Salcantay,Salkantay or Sallqantay (in Quechua) is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range, part of the Peruvian Andes. It is located in the Cusco Region, about 60 km (40 mi) west-northwest of the city of Cusco. It is the 38th highest peak in the Andes, and the twelfth highest in Peru. However, as a range highpoint in deeply incised terrain, it is the second most topographically prominent peak in the country, after Huascarán.
The name Salkantay is from sallqa, a Quechua word meaning wild, uncivilized, savage, or invincible, and was recorded as early as 1583.
The name is thus often translated as “Savage Mountain”.
Directly to the north of Salkantay lies Machu Picchu, which is at the end of a ridge that extends down from this mountain. Viewed from Machu Picchu’s main sundial, the Southern Cross is above Salkantay’s summit when at its highest point in the sky during the rainy season. The Incas associated this alignment with concepts of rain and fertility, and considered Salkantay to be one of the principal deities controlling weather and fertility in the region west of Cusco.
Salcantay’s proximity to Machu Picchu makes trekking around it an alternative to the oversubscribed Inca Trail; this is known as the Salkantay trek.
This trek perfectly combines cultural and natural beauty. We will enjoy the challenge of the ecosystem and the magnificent view of the snow-capped Salkantay (6264m/20551f), which is considered as the most representative mountain of the mountain range of Vilcabamba. The trek takes us back to the time of the incas and makes us aware of the spirits of mountains such as the Tucarhuay or the Humantay wich peak is higher than 5000m (16404 feet).
The famous Salkantay Trek (or Salcantay Trek), named among the 25 best Treks in the World, by National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine, is a trek open to everybody, with no limitation on spaces or permits (at least for now). Connecting the city of Mollepata, Cusco with Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek is an ancient and remote footpath located in the same region as the Inca Trail where massive snowcapped mountains collide with lush tropical rain forests.
This trek is an interesting alternative for those not having found spaces on the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
Salkantay Trek Itinerary: Altitude: 1950 – 4600 m/6398 – 15092 f. High season: April – November Duration: 5 days – 4 nights Level of difficulty: Difficult
We will leave Cusco at 5:30am and head towards Marcoccasa (3400m/11154f), passing the village Mollepata (3000m/9843f). In Marcoccasa we will meet the horsemen and the rest of the group and start our trek. We start hiking within a magnificent valley, surrounded by the most important snow-capped mountains such as the Humantay (5217m/17116f) and the Salkantay (6264m/20551f). Our campsite will be at Soraypampa (3900m/12795f).
Climate: cold / Transport time: 3hrs 30 hours /Hiking time: 6 hours
Optional: After Soraypampa campsite, we strongly recommend hiking to Laguna de Humantay where you are able to discover the beautiful view of Humantay Lake and Humantay snow-covered.
Hiking day from Soraypampa (3900m/12795f) to Humantay Lake (4220m/13845f). Hiking time 2 hours.
After breakfast we will set off towards the Salkantay pass (4600m/15092f) which offers an exceptional view of the Salkantay snow-capped (6264m). Thereafter we will descend again and will have time to enjoy the increasing vegetation of the ecosystem. Our campsite will be in Chaullay (3000m/9842f), amidst the tropical forest.
Climate: warm with mosquitoes / Hiking Time: 8 – 9 hours.
The third day is dedicated to the region´s flora and its plantations. After descending to a dimmed forest and enjoying the diversity of species of orchids, bromeliads and many other plants, we will se coffee, cacao and fruit-plantations. Moreover, we will have the pleasure to meet local families of Wiñaypoco (2650m/8694f), La Playa (2100m/6890f) and Lucmabamba (2000m/6561f). Our campsite will be in Lucmabamba.
This afternoon you stay in contact with a local rural family from the forest in which you will have the opportunity to witness the cultivation and processing of coffee.
Depending on the variety, it takes approximately 3 to 4 years for newly planted coffee trees to begin to bear fruit. The fruit, called the coffee cherry, turns a bright, Deep red when it is ripe and ready to be harvested. Due to the botanical characteristics of the coffee tree and the fact that coffee is often grown in mountainous areas, widespread use of mechanical harvesters is not possible and the ripe coffee cherries are usually picked by hand, a labour-intensive and difficult process. We will show and explain to you the complete process from the tree to the cup of coffee. You will also have the opportunity to ask the locals your own questions about the process of cultivation.
