Last update 09/20/2023

Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 07 Day / 06 Nights

Itinerary

DAY 0: EVENING BRIEFING IN CUSCO 

  • Meet your MLP guide and fellow travelers for a general trip briefing and Q&A.
  • Time: 7pm 
  • Location: El Mercado, an MLP Signature Property
  • Address: Calle 7 Cuartones 306, Centro Histórico de Cusco, Cusco 
  • Duration: Approximately 45 minutes*

*We recommend that you stay for dinner at ‘La Taberna’ in El Mercado, which offers Peruvian and other international cuisine in a cozy, elegant setting

DAY 1: ON THE WAY TO SORAYPAMPA 

After an early breakfast, your MLP guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel in Cusco. The first stop is a visit to the Quillarumiyoc archaeological site en route to the mountain village of Mollepata. Enjoy lunch at El Pedregal, a beautiful farmhouse in the village, where you will also have the opportunity to learn about local agriculture and livestock. After lunch comes a scenic ride on the winding mountain road to Challacancha. Here you will begin your hike to our flagship Salkantay Lodge at Soraypampa along a picturesque path called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). 

Note: Although we highly recommend participating in the hike as part of your continued altitude acclimatization, guests may opt out and continue by transport to Salkantay Lodge.

Trekking Time: Approximately 3 hours 

Hiking Level: Easy to Moderate 

Meals: L (El Pedregal), D (Salkantay Lodge) 

Overnight: Salkantay Lodge

DAY 2: HIKE TO LAKE HUMANTAY 

After breakfast, you begin an ascent up the slopes that border the plateau behind Salkantay Lodge*. An hour and a half later, your hard work will be rewarded with a first glimpse of the lake’s glistening turquoise waters and the Humantay glacier looming overhead. Upon arrival, you will have a chance to relax, enjoy a snack, meditate in the tranquility of this magical spot, and participate in a traditional ceremony to honor “Pachamama” (Mother Earth). After your descent back to the lodge, the Salkantay staff will be waiting with a hot lunch. Afternoon at leisure to relax, enjoy a massage, or soak in the outdoor hot tub for a spectacular view of the Salkantay Peak at sunset. 

Note: While the morning hike to Lake Humantay is optional, we strongly recommend your participation in preparation for the strenuous hike on Day 3.

Trekking Time: Approximately 4 hours 

Hiking Level: Moderate

Optional Activities

  • Chakana excursion (subject to additional cost): Horseback/hiking combo up the steep hills adjacent the lodge. The destination—a dramatic lookout point over the Salkantay River Valley marked by an oversized Inca Chakana (cross). This excursion will replace the hike to the glacier lake. 
  • Duration: Approximately 5 hours (1.5 – 2 hours on horseback)
  • Horseback riding (subject to additional cost): After lunch, spend a leisurely afternoon exploring Soraypampa on horseback. 
  • Duration: Approximately 2 hours.

Meals: B, L and D (all at Salkantay Lodge) 

Overnight: Salkantay Lodge (12,690’ / 3,869m)

DAY 3: CROSSING THE SALKANTAY PASS

After an early start, the ascent toward the Salkantay Pass begins. You will circle Humantay Peak, gradually making your way along expansive plateaus connected by enormous boulders, remnants of the Rio Blanco Valley that was once bisected by a fast-flowing river. The last and most challenging part of the ascent is conquering the mountain switchbacks that lead you to the pass, the highest point on the trek. The journey continues with a dramatic descent through fields of large boulders and natural stone formations often shrouded in fog, followed by a very welcome hot picnic lunch. After lunch, you will have some time to rest before the final hike through the area’s bucolic countryside; its rolling hills will eventually lead you through marsh-like plateaus to the Wayra Lodge at Wayraccmachay.

Trekking Time: Approximately 6 hours 

Hiking Level: Challenging 

Meals: B (Salkantay Lodge), L (en route) and D (Wayra Lodge)

Overnight: Wayra Lodge 

DAY 4: DESCENDING INTO THE CLOUD FOREST

After a leisurely breakfast at Wayra Lodge, you will continue the descent toward the cloud forest along the banks of the Salkantay River through increasingly verdant scenery. The warm air will begin to rise from the edge of the jungle, accompanied by colorful butterflies and striking orchids. Today you will see more local Andean people as the trail takes you past their simple homes and makeshift fences. At approximately midday, you will arrive at Colpa Lodge, located on a high promontory at the confluence of three rivers. The Colpa staff will greet you with a Pachamanca lunch, a traditional Peruvian meal cooked below ground with hot stones that create a natural oven. After lunch, spend the afternoon lounging in the sun or relaxing in the outdoor hot tub while you take in the panoramic views of the lush green mountains that surround you.

