The Apu Salkantay (6,271m / 20551ft) is a sacred mountain in the Vilcabamba range, located to the south of the Sacred Citadel of Machu Picchu.

This mountain, together with the Southern Cross, served as a point of reference for astrological observation developed by the Incas (from Machu Picchu), especially during the June and December solstices. Its location supports the concept of “sacred geography”, under which the Incas developed Andean civilization.

The best time of year to visit the Apu Salkantay is during the winter, from April to October. Temperatures range from -5º C / 41 ºF to 23º C / 73 ºF; with a scarce chance of rain. The maximum altitude we will reach is 4643m / 15233ft at the Salkantay pass, with the minimum altitude being 2000m / 6562ft in the town of Aguas Calientes.

The ecological levels we will experience will vary from Quechua, Suni, Puna and Janca (inter-Andean valleys and rainforest) with their characteristic flora and fauna. You will experience all of this amid spectacular geology, and with the detailed explanations of your guide, Flavio. He will also share his specialist photography knowledge with you during this trek, helping you to capture beautiful photos of the stunning locations you will visit. The native flora and fauna will provide excellent opportunities to hone your skills and experiment with macro photography, while the campsites will give you unrivalled access to amazing sunrises, sunsets and night photography. On clear nights, you will be able to develop your lightpainting skills, while the days will provide us with endless opportunities for landscape and mountain photography. We want to send you home not only having had an amazing experience exploring the Andes and Inca sites, but having learnt something new.

Day 1: Cusco – Soraypampa Soyroqocha

The best day for landscape, flora, fauna, night, lightpainting, macro & sunset photography

We leave Cusco early in the morning for the town of Mollepata by private transport which takes approximately 4 hours. We will travel north west, crossing the Pampas de Anta or Yawar Pampa (Blood Pampa), named for the ferocious battle which took place here between the Incas and the Chancas, for the control of the city of Cusco. We continue to the town of Limatambo, where we can visit the archaeological site of Tarawasi.

Upon arrival at Mollepata, we will have a short break, and then continue our journey for approximately another 2 hours to Soraypampa (3268m / 10722ft) where we will have lunch.

Our walk begins with a moderate climb to Salkantaypampa (4153m / 13625ft), where we will have a spectacular view of the Apu Salkantay. We begin our steep climb with a wonderful view of the snow-capped peak, and arrive at our campsite at Soyroqocha (4485m / 14715ft). At this campsite we can expect a very cold night (0º C / 32 ºF or below). The gradient of the climb is moderate. (L / D)

Maximum Altitude: 4485 masl / 14715 ft

Minimum Altitude: 3268 masl / 10722 ft

Distance Travelled: 5 km / 3.10 ml

Approximate Walking Time: 3 hrs

Day 2: Soyroqocha – Colpapampa – Wañaypoqo

Great for landscape, flora, fauna, night, lightpainting, macro, sunset & sunrise photography

We can have a bit of a lie in this morning to avoid the freezing cold early morning air. We will climb uphill for about 45 minutes to the Salkantay pass, where we can build apachetas (stone towers), to later begin our descent towards Wayrajmachay (3932m / 12900ft). We then continue towards the Humantay valley and arrive at our campsite at Colpapampa about 5 hours later. The gradient is moderate. (B / L / D)

Maximum Altitude: 4650 masl / 15,340 ft

Minimum Altitude: 2840 masl / 9372 ft

Distance Travelled: 11 km / 6.83 ml

Approximate Walking Time: 7 hrs

Day 3: Wiñaypoqo – Lucmabamba – Llactapata

Great for landscape, flora, fauna, night, lightpainting, macro, sunset & sunrise photography

