Embark on the Ultimate Salkantay Trek 5 days to Machu Picchu that blends rugged exploration with comfortable camping. Experience pristine nature with top-tier camping equipment, enjoy exceptional meals including local coffee tours and traditional Pachamanca barbecues, and relax in exclusive camping sites and hotels each night. 

The Salkantay Trek concludes with an early exploration of Machu Picchu and a memorable ride on the Vistadome Panoramic Train, which offers stunning views of the Andean landscape. This trek provides an unparalleled blend of adventure and comfort, perfect for those looking to discover the ancient wonders of Machu Picchu in style.

Trek details

5 days 4 nights
Hiking - camping - Adventure
Maximum Altitude
4630 m / 15190 ft
Machu Picchu
Group Size
8 to 12

The Ultimate Salkantay Trek 5 days and 4 nights expedition to Machu Picchu, takes you to explore some of the most remote mountains in Peru. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Peruvian wilderness with our authentic camping experience. Each night, rest in high-quality tents equipped with top-notch camping gear, set amidst breathtaking landscapes. Enjoy exceptional meals prepared by our experienced chefs, including traditional Pachamanca barbecues and unique coffee tours that highlight the rich flavors of locally grown beans.

This journey not only tests your endurance but also offers nights of comfort in tents and selected hotels, ensuring a perfect balance between adventure and relaxation. As your once-in-a-lifetime trek concludes, return on the Vistadome Panoramic Train.

Ultimate Trekking provides an unparalleled exploration of one of the world's most spectacular hikes, blending intense physical challenges with exclusive comforts, from the rugged trails of the Salkantay Pass to the ancient splendor of Machu Picchu.


  • Follow in the footsteps of the Incas along the Cordillera of Vilcabamba.
  • Get off the beaten path and explore Humantay Lake and Llaqtapta.
  • Enjoy a traditional Pachamanca underground barbecue.
  • Arrive at Machu Picchu before sunrise to witness the spectacular views.

Salkantay Trek 5 Days at a Glance:

Day 1: Cusco — Humantay Lake — Basecamp

  • Distance: 12 km - 6 hours
  • Campsite Altitude: 4000 m
  • Highest Altitude: 4200 m
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Intensity: Moderate to Challenging
  • Places Visit: Soraypampa, Humantay Lake, Salkantay Pampa

Day 2: Basecamp — Salkantay Pass — Collpapampa

  • Distance: 18 km - 9 hours
  • Campsite Altitude: 2770 m
  • Highest Altitude: 4630 m
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, snacks, lunch, tea, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Intensity: Challenging
  • Places Visited: Salkantay Pass, Wayracmachay, Collpapampa

Day 3: Collpapampa — Lucmabamba — Llaqtapata

  • Distance: 16 km - 6 hours
  • Campsite Altitude: 2750 m
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Intensity: Moderate to Challenging
  • Places Visited: Collpapampa, Llucmabamba, Llactapata
  • Experiences: Pachamanca barbecue & Coffee tour

Day 4: Llaqtapata — Hidroelectrica — Aguas Calientes

  • Distance: 14 km - 6 hours
  • Aguas Calientes Altitude: 2000 m
  • Highest Altitude: 2840 m
  • Meals Included: Breakfast, brunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: 3-star hotel
  • Intensity: Moderate to Challenging
  • Places Visited: Llactapata, Hidroelectrica, Aguas Calientes

Day 5: Machu Picchu — Cusco

  • Tour Duration: 3 hours at Machu Picchu
  • Machu Picchu Altitude: 2430 m
  • Meals Included: Breakfast
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Highlights: Sunrise at Machu Picchu, temples, palaces, plazas

Optional hikes after the Machu Picchu guided tour:

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain: Needs to be booked far in advance, takes 2 hours round trip, $68 extra per person.
  • Machu Picchu Mountain: Needs to be booked in advance, takes 3 hours round trip, and costs $68 extra per person.
Full Itinerary
Day 1: Cusco — Soraypampa — Humantay Lake — Basecamp

Pick up from your hotel in Cusco at 4:30 AM for a three-hour bus ride to the trailhead. After breakfast, start a 3-hour hike to Soraypampa (3870 m / 12696 ft). Upon arrival, enjoy a delicious fresh picnic lunch prepared by the chef, with a view of the Humantay and Salkantay snowcapped mountains. After lunch, embark on a 2-hour hike up to Humantay Lake (4200 m / 13779 ft); you'll reach this stunning location after the crowds, allowing you to explore the surroundings and take numerous photos of the turquoise waters. 

