Peru is renowned for its awe-inspiring natural landscape and archeological sites, making it a go-to spot for thrill seekers and history amateurs. Aside from the endless attractions in Peru, the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail are two of the most renowned trails that welcome thousands of travelers annually.

Both adventures provide an exclusive chance to observe Peru’s terrain, culture, and heritage, but they vary in length, intricacy, views, fame, and organization. Therefore, choosing between the two can be a difficult choice, especially for those visiting for the first time.

In this blog “Salkantay Trek vs Inca Trail”, we will compare the Salkantay Trek 5 Days and Inca Trail 4 Days, highlight their pros and cons, and help you decide which trek is best for you based on your preferences, fitness level, budget, and time.

Regardless of your level of expertise, this guide will furnish you with the intelligence required to make a wise choice and arrange a superb trekking venture in Peru.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure in Peru, Andean Soul Adventure is an excellent option. Book your trip now and get ready for the journey of a lifetime, as you explore the Salkantay trek.

Salkantay trek vs Inca Trail

What is the importance of choosing the right trek?

Picking the proper hike is essential for guaranteeing a prosperous and agreeable hiking experience.

Since hiking necessitates physical effort, psychological strength, and contact with the outdoors, going for a hike that is too challenging, too easy, or not suitable to your desires or fitness level may lead to discouragement, injuries, or other medical problems.

In contrast, picking a trek that is compatible with your aptitude, hobbies, and outlooks can create a more gratifying, unforgettable, and pleasurable journey. Moreover, various treks have varying degrees of fame, acceptableness, and environmental effect, which may influence both your experience and the nearby societies and ecosystems.

Consequently, researching thoroughly, assessing the alternatives, taking counsel from experts or veteran trekkers, and choosing an itinerary that suits your aspirations and beliefs will substantially improve the satisfaction of your excursion.

What are the differences between the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is a 45-kilometer hike that tracks the path utilized by the Incas to get to Machu Picchu. It is a renowned and well-recognized journey, celebrated for its noteworthy importance, gorgeous panoramas, and old relics.

The Salkantay Trek is a 74-kilometer journey which takes travelers through the peaks of the Andes, towering mountain passes, and secluded hamlets. It is a tougher and less populated trail than the Inca Trail, with more various terrain and fewer ancient monuments.

Salkantay Trek

In terms of duration, the Inca Trail usually takes between two, 4 days, and five days to complete, while the Salkantay Trek can be done in five to seven days depending on which trek you choose.

Inca Trail

The expense of the two treks varies, with the Inca Trail being pricier due to the permit cost and the increased demand. In general, the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail have dissimilar characteristics that draw in distinct kinds of trekkers, and the selection between them is based on variables such as fitness level, time available, budget, interests, and tastes.

What is the best Trek for You?

Picking between the Salkantay Trek or the Inca Trail can be tricky, as both routes provide a wonderful and lasting memory of Peru’s beautiful scenery. To aid you in your decision, consider the following elements:

Fitness level

If you are an experienced hiker or in excellent physical condition, both treks are feasible. However, if you’re not used to hiking, the Salkantay Trek might be too challenging due to its high altitude and steep ascents.


The Inca Trail can be completed in four days, while the Salkantay Trek usually takes five days. If you have limited time, the Inca Trail might be a better option.


The Inca Trail is more expensive due to the permit fee, while the Salkantay Trek is cheaper and more flexible.


Both treks offer breathtaking views, but they differ in the landscapes they cover. The Inca Trail passes through several archaeological sites, while the Salkantay Trek takes hikers through a variety of ecosystems, including mountains, valleys, and forests.


The Inca Trail is more popular and can be crowded during peak season, while the Salkantay Trek is less crowded and more peaceful.


The Inca Trail requires a permit, which must be booked months in advance, while the Salkantay Trek does not require a permit and can be booked with more flexibility.

Both the Salkantay Trek and Inca Trail have their advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between them depends on your personal preferences and circumstances. If you’re looking for a challenging and remote trek with diverse landscapes, the Salkantay Trek might be the best option.

If you’re interested in history, archaeological sites, and a more established trek, the Inca Trail might be the best choice. Whatever trek you choose, make sure to prepare and plan ahead to ensure a safe, enjoyable, and unforgettable experience.

What is the duration of the hiking journey to reach Machu Picchu?

The length of the hiking excursion to get to Machu Picchu depends on the path you opt for. The customary Inca Trail requires two to five days to accomplish, while alternate trails like the Salkantay Trek may take as much as five days or more. 

The duration also depends on factors such as your fitness level and the itinerary of the trek or the route you choose.

It is crucial to conduct a thorough investigation and make preparations in advance to guarantee that you have ample time to finish the journey and savor the breathtaking views and cultural encounters while in route.

Machu Picchu

Inca Trail vs Salkantay Trek table of comparison

Explore the contrasts between two iconic Peruvian treks: the renowned Inca Trail vs Salkantay Trek. This comparison table will help you choose the best adventure based on your preferences, fitness level, budget, and available time.

FeatureInca TrailSalkantay Trek
Length45 kilometers74 kilometers
Duration4 days5-7 days depending on the route
DifficultyModerateChallenging (due to high altitude and steep ascents)
ViewsAncient ruins, scenic panoramasPeaks of the Andes, mountain passes, varied terrain, secluded villages
PopularityVery popular, crowded during peak seasonLess crowded, more peaceful
BudgetMore expensive (due to permit cost)Cheaper and more flexible
Archaeological SitesAbundantFewer ancient monuments
Permit RequirementRequires a permit (booked months in advance)Does not require a permit, more flexible booking
Best ForHistory enthusiasts, established trekChallenging and remote trek with diverse landscapes

What is the best time to book a trekking adventure in Peru?

Determining when to embark on a trekking venture in Peru is determined by the time of year, the specifically chosen trail, and one’s individual inclinations. The busiest period for tourists in Peru runs from June to August when the weather is arid and pleasant but also swarmed and costly.

If you intend to trek the Inca Trail, it is wise to reserve your permit a few months in advance, as there are only a certain amount of permits available and they sell out rapidly.

Reserving a place for other expeditions, such as the Salkantay Trek, may be doable a few weeks or months ahead of time; however, the earlier booking may guarantee availability and lower rates. If you don’t want to join the throngs of people and pay peak season prices, then consider going on a hike from April to May or September to November when conditions are still pleasant and there are fewer tourists.

The wet season, from December to March, is not the ideal time for trekking, as the tracks may be treacherous and slippery, and the scenery can be blocked by haze and clouds. It doesn’t matter when you choose to go, just make sure to organize ahead of time and book with a reliable agency to guarantee a secure, pleasant, and remarkable trekking adventure in Peru.

How to Book the Salkantay Trek or Inca Trail?

If you’re looking for an incredible journey in the Andes, then we strongly suggest booking the Salkantay Trek with us! Through our specialist guides and tailored service, you’ll be able to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the Peruvian countryside and gain some insight into the local customs along your path.

Don’t hesitate to book our Classic Salkantay Trek 5 Days with Andean Soul Adventure for an unforgettable experience in the Andes! Also book with us the classic Inca Trail 4 days.

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