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Hiking, Salkantay Trail, Peru

Salkantay Trail to Machu Picchu



10 Days

Prices Start from

£4,085pp (ex. flights)

If you want the challenge of trekking to Machu Picchu (but without the crowds and night spent in tents) then the Salkantay Trail lodge-to-lodge trek is for you.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Inca Doorway, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Peru 1

Salkantay Route

Hike to Machu Picchu on the lesser-traversed alternative to the Inca Trail.

Lake Humantay, Peru 2

Humantay Lake

Trek to Humantay Lake, a glacier-fed body of water within Mount Humantay.

Balcony, Kentitambo, Leymebamba 3

Mountain Lodges

Along the way, stay in tranquil mountain lodges with comforting outdoor jacuzzis and good food.

Machu Picchu, Peru 4

Machu Picchu

Visit the intricate Inca stonework and unfathomable architecture of the UNESCO citadel.

Why we like it

While the Inca Trail is indisputably the classic route to Machu Picchu, it is also a well-trampled one. For a more authentic experience, lace up and take to the Salkantay Route where it is possible to walk over mountain passes and past huge snow-capped peaks, relaxing in remote lodges each evening before finally reaching the incredible Inca ruins.

Explore our suggested itinerary

Peru on your wishlist? Talk to our experts about tailoring this trip for you.

  • Day 1

    Lima - Cusco

  • Day 2


  • Day 3

    Salkantay Trail: Mollepata to Soraypampa

  • Day 4

    Salkantay Trail: Humantay Lake

  • Day 5

    Salkantay Trail: Cross Salkantay Pass

  • Day 6

    Salkantay Trail: Cloud Forest

  • Day 7

    Salkantay Trail: Santa Teresa River Valley

  • Day 8

    Salkantay Trail: Machu Picchu

  • Day 9

    Machu Picchu - Cusco

  • Day 10

    Cusco - Lima

Day 1

Lima - Cusco

Day 2


Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru

Spend time in the Inca capital of Cusco, a lively colonial city set around a main plaza.

Day 3

Salkantay Trail: Mollepata to Soraypampa

Salkantay Trail, Peru

Hike on an alternative to the Inca Trail, the less crowded Salkantay Route.

Day 4

Salkantay Trail: Humantay Lake

Glacier Lake, Humantay, Sacred Valley, Peru

Trek to a lake fed by the hanging glaciers of Mt. Humantay.

Day 5

Salkantay Trail: Cross Salkantay Pass

Day 6

Salkantay Trail: Cloud Forest

Day 7

Salkantay Trail: Santa Teresa River Valley

Day 8

Salkantay Trail: Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

Visit the intricate Inca stonework and unfathomable architecture of the UNESCO citadel.

Day 9

Machu Picchu - Cusco

Day 10

Cusco - Lima

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More details

Salkantay Trail, Peru
Salkantay Trail, Peru

Hike the Salkantay Trail

The lesser-travelled Salkantay Trail presents opportunities to go for a glacial dip in Humantay Lake, view the snow-capped peaks of the Vilcabamba Range, tuck in to a delicious traditional festive Pachamanca and unwind in a panoramic outdoor jacuzzi. The route navigates through rural villages, past avocado orchards and bamboo forests, and eventually arrives to the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu.

Salkantay Trail, Peru
Salkantay Trail, Peru

Stay in Remote Lodges

This small group trek offers a unique hiking experience that enlists the comfort of beautifully-appointed and one-of-a-kind mountain lodges, the ideal places to recover from long days spent on foot. Instead of pitching a tent and cooking on an open fire, spend the evening relaxing in an outdoor jacuzzi and tasting delicious home cooked meals while admiring the stunning mountains.

Salkantay Trail, Sacred Valley, Peru
Salkantay Trail, Sacred Valley, Peru

Portable Oxygen & Private Vehicles

Beginning in Cusco with some time at leisure, this itinerary is carefully designed and paced to allow for optimal acclimatisation to the maximum altitude of 4,638 metres. Nothing more than a modest backpack is required during each days’ trek, as all other luggage will be transported between the lodges in a private vehicle. All of the trails are well-maintained and safe but can be steep, rocky, or even muddy, and your expert guide will have a first aid kit, portable oxygen and communication radio on the trail at all times.

Llama, Machu Picchu, Peru
Llama, Machu Picchu, Peru

Arrive at the Inca Ruins

The trek includes visits to the Inca ruins of Tarawasi and Llactapata, and also to the rural village of Lucmabamba before reaching Aguas Calientes and the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage Site of Machu Picchu. Afterwards, pack away your hiking boots as a panoramic train will return you to Cusco.

Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru

Explore Cusco

Spend time in the Inca capital of Cusco, a lively colonial city set around a main plaza to learn about the mysterious legends of the empire. Head to a hilltop artists’ studio to peruse delicately painted ceramics, photograph the friendly alpacas, and shop for brightly-coloured traditional garments.