Next, continue hiking for another 2 hours to the campsite near the base of Salkantay Mountain. Along the way, observe endemic flora and fauna, including Andean geese (known locally as love birds) and vizcachas. Upon arriving at the campsite at Salkantaypampa (4000 m / 13123 ft), find your tents ready, warm water for washing, and enjoy tea time, dinner, and spend the night under a clear sky.

  • Campsite Altitude: 4000 m /13123 ft
  • Highest altitude: 4200 m / 13779 ft
  • Distance: 12 km / 7.4 miles
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Day 2: Basecamp — Salkantay Pass — Collpapampa

Before sunrise, your team will greet you at your tent with a hot cup of coffee or coca tea, offering a fantastic start to the day. As you step outside, you'll be greeted by the spectacular views of the surrounding snowcapped mountains. After breakfast, you'll embark on the longest and most challenging day of the trek. The day begins with a 2-hour climb to the expedition's highest point, The Salkantay Pass (4630 m / 15190 ft). 

Once at the top, take some time to enjoy the breathtaking vistas of the mountains. From here, descend for 2 hours to Wayrajmachay (3905 m / 12812 ft), where your chef will be waiting with another delicious meal prepared with fresh ingredients. Next, continue downhill for 4 more hours to the second campsite in the village of Collpapampa (2800 m / 9186 ft); throughout the day, the landscape transitions from the high puna covered by Ichu grass to the warm and lush cloud forest. Along the way, you'll encounter a variety of flora and fauna, including orchids and hummingbirds.

  • Campsite Altitude: 2800 m / 9186 ft
  • Highest altitude: 4630 m / 15190 ft
  • Distance: 18 km/ 11.1 miles
  • Duration: 9 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Challenging
Day 3: Collpapampa — Lucmabamba — Llaqtapata

After breakfast, start an easy 3-hour hike along the Salkantay River Valley. You'll traverse the cloud forest where local farmers cultivate coffee and various fruits such as passion fruit, oranges, bananas, avocados, yucca, and more. This path offers incredible views of the lush valley and stunning waterfalls.

For lunch, enjoy a traditional Pachamanca, an underground hot stone barbecue, where we cook all kinds of meats and vegetables. During this time, you will also visit a local coffee farm to learn about the entire coffee-making process, from planting to brewing a steaming espresso.

After lunch, embark on a 3-hour hike up to Llaqtapata. This part of the journey follows a section of an original Inca trail built in the 15th century, which connected Vilcabamba, the last capital of the Incas, with Machu Picchu. Upon arriving at Llaqtapata, you'll catch your first glimpse of the great Inca city of Machu Picchu. The campsite here boasts the best views of Machu Picchu, making it the most scenic spot on the entire trek.

  • Campsite Altitude: 2735 m/ 8974 ft.
  • Distance: 16 km / 9.9 miles
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Day 4: Llaqtapata — Hidroelectrica — Aguas Calientes

Llaqtapata is a unique spot from where you can capture photos of Machu Picchu from a different angle. The sunrise here is worth experiencing, so after waking up, grab your cup of coffee and sit to observe Machu Picchu surrounded by mountains as the clouds rise from the valley, revealing the sacred and lost City of the Incas. After breakfast, you’ll hike for two hours down the path, enjoying the sights of the tropical forest, until you arrive at the hydroelectric power station. Here, you’ll have a box lunch before continuing on the trail for three more hours to the town of Aguas Calientes. This path was used by the American professor Hiram Bingham III, who rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911. Along the way, you may encounter various species of flora and fauna, including the Peruvian national bird, the Cock of the Rock, as well as parrots, toucans, and hummingbirds.

Once in Aguas Calientes, check into your hotel and enjoy a hot shower. In the evening, enjoy your last dinner with the group in a local restaurant and prepare for the next and most important day of the Salkantay Trek.

  • Aguas Calientes Altitude: 2,000 m/ 6560 ft
  • Distance: 14 km / 8.6 miles
  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Meals: breakfast, snacks, lunch, dinner
  • Accommodation: Hotel
  • Difficulty: Moderate
Day 5: Machu Picchu — Cusco

On the final day, wake up early, have breakfast at the hotel, and catch the first buses to Machu Picchu before sunrise. The hotel will hold any items you do not need to take with you. Once at Machu Picchu, enjoy a guided tour lasting approximately 4 hours, covering the most significant sites within the citadel. The tour usually begins with a short hike to the main viewpoints, followed by an exploration of the citadel itself. After the guided tour, you'll have time to explore on your own or opt for a hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (note that these are separate from the fortress and not included in the tour).

