2023 Salkantay Trek Ultimate Guide: What You Need to Know for an Empowering Adventure

Salkantay Trek

Nestled in the heart of the Andes, the Salkantay Trek is an awe-inspiring journey that leads you to a remarkable destination in Peru. While you may have heard the name of this breathtaking location, we’re here to provide you with vital insights that go beyond the obvious.

In this blog, we’ll delve into the history of this exceptional trail, explore why you should embark on the Salkantay Trek, understand its highlights, and offer a glimpse into what your trekking itinerary might look like. Additionally, we’ll discuss the best time to visit and what to eat, ensuring you’re well-prepared for your Salkantay adventure. And if you’re wondering where to start your journey, we’ll even introduce you to our renowned Salkantay Trek tour to make your experience unforgettable.

History of Salkantay

Before we embark on this journey together, let’s delve into the historical significance of the Salkantay region. The name “Salkantay” originates from the Quechua language, the native tongue of the Andean people. It signifies the highest peak in the Vilcabamba mountain range, where Salkantay Mountain stands tall, reaching an elevation of 6,271 meters (20,574 feet) above sea level.

The Salkantay region has played a significant role in Incan history, acting as a vital trade route between Cusco and the jungle lowlands. This historical context lends an air of mystique and allure to the region, making it an exciting destination for trekkers and history enthusiasts alike.

Why Trek Salkantay?

Trekking the Salkantay route is a transformative experience that immerses you in breathtaking natural beauty and connects you with the rich cultural history of Peru. As you embark on this adventure, you’ll be rewarded with the following compelling reasons to choose the Salkantay Trek:

Spectacular Scenery

Salkantay’s trekking route guides you through a diverse array of landscapes, from lush cloud forests to rugged mountain terrain. You’ll encounter crystalline glacial lakes, cascading waterfalls, and the sheer, snow-capped majesty of Salkantay Mountain. The scenery is a photographer’s dream and a nature lover’s paradise.

Cultural Exploration

While traversing the Salkantay Trail, you’ll have the opportunity to engage with local Andean communities, including the Quechua-speaking people. These interactions offer a deeper understanding of the region’s rich cultural heritage, customs, and traditions.

Remote Wilderness

The Salkantay Trek is celebrated for its sense of remoteness. Unlike the busier Inca Trail, the Salkantay route provides trekkers with a more tranquil, serene experience, allowing for a deeper connection with the natural world.


The Salkantay Trek is accessible to a wide range of trekkers, from novice hikers to seasoned adventurers. It offers challenging terrain for those seeking a physical test, while also providing options for a more relaxed pace.

Salkantay vs Inca Trail?

For those pondering the choice between the Salkantay Trek and the Inca Trail, the decision often boils down to personal preferences and objectives. Let’s explore some factors that set the Salkantay Trek apart:


One of the most significant distinctions is availability. The Inca Trail has a limited number of permits each day, which can make securing a spot challenging, especially during the high season. In contrast, the Salkantay Trek does not face the same permit restrictions, offering greater flexibility for travelers.

Diversity of Landscapes

While the Inca Trail primarily winds through the subtropical forest, the Salkantay Trek offers a broader diversity of landscapes. You’ll encounter alpine terrain, lush cloud forests, and even sections of the subtropical jungle, providing a more varied visual and experiential adventure.


The Salkantay Trek is renowned for its accessibility to a broader range of hikers. Whether you’re an experienced trekker or a beginner, you can customize your Salkantay experience to match your skill level and preferences.

Cultural Interaction

While both treks offer opportunities to engage with local communities, the Salkantay Trek tends to be less crowded, facilitating a more intimate connection with the Andean people along the route.

Connection to Machu Picchu

Ultimately, both treks culminate in the grand finale of Machu Picchu. However, if you seek a trail that immerses you in stunning scenery and cultural encounters while avoiding the crowds, the Salkantay Trek may be your ideal choice.

Where Do You Sleep When Trekking Salkantay?

Accommodations during the Salkantay Trek can vary based on your chosen trekking package. While different tour operators offer distinct lodging options, here are some common types of accommodations you might encounter:

  1. Camping: Many Salkantay Trek packages include camping, where you’ll stay in comfortable tents equipped with sleeping bags and mattresses. Camping in remote areas allows you to experience the wilderness up close and provides a sense of adventure.
  2. Mountain Lodges: Some trekkers opt for more luxurious accommodations along the Salkantay route. Mountain lodges provide cozy rooms, hot showers, and delicious meals, combining comfort with the allure of the trail.
  3. Homestays: For a truly immersive cultural experience, you can choose to stay in the homes of local Andean families. This option offers insight into the daily life and traditions of the people in the region.
  4. Basic Lodges: Basic lodges are a middle-ground option, offering a roof over your head, meals, and a bed. These lodges provide a balance between comfort and adventure.

The choice of accommodations will depend on your preferences and the tour package you select.

Who Can Trek Salkantay?

