Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu – All information

The Salkantay Trek is for purists, so for those who know that there is more than just the classic Inca Trail otther Short Inca trail with camping 2 days. If you are doing the Salkantay Trek then you will see that the Incas have made many beautiful paths and many roads lead to Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek is not for the faint of heart. You must have some of that Salkantay courage in your veins. Do you think you are enough of Salkantay? Here we go! Either you came here to read this blog post because you already know that the Salkantay trek is the most beautiful trek in the Cusco region or you explore alternatives after you find out that there are no permits for the classic Inca Trail

What is the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is one of the many treks you can find in the Cusco region of Peru. At approximately 75km / 46miles and approximately 3,000m / 10,000ft, this hike is difficult compared to the other trekking opportunities in the area. A typical Salkantay trek begins in Cusco, from where you will be picked up from your hotel and then transferred to Mollepata or Soraypampa.

A big advantage of the Salkantay trek is that you can not only see Machu Picchu, but also Llaqtapata. Llaqtapata, is an archaeological site located about 5 kilometers from Machu Picchu. It is believed that Llaqtapata was a resting place on the way to Machu Picchu at the time of the Incas. Even today Llaqtapata is used as a rest stop on some walks. Make sure you choose the right itinerary if you want to stay here.


The Salkantay Tour is all about the Salkantay Pass. These 4,580m are the highlight of the Salkantay trek and one of the reasons why the Salkantay trek is no easier. Walking at this altitude may cause altitude sicknesses. Below, we’ll tell you what you can do to prevent that from happening to you.

The Salkantay trek was named after Salkantay Mountain, also known as Salcantay or Sallqantay, in Quechua. It is the highest peak of the Vilcabamba Mountains and is referred to as Savage Mountain. Because the word Sallqantay means something like uncivilized, savage or invincible. Do you see now why we ask you if you are Salkantay enough?

How difficult is the Salkantay trek?

We hope that we did not scare you in our last paragraph. One might think that the Salkantay trek is extremely difficult. But do not worry, that’s not it. None of the routes for the hikes to Machu Picchu are for mountaineers. All offered routes are designed with a tourist background. This means that anyone with moderate fitness should be able to undertake these walks. The same goes for the Salkantay Trek. It’s not easy, but it’s definitely not too difficult for you.

However, when you look at the Salkantay Trek, you have to be aware of a few things. We will list them here for you:

  • Spend at least one additional day in Cusco to get used to the altitude.
  • The second day of the Salkantay trek is the hardest.
  • Do not hound yourself. Enjoy it.
  • Once you cross the Salkantay Pass, it will be easier.

If you have problems on the first day of the Salkantay trek, you can rent a horse for the second day at any time. This can help to reduce the hardship when climbing to the Salkantay Pass. You will not need any support for the rest of your trip, because then you can enjoy more descents and flat trails.

When is the best time to do the Salkantay Trek?

If you are thinking of going on a hike on the Salkantay Trek, it is good to know what you are getting into. The area of ​​Cusco in Peru knows two different seasons. There are the dry season and the rainy season. The dry season lasts from April to October, the driest months are June, July and August. This is also the busiest season of the year. Do not worry, you’re not doing the classic Inca Trail, so you do not have to worry too much about approvals.

The rainy season is from November to March and the worst months for trekking to Machu Picchu are December, January and February. It’s not impossible, but you should ask yourself if it’s worth it. Oh, you like rain? Then do it! At least the Salkantay Trail, unlike the classic Inca Trail, is not closed in February.

How much does the Salkantay Trek cost?

This is not an unimportant question. If you want to get as much out of your Euros, Dollars or Sols as possible, you should consider your options carefully. Most people prefer to do the Salkantay trek with a trekking company, but of course you can do it on your own. Below is a rough estimate of the cost of your upcoming Salkantay trek.

Guided Salkantay Trek

The cost of your guided Salkantay trek depends heavily on the trekking company offering your tour. There are many possibilities and therefore a lot of competition. But they do not just depend on the competition. For example, some trekking companies offer an extra night in Llaqtapata, while others simply stop there and hike directly to Aguas Calientes. Expensive is not always better. For example, some companies are more specialized in the Lares trek & short Inca trail 5 days or the Inca Jungle Trek and therefore have more costs to operate the Salkantay Trek.

