The Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition to Machu Picchu is a 6-day, 5-night trek that combines two of the most popular trails in the Cusco region of Peru: the Salkantay Trek and the classic Inca Trail. This challenging yet rewarding journey culminates at the iconic Machu Picchu. You'll traverse diverse landscapes, from snow-capped mountains and lush cloud forests to ancient Inca ruins, each step bringing you closer to your breathtaking destination.

Trek details

6 days 5 nights
Hiking - Camping - Adventure
Maximum Altitude
5100 m / 16732 ft
Machu Picchu
Group Size
Private tour (1-16)

Embark on the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition, a 6-day, 5-night adventure to Machu Picchu that combines the stunning landscapes of the Salkantay Trek with the historical richness of the Inca Trail. This unique journey begins with the rugged terrain near Humantay Lake and the Salkantay Pass, moving through diverse ecosystems and offering stunning views before joining the classic Inca Trail.

Your adventure will be enhanced by expert guidance, where you'll learn about the deep-rooted history of the paths walked by the Incas. The trek offers a mix of natural and cultural insights, with visits to significant Inca sites like Wiñaywayna and Phuyupatamarca, culminating with the iconic sunrise view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.

Camping along this trek is not just a rest stop; it's an experience, featuring secluded campsites near majestic mountains, perfect for stargazing. Comfort won't be compromised, thanks to the support of a dedicated team including porters and chefs who provide delicious Peruvian cuisine throughout the journey.

This tour promises a comprehensive exploration with both challenging hikes and enriching cultural exchanges, making every step memorable. The return journey includes a ride on the exclusive Vistadome panoramic train, ensuring a comfortable and scenic return to Cusco.


  • Explore stunning Humantay Lake
  • Camp next to Salkantay Mountain
  • Hike the ancient stone pathway of the Inca Trail.
  • Arrive at Machu Picchu and witness the sunrise from the Sun Gate.
  • Return on the Panoramic Vistadome Train

Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition at a Glance!

Day 1: Soraypampa — Humantay Lake — Ichupata

  • Hiking Distance: 16 km / 10 miles
  • Hike from Soraypampa to Humantay Lake.
  • Take photos and enjoy the views of the lake.
  • Continue to Ichupata and set up camp.

Day 2: Ichupata — Sisaypampa — Canal Inca

  • Hiking Distance: 13 km / 8 miles
  • Cross Inka Frozen Pass.
  • Hike through Andean valleys, enjoying mountain views.
  • Trek to Canal Inca and set up camp for the night.

Day 3: Canal Inca — Huayllabamba — Ayapata

  • Hiking Distance: 15 km / 9.3 miles
  • Descend to Huayllabamba, where the classic Inca Trail begins.
  • Hike through lush cloud forests along the Inca Trail.
  • Camp at Ayapata, situated in a high-altitude forest.

Day 4: Ayapata — Warmiwañuska — Chaquicocha

  • Hiking Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
  • Climb steeply to Warmiwañuska (Dead Woman's Pass), the trek's highest point.
  • Enjoy panoramic views from the pass, then descend into Pacaymayo Valley.
  • Continue to the scenic campsite at Chaquicocha.

Day 5: Chaquicocha — Phuyupatamarca — Wiñaywayna

  • Hiking Distance: 10 km / 6.2 miles
  • Hike through the cloud forest to the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarca.
  • Descend to Wiñaywayna, another notable Inca site.
  • Camp at Wiñaywayna to rest before the final day of hiking.

Day 6: Wiñaywayna — Machu Picchu — Cusco

  • Hiking Distance: 6 km / 3.7 miles
  • Hike to Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) for sunrise over Machu Picchu.
  • Descend to the Machu Picchu citadel and explore on a guided tour.
  • Return on the Panoramic Trains.
Full Itinerary
Day 1: Soraypampa — Humantay lake — Ichupata (16 km / 10 miles)

Begin your adventure on the first day of the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition at Soraypampa, starting from the campsite situated at 3,900 meters (12,795 feet). This location serves as the starting point for both the Salkantay Trek and the Humantay Lake hike. From Soraypampa, embark on a 2-hour uphill journey to the breathtaking Humantay Lake, located at 4,200 meters (13,780 feet). Here, you can enjoy the stunning turquoise waters and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, including the snow-capped Humantay Peak.

