Salkantay Trek (4 days and 3 nights) is the second most popular hike to Machu Picchu. It is listed among the 25 best hiking tours in the world by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. Over four days, you will explore the high mountains, lakes, and lush cloud forests to finish the tour at Machu Picchu. Enjoy our unique tours with comfortable tents, a Pachamanca barbecue, coffee tours, and panoramic trains to get back.
The Classic Salkantay Trek 4 days to Machu Picchu It’s the perfect option if you want to get away from everything. It is also the most challenging and adventurous trek we offer at TreXperience. You will be able to see the Humantay Lake, snow-capped mountains, the cloud forest, and coffee farms, learn Pachamanca underground barbecue cooking, and finish the trek at Machu Picchu.
- Duration: 4 Days / 3 nights
- Hiking Distance: 50 km – 31 miles
- Depart: Cusco
- Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
- Season: April to December
- Destination: Machu Picchu
- Type: Adventure – Camping – Hotel
- Book with Confidence and Flexibility
- Visit Humantay lake and camp close to Salkantay Mountain
- Authentic camping experience with comfortable tents
- Participate in a Pachamanca bardecue
- Return on the Exclusive Panoramic Trains (Vistadome or 360°).
Day 1: Cusco – Humantay Lake – SalkantayPampa (16 km, 8 hours)
We will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco at 4.30 a.m. and travel for 3 hours to the trailhead. After breakfast, we hike for 3 hours following an ancient aqueduct until we arrive at Soraypampa, where we will have lunch. Next, we hike for 2 hours to Humantay Lake (4200m) and camp near Salkantay Mountain at 3900 meters.
Day 2: Basecamp – Hayrajpunku – Collapampa (18km, 9 hours)
Wake up with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy breakfast with the mountains, then hike up to Salkantay pass at 4630mts for 2 hours and 3 more to lunch. The second part is a 3-hour downhill until the second campsite at 2770 m.
Day 3: Collpapampa - Hidroelectica - Aguas Calientes (16 km, 8 hours)
Wake up in your tent and have breakfast; start hiking through the cloud forest for 3 hours; visit the local villages and coffee farms; and prepare a unique Pachamanca barbecue, including a cooking class with your chef. After lunch, we will hike for 3 hours from Hidroelectica to Aguas Calientes to spend the night in a hotel.
Day 4: Machu Picchu (Get there early!) – 4 hrs
After breakfast, we take the early buses up to Machu Picchu for the sunrise. You will explore the best of Machu Picchu with your guide. Once you finish, you will take the panoramic train and bus back to your hotel in Cusco.
Included in the Salkantay Trek 4 days
- Pre-departure briefing
- Pick up from your hotel for the tour
- Experienced English-speaking Tour Guide
- 2 Nights camping in comfortable tents
- 1 Night 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes
- Comfortable Camping equipment
- Entrance ticket to Salkantay and Machu Picchu
- Duffle Bag for up to 8 kgs (17 lbs) for your stuff
- Cargo Mules to carry food, equipment
- Trekking chef to prepare meals (B, L, D)
- All meals Included except last day lunch (Veg, vegan, GF meals)
- Snacks, drinkable water, and warm water to wash.
- Pachamanca Barbecue, cooking class, organic coffee tour
- First Aid Kit, Satellite Phones, Oxygen tank
- Panoramic trains to return (Vistadome or 360°)
- All taxes and booking fees
- Sleeping bags, air mattresses, or trekking poles (Can be rented from us)
- Last day Lunch in Aguas Calientes
- Huayna Picchu Mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain (Montaña) ticket
- Tips for porters, chefs, guides
- Travel Insurance (Highly recommended)
Other hikes after the Machu Picchu tour:
- Huayna Picchu Mountain: The most famous mountain takes 2 hours round trip and needs to be booked far in advance; 75.USD per person
- Machu Picchu Mountain: The highest one, which takes 3 hours round trip, must be booked in advance; 75.USD per person
Similar Tours to Machu Picchu:
Full Itinerary of the Classic Salkantay Trek 4 days 3 nights
Day 1: Cusco hotel – Humantay Lake – Salkantay basecamp (16km, 8hrs)
Depending on your location, we will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco between 4:30 and 4.45 a.m. and drive you to the trailhead for 3.5 hours, where the chef will prepare the first breakfast. After breakfast, we will start on a 3-hour hike to Soraypampa village (3600 m) through an ancient aqueduct that provides water to the farmers in the lower regions. Your trekking chef will be waiting for lunch in Soraypampa. After a well-earned lunch, we will begin a 2-hour ascent to Humantay Lake (4200 m/13779 ft). Along the way, you will observe a variety of flora and fauna, including the Andean geese (the love bird), deer, and vizcachas (which look a lot like rabbits). Afterward, we will continue ascending for another 2 hours to reach the Salkantay Pampa basecamp (3900 m/12795 ft). Once at the campsite, we will set up the tents, have tea-time and dinner, and then admire the night sky before sleeping.
