When we decided it was time to book our trip to Peru – centered around a visit to Machu Picchu – we wanted it to be memorable. After doing some research we decided to do a trek through the mountains on our way to Machu Picchu. There are many options to choose from, but we eventually decided to do the Salkantay Trek, and it ended up being one of the best decisions we’ve ever made together! What a trip!
We chose this trek because it offered more nature experiences than the other treks, and was less popular than the other ones, which also means fewer people to share the views with. The classic “Inca Trail” is the main route between Sascaywayman (Cusco) and Machu Picchu, and along this route are many ruins and other attractions that set it apart from others. We wanted to see mountains, jungles, and massive rivers, so the Salkantay option was perfect for us.
We’ve already posted about this trek a few times – including our full story about the “Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu” – and several photography posts from the trek. This time, we’re here to show you the video!
The 5-day Salkantay Trek
Overall, the 5-day trek is fairly challenging, but not impossible for the amateur hiker.The first two days are spent mostly in the alpine, and you get an amazing view of both Salkantay and Humantay Mountains (weather permitting). Day two is especially difficult, as you end up walking over 9 hours on your way up to the Salkantay Summit and back down the other side into the jungle. It was obviously worth it. The views were unlike anything we have ever seen before.
Once you make it to the Salkantay Summit (4600-meters above sea level), its pretty much all downhill. You spend the next two days walking in the jungles. It’s beautiful, surrounded by massive rivers than slowly join together, its sheer force carving into the landscape that you walk alongside. There are so many amazing views along the way to fill a lifetime of memories. On the 4th evening, you finally make it to Aguas Calientes, at the base of Machu Picchu.
The 5th day is what was driving you through the first 4 days of the trek. To visit the ruins of Machu Picchu is obviously special. There is an added bonus when you walk for over 80-km to get there. It makes your arrival all that much more impactful. It is a magical place that was created to inspire.
Our video adventure on the Salkantay trek was so amazing, that it eventually needed 3 separate videos. There was a lot of beautiful scenery and some unforgettable memories. We broke the videos into several parts; Cusco, hiking to the Summit of Salkantay, hiking from the Summit to the base of Machu Picchu, and one just focusing on our day at Machu Picchu.
We hope you enjoy!
Part One – Cusco & The Sacred Valley:
Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu; most visitors to Peru will end up in Cusco at some point during their trip. It is a worthwhile stopover, there are so many things to do here while you get used to being 3000-meters above sea level. We enjoyed the city itself, finding many great things to occupy our time. It’s a good place to learn about the history of the Inca, including a visit to the Sacred Valley and Saskaywaman, the former capital of the Inca Empire.
Part Two – Cusco to Salkantay Summit
Day one of the Salkantay Trek begins at 4am in Cusco, with a hike from the hotel to the bus. A few hours later, we were in the mountains, near the base of two spectacular mountains; Humantay and Salkantay. and surrounded by nature. It’s a short hike to Humantay Lagoon, a 3-hour round trip, and are rewarded by one of the most spectacular views of all time. Day 2 we hiked for 3 hours up a long winding path, eventually arriving at our first destination; The Summit of Salkantay at 4600-meters.
Part Three – Salkantay Summit to Machu Pichu
We pick up at the top of Salkantay Pass – at stunning 4600-meters – and leave this spectacular view behind. Day 2 of the Salkantay Trek is a grueling 9 hours, and we made it to the summit, but still had over 7 hours until we would arrive in camp. From the top of the mountain, we would work our way through valleys and jungles for 2 days. On day 4 we walk along the train tracks beneath Machu Picchu, arriving in Aguas Calientes; the Gateway to Machu Picchu!
Part Four – Machu Picchu Ruins
On the 5th day of the Salkantay Trek – after hiking in the mountains of Peru for nearly 80km – we finally arrived at our destination; The Inca Ruins of Machu Picchu. It was a cool morning, with lots of humidity and the constant threat of rain. The ruins were periodically shrouded in mist, which added to the mystique of our experience.