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Short Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 4 days is the best alternative to the Classic Inca Trail and best alternative trail to reach Machu Picchu. On this 4 day hike you overcome the highest point of the trek, which is the Salkantay Mountain at 4,550 meters above sea level! In the first part of the trek you also enjoy amazing mountain sceneries with snowy peaks, mountain lagoons and remote Andean villages to later experience a subtropical area of Cusco with its warm climate! Llactapata ruins near to the Machu Picchu mountain! The icing on the cake is obviously a guided tour of Machu Picchu in the end! Our Salkantay Trail is an alternative to the classic Inca Trail. This Sacred route is an innovative experience for adventure tourists that want a bit more solitude and credibility. With more impressive surroundings, the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu offers you the chance of a calm but rich meditation on the nature. You will appreciate the testing ecosystem and the splendid appearance of the frost-topped Salkantay Mountain (6264m/20551ft.), known as the mountain that represents the mountain range of Vilcabamba the most. The short version of the Salkantay Trail is available for hikers with less time.
4 Days and 3 Nights
We pick you up from your hotel
Cusco – Our driver will drop-off in your hotel or Airbnb department
Superior service, tourist and private transport.
12+ / All travellers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
Hiking the Inca Trail is an unforgettable experience, so do not hesitate to join our group!
By saving time doing the Short Inca Trail, you will have extra days off to explore the beautiful city of Cusco and its surrounding attractions, Titicaca Lake and the Puno Region, or cities full of history and beautiful nature such as Lima and Arequipa. Take a look at some of our other packages involving these sites.
Early in the morning you are collected from your hotel for a 3 hour ride to Mollepata. We stop for breakfast and can buy some last minute supplies. We then carry on to Soyrapampa, the trail head. Here we meet the support staff that help us pack all our gear on to the horses. We then begin our hike. The first few hours are uphill. Vegetation is not natural at this altitude, so the landscape is quite stark apart from some grass that has adjusted to the altitude. Eventually we reach the highest point of the hike, the apacheta path (4590m).
The Salkantay Mountain is at 6271 meters above sea level and a powerful sight from this close. Salkantay is a Quechua word that means “Wild Mountain”. The rest of the trekking today is easy, we descend to 2890 meters, where there is more vegetation and warm weather, to our campsite.
After a nice breakfast, we continue our hike through the upper jungle. Each step of the way the surroundings are altering, there is more plant life, waterfalls, and warmer weather, some small brooks, we pass the Lluscamayo River. After a five hour hike we reach the settlement of Lluscamayo where we have lunch. Then we trek for 3 hours more, passing an awesome waterfall where we can catch our breath and take some photos. The backdrop here, of course, is astonishing. Green valleys, mountains, trees, a diversity of birds and if your lucks in you might see the Peruvain national bird, the “gallito de las rocas”. Finally we get to the village of La Playa. From this point you can choose from two options.
Llacatapata Ruins The route up to Llacatpata is on a part of an aged Inca Trail. Firstly it goes through some old villages of coffee and coca plantations, citrus tree orchids before extending to some exquisite high altitude meadows and then entering into an ancient forest close to the top. The scenery on the way up is the most varied and gorgeous than on the entire Salkantay Trek.
Close to the top, the trail changes to seemingly never ending stone steps as tall as park benches! Which you might find strange as the Incas were not known for being tall! The reason behind this was that the Incas were a very forward thinking population and aimed to build constructions that would not fall apart and that people could not destroy! We reach the top in a little over two hours.
The weather is cold and wet in the forest and then we walk down to the Llactapata ruins. In under 10 minutes we arrive at the ruins, the sight will leave you amazed! Beyond the valley you are rewqarded with the majestic sight of Machu Picchu!
After this we descend to the Hydroelectric plant, it’s 913 meters (2995 ft)in one hour. From her the hike to Aguas Calientes is mostly level. En route you will hear a roaring sound which is a powerful waterfallthat cools us down with its spray as we pass by. It is man made and shoots out of a long tunnel in the mountain from the hydroelectric plant, a fascinating and useful. Once there we have our lunch break.