After your time at Machu Picchu, take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes and have lunch (not included). Then, board the afternoon Panoramic Vistadome train back to Ollantaytambo, where our transportation will be waiting to take you back to your hotel in Cusco. You will arrive around 7:30 pm, marking the end of the Salkantay Trek.

  • Machu Picchu altitude: 2400 m/ 7872 ft
  • Duration of the tour: 4 hours
  • Meals: breakfast at the hotel
  • The Most Beautiful Day


  • Pick up from your hotel in Cusco
  • Duffle bag for up to 7 kilos of your stuff.
  • Cargo mules to carry food and equipment
  • Professional Native tour guides
  • Second tour guide for groups 9+
  • Camping equipment (tents, tables, chairs, porta-potty)
  • First aid kit, satellite phones, oxygen tank
  • 5 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 tea times, 4 dinners
  • Sleeping foam mattress, pillows, hot water bags
  • Entrance ticket Salkantay
  • Entrance ticket to Machu Picchu
  • One night 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Round-trip bus tickets to Machu Picchu
  • Panoramic Vistadome Train to return
  • All taxes included

Not Included:

  • Sleeping bag, trekking poles, air mattress (can be hired)
  • Huayna Picchu tickets
  • Machu Picchu tickets (Different than Machu Picchu Citadel)
  • Last day lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)

What is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is a renowned trekking route in the Cusco region of Peru that leads to Machu Picchu. It is celebrated as one of the best alternative routes to the classic Inca Trail. This trek offers breathtaking mountain landscapes, high-altitude passes, and a variety of ecological zones, providing a rich and varied trekking experience.

What is the total distance of the 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu?

The 5-day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu covers a total distance of about 64 kilometers, which is approximately 39 miles. This journey starts at the base of the impressive Salkantay Mountain and continues through diverse landscapes until reaching the famous Machu Picchu.

How challenging is the Ultimate Salkantay Trek 5 days and 4 nights?

The Salkantay Trekking to Machu Picchu, which takes 5 days and 4 nights, is quite challenging. It involves long walks each day, high altitudes, and some steep climbs. Being physically fit and having some previous experience with hiking at high altitudes are important to enjoy and complete this trek comfortably.

What are the main highlights along the Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu?

On the Ultimate Salkantay Trail, you will enjoy several breathtaking sights, including Humantay Lake, Salkantay Mountain, and hikes in the Andes and the cloud forest. Experience a traditional Pachamanca barbecue and coffee tours. You'll camp at Llactapata, which offers an amazing view of Machu Picchu from a distance and has a rich history. The trek concludes with a remarkable view of Machu Picchu.

What type of climate should I prepare for on the 5-day Salkantay trek?

On this trek, be ready for changing climates. At higher places like Salkantay Pass, expect cold and windy conditions, and as you descend into lower areas, the environment becomes warmer and more humid. Packing rain gear is essential because weather changes can happen quickly and are unpredictable.

Can you describe the camping facilities available during the Salkantay trek?

The camping facilities during the Salkantay trek are basic yet functional. You will stay in tents at campsites that are equipped with essential facilities like toilets. Some campsites also have areas where cooks prepare your meals. These sites are set up to offer a comfortable resting experience in nature.

What should I pack for the Salkantay Trek?

During the Salkantay Trek 5 days, you will need a daypack for daily essentials and a duffle bag provided by Ultimate Trekking during the briefing, which the mules will carry. It's important to note that, according to regulations, your backpack should not exceed 25L to be allowed in Machu Picchu. If you have a larger bag, please get in touch with us.

In the daypack, always carry:

  • Original Passport for Machu Picchu
  • Student ID (if you booked as a student)
  • Sun protection, hats, and sunglasses
  • Rain gear, jackets, rain ponchos
  • Warm clothes (fleece jackets, sweaters)
  • Sun cream, insect repellent
  • Hand sanitizer, wet wipes, toilet paper
  • Toothbrush and paste, face moisturizer
  • Personal medication, band-aids, moleskin
  • Camera, extra batteries, torch
  • Camel bags or water containers for at least 2 liters
  • Extra snacks, power bars, chocolate
  • Extra money for souvenirs, drinks, and tips

What to pack in the duffle bags for the Salkantay Trek:

Ultimate Trekking Peru will provide a duffle bag during the briefing held the day before the trek at our office. This must include any sleeping bags (2 kilos) and air mattresses (1 kilo) you may need to rent from us. The duffle bags are only accessible at the campsites.

