All About Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu.
The Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu is very famous in Peru. It is an alternative hike to the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay trail starts in Soraypampa, a few hours away from the city of Cusco, and ends at Machu Picchu.
This trek is the second most popular hike after the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu for 4 days 3 nights. The Salkantay route is recommended for travelers seeking a more adventurous and challenging hike.
During the hike, you will visit Andean lakes, enjoy the views of the Salkantay and Humantay snowcapped mountains, hike through the dense cloud forest, visit the local villages where coffee, coca, and fruit are grown.
What You Need to Know about the Machu Picchu Trail
The Salkantay Trail will lead you through some of the most beautiful natural scenery in Cusco – Peru. It is an exciting adventure of extraordinarily natural beauty where you will witness the snow-covered Humantay and Salkantay mountains, whose ice meets with steamy heat from the Andes.
The name Salkantay Trail is derived from one of the highest peaks in Southern Peru; the Salkantay mountain. This trail is physically challenging, although the walk is worth your will as you will meet surprise lagoons, rivers, hot springs, amongst other jaw-dropping landscapes. The main difference between this trail and the Classic Inca Trail is that it substitutes the ruins for diversity. There is so much more to see, fewer crowds, and unforgettable mountain trails. Unlike the Inca Trail, you also do not need to acquire a permit or reserve in far advance.
The hike goes through the Salkantay pass, which is 2o,574ft high. It is considered one of the best hikes in the world due to its beautiful landscapes, varied and rich geography, and Andean culture and history. You will encounter widespread flora and fauna and enjoy camping in the middle of the sacred mountains during the night. It is the more outstanding option for nature lovers.
Facts about the Salkantay Trail
- You do not require to purchase a permit. However, you still need Machu Picchu Tickets.
- There is no limited number of visitors.
- The trail starts at Soraypampa and ends in Aguas Calientes Machu Picchu.
- Salkantay trail is named after one of the highest peaks in Southern Peru: The Salkantay mountain with 6,271m (20,574 ft).
- It is one of the 25 best hikes in the world.
- The Salkantay trek has an approximate length of 72 km (45 miles).
- The trek typically lasts four to five days.
Preparing for the Salkantay Trail
Several tour operators offer their services for the Salkantay trek. You might find that most of the tour operators in Cusco offer the trip in five days. However, it can be done in four. That is why you need to do your research in preparation for the trek.
The trail also includes different routes that can be hiked, so make sure to compare the available offers, then choose one that best suits your needs.
It is possible to make this trip alone if you are experienced. To achieve this, you need a good map, camping equipment good enough for shallow temperatures, plenty of water, and enough food for at least a couple of days.
To sufficiently prepare for this trip, you must spend at least two days in Cusco as you get familiarized with the environment. In case of altitude sickness, take some recommended pills. The trail that arises to the Salkantay Pass is at 4,600m, so make sure that you are in good body shape before starting your trip.
What to Pack
- Original passport (to enter Machu Picchu)
- Trekking shirt
- Fleece jacket
- Waterproof jacket
- Convertible hiking pants
- Hiking socks
- Waterproof hiking shoes
- Sunglasses & sunscreen
- Hand sanitizer for all those al fresco toilet stops
- Toilet Paper
- Soap and Hand Sanitizer
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Personal medications.
- One small towel.
- Insect repellent
- A scarf for the evening.
- Flip flops for use at the waterfalls and hot springs.
- Good quality walking socks and underwear
- Plastic poncho
- Flashlight and extra batteries.
- Two walking sticks (Optional- can be rented or purchased in Cusco)
- Good quality backpack.
- Standard small plastic water bottles.
- Camera and batteries.
- Water purification tablets/filter
- Bathing suit.
- Money for any extras.
What is the Best Time of the Year to go for a Trek?
Although it is open all year, Peruvian Andes has two seasons; wet and dry. The wet season is from mid-October to late April, while the dry season starts late April and ends mid-October. The rainiest months it was December to February.
The best time to go trekking would be from Late April to mid-October. However, the busiest months tend to be from May to September. The trail remains less crowded than the Inca trail even during these times.
The best months to visit are April and October; despite the possibility of rain, skies are more transparent, and the landscapes are more apparent than the drier months. I guarantee the holiday will cleanse your mind, body, and soul while giving you a worthwhile experience. Travel is not an escape from life’s troubles but a plea to meet lifetime happiness.