1. From Cusco: Budget Salkantay Trek with Return by Car
DAY 1: Cusco - Mollepata - Challacancha - Laguna Humantay - Soraypampa Get picked up from your accommodation in Cusco. Pass through the towns of Izcuchaca and Limatambo before arriving at Mollepata, where you can buy a light breakfast or supply water. Continue until you reach Challacancha, from where the 3-hour walk begins to Soraypampa. Stop for lunch and then walk around 1-2 hours to the Humantay Lagoon. Return to Soraypampa and overnight at camp with tent and dinner. DAY 2: Soraypampa - Soyrococha - Salkantay - Huayracmachay - Chaullay Wake up with the first lights of the day at 5:30 AM and have a quick but energizing breakfast. Start a walk to the highest point of the trail, the Salkantay Pass (4650 MASL - 15255 FASL), where you will appreciate the imposing snowy peaks of the Salkantay, Humantay, Tucarhuay and Pumasillo mountains. Hike down the snake-shaped path, leading to the Huayracmachay camp where you will stop for lunch. At the end of this exceptional hike, arrive at Chaullay Village (2900 MASL - 9514 FASL) for a break from a long day of hiking. Stay overnight at the camp with a tent and dinner. DAY 3 - for 5-day option: Chaullay - Playa Sahuayaco - Lucmabamba - Santa Teresa (optional Cocalmayo) After the comforting breakfast, continue the walk to the small town of La Playa through the Santa Teresa valley. Stop here for lunch and then board a bus to the camp in Santa Teresa. You'll arrive at the camp where you can optionally enjoy the hot springs of Cocalmayo in Santa Teresa, which are medicinal and therapeutic waters. Stay overnight at the camp with a tent and dinner. If you choose the 4-day option, you will be taken by bus to Hydroelectric right after your lunch in La Playa. From there, start a 3-hour walk on the train tracks through a native jungle to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will have free time before dinner to rest or walk through the town. DAY 4 - for 5-day option: Santa Teresa - Hydroelectric - Aguas Calientes After a typical breakfast, you will start the walk to the Hydroelectric through the valley floor for an average of 3 hours. Upon arrival, recharge with a lunch. You can choose add-on a zip line adventure after your breakfast; in this case, after the activity, you will be taken by transport to the beginning of the trail to Aguas Calientes at Hydroelectric. From Hydroelectric, start a walk on the train tracks through a native jungle to Aguas Calientes, about a 3 hours trek. Upon arrival in Aguas Calientes, you will have free time before dinner to rest or walk through the town. DAY 4 for 4-day option / DAY 5 for 5-day option: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco Get up early to start the trek to Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. The steep walk will last approximately 1:30 hours, and the objective is to appreciate the sunrise from the Inca citadel and be the first to arrive. The walk up to Machu Picchu requires a fair physical condition — you can also choose add-on a bus to Machu Picchu at the checkout if you don't want to do the walk. Get a 2-hour guided tour of Machu Picchu and the surrounding sites. Enjoy free time to take photos and look around the citadel. If you chose one of the extra hikes to one of the mountains you will split ways with the group to go by yourself to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, you can choose add-on these hikes at the checkout. Leave Machu Picchu and return to Aguas Calientes either by foot or by bus, depending on the add-on at checkout. Once in Aguas Calientes, start the walk back to Hydroelectric where your guide will be waiting to gather the group to return to the city of Cusco. Be back in Cusco around 9:30 - 10:00 PM. The drop-off will be in San Francisco square in the historic center, near Plaza de Armas. Please have in mind this is a budget friendly tour and does not include the train back to Cusco. Distance traveled by car/van from Hydroelectric to Cusco is approximately 5 to 6 hours.