Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mt (Memorial day 2023)

Safarika Travel
  • Email address verified
59 reviews
May 25 - Jun 3, 2023
Group size: 8 - 12
Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu & Rainbow Mt (Memorial day 2023)

Safarika Travel
  • Email address verified
59 reviews

May 25 - Jun 3, 2023
Group size: 8 - 12

About this trip

Photography: Mark Barzman, Karina Safari


Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is rated in the list of the best hikes in the world by National Geographic Traveller.  This epic trek includes a portion of the historic Inca Trail but gives a unique opportunity to hike without crowds and enjoy the Andean wilderness 

This trek rewards you with a variety of stunning mountain landscapes, glaciers and lakes, cascades, wildlife, and tropical cloud forest. We will follow the Inca steps through the ancient archeological sites 🇵🇪 🥾 🏔


🌟 See the sunrise at the Lost City of Machu Picchu

🌟 Visit the most significant Inca temples and ruins in Cusco and Sacred Valley

🌟 Day-hIke to astonishing natural wonder - RAINBOW MOUNTAIN. Away from the beaten path and hard to reach, Rainbow Mountain was ranked by National Geographic as one of the 100 unique places on Earth! 

🌟  Travel in our small group (up to 12 hikers) assisted by a professional Peruvian team leader and mountain guide, porters, and professional chef.

🌟  Our trip will be organized in the PREMIUM category, it means that we will be traveling as a PRIVATE GROUP without mixing up with others. We will have our privately reserved camping locations, with the best views and facilities. You stay in sky-roof huts on the first night and in the tents on the second night of the trek. Our porters will carry our personal luggage and set up the campsites for us. We will have the best delicious food cooked from scratch by a professional local chef.



👍  We provide personal equipment to each trekker at no additional cost: a duffel bag (for luggage), rain poncho, basic mat, insulated pillow, daypack cover protection, small hand towel & sanitizer.

👍 Clean drinking water at each campsite will be provided for your bottle/hydration pack

👍 Porters carry up to 7kg/14lbs of your personal belongings (duffel bag)

👍 On the first night of a trek travelers stay at our privately owned campground in dbl sharing huts with sky roofs, which is a significant highlight on a trek!

👍 Second-night travelers stay in tents. Our tents are spacious, clean, and of high quality. Eureka Timberline 4-person tents will be provided for 2 persons to share. 

👍 Best dining experience. Delicious meals. Plenty of homemade hot food cooked every time from scratch by our chef. We don't use preserved or dry food. We also cater to vegetarians and are gluten-free.

👍 We stay overnight at privately owned campgrounds separately from other hiking groups.  Our campsites are clean and stay away from the noise. We have private toilets there. No need to wait in line with other hikers (public toilets are normally badly maintained and far away from campsites)


The Salkantay trek is moderate difficulty with some challenging parts

Previous hiking/camping experience and being in good physical shape are required from all participants. You must be able to walk ~12-14mi/day at the high altitude up/downhill and keep up with the group. You don't need professional climbing skills. No glacier/snow hiking is planned 

Kids 12+ are allowed for this hike assisted by their parents

Total hiking days: 

3 days of Salkantay trek 

1-day Rainbow Mt hike (day hike from Cusco)

Total walking Distance (Salkantay trek): 47km (31miles)

Salkantay trailhead elevation (start): 3400m (11000')

Salkantay Pass (highest point): 4650m (15255')

Rainbow Mt elevation: 5020 m (16470")

Lodging : 

7 nights in comfortable hotels, twin rooms with private showers & hot water

1 night in the sky-roof huts on the trek 

1 night in tents on the trek

Professional assistance: Bilingual team leader & certified mountain guide, porters & chef

Meals on the Salkantay trek are included full board. 

ALL Camping gear is included, bring your own trekking poles or rent them in Cusco.

