mountain) + gear rental and train tickets.

With a company, per person

Tours start from US$400 per person and usually include; accommodation (camping and one night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes), transportation (except train tickets), entrance fee, food, water, tents and mattresses, porters, chef and a guide. Tours and prices vary from company to company some are more luxurious with better food, nicer accommodation, some are more basic where you pay extra for everything.

Salkantay trek, Peru
Beautiful scenery on Salkantay trek, Peru

Guided tour or independent hike

Independent trek


  • As you can see in the cost section it’s much cheaper, especially if you’re two or more people – you’ll save a lot of money.
  • You’re free to choose when to stop and where to stay if you don’t like a place you always can go to a different one; if you feel tired you can stop earlier etc.
  • It’s always an adventure to plan and prepare for a hike.


  • It’s more challenging; you carry all you stuff, you pitch a tent, cook etc. basically do everything on your own.
  • There is no pack up if you forget or lose something you’ll have to handle it all by yourself.
  • If you’re alone it might be lonely to wander around the mountains.

Guided tour

Our advice when you book a tour make sure what is included and what is extra and double check that your Machu Picchu tickets are for the right day and time and include Machu Picchu or Huayna Picchu mountain if you’re planning to go up one of them. We met some disappointed travelers whose tickets, booked through an agency, were no right.


  • It’s easy all you have to do is to find a good reliable company and they’ll arrange everything for you, no planning, last minute shopping, finding a bus etc.
  • You don’t carry your stuff, you don’t cook or set a campsite – all you do is walking.
  • It might be fun is you get a fun group of people and a nice guide.


  • It’s much more expensive.
  • It takes away some part of adventure.

Distances on Salkantay trek

  • Cusco – Mollepata – 100km/62mi., bus
  • Mollepata – Soraypampa – 22km/13,6mi., long ascend, +1000m
  • Soraypampa – Chaullay – 21km/13mi., first long ascend to Apacheta pass, +750m; then long descend to the campsite, -1500m
  • Chaullay – Lucmabamba – 18km/11mi., descend, – 800m
  • Lucmabamba – Llactapata – 7km/4,3mi., steep ascend to the ruins, +900m
  • Llactapata – Aguas Calientes – 13km/8mi., long descend, – 1000m.

Stops on the route

Mollepata (2900m)

A small town where you can get by bus, the beginning of Salkantay trek.

  • Campsite – no
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes

Soraypampa (3900m)

A first night stop, not a town just an established camping area.

  • Campsite – yes, one free and two private sites for 10 So/US$3 per tent.
  • Hotel – yes, before the campsites.
  • Shop – yes, at the first campsite on the way.
  • Cooked meal – yes, at the hotel
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes, at paid campsites
  • Shower – yes, at paid campsites.

Huayracmachay (3750m)

  • Campsite – yes, one free, one for 10 Sol/US$3 per tent
  • Hotel – no
  • Shop – no
  • Cooked meal – no
  • Tap with running water – yes, at paid campsite
  • Toilet – yes, at paid campsite
  • Shower – yes, at paid campsite

Chaullay or Chayway (2900m)

  • Campsite – yes, 10 Sol/US$3 per tent
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes

Collpapampa or Colpapampa (2800m)

  • Campsite – yes, 10 Sol/US$3 per tent
  • Hotel – no
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes

La Playa (2000m)

  • Campsite – yes, 10 Sol/US$3 per tent
  • Hotel – no
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes

Lucmabamba (2100m)

A small village with coffee plantations and beautiful views.

  • Campsite – yes, 5-10 Sol/US$3 per tent
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes

Santa Teresa (1800m)

Quite q touristy place, many people come her to visit nearby hot springs.

  • Campsite – yes, 10 Sol/US$3 per tent
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes

Hidroeléctrica (2000m)

Nobody usually stays here, it’s only 2 hours walk to Aguas Calientes.

  • Campsite – no
  • Hotel – yes
  • Shop – yes
  • Cooked meal – yes
  • Tap with running water – yes
  • Toilet – yes
  • Shower – yes
Machu Picchu ruins, Salkantay trek
Machu Picchu ruins, Salkantay trek

Accommodation in Cusco

There are many hostels in Cusco some have great facilities and excellent location if you’re on a backpacker budget and travel alone or with friends it’s the best and most budget option you can find. Some of our tops picks Blacky Hostel – nice vibe, great central location, wi-fi, breakfast, clean and very social, great place to meet people. The Andean Rooftop Guesthouse – a bit further away from the center, 900m, cozy and neat place, with great terrace/living area, wi-fi, included breakfast, budget private rooms are available.