The cost of a guided Salkantay Trek is between $600 to $700. That’s a huge difference, considering that every trek is pretty much the same route and ends at Machu Picchu. Depending on which trekking company, a 5-day hike at one company can sometimes be even cheaper than a 4-day hike at another company. See our offers for the Salkantay Trek and compare your options. The prices for your guided Salkantay trek are always without accommodation in Cusco. These costs must be added to your cost overview if the only reason for traveling there is trekking and visiting Machu Picchu.

Hike Salkantay Trek on your own

You do not necessarily need to hire a trekking company to start your Salkantay trek. Although you will not have the benefit of a tour guide, solid accommodation, cooked meals and porters, you can definitely do it alone. If you think about crossing the Salkantay Pass yourself, the following costs may apply to you:


Group Service

  • 2018 – Price service per person US$640.00 (adults)

Private Group Price

  • 2018 – Price service per person US$670.00 ( adults)
  • Important: Price includes up to 7 kilos of your personal belongings to be carried by the mules (NO need of extra Porter hire!).


  • Student Discount: US$20 (Requires ISIC Card to qualify)
  • Under 18’s Discount: US$20

Optional upgrade:

  • Sleeping Bag US$20
  • Hiking Pole US$15
  • Inflatable Mattress US$20
  • Single Tent Supplement US$35

Optional Extras

Optional upgrade (Need to book in advance):

  • Machu Picchu Mts climbing:  USD 25.00 (Need to book in advance)
  • Huayna Picchu Mts climbing: USD 25.00 (Need to book in advance)
  • Vistadome Train Aguas Calientes-Cusco: USD50.00 (Need to book in advance)
  • Extra Night in Aguas Calientes: Depends on the type of Hotel desired (Need to book in advance)
  • Rainbow Mountain 1 Day
  • Sacred Valley Tour 1 Day

How high is the Salkantay Pass?

The Salkantay Pass is your biggest obstacle during the Salkantay trek. The pass has a height of 4,600 m / 15,100 ft above sea level. On a typical Salkantay trek, you’ll probably cross the Salkantay Pass on the second day. It is important to relax while crossing the pass. If you’re prone to altitude sickness, that’s where it can happen. Fortunately, as soon as you cross the Salkantay Pass, you will descend fairly quickly. This helps with acclimatization and should eliminate the worst symptoms of altitude sickness.

Altitude sickness during the Salkantay trek.

Mountain sickness (AMS) can ruin your trip to Machu Picchu. Often, people are in a hurry to make an Inca Trail like the Salkantay and fly over Lima, which is at sea level. Then they find themselves back in Cusco, which is located at an altitude of 3,399 meters. To give you an impression: Mountaineers like to climb so-called three thousand meter peaks, mountains at 3000 meters above sea level. You know that Cusco is already high. From Cusco it goes even higher, because the Salkantay Trek crosses the Salkantay Pass at 4,600 m. That’s a solid four thousand. The dangers of altitude sickness should therefore be taken seriously.

Mountain sickness

Our trekking experts recommend all those who are interested in the Salkantay trek to spend at least one day in Cusco. Ideally, you spend two days in Cusco. Why not? There is a lot to do there. It’s a great city and spending some time there will help you get used to the altitude.

Our trekking experts are aware of the dangers of altitude sickness. They have written extra blog articles about AMS trekking in Nepal and know that you should not top Kilimanjaro. Trekking up high has a

golden rule: Listen to your body.

Listen to your body

When your body needs rest, it will tell you. Listen carefully to your body. Be body conscious and talk about the symptoms of altitude sickness. When your body sends the signals, let your friends, your guide, your wearers know how you feel and take a break. Do not let it get worse.

Eat as much as you can. Do not give up on your meals, even if you do not like what you have on your plate. Believe us; you will enjoy the food in Peru. Your body works hard and needs a lot of carbohydrates to create the distances and overcome the altitude during the hike. Forget about your diet and buy some extra snickers. Trekking is hard work and can easily burn more than 4,000 calories a day. Actually that is one of the reasons why you can love trekking! Eat, your body will thank you.

Alcohol and Coca Leaves

If you drink alcohol, you will probably drink it during your Salkantay trek. Some trekking companies have the ritual on the Sakantay Pass to drink a quick booze. Be careful though, as it will not necessarily help your acclimatization. You will need to increase your water intake. It’s a lot easier when it’s hot and you’re sweating, but at high altitude you have to be disciplined. Drink 3 to 5 liters per day and, if possible, some tea. You’re hiking and not celebrating – so let (most of) the alcohol be toasting after the trip. Alcohol stimulates mountain sickness, and not just because alcohol dehydrates you.

