Follow in the footsteps of the Inca on this once in a lifetime physical, cultural, and spiritual journey that will take you through the magnificent Salkantay Inca Trail to the legendary ruins at Machu Picchu. Challenge yourself as you hike through nine different bio-zones, changing altitudes and varied terrain. The route winds through the Cordillera Vilcabamba, a spectacular Andean mountain range, before plunging into forested canyons. Be inspired by the majesty of your surroundings and marvel at the exquisite beauty of the Salkantay Peak and Humantay Glacier Lake.
On the way you’ll discover the culture and customs of local Andean families who maintain centuries-old traditions. Witness environmental and social initiatives to maintain the natural integrity and improve quality of life in the region. A real highlight will be the warmth of the people!
At the end of your days, you’ll indulge in the comfort of enchanting mountain lodges and innovative gourmet cuisine for recovery of mind and body. You’ll spend two nights at the Salkantay Lodge, and one night at each of three other lodges located along the trail: Wayra Lodge, Colpa Lodge and Lucma Lodge. The last night of the journey is spent in an award-winning hotel in the town of Machu Picchu in anticipation of the grand finale: a visit to Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.
There is an Equestrian focused version of the Salkantay Trek available on selected dates. Additional charges will apply for this program. Please enquire with us for departure dates and pricing.
Preparing for the trip
We recommend that guests spend a minimum 2 nights in Cuzco prior to the commencement of the trek departure and we can assist you in booking this. These additional nights help with your acclimatisation to the altitude and also provides an opportunity to explore the beautiful city of Cuzco. Travellers can feel the effects of higher altitudes as low as 2000 metres above sea level. Therefore we encourage guests to getting fit before the trip, particularly with aerobic activities like walking, running, swimming or cycling.
The lodge-to-lodge trek itinerary is designed to allow everyone to hike at their own pace, with plenty of breaks throughout the day. The trek climbs steadily over the first three days and the highest point reached is on Day 3 when crossing the Soyrococha – Salkantay Pass which reached 4,638 metres. The highest overnight stop is 3,906 metres. Please contact your physician before booking this trek to assess your physical condition and for their advice on how best to prepare to fully enjoy your trekking experience.
Duration7 Days / 6 Nights from USD US$3,300*
Type of JourneyActive
Departure DatesMarch to December
- 5 nights’ lodge accommodation
- 1 night 4-star hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes
- English/Spanish-speaking guide throughout
- 6 breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 6 dinners
- All beverages at your lodge accommodation including soft drinks and a selection of house beer, wine, and spirits
- Refillable water bottle with the highest quality filtered water provided at your lodge accommodations
- All transportation services throughout the itinerary
- Transportation of personal belongings on the trek
- Guided visit of Machu Picchu Sanctuary
- Gratuities for the staff at all lodges and in the field
- Wi-Fi at all lodges and hotels
- Gratuities for the guides and Aguas Calientes hotel staff
- Premium wines, liquors, and spirits
- Massage and laundry services
1 Nov – 14 Dec
15 – 31 Dec
1 – 31 Mar; 1 Nov-14 Dec
1 Apr – 31 Oct; 15 – 31 Dec
6600Please note: while prices are accurate at time of loading they are subject to change due to currency fluctuations and currency surcharges may apply. Please check price at time of booking
The night prior to your departure at 7:00 pm, you will meet your guide and fellow travellers for an approximate 45 minute general trip briefing and Q&A.
Day 1: Cuzco > Salkantay Lodge
This morning, your guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cuzco (3400 m). The first stop is a visit to the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site en route to the mountain village of Mollepata. You will enjoy lunch at El Pedregal, a beautiful farmhouse in the village, where you will have the opportunity to learn about local agriculture and livestock.
After lunch enjoy a scenic ride on the winding mountain road to Challacancha where you will begin your hike to your overnight lodge stay at Soraypampa (3869 m) along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path).
Trekking Time: Approximately 3 hours
Hiking Level: Easy to moderate
Option: You may opt out of the hike and continue by transport to the lodge; however, we highly recommend you participate in the hike today as part of your continued altitude acclimatisation
Day 2: Salkantay Lodge > Humantay Lake
After breakfast, you begin an ascent up the slopes that border the plateau behind the lodge. An hour and a half later, your hard work will be rewarded with a first glimpse of the lake’s glistening turquoise waters and the Humantay glacier looming overhead. Upon arrival, you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquillity of this magical spot, and participate in a traditional ceremony to honour “la Pachamama” (Mother Earth).
After your descent back to the lodge, the lodge staff will be waiting with a hot lunch. Afternoon at leisure to relax, enjoy a massage, or soak in the outdoor hot tub for a spectacular view of the Salkantay Peak at sunset. While the hike today is optional, we strongly recommend you participate to prepare yourself for the strenuous hike tomorrow.
Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate
Options: Chakana horseback & hiking excursion (5 hours, 1.5 to 2 hours on horseback) or horseback riding (2 hours)
Day 3: Humantay Lake > Salkantay Pass
After an early start, the ascent toward the Salkantay Pass begins. You will circle Humantay Peak, gradually making your way along expansive plateaus connected by enormous boulders, remnants of the Rio Blanco Valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The last and most challenging part of the ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that lead you to the pass, the highest point on the trek (4636 m). The journey continues with a dramatic descent through fields of large boulders and natural stone formations often shrouded in fog.
You will have some time to rest and enjoy some trail mix before the final hike through the area’s bucolic countryside; its rolling hills will eventually lead you through marsh-like plateaus to your lodge at Wayraccmachay (3906 m), where you can wash away the trail dirt and have a great hot and tasty lunch. In the afternoon relax in the Jacuzzi or enjoy the great and impressive views of surroundings high snowed peaks.
Trekking Time: Approximately 6 hours
Hiking Level: Challenging
Day 4: Salkantay Pass > Cloud Forest
After a leisurely breakfast at the lodge, you will continue the descent toward the cloud forest along the banks of the Salkantay River through increasingly verdant scenery. The warm air will begin to rise from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colourful butterflies and striking orchids. Today you will see more local Andean people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences. At approximately midday, you will arrive at your lodge (2870 m), located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers.
The staff will greet you with a Pachamanca lunch, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked below ground with hot stones that create a natural oven. After lunch, spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor hot tub while you take in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround you.
Trekking Time: 3 to 4 hours
Hiking Level: Easy to moderate
Day 5: Following the Santa Teresa River Valley
Today you will hike through the Santa Teresa River Valley along a rolling trail that crosses fertile fruit orchards and bisects streams originating from glacier-fed waterfalls. Rest alongside the river for a trail mix, then continue hiking for one more hour before you are met by your transport vehicle for the short drive to the bottom of the Llactapata Inca Trail steps that lead to your lodge (2135 m). Enjoy a great lunch at the lodge and afterwards, visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in the area that produce some of the best organic coffees in the world. You will also notice another shift in the climate; in Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are even closer to the edge of the Amazon jungle.
Trekking Time: 5 to 6 hours
Hiking Level: Challenging
Day 6: First view of Machu Picchu from Llactapata Pass
After breakfast, depart from your lodge and embark on a 2 to 3 hour climb through the cloud forest up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps. A lush tree line creates green canopies overhead and the constant sound of rushing water suggests that the river is nearby. Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you descend to the Aobamba River Valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. Upon arrival at the Llactapata Pass (2736 m), you will delight in a southeast view of Machu Picchu, a sight few travellers get the chance to admire.
After exploring Llactapata, the Inca tambo (fort) that marks the pass, enjoy a picnic lunch at a mountain lookout point with panoramic views. The final descent along a trail that zigzags down to the roaring Aobamba River will take you through lush bamboo forests, varied fruit orchards, and more coffee plantations. Celebrate as you cross the bridge over the river and take your final steps of the trek en route to the hydroelectric train station for a scenic 1-hour train ride to the town of Aguas Calientes (2040 m), on the banks of the Urubamba River at the base of Machu Picchu.
Trekking Time: 4 to 6 hours
Hiking Level: Moderate to challenging
Day 6: Machu Picchu Sanctuary > Cuzco
Your journey to Machu Picchu (2400 m) begins with a morning rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the ‘sanctuary’ (as locals refer to it), prepare to be awed by the imposing, skilful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among others. After a 2 hour guided tour, you will have free time to explore on your own. At some point, be sure to take a moment and sit quietly, listen to the wind, meditate, and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you.
After your visit you will have lunch in Aguas Calientes before a scenic Vistadome train ride to Ollantaytambo (approximately 1.5 hours) and then a vehicle transfer to your hotel in Cuzco (approximately 1.5 hours) where you will arrive at approximately 7:00 pm.
Cuzco (approximately 8:00 pm), you are dropped off at your hotel.
- Please enquire for pricing to add an additional night in Aguas Calientes to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain or for hiking to the Sun Gate, Inca Bridge, etc.
- Please also enquire for child (12 – 16 years) pricing or pricing to add a private English-speaking guide and/or the Chakana Inca Cross Excursion or Horseback Riding
- Due to the altitude and the physical demands of this trek, children 11 years and under are unable to be accommodated
- Guaranteed departure with minimum two guests
- Valid proof of medical insurance which includes coverage for emergency medical treatment and evacuation is required 60 days prior