Hidden Valleys of the Salkantay (Group Trek) | Adventure People Hidden Valleys of the Salkantay (Group Trek) | Adventure People
5 Days
5.0 - Based on 1 travel review
From $1,385
/ Double Occupancy

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Note: Minimum 2 passengers required to book this trip

What's Included

  • 3 nights in semi-private campsites
  • 1 night at El Mapi by Inkaterra (4* hotel in Aguas Calientes)
  • Fully guided and catered trek
  • Trekking Permits and fees
  • Entrance Ticket and Guided Tour of Machu Picchu citadel
  • All meals during trek
  • Voyager Train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Village
  • Expedition Train from Machu Picchu Village to Cusco

What's Excluded

  • Airfare
  • Airport taxes and excess baggage fees
  • Hotel in Cusco
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visa/ Vaccination fees (if applicable)
  • Beverages & meals not specified
  • Tips for your guide, porters, cook and crew, & drivers
  • Optional Activities
  • Personal Expenses
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Sustainability Commitment

We choose our local travel partners based on their commitment to social and community development and environmental preservation. Our local partner in Peru has been recognized and certified by the Rainforest Alliance, Regenera (Your Positive Impact for Nature), World Travel Awards for World’s Leading Green Tour Operator, and APTAE Responsible Tourism. 

Overview

Embark on an extraordinary journey through the hidden valleys of the Salkantay, a captivating alternative route to Machu Picchu that promises an immersive adventure amidst some of Peru's most spectacular landscapes. This exhilarating expedition takes you off the beaten path, where you'll traverse rugged terrain, verdant cloud forests, and remote Andean villages, encountering breathtaking vistas of towering peaks and crystalline glacial lakes along the way. As you trek through these hidden valleys, you'll immerse yourself in the pristine wilderness of the Peruvian Andes, experiencing the raw beauty and tranquility of this untouched region. With each step, you'll uncover the rich tapestry of Andean culture and history, gaining insight into the ancient traditions and way of life of the local communities. Finally, your journey culminates in the awe-inspiring sight of Machu Picchu, shrouded in mist and mystery, offering a truly unforgettable finale to your exploration of the hidden valleys of the Salkantay. Note: This itinerary does not include a hotel in Cusco to give you maximum flexibility and choice of accommodations. We strongly advise arriving in Cusco 2 to 3 days before the trek to acclimatize to the high altitude.  We are happy to arrange your accommodations before and after the trek as well as any day tours to help you make the most of your time in Cusco, the incredible Inca capital, and the surrounding Sacred Valley.

Adventure Highlights

  • Explore pristine, untouched landscapes as you trek through hidden valleys far from the crowds, immersing yourself in the raw beauty of the Peruvian Andes.
  • Marvel at breathtaking vistas of towering peaks, cascading waterfalls, and turquoise glacial lakes dotting the rugged terrain along the Salkantay Trek.
  • Interact with local Andean communities along the way, gaining insight into their traditional way of life, customs, and ancient traditions.
  • Challenge yourself with diverse terrain, from steep mountain passes to lush cloud forests, offering a thrilling and rewarding hiking experience.
  • Conclude your trek with a visit to the legendary Machu Picchu, where you can explore the iconic ruins and soak in the mystical atmosphere of this ancient Incan citadel nestled amidst the mountains.
TRIP DATES AVAILABILITY PRICE
September 25, 2024 - September 29, 2024 Guaranteed $1,385
March 12, 2025 - March 16, 2025 Guaranteed $1,385
September 24, 2025 - September 28, 2025 Guaranteed $1,385

Note: Minimum 2 passengers required to book this trip

Looking for a different date? Contact us to check availability. 

By booking this trip, you agree to the Booking Terms and Conditions.

Daily Itinerary

Embark on an enchanting journey from Cusco on a route that unveils the rich tapestry of Peru's cultural and natural heritage. Departing from Cusco, the historic capital of the Inca Empire, you'll traverse picturesque landscapes, winding through the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Along the way to Limatambo, you'll encounter charming Andean villages, where time seems to stand still amidst terraced fields and adobe homes. In Limatambo, you'll be greeted by the majestic sight of the towering Salkantay Mountain, a sacred peak revered by the indigenous Quechua people.

