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The Hidden Valleys of Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5D/4N

Discover the southern face of this spectacular Apu Salkantay, “Wild Mountain Spirit”, which is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range. Andean mountain dwellers hold a strong belief that mountains are powerful deities, which guard and protect the communities that live on and near them. The magic and power of the Andes mountains will soak into your bones as you traverse these little-known mountain paths.

 On Day 4, we’ll meet up with our private transportation and head for Ollantaytambo, where we’ll board the train to visit the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu on the last day.


Expedition Details 

This exclusive trek is one we have put together in order to capture the beauty, remoteness, and solitude of the Andes. It is a different, unique, and pristine version of the Classic Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu. Discover the southern face of this spectacular Apu Salkantay, “Wild Mountain Spirit”, which is the highest peak in the Vilcabamba Mountain Range. Andean mountain dwellers hold a strong belief that mountains are powerful deities, which guard and protect the communities that live on and near them. The magic and power of the Andes mountains will soak into your bones as you traverse these little-known mountain paths.

This is truly the “road less travelled”. You will absorb the remoteness and solitude of the area, striding across Andean valleys and encountering Inca stone ruins, seemingly a part of the natural landscape. We’ll hike near remote communities and run into the women and children who live their lives in this isolated region, as they watch over their herds. We’ll challenge our endurance by hiking over a spectacular pass to face snow-capped Mt. Salkantay, and finally descend along the edge of the Machu Picchu Sanctuary towards the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Marvel at the remains of ancient homes, walls, and Inca stairs at the little-known ruins of Huayna Q´ente and Machu Q´ente, apparently one with their natural surroundings. Both sites have been recently restored and get very few visitors. On Day 4, we’ll meet up with our private transportation and head for Ollantaytambo, where we’ll board the train to visit the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu on the last day.

Location: Cusco
Duration: 5 days / 4 nights
Season: April – December
Group Departures: Every Tuesday and Sunday 
Minimum: 2 passengers
Difficulty: 1-2-3-4-5

Prices start at $1200 USD Per person

Duration: 5 Days/ 4 Nights                   Season: April – December

Group Departures: Every Tuesday and Sunday from April to December 2020

Day 1: Cusco – Limatambo – Tinko

From Cusco, we drive toward Limatambo, past the Tika Tika Pass where we will attain our first views of majestic Mount Salkantay and Humantay on the horizon, before crossing the Anta plateau. Driving past breathtaking panoramas of this vibrant agricultural region with views of rugged snowcapped peaks in the background, we will arrive at the ruins of Tarawasi. After a visit to this important Inca ceremonial center, with its long asymmetrical stone walls, we will continue our drive toward the trailhead at the village of Tomacaya, where we’ll begin our trek.

This day’s hiking is all uphill. As we are approaching the heights, we’ll observe how the ecosystem changes with the altitude, starting in a relatively warm, sheltered valley where crops of fruits and vegetables thrive, then onto higher plateaus where native potatoes are grown. Finally, as we reach our campsite, we’ll observe herds of sheep and camelids grazing the high meadows.

Sleep surrounded by a stream and side valleys in our campsite at Tinko (4154 masl / 13,628 fasl).
(L / D)

Driving distance: 77.2 km (48 mi) – Time: 2 hours
Trekking distance: 11.1 km (6.9 mi) – Time: 6-7 hours


Day 2: Tinko – Tocto Pass – Pampacahuana – Mirador de Pampacahuana

Leaving Tinko, we will head up the valley and take the leftward trail to begin a long uphill climb toward the pass.  As the day warms up during our climb, we may see some Andean bird species, including endangered Andean Condors, as they soar majestically above the mountains. After 3-4 hours of steady climbing, we’ll arrive at the Tocto Pass (4900 masl / 16,072 fasl) where we’ll marvel at the incredible and dramatic views of the south face of Mt. Salkantay, while enjoying the special feeling of solitude that comes with knowing there are few other humans in the vicinity. We begin our descent along the Pampacahuana Valley toward our campsite at Mirador Pampacahuana at 3902 masl (12,801 fasl) all the while accompanied by amazing mountain views. On a clear day, we can see both the eastern face of Mt. Salkantay up the valley to our left, and Mt. Veronica down the valley to our right.

