Cusco, Peru

Salkantay Classic Trek to Machu Picchu

4 Days | Trekking and Community Lodge

Trek the spectacular Salkantay route to Machu Picchu, staying in locally-run lodges along the way! Your guides and hosts will all be people from the area who will show you how their culture, traditions, and ancestral history work in harmony with the flora and fauna of the area.

Right for You?


4 Days / 3 Nights

Travel Style

Active Adventure and Connect with Nature


English and Spanish

Physical Activity

Challenging workout


Mountains and Rural Communities


Wifi: Available
Cell: Limited

Refugios Salkantay

Locally Owned Community Association
Starts at:


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Speaks: English and Spanish


  • Trek the spectactular and less-traveled Salkantay route
  • Stay in beauiful family-run lodges along the way and connect with friendly locals
  • Enjoy home-cooked meals and hot showers after long days on the trail



6am departure from Cusco


Flexible Departure Date
All year


2-6 Travelers

You will be picked up from your hotel at 6am in a private vehicle, which will take you to the community of Mollepata, this is a journey of approximately 2 and a half hours. In Mollepata, you will be greeted by my family, where you will have breakfast (Marino, my husband and /or my children - Flor or Edwin), who will give you all the necessary information about the trek, the map of the route you will take, plus some water and snacks for the day. We also have a store to buy any last minute items that you may need for the trek.

After breakfast, you will be driven, in our private vehicle to Challacancha, which is approximately a 1 hour journey. From here, we will start to hike to our first lodge in Soraypampa, which is approximately a 2 hour walk. Here, you will be greeted with a coca tea and you will be shown to your rooms, when you will have time to get settled into the first night’s accommodation. Our lodges are fully equipped with private bathrooms, a hot shower, and we have a choice of rooms with double beds, twin rooms or rooms with 3 beds for bigger groups.

Once you are settled-in, you will be able to try some delicious and nutritious local cuisine. Vegetarians or anyone with food allergies are also welcome, we cater for all dietary needs. After a hearty lunch, you will have a short, acclimatisation trek to the spectacular Tukarhuay Lagoon with a stunning backdrop of the Tukarhuay glacier, or more commonly known as the Humantay glacier. You will also have spectacular views of the Salkantay glacier, one of the most sacred mountains in Inca mythology (Apu Salkantay) at a massive (6,200 metres / 20.341 feet). This excursion will take approximately 3 hours in total and will help you to acclimatise for the rest of the trek. When you get back to the lodge there will be an appetizer waiting for you and then a delicious dinner.

  • Total walking distance: 12km / 7.45 miles.
  • Starting elevation: 3,380 metres / 12,729 feet.
  • Highest elevation: 4,300 metres /14,107 feet.
  • Altitude of the lodge: 3,850 metres /12,477 feet.
  • Approximate night-time (outside) temperature at the lodge: 0 - 5°C.

Today is the big day! You will wake up and have a coca tea at 5am. At 5:30am our host Marino, will serve a delicious breakfast. A horseman (arriero) will carry your personal item’s with mules, to your lunch stop (Huayracmachay). This is an ascent of 7km (4.34 miles) in approximately 3 hours, between the rocky valley and the magnificent Salkantay mountain at (4,660 metres - 1,5288,71 feet). When we reach the pass, you will be able to appreciate the spectacular views of the mountains and glaciers of Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay y Pumasillo where we will be greeted with some coca tea. The Salkantay peak is the second highest mountain in the Cusco region and revered as an important God of the Incas, these are called “Apus” or Sacred mountains. After you arrive at the highest pass, you will then descend for approximately 2 hours until you arrive at Huayracmachay, where you will have your lunch. This is also when the horsemen will give you your personal items.

In the afternoon, you will enter the high part of the Amazon jungle, which is also known as a cloud forest. It is approximately a 10 km (6.2 miles) downhill walk, taking approximately 3 hours. The path is a wide track through thick woodland areas. This part of the trek is really beautiful and has stunningly decorated hillsides, with natural scenic views and a great amount of wildlife, native plants and flowers. The woodlands throughout most of the year are relatively warm, with quite hot temperatures. After finishing this stage of the hike, we will arrive at our lodge in CHALWAY (2,900 metres - 9,514 feet).

On arrival, you will be greeted with a snack and refreshments. The local family who you will be staying with, are aware that the hike has been a long one today and that you will be arriving with a healthy appetite. They will provide you with a delicious dinner, fresh towels and a hot shower.

  • Total walking distance: 22km / 13.67 miles.
  • Starting elevation: 3,850 metres / 12,631 feet
  • Highest point: 4,660 metres /15,288 feet.
  • Altitude at the lodge: (Refugio Chalway) 2,870 metres / 9,414 feet.