What you carry: only your light-weight personal day-pack with essentials for the day hike, your personal  luggage and camping gear will be carried by porters


A deposit for each traveler is required to keep your spot in a group (see cancellation policy)

Trip price is based on double-sharing accommodations in hotels and camping tents

Single accommodation is possible on request, with extra charge

Trip Cancellation Policy

If the trip is canceled by Participant due to any personal reason, the following penalties will be applied: 

Cancellation outside of 55 calendar days before departure - registration deposit is fully refundable

Cancellation 54 to 31 days before departure - up to 50% of the trip cost is non-refundable 

Cancellation 30 to 0 calendar days before departure – up to 100% of the trip cost is non-refundable


In case Organizer cancels this trip due to the risk of traveling, or destination airports closure, the Trip will be rescheduled to new dates in 2023/24 and the funds paid by Participants will be transferrable for a new trip.

Travel entry requirements in Peru

A visa is not required for United States citizens

Your international passport should be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your departure. 

Covid-test or proof of vaccination is no longer required for foreign travelers to enter Peru. 

Geat & Packing list


• Camping gear: tents, kitchen tent, dishes/cups/silverware, etc.

• Small pillow

• Sleeping Bag (comfort -10C) - Please let us know if you are planning to bring your own and you don't need a sleeping bag

• Inflatable Air Mattress:

• Basic foam mat 

• Waterproof cover for your daypack

• Small hand-towels

• Rain poncho

• Duffel bag (size 66 x 36cm / 26’ x 14’) for your luggage and gear for hiking days. Please ensure your personal luggage's weight for a duffel bag doesn’t exceed 7KG/15 lbs ( 4 Kg for your own stuff, plus 3 kg for rentals). Your duffel bag will be carried by porters. During the day, you won’t have access to your duffel until you arrive at the campsite in the evening.  Duffel will be provided to you in Cusco the day before the start of the trek (at team briefing with a local guide).


You can rent Trekking poles (a pair) at $ 20 USD for an entire trek (paid  locally)

Trekking poles are very recommended to have for downhill hikes. Good protection for your knees. 


- Suitcase (yes, you can fly&travel in Peru with your suitcase, but you have to leave it at Cusco Hotel's storage room for 5 days while you are hiking the Salkantay trek hiking and visiting Machu Picchu.  For these days you will be given a duffel bag for your luggage.

- Daypack for hiking & day tours (small or medium size 20-35L).  

Your daypack should have enough room for the following items for hiking:  Hydration reservoir (2L), Rain poncho – will be provided,  Extra layer (fleece jacket, beanie, gloves), snacks you might want to bring from home (such as chocolate, nuts, etc), camera, first-aid kit (just essentials), sunscreen... 

- Hand sanitizer, Lip balm, sunscreen / Insect repellent, Personal First Aid kit (only essential medications you can’t do without, for quick reach), Toilet paper & Small plastic bag for waste

- Hydration reservoir/camelback/water bottle (2-3L) 

- Hiking shoes: comfortable, lightweight but sturdy (good for muddy trails), with ankle support - - Worn well before departure! Please don’t take brand-new shoes to avoid blisters.

- Sleeping bag (winter, comfort -10C) & liner, will be provided in Cusco or you can bring your own 

- Hiking poles – you can rent in Cusco or bring your own (NOTE: hiking poles are not allowed into carry-on luggage on the flights)

- Headlamp (no lights at the camping sites at night )

- Sunglasses (UVF 300+) 

- Windproof hiking pants 

- Fleece/softshell jacket 

- Warm down-jacket (700+ down fill): this trek includes 2 cold nights of camping 

- Light wind- & waterproof jacket (active sport) 

- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them) 

- Change of T-shirts (1 long-sleeved, 2-3 short-sleeved) synthetic/smart wool breathable. Cotton is not recommended 

- Beanie (wool/fleece) 

- Sun hat 

- Thermal long underwear set for sleeping in a tent

- A change of smart wool mid-weight hiking socks, + 1 pair of thick socks for sleeping 

- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean from dirty 

- Toiletries: Toothbrush, toothpaste, Wet wipes, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, lip balm 

- Sunscreen (UVF 50+)

- Insect repellent (essential for the 3rd day of hiking and Machu Picchu)

- Your personal first-aid kit:  please bring your personal medications you can't do without. Suggested medications: aspirin (with vitamin C) against headache, Diamox against high altitude sickness, pain killer (ibuprofen), band-aids, fever reducer, allergy treatment, Imodium or similar to treat mild cases of diarrhea, eye drops, nasal drops, cough relief