Sleep surrounded by mountains and stars in our Pampacahuana campsite (3902 masl / 12,801 fasl).
(B / L / D)

Trekking distance: 15 km (9.3 mi) – Time: 6-7 hours

Day 3: Mirador de Pampacahuana – Paucarcancha – Llactapata – Chamana

We’ll take our leave of imposing Mt. Salkantay and continue our hike downhill along an ancient Inca canal flowing down the center of the Pampacahuana Valley, passing through a landscape dotted with small farm settlements. At the end of the valley, we’ll once more begin to observe a greater variety of vegetation as we descend past the tree line before arriving in Paucarcancha, a remote Inca site at the confluence of the Pampacahuana and Q´esca valleys, where we’ll optionally stop for lunch. (We may, instead, have lunch on reaching Chamana, which is a couple of hours down the road.) The choice depends on the pace of the group and whether everyone is hungry yet – today´s itinerary is flexible!

After a short visit to explore the Inca stone walls and remnants of ancient houses at the site, we’ll continue our journey downhill and join the first stretch of the famed Inca Trail, descending toward Chamana.

Chamana is located just outside the Llactapata ruins, and we will have a chance to explore these ruins after enjoying a hearty lunch (if we were not yet hungry in Paucarcancha). These ruins were once an important rest stop for the Inca on the way to Machu Picchu, and this site will also be our private “rest stop” for the evening. We are the only company that uses this campsite, and we have equipped it with a hot shower for you to cleanse and refresh after the strenuous activity of the previous few days. Campsite at Chamana (2585 masl / 8480 fasl).
(B / L / D)

Trekking distance: 16.8 km (10.4 mi) – Time: 6 hours


Day 4: Chamana – Huayna Q’ente – Piscacucho – Ollantaytambo – Machu Picchu Village

At this point, we will be on the edge of the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary. After visiting the ruins of Huayna Q’ente, with its amazing Inca terraces and impressive landscaping, we will leave the National Sanctuary through the town of Qoriwairachina and head towards Piscacucho, where the main entrance to the Inca Trail is located. The trail will take us alongside the Vilcanota River and through several more ancient archaeological sites. In fact, this is the same path that Hiram Bingham used when he was first led to Machu Picchu by local people living here in 1911. From here, we’ll travel by car to Ollantaytambo, and then take the afternoon train to Machu Picchu Village, where we’ll spend the night before visiting the magical citadel of Machu Picchu on Day 5. Dinner on your own.
(B / L)

Trekking distance: 15.1 km (10.4 mi) – Time: 7 hours
Driving distance: 15.6 km (9.7 mi) – Time: 30 min
Train ride: 43 km (27 mi) – Time: 1:45 hours


Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

After an early breakfast, a quick, half-hour bus ride brings us up the road to the gates of Machu Picchu where we’ll enjoy a guided three-hour tour of this ancient hilltop citadel. Exploring the various sectors and entering some of the houses and temples will bring these iconic ruins to life for us. As we immerse in this mystical place, we’ll feel that we’ve entered a dream of ancient times. Wandering among these ancient manmade structures blended seamlessly into natural surroundings, will leave us with a sense of wonder and reverence, and gift us with memories to savor for years to come.