The local family will awaken you with a hot beverage early in the morning, which will be served in your room, to help start the day. You will also be served a healthy breakfast to prepare you for the days hike. You will leave your personal belongings in the lodge and we will transfer them to the next lodge for you. At around 7am you will start to hike and will walk for around 4 to 5 hours along a gradual descent. If you are a fan of orchids and flowers, there are many different species along the route, including different species of begonias and a surprising array of ferns. There are also some amazing hummingbird species native to the area and other different bird species. During this part of the hike, we can appreciate beautiful waterfalls, rivers and a highly impressive flora y fauna.

The beautiful scenery along this part of the trek will keep you entertained. You will then arrive at thesmall community of “La Playa”, where a local family will be waiting for you with a delicious lunch. After your lunch, you will walk approximately 1 hour through tropical jungle. In the afternoon, you will arrive at the Lucmabamba lodge where the local family will welcome you and allow you to settle in to your rooms for the night. They have private bathrooms and hot or cold showers. Afterwards you will enjoy a delicious, hearty lunch.

After lunch, you have the option to participate in a cultural experience with people who are native to the area including farmers who organically cultivate their coffee plantations, which is considered one of the best organic coffees in the world. The organic coffee plantations still use traditional methods to toast and grind the coffee beans. We will then continue through banana plantations where they also cultivate “granadilla” a member of the passion fruit family, yucca and avocados. We will finish the day with a delicious dinner after the day’s activities.

  • Waling time: 6-7 hours
  • Distance walked: 16km /9.94 miles.
  • Starting elevation: 2,870 metres / 9,416.01 feet.
  • Altitude of the Lucmabamba lodge: 2,100 metres /6,889 feet

The local family will wake you early in the morning with a hot cup of coffee, served in bed. You will be able to prepare yourself for the day’s activities and enjoy a hearty breakfast. You will start today’s hike quite early in the day and you will have the opportunity to enjoy hiking on part of an original Inca trail. After a 3 hour ascent with incredible views of the Santa Teresa valley, you will arrive at the Inca site of LLACTAPATA, situated just in front of Machu Picchu. This will be the first archaeological site that you will see on the trek, and you will see the lost city of the Incas, which is an amazing and very special place to visit with spectacular views. Not only can you catch your first glimpse of the Machu Picchu archaeological site, but also the amazing view of Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu Mountain. You will explore this amazing site and a local family will bring you a refreshing drink of bottled water, before you continue on the hike.

After the ruins of Llactapata, you will continue to descend for 2 hours, all the time appreciating the stunning views of Machu Picchu. You will then arrive at a small family home, where the family will be waiting with fresh water (bottled) to rehydrate and show you this impressive place. You will then continue to the hydroelectric train station which is your lunch spot for the day and where your personal items will be waiting for you from the Lucmabamba lodge.

After lunch and the delivery of your personal items at the Hydroelectric train station, this is where we say GOODBYE and where the services of “Refugios Salkantay” end.

You may then continue for another 2 and a half hours walk until you reach the town of Aguas Calientes. This is a very popular route along the train tracks to get to Machu Picchu and it is virtually impossible to get lost.

  • Distance Walked: 18 km / 11.2 miles.
  • Starting elevation: 2,450 metres / 8,038 feet
  • Elevation in Aguas Calientes: 2,000 metres.
  • Transfer of your personal items: (Lucmabamba-Hidroelectrica) 80% of the total distance.

This tour ends on Day 4, bringing you to the town of Aguas Calientes - the entry way to Machu Picchu. You are responsible for arranging your own accommodation in Aguas Calientes and entry to the site. Don't worry, it's easy to arrange!

What's Included


3 Nights Community Lodge and Family Homestay


Trekking and Community Lodge
Note: you will hike the Salkantay route to Aguas Calientes and then visit Machu Pichhu on your own.


Local guide (not bilingual)


Private Room and Private Bathroom


All meals included
From lunch on Day 1 to lunch on Day 4


Walk and Private car

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Your Local Host

Refugios Salkantay

Locally Owned Community Association

Refugios Salkantay is an association of small, local communities - Soray, Huaracmachay, Chalway, and Lucmabamba - that provide guides, trekking services and lodging along the Salkantay route to Machu Picchu. Each family contributes what they are able to, depending on their income and abilities, and they are proud to have formed the operations team purely with people from the local area and community. Together, they offer travelers a unique way to experience the beauty of the region while also sharing and preserving their heritage.

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Getting There

Transport options

Get picked up (included)
You'll get picked up from your lodging in Cusco and brought to the starting point for the trek.