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Salkantay, 4 Day Alternative Trek to Machu Picchu

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If the Inca Trail is full, enjoy the Salkantay alternative path to Machu Picchu on this 4 day journey with an official South America Planet guide.



4 Days

Mar - Nov




* Spend the day exploring the incredible Machu Picchu ruins.

* Enjoy trekking on the alternative path to the ruins.

* Gaze at several amazing peaks from the Salkantay pass.


Going to Machu Picchu is the experience of a lifetime. And the journey to get there is just as amazing. However, due to that high level of popularity, there are times when more people wish to trek there, than there are permits available to do it on the famed Inca Trail. But, there are other routes you can take to the great ruins, including this 4 day alternative trek that will take you as high as the Salkantay pass (4,650m).

The Salkantay route is a gorgeous trek. However, it is also a tough one at times, with several strenuous spots. As a result, you will be given plenty of opportunities to rest and get properly acclimatized during the trip. Moreover, at the end of each day’s hike, you will get to enjoy delicious food and rest in a comfortable camp site, and even a hotel room in Aguas Calientes.

Beginning in Cusco, this trip will take you through the Amazonian rain forest. It will take you to incredible heights, where you can gaze at some of the highest peaks in the area. It will take you on scenic bus rides and train rides. You will get to take mini hikes to other scenic spots and visit local villages. And finally, this trek will take you to the incomparable Machu Picchu ruins.

It is often said it is not where you’re going, but how you get there. In the case of this amazing 4-day trek, that is absolutely true. If that sounds like the kind of experience you want to have, just send us a request. We look forward to guiding you on this unforgettable expedition.

We can also take you to Machu Picchu on the Inca Trail, if permits are available for the time you wish to go, on this 4-day trip.

Price includes

- Accommodation included

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Lunch

- Dinner

- Snacks

- Transport during the trip

- Permit and entrance fees

Price details

Prices can be attained upon request.

Along with the guiding fee, the price also includes pick-up from your hotel, transportation to the start of the trail, horses for carrying supplies, cook, bus tickets to go to Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes and back, entrance fees, inflatable mattress, hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes, Train ticket to back to Poroy or Ollantaytambo, meals, camping equipment and transfers. However, the price does not include breakfast on the first day and lunch on the last day, extra nights in Aguas Calientes, personal horse (can be rented for 150 USD for 3 days), entrance fee to hot springs, walking sticks, sleeping bag (you can rent one for 20 USD for the 4 days), single room occupancy in Aguas Calientes (you can have it for 15 USD extra) and gratuities.


Day 1: Cusco – Marqoqasa – Soraypampa (5-7h)

We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco at 5:30 am, and by bus go to Mollepata. From there, we will go to Marqoqasa. At around 9:30 am, we will begin trekking to Soraypampa (3,900m), where we will be spending the night at a camp site. Once there, you can either relax at the site, or venture to the Umantay lake (4,200m). That trip will take approximately 3 hours there and back.

Day 2: Salkantaypampa –Chaullay (9h)

We will wake up at 6:00 am, have breakfast and hike up to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay pass (4,650m). It is a tough ascent and will take approximately 3 hours and covers 7 kilometers. You will get to see several peaks from the pass, including Salkantay. Afterwards, we will descend to the camp for lunch. After that, we will start trekking through the amazon rain forest until we reach the village of Chaullay (2,900m), where we will camp for the night.

Day 3: Chaullay – Playa Sahuayaco – Hydro elecrtrico – Aquas Calientes (7h)

After waking up at 6:00 am and having breakfast, we will begin trekking through the Santa Teresa valley to Playa Sahuayaco. The hike is beautiful, full of waterfalls, plantations and the village of Colpapampa. At Playa, we will eat lunch and then catch a transport to the Hydroelectric train station. From there, you can either take a train at your own expense, or hike on the tracks to Aguas Calientes, where we will enjoy dinner in a restaurant and sleep in a hotel.

Day 4: Machu Picchu - Cusco

  • On the final day, at around 5:00 am, we will wake up, have breakfast, and take one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. You will have hours to explore the beautiful ruins. You can walk to the sun gate, or go to Waynapichu. After that, you can walk or take a bus down to Aguas Calientes, have lunch, then we will take the train to Poroy or Ollantaytambo, where you will then be transferred back to your hotel in Cusco.


More info

Participants should bring the following items with them: light back pack, rain gear, plastic ponchos (can be purchased for 1 USD in Cuzco), strong, waterproof footwear, extra socks, sandals, warm clothes, thermal clothing, sleeping bag, flashlight with extra batteries, camera, hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, toilet paper in a plastic bag, snacks, water purifying tablets, medical kit, small towel, swimsuit, emergency money, original passport, and student card if you have one, walking sticks (can be rented if you don't have them) and binoculars if you have them.

Permits are non-refundable, dates cannot be changed once they are acquired.

Meeting point

Your hotel in Cusco where you will be picked up.


What is the average distance and altitude gain that we will hike each day?

Day 1/12 Km - Day 2 /22 Km - Day 3/26 Km - Day 4/ Visit Machu Picchu

What experience do I need to have? How fit do I need to be? Is this program suitable for children or older people?

You need good physical condition and trekking experience.

How can I get to the trailhead/meeting point?

We will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco.

How will accommodation and meals be handled during the trek?

2 nights in a tent (2-person tent ) in a 1-night hostel in aquas calientes, meals 3: breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Are there any other special requirements such as permits/insurance/vaccines that I need to consider before the tour?

Good travel insurance is necessary. There are no permits, only limited entrance fees to Machu Picchu.

What is the best time of the year for this hike?

From March till November. July and August are the coldest times at night, and the rainy season starts the second half of November.

Can I join a group?

Yes, we often have shared groups.

What happens in the event of bad weather?

The tour is always carried out. Be prepared for all weather conditions.

About the guide

Guide profile image




Tour Operator

We “Southamerica planet” are a Belgian / Peruvian travel agency. Our main offices are located in the INCA capital “Cusco”+ Lima

Vicky (Peruvian who work many years for tourists in Cusco and Arequipa) and Dirk (Belgian who traveled many years around South America as tourist and tour leader) are the owners.

Southamerica planet have already 18 years experience in the travel industry. We started 18 years ago in cusco. We like to show you this amazing different continent. With our professional team we show you this adventure in individual tours or in a tour group with professional tour leader.Read our clients travel reports, all happy with our service!

Also this year 2021-2022 we are official Inca trail operator. With all good tents and material, good cooks and good English speaking guides.

Your good holiday is our best promotion!


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What people are saying about this trip



We cannot begin to express our thanks for organizing our trip to Salkantay and Machu Picchu.  The trip was perfect.  Every transfer and tour went without a problem.  The hike was great and we even got perfect sunshine in Machu Picchu.  We are extremely tired from our hike to Machu Picchu but were very happy we got the chance to do that rather than HP based on what we heard from others along the way. You not only gave me what I asked for but also what I didn't know to ask for - including a lovely spot for lunch on the Sacred Valley tour and seats on the correct side of the train, when we traveled during daylight.  Thank you. And as for the trip, based on the famous words of our very enthusiastic tour guide at Machu Picchu.  Incredible, Fantastic, Gorgeous!



Don’t know the guides salary but I’m sure it’s not much so if possible increase Marcos wage. He’s an asset and a really enthusiastic, knowledgable and all round good guy.



Monica Is a very kind, sincere and professional guide. She is so fit and humble. I enjoyed her company on all my guided tours. Her knowledge on her history and mountaineering skills are impeccable. I recommend Monica for anything in Peru. She knows her mountains and history very well. She is very passionate and detail oriented.

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