After you visit Humantay Lake, descend back to the trail and proceed towards Salkantaypampa, which is set at 4,100 meters (13,451 feet). This area is known for its beautiful meadows and splendid views of Salkantay Mountain. Continue your trek from Salkantaypampa to Ichupata, elevated at 4,350 meters (14,271 feet), where you will set up camp for the night. The campsite at Ichupata offers an exceptional view of the Salkantay glacier and serves as a perfect spot to rest and rejuvenate before the challenging second day of your expedition.

You will cover approximately 15 km (9.3 miles) throughout the day, experiencing the diverse landscapes of the region. The total hiking time is around 7-8 hours, including breaks for lunch and sightseeing. It is crucial to stay hydrated and maintain a steady pace, given the high-altitude trekking involved.

Day 2: Ichupata — Sisaypampa — Canal Inca (13 km / 8 miles)

On the second day of the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition, begin your morning at the Ichupata campsite, perched at 4,350 meters (14,271 feet). After breakfast, prepare for the day's hike. Start with a challenging ascent to the Salkantay Pass, the highest point of the trek at 4,630 meters (15,190 feet), where you can enjoy spectacular views of Salkantay Mountain and its surrounding snow-capped peaks.

However, there seems to be a typo in the description of your descent into Sisaypampa, as the stated elevation of 5,100 meters (16,732 feet) is higher than the Salkantay Pass. Sisaypampa is actually lower and serves as a tranquil area known for its vibrant wildflowers and scenic vistas of the Vilcabamba Mountain Range.

Continue your trek from Sisaypampa to Canal Inca, located at 3,800 meters (12,467 feet). Here, you'll set up camp for the night near an ancient Inca water channel, providing a perfect place for rest and recovery after the day’s efforts.

Over the course of the day, you will cover approximately 13 km (8 miles) with a total hiking time of about 6-7 hours, including breaks for lunch and sightseeing. This day is considered one of the most challenging due to the altitude and the ascent to the Salkantay Pass. Staying well-hydrated and pacing yourself is crucial to conserve energy for the days ahead.

Day 3: Canal Inca — Huayllabamba — Ayapata (15 km / 9.3 miles)

On the third day of the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition, you'll transition from the rugged Salkantay Trek to the historic Classic Inca Trail. Start your day from Canal Inca at the campsite located at 3,800 meters (12,467 feet), near an ancient Inca water channel, and begin your descent towards Huayllabamba, passing through the lush cloud forest.

Upon reaching Huayllabamba, a small village at 3,000 meters (9,843 feet), you'll join the Classic Inca Trail. This path will eventually lead you to the iconic Machu Picchu. From Huayllabamba, continue ascending to Ayapata, where you'll camp for the night at 3,300 meters (10,826 feet). Nestled within the cloud forest, Ayapata offers a serene environment, perfect for rest and recovery after a day’s hike.

Throughout the day, you'll cover approximately 15 km (9.3 miles), with a total hiking time of around 7-8 hours, including necessary breaks for lunch and sightseeing. The day features a mix of ascents and descents through diverse landscapes, including cloud forests and valleys. The varied terrain and increased difficulty of hiking on the Inca Trail make it essential to stay well-hydrated and maintain a steady pace to manage the challenges of the trail effectively.

Day 4: Ayapata — Warmiwañuska — Chaquicocha (16km / 9.9 miles)

On the fourth day of the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition, prepare for one of the most challenging stretches of your journey. Starting from Ayapata, located at 3,300 meters (10,826 feet), enjoy a hearty breakfast to fuel up for a day filled with steep ascents and breathtaking scenery.

Begin your climb to Warmiwañuska, or Dead Woman's Pass, the highest point on the Inca Trail at 4,215 meters (13,828 feet). Reaching this peak provides panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and mountains—a truly rewarding sight and a testament to your effort. Take a moment to appreciate your accomplishment.

