Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Marcocasa
Today is a fairly easy day to help us ease into the trek. Our tour begins by visiting the important Inca site of Tarawasi which lies about 2 hours drive from Cusco. After our tour of the site, we’ll carry on to Mollepata where we’ll begin our trek. Following a different path to most groups, we will see a variety of native plants, flowers, and birds along the way and have fantastic views of the valley spread out before us.
Our campsite for the night is at Marcocasa (3500m / 11482ft) from where we will have fantastic views of the snow-capped peak Rayuska (5350m / 17552 ft.). Hardly anyone camps here so we will be able to enjoy this beautiful spot in complete peace and tranquility.
Day 2: Marcocasa – Salkantaypampa
After bidding farewell to Marcocasa, we'll continue our journey along the trail towards Soraypampa. Today's trek is relatively easy, with not too much distance to cover. The views are simply breathtaking, with several towering peaks looming above us. As we reach Soraypampa, we'll be treated to a stunning sight - the three main peaks of the region, including Humantay (5917m / 19412ft.), Tucurway (5910m / 19389ft.), and Salkantay (6217m / 20573ft.).
We'll then walk for about an hour to reach our camping spot for the night - Salkantaypampa, which sits at an altitude of 4100m (13451ft.). As it can get quite cold at this high altitude, it's recommended to don your hat and gloves before going to sleep.
Day 3: Salkantaypampa – Pampacawana
As we depart from the main trekking route, we embark on a side path towards the Inca Trail, continuing up the valley towards Salkantay. Our journey will take us up and over the Incachiriaska Pass (Frozen Inca Pass, 5028m / 16495ft.), which is the highest point on the trek. The views from the pass are truly awe-inspiring, with snow-capped peaks, turquoise lakes, and lush valleys stretching out before us. We'll then make our way down to the small community of Pampacawana (4000m / 13123ft.), where we will set up camp for the night.
As we climb up over the shoulder of Salkantay, we'll feel dwarfed by the sheer size of the mountain and gain a sense of why the Incas worshipped it as a god. The entire area is dotted with small mountain lakes of varying hues and colors, and we may even spot some of the local wildlife, such as Viscachas (rabbit-like Chinchillas) and White-Tailed Deer, as well as rarer Andean animals like Condors, Guanacos, and Vicunas. The scenery is truly breathtaking, making for a once-in-a-lifetime trekking experience.
Day 4: Pampacawana – Llulluchapampa
Our trek continues as we leave Pampacawana and head down the valley towards Wayllabamba where we will join the iconic Inca Trail. On the way, we will visit the Paucarcancha, our first Inca site of the trek. At Wayllabamba, we will switch from mules to porters to carry our gear, as this is necessary to protect the Inca Trail from damage. Tonight's campsite is at Llulluchapampa (3800m / 12460ft.), which is the closest campsite to the famous Dead Woman's Pass. As we climb up to Llulluchapampa, we will pass through various biozones, including the low sierra, cloud forest, and high puna. This provides ample opportunities to witness the diverse flora and fauna of the region, and with any luck, we may spot White-Tailed Deer once again.
Day 5: Llulluchapampa – Chaquicocha
Today's trek is considered to be one of the more challenging days of the Inca Trail. We will need to conquer two passes, but fortunately, we have set up camp closer to the first one, so the ascent won't be as tough as it is for others. As we cross the two passes, we'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding high mountain ranges, and we'll get to explore two fascinating Inca sites, Runcuraccay and Sayacmarca. Along the way, we'll also have the opportunity to spot a variety of plants and wildlife as we enter the cloud forest zone. Our campsite for tonight is at Chaquicocha (3600m / 11800ft), which is a peaceful spot with stunning views of the distant mountains as the sun sets.
Day 6: Chaquicocha – Phuyupatamarka – Intipata – Winay Wayna
Today marks a more leisurely day of the Salkantay tour. In the morning, you'll be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding Andes Mountains and the Pumassillo mountain glacier peaks. The day's hike will only last for around five hours, which includes visits to three Inca ruins along the way to our campsite. The first set of ruins is known as Phuyupatamarca or "cloud-level town" and is located two hours away from the campsite. Here, you'll be able to admire the impressive platform and houses where Incan nobles once studied astronomy. The second set of ruins, found on a hillside among terraces, may have served as an Incan agricultural experiment station.
