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Trekking: the Salkantay mountain and its routes

Trekking: the Salkantay mountain and its routes

Along with the Ausangate mountain, known for its wonderful Mountain of Colors, the Salkantay is one of the highest peaks of the department of Cusco, with 6271 meters above sea level and the highest one in the Vilcabamba mountain range.

Hundreds of trekking enthusiasts arrive to Cusco every year with the aim of visiting one of the many routes the Salkantay has, among which is the road to Machu Picchu.

If you are a born adventurer and want to travel to the Salkantay, here we tell you all the options. Do not miss it!

The road to Machu Picchu

machupicchu_inca_railUndoubtedly, one of the most exciting routes that Salkantay offers us and that you will be able to find in our country is the one that takes you from this snowy mountain to Machu Picchu. There are several options and starting points to make this route. The shortest, which is what we are going to explain here, takes only three days from Soraypampa.

Normally, the travel agencies that make this tour pick you up at your hotel in the early morning hours (approximately 3 a.m.). After three and a half hours of travel, you reach Saraypampa, located at 3850 meters above sea level and where the Salkantay tour towards Machu Picchu starts.

On this first day, you will reach the highest point of the route, the 4650 meters above sea level. It is a great height so, as we always recommend, it is necessary that you spend a few days before in Cusco to acclimatize yourself and that you make the way with your own rhythm, without forcing yourself and enjoying the landscape, which is the most important.

After 22 km, you will arrive at Chaullay, where there are different accommodation options (this will depend on the agency with which you hire the tour or if you do it on your own).

On the second day, 26 km of the route are waiting for you, so it is important that you go to bed early and rest well to reach the final point: Machu Picchu Pueblo. This place, also known as Aguas Calientes, is the gateway to the Inca citadel.

This day is quite touristic attractive since the roads traveled through areas of tropical jungle in which you will find lagoons, waterfalls, diverse fauna, etc. In addition, you will pass through the area of Santa Teresa, where incredible thermal waters await you to relax the muscles to continue the adventure.

Once in Machu Picchu Town or Aguas Calientes just rest, since you are only a few kilometers from the impressive citadel of Machu Picchu.

On the third day, the brave people who make this trek dedicate it exclusively to enjoy Machu Picchu. If you feel strongly, you can hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, from where you can enjoy incredible views of the citadel.

To return to Cusco, most tourists choose to do it by train. The road from Salkantay to Machu Picchu is already quite complicated to make the return also walking, so we recommend you book your seat here in one of our trains, where you will have all the comfort and you can enjoy the landscape of the Sacred Valley.

This three-day route is extended with options of up to eight days in which you visit the entire city of Cusco, you get to the Humantay lagoon, you go through part of the Inca Trail… the options are quite varied so it will depend on the days that you have, of your physical state and of the time that you want to destine to this route.

Humantay Lagoon

The Humantay Lagoon is one of the places that has become famous in recent years. This lagoon of turquoise waters is on the way to Salkantay and is the best option for those who want to visit the Salkantay Mountain but have only one day to do it.

Humantay is located at 4200 meters above sea level. Although the route is short (only 3 km walk that takes you around an hour and a half), it is a complicated trekking because of the height, but it is totally worth it, since during the road you will see the Salkantay from different points.

If you are encouraged by this tour, you have to bear in mind that it is an excursion that will take an entire day of your stay in Cusco and, as we told you before, it is recommended that you arrive at the imperial city at least one day before to acclimatize to the height.

As you can see, Cusco has plenty of activities to offer. Choose the ones you like the most and enjoy your visit to the fullest!