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The Salkantay Trail takes you through a panorama of Peru’s beautiful and diverse countryside. Less well-known and less well-trodden than the Inca trail, the Salkantay Trail is a day longer and a little tougher than the classic trail, but nevertheless offers equally exquisite views as you trek through mountain passes and high altitude jungles on your way to the famous backdoor to Machu Picchu.

The Salkantay Trek begins in Challacancha and takes you up through the Salkantay Pass. The Pass is surrounded by glaciers and mountains, with a particularly spectacular view of of Mt Salkantay, a huge glacier-capped mountain and the highest peak of the Willkapampa mountain range. The trail through the pass reaches 4,600m (15,100 ft) at its highest point before descending through tropical forest and across ancient Inca pathways. Following the course of the Salkantay river, the trek continues through lush verdant countryside, passing by natural hot springs, fruit plantations and waterfalls as well as the tiny Andean village of Sahuayaco, home to less than 20 families. After 3 days of trekking, you are well rewarded for your effort when you the reach the climax of the trail at the Abra Q’elloqasa viewpoint, which offers an exceptional and unique view of Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas.

Salkantay Trail highlights