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inca trail or salkantay

One of the goals we have is to reach the citadel of Machupicchu and more if it is through a trek of several days, for this we will have two possibilities to take the Inca Trail tour or the tour of Salkantay, let’s see which one we decide.

Differences between Inca trail or Salkantay trail


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View of the ascent along the Inca trail

The Inca Trail is the second most important trekking in the world, this circuit combines the best landscapes, archaeological sites, varied climate and the journey on Inca trails to reach the entrance through the gate of the sun (Intipunku) in Machupicchu.

  • Length: 42 kilometers
  • Duration: 4 days
  • Difficulty: medium
  • Maximum altitude: 4215 m.a.s.l.
  • Minimum altitude: 2792 m.a.s.l.
  • Archeological sites: Llactapata, Runkuraqay, Sayacmarca, Wiñauhuayna and Machupicchu.
  • Landscape: grasslands, humid-tropical forest
  • Fauna: endemic birds, butterflies, insects, spectacled bears, viscachas, lizards, etc.
  • Climate: semi-tropical
  • Availability: all year round 200 tourists per day (February closed).
  • Reservation: purchase the tour months in advance, preferably 6 months in advance.
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View of Wiñayhuayna archaeological site Inca Trail


  • First day: Cusco – Huayllabamba 6 hours
  • Second day: Huayllabamba – Pacaymayo 7 hours
  • Third day: Pacaymayo – Wiñaywayna 8 hours
  • Fourth day: Wiñaywayna – Machu Picchu 2 hours


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View of the beginning of the Salkantay trek

Salkantay, is the most popular circuit or tour and offers an alternative trek that does not require a permit for its realization, and that also leads to Machupicchu through beautiful landscapes in the high Andean zones, with routes within the low jungle of the Vilcabamba mountain range and its passage through the pass of the Salkantay snow-capped mountain.

  • Length: 70 kilometers
  • Duration: 4 days and 5 days
  • Difficulty: medium high
  • Maximum altitude: 4600 m.a.s.l.
  • Minimum altitude: 2792 m.a.s.l.
  • Scenery: lakes, cloud forests, hot springs, waterfalls, etc.
  • Fauna: guanacos, llamas, skunks, viscachas, insects and fauna of the lowland jungle, etc.
  • Climate: 10°C to 15°C
  • Archeological sites: Machupicchu
  • Natural attractions. Humantay Lake, hot springs and Salkantay snow-capped mountain.
  • Availability: all year
  • Reservation: purchase the tour in advance
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View of the Salkantay snow-capped mountain


  • First day: Cusco – Challacancha 6 hours
  • Second day: Soraypampa – Challway 8 hours
  • Third day: Challway – Sahuayaco Beach 6 hours
  • Fourth day: Llactapata – Aguas 7 hours
  • Fifth day: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu 2 hours

Classic Inca Trail and Salkantay Trek

The Classic Inca Trail is the 4-day Inca Trail, although many agencies call it the traditional or classic Inca Trail, these are the terms most popular in the Inca Trail tourism industry.

The Salkantay trek is the 5 day or 4 day tour, as many agencies call it Salkantay trek for Spanish speakers, but it is still the same tour.