- Campsite Altitude: 3,900 m -/12795 ft
- Highest altitude: 4200 m / 13779 ft
- Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
- Duration: 7 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea, and dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Moderate
Day 2: Salkantay basecamp -Hayrajpunku – Collpapampa (18km, 9hrs)
We will surprise you in the morning with a hot cup of coffee or coca tea. Exiting your tent will show spectacular views of immense plains and snow-capped mountain peaks. After breakfast, we will begin a 2-hour ascent to the highest point of our hike, the Salkantay pass (4630 m/15190 ft). We will spend time at the summit exploring the spectacular landscapes, including a stunning lake at the base of this majestic mountain. Next, for lunch, it will be a 3-hour downhill from the peak to Wayracmachay (3800 m/12467 ft). After lunch, we’ll begin another 3 hour’s descent from the highlands into the cloud forest, experiencing one of the most rapid temperatures and weather changes. On the way, we will enjoy a variety of flowers, hummingbirds, and orchids until we reach Colpapampa, located at 2770 meters. We’ll spend the night close to a little village.
- Campsite Altitude: 2770 m/ 9087 ft
- Highest altitude: 4630 m/ 15190 ft
- Distance: 18 km/ 14.91 miles
- Duration: 9 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea, and dinner
- Accommodation: Camping
- Difficulty: Challenging
Day 3: Collpapampa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes (16km, 8hrs)
Day 3 is arguably the most beautiful day of your Salkantay TreXperience! After enjoying a delicious breakfast, we hike for about 3 hours to Lucmabamba (2000 m/6600 ft), where we prepare a unique Pachamanca Barbecue with vegetables, fruits, and all kinds of meat that is buried with hot stones. You will participate actively in preparing this special delicacy. After lunch, you will visit an organic coffee farm and learn the process of harvesting and how to prepare your expresso. Next, drive for one hour to Hidroelectica and hike for 3 hours to Aguas Calientes, arriving at around 5 p.m. We will have dinner at a local restaurant and stay in a hotel.
- Campsite Altitude: 2,000 m / 6561 ft
- Distance: 14 km / 8.6 miles
- Duration: 6 hours
- Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
- Accommodation: Hotel
- Difficulty: Moderate
DAY 4: Machu Picchu (Lost City Of The Incas) 4 hrs
On our final day, we will wake up early to prepare for the highlight of your TreXperience: a journey to Machu Picchu, the Incas’ Lost City. At 5:30 a.m., we will head directly to the queue to wait for the first buses to Machu Picchu. We will arrive at the gate as the sky brightens and ascend to the upper part of Machu Picchu while taking in the breathtaking views of the city. On a clear morning, the sunrise over Machu Picchu is magnificent; this moment is unforgettable. Your tour guide will take you on a 2–3-hour guided tour of the citadel before leaving you in Machu Picchu to explore on your own or climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (tickets must be booked as far in advance as possible). Your guide will explain how to return from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included) and then return to Cusco via the panoramic train and bus. The TreXperience Team will safely meet you at the station and transfer you to your hotel.
- Highest altitude: 2700m / 8858ft
- Distance: 6km / 3 miles
- Duration: 2 – 3 hours
- Meals: Breakfast (hotel)
- Difficulty: Easy
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days packing list
The Salkantay Trek is Peru's second most popular trek and the most challenging trail to Machu Picchu. You will hike from the high-altitude plains into the rainforest. The terrain will differ significantly in hours due to the altitude variations and unpredictability of the weather. Rain might occur at any time, so you must always be prepared.
It is essential to understand that you cannot bring your belongings on this expedition. Take only the essentials for the 4-day trek; leave the rest of your stuff in Cusco. We will provide a duffel bag with a weight capacity of 7 kilograms; your sleeping bag and air mattress must fit.
In addition, you'll have a daypack. When hiking, you must always bring all of your daily necessities. We suggest a maximum weight of around 5–8 kg in your daypack.
What will you put on the daypack?
- The original passport must always be kept in a safe pocket, and it is best to put it in a plastic bag or waterproof case.
- Plastic poncho, TreXperience will provide you with a plastic poncho. You still need a rain jacket and weatherproof gloves.