  • Sleeping bag (can be hired from us)Air mattress (can be rented from us)
  • Hiking shoes, sandals, or sneakers
  • Warm jacket, hats, and gloves
  • Five sets of clothing for the entire tour
  • 3-4 comfortable pants for hiking
  • Five sets of undergarments
  • Five sets of hiking socks
  • One fleece or down jacket
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Soap or shampoo
  • Battery charger
  • Plastic bags

These guidelines ensure that you have everything you need for a comfortable trek while complying with local regulations.

What kind of meals are provided during the Salkantay trekking tour?

During the trek, you will receive three meals a day, which are prepared by cooks who travel with your group. The food includes a mix of local Peruvian dishes and familiar international foods, all designed to provide you with enough energy for the hike. Expect to enjoy a variety of nutritious meals such as soups, stews, pasta, rice dishes, fresh vegetables, and fruits.

How does the 5-day Salkantay Trek differ from other Machu Picchu hikes?

Unlike the more crowded Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek offers a journey through more remote areas, providing amazing natural scenery and a sense of adventure without the heavy tourist traffic. This trek is perfect for those who seek a more solitary and immersive experience in nature.

What are the elevation gains and challenges on the Salkantay trail?

One of the biggest challenges on the trail is dealing with the high elevation, especially when you reach the Salkantay Pass, the highest point at about 4,600 meters (15,092 feet). The high altitude can make hiking more difficult and could lead to altitude sickness if not properly managed.

What fitness level is required for the 5-day Salkantay hike?

You need to be in moderate/good physical condition to undertake this 5-day trek. The trek involves several hours of hiking each day, often over rough terrain and steep slopes. Preparing with physical training and ensuring you are comfortable with long walks is highly recommended.

How can I manage acclimatization to high altitude?

To help you adjust to the high altitudes, it is recommended that you arrive in Cusco a few days before the trek. Starting the trek at lower altitudes and gradually moving higher allows your body to adapt to the thin air, which can help prevent altitude sickness.

What wildlife and plants might I encounter along the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu?

The Salkantay trek passes through various ecosystems, each supporting different types of flora and fauna. You might see orchids, ferns, and other high-altitude plants, as well as wildlife such as the Andean fox, different types of deer, and bird species like hummingbirds and the Andean condor.

Are there any cultural or historical sites we will visit during the trek?

Yes, the trek is not only about natural beauty but also includes rich cultural and historical aspects. You'll pass through local villages where you can learn about the lifestyles of the indigenous communities. The route also features visits to ancient Inca sites, providing a deep dive into the area's historical background.

What is the best time of year to undertake the Salkantay trek to Cusco?

The most favorable time to go on the Salkantay trek is during the dry season, which runs from April to October. During these months, the weather is generally clearer with minimal rainfall, making the trekking conditions safer and more enjoyable.

How much does the 5-day Salkantay trek cost, and what does it include?

The cost for this trek usually ranges from $500 to $800, depending on the service level and the tour operator you choose. This fee typically covers all necessary services, including guides, porters, cooks, meals, camping equipment, entrance fees to Machu Picchu, and transport to and from the trek's start and end points.

What are the typical group sizes for the Salkantay trek tours?

Group sizes for these tours generally range from 8 to 16 people, which helps ensure a more personal and engaging experience. Smaller groups allow for better interaction with the guide and fellow trekkers.

What are the conservation efforts on the Salkantay Trail?

Conservation efforts at Ultimate Trekking include strict rules on waste management, the use of eco-friendly practices in campsites, and guidelines that ensure minimal impact on the natural environment. These efforts help maintain the trail's beauty and sustainability for future visitors.

What emergency services are available during the trek?

In case of an emergency, the trek is supported by experienced guides who are trained in first aid and emergency response. Emergency evacuation plans are in place, including porter assistance and transport to medical facilities if necessary. We travel equipped with a first aid kit, satellite phones, shortwave radios, and an oxygen tank.

How do I get to the starting point of the Salkantay trek from Cusco?

Transportation to the starting point of the Salkantay Trek is organized by the tour company. If you are traveling by yourself, you can take a shared van or taxi from Arcopata to Mollepata town in Cusco. From there, hire a private taxi to Soraypampa and begin the hike to Humantay Lake and Machu Picchu.

What are the cancellation and refund policies for the Salkantay trekking tours?

To book the Salkantay Trek 5-day trip to Machu Picchu, we require an initial payment of $200 per person. This amount is used to book Machu Picchu tickets, hotels, and trains. In the event of cancellation, the initial deposit is non-refundable and non-transferable. However, if you are unable to travel, don't hesitate to get in touch with us to see how we can best assist you.