As you continue your hike, you'll also be treated to stunning views of the sacred valley and the Urubamba River. Finally, you'll arrive at your last campsite, Wiñay Wayna, located at 2,600 meters. Here, you'll have the chance to leave your day packs and take a five-minute walk to reach the most beautiful Incan ruins along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. This area is situated near a village where you can appreciate the beauty of the water channels, terraces, and temples, and learn about the religious ceremonies that used to take place here.
After lunch, you'll have the opportunity to take a hot shower and enjoy a free afternoon exploring the most beautiful Inca site, Wiñay Wayna. Later in the afternoon, you'll have a final happy hour and dinner, complete with a small presentation from your porters to bid you farewell. The next day, they'll head back to Cusco while you continue your journey to Machu Picchu.
Day 7: Winay Wayna – Machu Picchu
Today is the pinnacle of your Salkantay Tour, where you will have an early start to the day. Following breakfast, you will hike for another two hours towards Machu Picchu, passing through the Sun Gate to witness breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains, valleys, rivers, and Incan ruins. Once you arrive, your tour guide will provide a two-hour informational tour of Machu Picchu. When you are ready to return to Aguas Calientes, there will be regular buses available for a 30-minute ride. After spending some time in the town of Aguas Calientes, make sure to arrive at the train station 30 minutes before our departure time for the train back to Cusco.
Tour Name: Salkantay and Inca Trail 7 days family-friendly trek
Tour Type: Hiking, Camping, Adventure, History, and Culture
Total Distance: 46.7 miles/75 km
Recommended for: Experienced Hikers
Level of Difficulty: Quite Challenging
Important Note: A permit is required to participate in this tour.
We offer a comprehensive package for your Salkantay trek and Machu Picchu tour, which includes a range of services and amenities to make your experience comfortable and enjoyable.
Our package includes:
A professional English-speaking tour guide who will accompany you throughout the trek.
An assistant tour guide for groups of 9 or more to ensure personalized attention.
A chef who will prepare delicious meals for you throughout the trek.
Mules to carry the cooking and camping equipment.
Mules or a personal porter to carry up to 10kg of your personal belongings.
Pick-up from your hotel and transportation by bus to Mollepata.
Return transportation by train and bus to Cusco.
Drinking water is provided, except for the first 4 hours of the trek when you need to bring your own.
6 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 6 Afternoon Snacks, and 6 Dinners are included. If you have any dietary requirements, please let us know in advance.
A dining tent with tables and chairs for your meals.
A 3-man tent for every 2 trekkers to ensure your comfort during the nights.
Sleeping mattresses for a good night's sleep.
An oxygen bottle and first aid kit for your safety.
Entrance fee to Salkantay Mountain, Inca Trail, and Machu Picchu.
Bus from Machu Picchu to Aguas Calientes.
Please note that the following items are not included in the package:
Sleeping bag (can be hired from us).
Breakfast on Day 1 and lunch and dinner on Day 6.
Entrance to Huayna Picchu Mountain.
Tips for your tour guide, chef, and porters.
Travel insurance – we strongly recommend that you take out travel insurance for the duration of your trip.
To ensure you have a comfortable and safe Salkantay Inca Trail trek, please bring the following items:
Your original passport and student cards (if applicable).
A hiking/trekking backpack with a capacity of 21 liters.
Hiking poles with rubber tips, which you can bring yourself or rent from Life Expeditions.
Trekking clothing, including hiking shoes, waterproof pants and shorts, two shirts, a light sweater, a rain jacket, and comfortable clothes to wear at the hotel. Lightweight and waterproof materials are recommended for quick drying from sweat and rain.
Clean clothes for the night in Aguas Calientes, as well as swimwear and towels if you plan to visit the hot springs.
Personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, toothbrush, and wet wipes.
Any necessary medications, as well as over-the-counter medication for altitude sickness (Coramina, Aspirina, Diamox, Sorojchi, Acetazolamide) and anti-blister gel.
A digital camera with external memory (optional).
Sunglasses with UV protection.
Waterproof sunscreen with SPF 60 (UVA-UVB) and sport formula.
Waterproof insect repellent lotion (not spray).
A Swiss Army Knife.
A water bottle made of flexible plastic, which is easy to carry and helps protect the environment.