When touring in Peru, Salkantay trek is definitely the most popular trek to Machu Picchu. This beautiful trek is not famous for nothing. It offers some great opportunities for hikers and they get to experience a diverse trekking experience.
Unlike the Inca trail, this one is relatively easy to access from Cusco region and moreover, you do not need any permit limitations to go hiking along the Salkantay Trek. You can even complete this trek by yourself without the help of any trekking agency. The Salkantay trek map can easily be accessed with the help of which you can complete the track. But it is recommended you book a tour agency to enjoy the Salkantay trek experience to the fullest.
The trek takes you through some of the incredible landscapes of the Salkantay region, from lowland jungles to highland alpine settings along with beautiful glaciated mountains. The trek can be completed in 5 days and 4 nights although expert hikers can complete the Salkantay trek in 4 days and 3 nights. You can also combine the trek with the Inca Trail, although it might take a longer time to complete.
About Salkantay Trek
The key feature of the Salkantay Mountain is probably the Nevada Salkantay Mountain, from where the trek derives its name from. The Salkantay Mountain is one of the most picturesque mountains in the Cusco region and the highest peak on the mountain is the Will Kapampa Mountain. When you go trekking in the Salkantay trail, you will be spending your day starting from the south and then the next day you will spend scaling the Salkantay Pass. Once you reach an elevation of 4600m, you can behold some of the most breathtaking views around the valley.
The summit of the Salkantay Mountain is at 6271m and it is the 12th tallest mountain in Peru. Though the trek is widely popular, but it requires a good level of trekking skills to complete the trek. Mountaineers happen to find the Salkantay trek quite difficult to reach the summit. In fact the hike to the summit is generally not conquered.
The popular historical destination Machu Picchu in Peru lies straight to the North of Salkantay.
Best Time To Visit Salkantay
The best time to visit the Salkantay trek is during the dry season of April to October or during the wet season from late October to April. Either way, the trek can be completed al throughout the year as temperature remains consistent throughout the year.
Salkantay Trek Itinerary
The Salkantay trek difficulty level is a bit high. Even the terrain is not so much difficult to cover, but it requires a certain level of fitness to complete the trek. Since the trek takes a few days to conquer, it becomes strenuous at times. If you book any local tour agency, then you can complete the Salkantay trek in 5 days and 4 nights. Although the route of trekking may vary from tour agency to agency, but here we will discuss the most common route used by official touring companies in the region.
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Salkantay Pampa
Most of the tours to the Salkantay Mountain start by departing on a private car or a bus from Cusco city up to Mollepata where you will stop for breakfast. Although trekking can be started from Mollepata town but most tour agencies don’t prefer this, as it lengthens the duration of the trek and also the beginning part of the trail in Mollapeta region is not that pleasant to traverse.
After having breakfast you will be moving to Sayapata where you will meet the trek support team and horsemen. The trek begins here and climbs up towards Soraypampa and from here you will start getting the first beautiful views of the Apurimac River valley and the Salkantay Mountain.
The trek to Soraypampa takes about 3 to 4 hours and once you reach there, you will most likely have your lunch. Although some hikers prefer to camp here for the night, but mostly people continue on for about another 2 to 3 hrs. before you reach a campsite at Salkantay Pampa. The total Salkantay trek distance traversed here is about 12 km.
Day 2: Salkantaypampa – Saytococha – Arba Salkantay / El Paso – Huayracmachay – Colpapampa
Day 2 is considered as the toughest of all hiking days. So you need to rest well and conserve your energy before you start trekking. The trek continues on from Salkantay Pampa to Soyrococha and it starts to become steeper from this point on and it becomes even more difficult after about an hour of trekking. The trial in addition to being steeper, begins to zig zag, which continues for a while before getting steeper again. From the top of the Culebras switchback you will begin to notice that the temperature starts to cool and it is here onwards, you will start getting some spectacular views of Salkantay Range. From Soyrococha it takes about an hour to reach Salkantay Pass and once you reach the top of the pass, you will be mesmerized totally at the breathtaking vistas surrounding this place.
From this point on you will begin to descend for about 2 to 3 hours before stopping at Huaramachay for lunch, some tour agencies camp here overnight but most prefer to descend further for about 3 hours up to Colpapampa. At the end of your day 2 of trekking, you will notice a significant change in the surroundings, from high mountain tops to lush green tropical forests.
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Day 3: Colapapampa – La Playa
On Day 3, you will begin trekking towards La Playa. The trek will ascend for a little while, before descending again towards La Playa. Compared to the earlier trials, you will see much more population here. If you are travelling on your own, down the trial towards Colapapampa, then don’t get confused, seeing little subsidiary trials. As you reach closer to La Playa, the trial divides in two on towards the left bank of the river, directly to La Playa and the other is accessed by Gondola where the trial continues on up to La Playa. You will camp for the night at La Playa before continuing on the following day.
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Day 4: La Playa – Hidroeléctrica – Aguas Calientes
From this point on the trekking adventure stops and you can take part in numerous activities. You can head to the Hot springs in Colcamayu. After a tiresome trekking, you and your trekking partners can take a dip in the hot water of the spring and spend your morning relaxing in water while enjoying the natural sceneries around. After having lunch in La Playa, you will be sent to Hidroelectrica Station where you can hike for a few more hours up to Aguas Calientes.
Another great option, which is popular among trekkers is a trek to Llactapata. To reach Llactapata, you can continue a 30 minute trek to Lucmabamba, from where you can continue a two hours ascending trek towards Llactapata, which is an Inca ruin. From here, you will get the first views of Machu Picchu.
If you are an adrenaline junkie, you can go for zip lining at Cola de Mono. The zip line is 150 m high and you can get some cool zip lining videos.
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Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
At Aguas Calientes you will stay at a hotel, where you can take a real shower after 4 days and from here you can take a bus to Machu Picchu. Don’t forget to take your passport, as you will need to it to enter Machu Picchu. After visiting Machu Picchu you can take a mini-bus or hire a private car back to Cusco.
Salkantay is a very beautiful trek and is a must visit for hikers and trekkers. From this trek you will get some stunning views of the Salkantay region and enjoy unbridled nature while you walk along the mountains. So, don’t hesitate and plan an international trip with TravelTriangle to have a unique trekking experience!
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