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Salkantay Description.

The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu.

The Salkantay Trek is one of the most popular alternative treks to the famous Inca Trail in Peru. It offers breathtaking scenery, diverse ecosystems, and a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience. Here’s a detailed description of the Salkantay Trek 5 days:

Route: The Salkantay Trek typically covers a distance of approximately 75 kilometers (46 miles) over 4 to 5 days, starting from Mollepata, a small town located about a 3-hour drive from Cusco. The trek culminates at Machu Picchu, the iconic Incan citadel.

Day-by-Day Itinerary:

1.- Mollepata to Soraypampa:

The trek begins with a drive from Cusco to Mollepata, where you’ll start hiking towards Soraypampa, the first campsite. This day is relatively easy, allowing you to acclimatize to the altitude and enjoy the surrounding scenery.

2.- Soraypampa to Salkantay Pass to Chaullay:

This is often considered the most challenging day of the trek. You’ll ascend to the highest point of the trek, the Salkantay Pass (4,600 meters or 15,092 feet), where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of snow-capped mountains. Afterward, you’ll descend into the cloud forest, reaching the campsite at Chaullay.

3.- Chaullay to La Playa:

The terrain changes as you descend further into the cloud forest, passing through lush vegetation and small villages. You may encounter various flora and fauna along the way. The day ends at La Playa, a picturesque village surrounded by tropical vegetation.

4.- La Playa to Aguas Calientes:

This day involves hiking through coffee plantations and crossing rivers as you make your way to the town of Santa Teresa. From there, you’ll take a short train ride to Aguas Calientes, the gateway to Machu Picchu. You’ll spend the night in a hotel in Aguas Calientes.

5.- Machu Picchu to Cusco:

On the final day, you’ll wake up early to catch the bus to Machu Picchu and explore the ancient citadel with a guided tour. You’ll have the opportunity to learn about the history and significance of this archaeological marvel before descending back to Aguas Calientes.


  • Salkantay Mountain: The trek offers stunning views of the towering Salkantay Mountain, one of the highest peaks in the Peruvian Andes.
  • Diverse Landscapes: From high mountain passes to lush cloud forests, the Salkantay Trek showcases a variety of ecosystems and landscapes.
  • Machu Picchu: The highlight of the trek is undoubtedly the visit to Machu Picchu, where you’ll have the chance to explore one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world.

Overall, the Salkantay Trek is a challenging yet unforgettable adventure that combines natural beauty, cultural immersion, and historical significance.


The Salkantay Trek is known for its diverse microclimates, as it traverses through different ecological zones and altitudes. Here are some of the microclimates you may encounter along the trek:

High Mountain Passes:

At higher elevations, such as the Salkantay Pass (4,600 meters or 15,092 feet), you’ll experience cooler temperatures and potentially harsher weather conditions. It’s common to encounter cold temperatures, strong winds, and even snow at these altitudes, especially during the early morning hours.

Alpine Tundra:

As you ascend to higher elevations, you’ll enter alpine tundra regions characterized by sparse vegetation, rocky terrain, and cold temperatures. These areas are often found above the tree line and are home to hardy plant species adapted to the harsh mountain environment.

Cloud Forest:

Descending from the high mountain passes, you’ll enter the cloud forest zone, where temperatures are generally milder and humidity levels are higher. This lush ecosystem is characterized by dense vegetation, including mosses, ferns, orchids, and towering trees covered in epiphytes. You may encounter frequent rainfall in the cloud forest, contributing to its verdant beauty.

Subtropical Zone:

As you continue descending into lower altitudes, the climate becomes progressively warmer and more humid. The subtropical zone is characterized by dense vegetation, including tropical fruits, bamboo forests, and colorful flowers. Daytime temperatures can be warm to hot, especially in the valleys, while nights remain relatively cool.

Valleys and River Canyons:

Along the trek, you’ll pass through valleys and river canyons carved by glacial meltwater and rivers. These areas often have their own microclimates, with cooler temperatures near water bodies and warmer conditions in open areas. The proximity to water sources also supports lush vegetation and provides habitats for various wildlife species.

Overall, the Salkantay Trek offers a fascinating journey through a range of microclimates, each with its own unique characteristics and ecological diversity. It’s essential for trekkers to be prepared for changing weather conditions and temperature fluctuations throughout the trek.