SALKANTAY TREK + INCA TRAIL 7 Days
Type of tour
Can’t decide between the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Trail? Well, worry no more. Our 7-day hike through Salkantay and the Inca Trail combines both routes to Machu Picchu into one incredible journey. Both hikes are considered among the top 25 in the world by National Geographic and together they form one of the most epic excursions of all. This tour combines the incredible Salkantay hike with the world-renowned Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We will trek through the surroundings of the Salkantay mountain, which means «Wild Mountain,» visit incredible Inca sites, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Inca Trail. This is an incredible opportunity to experience the two most famous hikes in all of Peru. This tour combines the incredible Salkantay hike with the world-renowned Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We will trek through the surroundings of the Salkantay mountain, which means «Wild Mountain,» visit incredible Inca sites, and enjoy the natural beauty of the Inca Trail. This is an incredible opportunity to experience the two most famous hikes in the Cusco region.
Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Marcoccasa
We will depart from Cusco to start our hike from Marcoccasa. During the journey, we will enjoy the magnificent glaciers until we reach our 1st campsite in Soraypampa.
Day 2: Soraypampa – Humantay Lagoon – Salkantaypampa – Ichupata
In the morning, we will hike up to Humantay Lagoon before marveling at the imposing Salkantay Mountain. Then, we will head to our campsite in Ichupata.
Day 3: Ichupata – Abra Incachiriska – Inca Canal
We will hike to the highest point of the trek and enjoy breathtaking views from the pass. Afterwards, we will descend through the Andean valley to our campsite.
Day 4: Inca Canal – Paucarcancha – Wayllabamba – Ayapata
We will walk along an ancient trail, visit the archaeological site of Paucarcancha, and finally enter the classic Inca Trail as we make our way to the campsite.
Day 5: Ayapata – Abra de la Mujer Inca – Abra Runkurakay – Yanacocha – Sayacmarqa
In the morning, we will reach the highest point of the Inca Trail, the Abra de la Mujer Muerta. We will then continue towards two sites: Runkurakay and Sayacmarca. We will spend the night in Chaquicocha.
Day 6: Chaquicocha – Phuyupatamarca – Intipata – Wiñaywayna
Today, we will continue along the trail and visit three Inca sites: Phuyupatamarca, Intipata, and Wiñay Wayna. It will be our last night enjoying the company of the porters and cooks.
Day 7: Wiñaywayna – Sun Gate (Inti Punku) – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Ollantaytambo – Cusco
Enter Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate to witness this incredible site for the first time. Explore the Inca citadel and then take the train to Ollantaytambo. From there, our transportation will take you back to Cusco.
The Salkantay and Inca Trail tour begins when we pick you up from your hotel (located in Cusco) at 4:30 am. Along with the guide, chef, and porters, you will be transported for two and a half hours to the starting point of the trail, Marcoccasa (3,300 meters). You will meet your horseman and the horses and have time to prepare for the day and enjoy a delicious breakfast. You will experience views of the Andes, lush green valleys, and beautiful waterfalls. The hike will be of moderate difficulty, with a gradual uphill climb that will last approximately three and a half hours until lunchtime. Afterward, the hike will be less steep and more relaxed. The scenery along the way changes as you progress. The beginning of the trail is all green, with charming valleys, but in the afternoon, you will be right at the foot of the snowy Humantay Mountain. You will also experience a change in temperature from warm to cold, so make sure to have warm clothing and gloves for the cold afternoon. After reaching the Soraypampa campsite (3,800 meters), the team will welcome you with a toast of hot drinks and a delicious dinner.
On day 2, you will be woken up with hot drinks and breakfast. Then, you will need to prepare for the day as we show you the alpine microclimate and the stunning views from the high mountains of the glaciers. Many Andean villages consider them the highest mountains around Cusco and the fathers of the other mountains (Apus means God). Then, a two-hour uphill hike will begin to reach the most beautiful blue lagoon, located at the foot of the Humantay Glacier Mountain. It is believed that the Incas used to celebrate ceremonies honoring the God of water and the Apus that surround this tranquil place. You will then start the return to the main trail and continue to the lunch spot in Salkantay Pampa. It will be time to leave the Humantay Mountain behind and enjoy the views of a higher mountain, Salkantay Mountain (6,215 m). You will arrive there after a one-hour hike to enjoy a good lunch. After lunch, we will have a two-hour uphill climb to reach our second campsite, either Ichupata or Japanese Camp at (4,200 m). The hike at this site will be colder, so make sure to have a jacket, hat, sunglasses, and gloves. At the campsite, the porters will welcome you to enjoy hot drinks and dinners. Tonight is the perfect night to see constellations and the views of Salkantay Mountain. This site is the closest campsite to Salkantay, so it is possible to hear some avalanches. However, do not let this scare you as they will not be close to us.
After a nice cup of tea and breakfast, it will be time to embark on the most challenging and rewarding hike of the adventure so far. Your guide will lead you through the Inca Chiriasca Pass (5,000 meters high) at a steady pace to see the wonderful views of the glacier mountains. Once you have reached the summit, there will be hot coca tea, views of the valley and lakes, and even wildlife such as condors and hawks. You will then begin the descent or take an optional hike to a glacier, which only takes 30 minutes. Afterwards, we will continue walking to the lunch spot, where the porters will be waiting for you with traditional hot tea and a delicious lunch. During the rest of the day, you will walk downhill through lush green valleys and winding streams before reaching the campsite in a small village with 10 families.