The Salkantay Trek is accessible to a wide range of trekkers, from solo adventurers to families and groups. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Physical Fitness: While the Salkantay Trek is suitable for trekkers of varying fitness levels, it does involve challenging terrain and high altitudes. Adequate physical preparation, including cardio workouts and leg strength exercises, can help you better enjoy the journey.
  2. Altitude Acclimatization: Due to the high altitudes encountered along the trek, acclimatization in Cusco or a similar high-altitude location is essential. This helps reduce the risk of altitude-related health issues.
  3. Family-Friendly Options: Some tour operators offer family-oriented Salkantay Trek packages, making it possible for children to participate. These packages may include shorter trekking distances and more comfortable accommodations.
  4. Solo or Group Trekking: The Salkantay Trek can be tackled solo or as part of a group. Solo travelers often join guided tours, while those in groups can share the experience with friends or meet new companions along the way.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Trek Salkantay?

Selecting the best time to embark on your Salkantay Trek is crucial to ensure a pleasant and enjoyable experience. While the trek is accessible year-round, there are specific months that offer the most favorable conditions:

  1. Dry Season (May to October): This is considered the best time to trek the Salkantay Trail. The dry season provides clear skies, mild temperatures, and lower chances of rainfall, making for a more comfortable and visually stunning experience.
  2. Wet Season (November to April): While trekking during the wet season is possible, it comes with increased chances of rain and slippery trails. This time of year can be a challenge for trekkers, but it’s also an opportunity to witness lush, green landscapes.
  3. Shoulder Season (January to February): The early months of the year can be a great time to trek. While there’s still a chance of rain, the trails are less crowded, allowing for a quieter and more intimate experience.

Ultimately, the best time to trek Salkantay depends on your preferences, weather tolerance, and willingness to embrace the unique beauty of each season.

What Do We Eat While Trekking Salkantay?

The cuisine provided during the Salkantay Trek varies depending on the tour package and accommodations you choose. However, you can expect hearty and nutritious meals designed to fuel your trekking adventure. Here’s a glimpse of the culinary experience:

  1. Breakfast: A typical breakfast includes items like scrambled eggs, pancakes, cereal, yogurt, and fresh fruits. Hot beverages such as coffee, tea, or cocoa help warm you up for the day’s journey.
  2. Lunch: Lunches often consist of a variety of dishes, including soups, salads, and a main course. Meals feature local flavors and ingredients, providing a taste of Peruvian cuisine.
  3. Dinner: Dinners are designed to be substantial and satisfying. You might enjoy dishes like quinoa soup, grilled chicken, or vegetarian options. The meal is completed with dessert and hot beverages.
  4. Snacks: Along the trail, you’ll receive snacks to keep your energy levels up. These typically include fruits, nuts, and energy bars.
  5. Dietary Restrictions: If you have dietary restrictions or specific preferences, it’s crucial to communicate these to your tour operator in advance. They can accommodate a range of dietary needs.

What Are Some Highlights of the Salkantay Trek?

The Salkantay Trek is teeming with captivating highlights that make it an unforgettable adventure. Let´s dwelve into some of the route’s most captivating attractions:

  1. Stunning Glacial Lakes: Along the trail, you’ll encounter crystalline glacial lakes with shades of turquoise and deep blue, offering a peaceful and picturesque setting.
  2. Majestic Mountain Peaks: The trek provides breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks, including the awe-inspiring Salkantay Mountain itself, which stands as one of the highest points in the region.
  3. Lush Cloud Forests: Your journey will take you through lush cloud forests, filled with vibrant flora and fauna, where you can observe a variety of plant and animal species.
  4. Cultural Encounters: Engage with the local Quechua-speaking communities and learn about their traditional way of life, including weaving, farming, and customs.
  5. Adventure Opportunities: The Salkantay Trek caters to adventure enthusiasts with options to ascend Huayna Picchu Mountain and Machu Picchu Mountain for even more breathtaking views.

Where to Get the Best Salkantay Trek Tour

Choosing the right tour operator for your Salkantay adventure is crucial for a memorable experience. Inca Peru Travel, a certified and widely trusted tour company, offers exceptional Salkantay Trek packages that allow you to discover the beauty and cultural richness of this breathtaking Peruvian destination.

To book your Salkantay Trek with Inca Peru Travel, visit our website https://incaperutravel.com/tour/salkantay-trek-machu-picchu/. We provide competitive prices and excellent customer service, ensuring your journey is both exceptional and unforgettable.


The Salkantay Trek offers an enchanting journey filled with stunning landscapes, cultural encounters, and the thrill of adventure. With the essential insights provided in this blog, you’re well-prepared to embark on your own Salkantay adventure, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Whether you choose to hike through the snow-capped peaks, lush cloud forests, or connect with local Andean communities, the Salkantay Trek promises an experience like no other in the heart of Peru.

Related blog that you might like: https://inkaperutravel.com/is-the-inca-trail-worth-it/

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