If you rather pay a bit more and stay in a private room Yanuy Culinary Guest House might be a good option, located 500m from Central Market, rooms feature private bathroom, wi-fi, flat-screen TV, cable channels etc. Food lovers will enjoy in sight restaurant/bar; delicious local and European food, local chef can even give you some cooking classes. Buffet breakfast is included.  

If you want even more privacy why not to rent an apartment in the center? Apartamentos Quewe have all you need for a comfortable private stay in Cusco, they are especially great if you are a family or a group of friends traveling together. The apartments feature; double and single beds, fully-equipped kitchen, dining area, TV, wi-fi etc. Everything is new, comfortable and very clean.

Plaza de Armas and Cusco cathedral. Peru
Historical center of Cusco, Peru

Getting from Cusco to Salkantay (Mollepata)

The trek starts at Mollepata, a small town 100km from Cusco. 

  1. First morning bus to Mollepata leaves at 4 am (there are several buses during the day) from Arcopata bus terminal, a small terminal at Arcopata street, the journey takes 3 hours. We’d recommend to go to the terminal the day before to make sure where it is and what time the bus leaves. Price 30 Sol/US$10.
  2. Once in Mollepata you can start walking (as we did) or take a local truck that will get you to Sayapata from where you can start walking to Soraypampa, the first night campsite, about 2-3 hours walk. Price about 100 Sol/US$30 per car.
Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu, Peru.
Salkantay trekking map. Note! Chaullay (2nd campsite) altitude is 2900m not 4000m like it’s indicated on the map.

Salkantay trekking itinerary

Day 1. Bus Cusco – Mollepata, 100km. Mollepata – Soraypampa, 22km

Cusco (3400m) – bus to Mollepata (2900m) – Soraypampa (3900m), 22km/13,6 miles

If you want to walk all the way to Soraypampa we’d recommend to start the day early and take a morning bus from Cusco. The journey to Mollepata takes between 2,5-3 hours. From Mollepata many people take a taxi/truck to Soraypampa or a couple of kilometers before; it shortens a long the first day, you get to the campsite in a couple of hours instead of walking for 6-7 hours. We walked this part and unlike some people say the walk wasn’t unpleasant or along the road in fact the walking trek and the road split. It’s a bit difficult to find the trail in Mollepata, ask around or follow a group if there is one. The main reason we decided to walk is to give our bodies more time to acclimatize (it was our first hike in Cusco), the altitude difference between Mollepata and Soraypampa is 1000m if you get by car you gain it very fast, walking gives your more time to adjust.   


  • Humantay lake and glacier (4200m) – quite a steep uphill walk from Soraypampa campsite, +300m. It was one of the most beautiful lakes we’ve ever seen, the colors are just incredible!


  • Finding the trail in Mollepata
  • Steep ascend from Mollepata to Soraypampa, +1000m
  • Sleeping at high altitude, 3900m

A post shared by Stingy Nomads (@stingy_nomads) on

Day 2. Soraypampa – Chaullay, 21km

Soraypampa (2900m) – Apacheta/Salkantay Pass (4580m) – Huayracmachay (3750m) – Chaullay (2900m), 21km/13 miles.

This is the toughest day of the hike; high altitude, going up 1500m to Apacheta Pass (4580m) –  the highest point of Salkantay trek plus steep uphill to the campsite. On the way up don’t go too fast you’ll have enough time to make it to the campsite. Views from the Pass were stunning; Salkantay mountain and glacier if you walk towards the mountain you’ll see beautiful Salkantay lake down there. If you feel sick; nausea, headache etc. don’t spend much time at the top rather start going down slowly. You can stop for lunch at Huayracmachay. As an option you can camp there as well but it’s still quite high 3750m compare to Chaullay, 2900m it’s always better to sleep at lower altitudes.


  • Salkantay mountain and glacier
  • Salkantay lake – a small turquoise blue color glacier lake


  • Steep ascend from Soraypampa to Apacheta Pass, +1500m
  • Steep descend from Apacheta Pass to Chaullay, – 1500m
Apacheta Pass, Salkantay trek
We’re resting at the top of Apacheta Pass, 4580m

Day 3. Chaullay – Lucmabamba, 18km

Chaullay (2900m) – Colpapampa (2870m) – Lucmabamba (2100m), 18km/11mi.

