A Guide to Salkantay Trekking in Peru

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I had so many questions before we started our trek to Machu Picchu. Are there bathrooms? Will the food make me sick? Will I have to carry my packed backpack through the whole trek (it’s so heavy!)? You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!

– The Trek –

Salkantay Trekking has many tours and treks. The trek we did was the Salkantay Trek 5 Day Classic.

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– Price –

$400 USD per person

OR

$460 USD per person – Includes trekking poles, sleeping bag, entrance fee to climb Machu Picchu Mountain or Huayna Picchu and pick up from the airport to your hotel. Our hotel offered free pick up, so we asked Salkanty Trekking if they could take us to the airport instead and they were very accommodating.

– Inclusions –

This link will give you plenty of information about the trek on the different tabs. The second tab lets you know what’s included and what’s not. For the price, it’s unreal what you get!

– Duffel Bags and Day Packs –

This is the duffel bag that they provide you with for most of your belongings. Your daily necessities will go with you in the backpack that you bring. You will not be able to get into your duffel bag from the time you leave camp until the time your return to the next camp because they are packed up and carried by mules from campsite to campsite. So, make sure that in your day pack you bring essentials like a rain coat/poncho, warmer coat, shorts, water, snacks, sunblock, bug spray, hand sanitizer, etc.

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– Bathrooms –

Every campsite has a bathroom, but be forewarned, only the bathrooms at the first camp actually have toilet seats. *You must bring your own toilet paper!* The bathrooms do not have a light, so this is where a headlamp comes in major handy. Do not go on this trek without a headlamp! Day one, there are bathrooms in Mollepata where you stop for breakfast and you should be to camp by noon – 1, so you should be fine. Day two, there are a couple bathrooms – halfway up the pass and at lunch – the ones at lunch you have to pay one sol to use. Day three, you should be to camp by noon – 1. Day four, there are bathrooms when you reach the lunch site and then again when your reach your hotel. If you can’t make it to camp, then you will have to use the “Inca toilet”, just don’t go on the trail! I know for sure that the first two camps have showers, they are not nice showers and I’m not even sure if they have hot water. I would rough it until day three when you get to the hot springs to wash your hair and get all clean.

– Food –

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The food is definitely something they don’t skimp on, it’s all prepared with fresh ingredients purchased at the local markets. They also cater to vegetarians, vegans, gluten free and any and all food allergies. There was always different types of tea at every meal and there was always a pitcher filled with some type of fruit juice – which was always warm because they have to boil their water. Lunch and dinner started with a salad, then soup, then your main course which included a meat and all sorts of sides. Every night about an hour before dinner they had tea time which included tea, coffee, hot chocolate, popcorn, crackers, biscuits and on the second night everyone got a slice of pizza! Camp two and three you could buy some beers at and there were a couple nights where we had either alcoholic food or drinks. They gave you daily snacks which included fruits, candy, cookies, etc. There was not one time that Bo or I felt sick by the food in any way, but of course, every body is different. They will also fill up your water bottles if needed every morning.

– Campsites –Β 

The private campsites were great! Their tents are made of natural materials and were built to not disturb the environment around them. They provide great protection for a good night’s rest. The first night was definitely the best staying in the glass dome where you can try to sleep or spend the night star gazing like I did! The second night, it rained all night long and the huts over the tents kept everything nice and dry and they also cut down on noise.

– Extra Fees –

There were a few times that soles were needed on the trek, including:

  • First morning breakfast in Mollepata
  • Restroom at lunch on day two – one sol
  • Canopy ride across the Urubamba River – whatever coins you have to pay the guy that helps you across (if you go this route)
  • Santa Teresa Hot Springs – 30 soles for the ride and 10 to get in
  • Tips for the horseman, cook and tour guide
  • Lunch/dinner on the afternoon of the last day in Aguas Calientes

– First Aid –Β 

There are always options if you get hurt or simply just can’t go on. They will offer you a horse to ride, or you can hitch a ride on the train when you reach the tracks on the fourth day for a fee. They did offer us a van ride on day three because of the rain, but we chose play in the rain! The tour guides are equipped with walkie talkies so if something major happens, there is always a source of communication.

– Tour Guides –Β 

Our tour guide, Kenneth, was great! Throughout the whole trek, he gave us so much history about Andean and Inca life. He always stopped along the way and pointed out different plants and flowers that are used or native to the area, he gave us history lessons on major points throughout the trek and of course a tour around Machu Picchu. They are very dedicated to providing you with the best possible experience and making sure that you have an adventure of a lifetime!

– Before and After –Β 

We arrived in Cusco a day and a half before the trek. It is recommended to arrive at least two days early to get used to the altitude. We booked our flight and two night hotel off of Travelocity. We stayed at Polo Cusco SuitesΒ which is about a mile from the city square and pretty close to the airport. They offer free pickup from the airport and free breakfast which was located on the 12th floor and had an amazing view!

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Since I was only able to book two nights in advance, I emailed to make sure we could also reserve one more night after we got back from the trek and it was no problem at all. They made our reservation and we didn’t have to pay until we checked out. They also held our suitcase for us while we were on the trek. They always had coca tea in the lobby which Bo really liked. We enjoyed our stay and didn’t have any issues!

– Machu Picchu Changes –

Starting July 1, 2017, there are some changes that will take place at Machu Picchu. I’m not sure how this will affect Salkantay Trekking’s treks, but I thought I would give a heads up. Changes include:

  • Entrance tickets into Machu Picchu are now for only half a day. To go a full day, you will have to purchase two sets of tickets – morning (6 a.m. – 12 p.m.) or afternoon (12 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.). If you do purchase two sets of tickets, you must leave the site and come back to re-enter.
  • All visitors must be accompanied by a licensed tour guide.
  • There are three routes that you can choose from when purchasing your tickets. No more roaming around the ruins on your own free will.

I hope this guide answers any questions you have in anticipation for your trip. I was super nervous beforehand because there were so many questions I had. But, no need to be nervous or have anxiety, everything was great!

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Read Next: Inside Our Trek to Machu Picchu

Read More

20 Photos that Inspire You to Hike to Machu Picchu
Touring the City of Cusco

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