The Inca trail hike is so famous, that everybody is looking forward to do it at least, one in a lifetime. And that’s why people don’t even check other options among the many others incredible hikes in the south of Peru. One of them is The Salkantay Trek; also finishing in Machu Picchu, also demanding but the beauty is unparalleled.
We know is unlikely you can do more than one big hike in a visit to Peru; but consider this option if you change your mind away from the Inca Trail.
The Wild Mountain
Some Inca stories tell us that The Vilcabamba range become the refuge of the last Incas, those escaping from the Spaniards. Located at the eastern range in the Andes its highest point is the mountain Salkantay (Also call it Salcantay o Sallqantay in Quechua) at (6.271 m). And due to its closeness to Machu Picchu, the Salkantay Trek was born.
For the Inca People Salkantay was the highest and impressive mountain that they had ever seen at that time. So that’s why they use the word Sallqa meaning wild or invincible in their language Quechua. Very close to the north of Salkantay is located Machu Picchu, from where the Incas could see just over the top of Salkantay the Southern Cross what they thought was related with fertility and weather for that reason Salkantay was considered an Apu or Deity.
The Hike to Salkantay
The Salkantay Trek is a wonderful opportunity to…
Day 1 we will departure together from Cusco very early in the morning heading to Mollepata. Try to pack smart because once in Mollepata we will re-organize our packs in order to be better carry first by the mules and then for our porters.
We start our hike heading to cruzpata where we’ll have lunch. It is a quiet and panoramic walk through the mountains. You’ll feel you are walking in Winterfell. In the afternoon after a +10Km hike that doesn’t seem long but the altitude makes it a bit harder.
After we arrive to Soraypampa, we’ll have the great opportunity to visit the unreal humantay Lagoon; stunning turquoise waters sitting in between the humantay glacier. This little steep hike will be the preparation for the next day that will be more demanding.
TIP: How long is the Salkantay hike? It is about 45 miles (72 kilometers) it takes 4 days to complete it. Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail, Which one it is hardest? It is more demanding than the Inca Trail with 43 miles (26 kilometers). Salkantay also has the highest pass: The Salkantay Pass with 4600m. So Salkantay is the hardest.
During day 2, we’ll reach the highest point in th trek, the Salkantay Pass at 4600m.a.s.l. They are about 3 hours of ascending until reach that point. Then start to hike down until our campsite in Colcapampa.
The 3rd Day we will start observing the change of weather and vegetation getting deep into the upper jungle: rivers, waterfalls, tropical fruits and different animals. trekking through the high jungle, you get the best views but maybe the best bug bites, so be ready. In our campsite “La Playa” we could enjoy the hot springs and relax.
The last day we will start early heading to Llactapata the amazing archeological site we will see Machu Picchu for the first time. Then start our downhill hike until the Hydroelectric dam where we will lunch. After that, we’ll take our last hike heading to Aguas Caliente to spend the night in a bed after a shower, Finally!
The Responsibility for the trek
We care about our natural resources. We really do. As we talked before the beauty of the hike is legendary so how to destroy it building hotels, restaurants and small houses along the trail? These actions are devastating the natural scenery.
We will keep the old way, built and collapse tents for everything and then clean it all; affecting the less possible our campsites.
Please be conscious of the limited of our natural resources and don’t collaborate with no sostenible tourism.
The Salkantay Hike is an adventure for sure, both enlightening and inspiring, the one that push your body to the limit; freezing rain, altitude sickness, blisters, twisted ankles, waking up very early, more hills that you can imagine, are proof of that; BUT IT’S WORTHY!