Located in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba, among the Cusco Andes, the Salkantay rises over 6271 meters high, so conquering its summit is a huge challenge even for the most experienced trekking and climbing enthusiasts. Ascending its steep slopes, surrounded by impressive landscapes, dreamlike lagoons and a great diversity of flora and fauna, make this adventure a unique and incomparable experience.
Although the journey to the summit offers a wonderful spectacle, reaching the final objective implies taking into account a series of important recommendations in order to avoid any type of risk, which we share with you below.
Prepare yourself physically and mentally
It is important that, in the first place, you take into account that the Salkantay snow-capped mountain is located in a zone of maximum altitude, so climbing it demands an overexertion that you should not overlook. In order not to suffer setbacks, apart from a good physical condition, you must learn to adapt to the sudden changes in temperature and the lack of oxygen typical of the area. To do this, it is vital to go through a conditioning stage several months in advance, with cardiovascular endurance exercises.
During this training, the climber should acclimatize his body to the altitude of Cusco and observe how his body reacts to the change in pressure. Running around the mountain will also help to adapt to the new weather conditions.
Breathing exercises along the stretches will help you tire less and better coordinate your movements. It is also important to walk slowly without speeding up your pace, in order to keep your body calm and enjoy the scenery and nature. Finally, listen to your body: if you feel the need to take a break, don't hesitate and do it. Once you feel more lucid and in better condition, continue with the tour.
When to go?
The best time to experience this adventure is during the dry season, that is, between May and October. During these months, the weather is sunny and rain-free. Temperatures range from 25°C during the day and drop to 5°C at night. Although there are travelers who undertake the route to Salkantay during the rainy season, between November and April, it is much more pleasant and less dangerous to do it in the dry season.
What should you bring?
One of the greatest difficulties of this experience is the significant temperature drops. For this reason, it is necessary to take adequate clothing to withstand the cold and also include a raincoat in case of rain.
Other items you should include in your backpack is a fair amount of clothes; personal hygiene items such as towel, soap, toilet paper, toothbrush and toothpaste. On the other hand, do not forget to bring a flashlight, a camera, a battery charger, sunscreen, repellent and your passport or identity card.
Also take with you a first aid kit with everything you need for any emergency, such as medicines, pills, coca leaves, band-aids, among others. It is always a good idea to bring some basic necessities or stationery to donate to the communities as you pass through the villages.
How to get there?
To start the route to the Salkantay, you must travel to the town of Mollepata, located 2 hours by car west of Cusco. Buses leave every day from Arcopata Street, very close to the Plaza de Armas. Mollepata offers good quality and cozy accommodations, so we recommend you to stay a few days in one of them. Do not hesitate to talk about the route with the muleteers of this place, they are experts in the area and will gladly answer all your questions.
Be a responsible traveler
During your visit, both to the different localities of the area and on the way to the summit of the snow-capped mountain, try to preserve and take care of the goodness that nature offers you. Save all your waste and do not pollute the environment. Be aware and protect the environment so that other people can also enjoy this natural wonder of Peru.