Perú: a series (Salkantay Trek Overview)

Hey, there! So I’ve already had a lot of people asking me things about the Salkanytay Trek like what company I used, how much it was, etc., so here’s the basic info.

Map of our Salkantay Trek route to Machu Picchu, Perú.

Why Salkantay Trekking?

There are multiple treks the company we used offers, but Mitchell and I chose the 4 day, 3 night trek. Initially we thought about the 3 day, or the 5 day, but I voted that 3 days was too short, and Mitchell voted 5 was too long, so we compromised with 4. I’m so glad we did! Three would have definitely been too short, and we actually hiked most of the time with 2 girls doing the 5 day trek, and really they didn’t see that much more than us - they just ended up having more free time, and slept one night in the jungle domes, which we ate lunch at one day, and I really wouldn’t have wanted to stay there anyway because of the heat, humidity, bugs, etc.

Pros and Cons

For our 4 day trek we paid $400 per person which includes:
- 1 night in the sky domes. Pros: amazing 360 views, we each got our own (don’t think this is normal though, we were just a small group), we had electricity in them for 2 hours, they were actual beds. Cons: they smelled a bit funny, some people had leaky roofs so they got dripped on as they slept, no hot water for showers.
-1 night in the Andean huts. Pros: apparently storms ruined the original huts, so we stayed in newer, sturdier huts that were actual buildings and not just covered tents like we were expecting (and this is how it will be from here forward), we had an actual bed again, we each got our own hut (again, not sure if this is normal), wifi available for 10 soles (about $3). Cons: no electricity, this area was very humid so bedding and everything always felt wet, the bathrooms are terrible - no seats on the 2 toilets, no sinks in the bathrooms.
-1 night in a “hotel” in Aguas Calientes. Pros: pretty nice beds with actual blankets (not sleeping bags), private bathrooms, hot water (though for me it was very touchy), electricity, wifi. Cons: basically it was the bottom of the barrel hotel. Just the basics, nothing fancy, pretty noisy outside our window.
-All meals included (except breakfast the day you leave, and lunch and dinner after you leave Machu Picchu). You have chefs who travel with your group the whole time and they cook really amazing meals! I think all of us in the group were pleasantly surprised by how amazing the food was the whole time, and we even had a vegetarian in the group.
-Tea time each day. I loved tea time! Every day, once we reached our destination, a couple hours before dinner, we would have tea or coffee or hot chocolate provided to us, as well as yummy snacks like popcorn, fried sweet potatoes, fried cheese-filled wontons, cookies, etc.
-Snacks. We also got a bag of snacks each morning for the day which always included a piece of fruit, some kind of packaged cookies, and some hard candies. I felt it was always just the right amount.
-All transportation to and from Cusco. The first morning a van takes you to the starting point which is about 2 hours away (If you get motion sickness, take some medicine! The last bit is very mountainous with winding roads). After Machu Picchu a train takes you from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, and then a van takes you from Ollantaytambo to your hotel in Cusco. (The train was one of my favorite parts of the trip! It had glass ceilings, and a “balcony” car where all the windows were open and you could hang out and take photos. It was probably the most gorgeous ride of my life! They also provided a hot or cold beverage and chicken sandwiches.)
-Tickets to Machu Picchu.
-A personal guide the entire trek, and inside Machu Picchu.

Big Savings $$$!!!

Mitchell and I noticed that the train ticket alone was $95 ($136 according to some other sites I’ve seen). The ticket to Machu Picchu alone is $44. You are required to have a guide with you, and I know that costs, though not sure how much. Plus you’d have to buy meals and acccomodations anyway, so I feel like $400 was a steal, plus the fact that Mitchell and I didn’t have to deal with any of the headache of booking all that stuff ourselves was worth a lot on its own! (I saw on another site that a guy spent $415 just for his transportation, 1 night in Aguas Calientes, and Machu Picchu visit, so again, $400 seems like a steal!)

We did also add on some other options the company offered:
-Sleeping bag (we didn’t want to pack and carry this on the rest of our trip): $20
-Walking sticks (again, I didn’t want to pack and carry these, but after my Camino de Santiago trek I knew I’d need them): $20
-Ticket to hike up Waynapicchu/Huyanapicchu - the taller of the two mountains seen behind Machu Picchu: $25. (A note about these tickets: only 400 people a day are allowed to hike this mountain, so tickets sell out fast. Mitchell and I reserved ours about 3 months ahead, and we were the only ones in the group who actually got tickets. An alternative if you wait too long is to get a ticket - also $25 - to hike Machu Picchu Mountain, which is the shorter of the two mountains behind Machu Picchu. Apparently these are not limited.)

So overall, I spent $465 for everything those 4 days/3 nights. There actually was a special to include all those things for $450, but at the time I wasn’t sure about bringing my own sleeping bag and sticks yet, so I missed out on that. I feel like this experience was definitely worth that much money, especially because we would have spent at least that much on just 1 night and 1 day on our own. I have no idea how they can do it so cheaply, but I’m happy about it!

If this sounds like something you’d be interested here is the link to the company we used - go check them out!