Choquequirao & Machu Picchu 8 Days
DAY 1: CUSCO . CCACHORA – CAPULIYOC – CHIKISKA – PLAYA ROSALINA – SANTA ROSA
We will pick you up from your hotel at 4 a.m. for the four hour drive to the trail head, where you will have breakfast with your trekking staff. Here, you will meet with your horsemen and horses and have the opportunity to give them your duffel bags. After breakfast, you will start your expedition to Machu Picchu. The first four hours are downhill, until your reach your lunch stop at Chikiska-Chikiska.
This is a small village with fruit plantations. Along the way, you will have great views of the Apurimac River and the valley, as well as the snow-capped peaks. After lunch, the weather gets much warmer, since you have already descended quite a bit. It will be another two hours until we arrive at the bottom of the valley, and see the famous Apurimac River. Following, you will pass a bridge, and have a two hour, uphill hike to the campsite at Santa Rosa.
Walking Distance: 18 km
Campsite Elevation: 1,800 m
Weather: Hot and dry
DAY 2: SANTA ROSA – MARAMPATA – CHOQUEQUIRAO
After an early breakfast you will continue your expedition, starting with a two hour, uphill hike to Marampata. Take note that this section has many zigzags. Marampata is at an elevation of 3,100 meters, where you will see amazing views of the canyon and the surrounding snow-capped peaks.
It will be another two hour, gradual downhill hike until you arrive at the famous Choquekirao Inca site, where you will enjoy lunch. After lunch, you will visit the Inca site and explore the most important places, such as the religious area, the observatory area, and llama terraced sections. You will also enjoy the sunset over the valley and mountains. Following, you will return to your campsite for the night.
Walking distance: 10 km
Camp site elevation: 3,300 m
Weather: Hot and humid
DAY 3: CHOQUEQUIRAO – CHOQUEQUIRAO PASS – PINCHWNIYOC – RIO BLANCO – MAIZAL
You will have an early breakfast with your team, and prepare for today’s expedition, starting around 6:30 a.m. It will be about 40 minutes, uphill, to reach the first pass of Choquequirao at 3,500 m. This is a great place to look through the dense vegetation for the famous orchids and flowers, which bloom here most of the time. Then, it will be about 30 minutes of flat, elevated walking, before starting to descend along the zigzag path for an hour and a half, where you will arrive at the Inca site of Pinchauniyoc.
Pinchauniyoc was used as an agricultural site by the Incas, as well as a rest stop when they traveled on their expeditions to Machu Picchu. After a brief explanation by the guide, you will keep walking downhill for another hour and a half until you get to the River, Calle Rio Blanco, at 1,750 m, where we will have lunch. Be sure you bring a good mosquito repellent, especially for this segment. After lunch, we’ll take a four hour, uphill hike until we reach the campsite at Maizal. Here, we’ll see amazing views of the Andean mountains.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Campsite Elevation: 2900 m
Day 4: MAIZAL – MINAS VICTORIA – CONDOR PASS – YANAMA
You will be woken up with a hot drink, followed by breakfast and the magical sunrise over the mountains. After stocking up on water and snacks, you will start the day’s activities. We’ll start with a four hour, uphill hike along a rocky path. In some sections there will be great views of the surrounding mountains, lush, green valleys and also some arid mountain peaks. Once you reach the top of the pass (at 4,200 m), you will enjoy a packed lunch, provided to you by your trekking chef.
The views will include snow-capped peaks, valleys, and perhaps some condors (the largest bird of the Andes). After snapping a few fantastic pictures, you will start a three and a half, downhill hike to our campsite at Yanama-Yanama. This is a small, indigenous village where, if you have time, you can visit some local homes to learn about how people live and the ancient traditions that they have kept intact for hundreds of years.
Walking Distance: 15 km
Campsite Elevation: 3,800 m
Weather: Humid, dry and cold
DAY 5: YANAMA – MARIANO LLAMOCCA PASS – TOTORA
Your team will wake you up early in the morning, so you’ll have time to pack for the day. At around 6 a.m. you will start your expedition. Today, we will scale the famous Vilcabamba mountain range, the last city of the Incas. It will be five hours until we reach the pass, but the views along the way are amazing. There will also be some rest stops and guided explanations along the way.
Once we reach the pass at 4,500 m, we will enjoy a packed lunch provided by your chef. Since this is the last leg of your journey to Machu Picchu, you will especially enjoy the views of Salkantay and Humantay. Grandfather glacier peaks are a special sight. It will be five hours until we reach the campsite. The paths can sometimes be slippery in the rainy season, or dusty and rocky in the dry season. Along the way, you may see some black bears and Andean birds, such as, falcons, eagles, hawks, condors, and geese. Finally, we will arrive at the campsite and enjoy hot drinks and a delicious dinner.