The Incas used coca leaves (or mate) as a remedy for diseases and physical problems. Even today, coca leaves are used locally to suppress the effects of altitude sickness. Do not tell your mother we told you that, but just give it a try.

Last but not least: Choose a longer itinerary. You can do the Salkantay Trek, but if you do it in 5 days, not only will you be able to enjoy the Salkantay Trek longer, but it will also help your acclimatization. Longer is always better.

Itinerary: 5-day Salkantay Trek

If you’re looking for a travel itinerary that covers everything you need to see, plus accommodation, tour guides and porters, you can opt for the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days. Poppy from where’s Poppy did the same and even made some useful videos that give an idea of ​​what awaits you on the Salkantay Trek. A video is worth a thousand words!

Day 1: Cusco – Mollepata – Soraypampa – Humantay Lake

Your adventure begins with the pickup from the hotel or hostel. Prepare for a 4-hour bus ride. After half of the journey, a break of 20 or 30 minutes will be taken in Mollepata at an altitude of 2,900 m. Then head straight to the last bus stop in Challacancha, where you meet your porters and horses, who carry the equipment and where the trek begins. When you arrive in Soraypampa at 3,900 meters, a base camp will be built from which you can enjoy the beautiful view of the Sailant Peak. Here is a break to enjoy lunch. After lunch, you will visit Humantay Lake at an altitude of 3,459 meters before returning to base camp in Soraypampa around 5:00 PM. Here the camping team is waiting with a lovingly prepared dinner.

Day 2: Soraypampa – Huayra Pampa – Chaullay

In the early morning you can enjoy your breakfast and fortify yourself for the first stage before starting the 3-hour hike to the highest point of the expedition, the Salkantay Pass (4600 m.). From there, the next stop is Wayracpunku (Huayra Pampa) for our next meal. Then on to the High Jungle, where you can see large trees with outstretched arms that tower far above the streams and are all full of bromeliads and orchids. This hike takes about 5 hours and you reach the camp in Chaullay at 2,900 meters. Here the dinner will take place.

Day 3: Chaullay – La Playa – Santa Teresa

After breakfast at 6:30 am, we head towards Sahuyaco (La Playa 2,080 m above sea level). This is a great place for lunch. You will then continue your journey in our transport to Santa Teresa at 1,550 meters, where the base camp will be built. Here you can look forward to a relaxing reward in Cocalmayo: The Hot Springs. Then you will be able to enjoy a traditional Peruvian dinner and take a break to prepare for the next day.

Day 4: Santa Teresa – Hydroelectrica – Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu

The next morning, after a good breakfast, the bus is already waiting. Those who book in advance do zip-lining. The rest of the group goes to the Hydroelectric meeting point, where the whole group gathers after lunch activities. After a little relaxation in this place, the group continues along the railway, which leads through this large jungle, which the Incas knew by heart, to our final destination: Aguas Calientes. We walk about 3 hours and you will see beautiful waterfalls, various organic farms and possibly the diverse wildlife after your arrival in the area (arrival set around 16:00 clock). Here the group stays in a hostel. In the evening everyone meets in a local restaurant, for a great dinner and an informative session about the next trip to Machu Picchu. Then there is still time to visit the city, which offers a wonderful sight after sunset.

Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu – Cusco

At 4:00 in the morning you will get ready for the ascent to Machu Picchu. The trek follows a climbing path through the high jungle, just in time to see the spectacular sunrise. After passing the control entrance at 6:00 in the morning, the group will make a private tour for 2 hours in the Inca Citadel, later everyone can enjoy Machu Picchu on their own.

In the late afternoon, depending on the departure time of the train, the group descends on foot to Aguas Calientes to take the train back to Ollantaytambo, where all are picked up and taken to Cusco. The group must be at the station at least 30 minutes before departure.

What do I have to wrap up on my trip to Salkantay Trek

If you wander the Salkantay Trek on your own, you have to carry everything alone. When you make that decision, we trust that you are aware of what you are getting into, and know how to make it as comfortable as possible during the hike. You will need a lot of things; Things you do not need when traveling with a trekking company. This packing list is for those who have booked with a trekking company and are wondering what they need and what they do not need. Do not need? Quite right: This is one of the additional benefits of booking the Salkantay trek at a trekking company.

