9 Days



trip cost

From $4695 pp

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9 Days

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Icons / stylised /cost Created with Sketch.

trip cost

From $4695 pp

Private, Guided Trip

our walk experts

  • Overview
  • Highlights
  • Itinerary
  • Inclusions
  • trip faqs
  • Similar walks


Salkantay Camping

This guided hike starts and ends in Cuzco, where we spend three nights pre-trek acclimatising to the high altitude. The Salkantay Trek is one of South America’s most stunning mountain hikes and is a great alternative to the well-trodden Classic Inca trailOur 4-day trek takes us through majestic snowcapped mountains crowned by the Nevado Salkantay (6271m). We’ll see beautiful glacial lakes and lush cloud forest and jungle with unique flora and fauna. We walk in the footsteps of the Incas, taking ancient pathways, and camp for three nights. To finish this rewarding journey we explore Machu Picchu.



Get Ready For

  • Acclimatise on a three-night pre-trek
  • Avoid the crowds of the Classic Inca Trail
  • Stay in Cuzco, with a private walking tour of the city
  • Inca ruins of Tambomachay and Sacsayhuaman
  • Hike to the mystical Temple of the Moon
  • Camp, fully-supported, for three nights under the Andean stars
  • Enjoy views from one of the highest peaks of the Peruvian Andes, Salkantay



Week 1
Day 1

After arriving at Cuzco’s airport, walkers are welcomed by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Wander the streets and side alleys of the city to see the perfect tapering Inca stonework that provided the foundations for many of Cuzco’s colonial and modern buildings. The city itself is the continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city and was the home of the Inca Empire for two centuries before the Spanish built their first capital here. Today Cuzco is a fascinating combination of both cultures. Take the time to acclimatise to the city’s high altitude (3,400m) and explore the many Baroque churches and ancient temples in the city. The adventure continues with a welcome meeting in the evening with our local guide (look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask at hotel reception for details).

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel (3400m)

Meals: None

Day 2

In the morning, a guided walking tour explores vivid examples of the mixture of Inca and Spanish cultures. We see the Stone of Twelve Angles at the Inca Roca Palace and visit the most sacred Inca building: the Temple of Qoricancha. Qoricancha was the most important temple of the Inca Empire. According to archaeologists, it housed over 1000 priests and attendants. It was built over an Inca palace dedicated to the worship of the Sun.

Next is a visit to the heart of the city, the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by colonial arcades and four churches. You will see the beautiful Cathedral of Cuzco facade, a fine example of colonial Baroque art. Explore the San Pedro Market with its vegetables, meats, local cheeses (which we recommend trying) as well as chocolates, herbal medicines and local handicrafts. It’s a great place to purchase souvenirs. The market is also where locals go to eat ‘mystery soups’. Some may be just chicken though the most popular amongst the locals are usually the more unusual ones like frog soups or soups that contain “nose to tail” of various animals. Our lunch is at Museo del Cafe (Coffee Museum), with its free museum. We sample hot chocolate made from local cacao beans, and recommend trying the mate de coca (coca tea).

  • Altitude: Cuzco 3400m
  • Duration: 2.5-3 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B L

Day 3

We begin today with a drive to Tambomachay, an archaeological site just outside of Cuzco. Tambomachay was a temple dedicated to water. We visit the fort of Puka Pukara and the large Inca ceremonial centre of Sacsayhuaman. This enormous structure overlooks the city of Cuzco. Its construction is amazing, with huge rocks perfectly fitting together. It is said that it took over 10,000 workers 50 years to build it. We also visit another important Inca site known as Qenqo, with subterranean passages and carved stone channels with a zigzag pattern. Inside is a carved stone table where it is said the Incas mummified their dead. Next is a visit to the Temple of the Moon. After a picnic lunch, we walk a beautifully-preserved section of The Royal Inca Trail into the old San Blas district, home to the city’s artists.

  • Altitude: Sacsayhuaman 3,700m
  • Duration: 5-6 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B L

Day 4

An early morning transfer takes us to Tarawasi Inca site. After a visit, we continue by vehicle to the checkpoint at the mountain town of Mollepata, a few hours’ drive from Cuzco. A little further on is the beginning of the trek.

