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Salkantay Trek Information

The Salkantay Trek is a wonderful alternative to the Inca T rail with the added advantage of being much quieter, attracting far fewer tourists than the Inca Trail. National Geographic Adventure Trav- el Magazine has named it as one of the 25 Best Treks in the World. Located in the same region as the Inca Trail, the Salkantay Trek is an ancient and remote footpath linking Mollepata with Machu Picchu. The name Salkantay is a Quechua word meaning “Savage Mountain”. Mount Salkantay, the highest peak of the Willkapampa mountain range in the Peruvian Andes is a majestic glacier-capped summit that rises to 6271m above sea level. Worshipped for thousands of years by local Indians, the Incas considered Salkantay to be one of the main deities controlling rain and fertility in the region west of Cusco. The sacred path of the Salkantay Trek is a fantastic alternative to the Inca Trail. With spectacular vistas and panoramic views of the majestic Salkantay Mountain and Apurimac Valley, the trail takes you through ever-changing ecosystems, past spectacular waterfalls and coffee and banana plantations with stunning views of the glacier and peaks of the Vilcabamba range. The beautiful ruins of Patallacta offer amazing views of the ever-impressive citadel of Machu Picchu. The trekking of Salkantay is one of the ways of access, walking, to Machu Picchu. Unlike the traditional Inca Trail, in which it is mandatory to hire an agency and that has a daily access quota for its overcrowding, the Salkantay trekking allows its realization on your own (if you wish, as was our case) , without quotas and without overcrowding. Given that there is little information on this trekking and what there is is confused by the proliferation of place names of the same places and its heights (to which the local signage contributes with errors of heights of more than 300 meters of difference), I go to try to detail it as much as possible. If we start at the end, the trek pursues access to Machu Picchu, so the goal is to reach Aguascalientes to visit, the next day, Machu Picchu. The access to Aguascalientes, in the trekking, is done from Hidroeléctrica (complex of energy supply to the valley of Cusco). From Hydroelectric to AguasCalientes there are two ways to go: one by train (ask for schedules in Perurail in Cusco), it is worth 15 dollars and the journey is about 50 minutes (it was our way of access); and the other, is walking on the same train track, about 10 km. and 2h. 15 min. The beginning of the trekking is done in Mollepata. To get here from Cusco, either hire a private transport, or (which was our case), you take public transport (Arcopata street). The public transport is a van of about 10-12 seats that leaves when it is full. We were there at 5.30 in the morning and it left around 6.10. It takes Mollepata about 2 hours. In Mollepata, and given that there is a passable track to SorayPampa, you can use a private transport (which will be offered) to shorten the first stage, if you wish, to the point that is of your interest (Cruzpata, Sallaypata, Challacancha or Soraypampa ), or else, transport you to a nearby town (but higher) called Marcocasa, where a road that connects with the trekking in Challacancha. As you can see, the start and end options are wide, and each one can make the trek to suit you. In our case we made Mollepata-Hidroeléctrica, which is about 75 km. of trekking. This itinerary is offered by the agencies for 4 days / 3 nights, but we set out to do it in 3 days / 2 nights and carrying everything necessary (tent, bags, food, …). These are the basic data of the itinerary, with its mileage, altitude and schedule (the schedule is included stops and at our pace). We have added to each place the identification of (P) if it is a town or inhabited nucleus, and of (S) if it is a place, where you can find living people, but that is not a town.
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