After conquering the pass, descend to the valley of Pacaymayo, situated at 3,600 meters (11,811 feet), where you will have lunch and a well-deserved rest. Then, continue your ascent to the Runkurakay Pass at 3,950 meters (12,959 feet). Along the way, visit the Runkurakay Inca ruins, a small circular structure that once served as a rest stop for ancient Inca travelers.

Your day concludes at the campsite in Chaquicocha, located at 3,670 meters (12,040 feet). This campsite offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys, making it an ideal spot for rest and reflection.

Throughout the day, you'll cover approximately 16 km (9.9 miles) with a total hiking time of around 8-9 hours, including breaks for lunch and sightseeing. Given the steep ascents and high altitude of the day, it is crucial to stay well-hydrated and pace yourself wisely to conserve energy for the upcoming days.

Day 5: Chaquicocha — Phuyupatamarca — Wiñaywayna (10km / 6.2 miles)

On the fifth day of the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition, you'll embark on a journey enriched with cultural heritage and stunning landscapes. Start your morning at the Chaquicocha campsite, located at 3,670 meters (12,040 feet). After enjoying breakfast, gear up for a day’s hike through historical landscapes.

Your first stop is Phuyupatamarca, or "The Town Above the Clouds," situated at 3,650 meters (11,975 feet). A gradual ascent leads you to this well-preserved archaeological site, which offers breathtaking views over the surrounding valleys and mountains—a magnificent testament to Incan engineering and aesthetics.

From Phuyupatamarca, begin your descent through lush cloud forests to Intipata, an Incan agricultural site located at 2,710 meters (8,891 feet). The sprawling terraces of Intipata provide strategic views of the Urubamba River and the encompassing mountains.

Continue your trek to Wiñaywayna, which translates to "Forever Young" in Quechua, at 2,650 meters (8,694 feet). This impressive site features extensive agricultural terraces and a beautifully constructed ceremonial center. Set up your camp nearby for the night.

This day covers approximately 10 km (6.2 miles) and involves an estimated hike of 5-6 hours, including breaks for lunch and exploration. Though less strenuous than in previous days, it offers ample opportunities to delve into the rich history of the Inca ruins and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty. As always, maintain hydration and a steady pace, especially given the lower altitude and potentially easier breathing conditions.

Day 6: Wiñaywayna — Machu Picchu — Cusco (6km / 3.7 miles)

On the final day of the Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition, you will embark on the last leg of your journey, leading to the iconic Machu Picchu. Begin early from the Wiñaywayna campsite, located at 2,650 meters (8,694 feet), where you'll enjoy breakfast and prepare for the day ahead.

Start with a short hike to Inti Punku, or the Sun Gate, at 2,720 meters (8,924 feet). Here, you'll catch your first breathtaking glimpse of Machu Picchu. The Sun Gate offers an inspiring view that perfectly frames the ancient citadel, providing a moment to appreciate the majestic scenery surrounding this historic site.

Continue your descent to Machu Picchu, situated at 2,430 meters (7,972 feet). Upon arrival, join a guided tour to learn about the rich history and significant architectural features of this world-renowned Inca ruin. After the tour, you’ll have free time to explore further, whether it’s a stroll to the Inca Bridge or a climb up Huayna Picchu, provided you have secured the necessary permits beforehand.

In the afternoon, head to the nearby town of Aguas Calientes at 2,040 meters (6,693 feet). Choose to walk or take a bus for the short journey down. From Aguas Calientes, board a train to Ollantaytambo, followed by a transfer back to Cusco, which is at 3,400 meters (11,155 feet). This marks the end of your Salkantay + Inca Trail Expedition.

Today’s trek spans approximately 6 km (3.7 miles) and takes around 2-3 hours of hiking, excluding the time spent exploring Machu Picchu. The final day is less strenuous, allowing you to fully absorb the wonder and historical significance of Machu Picchu, providing a fitting climax to your adventurous expedition.