On this day of the Salkantay and Inca Trail tour, you will see a glimpse of the past as you walk through the mountainside used by traditional Peruvian farmers who have lived in the same way since the time of the Incas. Then, you will arrive at the famous Inca ruins, where the tour guide will provide information about the Incas. After the ruins, the guide will show you the new vegetation and other things as you advance into the microclimate of the jungle. Finally, you will reach the classic Inca Trail, where the porters will be waiting to serve you a sumptuous lunch. The afternoon hike will be uphill until we reach our campsite. Make sure to have your camera ready with fully charged batteries as you wouldn’t want to miss capturing the magnificent views of the mountains and charming natural waterfalls in the cloud forest.
This day will be the longest of the journey but also the most impressive, as you will see Inca ruins, the cloud forest, among other sights. The day will begin with a nutritious breakfast, followed by a two-hour uphill climb in the rustic area. The Andean ichu is a dry place with little vegetation, but you can see llamas and alpacas. When we reach the summit of Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,200 meters high, you will have time to rest and enjoy the mountains, glaciers, and spectacular nearby peaks. Then, we will start descending through the rocky mountainside to our lunch spot. Along the way, you will be able to observe orchids and other flowers. Try to walk slowly and be mindful of nature. This section is a perfect spot for hummingbird watching. After lunch, we will start climbing uphill for two more hours to reach the second peak. Halfway through the journey, you will visit the Inca ruins called Runcu Raccay. It is said that this place served as a watchtower due to its oval shape and its position overlooking the valley. After crossing the second peak (4,000 meters high), we will start descending for an hour to the lake called Yanaccoha, where the Incas used to hold ceremonies for the blessing of water. Then, we will reach the famous cloud forest and also one of the most beautiful Inca ruins called Sayacmarca. Sayacmarca is where you can observe the original Inca houses, water sources, water channels, and the most spectacular views of the valley. After the ruins, it will take you about 30 more minutes to reach our campsite, called Chaquicocha. Once again, you will have the opportunity to see different types of flora and fauna as you will be in the high jungle.
Today is the most relaxed day of the Salkantay and Inca Trail tour. In the morning, you will enjoy views of the Andean mountains and the peaks of the Pumassillo mountain glacier. There will only be about five hours of hiking, during which you will see three Inca ruins along the way to our campsite. The first ruins are called Phuyupatamarca (Cloud-Level City) and are two hours away from the campsite. It is impressive to observe the beautiful platform and the houses where Inca nobles studied astronomy. The second set of ruins is located on the terraced slope. It may have been an Inca agricultural experimentation station. You will also have views of the Sacred Valley and the Urubamba River. Finally, you will reach the last campsite, called Wiñay Wayna (2,600 meters), where you can drop off your belongings and walk for five minutes to reach the most beautiful Inca ruins along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This place is close to a village where you can enjoy the beauty of water channels, terraces, and temples, and learn about the religious ceremonies that used to take place there. After lunch, you will have the opportunity to take a hot shower and then have free time to explore the most beautiful Inca site, Wiñay Wayna. Later in the evening, there will be a farewell happy hour and dinner with a small presentation by your porters before returning to Cusco the next day as you continue your journey to Machu Picchu.
Day 7 is the most important day of the tour as you will finally get to visit Machu Picchu. You will wake up earlier than usual. After breakfast, you will hike for another two hours to reach Machu Picchu, passing through the Sun Gate and experiencing spectacular views of the impressive mountains, valleys, rivers, and Inca ruins. Once you arrive, the tour guide will provide you with information about Machu Picchu for two hours. Afterwards, you will have time to explore on your own. Make sure to visit all the sacred sites such as the temples, palaces, and the famous Inca Bridge. When you are ready to return to Aguas Calientes, there will be regular buses departing. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes. After spending some time in the town of Aguas Calientes, you should be at the train station 30 minutes prior to your return to Cusco.
All our guides are licensed in tourism and specialize in guiding and assisting travelers. They also grew up in the Cusco region, which is why they are passionate about teaching others about their culture and the legacy of their ancestors. They are fun but very professional. They will ensure that you are fully satisfied and happy throughout the trip.
Once we receive your information and deposit, we will proceed to reserve your permits (please check our Inca Trail availability for this). The permits are for a specific date under your name. They cannot be changed, and once confirmed, only updates or changes to the passport number are allowed. This permit also includes entry to Machu Picchu.
Informational Meeting (Briefing):
The night before the trip, you will come to our office for an informational meeting. You will receive your duffel bag, which will be kept with the porters while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7 kg / 14 lbs and should include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
We include a porter who will be responsible for carrying your sleeping bag (duffel bag). There is no additional fee for this service. You will not have access to your duffel bag until you reach the overnight campsite.
Transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m. (unless you are staying in Ollantaytambo) and taken to KM 82 to start the hike. The Expedition Train from Aguas Calientes will also be included. You can upgrade to the Vistadome train for $75 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, we will take you back to your hotel in Cusco. Additionally, a round-trip bus ticket from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu will be included.
RAP Expeditions provides the best equipment. We use Eureka Timberline 4 tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals.
The chefs at RAP Expeditions prepare delicious meals that many previous hikers have loved. We respect all dietary restrictions, so make sure to add any you have on your booking form and inform your guide during the briefing. Meals are typically served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day during the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. A morning snack will be provided for you to enjoy during the hike. Your last meal with the chef will be after breakfast on day seven. Lunch on the last day is not included.
Each hiker needs a sleeping bag when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and trekking poles (with rubber tips) are optional but recommended. If you don’t wish to bring any of the above, they are all available for rental:
Huayna Picchu is the mountain next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45-minute hike to the top. The descent can be quite steep if you are afraid of heights. You would do this after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $75. Arrangements must be made at least one month in advance due to its popularity. Please understand that the weather is beyond our control.
What to Bring
What to Pack in Your Backpack