- Battery charger for your devices (for hiking days, no electricity, phone reception & wifi) 

Suggested Optionals: 

- Money  pouch (neck wallet or waist belt)  

- Ear plugs 

- Spare boot laces 

- Tennis shoes as a change for trekking boots

- Hiking gaiters (protection from mud/snow/dust)

- Buff (protects face and neck from wind/dust) 

- Thermo bottle (to keep the drinking water warm at night) 

- Bathing suit & flip flops (if you wish to visit hot springs in Aguas Calientes)

Electricity, WiFi & Phone reception

In hotels and towns:

Electricity is available 220V/60Hz (110V less common). PLEASE Bring your own plug adapter

Wi-Fi is normally available at hotels and public places but can be slow

On the Salkantay Trek:

No Phone reception or WiFi on the trek

Electricity is available at the 1st campground till 8 PM, and not available on the 2nd campground 

Bring a battery to recharge your devices. Remember, electronic devices get discharged faster when it’s cold.

Trekking guide will have a satellite phone to be used for emergencies

Money & Currency

• The local currency in Peru is the Nuevo Sol (1USD = 3-4 Soles)

• You can exchange currency at the airports (the rate is not good), or in Cusco Old town in certified money exchange offices (cambio de moneda). Remember , in South America they like crispy new banknotes, $100 USD banknote are better accepted for exchange 

• You can find ATMs at the airports of Lima and Cusco, and in the old town Cusco. There’s

no ATMs in the rural areas. 

• Payments by Visa/MasterCard are accepted in Lima and Cusco airports, restaurants, grocery stores and hotels. AmEx is not accepted in Peru.

• Small gift shops and cafeterias are normally cash only. Payments in small USD bills can be accepted ($1/5/10/20) - make sure bills are crispy and new, otherwise they are not accepted. If you pay in USD, the change will be given in the Peruvian currency.


Mountain weather is unpredictable. Typically, the dry season in Cusco region is from late May through early October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June – just be prepared.  Treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for 4 seasons (seriously!). Layers are always a key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. Evenings and nights are cold, so please be prepared with a warm down-jacket (700+ Down fill). 

Average temperatures: 

  • Cusco & Sacred Valley: 15-17C day; 2-5C night
  • Andes & Salkantay trek: 15-20C day; 0+1C night
  • Machu Picchu: 20-25C day; 5-7C night

Acclimatizing & Altitudes

Starting from the elevation of the city of Cusco (3400m/ 11152’) many people feel symptoms of altitude sickness. That's normal. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over a couple of days in Cusco that we allow in our itinerary for acclimatizing at high altitudes, your body will adjust to the lower amount of oxygen in the air.  With altitude sickness, you may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or even vomiting, dizziness, and trouble sleeping.  If you have those symptoms in Cusco, just ask for an oxygen tank at the hotel's reception desk or let the Team Leader know and assist you. Most of the time, these symptoms are mild.  For safe travels and better acclimatizing, we don't plan any physical activities on the first days of our itinerary in Cusco.


1) Drink plenty of fluids such as water, herbal, and coca teas Coca tea is always available at no additional cost at the hotel's reception desk. Coca has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the coca plant contain alkaloids that help bring oxygen into your blood 

2) Avoid drinking alcohol and coffee. It will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated


3) Avoid smoking 

4) Try not to use sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep. Try to sleep on your side, not on your back


5) While on the Salkantay trek: remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain  

6)  Optional medications such as dexamethasone (Diamox) might be helpful for preventing altitude sickness. See your doctor for a prescription. If you decide to take these medicines, you should start the medicine a day before your departure or at least on the day of arrival to the altitude, not later. Continue taking it daily while you are at a high altitude. 


Cusco – 3400m/ 11152’

Salkantay trailhead – 3800m/ 12467’ 

Salkantay pass – 4650m/ 15091’ 

Machu Picchu – 2430m/ 7972’ 

Aguas Calientes – 2040 m/ 6700’ 

Urubamba (Sacred Valley of Incas) – 3000m/ 9842’ 

Rainbow Mt. – trailhead starts at 4300m, summit 5020m/ 16469’


 If you feel sick on the trek, let a team leader & tour guide know right away – our local guides are trained in first aid and they will do their best to help you feel better. Our guide will also have an oxygen and first aid kit for basic medical issues. 