Our trek begins on the southwest facing slopes of the Andes, an area of coarse bushes and gnarly trees, and where small parrots can be heard. We gradually climb northwards towards the broad snowy peak of Humantay (5917m), following an Inca canal which is still in use today. Our first night of camping is at Soraypampa (3900m). Tents will be already set up for us, and camp staff will prepare a delicious hot meal while we relax. Camp facilities include a dining tent and toilet tent.

  • Max trek altitude: 3900m
  • Ascent: 515m
  • Trek Duration: 5 hours

Overnight: Camping Soraypampa (3900m)

Meals: B L D

Day 5

We start the day with a three-hour circuit walk to Humantay Lagoon. This magnificent, beautifully-blue water mirror sits perfectly with its snow-capped background. We head back to the previous evening’s campsite for an early lunch, before resuming our ascent towards the massive bulk of Salkantay (6271m) which soon dominates our view. We camp at around 4,400m in the high grassy meadow of Ichu Pata, below the south face and glaciers of the impressive peak.

  • Max trek altitude: 4400m
  • Ascent: 500m
  • Descent: 1,030m
  • Trek duration: 6.5 hours

Overnight: Camping Ichu Pata (4,400m)

Meals: B L D

Day 6

The high point of the trek and this morning’s goal is the Inca Chiriasqa pass at almost 5000m. Climbing more steeply now, we walk close to the spectacular glaciers and ice walls of Nevado Salkantay. Passing through Pampa Japonesa (base camp for a Japanese mountaineering expedition) we finally top the pass and gain some excellent 360° panoramic views. Inca Chirisaqa means ‘the Inca fell ill from cold’, and the exposed situation makes it easy to see why. Descending from the pass, we drop down into the upper reaches of a broad valley where Salkantay reappears in a new profile. After passing a huge ridge of terminal moraine, once the snout of the East Salkantay Glacier, the river suddenly becomes dead straight, having been turned into a canal by the Incas centuries ago. We spend our last night of camping pitched alongside the canal close to Pampa Cahuana (3,870m).

  • Max trek altitude: 4900m
  • Ascent: 500m
  • Descent: 1030m
  • Trek duration: 7 hours

Overnight: Camping

Meals: B L D

Day 7

After setting off from camp we follow the canal as it drops into a steep-sided valley. The path follows the side of the valley all the way to the Paucarcancha Ruins. We will have time to explore this small site before continuing walking down to Piscacucho (2,700m). From here we take a 45-minute bus ride to our hotel in Ollantaytambo (2800m).

  • Max trek altitude: 3000m
  • Ascent: 100m
  • Descent: 1270m
  • Trek duration: 8 hours

Overnight: Ollantaytambo Hotel

Meals: B L D

Week 2
Day 8

An early morning train takes us to the town of Aguas Calientes, where we board a bus for the short 30-minute journey to the 15th-century Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Here we walk up to the guard house to enjoy a panoramic view of the site. We follow this with a private guided tour to explore what makes up Machu Picchu: ruins with perfect masonry and architecture that has baffled many since its “discovery” in the early 1900s. We return via the same method as we arrived: bus to Aguas Calientes town, then train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo. Our journey continues with a private vehicle transfer back to Cuzco.

  • Altitude Machu Picchu: 2400m
  • Duration: 4 hours

Overnight: Cuzco Hotel

Meals: B

Day 9

Our tour ends today after breakfast, with transfers provided to the airport for onward flights.

Meals: B


Please note that distances and times are approximate and do vary depending on the pace of the group or if alternate routes need to be taken due to inclement weather. 