A relaxed walking day past coffee and fruit plantations we saw many hummingbirds and butterflies on the way.


  • Lush green forest with hummingbirds, colorful butterflies, orchids and fruit trees.
  • Coffee plantations at Lucmabamba.
  • Hot Springs – about 30min. drive from the village, you can catch a minibus, it is quite touristy but we enjoyed soaking in the hot pools after several days of walking without hot shower.
Salkantay trek scenery
Scenery on the way to Lucmabamba

Day 4. Lucmabamba – Aguas Calientes, 20km

Lucmabamba (2100m) – Puncuyoc Pass (2900m) – Llactapata ruins (3000m) – Hydroelectric station (2000m) – Aguas Calientes (2040m), 20km/12,4mi.

Here you have to options to go to Llactapata ruins first and then to Hidroelectrica or to go straight to Hidroelectrica past Santa Teresa. The first option is longer and involves a steep 900m ascend to the ruins with subsequent 1000m descend to Hidroelectrica. The ruins are quite interesting and not overcrowded but if you feel tired of walking rather skip it and save energy for Machu Picchu.


  • Llactapata ruins – recently discovered Inca ruins with a great view on Machu Picchu.


  • Long ascend from Lucmabamba to Puncuyoc Pass, 900m up.
  • Long descend from Llactapata ruins to Hydroelectric station, 1000m down.
  • Walking along the railway from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes (about 10km), taking a train might be a better option.
Llactapata ruins, Salkantay trekking
Llactapata ruins on the way to Machu Picchu, Salkantay trek

Day 5. Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes, 15km

Very early wake up, 4.30-5am you should leave your hostel to start up to Machu Picchu. You have two options; to take a bus all the way up or to walk. The walk from the town to the ruins takes about 1,5 hours, with steep 400m ascend. If you decide to walk, like us, take enough water with. Don’t forget your torch, passport and tickets. Entrance to MP opens at 6.00 if you are fast enough you’ll be there right in time. 

Taking a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu is another option, you can buy a ticket in the town. Ticket office is opened from 5am to 9pm, one way ticket – US$12 (adults), return US$24. The journey to the top takes 40 minutes. Buses leave every 10 minutes; to MP from 5.30am till 3.30pm.; from MP from 6.00am till 6.00pm. You can walk up and take a bus down (there is a ticket office at the ruins) or other way around.

Map of Machu Picchu ruins
Map of Machu Picchu ruins

Machu Picchu need to know before you go

  • Don’t forget to buy ticket to Machu Picchu beforehand you can’t buy it at the entrance. Only 2500 people in the morning, from 6am to 12pm and 3000 people in the afternoon, from 12am to 5.30pm, a day are allowed at the ruins. In high season make sure to book it at least a couple of days in advance.
  • Take your tickets and passport/ID with you have to show both at the entrance.
  • Huayna Picchu mountain visitors restrictions; entrance from 7am to 8am – 200 people; from 10am to 11am – 200 people.
  • Machu Picchu mountain; entrance from 7am to 8am – 400 people; from 9am to 10am – 400 people. It’s important to buy you Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu/Machu Picchu mountain beforehand, especially in high season.
  • Make sure to enter the ruins and mountains at the time indicated in your tickets if you miss it you won’t be allowed to enter any other time.
  • New Machu Picchu rules were implemented in 2017 according to them all visitors supposed to have a guide to enter the ruins in fact nobody at the entrance enforces this rule there are people with and without guides. If you want to join a group you can do it; price US$20 per person or US$60 for a private guide per group.
  • Visitors are not supposed to bring food and water with which is quite strange as there are very few place where you can buy both. We’ve been to the ruins twice both times carrying day packs with water, sandwiches, snacks and nobody has ever searched our bags or tried to stop us. This rule is mainly to protect the ruins from pollution as some people just damp plastic bottles and wraps. A reusable water bottle will be a better option and nobody will object to it.
  • Walking sticks are not allowed at the ruins we did hear about people being stopped and asked to leave them at the entrance so if your sticks are any value for you rather don’t take them. If your knees are a problem – take a bus down to Aguas Calientes.
alpaca at Machu Picchu
Traditional photo of alpaca at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu accommodation

For a budget stay Hostel Machu Picchu Land B&B is a good option; dormitories and private rooms, wi-fi, breakfast, good location, very helpful staff, some rooms have AC and cable TV, clean and nice place.

