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Salkantay Trek Travel Tips

If you have decided to hike the Salkantay Trek, please make sure you read this section. The Salkantay is a beautiful trek covering Andean valleys, snowy peaks, the Andean jungle, and Machu Picchu. This amazing trek is considered a moderate to difficult hike for which you need to be prepared. 

First, the Salkantay Trek covers a total distance of about 55.5 miles (89 kilometers) – the Short version is about 10.5 miles (or 17 kilometers) shorter  - and reaches a maximum elevation of about 14,760 f.a.s.l. (4,600 m.a.s.l.). The trek starts at about 9,180 f.a.s.l. (2,850 m.a.s.l.) which means that in one day and a half, you will gain an elevation of about  5,580 f.a.s.l. (1,750 m.a.s.l.) These are two good reasons to be in good physical shape and used to the altitude of a high altitude city such as Cusco before starting the trek. It is recommended that you stay in Cusco or another high altitude city a couple of full days prior to starting the trek. In addition, you might choose to  take high altitude sickness pills or chew coca leaves during the trek. If you get the symptoms of altitude sickness (strong headache, nausea, stomachache, and sometimes nose bleeding), try to drink a lot of liquid, and either have a very light meal or eat nothing at all.  You should  be feeling better the next day.

Second, since you will be hiking through several ecological steps, you will be encountering different climates and will need to be ready for it. For instance, the first day will be sunny in the beginning and very cold at night (below freezing) with almost no chance of rain. The second day will be below freezing in the morning, windy at midday with a low possibility of rain, and cool at night. The third day will be warm during the day and cool at night with a possibility of rain. The fourth day will be cool at morning with a possibility of rain and warm at midday. All these weather changes require you to bring the necessary gear to make this trek an enjoyable experience. Some of the basic gear you should bring are an impermeable or rain poncho, waterproof hiking boots, sun screen, hiking hat, sun glasses, light jacket, warm jacket, long and short sleeves shirts, gloves, hat, wool socks, thermal underwear and a good sleeping bag (good for 15 Fahrenheit degrees or less). 

Third, campsites are dark at night so make sure you have a good flashlight. The sky at night is spectacular and if you want to spend a while outside looking at the stars, please make sure you have a good supply of batteries. 

Finally, remember to bring insect repellent, a bathing suit, a small backpack to be carried during the day, an adventurous attitude and lots of energy.

In order to fully enjoy this once in a time experience, we recommend that you  follow these instructions. Travel Insurance is highly recommended for this trip and a copy of it may be requested.

Please keep in mind that our horses will carry up to 17.6 pounds or 8 kilograms of your personal belongings. If you bring more weight, we recommend that you to hire a personal horse.

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