The most important

If you pack your things for a trip to Peru and the Salkantay Trek, there are some things that you should not forget. The following points are self-evident 🙂

  • Valid passport (copies will not be accepted)
  • Valid student ID (if you have booked as a student)
  • Immigration Card (the important paper you receive when you arrive on the plane)
  • Hiking boots (light, comfortable and broken in)
  • A high-quality daypack (light, small and with good wearing comfort)
  • Water tank for at least 2 liters (eg Camelbak or bottles)

In your backpack

The advantage of booking at a trekking company is that you do not have to take all your belongings on the trails. All you have to do is wear your daypack and you can leave other things with the porters to make your trek more comfortable. Do not compromise on the quality of your day pack. It is important to note that the backpack should not exceed 25 liters due to local regulations. All larger backpacks cannot be brought to Machu Picchu and must be stored outside the gates.

  • Headgear and sunglasses
  • rain clothes
  • Warm clothing (fleece, long-sleeved shirts)
  • Sunscreen, insect spray
  • hand sanitizer
  • Toilet paper
  • Personal medication
  • plaster
  • Camera + extra batteries
  • headlamp
  • Extra snacks, cereal bar, chocolate etc.

Extra money for souvenirs, drinks and gratuities (small change is useful to pay the villagers on the first day)


The trekking company provides you with a bag that you can fill with all the other stuff you do not need during the day. The maximum weight is usually 7 kg and includes your sleeping bag and the air mattress. We recommend that you bring the lightest things and definitely not pack too much. Bring at least the following items:

  • Sleeping bag (usually can be rented at the trekking company)
  • Air mattress (usually available for hire at the trekking company)
  • Lightweight shoes for the camp
  • Warm jacket, headgear, gloves
  • 2-3 T-Shirts (Breathable)
  • 1-2 hiking pants
  • 4 pairs of underwear
  • 4 pairs of hiking socks
  • 1 fleece
  • 1 warm down jacket for very cold nights
  • Quick drying towel
  • Soap
  • wipes
  • toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Face cream (moisturizer)
  • Charger, power bank
  • Extra (plastic) bag for wet and muddy clothes

If you feel comfortable wearing some of the clothes for several days, you can definitely save some weight for the wearers. The excess baggage can normally be stored at your trekking company. This service is free or a small fee will be charged.

Getting fit for the Salkantay Trek

A sure way to become good at what you do is exercise. The best approach to hiking is hiking. Since you are interested in the Salkantay trek, we assume that you already like to go hiking. Walk a bit more. If you’re lucky enough to be surrounded by hills or even mountains, it’s time to see them more often. When? If you are new, we recommend that you start six months before your scheduled departure. Just go one (or more) hour (s) a week. When you get the hang of it, after about three weeks, it’s time to increase your intensity. Take a package of 10 to 15 kg and complete your week by a longer hike of three hours. If this lifestyle is new to you, you will soon be able to feel the benefits of trekking.

After a good few months of solid hiking, it’s time to put your stamina to the test. Do long consecutive walks. You can simulate constant trekking for a few days by hiking for a few days at a time. That  is quite easy. Plan a smaller trekking holiday or just keep it by hiking your favorite route repeatedly. If you can walk comfortably 4 hours a day, 3 days in a row, and carry a backpack of 10 kg to 15 kg, you will be fine on the Salkantay trek.

Moderate units in strength training

You have to get a little bit stronger. One way to get stronger is to complete some basic power units. You do not need gym membership because using just your body weight can already deliver the results you’re looking for. Once or twice a week, depending on how you feel, you can do two sets of 10 lunges, 10 squats and 10 step-ups. If you want to push yourself a little bit more, you can try to add some pull-ups and make your routine a bit more challenging. However, the extra exercise for your strength and fitness is not essential. You can enjoy trekking if you only stick to the basics. After all, it’s not a fitness contest.

That should make you fit!

Where can I book the Salkantay Trek?

You can easily book the Salkantay Trek in Cusco during your trip, but it is much better to book the Salkantay Trek in advance. The Salkantay Trek always includes Machu Picchu at the end of the journey. For Machu Picchu, however, you need tickets that need to be organized in advance. Trekking companies always need some time to book these tickets. It is therefore advisable to book in advance online.

On you can easily compare and book local providers and hikes. In addition, we have the lowest price guarantee. Did you find the Salkantay trek of your dreams? In that case, you can proceed with the booking. At

Find all our trekking opportunities here in Peru and visit this page to get all our deals for the Salkantay Trek. Have you already seen our Peru travel guide?


What is the best time to do the classic Inca trail?

