The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu easily ranks up there with the best travel experiences and treks of my life. The high back country scenery brought back amazing memories of trekking in Nepal. Finishing the five-day trek at Machu Picchu was an incredible way to complete the journey. The Salkantay Trek is an excellent alternative to the Inca Trail.
Typically I trek independently, but for this trek I joined Valencia Travel Cusco, which I highly recommend. They provided all the equipment and took care of everything down to the last detail. The food prepared on the trek was delicious. Follow along on the journey through my photos below.
Looking back toward the village of Mollepata where we started the trek at 2,900 meters above sea level. Bringing up the rear with our heavy equipment on horses.
This is just a small taste of the varieties of colorful wildflowers we saw along the way.
The scenery just kept getting better the further up the trail we went.
No complaints about the first night’s accommodation!
And woke up to this the next morning.
The calm before the storm. After this relatively flat section would be the toughest part of the climb–the route through Salkantay Pass!
If the altitude got to be too much, there was a horse to help up get through.
Almost to our high point along the trek.
We made it! Salkantay Pass sits at 4,650 m or 15,256 feet.
It’s all down hill from this point.
Another magnificent view from night two’s campsite.
We were supposed to go farther than this on the second night. Thankfully we were slow and got to stay in this magnificent valley.
We didn’t forget to turn around to see a last glimpse of Salkantay. What a beauty!
After you descend from the alpine, you reach the cloud forest.
A small village in the cloud forest used to support trekkers.
The route on day four took us along the railway tracks.
We got a tiny view of a small edge of Machu Picchu about 1000 meters above this bridge looking up to the right.
Getting closer to Aguas Calientes.
The tourist village of Aguas Calientes exists only to support the thousands who visit Machu Picchu daily.
On the final morning we got up before dawn and hiked up vertically for about one and half hours to reach the base of Machu Picchu. Inside, we found a good vantage point and waited for sunrise to burn off the morning clouds. We were not disappointed.