The Salkantay Route to Machu Picchu has become the best alternative to the Inca Trail.
- The Salkantay Mountain
- The Salkantay Route
- Camps and Accommodations
- The thermal baths of Cocalmayo
- Arrival and accommodation in Machu Picchu Town
- Machu Picchu Bus Station
- The Archaeological park of Machu Picchu
- Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains
- Machu Picchu Train Station
- Returning to Cusco
The Salkantay Mountain
Salkantay is a glacier located in the heart of the Andes of Peru. For the people of the Peruvian Andes the mountain is an ancient divine entity known as Apu. These imposing mountains have been venerated since the time of the Incas, even today they are part of the folklore and mysticism of the native peoples of the Andes.
The Salkantay Route
The Salkantay route involves various geographical sceneries and small natural sanctuaries, such as Lake Humantay. The route starts at the foothills of the Salkantay and Humantay mountains, makes its way through these mountains, then slowly descends to the edge of the jungle and so on to the rainforest.
The route Salkantay to Machu Picchu can be made between 4 and 7 days, the activities that are made vary in proportion to the time. The most popular programs are 4 and 5 days. However, you should keep in mind that the walk is an emotional and physical challenge. But it’s worth it.
The tourist programs or tours are distinguished by the activities that are developed in the route and mainly by the quality of the service. Some tourist companies manage exorbitant prices for this experience, for example: The trip lasts 7 days and includes exclusive services in all the route, although, it is possible that the price is worth it, but there are local tourist companies like ours that offer similar services at lower prices, but without diminishing in absolute the quality of the same ones.
Camps and Accommodations
Along the route there are camps where lodgings are installed for travelers, where they spend the night and the next day continue their journey to the next camp. On the Salkantay route there are rustic lodgings built in an artisan way and there are also other more respectable ones.
Recently, we have implemented the glamping service in the most important camps of the Salkantay route. Our tours and lodging services have been developed in order to enjoy the adventure outdoors, but without losing the comforts and attractions of a sophisticated lodging. We believe that your visit to Machu Picchu should be a wonderful and rewarding experience that will last in your memories for a lifetime.
The thermal baths of Cocalmayo
Santa Teresa is a town where there are moderately respectable lodgings, here you can enjoy some adventure activities, but its main attraction are the thermal baths of Cocalmayo. Visiting this place after the arduous walk and having a few beers with friends and fellow travelers becomes a wonderful and unforgettable moment. This activity is only available in the 5-day program.
Arrival and accommodation in Machu Picchu Town
Before arriving at the town of Machu Picchu there is a small passage for travelers. Hidroeléctrica is a nexus where there are travelers of the Salkantay route, travelers of the Machu Picchu program by bus and settlers.
The hike to the town of Machu Picchu takes about 3 hours from this place and is very smooth. It is next to the train tracks and the Urubamba river, there is abundant vegetation, it is a quiet and beautiful place.
The town of Machu Picchu has changed a lot in recent years, the hotel service is very good and modern, the town is small but attractive. There are many restaurants with a variety of dishes a la carte and all prices.
When you arrive to the town you will be accompanied to your assigned hotel, remember that the quality of the hotel service will depend on the type of service you hired. In the evening, our guide will gather the group and give an informative talk with details of the itinerary of the next day at a special dinner.
In high season, it will be convenient to get up early, either to walk to the entrance door of Machu Picchu or to take the first bus. Depending on the arrival time and the guide's suggestion, you can have breakfast at the hotel or you can ask the hotel for breakfast to take away.
The Bus Station
It is located near the main square. Remember that bus tickets do not have designated seats, it is only necessary to buy the tickets and board the bus. The lines in high season are long, it is advisable to buy bus tickets in Cusco yourself or with your operator. You can also buy them at the same bus station, but do it the day before your visit, the box office is usually free in the afternoon.
The Archaeological park of Machu Picchu
There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu Archaeological Park from the town.
Getting Machu Picchu By Walking, takes about one hour and It is smooth until Puente Ruinas (a place between Machu Picchu and the town), then the ascent to the entrance door is a bit difficult and somehow comforting.
Getting Machu Picchu By Bus, takes about 30 minutes. However, the lines can be very long in high season, to avoid some inconveniences I have left some recommendations above.
Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain
Both mountains are very popular, but to get to visit them it is highly recommended to book your tour months in advance, this way you ensure a space. There are only 400 spaces per day for each mountain, believe me when I say that spaces sell quickly.
The Train Station
The train station is located next to the handicraft center in the upper part of the town. There are currently two companies, Inca Rail and Peru Rail. Both offer various departure times and types of service. The price of train tickets varies according to the time of departure, the earlier the departure time is, the price of the ticket is more expensive.
Peru Rail is the best-known company, the cheapest service is the Expedition train.
Returning to Cusco
Generally, travelers prefer to return to the city of Cusco traveling by train until the town of Ollantaytambo and then by bus, thus saving an hour of travel time. But, if you like to travel by train, you can take the one that travels to the district of Poroy, located 15 minutes from the city and then board our transfer service.
Preventing altitude sickness in Cusco and Machu Picchu
Some people are prone to altitude sickness, while others may never get it, no one really knows who will get altitude sickness.