  • Professional bilingual guide (English/Spanish)
  • Pre-trek briefing and orientation
  • Transportation to the starting point of the trek and return to Cusco
  • Permits for the Inca Trail and entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Accommodation in tents for five nights, including a dining tent and toilet tent
  • Camping equipment such as sleeping pads, tents, and cooking equipment
  • Meals during the trek (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks)
  • Boiled or purified water for drinking during the trek
  • Porters or pack animals to carry camping equipment, food, and up to a certain weight of personal belongings
  • First-aid kit and emergency oxygen
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu
  • Bus ticket from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes
  • Train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transportation from Ollantaytambo to Cusco
  • Environmental and local community fees


  • International and domestic flights
  • Hotel accommodations before and after the trek
  • Personal trekking equipment such as hiking boots, backpacks, and trekking poles
  • Sleeping bags (usually available for rent from the tour operator)
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary (e.g., meals in Cusco or Aguas Calientes)
  • Additional activities or entrance fees not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips for the trekking crew (guides, porters, and cooks)
  • Personal expenses, such as souvenirs or snacks
  • Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain permits

What is the total distance of the Salkantay + Inca Trail expedition?

The total walking distance for the Salkantay and Inca Trail combined expedition is about 75 kilometers, which is around 43 miles. This adventure includes walking through varied landscapes, starting with the remote and stunning paths of the Salkantay Trek and finishing with the historically rich Inca Trail that leads to Machu Picchu.

How does the difficulty of the Salkantay Trek compare to the Inca Trail?

The Salkantay Trek is often more demanding and challenging than the Inca Trail. It reaches higher altitudes, features rougher terrain, and requires longer daily hiking distances. It is well-suited for those who seek a challenge and have previous hiking experience at high altitudes. The combination of these two epic hikes in Peru, known as the Salkantay Inca Trail Expedition, is one of the most remote and challenging hikes available in Peru and the world.

What unique landscapes are featured along the Salkantay Trail vs. Inca Trail to Machu Picchu?

The Salkantay Trail offers amazing and varied landscapes, including the imposing view of Mount Salkantay, vast open valleys, and lush jungle sections as you approach Machu Picchu. In contrast, the Inca Trail is rich with historical paths, featuring ancient Inca ruins, cloud forests, and subtropical jungles, and it leads directly to Machu Picchu.

What is the elevation of Salkantay Pass, and how does it impact the trek?

The highest point on the Salkantay + Inca Trail trek is the Frozen Inca pass, at 5,100 meters (16,732 feet). Due to the thin air, this high elevation can make the trek quite strenuous, increasing the risk of altitude sickness. Acclimatization days are important to help your body adjust and reduce the impact of the altitude.

What weather conditions should I prepare for on the Salkantay + Inca Trail?

Prepare for a range of weather conditions on your trek. At higher elevations, expect cold and possibly snowy conditions, while lower elevations can be warmer and humid. Rain is possible at any time of the year, so waterproof clothing and gear are essential.

What should participants pack for the Salkantay and Inca Trail trek?

Packing for the Salkantay Inca Trail Expedition to Machu Picchu involves planning for various terrains and weather conditions. Here’s a detailed list of what to pack for a 6-day trek:


  • Base Layers: Choose lightweight and moisture-wicking materials.
    Insulating Layers: Pack fleece or wool sweaters and a down jacket for cold weather.
  • Waterproof Jacket: A breathable, waterproof jacket is crucial for protection against rain and wind.
  • Trekking Pants: Bring convertible and quick-drying pants. Have a couple of pairs.
  • Shorts: Useful for warmer days at lower elevations.
  • Hiking Boots: Ensure they are waterproof and well-worn to avoid blisters.
  • Hiking Socks: Pack several pairs of moisture-wicking socks and a few warmer pairs.
  • Hat and Gloves: Bring a warm hat and gloves for chilly mornings and evenings.
  • Sun Hat: To shield yourself from the sun.
  • Bandana or Buff: Protects your neck and face from the sun and dust.

Hiking Gear:

  • Backpack: A comfortable backpack with a rain cover.
  • Sleeping Bag: Choose one that is suitable for temperatures as low as -10°C (14°F).
  • Trekking Poles: These help reduce the strain on your knees, especially during downhill walks.
  • Headlamp: Crucial for early morning starts or late finishes.
  • Water Bottles or Hydration System: Carry at least 2 liters of water.
  • Sunglasses: Ensure they offer high UV protection.