The best time to go hiking is from April to October, the driest season; it is cold during the night, most normal bringing cold clothes without problems.

What is different from the classic 4-day trail and the 2-day short?

The journey of the classic Inca trail is 4 days and 3 nights, starting at kilometer 88, where the bus leaves from Cusco, after a 2-hour trip. Now the 2-day and 1-night Inca Trail starts at km 104, called by archaeologists, as the beautiful Wiñaywayna, whose name means (always young) This route is 15 km long and passes through Inca ruins surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery. Another difference between the classic trail and the short trail is that in addition to the distance covered and the level of difficulty the main difference is that on the short trail you do not see, do not go through the archaeological sites of Puyupatamarca, Sayacmarka and Runkurakay that are visible on the classic Inca trail 4 days. Furthermore, on the short Inca trail there are no camps, because you spend the night in a hotel in the village of MachupicchuPueblo (Aguas Calientes). So you don’t need to sleep in camping tents, ideal for those who don’t like camping.

Below is the itinerary of the archaeological sites seen during the Inca trail : 4 days and 2 days:

1 day: Cusco – Piscaycucho (Km 82) – Wayllabamba:

The trail starts at 82KM, altitude of 2,500, at the height of the ruins of Qoriwayrachina, entrance, checkpoint, delivers the entrance tickets.

After the entrance, there will be 9 km to be traveled until the village of Wayllabamba (3000 above sea level), where the groups spend the night camping, in the ruins of Qoriwayrachina

2nd day: Wayllabamba – Pacaymayo:

I consider it the most tiring day, because of the climbs and descents, then we will climb to the top of the Warmiwañusca mountain, and then we will descend 700 meters to the Pacaymayu River valley (3500 meters), where the groups spend the night camping in Warmiwañusca place.

3rd day: Pacaymayo – Runcuracay – Sayacmarca – Puyupatamarka – Wiñaywayna.

On the third day, we will walk 17km to Wiñaywayna, but that day is less tiring than the previous one and on this very day 4 very important archaeological sites are known, in Wiñaywayna we will camp.

Archaeological site of Runkuraqay:

(Runkuraqay – which means pile of ruins) is at 3,500m, it is believed that the building was a tambo, a type of post for travelers who followed the trail to Machupicchu. It had dormitory areas for travelers and stable facilities for their domesticated animals.

Sayacmarka archaeological site:

This at 3580m was explored by the second Bingham expedition in 1915, and in 1941 an expedition led by Paul Fejos explored the place again and renamed it Sayaqmarka, due to its geographical location that visually dominates the entire valley of the Urubamba River. Inside the citadel there are several buildings, shaped like a mountain, including a stone aqueduct that once brought water to the site. The walls are solid and the shape of the fortress can be seen easily from a distance.

Archaeological site of Puyupatamarka:

This a3685m and his name means in Quechua (place over the clouds), and was also discovered by Bingham in 1915, but like other, it was Paul Fejos who in 1941 renamed it Puyupatamarka, for this place, almost always this with fog and clouds that form in the surrounding valleys. In this set, a platform with an almost oval shape and a series of rectangular structures aligned along one side with channels through which water still flows from the highest level stands out. For some archaeologists they believe that these structures were of baths with some ritual function.

Archaeological site of Wynaywayña:

This at 2645m was revealed by Paul Fejos in 1941 and then in 1942, the Peruvian archaeologist Julio C. Tello renamed the place with the name of Wiñaywayna (young forever) which is also the Quechua name of a species of orchid, very common in area, region. There are several well-crafted buildings, among which one stands out at the top known as a “tower” built partially with worked stones; a succession of 11 ritual sources on the right and also the agricultural sector with a large number of artificial terraces. Other buildings on the edge of the cliff, with pirka-style walls, from there, have a wonderful view of the bottom of the mountains, and towards the northwest, you reach the (Intipata-place of the sun) which are artificial terraces for agricultural use .

Read also:  Inca quarry trek to machupicchu 4 days

4th day: Wiñaywayna – Intipunku – Machupicchu:

Wiñayway on a path, a trail that is carved with mastery on the mountain, and on the side is a deep precipice, following the wide trail inside the very fresh forest. Arriving where there are some steps that take you to Intipunku (door of the sun) it is made of steps, it was a control gate for people, it was dedicated to the cult of Inti, the sun god, and from there you have the incredible, vision of citadel of Machupicchu, Montaña, Huayna Picchu.