For middle price range check Inkas Dream Machu Picchu – a cozy place with a nice patio, outside spa bath and swimming pool. All rooms feature; private bathroom, flat-screen TV, satellite channels, free toiletries, wi-fi, buffet breakfast included.

If you want to treat yourself after a tough hike Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel is an amazing place. It features all you can expect from a luxury boutique hotel; spacious rooms, big comfortable beds, beautiful views, exquisite service, delicious breakfast and dinner are included in the price. A great place to relax before and after visiting Machu Picchu.  

Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel, Machu Picchu, Peru
Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel – a great place to stay after the hike. Photo;

Getting back from Aguas Calientes to Cusco 

There are four options;

  1. to catch a train all the way from Aguas Caleintes to Cusco – the easiest and the most expensive option; train ticket 277 Sol/US$85 price of the cheapest train ride Expedition 34. You have to buy tickets for this train a couple of weeks beforehand they are often sold out.
  2. to go by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo and from there take a bus to Cusco – it’s a bit cheaper than the first option but more complicated; train ticket – from 180 Sol/US$55 (the cheapest train leaves Aguas Calientes at 5.35am), bus ticket 15 Sol/US$4. A good thing about this option if you have time you can stay in Ollantaytambo and visit the ruins.
  3. to catch a train from Aguas Calientes to Hidroeléctrica and from there take a mini bus to Cusco – more complicated but cheaper; train ticket – 60 Sol/US$19, mini bus ticket – 60 Sol/US$18.
  4. to walk from Aguas Calientes to Hidroeléctrica, about 10km and from there take a bus to Cusco – the cheapest but the longest option; bus ticket 60 Sol/US$18.
Train to Aguas Calientes. Peru
Train to Aguas Calientes. Peru

Books and guidebooks

For a self-guided walk one of Machu Picchu guide books will be quite helpful, e.g. The Machu Picchu Guidebook: A Self-Guided Tour by Alfredo Valencia Zigarra (paper book) or Lonely Planet Peru (paper and Kindle).

If you want to travel back in history and find out more about the discovery of Machu Picchu, you’ll enjoy reading Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham. Kindle and paper book.

Nice and fun reading Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams trying to answer a common question; What is Machu Picchu? Kindle and paper book.

If you’d like to read some local authors Death in the Andes by the most famous Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa is a great choice. The novel tells some mystic events happening in the Andes, not far from Cusco when Machu Picchu was still quite of the beaten track place to come. Kindle and paper book.

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  • Great guide, guys. We are heading here in a few days and look forward to planning our trip with your help. This sounds like the less touristed option between this and the main Inca Trail trek, but t also sounds like into has gotten quite touristy recently. Any knowledge of additional treks to MP with more serenity?

    • Hello, Grant! There are two ways of getting to Machu Picchu; Inca Trail and through Hidroelectrica it’s basically impossible to skip the crowds. You can walk Choquequirao trek and continue to Machu Picchu, it’ll be more off the beaten track but the last two days it joins with Salkantay trek.

  • This is a nice and pretty useful guide! I wish I had read it before doing the Salkantay trek in September. Cheers guys! Keep on sharing your experience with us! 🙂

  • Hey guys! I’m heading to Peru at the end of June and planning on doing this trek. I know that you said that you only booked your trek when you got there, but since June is peak season I am worried that MP entrance tickets will sell out (as there are only 2500 per day!). I understand that Huayna picchu tickets are hard to come by last minute (not concerned about this) but do you think MP entrance tickets will be okay booking a few days in advance???

    • Hi, Sophie! As I know July and August are the peak season but you can expect to see many people all year around. I’ve been there twice and never booked my ticket to MP beforehand and always could get it. If you do Salkantay trek to MP it’ll take you 4 days to get there which means you’ll book your ticket beforehand anyway, if you do it with a tour company they might have some tickets reserved. There are online booking services for MP you can check there if there are any tickets available for the nearest days it might help to make up your mind.
      Good luck and enjoy Peru!