Climate: warm during the day with mosquitoes / Hiking time: 6 hours
Note: According to the group’s wishes it is possible to change the itinerary a bit and visit the hot springs in Santa Teresa (1830m/6004f) this afternoon at an extra cost.
After breakfast, we will hike up on the Inca trail to the archaeological site of Llactapata at 2650m/8694f (Beautiful scenery for discovering flora and evidence of Inca culture). From here we will have an outstanding view over Machu Picchu Mountain and Vilcanota Canyon). Afterwards we will continue down to Hydroelectric train station (1950m/6398f), where you are able to take the train to Machu Picchu town (2050m/6726f). Overnight in Machu Picchu town. Climate: warm with some insects / Hiking time: 6 hours.
We will leave our hotel after breakfast at 5:30am and head for Machu Picchu (2400m/7874f) by tourist bus. We will arrive at the citadel around 6:00am. After a guided tour around the archaeological site, including information about life and culture of the Incas, you will have enough time to enjoy Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (2750m/9022f) on your own. We will leave Aguas Calientes by train either at 2:55pm or at 6:45pm. Until then you will have time to have lunch in one of the nice restaurants. Moreover you can visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes to relax a bit. Hiking time: 2 hours.
– Pre-briefing time at 19hrs in our office 1 or 2 days before your date departure (it has to be confirmed at the booking time). – Private transport from your hotel in Cusco to Mollepata (Marcoccasa). – Transport from Lucmabamba to the Hydroelectric station (just for the equipment and everyone’s bag). – Tourist Train from the Hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes. – Tourist Bus from Machu Picchu town to Machu Picchu. – Tourist train from Machu Picchu town to Ollantaytambo and bus to Cusco. – Hostel with Private Room and Bathroom in Aguas Calientes town or Machu Picchu town (Machupicchu, Continental or similar). – Entrance fee to the National Park of Salkantay and Machu Picchu. – Professional bilingual guide (Spanish and English). – High quality camping equipment (Professional tent, Doite Cima 4, for 2 persons) Mattresses, eating tent with table and chairs, bathroom tent). – Meals during the excursion (Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and tea time/Optional vegetarian) – Cook and assistant. – Horseman and mules for up to 7kg of a customer’s personal equipment. – Emergency horse. – First-aid kit and oxygen bottle.
– Breakfast on day first and lunch on the last day in Machu Picchu town – Tourist Bus from Machu Picchu to Machu Picchu town (After Machu Picchu guiding you can discover more about Machu Picchu park then on the way back to Aguas Calientes or Machu Picchu town you can do it hiking otherwise you can take a bus at an extra cost $ 10.00 per person) – Sleeping bag (If you don’t have a sleeping bag, there is the possibility of renting a good quality – 10° for $ 6.00 per day).
1) From the first to the third day (from Marcoccasa to La Playa) we are accompanied by horsemen and mules that will carry all camping equipment and the customer’s private luggage (up to 7 kg). On the fourth day all luggage will be transferred to the hydroelectric station by car. 2) Visit to Huayna Picchu: For Huayna Picchu mountain requires to be booked long time in advance however we charge additional US $ 15.00 and then we’ll guarantee your entrance for Huayna Picchu as well (This new State law began since the 18th of July, 2011). 3) Tips for porters, cooks and guides are always welcome. The porters are also very grateful for a small donation, for example clothes or school equipment for their children.
– Backpack with rain shelter.
– Sleeping bag. – Clothing for warm and cold climate like a waterproof jacket. – Rain pants and lightweight pants. – Trekking shoes. – Slippers or sandals (for showers and Hot Springs). – Woollen or synthetic socks and a sweater. – Long- and short-sleeved polo’s/T-Shirts. – Rain poncho and a hat. 38 – Bathing suit (for the Hot Springs in Machu Picchu town). – Sunscreen, insect repellent, disinfecting alcohol and gel, water bottle and sterilizing tablets, toiletries and toilet paper. – Camera (wrapped in plastic bag). – Flash light and batteries. – Some snacks like chocolate bars and dry fruit. – Original passport, original ISIC student card and extra money in soles. – Since the weather can be very cold and moistly, your clothes – once gotten wet – won’t dry at night. So take some clothes to change.