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Salkantay Trek

The classic Inca Trail isn’t the only way to trek into Machu Picchu. One of the most stunning peaks in the Peruvian Andes, Salkantay, dominates the skyline in the Sacred Valley and was once considered a sacred spirit apu by the Inca.

The Salkantay Trail follows in the shadows of this white giant, crossing its shoulders at mountain passes with dizzying views. This area requires no special permit for trekking making it an ideal alternative for those who miss out on the snapped-up permits of the classic Inca Trail. Numerous Salkantay trek options exist, some of which encompass both Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake on Earth. For those seeking opulent indulgence, a luxury Salkantay trek beckons, promising exclusive lodges adorned with hot tubs, rejuvenating massages and a tantalising selection of the finest wines and cuisine.

What is the Salkantay Trail?

The Salkantay Trail is a renowned trekking route in Peru, offering an alternative way to reach the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. Stretching approximately 74 kilometres (46 miles) through the rugged terrain of the Peruvian Andes, the trail begins near the village of Mollepata and winds its way through breath taking landscapes of snow-capped peaks, high mountain passes, lush cloud forests, and remote Andean communities.

Unlike the classic Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trail does not require a permit and offers a less crowded experience, making it a popular choice for trekkers looking for a more immersive and challenging trekking experience. Along the trail, trekkers encounter stunning natural attractions such as the towering peak of Salkantay, the turquoise waters of Humantay Lake, and the dramatic scenery of the Santa Teresa Valley.

Highlights of the Salkantay Trek

Sacred Valley

The Sacred Valley, or Urubamba Valley, is a breathtaking region in Peru's Andean highlands. Renowned for its stunning natural beauty and rich Inca heritage, it features ancient ruins, picturesque villages, and terraced agricultural fields. The Sacred Valley serves as a gateway to Machu Picchu and offers a wealth of cultural and outdoor experiences.

Visit Machu Picchu

Visiting Machu Picchu is a wonder that has been captivating travellers for a long time now. Machu Picchu's very existence is a testament to the remarkable achievements of the Inca civilisation. The city's intricate architecture, expertly carved stone structures and strategic layout reflect a profound understanding of engineering, astronomy and the natural environment. Walking through its terraced gardens, mysterious temples and intricate plazas allows you to step back in time and marvel at this ancient wonder.

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Face of Salkantay

Revered by the Incas as a sacred peak, it dominates the landscape along the Salkantay Trail, offering trekkers breathtaking views and a challenging yet rewarding adventure through rugged terrain.

More Information About the Salkantay Trail

The best time to do the Salkantay trek is from April to November; this is the dry season in Cuzco. June to September are the most popular months to do the trek but are also the when the trail is the most crowded.

Five reasons to do a Salkantay trek

Stunning landscape

Prepare to be awestruck by the breathtaking vistas throughout the Salkantay Trek in the Andes Mountains. This trail promises trekkers an extraordinary journey through high altitude mountain passes, lush valleys and dense cloud forests, as well as mesmerising panoramas of the towering peaks and pristine glaciers. The pinnacle of this trek is none other than Salkantay Mountain itself, a towering colossus in the region offering awe-inspiring views and an unparalleled sense of achievement upon conquering its summit.

Wonderful wildlife

The Salkantay Trek plays host to a diverse array of wildlife, from the regal llamas and alpacas to the magnificent Andean condors and elusive pumas. Rare botanical treasures like the native Polylepis tree also grace this terrain. The chance to observe this unique flora and fauna up close is one of the trek's highlights, deepening one's appreciation for the natural wonders of this region.


While the Salkantay Trail, like many popular trekking destinations, has faced environmental challenges in recent years, there has been a concerted effort to prioritise sustainability in the region. Local communities and tour operators have joined forces to minimise the impact of tourism on the pristine environment. By embarking on the Salkantay Trek visitors can actively support these sustainability initiatives, playing a vital role in the preservation of this extraordinary natural and cultural treasure.


The Salkantay Trek winds its way through numerous traditional villages offering trekkers a profound immersion into the local culture and traditions. From the vibrant markets of Mollepata to the ancient remnants of Llactapata, adventurers can delve into the rich tapestry of Inca Empire history and the vibrant lives of contemporary communities nestled in the heart of the Andes Mountains.

A test of endurance

Embarking on the Salkantay Trail means taking on a demanding hike that calls for robust fitness and unwavering stamina. With an elevation exceeding 4,500m and a challenging mix of steep ascents and descents, this trek is tailor-made for those seeking a physical odyssey. The rewards, however, are immeasurable. Panoramic vistas and a profound sense of accomplishment await those who complete the trek.

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