Huchuy Qosqo 3 Days
Day 1 : Cusco – Golden Lake – Quencco
We pick you up from your hotel at 6 a.m. and take you to the Inca site called Puca Pucara (3,700 meters). It is only 20 minutes from the city of Cusco. We will begin hiking gently, uphill for an hour and a half until we get to the first pass (4,100 meters), where we’ll have spectacular views of two valleys. To your right, you will see the capital of the Incas, Cusco, with stunning mountains surrounding it. Your tour guide will tell you about how and where the Incas arrived to this area, and about the conquest of the Spaniards. There are two Inca sites at the bottom of the valley and on your left, there will be a beautiful landscape of mountains and farmlands. From the pass, we will follow along the side of the valley, making our way towards the top, to cross over to the other side. It’s about a 45 minute walk to the top end of the valley. Once we get there, we’ll cross a small stream that divides the valley, and begin making our way to our lunch spot, at Queullacocha Lake. The scenery at the lake is quite barren because the whole area is a high puna between the mountains, and is covered with tough, Andean grass, called Ichu. It may be possible to see a variety of bird life, such as Andean Geese, Lapwings, Partridges, among others.
After our lunch, we’ll continue on to our campsite, at the village of Quencco. We will make our way over the top of one of the ridges, as we descend, and loop around Qoricocha Lake (Golden Lake). It’s about a two and a half hour walk to the village, where we’ll be greeted by groups of locals who are always happy to welcome us into their community. After we’ve settled in, and had a steaming cup of mate de coca, we’ll visit one of the local families to learn about their way of life. If you have brought any gifts with you, you can share them with the family at this time. After visiting the family, we’ll have time to relax and your tour guide will teach you more about the Andean way of life.
Distance Walked: 14 km
Day 2: Quencco – Huchuyqosqo – Lamay – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
You will be awakened with a cup of hot coca tea. When you are packed, we will enjoy a tasty breakfast. We begin our walk from Quencco to the Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo. After about two hours of walking, we will reach a stretch of the original Inca Trail, just below the village of Pumamarca. Along the way, we’ll pass by many local people who will be tending to their llamas. Once we reach the Inca Trail, the scenery changes from the high mountains to a secluded valley. This valley is a beautiful micro-climate, full of lush vegetation. There are many small birds that can be seen, including a variety of hummingbirds that feed off of the flowers. As we make our way down the valley, we will be able to see snow-capped mountains and the famous Urubamba mountain range. There will be ample time to take advantage of the many picturesque vistas.
We’ll make our way towards the main site, we’ll pass through an adobe Inca gateway, and finally arrive to the magnificent Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo (Little Cusco – 3,600 meters), which is perched above the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Here, you will see amazing Inca buildings, like sacred temples, storehouses, Inca terraces for agriculture and an Inca reservoir used to store water in the dry season. Your tour guide will take you on a tour of the site. As an expert, he will teach you about the background. Before we have lunch, you will have time to explore the site on your own. From here, we will begin our walk downhill to the Sacred Valley. It takes about two hours to get to the village of Lamay (2,800 meters) on the Urubamba River, where a bus will be waiting to take you to Ollantaytambo. We will have dinner at a restaurant before taking the 7 p.m. train to Aguas Calientes. We will be able to set up and rest in our hotel. Hot showers will be available.
Distance Walked: 7 km
Day 3: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
Machu Picchu is the most important part of our trip. We suggest waking up wake to get on one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu. These buses are all first come, first serve and begin at 5:30 a.m. Once we get up to the citadel, your tour guide will bring you to a great spot to watch the sunrise over the mountains, weather permitting. Following, you will begin your two hour tour around the complex. After you tour, you will have some time to wander on your own through these ancient ruins (with the options of climbing Huayna Picchu – (this is a separate entrance ticket and costs $35 per person), or climb up to the Sun Gate. Both options have breathtaking views. After you have taken in all of Macchu Picchu, you will return to Aguas Calientes on your own by park buses, and enjoy some lunch in the town, before boarding your train to Ollantaytambo. Once you arrive, you will board a bus and return to Cusco at approximately 8 p.m.