In the afternoon, we’ll return to the village where a train will take us back to Ollantaytambo. On-board entertainment, snacks, and hot and cold refreshments are available. Arrival in the Ollantaytambo train station, where we will be picked up and driven back to the city of Cusco.
(B / L)

Trekking distance:  visit Machu Picchu – Time: 3 hours
Bus ride to Machu Picchu (RT): 12.4 km (7.7 mi) – Time: 1 hour
Train ride: 43 km (27 mi) – Time: 1:45 hours
Driving distance Ollantaytambo to Cusco: 79 km (49 mi) – Time: 2 hours

End of services


Additional information:

If you wish, you can add the Inca Trail Express to the Hidden Valleys of Salkantay Trek. In this case, you stay in a hotel in Ollantaytambo on day 4 and catch up with our fixed departure of the Inca Trail Express the next morning. You take the train to Km 104 with the new group and guide and walk from there to Inti Punku, the sun gate, where we have the first view on Machu Picchu. We walk down to the citadel and take the bus to Machu Picchu Village. We stay one night at a hotel and the next day we take the bus up to Machu Picchu again, this time for the guided visit. After lunch, we take the afternoon train back to Ollantaytambo, where a vehicle picks you up and takes you to Cusco. This combined experience would have a length of 6 days. In order to get detailed information about this combined experience, please contact your destination specialist.


B- Breakfast / BL- Box Lunch / L- Lunch / D- Dinner

Booking Button
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Day/4 Night

Permits are not confirmed until confirmation from tour company.

Apr 05 - Apr 09, 2020
From $1200 USD
Apr 07 - Apr 11, 2020
From $1200 USD
Apr 12 - Apr 16, 2020
From $1200 USD
Apr 19 - Apr 23, 2020
From $1200 USD
May 06 - May 10, 2020
From $1200 USD
May 12 - May 17, 2020
From $1200 USD

May 19 - May 24, 2020
From $1200 USD

Don't see your date? Contact Us to book direct

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Why we love Explorandes

Explorandes (1975) has been a pioneer in adventure travel. We were the first company to operate the Inca Trail trek, spearheading tourism in remote and rural regions of Peru. Our founders discovered ancient ruins, hidden trails, and the last uncharted rivers in the most fantastic and varied natural landscapes of the Andes. As innovators and passionate adventure enthusiasts, Explorandes gives back to the places we love exploring by creating top quality tailor-made travel experiences.

Explorandes is certified by the Rainforest Alliance and has a proven track record of promoting sustainability in every outing.

What’s Included on your trek? 

  • Transportation
  • Professional bilingual guide
  • Bus ticket Machu Picchu – Machu Picchu Village (round trip)
  • Double occupancy tents with Thermarest sleeping pads
  • Guided tour in Machu Picchu
  • Lunch in Machu Picchu Village on day 5
  • All meals during trek
  • Non-alcoholic drinks
  • Kitchen and dining tents
  • Cook and field staff
  • Horses and drivers
  • Entrance tickets
  • Solar energy lamps
  • Eco toilets
  • Adequate garbage disposal
  • First aid kit and oxygen tank
  • Hotel in Machu Picchu Village
  • Train from Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu Village and from Machu Picchu Village to Cusco
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Dinner in Machu Picchu Village on Day 4
  • Laundry service
  • Airline tickets
  • Sleeping bags (rent available)
  • Personal gear
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Additional services
  • Tips
  • Extras
  • Regular and long wicking first layer for cold weather, like polyester, nylon, or merino wool
  • Short-sleeved shirts or t-shirts, breathable fabrics, like nylon and polyester
  • Light-colored long-sleeved shirts or t-shirts
  • QuickDry Pants, trekking pants, and shorts
  • Insulated long-sleeve jacket (fleece, synthetic, down, merino wool)
  • Liner gloves
  • Light cap and beany
  • Rain jacket (in the rainy season, bring rain pants)
  • Breathable sports socks or hiking socks
  • Warm socks for nights
  • Swimsuit
  • Multifunctional headwear (e.g. Buff)
  • Waterproof and breathable hiking boots
  • Comfortable and lightweight shoes for campsite
  • Sleeping Bag (0°/32° to -15°/ 5°) (rent available)
  • Day Pack (preferably with rain cover)
  • Trekking Poles (available to rent)
  • Waterproof duffle bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Headlamp
  • Microfiber towel
  • Sunblock, lip balm, and insect repellent
  • Reusable water bottle or vacuum bottle
  • Portable Power Bank (to charge lamps, etc)
  • Personal First Aid Kit (recommended)

On each trip we carry a medical kit, but we suggest you bring a small personal First-Aid Kit for bruises and blisters. Knee and ankle braces are sometimes useful especially if you suffer from weak knees or ankles. Include any special medication your doctor might suggest for you.

Terms & Conditions 


All prices hold for the duration of the calendar year in which they were set. At the end of each calendar year, all prices are reevaluated and/or adjusted. Due in large part to our good relations with hotels, transport companies and operators, we are able to maintain competitive prices. All of our prices include administrative and operational costs.

IMPORTANT: Some properties and third party providers do increase their rates around special holidays and dates, including, for example, Christmas, New Year’s, Inti Raymi, and any other national holiday or special date. In these situations, the price may be higher than the prices we have set and listed for the calendar year.

Payment & Booking: 

 In order for us to guarantee the highest quality guides, space in the best hotels, and many other ancillary services for your trip, our policy is that we pre-pay for any contracted services before the passenger’s arrival date. Additionally, a large portion of the passenger’s deposit goes towards acquiring the necessary permits required by the governments of the destinations they will be visiting, which is usually a non-refundable fee.

For these reasons, we have set the following payment policies:

– Deposit: Upon booking with Explorandes, $500 deposit per person. Subject to booking value, an additional deposit may be required and we will advise at the time of quotation.

– Balance Due in full: 60 days prior to arrival.

Cancellations & Refunds

In the event that a passenger needs to cancel their trip with Explorandes, a cancellation fee will be charged to the passenger. The amount of the cancellation fee is set according to the number of days in advance of the passenger’s arrival that Explorandes was notified of the cancellation. The amount of the cancellation fee is also dependent on the policies of each provider to whom Explorandes has already issued payment in preparation for the passenger’s trip. Some third-party providers do require Explorandes to pre-pay well in advance of a trip to confirm space and services, and many times these payments are non-refundable.

Explorandes’ cancellation refund policy is as follows:

Cancel 0 – 30 days prior to arrival = 100% non-refundable of total trip cost.

Cancel 31-45 days prior to arrival = 75% non-refundable of total trip cost.

Cancel 46-59 days prior to arrival = 50% non-refundable of total trip cost.

Cancel 60 or more days prior to arrival = loss of deposit

Insurance & Medical 

We strongly recommend that every passenger that travels with Explorandes purchase a travel/medical insurance plan before their trip. The passenger can purchase an insurance plan directly through an insurance company of his/her preference at home. If a member of the group gets sick or is incapacitated, Explorandes will help the sick or injured passenger by getting them to a qualified doctor. Any extra costs associated with hospitalization, emergency evacuation, and/or any other costs associated with the illness or injury will be assumed by, and the responsibility of, the individual passenger.


Important – Please read carefully We, Explorandes SAC, reserve the right to modify or withdraw from any travel arrangements when deemed necessary, and when it is in the best interest of our clients. Any bags or luggage are carried at the owner’s own risk throughout the entire duration of the tour. Explorandes SAC acts only in the capacity of an AGENT upon the legal conditions that, while exercising every possible precaution, Explorandes is not responsible for injury, sickness, damage, loss, additional expenses, accidental delay, or other irregularities which may be caused either through willful or negligent acts or omissions on the part of companies or individuals providing or engaged in transportation, accommodation, or other services related to the accomplishment of the tour, or through natural disasters, social upheavals or acts of nature. On day trips, you will sometimes be asked to sign an affidavit, which acts as a release form for risks incurred during your excursion, which is a usual practice for some operators.

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