- Sunscreen, you will hike in open spaces exposed to direct sunlight; make sure you bring the correct sunscreen or buy it in Cusco before heading for the trek.
- Toilet paper, you will find locals' restrooms; they usually charge, and you will need small coins, always bring toilet paper in your backpack.
- Insect repellent, you will hike in the jungle after the second day. You need insect repellent, and always wear long sleeves.
- 1 rain jacket, 1 warm/winter jacket. The jacket must always be carried in the backpack. The temperature in the first 2 mornings will be freezing. You will start hiking all your layers, taking them off, and putting them in your backpack when you warm up.
- Snacks, the average trek time per day is about 8 hours; you will consume a lot of energy; besides the meals and snacks we provide, we recommend bringing energy bars, granola, chocolate, and candies.
- In the water container, you need to bring water for the first half of the day and then provide you with water after the first lunch; however, you need to have a container of at least 2 liters: a Camel bag reusable bottle.
- Flashlights or headlights must always be in your backpack; you will need them to walk around the campsite and use the restroom. The headlights are better to have hands-free.
- Hat, sunhat during the day, and something warm at night. In addition, it is also recommended to use gloves at night and in the morning.
- Sunglasses protect your eyes from the intense sunlight in Salkantay.
- Extra cash, we recommend bringing about 600 soles (200. USD) to Salkantay Trek; make sure to have some small coins, this is emergency money, and you will not spend all of it. You will need to use the toilet, buy souvenirs, drinks, or snacks, and tip if you find it convenient.
- Bring band-aids, Diamox, Pepto, ibuprofen, Imodium, motion sickness medicine, and feminine products for personal medication.
- Camera or mobile phone to take pictures.
What will you put on the duffle bag?
On the first night of the Salkantay period, the sleeping bag will freeze below 0 degrees Celsius; you will need a suitable sleeping bag that can withstand -10 degrees Celsius. You can bring your own or rent it from us.
- Hiking boots we strongly recommend wearing hiking boots instead of sports shoes.
- Sandals: After a long hike, you must wear light clothes at the campsite.
- 5 pairs of wool hiking socks, comfortable for hiking.
- 4 pairs of light socks to use after the hike.
- 5 pairs of underwear, just in case; please bring more in case they get wet
- 2 or 3 pairs of breathable hiking pants for Ladies' leggings are also perfect.
- 1 type of sports pants, suitable for evening and early morning
- 5 T-shirts long-sleeved shirts are better,
- Wet wipes, tissues, and a small towel
- Swimwear is optional because you can visit the hot springs of Aguas Calientes.
- Trekking poles, you can bring your own or rent them from us.
- We provide foam mattresses; however, you can bring or rent an air mattress for more comfort.
Price of the Salkantay Trek 4 days to Machu Picchu
Price Per person:
- 550.USD for adults
- 510.USD for children & students
To book the Classic Salkantay Trek, you must make an initial payment of 200.USD per person, the remaining balance can be paid online, in installments, or Cusco with any credit card at no booking fees at all.
All travelers under 17 will have a $40. If you are 25 years old or under when traveling, you can get a 40$ discount with your student ID. Please advise by email to give you a code for the discount.
Valid Student ID for IncaTrail and Machu Picchu
To get the student discount, travelers should have a Valid ID with the following:
- 25 years or less at the time of entering Machu Picchu. Older than 25 can not enter as a student
- The ID must have the Name of the university, name, and photo of the student
- The ID must have a valid expiration date
Invalid Student IDs
Student IDs are not eligible for a discount when:
- Traveler is older than 25
- Expired ID
- Student Id without expiration date
- ISIC cards are not valid.
Salkantay Trek 4 Days FAQs
What is Salkantay?
Salkantay trek is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region, with 6,271m / 20574 feet. It is located in the Vilcabamba Mountains, 60 km northwest of Cusco in the central Peruvian Andes. Salkantay means "wild mountain" and has been considered by the locals as a sacred god that has controlled the weather and fertility since the Inca era.
What is Salkantay Trek?
Salkantay's proximity to Machu Picchu and ancient trails make it a perfect alternative route called Salkantay Trek. This trek can be completed in a 4 0r 5 days hike to Machu Picchu.
How long does Salkantay trek?
Salkantay Trek can be done in many ways, depending on your itinerary or the operator. The most popular trips are 4 days and 5 days. Shorter than 4 days may bring significant challenges, and trips longer than 5 days usually include city tours in Cusco or Sacred Valley Tours.
Is the Salkantay trek worth it?