Personal Items:

  • Sunscreen: Use a high SPF to protect against the strong sun.
  • Insect Repellent: Important in the lower jungle regions.
  • Personal Toiletries: Opt for minimal and biodegradable products.
  • First Aid Kit: Include medicine for altitude sickness, bandages, blister plasters, pain relief, and any personal medications.
  • Camera and Power Bank: To take photos and keep your devices charged.
  • Snacks: Pack high-energy bars or trail mix to keep your energy levels up between meals.

Important Documents:

  • Passport: Necessary for entry into Machu Picchu.
  • Travel Insurance: Make sure it covers high-altitude trekking.
  • Permits and Tickets: Your tour operator usually arranges these but keeps copies with you.

Always with you:

  • Plastic Bags: Useful for keeping dirty clothes separate and electronics dry.
  • Hand Sanitizer and Wet Wipes: Essential for cleaning your hands when water is unavailable.
  • Earplugs and Eye Mask: Useful for sleeping in communal tents or noisy areas.

This list should cover all the essentials for a trek on the Salkantay Inca Trail. Always check with your tour operator for any specific requirements or supplies they might provide, such as tents or meals.

What camping facilities are available on the Salkantay Inca Trail?

The camping facilities along the Salkantay and Inca Trail are basic but functional. You'll stay in tents, which are set up by porters at designated campsites each night. These sites usually have basic toilet facilities.

How do meal arrangements work during the Salkantay trekking Inca Trail expedition?

Meals during the trek are prepared by our talented chefs who travel with your group. They offer a variety of dishes that provide the necessary nutrients and energy for hiking. Breakfast typically includes porridge, eggs, and bread, while lunch and dinner often feature soups, pasta, rice, chicken, and vegetables, all served buffet style.

What fitness level is required for the Salkantay + Inca Trail?

A high level of fitness is required for this trek. Participants should be able to handle several days of continuous walking, often on steep and uneven terrain at high altitudes. Prior hiking experience, particularly on multi-day treks, and pre-trek physical preparation are highly recommended.

Are there cultural experiences specific to the Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail?

Yes, the Salkantay Trek offers the opportunity to experience more remote Andean cultures compared to the Inca Trail. You might pass through small villages where you can meet local people, see their traditional way of life, and sometimes participate in cultural activities.

How does the staff in the Salkantay Tour ensure safety and handle altitude sickness?

Our guides are well-trained and experienced in first aid and managing altitude sickness. Each group is equipped with emergency communication devices such as radios and satellite phones. Guides also carry essential first aid kits, including oxygen tanks. 

What is the best time of year to undertake the Camino Salkantay to Machu Picchu?

The best time to go on this trek is during the dry season, from May to September. During these months, there is less rain, and the paths are generally drier and safer to walk on, making the trek more enjoyable.

What wildlife might I encounter along the Salkantay Camino and Inca Trail?

Along the trail, you might spot diverse wildlife, including various bird species like hummingbirds and the Andean condor. Mammals such as the spectacled bear and viscachas (a type of rodent similar to a rabbit) can sometimes be seen, especially in the quieter, less-traveled sections of the path.

What are the group sizes typically like on the Salkantay trek vs Inca Trail expeditions?

During the Salkantay + Inca Trail expeditions, we only organize private tours, and the groups can range from 1 to 16 people. If your party has more than 16 participants, we can definitely organize a larger group tour and provide excellent prices.

Can I charge my devices during the Salkantay + Inca Trail trek?

Charging electronic devices is not possible during the trek. It's advisable to bring portable power banks or solar chargers to keep your devices charged throughout the journey.

What are the options for emergency evacuations on the Salkantay + Inca Trail hike?

In case of an emergency, established protocols include evacuation by horseback or porter to the nearest road, followed by transportation to a medical facility. The communication equipment carried by guides facilitates swift coordination of emergency services, ensuring a quick response when needed.

What are the cancellation and refund policies for the Salkantay + Inca Trail tours?

Cancellation and refund of the initial deposit are not possible since we use the money to secure non-refundable Inca Trail permits. However, if you need to change your travel plans, please contact us, and we will explore the best way to support you.