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Machu Picchu (Salkantay trekking) | Tips, tours & info

You can probably get the photo spot for you right away as I do Machu Picchu say, but did you know that there are plenty of options to get there? You can go there on your own, but you can also go there with different tour operators by means of a trekking. In both cases, the city Cusco (Location here) in Peru the base for a visit to Machu Picchu. A fantastic experience and therefore highly recommended!

We went to Machu Picchu by boat five day Salkantay trekking. In this blog I share tips for trekking to Muchu Picchu and my experience with the Salkantay trekking.

Tour in Peru (backpacking)

Peru; the land of the Incas, mysterious discoveries, colonial cities and the traditionally dressed population. Peru is the country of the impressive Andes mountains, deserts and high-altitude lakes. Are you looking for inspiration or information about Peru or are you already backpacking in the country? Then read the articles below packed with information, travel stories and practical tips…

Preparation hike to Machu Picchu

Best time to travel

The best time to travel Machu Picchu (Location here) can be visited from May to October. The reason to visit this Inca city during these months has to do with the rainy season. In the rainy season it is often more difficult to travel and the chance of a nice view is less. If you have the opportunity, I definitely recommend going somewhere during these months. Keep in mind that rain can still fall in this area and that Machu Picchu can also be in the clouds.

A lesser known image of Machu Picchu | Salkantay trekking
A lesser known image of Machu Picchu | Salkantay trekking

Trekking opportunities

Tour operators all offer different tours. For example, you can choose tours of two to five days of hiking, but you can even take different routes in the chosen number of days. Here is a selection of the possibilities:

There are probably still plenty of options and the offer per tour operator may differ.

The number of days

The difference lies in the number of days you hike, the number of kilometers to walk, the difficulty of the trek and any additional activities. If you have already read my previous blogs, then you undoubtedly know by now that we love a good hike. A five-day Salkantay trekking to Machu Picchu was therefore perfect for us.

The first four days you walk along the Humantay en salcantay mountain (location here) and slowly walk towards Aqua Calientes. From Aguas Calienties (Location here) you will visit Machu Picchu on the last day, the fifth day.

It is good to know that you have to check carefully what the number of kilometers to walk per day are in order to make a good assessment. Travelers I met found the four days at the Salkantay, for example, more intense than the five days, because you walk the same number of kilometers in fewer days.

Also read: Inca Trail | The mystical journey to Machu Picchu

One of the many particularly beautiful trails between the mountains | Salkantay trekking
One of the many particularly beautiful trails between the mountains | Salkantay trekking

Where and how to book?

You can do a lot draws online book in advance. Sometimes it is cheaper with tour operators to book at their office in Cusco, but keep in mind that the permits for the hike are very limited. You may have to wait days or even weeks before you can leave.

If you are tighter in your time schedule, just book it in advance. It doesn't make much difference in terms of costs, we can share from experience. We have also heard from others that this is the same with other tour operators.

What are you bringing?

I always find tips for a packing list difficult, because this is often very personal. Nevertheless, I've made a list of what I brought with me below. By the way, I would definitely pack the same thing again, so you can definitely use this list as a guideline.

  • Clothing with different layers; for me this was a long-sleeved thermal shirt, two t-shirts, two cardigans/sweaters, one leggings, one sports bra, hiking pants, underwear and socks.
  • Good one hiking boots.
  • Flip flops.
  • Very thick socks for the evening and / or at night.
  • Walking sticks; Not mandatory, of course, but I do recommend it
  • water bottle or 2 liter water bag.
  • Jug; you can certainly use these for the first two nights and have them filled after the evening meal.
  • Gloves and hat.
  • Good rain and wind jacket.
  • Cash; for tip, possibly a hot shower and of course the hot springs.
  • Own snacks for on the road or in the evening; you don't get much as snacks so we were happy with our own addition.
  • Headlamp.
  • Sunscreen lotion.
  • Other personal matters.
  • You can hardly buy water anywhere along the way. We brought quite a few, but one lifestraw bottle I would therefore definitely recommend.

Tip:: almost all the articles mentioned above are here can be ordered via bol.com. This way you can arrange it before departure at home from your laptop or telephone.

Circuits at Machu Picchu

Since the pandemic, you can no longer walk around Machu Picchu without a route. There are circuits that indicate which paths you can walk. The earlier you book, the more choice of circuits there are. Since the moment I visited Machu Picchu and the information that can now be found online, the circuits have changed (minimal).

The first two days you mainly climb meters | Salkantay trekking
The first two days you mainly climb meters | Salkantay trekking

The Salkantay trekking and my experience

We had booked our five-day trekking through a tour operator Machu Picchu Reservations. We were very satisfied, but another tour operator can of course also be good. Of course we have not gained a second experience. The route may differ slightly per tour operator, but assume that the content of the draw is largely the same.

Day 1 | The start

On the first day you will gather with your entire group at the tour operator's office. We had to collect at 04.30:05.15 am, but finally left there at XNUMX:XNUMX am. There were maybe five checks on everyone who had rented walking sticks and who had rented sleeping bags. You could pay extra for this, but of course you could also bring it yourself. We now had our own walking sticks, so of course they came with us! We don't have a sleeping bag with us, so we rented one from them.

After departure Cusco, we arrived after a two hour drive Molle stew. In this village we had lunch, which was already included in the trekking. Then we drove for about 1,5 hours to Soraypampa (Location here). This small village was the starting point for both the four and five day Salkantay trek.

While our things were being collected to put them on horses, we were introduced to each other and to the guide. Then the guide took us into his ritual with Aqua de Florida. That is a nice smelling stuff that you can breathe in through your nose. When you inhale this, your airways automatically open wider. After this ritual we started!