The Hydroelectric plant is also the end of the railway line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. Hydro is actually farther than Machu Picchu Town on the train. It is mostly used by locals. The hike to Aguas Calientes is down the railway tracks, 12 kilometers (7.5 miles). Its a fun trek, along the tracks, with a wide path and is sheltered by jungle vegetation, trees and flowers. This is ideal after a tough 3 day Salkantay Trek.
Its hard to explain the great happiness when we finally reach the town of Aguas Calientes, you will notice for the first time in days people that look clean with fresh clothing..Day trippers!
We finally arrive to our hotel! Then we have dinner at a restaurant and plan the next day. Overnight in a hotell!
If you chose the Santa Teresa option, we have breakfast and after a short bus trip (1hour) we hike for about 2 hours past the Urubamba River and onward to the Hydro Electric Station, where we have lunch nearby.
We have a ver early morning start(before dawn), so we can get to Machu Picchu via the Sun Gate or Intipunku before the crowds. we trek the last 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu. We are one of the first to enter and revel in the view of the sun rising over the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu that we have waited for so long to see. It takes about an hour and a half to reach Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes. Once there you will have a two hour guided tour, also time to take plenty of pictures and spare time to discover and explore the ruins at Machu Picchu and walk around on your own.
The you will return to Aguas Calientes where you can have lunch (not included) and take the train back to Cusco.
Meal budget: Please allow USD 20-50 for meals not included.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the “Single room” option for this trek, you receive your own single tent and a single room in Aguas Calientes.
Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!
We would love to take everyone on the Inca Trail and guide you to Machu Picchu. We can leave any day of the week as long as permits remain with the government. Please remember, permits are only needed for your START DATE.
$550 per person
2 Trekkers: $1000 per person
3 Trekkers: $900 per person
4 Trekkers: $750 per person
5 Trekkers: $700 per person
6 Trekkers: $600 per person
7 Trekkers: $575 per person
8 or more Trekkers: $550 per person
MUNDO MAPI include a three (3) star hotel using La Cabana, Inti Punku, or Waman (based on availability at booking). Rooms are based on double or triple occupancy and there’s a single room surcharge of $50 US per person if you book alone. Rooms all include private bathrooms with hot showers and WIFI. We can also upgrade your hotel if you prefer something a little fancier. Please remember the service you receive in Aguas Calientes will not be quite as good as Cusco. Below is a list of possible upgrade options but we work with most hotels in Aguas Calientes.
– $25 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using a University Student Card our under 17-years-old, we need to see a copy of their card or passport at the time of booking to receive the discount.
Please send all to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As seen in our Additional Items under Trip Overview there are several optional upgrades. Below is a quick list of prices but be sure to check our Overview section for more details.
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It’s a 45-minute hike to the top of Huayna Picchu. The views of Machu Picchu from the top are incredible. However, if you’re afraid of heights you need to be warned that coming back down the path is quite steep. If you decide to take this hike then you would it after your tour of Machu Picchu. While this hike is on your own your guide will direct you to where it starts. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance due to popularity.
Machu Picchu mountain is the mountain that stands above the Machu Picchu ruins. It offers even more stunning views than Huayna Picchu but takes an hour and a half to reach the top. You can book this with an additional entrance ticket that we can secure for you.
All our tours include the Expedition (Tourist) Train. This train is usually booked at 4:22 p.m. departing from Aguas Calientes. There is also the Vistadome train, which is an upgraded train that offers slightly larger seats, windows and some entertainment. Usually the Vistadome train is booked for 4:43 p.m. and travels to Poroy, a train station closer to Cusco. While this is an upgraded fee, we will still include your transportation back to your hotel.
You’ll have a full day at Machu Picchu arriving at the citadel around 6 AM and leaving no later than 2 PM to catch your 4:22 train. If you would like to tour Machu Picchu again on your own the next day that can be arranged for you.