Alternative Inca trail trek in Peru, Salkantay Trek

“A five day trek on Inca Trail following the wilderness Salkantay trekking trail. Fully guided, starting in Cusco, and camping. Spend a night in Aguas Calientes before a full tour of Machu Picchu.”


Cusco | Trekking and camping on the Inca Trail | Salkantay | Salkantay Massif | Humantay | Lucmabamba | Llactapata | Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu

Description of Alternative Inca trail trek in Peru, Salkantay Trek

This alternative Inca Trail Trek in Peru follows the Salkantay Route, a slightly tougher route than the Lares one, because it takes you through quite wild terrain from high mountain passes to highland jungle. You will be trekking alongside the great Salkantay, at 6,271m, which is the Vilcabamba Range's highest point, its sheer face and snow capped peak considered sacred by the Inca.

One of the most dramatic aspects of this trekking holiday is that we walk through a variety of altitudes and, therefore, very different ecosystems. From orchid rich cloud forest to glacial terrain, river canyons to puna grassland. We walk along the 4,600m pass over Salkantay, but also through sub tropical forest as low as 2,000m. Along the way we will be camping, with full guide and mule support.

The climax of the trip for most of our guests is, of course, reaching Machu Picchu, but we also visit the ruins of Llactapacta and the Santa Theresa hot springs. Our final lap to Machu Picchu is taken from Aguas Calientes, where we spend a night in a hostel before taking a bus journey up to the actual Machu Picchu ruins.

Please note that we also organise other alternative Inca Trail treks, including the Ausangate Lodge based trek, for those who want a bit more comfort , hiking along the Camino del Apu Ausangate. Or to Choquequirao, another Inca site that was covered by jungle for years and is now slowly but surely being revealed. It is, therefore, very much off the beaten trail from other trekkers.

Travel Team

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Check dates

2021: 22 Jun, 29 Jun, 6 Jul, 13 Jul, 20 Jul, 27 Jul, 3 Aug, 10 Aug, 17 Aug, 24 Aug, 31 Aug, 7 Sep, 14 Sep, 21 Sep, 28 Sep, 5 Oct, 12 Oct, 19 Oct
Inca Trail permits:
Over the last few years, the Peruvian government has imposed increasing restrictions on tourism on the Inca Trail in order to protect it from overuse. The aim is to minimise ecological impact and erosion, mainly by having limited access and improving the quality of the operators. There are now only a very limited number of trekking permits available - 500 per day (around 200 for travellers and the rest for staff) - and they are being issued on a first-come-first-served basis. In order to avoid disappointment we recommend booking well in advance (up to a minimum of 3 months in peak season), unless you are extremely flexible over your travel dates.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

On our treks we buy fresh local produce. In preference we choose local over imported goods, encouraging the use of Andean products in our cooking. We minimize waste by using products with minimum packaging, leaving no litter and keeping all water sources clean, leaving camp-sites cleaner than we find them. Rubbish is carried out.

We operate our treks together with a Cusco company, owned and managed locally. We employ local staff and involved in their ongoing training. All our trek staff do not carry more than the maximum load and are provided with tents and food. We pay and treat our staff fairly. We support the Tourism Concern Porters Policy.

Clean burning fuel is used to cook meals. We use biodegradable detergents when washing the cooking and eating utensils. If any part of our tour or trek is operated by another company, we try to ensure that high standards are maintained.

We are continuing to undertake community projects such as clothing and school equipment donations. Each year we donate some money to the communities our Inca Trail porters come from.

Since 2006 we have been able to support the Huchuy Yachaq community project in the marginalised neighbourhood of Hermanos Ayar, on the outskirts of Cusco, with the help of everybody who has travelled with us. We donate USD 3000 a year to this community project.

The project has been set up by volunteer social workers and teachers to provide much needed social and educational support to the children and families of this neighbourhood. Children are encouraged to attend study and games sessions held each afternoon and participate in holiday projects. Our contributions so far have paid for educational books and games, tables and chairs, improvements to the structure of the basic community owned building and the addition of functioning toilets, materials for the children to take to school, school books, holiday programmes.

And we are planting trees as part of a reforestation project in Peru.

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