  • Hi there,
    thanks for this great blog! We are going to Machu Picchu in July this year and would like to know if the Salkantay trail is not too heavy for our youngest daughter of 10 years. We have done a hike of 3 days last year in the Alps but that’s of course not quite comparable to the Salkantay Trail. We have 2 other daughters (age 15 and 17). All are in good shape and very exited to do the trail, but we are in doubt. What would you advise?
    Thanks in advance, Edith

    • Hello, Edith! Thank you for the comment!
      The main challenge on Salkantay is the altitude you must be good acclimatized, to stay in Cusco or in any other place above 3000, for two or three days, just resting, not doing too much walking or exercising. The first night on the hike you sleep at 4000m and the next day walk over 4600m pass after that you start walking down. You know better if your daughter will be able to walk 10-15km a day for 4 or 5 days. We’d suggest to do a tour in this case you walk only with your day packs and everything (accommodation, food) will be arranged for you. We did it in November and it was quite cold up there especially at night as you’re going to do it in July it will be even colder which adds difficulty. Maybe it’s better you don’t book the hike beforehand and once in Cusco decide depending on how you and your daughter feel. July is not a peak season you must be able to find a company to do it with. We shopped around for the better price and booked it just a day before. As an easier alternative to Salkantay check Lares trek on this route you see more ruins and local villages.
      Good luck!

      • Thanks so much for your advice, we will probably do it the way you suggest: decide when we are there. This way we can also take the weather into account.
        Will let you know what we did!

  • Great Post and experience!
    The Salkantay trail is the less traveled route into Machu Picchu. It´s longer more strenuous hike than the classic inca trai, but it is well worth it. It has fewer tourists on it plus it goes over a 15,252 pass between 2 glaciers. The scenery is simply breathtaking.

  • Hey there – this a great post!! 🙂 I’m hoping to do the Salkantay trip next year, and was wondering if you could remember which agency you booked through in Cusco as that price is pretty amazing!


    • Hello, Katie! Thank you! We used Qorianka Tours and bought our tour from a small shop close to Plaza de Armas on Triunfo street, they were the cheapest we could find. The best you can do is to arrive at Cusco a couple of days before the hike and shop around trying to find the best and the cheapest tour as we did.
      Good luck!

  • Hi guys, We are doing the Salkantay trek alone in April, and I was hoping for some advice. I have read a few blogs about aggressive dogs and people getting bitten on the walk along the train tracks from the Hidro electrica to AC. Did you see many dogs? Or have any problems? Or know anyone that did have problems?

    Hope to hear from you soon,


    • Hi, Abbe! Thank you for reading! We saw many dogs hiking in Peru sometimes they were quite aggressive but on the way from Hidro electrica to Aguas Calientes and back we didn’t see any dogs. Maybe one or two next to the train station when we stopped for lunch but not further. Nobody we met complained about it. Good luck and enjoy the hike!

  • Hi guys
    Excellent trip report. My sister and I are planning on doing the 5 day Salkantay in late May (hopefully including zip lining). I know it is a lot cheaper to book when we arrive, which is what we plan to do, but I was still surprised at how little you paid for your trek. I was especially surprised at the cost for entry to MP ($35) and climbing MP mountain ($5). I guess late May is classified as peak season – do you think booking 2 or 3 days in advance is sufficient?

    • Hello, Carol!
      Thank you for the comment! Sorry for the late reply we were a bit busy with our wedding:) We did the trek in October which is considered to be a peak season as well and had no problem with booking our trek just one day before. There are many travel agencies in Cusco if you walk around for a day you’ll be able to find a good deal for your dates. Most tourists do Inca trail this one you have to book in advance but with Salkantay it’s easy. The entrance fee to the ruins is different if you book online or buy at the office in Cusco, online is more expensive. When you book with an agency make sure they book MP mountain as sometimes they forget. If you have more questions don’t hesitate in asking!
      Good luck!

      • Wow – congratulations to you both Campbell and Alya!! I hope you have a long and happy life together, with lots of adventure along the way.

        It is really a surprise that the entrance tickets to MP would differ considering it is such a world icon. I read online somewhere that you can even bargain for the entry ticket to Colca Canyon, but not really sure about this. I believe bus tickets (long distance) are also dearer on line, and that you are better off going to the bus station to purchase your tickets.