Walking Distance: 16 km
Campsite Elevation: 3500 m
Weather: Cold, dry and humid
DAY 6: TOTORA – COLPAPAMPA – LA PLAYA
Your team will wake you up with hot drinks. After breakfast, we’ll start the day with a three hour downhill hike to Ccolpapampa, where you may meet up with the Salkantay Trek trekkers. At Ccolpapampa, we’ll enjoy lunch, then depart from our horsemen, as it is time for them to go back home. From here, your porters will continue by car and you will continue on your adventure by foot.
It will take five hours for you and your tour guide to arrive at the campsite at La Playa. Along the way, you will see waterfalls and fruit plantations, as we come into the more tropical forest, from the cloud forest and the high mountains. Today, we may also visit some coffee plantations.
Walking Distance: 16 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,400 m
Weather: Hot and dry
DAY 7: LA PLAYA – HYDRIELECTRIC – AGUAS CALIENTES
Today is your last hiking day. It will end around lunch time. This climb along the Inca Trail takes about six hours. It is three hours uphill, along the hillside with great views of the Santa Teresa Valley and some coffee and passion fruit farms. Once we arrive at the top of this mountain, we will be at the famous Inca site of Llactapata, which was built by the Incas.
They used it to observe the sunrise during the winter solstice. You will also see Machu Picchu for the first time from this location, as well as views of the surrounding areas, such as, the valleys and mountains of Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains). Then, we will walk the last three hours, descending down to the hydroelectric station.
Here, we will enjoy our last lunch and say goodbye to your trekking chef and porters. You will retrieve your duffel bags and catch the train around 3:30 p.m. After a one hour ride to Aguas Calientes, you will be taken to your hotel for a hot shower. If you would like, you can visit the famous hot springs at Aguas Calientes (the entrance fee is $3 per person), then enjoy dinner at a restaurant.
Walking Distance: 12 km
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 m
Weather: Hot and humid
DAY 8: MACHUPICCHU (OPTIONAL: HUAYNA PICCHU CLIMB) – RETURN TO CUSCO
You should arrange for an early wake up call in order to get to Machu Picchu early to enjoy the sunrise. You’ll have breakfast at the hotel and then you can either get one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu, or walk up to the citadel with your tour guide (you must coordinate this with your trekking guide the night before).
Once you arrive into Machu Picchu, your guide will head to the most famous places, so you can get beautiful pictures. You will also enjoy the sunrise (weather permitting). After this, your guide will do a walking tour and visit the most important places in the Machu Picchu complex, such as the Temple of the Sun.
The walking tour lasts two or three hours. Following, if you have booked permits to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain, you will have the opportunity to climb this mountain (which will be during the second slot, at 10 a.m. and finish around noon). Following, you’ll still have time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. Around 3 p.m., you should take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to grab lunch at one of the many restaurants. You will then pick up your bags from the hotel and walk to the train station.
The two hour train ride departs at 4:20 p.m. (tourist/Expedition class) and will take you to the town of Ollantayatmbo. You will be met by our van and we’ll drive you back to Cusco. You will be dropped off at your hotel at around 8:30 p.m.
Note: Lunch is not included on day eight.
- On this trip, we use horses to carry the camping equipment and your duffel bags, so be sure you bring a small day pack to carry your personal items needed during the daytime.
- One thing we want to highlight is that the weather is extremely variable and changes often from hot to cold to humid. Also, be sure you bring good mosquito repellent.
- Our team guides, chefs and porters are 100% dedicated to making sure that this is an adventure of a lifetime for you.
- Trekking briefing with your trekking guide at 6 p.m., the night before you depart. You will receive your duffel bags for your personal porter.
- Pick up from your hotel and a transfer to the trail head in our private transportation
- English speaking tour guide
- Cook, porters, horsemen, and horses
- Personal Porter that can carry up to 8kg/16 pounds (we provide a duffel bag)
- Hiking gear: four man tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, chairs, table, foam mat
- All meals: breakfast, lunch, happy hours, dinner, and snacks each day
- Vegetarian food available
- Drinking water each day (you can fill up your water bottle three times a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- First-aid kit
- Oxygen tank
- Train from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes
- Entrance fees for Choqueuiraw Inca ruins and Machu Picchu ruins
- Last night hotel in Aguas Calientes village
- Guided tours in Machu Picchu and Choquekiraw
- Train ride back to Ollantaytambo and a bus to Cusco
- We operate this trek ourselves (minimum of two people required)
- Sleeping bag (rentals available with us)
- Inflatable air mattresses for extra comfort – 3 in /8 cm thick (rentals available with us)
- Trekking poles (rentals available with us)
- Last lunch
- Tips for your crew