The trek to Salkantay, a mountain rising to 6271 m.a.s.l. in the Vilcabamba Range (Cusco), is not an easy undertaking. Nevertheless the experience is so intense that anyone who has the physical strength, the desire and the time available, should add it to their itinerary.
You leave Cusco for the village of Mollepata and from there to Cruz Pata and Soraypampa (3850 m.a.s.l.) The route to Pampa Salkantay is more arduous and passes close to Mount Humantay before reaching the highest point: the SalkantayHumantay pass, at 4500 m.a.s.l., from which some imposing glaciers can be seen. Here, by Lake Humantay, is where a traditional ritual of thanks to the gods takes place. The tribute to Mother Earth is the responsibility of the community of Quero, a village near to Ausangate, which is considered the last bastion of the Incas and is part of the Cultural Heritage of Peru. The people of Queros have chosen to maintain the culture, farming techniques and customs of the Inca Empire up to the present day. The descent to Santa Teresa and Aguas Calientes —now Machu Picchu Pueblo— begins at last, for a visit to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
The best time to do the trek is between May and October, in the dry season. The coldest month to do it is June. The clothes should be for sierra weather: there is heat during the day and cold at night. Do not forget basics like headache pills (altitude sickness) and band aids, as well as sunglasses, sun block and hat. The high sun burns. If you are going to visit communities and want to support them in some way, you can carry notebooks, pencils and colors for children.
In Salkantay Programme: transportation, accommodation and guide.