How to Prepare for the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

How to Prepare for the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu

For the adventurous and outdoorsy spirit, the Salkantay trek is one of the best ways to see Machu Picchu and experience the majesty of the Peruvian Andes. If you’re not sure whether it’s right for you, this guide on how to prepare for Salkantay Trek may help you decide.

What is the Salkantay Trek?


The Salkantay Trek is a five-day, four-night hike through the Peruvian Andes, arriving at the sacred citadel of Machu Picchu on the fifth day.

First off, where does the Salkantay Trek start? It begins in a small village named Sayllapata, at the foot of Mount Salcantay. The hike on the first day summits at a stunning lake sitting below the Humantay Glacier.

The second day is the most strenuous, ascending the Salkantay Pass to over 15,000 feet. Fortunately, the next day’s hike involves a visit to the Santa Teresa Hot Springs — a welcome delight for sore muscles and tired feet.

On Day 4, you’ll hike on the mountain across the valley from Machu Picchu, then descend to the town of Aguas Calientes, situated at the base of the mountain on which Machu Picchu is located. You’ll stay in a hotel in town.

Finally, on the fifth and last day, you’ll take the bus up to Machu Picchu with a knowledgeable guide, who will show you around the ancient city and teach you about its profound history. You’ll also have plenty of time to explore the citadel and take in the mystical air that permeates Machu Picchu.

In the afternoon, you’ll take a train back to Cusco and transfer to your hotel.

How to Prepare for Salkantay Trek


The first and most important element of Salkantay Trek preparation is knowing what awaits you on the trail. It’s worth noting, then, that the Salkantay Trek is not a beginner-level hike, so to speak. It would be better characterized as moderate to difficult.

Physical conditioning is important. If you plan to do the Salkantay Trek, you should be in at least decent shape and have some hiking experience. It doesn’t hurt to make a visit to the doctor, too, to make sure you’re in appropriate medical condition for the altitude.

Altitude training is important. The Salkantay trek reaches heights exceeding 15,000 feet above sea level, so coming in unprepared can work against you. Fortunately, the qualified companies that offer Salkantay Trek tours are prepared to deal with altitude sickness and will have a number of remedies available.

The next step in Salkantay Trek preparation is getting the right equipment. It’s imperative to have a good, sturdy pair of hiking shoes or boots. Equally important is a few pairs of good hiking socks, so your feet won’t get blistered during the trek. Finally, it’s worth having a pair of hiking poles with non-metal tips.

Once you have your equipment, you should go for a few hikes using it. It’s the best way to break in your shoes, try out your socks, and get used to using the poles. It’s also recommended to do some hiking with a backpack, as you’ll have to carry one on the trail.

Salkantay Trek Packing List


Here are the things we recommend bringing on the trek.

  • Original Passport
  • Backpack
  • Water
  • Hiking boot
  • Raincoats, rain ponchos
  • Small rough sack
  • Mosquito Repellent
  • Hat or cap for sun
  • Sunscreen
  • Batteries
  • Swimwear
  • Camera, binoculars
  • Toiletries
  • Extra money

Booking the Salkantay Trek


If our information on how to prepare for the Salkantay Trek has convinced you that it’s right for you, the next step is booking your trip. Fertur has helped plenty of travelers plan their unforgettable treks to Machu Picchu, and we can help arrange every detail.

We encourage you to visit our page on the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu 5 Days and request more information.

Authored by: Adam Foote

Adam is an avid traveler who is exploring Peru, far and wide, and sharing what he discovers with Fertur Peru Travel and its clients.

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