After the Inca Trail, the Salkantay route is the most popular hiking route to Machu Picchu. This trek also provides various experiences for travelers, from high mountains with cold temperatures to a high jungle called the "cloud forest." These highly diverse landscapes will provide hikers with rare opportunities to experience different scenery, climate, and weather and have the chance to arrive at Machu Picchu before sunrise.
How high is Salkantay Trek?
It is essential to note the difference between the 6,271m / 20574ft of Salkantay Mountain with the Salkantay Pass, located at 4630m / 15190ft.
• First campsite: 3900 m/12795 ft
• Second campsite: 2770 mt / 9087 ft
• Last night at Aguas Calientes: 2,000 m / 6561 ft
How cold is the Salkantay trek?
This trek provides a variety of landscapes and different ecosystems and temperatures. The weather fluctuates throughout the year. Suppose you hike in the dry season (April to October) or the rainy season (November to March). In that case, the temperature will rise slightly during the rainy season and summer in the southern hemisphere.
Day 1: On the first day of the trek, the maximum temperature during the day is 18°C/64°F, and the temperature at night drops below 0°C/32°F. It is essential to wear warm clothes.
Day 2: The second day offers two completely different climates. In the first part, you will hike through the Salkantay Pass. This day is the most challenging part of the hike, usually sunny. However, if it rains, the temperature will drop below freezing, and you need to wear a jacket, hat, and gloves.
In the second part of the day, the temperature will rise below the tree line (below 3000m). Here, we will descend very quickly to the second campsite in Cloud Forest. The temperature during the day is 24°C / 75°F and the temperature at night is 10°C / 50°F.
Day 3: On the third day, you will hike through the tropical cloud forest all day long. You must wear light clothes to protect yourself from the sun, mosquito repellent, and water. The night temperature may be around 10°C/53°F
Day 4: On the 5th day, you will visit Machu Picchu, a tropical mountain forest with a warm and humid climate.
How much does the Salkantay trek cost?
Price is one of the most important factors; you should never choose the lowest price because they have hidden costs and will pay more or have a bad experience. The average price of the Salkantay trek is between 550.USD and 650.USD. This fee should include a 3-star hotel, catering, porters, and all means of transportation, as well as an excellent English-speaking guide.
It is essential to book your tour with a reputable company. This trip is a hiking trip on high altitudes and slippery terrain, and you should trust the company and the guide completely.
TreXperience provides experienced guides, professional chefs, and comfortable camping equipment. In addition, we also offer coffee tours, Pachamanca cooking, and panoramic trains on the last day to return to Cusco.
How to prepare for Salkantay Trek 4 days?
Salkantay Trek Route is feasible; however, you need a moderate fitness level to complete the trek. You don't need to be an expert hiker, but you can live an active life. If not, you must prepare before traveling to avoid bad experiences.
You do not need to train months in advance. However, you must occasionally hike for about an hour or two hours and increase the frequency and duration of the trip as you get closer and closer to the tour's starting point. A few hours of exercise in the gym, jogging, or spinning, will also help.
We recommend hiking on weekends or at least twice a month (including uphill).
Is there a problem with altitude sickness? How to avoid altitude sickness?
Altitude sickness can affect anyone, whether you are a professional hiker or not. Here are some suggestions to avoid altitude sickness:
Arrive in Cusco at least 2 days before the trek; this will help you adapt to the altitude before the hike; in the first few days, you should do some effortless activities or not include a few hours of hiking: we recommend You take a city tour of Cusco, a tour of the Sacred Valley or Maras Moray.
You should avoid excursions such as Rainbow Mountain, which includes hiking at high altitudes.
Please bring high-altitude medicine such as Diamox or other medications recommended by your doctor.
During the first few days in Cusco, please eat, light up, and drink plenty of water. Coca-tea will help.
Where can I book the Salkantay Trek in Cusco?
Machu Picchu is the most important tourist destination in South America and Peru; we have limited access to this sanctuary. We have 2 train companies. Aguas Calientes Town, or Machu Picchu Pueblo, is a small town that receives thousands of tourists. Considering these factors, you must always book your itinerary in advance.
Booking the tour as early as possible will allow us to choose the best train schedules, hotel, and Machu Picchu admission schedule.
When is the best time to hike Salkantay and visit Machu Picchu?
The best time to hike the Salkantay trek and visit Machu Picchu is from April to November, the dry season, April and November are "strapless" months, and the weather is expected to increase.
January and February are the months to avoid such trekking because it is rainy, and landslides are at risk. During these months, we recommend that you take the Lares trek.