Read also:   Benefits of Booking Your Travel Package with an Experienced Company

Read also:   Tips for Choosing the Right Trek for Your Upcoming Vacation


Peru of the Incas: 5 things to know before leaving

Alternative itinerary along the Inca Trail and exploring the Sacred Valley: the South American country for those who love adventure and natural wonders

There has always been talk of the wonders of the Peruvian land, be it its millennial history, the civilization of the Incas, customs or wonderful nature. It is not only an ideal destination for those who want to take a dip in history and tradition, but also those with more adventurous inspirations find in Peru a magical world to be discovered

WHY GO There is a truly unique experience to live in Peru, and it is that of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu: it is one of the most famous trekking routes in the world, designed over 500 years ago, which starts in the Sacred Valley and ends in the rainforest of the Lost City of the Incas. Adventurers and hikers from all latitudes come here, as the path is part of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Read also: Short Inca trail to machupicchu 2 days

NOT TO BE MISSED The excursion of the Inca Trail is expected to be in good physical condition: the trek is in fact 43 kilometers long, generally passable in four days. It is an ancient and tortuous Inca path that leads to admire breathtaking scenery, crossing peaks of 4220 meters, rain forests, high cliffs and encountering various archaeological sites. Admission is limited to 500 people per day and it is necessary to book the excursion in advance. It starts from the Sacred Valley to arrive at the Machu Picchu site. The Sacred Valley is located about fifteen kilometers north of Cusco, and was the main center for the extraction of natural wealth of the Inca Empire: it is characterized by agricultural terraces, platforms composed of many small plots of land arranged in steps on the hills. It is here that there are many ruins such as Ollantaytambo , a city built over the original foundations of the Inca period which represents the best example of urban planning of the time; Pisaq , one of the most important Inca ruins, where there are buildings for military, religious and agricultural use and Moray , whose ruins are mostly composed of circular terraced depressions, the largest of which is 30 meters deep.

WHO TO GO With Peru Etico , a member of the Peru Responsible Tourism Association, you travel with solidarity in mind. The 4-day trek on the Inca Trail, starting from € 570, starts from Cusco-Waullabamba touching Miskay, Llactapata, Wayllabamba, Pacamayo, Winay Wayna up to Machu Picchu. You sleep in a tent and, besides walking, you travel by train and bus.

WHAT TO BRING To face the trekking on the Inca quarry trek to machupicchu 4 days you need to bring a backpack, a waterproof jacket, trekking shoes, heavy clothes, sleeping bag, torch with batteries, a hat, sunscreen, insect repellent, toilet paper, snacks, towel, swimsuit if you want to immerse yourself in the spa.

CURIOSITIES Everyone knows the lama, one of the symbolic animals of Peru, which generically includes all four species in which the South American camleids are distinguished. In addition to the llama, alpaca and guanaco there is the vicuña, which produces the best wool for weaving and is available in 22 natural colors. In fact, the clothing made from its wool, considered the most luxurious fabric in the world, costs several thousand dollars.

Rainbow Mountain Hike 2 Days Peru: Experience and Advice

I have always had so many dreams of my wishes and one of them was to visit Rainbow Mountain Hike 2 Days in Peru. In the first place, a sacred peak to the Incas in which sacrifices were made to the gods, in second, a natural spectacle created by mother nature who enjoyed painting a Rainbow mountain hike 2 days . I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been dreaming of exploring this rare pearl of the universe … Weeks, months, maybe years. The fact is that finally I did it and it was an even more beautiful and exciting experience than I imagined.

For this reason, National Geographic has included Vinicunca Mountain among the 100 places to visit at least once in their life , and I couldn’t agree more with them.

How to Reach Rainbow Mountain?

Unfortunately, over the past few years, the disarming beauty of Vininunca has been discovered and disseminated en masse. So, contrary to a few years ago, it is now a very popular tourist destination (which does not surprise me at all) and is easily accessible. There are in fact numerous organized tours that depart from Cusco and accompany you to this earthly paradise, giving you an unforgettable day. The current price for exploring Vinicunca is around 60 SOL (15 €) including breakfast and lunch.

I have to recommend this tour to you, I highly recommend organizing yourself. Why? Because a half-day trek to Vinicunca is not enough! This is not all those who leave on an organized tour reach the summit also because, to be able to do the whole route. You will be immersed in a spectacular landscape that winds through scenarios that change from day to day. Snow-capped peaks, fiery red peaks, narrow swamps rich in llamas, alpacas, horses and birds will frame your path to the end. I will be greatly discounted. To keep the age-old culture and the Peruvian traditions intact, the native animals with a precious coat the Andean highlands for centuries. I therefore recommend organizing DIY trekking at Vinicunca!

