Want to join us for the Salkantay trek 5 days at the end of Sept?
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Sep 28, 2013 7:44 AM Last Post By: superhorsefeath...
Sep 21, 2013 1:14 PM
Want to join us for the Salkantay trek 5 days at the end of Sept?Hi there
We are a friendly couple from USA and from France (so we speak English, French and a little Spanish) 39 years old. Due to the extreme high cost of doing this trek with a guide, we want to plan our own Salkantay trek without a guide for 5 days/4 nights but we would like to go with other people, if possible. At our hostel, most people have either done the trek already or have booked with a tour group. I confirmed it with South American explorers that there is currently NO fee for hiking the Salkantay and its totally doable on your own.
We have a lot of information on the trek and we plan to purchase a good map. We have quite a bit of trekking experience and have hiked (but not trekked) in high altitude before. We ask that you have got experience too. We have a campstove that we can share if you don't have one.
We are in Cusco now (Sept 21) and are looking to leave within the next few days. If you are interested please message me right away!
Sep 22, 2013 6:19 AM
1It wasn't doable on your own before because of obligatory permits, so it looks like it has changed.
What sounds strange to me is "the extreme high cost of doing this trek with a guide". This trek is known to be one of the most affordable and good value for money, if booked in Cuzco with a short notice. I did the trek six years ago, but people on this forum are still talking the same prices (around US$200).
Sep 22, 2013 6:55 AM
2It has indeed changed. I went to the South American Explorers club just 2 days ago (a reliable source for this info) and they confirmed that there is no fee for a permit but that there used to be and there might be one in the future (again). I also have friends who completed it independently last month and didn't pay a fee.
We have been in Cusco for the past 4 days, checking out prices of different treks with guides and I can confirm to you that the cheapest we found was $195 and $220. But they were only offered from 2 agencies. More often than not, the going rate is around $300 or much much more (most are charging around $500). Even Peru Treks which has been recommended on this forum and they even list on their website $200 has now increased it to $390. But keep in mind that those prices (even the cheap ones) don't include tips which will run you on average about $20 total per day (10 for the guide and the rest distributed among horse men, porters & cooks). To me, someone who has always trekked on their own for pretty cheap, that is an extreme high cost!!
The 2 agencies that were offering for the cheapest were very suspect-they answered all our questions with just one or two words & seemed very unprofessional-especially when it came to asking about the conditions of the tents. Basically, we got a bad feeling from them. In my opinion, you pay for what you get.
Current Machu Picchu entry fee is $70, the train from A.C. back to Cusco is $65 and a nights accommodation in A.C. is about $15. That is already $150 and doesn't include food or guides or horses/porters. So to me, $195 is very suspect. That's less than $10 per day that the company is getting (that barely covers food/equipment costs!!) Something doesn't add up to me and the while the most expensive is usually not always the best, the cheapest is never very good!
Things have changed a lot over the past 6 years and unfortunately, even in the past year. Prices have really skyrocketed for Salkantay-it used to be a cheap alternative like Lares but now it's becoming the cash cow that the Inca trail has. Nowadays the Laras or Ausangate are better values for your money but its only a matter of time before they become too expensive too.
It's all together pretty depressing. I have always wanted to visit Machu Picchu and since I love hiking & trekking it would be great to walk there. The Inca trail you have to plan in advance for and is also so expensive. I thought Salkantay would be a great alternative due to the stunning scenery. It's sad that it's become such an expensive alternative.
Sep 22, 2013 11:49 AM
3US$20 tip a day sounds too much.
Admittedly, as you say, Salkantay and especially the classic Inka trail are milk cows. It started about 7 years ago when Machu Picchu was declared one of the new 7 wonders of the world. The hype grew and a couple of years later everyone had to be there.
Ausangate and Choquequirao are better value these days, but I wouldn't give up on Salkantay for that. It's a great trek.
Sep 22, 2013 5:47 PM
4I'm really happy to hear that the Salkantay is a great trek Fieldgate! We leave tomorrow and we ended up going with a guide. We couldn't find anyone to go with us and since it was our first time trekking in high altitude, we ended up caving with a group tour. I really hope the tips aren't that much-we were going on what other people have told us :( I am hoping it's less.
In any case, I am looking forward to the trek and even though I think the idea of going with a group & paying money for guide to trek is a bit strange, it will be kind of nice not carrying such a big load in the high altitude. I feel I can really enjoy the scenery more.
Sep 23, 2013 2:12 AM
Sep 23, 2013 5:29 PM
Sep 28, 2013 7:44 AM
7I'm happy to report back that the trip was great! I have the name & phone number for a great guide that we used (which was recommended from another friend). He charged us $330 (originally he wanted 380 but since it was a bigger group, we talked him down a bit). We went with a group of 11 (me and my boyfriend included). If anyone wants the name of number of this guy, I'd be more than happy to give it-just ask me. The price included the train ride back to Cusco and the expensive entry into Machu Picchu, our nights accomodation in Aguas Calientes as well as all equipment (tents, sleeping mats/bags, etc) and all the food. The food wasn't that great but it wasn't terrible either and no one got sick, which is most important.
Aside from that, Salkantay is a great trek-beautiful scenery. We were blessed with excellent weather with a clear view of both glaciers over the Salkantay pass. The altitude was difficult but not impossible if you rest often to catch your breath. I am really happy I was only carrying a day pack though. A heavy backpack might have made me like it a lot less!! Machu Picchu, despite the throngs of tourists, was amazing and we were also blessed with perfect weather. The key is to get there early. We were up at 4 am to see the sunrise (beautiful and recommended).
If anyone has any questions or needs any tips, just send me a message & I'd be more than happy to help. It was tough figuring out this trip for us because we don't have a big budget & we like to do things on our own when we can. We had a great group too and great guides. This really helped make a difference in the trip-I think bad people or bad guides can make it our break it.
Also if staying in Cusco, we are staying at a great place for $15 each a night (so $30(US) for the room). It's called Casa de Mama Cusco and it even has a little kitchenette in the room-with 2 burner stove, microwave, fridge and the lady who runs it, is really like a mama. No need to be spending 190.00 per night for budget hotels!!
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