Salkantay Treks to Machu Picchu offers different types of itineraries; they are designed for all type of trekkers since amateurs to experienced trekkers.
The Salkantay Treks are a wonderful trekking routes in the region of Cusco in Peru, that takes you to the historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu; they are Located less than fifty miles northwest of the city of Cusco in south central Peru; in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, the trekking route runs through the valley of Salkantay; it’s a wonderful alternative to the traditional Inca Trail for reaching Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu crosses the Pass at 4600 masl, descends into the cloud forest and passes the Inca ruins Llactapata, with a stunning view of Machu Picchu and Huaynapicchu Mountain; Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is an ancient and remote footpath located in the same region as the Inca Trail where massive snowcapped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests.
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu begins near the village of Mollepata at 2800 masl; normally the trekkers use pack animals to help carry food and equipment in order to lessen the weight on trekkers. During the first day, hikers enjoy magnificent vistas of the lush Apurimac River Valley and the Salkantay Mountain considered by locals as an important “Apu Salkantay”. The trail passes through Andean communities like Cruzpata, Challacancha, Soraypampa, Qollpa and Sawayaco. After the first day, trekkers will encounter very few locals on their journey to Machu Picchu. The second day begins with a three hour ascent to the Salkantay Pass at 4600 masl from where hikers can see three mountains, Salkantay, Humantay, and Huayanay. After five hours downhill hike the trekkers arrive at Rayan-Niyoc or Chaullay where starts the cloud forest them continue toward Machu Picchu an important Inca sanctuary.
This Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits (at least for now). Connecting the village of Mollepata with Machu Picchu,
There are three possible routes starting from Mollepata. All three begin with a day of approach, heading north along a dirt road and then they diverge:
The longest route, heads north to the base of the mountain, then turns right, following the east side of the mountain, then heads northeast to eventually join the Classic Inca Trail itself at Wayllabamba. This route takes 4 days to reach the Inca Trail, then another 2 days to reach Machu Picchu.
The most common route used by trekking companies heads north, then west around the west side of the mountain, over Salkantay Pass at 4600 masl. It continues as far as the village of La Playa, where buses usually make the connection to Santa Teresa. From here, trekkers walk to the Hydroelectric project then either train or walk to Aguas Calientes, at the base of Machu Picchu; this route takes 4 or 5 days. Another variation on this route turns right before reaching La Playa, over a ridge and arriving directly at Aguas Calientes two days later. This route takes 6 days in total.
How To Prepare the Salkantay Trek
There are many tour operators in Cusco that offer Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, generally in 4 or 5 days. There are also different routes that can be hiked, so make sure to compare the options. The cheapest companies will start from Mollepata so that they can save money on transportation. The best tour operators will start from Soraypampa which is the actual start of the hike, since from Mollepata to Soraypampa it is a dirt road for vehicles.
It is also possible to do this trek alone if you have experience. You will have to spend at least one night at 3,900 m above sea level or above and you will need camping equipment good enough for freezing temperatures. It will also be important to have a good map and plenty of water. You will need to carry food for at least two and a half days. It is also a good idea to bring water purification pills or a life water straw if you are hiking on your own. There are many streams, but you will need to purify or boil the water first.
To properly prepare for this hike, it is important to be acclimatized. It is recommended to spend at least 2 days in Cusco before starting the hike. You may want to take altitude sickness pills just to be on the safe side. It is also necessary to be in shape since the trail ascends to the Salkantay Pass at 4,600m.
When to Go for Salkantay trek
The dry season is the best time for Top Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. In Cusco, the dry season lasts from April to November, and the wet season is from December to March. From June to September are the most popular months to do the trek, due to summer vacations in Europe and the US. It is generally thought that May and October offer the best weather conditions.
What do you need to bring – Salkantay Trekking
Original passport and International Student card (ISIC) if applicable (Not needed until Machu Pichu).
- Sleeping bag (not included but can be hired from us)
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Warm jacket, hat and gloves
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun protection cream (factor 35 recommended)
- Re-usable plastic or metal water container or camel bags.
- Water (only for first 4 hours of trek, then we will provide you with drinking -previously boiled- water).
- Insect repellent
- Personal medication
- Camera and films
- Torch with spare batteries (headlamps are useful)
- Binocular, “ to enjoy landscapes”
- Trekking Poles.