        Thanks also for the tips you list at the end of your blog – these are very helpful.
        Cheers from Australia

        • Thank you a lot!!!
          For your MP ticket if you’re a student don’t forget to bring your card or ID you get a discount for all the sites in Peru and this you definitely can’t get if you purchase online. What about buses you can buy tickets online only for the expensive bus companies if you go to any bus terminal you’ll find different price range depending on how fancy buses are etc. to all main destinations buses leave every hour or so you always will be able to get a ticket.
          Good luck in your travel!

          • We would love to have student ID cards – unfortunately, we are nearing the other end of the scale – by May our average will be 60!!! However, we are both pretty fit and are sure we will have a fantastic time.

  • Hi there,

    thank you very much for so much useful advance.

    We are family with 2 Adult + 2 children (11, 6) and we had bought our ticket flying to cusco on 09.aug.2017. Now, we are looking for one Salkantay Trek from Cusco to Machu Picchu 5D/4N during 13.Aug.2017 – 17.Aug.2017 or 21.Aug.2017 – 25.aug.2017.

    But, we don’t know it is necessary to booking this trek jet or can we buy it when we arriving there in person ? Because the peak season on Aug.

    And, do you have any suggestion about trekking with two 2 childrens ? I have a big worry about it indeed.

    Your kindly advise would be much appreciate !

    • Hello! Thank you!
      We were there in late October and it was quite busy but it was very easy for us to book a tour just one day beforehand. You can book it online as well but in this case you’ll pay a lot more for the same tour. We had a couple in our group and they booked their tour from home online and the price they paid was double of what we paid for exactly the same tour. In peak season it can be difficult to book Inca trail it’s usually fully booked but for Salkantay we think it’ll be possible to book once you in Cusco.
      Don’t know how old your children are? If you do a tour then porters carry all your luggage you walk only with day pack so it won’t be a problem. But the hike itself was quite demanding especially the first two days mostly because of the altitude (4000m). We didn’t see any children walking Salkantay. If you have more questions we’ll be glad to answer them.
      Good luck!

  • Hi guys, thanks so much for replying to my question about the Bolivian visa on your other post :).

    Just 2 more questions on this post :). When did you do salkantay and can you by any chance of remember the name of the agency you used? We are actually on our way to cusco now and would be awesome to get the same kind of deal.

    Thanks a mill.

    • Hi Kate, thanks for reading! Our Salkantay trek was from 30 Oct to 3 Nov.
      We used Qorianka Tours and bought our tour from a small shop close to Plaza de Armas on Triunfo street, they were the cheapest we could find. On the trek we found out everyone on our tour bought the same package from different agencies and there was a big difference in price. One of the couples bought their package online and paid double! There are many agencies and we bought our tour one day before departure.
      Please let us know if you have any more questions.
      Enjoy and Safe Travels!

  • Thanks heaps for your reply. Your blog has been very useful. Congrats on getting engaged! We are flying into Rio and were thinking of heading towards Uruguay/Argentina – Patagonia to start with but now wondering if we should head to Bolivia/Peru first to avoid being in Bolivia/Peru in the wet months. Do you have any advice? What months did you travel in Bolivia and Peru? Thanks again 🙂

    • Hi, Gemma! Thank you very much!
      When are you flying? We were in Peru and Bolivia from mid October to mid December, in November had some heavy rains in Cusco but not during hikes. If you are planning to do hikes around Cusco it’s better to avoid rainy months, the best time is October but it’s the busiest time as well, many tourists come for Machu Picchu. For Bolivia if you want to visit Uyuni salt flats the best time is January when it rains and the desert looks like a big mirror, we were to early for that. Regarding Patagonia, the season if from December to March, the best weather. Jan-Feb are very busy months for Patagonia, holiday time in Chile and Argentina many locals travelling and hiking in the area. Can be difficult to find accommodation but if you have a tent it won’t be a problem, there are campings everywhere. If you have any more questions we’ll be happy to help you.
      Best regards,

  • Hi there, I have just found your blog and loving reading it thanks! My partner and I are travelling to South America from New Zealand in September. Could you please tell us what agency you did use for the Salkantay trek? Thank you

    • Hi Gemma, thank you for reading! We used Qorianka Tours and bought our tour from a small shop close to Plaza de Armas on Triunfo street, they were the cheapest we could find. On the trek we found out everyone on our tour bought the same package from different agencies and there was a big difference in price. One of the couples bought their package online and paid double! There are many agencies and we bought our tour one day before departure.
      Please let us know if you have any more questions.
      Enjoy and Safe Travels!

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