Apu Salkantay: The Backdoor to Machu Picchu

If you’ve been trying to book a trek this summer on the classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, you may have been disappointed to find that permits are sold out until August. But there’s good news for all you hopeful trekkers. The famous Inca Trail is only one of thousands of Inca Trails, many of which are in the Machu Picchu area. In fact, you’ll probably have an even more scenic and less crowded trek if you take an non-permitted Inca trail to this fantastic destination.

The Apu Salkantay trek is one of the most popular alternatives to the Inca Trail– it’s even referred to as the backdoor to Machu Picchu. The true highlight of Apu Salkantay is the stunning scenery, considered by many to dwarf the views on the famous Inca Trail.

On this five-day, four-night trip, you traverse the high Andean plateau, hiking up passes as high as 15,585 ft. for an up-close view of the sacred Inca peak, Salkantay (20,598ft). The route then descends into the beautiful Aobamba valley with its tropical climate and vegetation. Passing through Andean towns, you also get a rare glimpse in traditional Peruvian mountain life where the dress, farming techniques, and customs have been preserved for hundreds of years.

At the end of the last trekking day, you take a short train ride to Aguas Calientes where you can soak your tired legs in the town’s famous thermal pools. The next morning, you get to visit Machu Picchu in the stunning early light away from the tourist crowds that arrive in the afternoon.

We have received glowing reviews about Apu Salkantay from both travelers and local guides. Because of these recommendations, we’ve decided to offer a fixed group departure every Tuesday for this trek. Please contact Detour Destinations to book this trek or to learn more about this stunning journey.