After a healthy breakfast, we will continue down the valley into the forest that contains groves of bamboo and great bird watching opportunities. Flocks of colorful tropical birds roam the forest and waterfalls cascade down cliffs with water warm enough for you to bathe in. This stretch is also home to begonias, purple orchids and strawberries. We will then walk to our camp site, 3 hours through the beginnings of the rainforest, enjoying a myriad of flora and fauna including orchids, birds, coffee, cacao and fruit plantations. We arrive at La Playa (2,060m) for lunch, with free time to rest before climbing uphill for 3 hours through the Andean cloud forest to the Puncuyoc pass and then onto Llactapata which is located at 2,700m / 8,907ft (an Inca site located straight in front of the citadel of Machu Picchu), which is our third evening’s campsite.The panoramic view from our campsite is breathtaking; you can enjoy the view of Machu Picchu from a unique angle, the Huayna Picchu mountain, the citadel of Machu Picchu and the Aobamba canyon, where another Inca trail can be seen as well. We trek off the beaten track exploring places no one else does and we are the ONLY ones camping at Llactapata. (B / L / D)

Maximum Altitude: 2840m / 9372ft

Minimum Altitude: 2088m / 6850ft

Distance Travelled: 12km / 6.21ml

Approximate Walking Time: 7 hrs

Day 4: Llactapata – Aguas Calientes

Great for landscape, flora, fauna, night, lightpainting, macro, sunset & sunrise photography

Early in the morning we will have a typical breakfast and promptly catch a local bus to the pueblo Santa Teresa (1,500m). From Santa Teresa, we will drive in the direction of the hydro-electric plant. On the way, we will pass various local plantations such as coffee, banana, and passionfruit. We will also get our first views of the Sacred Lost City of the Incas on the way as well. Upon our arrival to the hydro-electric plant, we will have a break. Afterwards we will continue hiking 3 hours through the Machu Picchu Sanctuary until we arrive at Aguas Calientes, en route we will visit Mandor water falls where we will have chance to see lots of different bird species. (B / L / D)

Beyond the forest, the trail passes through the old Mandorpampa coffee plantation before entering the cloud forest. The route then follows the river for another one and a half hours as far as the waterfalls. These beautiful falls are about twelve metres high and are fed by the clear melt waters from the sacred mountain of Yanantin, which can be seen from Machu Picchu. Beyond the falls the trail climbs to the ridge before becoming disappearing in the thick vegetation. This is a dramatic, green landscape of coffee, banana and avocado plantations cut from the forest, interspersed with areas of untouched forest which form the habitat of mammals such as the Andean bear, as well as literally hundreds of species of birds and butterflies, many of which are endemic. This forest is also home to many species of bromeliads and orchids, some of which have only recently been identified and named by botanists.

Maximum Altitude: 2800m / 9240ft

Minimum Altitude: 1900m / 6233ft

Distance Travelled: 9km / 5.59ml

Approximate Walking Time: 7 hrs

Day 5: Machu Picchu – Cusco

Great for landscape, flora, fauna, macro & sunrise photography

Early in the morning we take the bus from the town of Aguas Calientes to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. We have the opportunity to climb the difficult path to the top of the Huayna Picchu mountain, which offers spectacular and different views, it is even possible to see the Apu Salkantay.

The tour of Machu Picchu allows us to appreciate the high level of development achieved by Andean civilization through the Incas. A supremely religious site, Machu Picchu demonstrates the superior knowledge achieved in astronomy and astrology. This knowledge of measuring the rainy and dry seasons through the solstices is indispensable for the development of agriculture: the life-source of the Andes. We will try to spend as long as possible in the archaeological complex, depending on what time our train back to the city of Cusco leaves. (B / L)

Maximum Altitude: 2437m / 7995ft

Minimum Altitude: 2070m / 6791ft

Distance Travelled: 1.50km / 0.93ml

Approximate Walking Time: 3 hrs


* People who want to visit Huayna Picchu must let us know as soon as they can, because according to new rules, there is a limit of people (400) per day that can climb it.
Timetable :
– 1st Turn 07:00 am : 200 people.
– 2nd Turn 10:00 am : 200 people.