What you get


Please note: Trip price is based on two people travelling together (enquire for group pricing). Flexibility to select your own departure date* and travel with your own group of family or friends

  • Private tour with your own private guide
  • Airport transfers
  • Experienced English-speaking trek guide
  • Guided walking tour of Cuzco with local guide
  • Guided visits to archaeological sites near Cuzco
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation
  • 3 nights full-service camping
  • Sleeping bags and camping equipment
  • 8 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Transport by private transfer, public train and bus while on tour
  • Entrance fees as per the itinerary
  • Guided tour of Machu Picchu with a local guide
  • Luggage transferred by horses/mules on Salkantay Trek (max 6kg)
  • RAW Travel luggage tag and buff

*subject to availability

  • Airfares
  • Travel insurance
  • Single supplement $555
  • Solo traveller supplement (available on request)
  • Visas
  • Meals not outlined above
  • Beverages
  • Tips for guides, drivers, horsemen and camp staff

trip faqs

How fit do I need to be to do this trek?

We have graded our walks on this route as Strenuous. This is more so due to the high altitude than challenging terrain. Trekking will be on mountainous terrain, in remote areas and will include some high pass crossings. The treks themselves are not technical but you do need to have a good level of fitness and health to undertake them. Altitude is an important consideration.. We use several criteria to assess the difficulty of our walks, including the number of hours walking required each day, terrain and conditions underfoot, weather, gradient, altitude, signage and facilities along the trail. These gradings are intended as a guide and will depend on your individual experience, fitness level and mental attitude. The fitter you are, the more likely you are to enjoy your experience.

To prepare for this walk, we recommend completing 2 to 3 walks per week (15km+), increasing distances while carrying an 8kg pack. Regular mountain, hill walking and hill/stair walking is highly recommended. 

At the time of requesting your booking, you ask that you complete and submit a medical and fitness questionnaire. We will use this information in addition to the medical details you have provided us on your booking form to assess your suitability to join this trip.

How can I avoid altitude sickness on the trek?

It is important to be aware of, and well prepared for travelling at altitude. You will fly into Cuzco, a city that sits at 3400m. The response to altitude can be very different for each individual. It can affect even the fittest and healthiest of travellers. However staying hydrated, taking sufficient time to acclimatise pre-trek and also taking your time to ascend at a safe rate when trekking, may help you avoid the symptoms of altitude sickness. 

As a duty of care to our clients, we make sure that we include 3 nights in Cuzco before the trek to allow you time to rest and acclimatise before setting off on your trek. We also encourage you to contact your doctor to ensure that this trip is suitable for you and to also seek advice on how to best prepare for travelling at altitude. In case of extreme altitude sickness, oxygen is carried by the trek crew and available as needed.

How does the Salkantay Trek compare with the Classic Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is the most popular route in Peru so with this means more people on the trail and busier campsites. In comparison the Salkantay Trek gets fewer travellers giving a greater feeling of solitude. The Salkantay Trek is more remote, longer and travels at a higher altitude (4600m) which makes it more challenging than the Classic Inca Trail.  Whilst the Classic Inca Trail is a great walk  with great historical significance and passing many ancient Inca ruins along the way, the landscapes and scenery on the Salkantay Trek surpasses that of the Classic Inca Trail – you’ll experience majestic mountains, green lush valleys, snow-topped glaciers, and jungle.

Do I have to set up my own tent every night and help with camp duties?

Your tour includes the services of a trek team, who will set up camp each night, as well as prepare your meals. You will not be required to participate in these tasks.

Are there shower facilities on the trek?

There are no shower/bathing facilities at the campsites, however every morning and once they arrive at the campsite our trek staff will provide you with some warm water for you to wash yourself. It’s recommended clients bring wet wipes to use for freshening up also.

What happens with my luggage when trekking?

Porterage is included in the tour price.  We will provide you with a duffle bag to use whilst on the trek and you transfer your luggage into this bag. The maximum weight that you can pack in the duffle bag is 7kg. Porters on the trek will carry your duffle bag, you are only required to carry your day pack each day. Extra luggage can be stored at the hotel in Cuzco at no charge

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TRIP date selection

when would you like to travel?

Please select your preferred dates for on-demand trips or select a scheduled date for group departures. If you have booked a self-guided trip please understand that because your trip date is on demand and we must check availability of all properties on your chosen dates before it can be fully confirmed

single occupancy
15/07/2020 - 09/07/2020
single occupancy

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