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How to Prepare for the Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek is the second most popular route to Machu Picchu after the Inca Trail. You’ll be spending a few days on the trail away from the city with basic provisions. The route is also challenging and at high altitude.

For these reasons you need to make sure you’re as prepared as you can be. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to prepare for the Salkantay Trek.

Salkantay Trek Altitude Sickness

The highest point of the Salkantay Trek is 4,600 masl, and the average throughout the route is 3,000 masl. For this reason, you need to make sure you’re well prepared for the altitude and all the problems that can arise. 

If you aren’t ready for it, you can suffer from nausea, headaches, tiredness, dizziness, and breathlessness. Here are a few ways to make sure you’re prepared to face the altitude.

Altitude Sikness

Is Acclimatizing Essential?

Yes! If you fail to take the necessary precautions you will feel unwell. It’s unknown for passengers to cancel tours at the last minute because they don’t feel good enough to go, or even for them to come back to Cusco midway through because they have fallen ill. 

How Strenuous is Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek is relatively challenging. You’ll be heading up to a very high altitude and also find that the terrin can be tough. Ascending and descending throughout can also be tough on your joints, especially knees and ankles. Walking poles can help with that. 

Day 2 of the trek is the most difficult as you walk for a total of 10 hours and over some difficult terrain. You also need to endure the steep and winding path up to the Salkantay Pass at 4,600 masl.

Fitness and Training for Salkantay Trek

The Salkantay Trek is relatively tough, so it’s best to practice and prepare a little beforehand, especially when it comes to fitness. You can definitely take part if you haven’t ever trekked before, but take into consideration these tips to help you do the best you can. 

Leg Exercises to Train

If you need help with coming up with some exercises to help you strengthen leg muscles, here are a few. Try to include a few reps every day when you have spare time. 

Can I Do That?

Yes, of course. Anyone is able to take on the challenge if they have prepared accordingly. These exercises are meant for anyone to be able to complete and walking and hiking back home shouldn’t be too much of a hassle for most people. 

How Fit Do You Need to Be?

You do need to be healthy and fit to finish the Salkantay Trek, which most people are. You don’t need to be a big hiker or exercise all the time to be able to complete it, but it is recommended to do some physical preparation beforehand. 

Most people are able to complete the challenge if they eat well, prepare beforehand regarding fitness and the altitude, and have been going on hikes to get ready for this one.  

Physical Requirements

The main physical requirements you need to take part in this trek are: