• Photo of Salcantay Trail - Cusco to Machu Picchu in 4 days - May 2015
  • Photo of Salcantay Trail - Cusco to Machu Picchu in 4 days - May 2015
  • Photo of Salcantay Trail - Cusco to Machu Picchu in 4 days - May 2015
  • Photo of Salcantay Trail - Cusco to Machu Picchu in 4 days - May 2015
  • Photo of Salcantay Trail - Cusco to Machu Picchu in 4 days - May 2015
  • Photo of Salcantay Trail - Cusco to Machu Picchu in 4 days - May 2015

Time  3 days 4 hours 55 minutes

Coordinates 10453

Uploaded June 5, 2015

Recorded May 2015

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15,247 ft
5,909 ft
52.99 mi

Viewed 1336 times, downloaded 69 times

near Mollepata, Cusco (Peru)

The Salcantay Trail is a less-trodden alternative to the Inca Trail.
There are no fees to pay and you can go solo (like we did) or take a tour.
You will cross amazing landscape and various type of vegetation: high alpine, cloud forest, rainforest, … You will also have some impressive view of the snowy summits of Nevado Salcantay and Nevado Tucarhuay.
The track is really well marked and well formed. You can't get lost.
We did the tour in 3 and a half days. We recommend either to start very early on the first day (take the 4:30 am bus) or to add an extra day because we walked very long days.

From Cusco, we took a collectivo to Mollepata. They leave quite often (we got one around 9am) from Arcopata street. There is also a bus that leave at 4:30 am. The journey last around 3 hours.
We had some lunch in Mollepata and then start walking. Everybody in town knows where the track starts so you just have to ask. You don't need any more to follow the road to go to Soraypampa, there is now a proper walking track - you just have to follow the blue sign with a hiker on it. Don't worry if it doesn't follow the road, it actually goes onto another side of the valley. After a bit of climb, you will reach the sign on the photo.
We walked up all afternoon and camped near Mirador Chinchircuma.
On the second day, the walk is flat up to Soraypampa and then climb up to 4600m. The climb is quite challenging especially with the lack of oxygen. We spend our second night on a "designated campsite" (a few shelter, some flat areas, nobody around) just after Huaracmachay. Further down, the vegetation start being very thick and there is nowhere to camp until Collpampa where it seems to be where all the groups stops.
Our third day was very long. The walk itself is not challenging but we walked 34km in order to be able to finish the walk the day after. After Collpampa, you cross a first river and then reach a road for cars. You need to cross the village that is downward and then follow the road down to the river. Just before the big bridge that get you on the right side of the river, there is a small road leading to a walking bridge that get you onto the left side of the river and onto a walking track. This is the way you should take. If like us, you kept going on the road, no worries, a few kilometers down the road, you will see a big house on the other side of the river. There, there is a bridge to cross and join the walking track. Or you can keep going along the road but you will have to stay on the road up to La Playa which is not as nice as the walking pass. On this track along the river, there are a lot of houses that sell drinks and fresh fruits. There is a camping in La Playa, just when you start going up towards Abra Q'ellocquasa. We didn't stop there and kept going but had to walk in the night because the vegetation was too dense to camp. We finally reach a point with a little bit of space to pitch the tent. The morning after, a guard that look after the track that normally we are not allowed to camp in this area and we had to pack everything up quickly. He didn't give us a fine because our campsite was clean and they were no garbage around. So we recommend to stay in La Playa for the night to avoid any problems. On the last day, there is no water from about the middle of the way up to Abra Q'ellocquasa until you reach the river on the other side. Just after the top, you cross an Inca site with view on Machu Picchu. Downhill, just before the river, there is a house who sells drinks, amazing avocado, fruits and also some bread with honey from their own production!! YUMMY!!
Once you've reach Hydroelectrica, it is another 12km/3h to get onto Aguas Calientes. Don't plan to stay too long in Aguas Calientes, allow only enough time to visit Machu Picchu; the city itself is not nice.

If you are looking for a relaxing place to enjoy some rest, the Yellow River farm offers some nice and affordable accommodation (waypoint on the map and photos). The place is quiet, beautiful and the food they serve is really good and fresh!! They also grow their own coffee and roasted their own cacao to make awesome hot chocolate. A paradise hidden in the jungle. Just down the farm by the river, there is one hot stream or a few kilometres towards Santa Teresa, there is some Hot Bath where you can relax and rest from the walk
We definitely recommend you to go there!!


If you want to see some photos of the trek, check our website on the In Frame section, click on Peru at the bottom of the page

Yellow River Farm Stay

1 comment

  • lol86 Jan 29, 2021

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Just awesome and beautiful.

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