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Salkantay Hike: Preparing for Changes in Climate

At Cusi Travel, we can help you experience a memorable hike through one of the most stunning landscapes in Peru by doing the Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu. During this 5-day hike, you will travel to the base of Salkantay, a snow peaked mountain. The hike starts below the mountain at 12,740 feet (3,883 meters) as you then ascend to the Salkantay Pass and from there descend down through five separate ecological zones to Machu Picchu at 7,874 feet (2,400 meters). During this journey you will pass through cloud forests, mountains, and jungle.

Due to the extreme changes of altitude and ecological zones during this hike, you will need to pack accordingly. The first two days of the hike you can expect it to be very cold, and even below freezing at the first campsite. On the coldest days, there may be snow on the trail and at the Salkantay Pass. However, on the second day you will descend far into the valley and will then camp at a much warmer campsite in the jungle. During the following three days of hiking and touring Machu Picchu you can expect humidity and some rain. Make sure that you have appropriate clothing and hiking gear for both cold and humid climates.

Recommended Clothing to Pack

Here is a list of recommended clothing and sleeping items to help keep you warm on your hiking adventure. It is not an all-inclusive list of recommended items to pack.

  • Waterproof/wind jacket
  • Warmer/fleece jacket
  • Warm hat and gloves or mittens
  • Couple pairs of long lightweight trousers w/zip off for shorts
  • Thermal, moisture wicking long and short-sleeved shirts
  • Underwear
  • Waterproof hiking boots or shoes
  • Flip-flops
  • Swimsuit (for a possible visit to the hot springs at Aguas Calientes)
  • Sun hat

Recommended Gear to Pack

  • Sleeping bag (rated for -10°F). Adding a sleeping bag liner can increase the warmth by 25°F
  • Trekking poles
  • Water bottle or bladder
  • Flashlight or headlamp
  • Small travel towel
  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Sunglasses

To learn about current availability of our Salkantay Hike or other Machu Picchu tours, email us today at info@cusitravel.com. To inquire about booking, let us know the dates of your hike, the type of hike you are choosing, and size of your group.