-> There are two key villages to organize your DIY tour: CUSIPATA and PITUMARCA.

Once in both, you will be able to stay in the rainbow mountain Andean Path Travel. There is also a hostel at the entrance to the classic and tourist mountain trail. I am moving on your own is not all complicated, indeed.

How to Prepare the Trekking

Vinicunca is a mountain of 5,200 meters above sea level which is part of the Cordillera of the Andes, so the trek will take place at a very high altitude, a factor that does not facilitate breathing. It is therefore advisable to prepare the body in advance by spending days at these altitudes, thus allowing a suitable acclimatization to face the effort.

There are also bottles containing a natural liquid to be snorted to allow the brain a better oxygenation and a decrease in mental pain caused by altitude and frost. Getting one of these bottles is easily done at the entrance to the trek.

The climate during the trek is not particularly cold, but as soon as you reach the top, the temperature becomes cold and often snows. For this advice, dress up as an onion carrying a backpack to use to make life easier. Even if you visit Rainbow Mountain in the summer remember that we are still at 5000 meters!

If you think you are not fit enough to tackle this trek, don’t worry because you can adopt the horse option that you can take at the entrance of the mountain or during the journey itself. The price they will charge you at the starting point is higher (around  € 20 return ), but if you decide later on the route – even if you meet fewer free horses – the price goes down considerably.

What makes Vininunca so special?

When the ice that covered the mountain dissolved, it revealed to the world the incredible beauty that it hid, or the different mineral layers of which the rock was composed. The red comes from oxidized iron (also known as rust), the yellow is due to the presence of iron sulfide , the brown purple comes from goethite or limonite oxidized , and chlorite is what causes the different shades of green (excluding vegetation).

Are the colors of Vinicunca really so vivid?

Time plays a fundamental role in determining how vivid colors are with the naked eye, but on a bright and clear day the mountains really look like a wavy rainbow. Before tackling the trek I was convinced that in every photo circulating on the Internet there was a hand of Photoshop, but surprisingly I changed my mind once I reached the top of the mountain…

Is it worth it?

There is no denying that trekking in Vinicunca is one of the most strenuous things you will do, especially if you are not passionate and used to trekking, but I assure you that it will also be one of the most beautiful and memorable experiences you can have.  The Ausnagate & Rainbow mountain 3 days is in fact in all its magnificence only once it reaches the top: the sediments of stones and minerals of different colors create one of the most beautiful natural spectacles in the world and the view enjoyed from the top is something incredible that you it will repay all the effort.

Read also: What Are the Benefits of Having a Proper Tour Operator When On an Adventure Vacation?

Machu Picchu excursion: everything you need to know to be perfectly prepared

Machu Picchu hike along Peru’s Inca Trail attracts millions of travelers every year. It is one of the most iconic treks on our planet.

Machu Picchu excursion

Tips for hiking on the Inca Trail

Ancient ruins, deep rainforest and perfectly carved stone continue to amaze and delight visitors from around the world.

Machu Picchu excursion

All you need to know before you go

For me, my excursion to Machu Picchu was the highlight of my trip to South America.

Yes, it is busy, and yes, it looks like a tourist trap, but there is still no way to escape the magic one feels when standing among the ancient stones.

This feeling is only enhanced by trekking along the original pilgrimage route to reach the site.

The path we now call the Inca Trail.

To help you prepare for your perfect Inca Trail experience, I’ve written my top 8 tips to help you on your Machu Picchu Hike .

1. Best time to hike to Machu Picchu

Mark and his wife after their excursion to Machu Picchu, admiring the Citadel

In the Peruvian Andes, you generally get two seasons.

  • April to October is considered the dry season.
  • November to March is considered the rainy season (albeit warmer).
  • May to September is considered the best time to go trekking due to the dry days. But I disagree.

April to October: Tourists literally flock to Machu Picchu during the dry season and this can be a bit daunting.

November – March: Yes, the rainy season is wet, but if you manage to get through it, you will have a much quieter experience hiking Machu Picchu than you would during the peak season.

The best time: My favorite time is the end of March, when the days are drying up and the place isn’t bustling with tourists.

Unless you enjoy getting wet, avoid trekking in December and January.

The Inca Trail is closed in February.

