9 Day Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

Trek to Machu Picchu by going “off the beaten Inca Trail” on the exotic Salkantay Trek. Described by National Geographic as “the cool way” to get to the ancient Incan citadel, this challenging hike takes you through Andean peaks, cloud forests, Incan ruins and small villages where people still live as they have for hundreds of years. You’ll camp in style, beat the crowds to Machu Picchu, and visit cosmopolitan Lima and charming Cuzco, the erstwhile capital of the Incas. 

This fully customizable, private tour can be crafted by a Destination Expert to match the vacation of your dreams. From the moment you contact us, until the day you return home, we cater to your every whim.

See our preferred hotels for this itinerary by destination:

1 night in Lima | 3 nights in Cuzco | 3 nights on the trail | 1 night in Machu Picchu town

  • Start with a free day to acclimatize to the altitude and explore Cuzco at your leisure.
  • Take a fascinating tour of Cuzco, comparing the differences between Native American and European Architecture.
  • Camp in ultimate comfort and warmth, with quality sleeping bags and Therm-a-Rest sleeping mats in your spacious two-man tent. Porters will carry your kit, and you'll even have the use of a private tented bathroom in the campsite. 
  • Visit Andean villages and ancient Incan sites including Killarumiyoc and Mollepata.
  • Make camp on Salkantaypampa, the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range, 13,100 feet above sea level.
  • Witness the majestic Soyrococha glacier lake and take in views of the peaks of Salkantay and Humantay from a high mountain pass of 15,100 feet.
  • Hike through gorgeous scenery from tropical cloud forests to bamboo groves, tiny Andean villages, valleys of rich vegetation and waterfalls.
  • Trek along the challenging trail to the terraced Incan site of Llactapata.
  • Stay overnight in comfort in Aguas Calientes, to beat the crowds to Machu Pichhu the next morning.
  • Enjoy a guided tour of Machu Picchu, with free time to explore the citadel for yourself.
  • Time allowing, take in a fascinating tour of Lima, with stops at the Larco Archaeological Museum, the San Francisco Monastery and the waterfront district of Miraflores.

Trip At A Glance

  • Day 1 – Arrive in Lima and stay overnight in a luxury hotel conveniently located near to the airport.
  • Day 2 – Journey to Cuzco, and enjoy a free day acclimatizing to the altitude and exploring the ancient capital of the Incas.
  • Day 3 – Enjoy a guided tour of Cuzco, with stops at Sacsayhuaman, Koricancha and the city’s cathedral.
  • Day 4 – Your trekking adventure begins! Visit Andean villages and Incan sites, before camping at the high mountain peak of Salkantaypampa. 
  • Day 5 – Ascend to the Glacier Lake of Soyrococha, hike to the highest pass with staggering views, descend through forests, bamboo groves and villages.
  • Day 6 – Descend through a valley of orchids, corn fields and fruit groves, with waterfalls flowing from above. Camp at La Playa.
  • Day 7 – Climb, then descend through to the terraced Incan site at Llactapata, before descending to the Urubamba River. Train to Aguas Calientes.
  • Day 8 – Beat the crowds to Machu Picchu, enjoy a guided tour of the citadel, explore on your own, then journey back to Cuzco by train.  
  • Day 9 – Fly from Cuzco to Lima. Time allowing, you can take in a tour of the capital city’s key sites before bidding farewell to Peru.

  • Day 1 - Arrival in Lima, Peru

    Upon arrival in Lima, one of our representatives will meet you and drive you to your selected hotel. Or, if you are staying at the Lima Airport Costa del Sol Ramada, you will only need to walk out the airport exit and across the street to your night’s accommodation.

  • Day 2 - Lima to Cuzco

    Travelling from Lima to Cuzco, you will have gone from sea level to 11,500 feet, so we keep your first day free to relax and acclimatize to the altitude. If you're feeling up to it, the city center is pedestrian-friendly and makes for a great stroll. We're happy to recommend the city's best options for dining and shopping, in line with your interests and preferences.

  • Day 3 - Cuzco City Tour

    Experience first-hand the remnants of the great Incan capital. At Sacsayhuaman you will see the largest and most impressive stonework of Pre-Columbian America. Your visits to the Koricancha and the main cathedral will highlight the differences between Native American and European architecture.

  • Day 4 - Trek Cuzco to Salkantaypampa

    Your trekking adventure begins with an early departure from Cuzco and a drive to the trailhead. In the morning you'll visit Andean villages and Incan sites, such as Killarumiyoc. After exploring Mollepata village and taking a relaxing lunch break, you'll head to your campsite at Salkantaypampa, located at 13,100 feet above sea level.

  • Day 5 - Trek Salkantaypampa to Collpapampa

    The day begins early with a steep, zigzagged ascent to the glacier lake Soyrococha. After a short rest, you'll hike to the highest pass at 15,100 feet where you're rewarded with superb views of the nearby towering glacial peaks of Salkantay and Humantay. The day continues with a descent to Huayracpampa for lunch. In the afternoon, a four-hour descent takes you through tropical cloud forests, bamboo groves and tiny Andean villages to your campsite at Collpapampa at 9,500 feet.

  • Day 6 - Trek Collpapampa to La Playa

    Today, as you descend further, you’ll pass through a valley of rich vegetation, ranging from various species of orchids to fields of corn and fruit. Several waterfalls flow from the cliffs above. In the afternoon you'll arrive at La Playa where you will have lunch and camp for the night. The area is near a small village where you can use shower facilities and interact with the friendly locals.

  • Day 7 - Trek La Playa to Aguas Calientes

    Early in the morning you'll set off on a difficult climb to the Llactapata pass at 8,900 feet. From here you'll see the terraced Incan site at Llactapata before descending through the dense jungle to the hydro-electric station near the Urubamba River. From here, you will take the train to Aguas Calientes, where you will settle into your accommodation for the evening and enjoy a hearty dinner.

  • Day 8 - Machu Picchu to Cuzco

    Awake early to avoid the crowds at Machu Picchu, the great Inca citadel. During the morning, your guide will walk you through the details of the site's construction and examine how a city survived perched atop this mountain. The afternoon is free for you to continue to explore the ruins on your own before taking a scenic train ride back to Cuzco.

  • Day 9 - International Departure

    You will be picked up from your hotel and driven to the Cuzco airport for your flight to Lima. Depending on the time of your international flight out a private tour of Lima's key sites can be arranged. You will visit the Larco Archaeological Museum, the San Francisco Monastery and its catacombs, Lima's historic colonial squares, and the picturesque waterfront district Miraflores.

Pricing includes everything from your international arrival to your departure, with the exception of flights and a few lunches and dinners. Our specialty is private, customizable travel experiences.

8 Day Tour from $2,990 (Private Trek) / from $1,990 per person (Small Group Trek)


  • 5 nights in our preferred properties hand selected for comfort, convenience and quality
  • Privately guided tours with your own personal guide and driver (outside Salkantay Trail)
  • All private airport transfers with English speaking assistance (outside Salkantay Trail)
  • 3 nights on guided small-group Salkantay Trail Trek
    • All camping gear and nutritious meals, snacks and water
    • Upgraded thermarest sleeping mats & sleeping bags
    • Private portable bathroom to supplement camp-site restrooms
    • Porter assistance to carry up your personal belongings  
  • Return Vistadome train to Machu Picchu Pueblo
  • All required entrance fees
  • All breakfasts
  • 24hr support
  • All taxes

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