If you feel exhausted and sick at some point, you can continue on a horse (which can be rented at additional cost). 

In case something unexpected happens and you are no longer able to complete the trek, we will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to the nearest medical post. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escorting you every step of the way. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and rejoin your teammates traveling by train comfortably. 

Meals & Water

Drinking water. General suggestions:

Use bottled or boiled water for drinking. Don’t drink tap water. This water is good for brushing your teeth. Please don’t order ice in your drinks. Ice is usually made out of the tap water. Tap water is not bad, but bacterial content is different from the water you used to drink at home and this may can cause upset stomach and diarrhea.

Drinking water on Salkantay trek: 

You need to have your drinking water for the 1st hiking day enough till lunchtime.

Starting from our first lunch and until our last breakfast on a trek, the drinking water will be supplied. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, then distributed for refilling our reservoirs at each meal. Prepare your own bottles (Nalgene or camelback). Carrying about 2-3L worth is recommended for the day hike.

How meals will be organized on Salkantay trek:

Our professional chefs can cook delicious meals in the camping conditions! Be sure to remind of any food restrictions you have in advance. Food is typically served family-style. Only fresh locally grown produce is used for cooking during the trek. Canned or dehydrated food is never used. 

Food will be provided five times a day, beginning with a hot breakfast, a hiking snack to enjoy along the way, a tremendous lunch, an afternoon tea (happy hour), and finally dinner. 

Sample menu:

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, pancakes, omelette, porridge, cereal, fruit salad, toast, orange juice,

milk, tea, coffee, hot chocolate

Snack: Fruit, cookies, cereal, chocolate, candies (Note: You can bring your favorite snacks from home if you wish, as you won’t find certain U.S brands in Peru like protein energy bars, dried fruit trek mix, meat jerky etc).

Lunch: Corn or mushroom soup, chicken and rice, sausage, fried fish, ceviche, steak, beans, fried rice, French fries, boiled potatoes, vegetables, salad

Happy Hour: cookies, tea, coffee

Dinner: Stuffed chicken, vegetable tortillas, pizza, spaghetti, pork cutlet, sautéed vegetables, salad

What’s included

  • Salkantay trek
    all arrangements, trek permit, private campgrounds, trekking crew (guide, porters, chef), all meals, private van, camping gear (tents, kitchen &appliances) etc.
  • Rainbow Mt. day-hike
    all trek arrangements, professional assistance (guide, assistant, chef), 2 meals, private van from Cusco
  • Professional assistance
    Certified english-speaking guide and tri-lingual Team Leader
  • Train tickets
    Expedition category (comfortable seats), 2 rides
  • Ground Transportation
    Private van for airport transfers, Cusco and around,
  • Guided historical tours
    Cusco, Sacred Valley of Incas, Machu Picchu
  • Lodging
    7 nights in standard hotels 3* (2 people sharing a twin room). On Salkantay trek 1 night in sky-roof huts , 1 night in tents
  • Meal plan
    Breakfasts in hotels, Full board on Salkantay trek (3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners), 2 meals on Rainbow Mt trek (1 breakfast, 1 lunch)
  • Admissions
    Archeological sites and museums of Cusco, Sacred Valley of Inkas, Machu Picchu tkt & shuttle rides
  • Camping gear
    Tents, sleeping bags, mats, kitchen supplies

What’s not included

  • Flights
    $800-$1000 USD for international flights, $280 USD for domestic flights
  • Travel insurance
    Required. Should cover high altitude hiking and Covid cases
  • Meals in towns
    Lunches and dinners in towns
  • Extra nights at hotels
    In Lima or Cusco, in case of your early arrival/ late departure separately from a group
  • Gear rentals
    Trekking poles ($20 USD)
  • Tips
    Optional. Suggested for the trekking crew. Allow a budget of $60-80USD per traveller for entire hike
  • Single lodging
    Optiona. If you would like to stay in your own hotel room and tent. On request, depending on availability

Available Packages

Count me in!
Deposit: $1,000

Available options

Single accomodation supplement
Lima airport transfers Jun 3
Sold Out


Day 1 . May 25 Thu
Arrival to Peru. Lima > Cusco

Arrive in Lima from the United States on the morning flight, and take an ongoing domestic flight to Cusco in the morning. 

