995 4 51


61.45 mi

Elevation gain

13,022 ft

Technical difficulty


Elevation loss

16,266 ft

Max elevation

15,244 ft


40 5

Min elevation

5,047 ft

Trail type

One Way
  • Photo of Salkantay Trek, AlternativeInca Trail to Machu Picchu
  • Photo of Salkantay Trek, AlternativeInca Trail to Machu Picchu


one day 9 hours 37 minutes




May 27, 2011


May 2011
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15,244 ft
5,047 ft
61.45 mi

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near Mollepata, Apurímac (Peru)

This really nice hike takes you to the old Inca city of Machu Picchu. It is an alternative to the crowded Inca Trail. The trek can be done independently. You do NOT have to pay any fees. There are basically two options how to end the trek, please find all details below:

Start of the trek:
The trek starts in the village of 'Mollepata'. There is at least one bus at 4:30am leaving 'Cusco' (~8 soles). In case you do not want to get up that early you can also catch a minibus, they leave at the same place as the bus and cost somehere between 10 and 15 soles. I included a way point where you have to catch the bus/taxi in 'Cusco'. Spend the night in 'Mollepata' to start early the next day.

Day 1:
In Mollepata you can hire a taxi that brings you to 'Soraypampa'. The ride costs around 80 soles and takes a bit less then 2 hours. Alternatively you can also walk to 'Soraypama' from 'Mollepata'. The trek follows the drivable dirt road most of the time and is not really attractive in our option. If you make the trek with an organized tour you will walk this first day.

Day 2: (Day 1 in case you take the taxi to 'Soraypampa')
Just follow the path either on the right or the left side of the river, the two treks merges again at 'Salkantaypampa (4154m)'. From here you have to stay on the left side (looking up to the mountain), otherwise you end up in the classic Inca trail. Now you can basically walk as long as you like, there are a couple of spots where you can camp with small shops. We walked amost to "La Playa" where we found a small house to camp. I guess it's better to camp either in 'Chaulay (2873m)' or 'Collipapampa (2867m)'. An other option is to camp 'Huaracmachay (3942m)'. Please keep in mind that it can be freezing cold at night on ~4000m.

Day 3: (Day 2 in case you take the taxi to 'Soraypampa')
Walk to 'La Playa'. Depending on where you spent the night this takes another day (around 5 hours from 'Collipapampa') you know have two options for the next day.

Day 4a (3a):
Take a bus from 'La Playa' to 'Santa Teresa'. The minibus costs 5 soles and takes a bit less then 1 hour. In 'Santa Teresa' you can take another taxi/minibus to 'Hydroelectrica' (5 soles). In 'Hydroelectrica' you can walk along the railway to 'Aguas Calientes'. The walk takes between 2 and 3 hours. NOTE: Starting from the 1st of Jund 2011 you can not walk on the tracks by yourself anymore, you have to hire a guide. The guide costs 60 soles per person but includes a guide for Machu Picchu on the next day. This is at least what they told us at the checkpoint in 'Hydroelectrica'.

Day 4b (3b):
You can also walk from 'La Playa' to 'Hydroelectrica'. This trek is supposed to take another 5 hours and it is going up- and downhill.

Please have a look at the following excellent trip reports on the Salkantay Trek:
Car park

Junction Hydroelectrica

If you want to walk to Hydroelectrica, you have to walk up here.
Car park

Junction to Mollepata

At this point you leave the paved road and you go up to Mollepata
Mountain hut

Aguas Calientes



Small village

Bus Stop Playa

From here you can catch a bus to Santa Teresa






In case you go by taxi to Soraypama, you will be dropped of here.
Mountain hut

Hostal Mollepata


House to Camp

This is where we spent our first night.

House with Bench

Here you can take a break.



Huaracmachay Camping

This is where some of the tour groups spend their first night.


From Hydroelectrica it takes between 2 and 3 hours along the railway tracks to reach Aguas Calientes







Santa Teresa

From here you can take a taxi to Hydoelectrica (5 soles per person)





Taxi/Bus to Mollepata

From here you can either take a bus early in the morning or a minibus to Mollepata


  • jorgenrique Apr 14, 2013

    There is no such thing as a guide to lead the way through the railroad, and much less at 60 soles considering you can find a guide for 15 soles in Machu Picchu city, it is probably the corrupt police at the checkpoint that are trying to make people think this is going to be like this, also there is no Salkantay entrance fee to be paid...

  • jorgenrique Apr 15, 2013

    I've done the salkantay trek many times when no body was even interested in it about 10 years ago and have been trekking it for more than 50 times in the last 8 years...I know every single inch in that trail and the government has been trying to take over it, but the real thing is that they don't have the capability to organize and to administrate such a huge area, no body does and the local people don't want them either, the only ones able to do something are the locals, and theya actually do....

  • Weverton Naves Jul 18, 2014

    I have followed this trail  View more

    Uma trilha bem difícil de fazer no primeiro dia devido a altitude e a subida de 3 horas para Abra Salkantay. Após esse primeiro desafio, a trilha torna-se somente cansativa, demandando cerca de 10 horas diárias para atingir Machu Picchu.

  • Photo of Wbeimar MG

    Wbeimar MG Jan 14, 2017

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! ...I have been looking for this information about the transport alternatives from the Mollepata Town to Soraypampa. Really i want to avoid this piece of trak walking. My target: Cachora, Choquequirao, Yanama, Soraypamapa but this infrmatios is very useful for me. Again... Than You! And Best regards!!!
    (P.d.... Apologies for my bad english).

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