  • 1 Night hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • 1 extra porter for each 2 trekers for carrying photography equipment
  • Private transportation Cusco – Soraypampa
  • Guide photographer service in Spanish/ English
  • Inflatable sleeping pad (Therm A Rest) – available in private service
  • Cook and assistant
  • Cooking equipment
  • Snacks
  • Daily tea service
  • Dining equipment including chairs and tables
  • Food (4 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners)
  • Vegetarian meals available on request at no extra cost
  • Lunch on 5th day at Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge  – available in private service
  • Vegetarian menu at no extra cost
  • Two man tents (3-man tents used as doubles – 4 seasons)
  • Single tents available at extra cost 
  • Mule-handlers & mules – for transportation of our camping equipment and transportation of personal belongings (available in private service)
  • Saddled horse (for every 6 passengers there is one saddled horse)
  • First-aid kit with emergency oxygen bottle
  • Water resistant duffel bag for carrying personal items (on loan)
  • Pre departure briefing
  • Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus ticket to Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket
  • Transportation from Poroy station to the hotel in Cusco

Not Included:

  • Gratuities
  • Extra expenses
  • Travel insurance

We recommended you bring:

  • Water-resistant trekking shoes and sandals
  • Warm clothing (thermal underwear, fleece, hat, gloves, socks)
  • Waterproof clothing (poncho)
  • Synthetic or cotton clothing (socks, trousers, shorts, t-shirts)
  • Sunhat and sunglasses
  • Sun cream and insect repellent
  • Water bottles such as Nalgene
  • Basic medication
  • Walking poles
  • Swimsuit and towel
  • Personal items
  • Personal snacks
  • Original passport

Considering an extra night in Aguas Calientes? We can change the date of your train ticket to the following day. Hotel and other costs associated with returning to Machu Picchu the following day are additional to trek costs. Please also note that your entry ticket to Machu Picchu is valid for one day only, if you wish to visit the ruins on a second consecutive day you will need to purchase another ticket.

Aguas Calientes Extra Day Upgrade Package (optional)

With hikes that trek the traditional Inca Trail, the standard package has clients returning to Cusco at the end of the trek, and they don’t spend a night in Aguas Calientes. This package provides clients the opportunity to stay in Aguas Calientes for an extra night, visit Machu Picchu for a second day and then return to Cusco by the comfortable Vistadome train.

  • Cost: $195 per person on twin share basis. This price doesn’t change depending on the number of people in the group.
  • Second day’s entry to Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, valued at $60
  • Bus up and down to ruins on extra day, valued at $17
  • 1  night in a 3 star hotel, like Killa Inn Plaza Andina. These are nice hotels, well decorated, and clean.
  • With limited eating choices at Machu Picchu hunger tends to send clients to Aguas Calientes; by including the buffet lunch we find that clients can visit Machu Picchu early, then go to the buffet to try lots of different Peruvian (and Western) dishes, rest and go back for a second look at Machu Picchu.
  • Return in Vistadome train rather than Expedition train, which gives you the opportunity for a more varied timetable and to return in a nicer train, with big windows in the roof.

** Please contact us for a price for the same package but with 2 star accomodation and return in Expedition Train service **

*Please note: We need 2 people to open one group. In the case that you are a solo traveler and there is no other group you could join, we will apply the price according to the number of people.*


  • Student Discount: $35 off per personStudent Discounts apply to anyone who has a valid GREEN ISIC card at the time of the trek or is 16 years old or younger. For those using an ISIC card to receive the discount, we do need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 16 years old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to
  • Under 15 years will pay as student: US$35.00
  • Under 7 years Discount: US$50.00

Private Service Price 2015

  • 1 person:   US$1250.00 per person
  • 2 people:   US$950.00 per person
  • 3 people:   US$900.00 per person
  • 4 people:   US$850.00 per person
  • 5 people:   US$800.00 per person
  • 6 people:   US$750.00 per person
  • 7+ people: US$700.00 per person


As you see in our Additional Items under Trip Overview, there are several optional upgrades you can include in this trip. Below is a quick list of prices, but check our Overview section for more details.
Huaynapicchu: $65 per person
Vistadome Train (One Way): $80 per person
Vistadome Train (One Way): $65 per person

Flavio Huamani, Photo Tours Peru

Photo Tours Peru is for the experienced photographer and beginners alike in that we offer real, authentic experiences that allow you to discover the beautiful environment and the local people.

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Tel: (+51) 84 275973 | Mobile Flavio: (+51) 84 940 188 346

Adress: Urbanizacion Flor de la Cantuta B -2 San Sebastian Cusco Peru