Day 1 | The first altimeters

The first real meters went up and that brought us to Humantay Lagoon (Location here). Count on about two to three hours of ascent here. From the mountain you already have a beautiful view of the lake, but you can also get closer. Honestly, I liked it better from the mountain in front, so don't forget to take a picture here.

After this you walk a part down and a bit up to arrive at the place where you will sleep. We slept that night in fantastic glass huts. Incidentally, this can really differ per tour, so don't count on it right away (then it can only be unnecessarily disappointing).

Our cold, but beautiful place to sleep the first night | Salkantay trekking
Our cold, but beautiful place to sleep the first night | Salkantay trekking

Day 2 | More altimeters

The next day the alarm went off at 05.00:07.00 in the morning and we started hiking around 4.630:XNUMX. The walking sticks could be used, because we were going to rise again enormously and reach the highest point of this trek, XNUMX meters.

We walked to this highest point at Mount Salkantay in about three hours. You actually walk more over the pass between the mountains of Humantay and in and over the mountain Salkantay. After this you mainly walk down, because we slept about 1.700 meters below that highest point.

In between we of course got another lunch and we got this in the town Huayracmachay. The food was actually very good during the entire trip, so we continued with a full belly. About three hours after lunch we continued our way to the next sleeping place. Here we had very nice tent-shaped huts to sleep in.

Day 3 | Especially a lot of down

With a view of the beginning of the jungle and a waterfall, it was very nice to wake up the next day. Again the alarm went off at 05.00:2.000. This day we still mainly walked downhill. Until lunch it got warmer and warmer, because we went more and more into the jungle. We descended to XNUMX meters Lucmabamba. Our tents were already there and lunch was already prepared.

Day 3 | An afternoon off and hot springs

This afternoon we didn't have to hike after lunch. However, options were offered to do so that afternoon. These were zip-lining and visiting the hot springs.

We chose to only visit the hot springs and the entire group did this. The costs to be taken there and the entrance to the hot springs were 50 soles per person and were therefore additional to the costs of the trekking. After hanging out in the hot springs, we were brought back to the location of our tents and we were served an evening meal.

Day 4 | The last day before Machu Picchu

On the fourth day, the alarm 'only' went off at 05.30:2,5. We started with a big ascent, because in total we walked up for XNUMX hours. This was really worth it, by the way, because we already had a view on the way Machu Picchu! With this view we also got a very interesting explanation about the history of this region. Then we walked back down and this was a big drop. We walked all the way to Hydroelectrics (Location here), where lunch was prepared for us in a restaurant. Also now our tummy was full again and we could continue.

Along the way, weather permitting, you'll get a glimpse of Machu Picchu | Salkantay trekking
Along the way, weather permitting, you'll get a glimpse of Machu Picchu | Salkantay trekking

The last part of this day's route was not the most inspiring. We walked 10 kilometers next to the railway towards Aqua Calientes. That is the destination of this day. That evening we slept in a hostel and got food (with our own choice) in a restaurant. After the evening meal we went to bed early, because the alarm clock was early.

Day 5 | Off to Machu Picchu!

The fifth day it was time for Machu Picchu! We set our alarm clock at 03.30:05.00 am. After a too small breakfast from the hostel we started. First towards the entrance of Machu Picchu at the bottom of the mountain. Unfortunately it didn't open until XNUMXam and we were a little early. We didn't know this, so I advise you not to leave Aquas Calientes too early.

At 05.00:06.00 sharp, the gate opened and we were able to climb the mountain towards Machu Picchu. You walked the original Inca Trail here and that means many different heights in steps. Incidentally, you can also cover this part by bus, but personally we only found our trekking complete if we also covered this part on foot. We arrived at the top well before XNUMX:XNUMX and were one of the first to be admitted to Machu Picchu.

Terribly cool to see this place just after sunrise and without tourists. Highly recommended to get there early if possible!

After the entrance the first view of Machu Picchu is magical after your five days trekking | Salkantay trekking
After the entrance the first view of Machu Picchu is magical after your five days trekking | Salkantay trekking

Day 5 | On top of Machu Picchu

At Machu Picchu we got a lot and interesting explanation about the history of this old Inca city. Then we were allowed to walk around in it ourselves and of course we also took a lot of pictures. It was more impressive than I expected in advance and also much bigger. I think the latter was mainly due to the fact that often only the photo of the viewpoint is shared and therefore you don't actually know the rest.

On top of Machu Picchu | Salkantay trekking
On top of Machu Picchu | Salkantay trekking

After visiting Machu Picchu we decided to walk back down again, via the same stairs. Once back in the center we decide what to eat and then our train left.

The train station is right in the center of Aquas Calientes. Incidentally, you also had the choice to go back to Cusco by bus, but for this you first have to walk back 10 kilometers along the track after visiting Machu Picchu. Hydroelectrics. That is why I would definitely recommend the train. You will be on the train for about 1,5 hours and then only 1,5 hours on the bus.

On the mountain pass between the mountains Salkantay and Humantay | Salkantay trekking
On the mountain pass between the mountains Salkantay and Humantay | Salkantay trekking

At the beginning of the evening we arrived back in Cusco and enjoyed a good hot shower again. After such a trekking you feel like it again!

Tour in Peru (backpacking)

Peru; the land of the Incas, mysterious discoveries, colonial cities and the traditionally dressed population. Peru is the country of the impressive Andes mountains, deserts and high-altitude lakes. Are you looking for inspiration or information about Peru or are you already backpacking in the country? Then read the articles below packed with information, travel stories and practical tips…

Madelon

My name is Madelon, also known online as 'retourtjewereld'. Ever since I was a few years old, I have been saying that I want to make a long world trip and I did that with my friend Thomas in 2022/2023. My wanderlust is far from over and I would like to share my enthusiasm about the places I visited with you!

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