Trekking Time: Approximately 3 – 4 hours

Hiking Level: Easy to moderate 

Meals: B (Wayra Lodge), L (en route), D (Colpa Lodge) 

Overnight: Colpa Lodge

DAY 5: FOLLOWING THE SANTA TERESA RIVER VALLEY

Today you will hike through the Santa Teresa River Valley along a rolling trail that crosses fertile fruit orchards and bisects streams originating from glacier-fed waterfalls. After a hot picnic lunch by the river and some time to relax, the group will continue for one more hour before you are met by an MLP transport vehicle for the short drive to the bottom of the Llactapata Inca Trail steps that lead to Lucma Lodge. On the way to the lodge you will visit an organic coffee plantation, one of many in the area that produce some of the best organic coffees in the world. You will also begin to notice another shift in the climate; in Lucmabamba, the hot air and increased humidity signal that you are even closer to the edge of the Amazon Jungle.

Trekking Time: Approximately 5.5 hours 

Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging 

Meals: B (Colpa Lodge), L (en route), D (Lucma Lodge)

Overnight: Lucma Lodge

DAY 6: LUCMABAMBA / FIRST VIEWS OF MACHU PICCHU 

After breakfast, depart from Lucma Lodge and embark on a 2-3 hour climb through the cloud forest up a path mostly comprised of original Inca steps. A lush tree line creates green canopies overhead and the constant sound of rushing water suggests that the river is nearby. Your first milestone today will be the top of the peak, the last one before you descend to the Aobamba River Valley that connects you to Machu Picchu. Upon arrival at the Llactapata Pass, you will delight in a southeast view of Machu Picchu, a sight few travelers get the chance to admire. After exploring Llactapata, the Inca tambo (fort) that marks the pass, enjoy a picnic lunch at a mountain lookout point with panoramic views. The final descent along a trail that zigzags down to the roaring Aobamba River will take you through lush bamboo forests, varied fruit orchards, and more coffee plantations. Celebrate as you cross the bridge over the river and take your final steps of the trek in route to the Hidroelectrica train station for a scenic one-hour train ride to the town of Aguas Calientes, on the banks of the Urubamba River at the base of Machu Picchu.

Trekking Time: Approximately 4–6 hours 

Hiking Level: Moderate to Challenging

Meals: B (Lucma Lodge), L (en route), D (at hotel) 

Overnight: Inkaterra Pueblo Hotel.

DAY 7: THE CITADEL OF MACHU PICCHU 

Your journey to Machu Picchu begins with a morning rollicking uphill bus ride. As you enter the ‘sanctuary’ (as locals refer to it), prepare to be awed by the imposing, skillful architecture of the Watchtower, the Temple of the Sun, and the royal Inca residences, among others. After a two-hour guided tour, you will have free time to explore on your own, including a hike up Huayna Picchu*, the iconic mountain that looms over the citadel, for dramatic views that stretch from the Urubamba River Valley to the edge of the Amazon Jungle. At some point, be sure to take a moment and sit quietly–listen to the wind, meditate, and absorb the mystical energy that envelops you. After the visit you will have lunch in Aguas Calientes before a scenic Vistadome train ride to Ollantaytambo (approximately 1.5 hours) and vehicle transfer to your hotel in Cusco (approximately 1.5 hours). As night falls and you arrive amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, you will be touched by a feeling of peace and rejuvenation that will linger long after your journey home.

*Entrance time – Huayna Picchu: 10am 

Note: Tickets for Huayna Picchu are subject to availability. Please consult with your MLP Travel Specialist when you confirm your reservation. In the event that Huayna Picchu permits are not available for your desired date, Mount Machu Picchu (the second peak within the sanctuary) permits will be secured instead.

Meals: B and L (at hotel) 

END OF ITINERARY

Details

THE PROGRAM INCLUDES: 

  • All Transfer in Cusco.
  • 04 nights in the lodge mentioned in the program.
  • All the activities mentioned in the program. (except those that have additional cost).
  • Full board mentioned in the program.
  • Ticket train Ollantaytambo / Aguas Calientes / Ollantaytambo.
  • Entrance to the Machu Picchu citadel.
  • Bilingual guides Spanish – English.
  • Taxes.

The Author
The Mavatravel team

Welcome to Mavatavel, your gateway to unforgettable travel experiences in Peru. Discover a world of adventure and culture with our premier tour agency.

Related Post

Your Adventure Starts Now! Book Your Perfect Trip with Mava Travel

Your Adventure Starts Now! Book Your Perfect Trip with Mava Travel

With just one click, you’ll be one step closer to exploring the world with comfort and style. Embark on your journey with Mava Travel!

With just one click, you’ll be one step closer to exploring the world with comfort and style. Embark on your journey with Mava Travel!