The Salkantay Trek is a popular hiking route in Peru, known for its stunning scenery, challenging terrain, and cultural experiences. The trek takes hikers through the Andes mountains, passing through remote villages, breathtaking valleys, and ancient Inca ruins.
The trek is named after Mount Salkantay, a snow-capped peak that stands at 6,271 meters (20,574 feet) above sea level. The trek itself covers a distance of approximately 74 kilometers (46 miles), and typically takes between Salkantay trek 4 days and Salkantay Trek 5 days to complete.
Hikers start the trek in the village of Mollepata and then climb to the Salkantay Pass at an altitude of 4,650 meters (15,255 feet). This section of the trek is challenging due to the high altitude and steep inclines, but the reward is the stunning panoramic views of the Andes mountains and glaciers.
After descending from the pass, the trek takes hikers through several small villages, including Colpapampa and La Playa, where they can experience the local culture and cuisine. The trek also passes through the Llactapata ruins, which offer a glimpse into the ancient Inca civilization.
The final destination of the trek is the famous Inca city of Machu Picchu, which is reached via a train ride from Aguas Calientes. Many hikers choose to spend a day exploring Machu Picchu before returning to Cusco.
Overall, the Salkantay Trek is a challenging but rewarding experience, offering stunning views, cultural experiences, and the chance to explore one of the world’s most famous historical sites.
Salkantay Trek Recommendations
If you are planning to do the Salkantay Trek, here are some recommendations:
- Train and prepare physically: The Salkantay Trek can be physically demanding, especially due to the altitude and steep inclines. It is recommended that you train and prepare physically before attempting the trek.
- Acclimate to the altitude: Cusco, where the trek starts, is at an altitude of 3,400 meters (11,150 feet) above sea level. It is recommended that you spend a few days in Cusco before starting the trek to acclimate to the altitude.
- Pack appropriately: Make sure to pack appropriate clothing for the trek, including layers for cold temperatures and rain gear. It is also recommended that you bring a good pair of hiking boots and a backpack to carry your gear.
- Hire a reputable tour operator: It is recommended that you hire a reputable tour operator for the trek, as they can provide experienced guides, camping gear, and meals. They can also help with transportation and logistics.
- Respect the environment and local culture: The Salkantay Trek passes through several small villages, and it is important to respect the local culture and customs. It is also important to follow Leave No Trace principles and not leave any trash or damage to the environment.
- Stay hydrated and well-fed: Make sure to drink plenty of water and eat enough food during the trek to stay hydrated and energized.
- Take your time: The Salkantay Trek is a challenging trek, and it is important to take your time and enjoy the scenery. Don’t rush through the trek, as it can lead to altitude sickness or injury.
What to bring to Salkantay Trek
Here is a list of things to bring with you for a 5-day Salkantay Trek:
- Hiking boots: Make sure to bring a good pair of hiking boots that are comfortable and provide good support.
- Daypack: A daypack is essential for carrying your water, snacks, and personal items during the trek.
- Warm clothing: Temperatures can drop significantly at night, so bring warm layers, such as a fleece jacket or a down jacket.
- Rain gear: It can rain at any time during the trek, so bring a rain jacket and rain pants to stay dry.
- Sleeping bag: Most tour operators provide sleeping bags, but it is recommended that you bring your own for comfort.
- Trekking poles: Trekking poles can help you navigate the steep terrain and provide support for your knees.
- Sun protection: Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat to protect yourself from the sun at high altitudes.
- Water bottle: Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated during the trek. Water can be purified with water purification tablets or a filter.
- Snacks: Bring energy bars, nuts, and other snacks to keep you energized during the trek.
- Camera: The Salkantay Trek offers breathtaking views, so don’t forget to bring a camera or a smartphone to capture the memories.
It is also recommended that you bring cash for tipping your guides and porters, as well as for purchasing snacks or souvenirs from local vendors.