Salcantay Trek

Day 0 - Cuzco: At noon in the Cuzco operations office at Avenida Pardo 705, we meet for trek orientation.  Your guide reviews trek expectations, sanitation and hygiene, required personal clothing and equipment, packing lists and strategies, and answers other frequently-asked questions.  We collect the park fee as a local payment, and distribute the trail duffels, weigh-scales, sleeping bags (if you are renting these) and Thermarest sleeping pads.

Day 1 - Mollepata/Salcantaypampa: We depart Cuzco by private van, traveling west across the Pampa de Anta, over the Vilcaconga Pass, and down into the hot Apurimac River valley.  After visiting the remote Inca shrine at Tarawasi to marvel at its wonderful stonework detail, we leave the main highway and switchback up the mountainside. We pass through the village of Mollepata (2,850m/9,348') and continue up the valley as the huge peaks of the range come into view. We meet our wranglers at Soraypampa, and enjoy lunch. With camp gear and personal duffels loaded on horses, we set out northward, on a short afternoon hike up toward the south face of Salcantay. Our first camp is at Salcantaypampa, adjacent to the terminal moraine of the main south-facing glacier at 4,000m/13,120'. 2.6 miles. LD.

Day 2 - Incachiriaska: We continue our ascent alongside an enormous glacial moraine.  The views from the summit of  4,950m/16,200' Incachiriaska Pass justifies all the hard work. Beyond the pass, we descend gradually beneath Salcantay's east face.  We drop down to the hamlet of Pampaccahuana, where centuries ago the Incas channeled the river bed into a straight course to protect the pasture lands.  We camp by the river.  7.2 miles.  BLD

Day 3 - Llulluchapampa: We gradually descend the valley of the Cusichaca River, through a rugged landscape with lacy waterfalls, and hummingbirds flitting among the flowering bushes.  At the hamlet of Wayllabamba, we rendezvous with porters and bid farewell to our wranglers.  It’s a steady climb in the afternoon to reach our high camp at Llulluchapampa (3,800 m/ 12,460’).  We enjoy stunning views east to the snowpeaks of the Huaynay Range. 8.3 miles.  BLD

Day 4 - Sayaqmarka: We continue climbing to reach Warmiwañusqa Pass (4,200 m/13,776’) and descend into the forested valley beyond.  Reaching a lower pass, we see the massive peaks of the western Vilcabamba Range, and the cloud-forested slopes descending from Nevado Salcantay to the Urubamba River.  After visiting the exquisite outpost of Sayaqmarka, we follow the ancient highway through a tunnel, and over a low pass to Phuyopatamarka (City in the Clouds), the finest of the restored sites on the high route. 7 miles. BLD

Day 5 - Machu Picchu:  We descend steadily down a long stone Inca staircase through cloud forest festooned with orchids and delicate wild begonias.  We visit the Inca site at Winya Wayna, then continue on to the Gate of the Sun for our first view of Machu Picchu from above in the late afternoon. We travel by shuttle bus from the ruins to the nearby  town of Aguas Calientes.  Overnight in hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight. 6 miles. BL

Day 6 - Machu Picchu: We enter Machu Picchu early for a day of discovery.  After our guide completes his intensive tour of the main site, you have time for some exploration on your own.   Many of our trekkers climb Huayna Picchu peak.  In late afternoon, we return to Cuzco by train. B

Tour Leadership: We pride ourselves on the quality, experience, and wide-ranging skills of our trekking guides.  They are Peruvians, born and raised in the Cuzco highlands, who have combined their love of the mountains of their homeland with years of professional training.  They are fluent in English, and bring to their groups a variety of personal interests ranging from birding to astronomy.  Most of all, they are caring individuals.  They make it their personal goal to see that you have the trip of a lifetime.

Important: at the time we confirm your participation on this trek, we register your complete name and your passport number (as these appear on your trip application) with park authorities on the official trek permit.  The trek permit is a legal document with specific restrictions limiting changes.  You must bring this same passport with you on the trek.  If for whatever reason you cannot bring the passport that is registered on the permit at the time of your original booking, or if you change your passport and cannot bring the original document, or if the information you originally supplied differs from what actually appears on your passport, park authorities may refuse you access to the Inca Trail.


Included: full service trek with all the amenities for which we are famous; excellent English-speaking guide; Thermarest sleeping pad; trail duffel. All meals during the trek. 


Not Included: Airfare, airport departure taxes (currently approx. $6 for domestic flights, $31 for international filghts;) Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary fee (as of Aug 1, 2011, the rate is S/.251 - approx. $96 at current exchange rates.) The park fee is subject to change without prior notice; hotels pre and post trek (we can book hotels for you;) meals in Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu; gratuities for guides and trekking staff; sleeping  bag or other personal equipment (you receive a detailed equipment list and other valuable information in our pre-departure packet;) immunizations, insurance, laundry, telephone charges, other personal items.

Quick Facts

  • 6 days hiking/4 nights camping/1 night hotel
  • Permit required for Inca Trail portion; book 6 months in advance
  • In/Out Cuzco
  • Remote hiking beneath majestic Nevado Salcantay (6,271 m/ 20,600')
  • Enjoy unspoiled Inca Trails and tranquil Andean valleys
  • Explore the magnificent ridge-top city of Machu Picchu

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