Driving past breathtaking panoramas of this vibrant agricultural region with views of rugged snowcapped peaks in the background, we will arrive at the trailhead just beyond the village of Misquiyaco where we’ll begin our trek through one of Peru’s newest private conservation areas signed into law in 2021. We'll begin our uphill hike through an old-growth Meso-Andean Relict Forest, a rare type of inter-Andean cloud forest that exists in less than 0.02% of Peru’s vast territory. Among the species that inhabit this forest are the Tasta (Escallonia myrtilloides) and Chachacomo (Escallonia resinosa) tree species, which are protected by Peruvian law. As we approach the heights, we will observe how the ecosystem changes with the altitude, leaving behind
the tree line to enter the high grasslands to reach our campsite at Acopía (4,154 meters/ 13,628 ft). Arriving in Acopia, you'll be immersed in the tranquility of rural life, surrounded by verdant forests and pristine rivers, offering a serene escape from the bustle of modernity.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Lunch & Dinner

Est Travel Time: 3 hours driving
Hiking Distance: 
8.6 km (5.4 miles)
Est Hiking Time: 5-6 hours
Elevation:
3,178 m/10,427 ft to 4,158 m/13,642 ft

Overnight at Acopia Camp

Leaving Acopía, you'll set out on a trail that winds its way through pristine wilderness and ancient Incan ruins. We will continue our uphill climb toward the first pass at Chullunguy (4,468 meters/ 14,658 feet). As the day warms up, we may see some Andean bird species, including condors, as they soar majestically above the mountains. As you ascend towards Arquiyoc Pass, you'll be greeted by panoramic views of snow-capped mountains and sprawling valleys, offering a glimpse into the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Andean landscape. Upon reaching the pass, a sense of accomplishment washes over you as you stand at the pinnacle of your journey, surrounded by the majesty of the natural world. After 5-6 hours of hiking along a high ridge, we will reach our lunch spot just beyond the pass.

After lunch, we will maintain altitude as we continue northeast toward Arquiyoc pass (4,557 meters/ 14,950 ft) where we will have fantastic views of the South face of Mt. Palcay and the south face of Mt. Salkantay before heading down toward the Pampaccahuana Valley. From here, we descend on a steep trail to our campsite where we will sleep surrounded by mountains and stars at Mirador de Pampaccahuana (3,902 meters/ 12,801 ft).

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Hiking Distance: 16.8 km (10.5 miles)
Est Hiking Time: 8-10 hours
Elevation:
3,902 m/12,802 ft to 4,818 m/15,808 ft

Overnight at Mirador de Pampacahuana Camp

This morning, we will depart from the mesmerizing viewpoint at Mirador de Pampaccahuana, where the rugged beauty of the mountains and valleys is laid bare, and continue our hike downhill along an ancient Inca canal flowing down the center of the Pampaccahuana Valley.

The trail meanders through high-altitude meadows and ancient stone pathways, leading to the archaeological site of Paucarcancha. Here, you'll encounter well-preserved Incan ruins, providing a tangible link to the region's storied past.

Continuing the trek, you'll traverse diverse terrain, from open plateaus to dense forests, before arriving at the quaint village of Chamana. Nestled against a backdrop of towering peaks, Chamana offers a glimpse into traditional Andean life, with its adobe houses and terraced fields. After a short visit to explore the Inca stone walls and remnants of ancient houses at the site, we will continue our journey downhill and join the first stretch of the famed Inca Trail, descending toward the Patallacta ruins. This site was once an important rest stop for the Inca on the way to Machu Picchu. After a brief visit, we will continue to our campsite at Chamana (2,585 meters/ 8,480 ft), which is a private campsite that is equipped with a hot shower for you to cleanse and refresh after the strenuous activity of the previous few days.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

Hiking Distance: 19.7 km (12.3 miles)
Est Hiking Time: 7-8 hours
Elevation:
2,585 m/8,481 ft to 3,902 m/12,802 ft

Overnight at Chamana Camp

Departing from the charming village of Chamana, nestled amidst verdant valleys and towering peaks, the trail leads through picturesque landscapes, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding Andean scenery. As you trek towards Huayna Q'ente, you'll encounter ancient Incan terraces and remnants of pre-Columbian civilizations, immersing yourself in the rich history of the region.