Appears from 8,000 feet (2,430 meters). And it is not attributed to any of the following factors: physical condition, age and sex. However, altitude sickness can frighten and make any traveler change plans. But being informed before visiting Cusco is the key to fully enjoy your trip and avoid any inconvenience.
The people most prone to altitude sickness are those with heart or even lung problems.
The main symptoms of altitude sickness are:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Dizziness or lightheadedness.
- Loss of appetite.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Rapid pulse (heart rate).
- Difficulty breathing
So, How do we treat altitude sickness?
Most of the time, altitude sickness goes away on its own. Many people get small tanks of oxygen and take it when they start to feel symptoms. A natural and very popular remedy in Cusco is to drink coca tea or chew it, although many people do not like the taste.
However, if you are concerned about high-altitude illness, you can take acetazolamide, commonly known as Diamox, and get rid of the symptoms quickly. It is a medication prescribed to prevent or treat altitude sickness, it is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor, it basically balances the pH in your body. You should take it before you start feeling symptoms.
Here are some tips to minimize altitude sickness:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
- It is very important to acclimatize a couple of days before the Salkantay tour. I have met people who live near the sea and who needed 5 days to acclimatize before the tour.
What to pack before the tour?
As multi-day hikes go, it's not intense when it comes to gear. The porters carry the important equipment and the mules carry the rest. This means that, during the hike, you will be able to carry the essentials in your backpack.
The following list of packing items is focused specifically for the Salkantay Trek tour, beyond the basics, I take into consideration the most important ones, those that beginner hikers (such as myself) have learned from our good and bad experiences.
Warm layers of clothing for hiking and sleeping: It is very important to bring underwear, especially for the first two days and nights. Warm and dry clothes will be the best decision.
Socks and hiking shoes: The Salkantay pass can be covered with snow and ice even in the dry season. It is very important to wear hiking shoes to avoid getting your feet wet and to avoid accidents. Normal sneakers will cause blisters.
Hats, gloves, raincoats and a scarf:: It is very important to bring underwear, especially for the first two days and nights. Warm and dry clothes will be the best decision.
Warm layers of clothing for hiking and sleeping:: Make sure you're dry all the time, especially if you're hiking in the rainy season. Sometimes rainstorms or snowstorms occur, wearing reliable raincoats is a safety decision.
A Bathing suit:: as I indicated above. Once you reach the rainforest, you will have the opportunity to visit the thermal baths of Cocalmayo (5-day tour).
A reusable water bottle:: we offer hot or warm water during lunches. In addition, you can buy bottles of water in the different camps that exist in the route.
Snacks:: Although the food is good, abundant and varied during the route, it is not enough to take some snacks to the excursion, such as: chocolates and some granola bars.
Sunscreen and mosquito repellent:: Solar radiation should not be taken lightly at this point; a good ecological protector will suffice. Depending on the season, mosquitoes will be a nuisance, we recommend buying a good repellent.
First aid kit:: Our guide carries the necessary first aid kit complete. However, it is necessary that you carry your personal medicine and basic elements such as: bandages for blisters, gauze, adhesive tape, triple antibiotics and wet wipes with alcohol for cuts and scrapes. Do not forget your pills for altitude sickness.
Dry bag:: Even in the dry season it is advisable to carry a dry bag inside your backpack to carry water-sensitive items such as electronics, passports and wallets.
Toilet paper:: Remember not to forget this article, but if you do, you can buy it in the town of Mollepata.
Additional batteries and battery charger:: Cold in Salkantay increases the speed of discharge of the batteries. If you are using your phone as a camera or as a notepad you will probably need them.
Plenty of Cash:: Tipping the guide and porters as a symbol of kindness and gratitude. It will also be used to buy snacks and some souvenirs. To buy food in the town of Aguas Calientes and use the bathrooms.
A diary:: It may not be indispensable, but it's good to have it.
SALKANTAY TREK TOURS
Dear traveler, we have designed these 2 programs that are suitable for most itineraries.
Remember that there are services that are not included in the programs, but, you can add them to your reservation.
- Machu Picchu Ticket
- Train Ticket
- Private Camps
- 1 Duffle Bag
- Trekking Cook
- Professional Guides
- Machu Picchu Ticket
- Train Ticket
- Private Camps
- 1 Duffle Bag
- Trekking Cook
- Professional Guides
WHY BOOKING WITH US?
Over 10 years' experience of taking people on extraordinary adventures. Our walking tours include breathtaking scenery and wildlife encounters. If you're looking for adventure in your next vacation, you've come to the right place.
Over 10 years' experience of taking people on extraordinary adventures. We offer more 20 Itineraries to Machu Picchu.
Professional experts in tourism
Our ambassadors and spokespersons of our culture are recognized professionals in tourism.
Our proposal lies in a quality and environmentally sustainable tourism.
A very customizable trip that make your trip a memorable and personal experience.
Specialized camping equipment for places with difficult climates. Rent a camping gear and backpacking guaranteed.
Foods selected and prepared by people with extensive experience in haute cuisine. Most of our meal are buffet on the tour.
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