Trips to Machu Picchu

How Long is the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu?

The Salkantay Trek stands as an emblem of adventure, weaving through Peru’s stunning Andean landscapes like an intricate tapestry. This trail, often dubbed as the “alternative Inca Trail,” offers a breathtaking journey to Machu Picchu, captivating adventurers worldwide with its allure and rugged beauty.

As the beaten path less travelled, the Salkantay Trek entices explorers seeking a challenge. Its formidable yet rewarding nature promises an experience that transcends mere sightseeing. Here, every step offers communion with nature’s grandeur, with towering peaks, lush cloud forests, and crystalline glacial lakes painting a mesmerizing canvas.

Unlike its more popular counterpart, the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek diverges through diverse terrains, promising a different facet of Peru’s natural splendor. Its elevation changes, challenging mountain passes, and awe-inspiring vistas stand as a testament to the raw, unfiltered beauty of the Andes.

This path isn’t merely a journey; it’s an odyssey through ancient history and breathtaking vistas, where the rhythmic cadence of footsteps is accompanied by a symphony of nature. The Salkantay Trek isn’t just a trail; it’s a gateway to a world where every step brings you closer to the heart of Peru’s natural marvels, a prelude to the majestic wonder that is Machu Picchu.

Understanding the Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is a breathtaking journey renowned for its diverse landscapes and challenging yet rewarding terrain. The trek typically begins in Mollepata, a small town located at a lower altitude, providing a lush green backdrop against the towering Andes. From here, trekkers venture through a variety of terrains, each offering a unique experience.

The trail gradually ascends, unveiling the beauty of the Andean landscape. As hikers progress, they encounter dramatic altitude changes, traversing through high mountain passes that offer awe-inspiring panoramic views. The sight of the majestic Salkantay Mountain, with its snow-capped peaks, serves as a constant companion along the route, adding a sense of grandeur to the journey.

Throughout the trek, adventurers traverse through diverse ecosystems. They navigate through verdant cloud forests teeming with vibrant flora and fauna, experiencing the mystical ambience created by the mist and dense vegetation. The trail meanders past cascading waterfalls, serene rivers, and indigenous villages, providing glimpses into the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

The allure of the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu lies not only in its physical challenges but also in the kaleidoscope of landscapes encountered— from rugged mountain passes to enchanting cloud forests, each step offering a new vista and a deeper connection with nature.

Duration of the Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is generally completed throughout 4 to 6 days, encompassing a diverse range of landscapes and challenges. The duration is influenced by several key factors.

Firstly, the pace at which one traverses the trail significantly impacts the overall duration. While some may opt for a more brisk pace, others prefer a slower, more leisurely journey to absorb the surroundings fully.

Acclimatization plays a crucial role due to the altitude changes along the trek. Taking time to acclimatize helps mitigate altitude-related issues, potentially affecting the pace and the number of days required.

Additionally, optional side trips and excursions can extend the duration. Many trekkers choose to explore additional sites or take detours to viewpoints, adding extra days to the itinerary.

The daily itinerary varies but typically involves moderate to challenging hikes covering various distances, often around 10-15 kilometers per day. Each day presents unique terrain and highlights, from high mountain passes to lush cloud forests, contributing to the overall duration.

Understanding these factors helps trekkers plan and prepare for a fulfilling Salkantay Trek experience tailored to their preferences and physical capabilities.

Preparing for the Salkantay Trek

Preparing for the Salkantay Trek requires a moderate to high level of fitness due to its challenging terrain and varying altitudes. It’s recommended to engage in regular cardiovascular exercises and hikes to build endurance before the trek. Altitude acclimatization is crucial, so arriving in Cusco a few days prior helps adjust to the elevation.

When it comes to packing, essential gear includes sturdy hiking boots, comfortable clothing suitable for both warm days and cold nights, waterproof jackets, and a durable backpack. Other essentials involve a sleeping bag suitable for low temperatures, a headlamp, sunscreen, insect repellent, and personal toiletries. Packing layers is key, as temperatures can fluctuate drastically throughout the trek.

Carrying snacks, water purification tablets, and a refillable water bottle ensures access to clean water during the journey. Trekking poles provide stability, especially on steep inclines and descents. Qoricancha Expeditions typically provides a detailed packing list to ensure trekkers are well-prepared and equipped for the Salkantay adventure.

Qoricancha Expeditions’ Approach to the Salkantay Trek

At Qoricancha Expeditions, our approach to the Salkantay Trek is meticulously designed to guarantee an unmatched and seamless experience for every traveller. We understand that embarking on the Salkantay Trek is more than just a journey; it’s a personal adventure filled with anticipation and wonder.

Our commitment begins with personalized guidance. Before the trek, we engage with our travellers, understanding their preferences and ensuring their expectations are not only met but exceeded. From customizing the itinerary to catering to individual needs, we strive to make every step of the journey uniquely theirs.

Our team comprises experienced guides, deeply familiar with the Salkantay route. Their expertise not only ensures safety but enriches the trek with insights into the region’s history, culture, and natural marvels. These guides serve as companions, mentors, and friends, enhancing the trekking experience significantly.

What sets us apart is our unwavering support throughout the trek. From 24-hour assistance to addressing any concerns or inquiries, our support system ensures travellers have the confidence to explore the Salkantay Trek at their pace, knowing they’re backed by a reliable team.

With us, the Salkantay Trek becomes more than a hike; it transforms into a profound and memorable journey, where every traveller feels valued and supported.


The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu encapsulates the essence of adventure, offering an unparalleled journey through diverse landscapes and ancient paths. Its appeal lies not only in the challenge of the trek but in the rewarding experiences it unfolds. From scaling mountain passes to traversing cloud forests and catching glimpses of the majestic Salkantay Mountain, every step is a testament to nature’s grandeur.

For those considering this awe-inspiring trek, rest assured that Qoricancha Expeditions stands as your dedicated companion throughout this expedition. Our commitment to crafting personalized, tailor-made experiences ensures that you embark on this journey with confidence and ease.

Our experienced guides, coupled with round-the-clock support, guarantee a seamless trekking experience, allowing you to immerse yourself in the beauty of Machu Picchu’s surroundings without worry.

As you contemplate your next adventure, consider the Salkantay Trek not just as a trail but as a gateway to an extraordinary odyssey. Let us be your guide as you embrace the challenge and revel in the unmatched beauty of this iconic route to Machu Picchu. Your journey with us promises not just a trek but a lifetime of cherished memories in the heart of Peru’s breathtaking landscapes.