We suggest arriving in Cusco around noon.

On arrival in Cusco - we will pick you up from the airport and take to the hotel in the Old Town.

Meet your team and team leader.

Dinner at the local restaurant will be booked for the team.

Overnight in hotel Novotel Cusco

The altitude of Cusco:  11200" /3400m

Your Organizer

Safarika Travel
59 reviews
Safarika Adventure Club (Safarika Travel Inc.) was founded in Los Angeles (CA) in the year 2013. Legal travel provider on the territory of United States (California Seller of Travel License # 2112795-40) since 2013. Founder & CEO - Karina Safari, professional adventure travel organizer and team leader since 2011. Specialization: in small group hiking trips in South America and beyond, as well as private eco-adventures for families.


This trip was an absolutely outstanding experience! The route was beautiful and combined modern Tokyo/Osaka with Nakasendo trail hike through ancient post-cites and spiritual center at Mount Koya - something you could experience rarely experience in one trip! The group was amazing and we truly became friends after the hikes, staying in ryokans, and enjoying beautiful scenery. I highly recommend Karina and her tours. This is my second tour in a group with Karina and everything is well organized and executed. The tour delivered unforgettable experience and build multiple friends - I will travel again!
By Sergey S for Japan Pilgrimage trails: from Modern to Ancient times on Jun 10, 2024
Had an amazing time on a trip! Great and busy itinerary and we managed to see a lot of things in a short period of time. Thank you for organizers for making it smooth and interesting!
By Anna R for Patagonia: Epic hiking adventure in Argentina on Mar 12, 2024
What an amazing experience! I was eager to visit Patagonia, knew it'd be great and had quite high expectations for it - but all these expectations were exceeded with a huge margin. Where to start? Hikes with breathtaking views around El Chalten and El Calafate (by far the most beautiful places I've even been), rugged beauty of Terra del Fuego, vibes of Buenos Aires - this is something that'll be remembered for life. Another thing worth noting is flawless organization of the trip, and the care we got from Karina and our tour lead Masha. We've never had to worry about transportation, accommodation or any other logistics and could fully focus on experiencing the beauties around. Last but not the least, as already noted in another review, we started as a group of strangers and ended as a group of friends for life. Karina and Masha - thank you for an amazing and very well-organized trip and for one of the best experiences in my life!
By Sergey C for Patagonia: Epic hiking adventure in Argentina on Mar 07, 2024
Amazing trip! Spotless organization and communication, Spanish speaking guide who has become our dearest friend. This trip has started as a group of starangers and ended by a group of friends for life. The trip itself consisted of a perfect combination of moderate-to-challenging physical activity amid unimaginable scenery of southern Argentina, where no day was like any other. Thank you Karina for exceptionally well researched and organized trip.
By Misha S for Patagonia: Epic hiking adventure in Argentina on Mar 06, 2024
Patagonia trip was an unforgettable experience. Great people, stunning views, excellent food and convenient lodging. Everything was organized extremely well, and our team leader Masha went above and beyond taking care of all logistics, so all that was left for us was relax and enjoy Argentina. Highly recommended!
By Roman B for Patagonia: Epic hiking adventure in Argentina on Mar 06, 2024
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One of the best trips I've done! I am mainly either a solo traveler or prefer to go with my family But 4 days hiking trip to Montana Glacier NP has changed my preferences :) Thank you very much, it's been a pleasure and FUN Met so many interesting intelligent people, would highly recommend if you enjoy active vacations
By Yelena M on 10 Sep, 2020
I traveled with Karina to Patagonia in 2020 and it was awesome! Perfect planning & organization throughout the trip, including dealing with the unexpected (e.g. lost luggage). I really liked other folks in the group and made several new friends in this trip. I highly recommend Karina's trips to casual and semi-serious hikers, and plan to be a return customer myself.
By Grigory L on 14 Mar, 2020
Thank you, Karina, for a wonderful first time experience of active adventure trip! Everything is well thought and organized. Would recommend to anyone!
By Aizhan T on 20 Jun, 2019