5 Day/4 Night Best Alternative to Inca Trail - Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu from Cusco

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What To Expect

Hike the Salkantay Trek, the inca trail alternative hike to Machu Picchu considered one the the 25 Best Hikes in the World by the National Geographic Adventure Travel. Spend 4 days hiking from Mollepata in the Sacred Valley of the Incas to the Hydroelectric Plant of Santa Teresa near Machu Picchu. Ride the Expedition train to Aguas Calientes and explore Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco.


  • Embark on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, the number one alternative to the famous Inca Trail

  • Admire the breathtaking views on the Sacred Valley of the Incas, snow capped mountains, lakes, the jungle and much more from the Salkantay Trail

  • Learn about the Inca culture and traditions from your knowledgeable guide and visit Inca ruins along the trail

  • Ride the Expedition train to and from Aguas Calientes and see the speactular lanscape from the panoramic windows

  • Explore Machu Picchu Inca Site also known as the Lost City of the Incas, one of the Seven Wonders of the World


Tours around Cusco
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5 Days
daily at 5:00 AM
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Featured On:
Machu PicchuInca Trail & Machu Picchu TreksCusco Hiking, Cycling & Outdoor ActivitiesHiking, Cycling & Outdoor Activities


DAY 1: CUSCO (3350 m) - MOLLEPATA (2900 m) - SORAYPAMPA (3850 m)

Departure from Cusco in a private bus around 5am to go to the village of Mollepata. You will go through beautiful landscapes overlooked by the impressive Salkantay. Upon your arrival in Mollepata, you will have breakfast before meeting your team of mule-drivers. Your belongings will be loaded and the hike can begin. The path goes through several small villages: Cruz Pata, Challacancha, where you will have lunch, and then SorayPampa, where this first day will end.

DAY 2: SORAYPAMPA (3850 m) - CHALLWAY (2920 m)

After breakfast, you will go to take on the most difficult part of the trek. You will cross Pampa Salkantay, and then walk around by the left the Umantay glacier, located next to the Salkantay glacier. Around noon, you will reach the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay pass, at an altitude of 4500m. From there, you will have an impressive view of the Salkantay glacier (6264m). You will descend to the Huayracpunko where you will have lunch before continuing your trek for another 3 hours until Chaullay.

DAY 3: CHALLWAY (2920 m) - SAHUAYACO (2000 m) - LA PLAYA (2060 m)

This part is less tough. The climate becomes wetter, the flora changes slowly: you are now entering the Amazonian region. Your goal is getting closer! You will go back up a valley until a place known as 'La Playa', where you will spend the night.

DAY 4: PLAYA (2060 m) - HIDROELECTRICA (1870 m) - AGUAS CALIENTES (2040 m)

After breakfast, you will pass a col at an altitude of 2950m, from where you will have an unobstructed view by clear weather over the Machu Picchu citadel and the summits of the region. Then, you will go back down towards the archeological vestiges of Llactapata that you will visit. After a break on site, you will continue to go down for about 2 hours until the hydro-electrical power station (Hidroelectrica). From there, you will take the Expedition train to the village of Aguas Calientes in the afternoon.

DAY 5: AGUAS CALIENTES (2040 m) - MACHUPICCHU (2450 m) - OLLANTAYTAMBO (2800 m) - CUSCO (3350 m)

Very early in the morning, you will take the shuttle to climb up to the most famous Inca site of the country: Machu Picchu, 'old summit' in Quechua. You will discover the architectural complex, still enveloped in the morning mist, built on top of a ridge and surrounded by precipices: a stunning view that evolves with the progression of the sun. You will walk through the streets of the citadel, its squares, royal houses, agricultural zones, paths and observatories. After a 3h guided tour, you will have free time to discover, if you wish, the Huayna Picchu (optional), the Sun Gate ('Inti Punku') situated at 2700m, or even the Inca bridge. For the less sporty, you can wander peacefully in the city. In the afternoon, return to Aguas Calientes to take the Expedition train back to Ollantaytambo, where a vehicule will drive you back to Cusco.


  • Transfer from Cusco Hotels to the starting point of the Salkantay Trail in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

  • Expedition Train from the Hidroelectrica Station to Aguas Calientes

  • Shuttle from downtown Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu

  • Shuttle from Machu Picchu to downtown Aguas Calientes

  • Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo

  • Transfer from Ollantaytambo train station to your hotel in Cusco

  • Breakfast from Day 1 to Day 5

  • Lunch from Day 1 to Day 4

  • Dinner from Day 1, Day 2 to Day 3

  • 3 nights campsite accommodation

  • 1 night accommodation at the Imperio Machu Micchu 3 star Hotel or similar hotel

  • Bilingual English/Spanish speaking guide during the whole itinerary

  • Local guide, porters and cooks

  • Camping mat and sleeping bag


  • Food and drinks when not mentioned

  • Tips and gratuites

  • Personal expenses

  • Optional activities cost

Please Note

  • The following information is required at time of booking

  • Complete name as on passport

  • Passport number

  • Nationality

  • Date Of Birth

  • Good physical condition required. Difficulty of the hike is moderate. Minimum age: 8.

  • Porters will carry 1 backpack per person (no suitcases) of 15Kg maximum

  • Campsites along the Salkantay Trail are basic.

  • We recommend you to bring: a small backpack for your personal items, camping mat and sleeping bag, good walking shoes, a cap or hat, sunglasses, gore-tex jacket, light hiking clothing (pants and shorts), warm clothes at night, first aid kit, repellent, sunblock, 1L flask, torch...

  • Pick up time on Day 1 is between 05:00 and 05:30. The hikes on Day 2 and 3 start a 08:00 approximately. The hike on Day 4 starts at 05:00 approximately. Starting times are subject to change according to weather conditions and physical condition of the group.

  • This tour is non refundable

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