Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are on just about everyone’s bucket list, and for very good reason. Stepping back in time and exploring the Inca’s Lost City, tracing the footsteps of Hiram Bingham, and experiencing first-hand the spectacular Quechuan culture is not something to be missed in one’s life. I had the opportunity to experience a great deal of this in 2013, when I flew to Cusco for the Salkantay and Ausangate treks. The Inca Trail is historic, and a beautiful walk from what I’ve heard. Due to it’s popularity, it is incredibly crowded, and a strict permit system limits the number of tourists who can walk each year. If you find yourself unable to find a guide company (required) with space left for an Inca Trail trek, strongly consider the Salktantay Trek. It was my preferred choice from what I saw online, and having now walked it, I am very happy with my choice. You can read detailed daily trip reports below, packed with stunning images from the trek to Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Trek Day 1Salkantay Trek Day 1

Our first day began with breakfast, which was our first introduction to our incredible chef, Super Mario! Effrain gave us the breakdown on our 9 mile trek for day one. We started at 12477 ft in Soraypampa…

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Salkantay Trek Day 2Salkantay Trek Day 2

We woke to the faint hint of light that paints the sky just before daybreak. The sun rises a little later in the mountains, as it takes a little more time to clear the towering peaks on the horizon…

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Salkantay Trek Day 3Salkantay Trek Day 3

The first few miles of hiking on day three followed a road through an organic coffee farm. It was amazing to see all of the coffee beans laying out to dry. Our guide told us that a lot of the beans go to waste on certain farms…

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Salkantay Trek Day 4Salkantay Trek Day 4

Sparkling sheets of clouds moved quickly overhead, allowing beams of light to shine in our direction over the heads of mountain peaks in the distance. We had our final breakfast with Mario, and of all the things…

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Salkantay Trek Day 5Salkantay Trek Day 5

The sun had just risen as we walked though the gates of the park, and we followed Effrain closely as he told us stories of Hiram Bingam and Inca legend. When we arrived to the destination he had talked about…

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 Salkantay Trek/Machu Picchu

 Miles (Elev. Gain)


 Day 1: Cusco to Soraypampa to Wayracpunku  9 (3000 ft)  Wayracpunku
 Day 2: Wayracpunku to La Playa  14 (1500 ft)  La Playa
 Day 3: La Playa to Llactapata  7.5 (2600 ft)  Llactapata
 Day 4: Llactapata to Aguas Calientes  9 (981 ft) Aguas Calientes
 Day 5: Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu 5  None (Cusco)

Looking for another trek in Peru? Try Ausangate! Click Here

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6 comments on “Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

  1. I’ve been dreaming the Salkantay Trek ever! Hope I can manage to go to this trip soon. 🙂

  2. Love the outlay of the posts, really easy to navigate. Amazing pics and stories, thanks!

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