For those dreaming of trekking to Machu Picchu, there are actually several options beyond the well-known Inca Trail. While the Inca Trail is the most famous of the hikes to reach Machu Picchu, there are other options for those who prefer to go off the beaten path, such as the Salkantay Trek.
Here are some key facts about the Salkantay Trek:
What is the length of the Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay Trek is approximately 66 kilometers long, starting in the village of Soraypampa and ending in Aguas Calientes, the town located below Machu Picchu. The most common route is the five-day, four-night trek, which involves leaving Cusco at around 4 am and starting the trek around 8 am, climbing the Salkantay Pass on the first day and arriving in Aguas Calientes on the evening of day four, with the final day spent exploring Machu Picchu.
What level of fitness is required for the Salkantay Trek?
The Salkantay Trek is a moderate hike, but it can be challenging due to the amount of elevation gain and distance covered on the first day. It is recommended to spend at least two days in Cusco for acclimatization purposes and to speak with a doctor about taking Diamox tablets, which can help the body adjust to high altitudes. The tablets should be taken once a day, starting 24 hours before the trek and continuing until day three.
When is the best time to book the Salkantay Trek?
Unlike the Inca Trail, which has a daily limit of 400 travelers, there are no restrictions for the Salkantay Trek. However, entry passes to Machu Picchu are limited, so it is recommended to book a few weeks in advance, particularly if traveling between June and August.
What is the experience like?
While the Inca Trail follows a section of the Qhapaq Ñan or Royal Road, a path used by Inca royalty and other travelers to travel between Cusco and Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek offers a unique experience that includes a section of the Inca Trail on day three. This allows for a similar experience without the crowds of the Inca Trail.
For the best experience on the Salkantay Trek, it is recommended to contact True Mountain Traveler at +51 84 610302 to plan your trip.