Take up the challenge of this rugged 5-day, 4-night trip to Machu Picchu along the Salkantay trekking route. This rigorous hike offers stunning views of both snow-covered Andean peaks and lush jungle, plus a trip through a mountain pass at 15,200 feet (4,650 meters). You’ll also get up close with Peruvian indigenous communities as you explore villages like Soraypampa and Santa Teresa, before finishing your trek at the unforgettable Machu Picchu with a guided tour. This Salkantay trek also features hotel pickup, guide three nights of camping and one night of hotel accommodation, bus and train transfers, four days of meals and three snacks, entrance fees and horseman and mules to help carry gear.
Day 1: Cuzco to Mollepata to Challacancha, Trek to Soraypampa Camp - 9 mi/14 km (L,D)
Start with a pickup between 5am-6am and travel by tourist-class bus to Mollepata (2,900m) where you can stretch and buy snacks. Continue by car to Challacancha where to make final preparations and double check the equipment. Embark on a 3-hour walk that will take you to Soraypampa (3,920m) where you will have lunch with panoramic views of beautiful snow-capped mountains. Hike up to Laguna de Humantay (about 1.5 hours) for more incredible views of the Andes mountains and then return to camp for the night. Your first campsite is located at 3,920m and is the highest and coldest campsite of the trip. Take some time to rest up, and enjoy your first night immersed in nature. Have dinner and go to sleep early.
Day 2: Trek to Challhuay or Colcapampa Camp - 14 mi/22 km (B,L,D)
After breakfast at 6am, you'll begin a 4-hour hike located halfway between Salkantay mountain on the right and Humantay on the left. The views of the 2 snow-capped mountains are incredible with a possibility of snow here. After a 2-hour downhill hike, a well-deserved lunch will be served at Huayracpampa, followed by another 3-hour trek to our campsite at Challhuay or Colcapampa as we near the beginning of the high jungle region at 2,900m.
Day 3: Trek to La Playa & Transfer to Santa Teresa Town - 9 mi/15 km (B,L,D)
After breakfast trek through the upper jungle crossing the Santa Teresa River and a variety of little brooks. Today you will pass through valleys and have wonderful views of waterfalls, tropical fruits and plants. We will have lunch at La Playa (2,200m) and continue by car to Santa Teresa town (1,700m) your camp for the night. You have the option to visit the hot springs in Santa Teresa town (extra cost) and enjoy the well-deserved soothing water, a real treat after 3 hard days of trekking.
Day 4: Trek to Hydroelectric Station & Aguas Calientes - 11 mi/18 km (B,L,D)
After having breakfast at 8am, the last day on the trail will take us from Santa Teresa (1,700m) along a relaxing path for 3 hours to reach the hydroelectric station (1,880m) where a box lunch will be served. From here Aguas Calientes (2,010m) is another 3 hour walk where we finally have time to relax and recharge your batteries, getting ready for a visit to Machu Picchu. Enjoy dinner at a local traditional restaurant.
Day 5: Explore Machu Picchu & Return to Cuzco (B)
Catch one of the first buses (5:30 am) to Machu Picchu to appreciate the 'Lost City of the Incas' in the early morning light. Enjoy a 2-hour guided tour and then spend time exploring the citadel on your own. In the afternoon we will return by train to Ollantaytambo and take a tourist bus to Cusco. You will be dropped off at Plaza San Francisco.