Climate: Rainy during the summer months (December-March). Sunny from May to September. Maximum temperatures reach 27° C, while minimum temperatures rarely drop below 11° C.
Access: Like the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, the route starts out at Km 88 of the railway. Organized groups set out from the town of Chilca at Km 76 of the same line.
Hikers will need to take along drinking water and food, in addition to camping equipment.
Located in the department of Cusco, Mount Salkantay (6,271 m.a.s.l.) marks the culmination of a trekking circuit that combines majestic landscapes with the attraction of the world's most famous pre-Hispanic site: Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.
The route starts out following the old Inca road carved into the rock and which leads to the citadel of Machu Picchu. The trail crosses through a high mountain pass between Mount Salkantay and Humantay (5,917 masl) before heading along the Acobamba River Canyon down to the archaeological site.
The trail is one of the most popular trekking routes in Peru and grant hikers extraordinary views of most of Cusco's most beautiful mountains: Mount Wayanay (5,464 masl), Palcay (5,229 masl) and Wakay Willka or Verónica (5,750 masl), which soar above one side of the Urubamba River Valley.
If willing to practice trekking in Peru you should consider these recommendations:
- Climbers and hikers should get information on the state of trails and the degree of difficulty of the climbing route.
- Bear in mind that local inhabitants have different notions of time and distance. The classic response "aquicito nomás" (just around the corner) can mean long hours of trekking up steep slopes.
- Do not pull up or cut live plants or light fires within highland forests.
- Do not move trail signposts.
- Do not hunt or fish during the dry season (trout fishing ban).
- Always inform local authorities, trekking or mountain climbing associations in the area of your entry into mountainous areas.
- Never go on climbs or treks unaccompanied.
- Always bring back litter. Leaving it on the mountainside can harm the fragile environment.
- Sunscreen is recommended, plus warm clothing. High altitude sickness known locally as soroche can set in at over 2,500 m.a.s.l. Take precautions by resting the first day, drink plenty of liquids and avoid heavy food and alcohol.
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The Salkantay Loop - Cusco
Trekking beyond the mountains