2. Book your excursion to Machu Picchu in advance

Book in advance. I can’t really stress this enough.

While Machu Picchu allows thousands of them in one day, the Inca Trail does not.

Only a limited number of tourists are allowed on the path to Machu Picchu each day.

Book 6 months in advance

To make sure you get your ticket, we recommend that you book 6 months in advance if you plan to go trekking during peak season.

Even if you plan to go during the rainy season you will need to book at least 3 months in advance.

The last time I walked the trail I saw a Dutch couple showering with tears because they hadn’t booked in advance.

Alternative excursions to Machu Picchu

If the worst gets worse, you can always take another route to Machu Picchu like the Inca Jungle Trek or the Lares trek & short Inca trail 5 days.

Only Inca Trail requires booking in advance.

3. Train before your trek

Mark and his wife with their Inca Trail support crew

The classic Machu Picchu trek lasts only 3 days. H.

But you will be hiking for almost 7 hours a day, which will take you off.

Additionally, you need to walk through Dead Woman’s Pass at 4,215m (13,828ft).

I’m a pretty fit guy, but that step made me breathe so hard that I had to stop several times.

No, you don’t have to be a superman to complete the trek, but having a decent level of fitness will increase your enjoyment even more.

I would recommend you take as many day hikes as you can in the months leading up to your trek to increase your cardio level.

4. Acclimatize properly to the height

Mark looks through a window into the ruins of Machu Picchu after his 3 day hike

Landing in Cusco I felt absolutely nothing. I took a taxi to my hostel, had a good dinner and went to sleep.

But the next morning there was another story.

Altitude sickness

I woke up with a severe headache and stayed in bed most of the day.

The nice lady who ran the hostel made me a nice tea with coconut leaves, which apparently wards off altitude sickness.

Even though it didn’t heal me, I felt a little better.

Tips for acclimating the altitude ton

If I were to go back, I would have taken a bus to the Sacred Valley, stayed in the beautiful town of Ollantaytambo and acclimatized for a few days before tackling the Short Inca trail with camping 2 days.

5. Get the right gear

The temperature actually stays quite low throughout the year, hovering around the 20 degree mark during the day and 4/5 degrees at night.

If you’re hiking in the dry season I’d still bring a lightweight, waterproof breathable jacket, and if you’re hiking in the rainy season then it’s a must.

Also, you need to avoid cotton clothing and bring hiking clothes made from a highly breathable material.

I remember constantly feeling damp in the sweltering atmosphere and was very relieved not to wear jeans or cotton shirts.

Make sure you bring good fleece, a warm jacket, and base layer for cold nights and mornings.

6. Door insect repellent

I made the big mistake of not bringing insect repellant on my trip to Machu Picchu.

The flies on the trek are big, nasty and annoying.

The bites I got on the trip became itchy and quite painful and didn’t go away for a few months!

Make sure you get a repellent brand that has a high Deet content – the ideal is over 90%.

7. Get comfortable at night

Come prepared for your trek to Machu Picchu

A good night’s sleep on the Inca Trail is a must.

Walking 7 hours a day takes all your strength and you seriously don’t want a sleepless or uncomfortable night along the way.

What to pack:

  • Light and warm sleeping bag
  • Thermarest
  • Fleece jacket or light down jacket
  • a breathable waterproof outer shell
  • This socks – for sleeping
  • Base layer in merino wool
  • Good hiking boots which are cut off early

I chose to bring my warm sleeping bag, inflatable pillow and Thermarest mat.

Having my own sleeping bag was a great feeling and the others in my group looked forward to my Thermarest mat, which held me great on hard ground.

I can’t stress how important it is to choose the right sleeping gear to make you comfortable.

Whether it’s an inflatable pillow or a foam mattress, choose one that’s small and light enough not to be a heavy burden on the course.

Warning: you may get jealous spectators.

8. Enjoy the Machu Picchu trail

Machu Picchu excursion: everything you need to know to be perfectly prepared: excursion

Mark at the observation point of Huayna Picchu

It may seem obvious, but I have seen so many people snorting and snorting and generally looking at their feet as they walked.

Remember where you are, remember to stop and take in the views, and remember to enjoy the Machu Picchu hike.

Yes, you may get tired, yes you may get wet and uncomfortable, but you will probably only have this amazing experience once, so make the most of it.

If you can’t hike Machu Pichu, check out Get Your Guide Day Trips from Cusco

Read also: What Are the Benefits of Having a Proper Tour Operator When On an Adventure Vacation?