Continuing onwards to Piscacucho, where the main entrance to the Inca Trail is located, you'll traverse rugged terrain and meandering rivers, with each step bringing you closer to the legendary ruins of Machu Picchu. The trail will take us alongside the Vilcanota River and through several more ancient archaeological sites. In fact, this is the same path that Hiram Bingham used when he was first led to Machu Picchu by local people living here in 1911. From here, we’ll travel by car to Ollantaytambo, where we will enjoy lunch.

Arriving in Ollantaytambo, you'll be captivated by the well-preserved Incan architecture and cobblestone streets, offering a glimpse into the past. From Ollantaytambo, a scenic train journey takes you to Machu Picchu Village, where you'll spend the night in anticipation of the awe-inspiring adventure that awaits.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Est Travel Time: 30 min by car/ 1:45 by train
Hiking Distance:
15.1 km (9.4 miles)
Est Hiking Time: 2-3 hours
Elevation:
2,471 m/8,107 ft to 2,808 m/9,213 ft

Overnight in Machu Picchu Village

After an early breakfast, a quick, half-hour bus ride brings us up the road to the gates of Machu Picchu where we’ll enjoy a guided three-hour tour of this ancient hilltop citadel. Exploring the various sectors and entering some of the houses and temples will bring these iconic ruins to life for us. As we immerse in this mystical place, we’ll feel that we’ve entered a dream of ancient times. Wandering among these ancient manmade structures blended seamlessly into natural surroundings, will leave us with a sense of wonder and reverence, and leave us with memories to savor for years to come.

In the afternoon, we’ll return to the village where a train will take us back to Ollantaytambo. On-board entertainment, snacks, and hot and cold refreshments are available. Arrive at the Ollantaytambo train station, where we will be picked up and driven back to the city of Cusco.

INCLUDED:
— Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Est Travel Time: 1 hour RT by bus (to Machu Picchu)/ 1:45 by train/ 2 hours driving (Ollantaytambo to Cusco)

End of Service

How difficult is the Salkantay Trek compared to the classic Inca Trail?

While both treks offer their own challenges, the Salkantay Trek is often considered more strenuous due to higher altitude and longer distances. However, it also offers more diverse scenery and fewer crowds.

What is the best time of year to do the Salkantay Trek?

The dry season (May to September) is generally the best time to do the Salkantay Trek, as the weather is more stable and there is less chance of rain. However, it's also the busiest time, so consider shoulder seasons like April or October for fewer crowds.

Do I need to be physically fit to do the Salkantay Trek?

While prior hiking experience and a good level of fitness are recommended, the Salkantay Trek can be completed by people of varying fitness levels. It's important to prepare by doing some physical conditioning before the trek.

Are permits required for the Salkantay Trek?

Unlike the classic Inca Trail, permits are not required for the Salkantay Trek. However, it's recommended to book your trek with a reputable tour operator in advance to secure your spot and ensure a well-organized experience.

Is altitude sickness a concern on the Salkantay Trek?

Altitude sickness can be a concern, especially when hiking to higher elevations. It's important to acclimatize properly by spending a few days in Cusco or other high-altitude areas before starting the trek. Drinking plenty of water and taking it slow can also help prevent altitude sickness.

What should I pack for the Salkantay Trek?

Essential items include sturdy hiking boots, warm clothing for cold nights, a good-quality backpack, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a refillable water bottle. A complete detailed packing list will be sent to you before you do the trek.

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Hidden Valleys of the Salkantay (Group Trek)

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