The Salkantay Trek has been named among the 25 best Treks in the World and unlike the Inca Trail it is open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits. journey you will trek from 3,900m/12,800ft to 2,100m/6,900ft, traversing across magnificent mountain passes, enjoying enormous and mystical snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and exploring more than 15 different ecosystems from beginning to end
The trek moves around the Cordillera Vilcabamba and connects the cities of Mollepata and Cusco with Machu Picchu. In the centre of the Cordillera lies Mt. Salkantay. It is an outstanding glacier-capped summit worshipped for thousands of years by local Indians. The name Salkantay is a Quechua word meaning “Savage Mountain”.
The classic Salkantay Trek has recently been ‘upgraded’ and as such you now have the opportunity to stay in lodges rather than camping all the way, though you can still camp if you wish. These lodges are extremely comfortable, some of which even offer massage services half way round!
Saying this, the Salkantay trek is definitely off the beaten path and for adventure travellers looking for a little more privacy and authenticity. Moreover, the chances for ethnic and cultural exchange are ever-present with local natives who still remain closely attached to their heritage and are very willing to share it with open minds.
The Salkantay Trek
When to go
1 hour flight from Patagonia
The Salkantay Trek has been named among the 25 best Treks in the World and unlike the Inca Trail it is open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits. You will trek from 3,900m/12,800ft to 2,100m/6,900ft, traversing across magnificent mountain passes, enjoying enormous and mystical snow-capped peaks, seeing nature in its purest form and exploring more than 15 different ecosystems from beginning to end.
THINGS TO SEE ON THE SALKANTAY TREK
You will begin your trek to Soraypampa, on an old route called the “Camino Real” (Royal Path). This is a good opportunity for acclimatisation and to enjoy a mild & beautiful 4 hour trek
After an early start you will hike up the Rio Blanco valley, circling Humantay Peak across from the Salkantay. The highest point on the trek is a pass at 4,600 m (15,000 ft). At the pass you stop to take in views of snow-capped peaks
With the south face of Salkantay Mountain towering above you, you will need to keep your eyes out for Andean condors, often visible in this area. From the pass you continue your descent toward ‘the place where the wind lives’, which is your destination for the evening
Head down the Santa Teresa River Valley, through more populated rural areas with coffee plantations bananas, ‘granadillas’, and orchards. After another hour of trekking you arrive at the beginning of the “Llactapata Inca Trail”
After the Llactapata pass (2,700 m/8,900ft) and the Llactapata Ruins, which have recently been restored, you then begin your final descent to the Aobamba River through lush bamboo forests and more orchards and coffee plantations
Your reward for completing one of the best walks in Peru, is a view of the best Inca ruins of Peru, Machu Picchu. You will spend an afternoon and a night here to fully appreciate this special place.