Snorkelling with sea lions
Snorkelling with sea lions

Suggestion: Galapagos Islands Extension

Consider flying out to the remote and remarkable Galapagos Islands, the pristine archipelago that can be explored during eye-opening sailing voyages or through carefully planned island-hopping trips. For up close and personal encounters with fearless sea lions, penguins, tortoises, sharks, blue-footed boobies and marine iguanas (to name very few), these islands are unmissable and combine beautifully with an adventure in Peru.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

El MaPi £££££

  • Peru

A contemporary property with lofty ceilings and panoramic windows, El MaPi is a down-to-earth accommodation nestled within the village of Machu Picchu Pueblo. Completely restored by a renowned Peruvian architect, El MaPi blends classic features with modern aesthetics and utilises restored furnishings and recycled materials as part of their sustainability practices.

View Property

Casa San Blas Hotel £££££

  • Peru
  • City

Proudly conserving its traditional character to ensure aesthetic harmony with the San Blas neighbourhood, Casa San Blas Hotel is situated on a narrow cobblestone street in the historic artisan quarter of Cusco. A showcase of Andean culture, its 18 rooms and suites are appointed with bright colours and traditional ceramics, and some even boast spectacular views over the rooftops of Cusco. Deeply-rooted in Peruvian traditions, the property incorporates local textiles throughout its interiors and invites guests to discover ancestral weaving traditions through a series of photographs and drawings.

View Property

Start planning your trip

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Once again, I would like to thank James for organising our trip. Our visit to Peru was perfect. Each of the expert guides in Peru made the whole thing run like clockwork, and I cannot thank all of you enough.

Destination: Peru
Travel Expert: James

Paul put together a spectacular trip through the highlights of Peru, and no detail was missed. His recommendations for acclimatising were particularly helpful, and something no one else I spoke to had mentioned.

Destination: Peru
Travel Expert: Paul

Our trip to Colombia and Peru, organised by James, exceeded all of our expectations! We travelled initially to see our eldest son who lives in California and then decided that (while close by) we would "nip" to Peru with the aim of visiting Machu Picchu, and onward to Colombia. A spectacular and memorable trip of a lifetime.

Destinations: Colombia & Peru
Travel Expert: James

A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From £4,085 Per person

When to travel

Peru in January

January begins the rainy season in the Andes and the Amazon as they reach the summer months. Along the coast, this can be one of the best times to visit, although it is a hotspot for locals.

Peru in February

As the rains continue, February can be a good time to avoid crowds. While Machu Picchu remains open, trekking in this area is a challenge as the Inca Trail closes for the month. Heavy rains in the Amazon increase water levels on the river, making wildlife viewing slightly more challenging however it does allow you to adventure into areas otherwise not reachable by boat in other months of the year.

Peru in March

March can be a good time to visit Peru. As the rainy season draws to the end, the coast will still be experiencing summer weather while inland you can expect rains. This can be one of the least crowded months for Machu Picchu and the local tourism on the beaches has subsided as children go back to school.

Peru in April

April is considered one of the best times to travel to Peru with pleasant temperatures and avoiding the busiest period. As there is still some rain, the landscape is vibrant.

Peru in May

As the dry season begins and winter sets in, temperatures are comfortable and the countryside is green with life from the rainy season.

Peru in June

June marks the start of the peak season in Peru. Skies are clear, making for picturesque sightseeing. As this is officially the start of winter, cooler temperatures are expected especially in the evenings.

Peru in July

July begins the peak travel season as international holidays open. With warm, sunny days and cooler evenings, this is also the peak time for trekking the mountainous landscapes of the Andes.

Peru in August

August continues the peak season throughout the country. With cooler evening temperatures, brings a morning fog in the Sacred Valley, which clears to blue skies by the afternoon. Expect dry, sunny weather in the Amazon during this time.

Peru in September

As spring draws in during the month of September, expect cloudy mornings which clear to blue skies in the afternoon. Showers become more likely as this is considered the shoulder season before the green season begins.

Peru in October

Temperatures begin to increase in October as summer approaches. As the dry season comes to an end, the chance of precipitation increases along with clouds.

Peru in November

Temperatures rise in November with rain increasing from the middle of the month. As a shoulder season, this can be a good time to travel to avoid crowding in Machu Picchu.

Peru in December

Weather in December sees increased temperatures as summer begins, along with the start to the rainy season. Rising water levels in the Amazon makes wildlife viewing slightly more challenging along the shores.

Holiday Inspiration

Our experts have created and curated these tailor-made holiday ideas to get you started. Take the time to search through them and find something that is the spark for your unique adventure.

Why Choose Steppes?

Our knowledge and expertise set us apart. So too our curiosity. It is this that drives us to create a journey that is really bespoke to you, all the while ensuring we travel and operate sustainably.

Are you ready to discover extraordinary once again?

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