Briefing: The night before your trek, you will come to our office for your briefing. You will receive your duffel bag that will stay with your porters, while you hike. This bag should not exceed 7 kg/14 lbs and does need to include your sleeping bag and air mattress.
Professional Guides: All of our guides studied English and tourism at Cusco National University. They all grew up in this region and have a true passion to teach others about their heritage. They are fun yet professional, and will ensure you are safe and happy.
Porters: We include a personal porter, who is responsible for carrying your duffel bag containing your personal items. There is no additional fee for this. We will give you your duffel bag at your briefing the night before, to be filled with the things you will need for the next night and day. You will not have access to your duffel bag until you arrive at your evening campsite.
Hotel: The Alternative Treks all end in, or before Aguas Calientes. The last night is spent at a hotel in the village, rather than camping. This 2 star hotel is included in the trek cost and is based on a shared room. If you would like to upgrade your hotel, or prefer a single room, there will be an additional cost.
Transportation: All your transportation is included in this trek. You will be picked up directly from your hotel around 4 a.m., and brought to the start of the trek, KM 82. Your guide will hand out your bus ticket to make your way down from Machu Picchu to Aguas Clientes, and you will be booked on the expedition train leaving that afternoon. If you prefer, you can upgrade your train leaving Aguas Clientes to the Vistadome train for $65 per person. Once you arrive at the train station, we will bring you back to your hotel in Cusco.
Equipment: We have the best equipment. We use four man Eureka Timberline tents that are shared by only two people. You will have a spacious dining tent to enjoy your meals in.
Food: Our chefs cook delicious meals that many previous trekkers have raved about. We honor all food restrictions. Be sure to remind your tour guide of any food restrictions at the beginning of your trek. Food is typically served family-style. You will enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the trek, along with a happy hour of tea and snacks. You will also be provided a snack each morning for you to enjoy along the hike. Your last meal with your chef will be after breakfast on the last day. Lunch the last day is not included.
Water: Beginning from your first lunch until your last breakfast, will supply all the water needed. This water will be boiled, filtered and then cooled, before distributing. You must supply your own water bottles or camel back. We recommend carrying about 3L worth. We will refill our waters at each meal.
First Aid: Every guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training sessions every February, which every single tour guide must attend. Your tour guide will always have a first-aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. We will get you off the trail as quickly and comfortably as possible, if needed, and ensure you get directly to a clinic for treatment.
Extras: We believe it’s the attention to small details that separates us from other tour companies. Every trekker receives a small pillow to sleep with, a foam mat for insulation, a day pack cover to protect their things while hiking and a rain poncho. We will work hard to create your best vacation.
Rentals: Every trekker needs a sleeping bag, when camping. Inflatable air mattresses and walking sticks (with rubber tips) are optional, but encouraged. If you don’t want to bring any of the above, they are all available for rent:
Sleeping bag: $15
Inflatable air mattress: $10
Walking sticks (pair): $10
Huayna Picchu: Huayna Picchu is the mountain that stands next to Machu Picchu. It is a 45 minute hike to the top. Going back down is quite steep, if you are scared of heights. This is done after your tour of Machu Picchu. The cost is $35 per person to hike. Arrangements need to be made at least one month in advance, due to popularity. Since you are hiking the Inca Trail, you will experience a similar view from the Sun Gate. Please understand that weather is out of our control.
Day packs: Day packs are not provided . You must bring your own. Be sure you don’t being anything too large, as you don’t want it to be too heavy while you’re trekking. Plus, Machu Picchu will not allow you to bring in a bag larger than 25L, so if you have a large backpack it will need to be stored before your tour. Only essentials are needed while trekking: water, snack, camera, sunhat, warm layer, rain layers, insect spray, sunscreen, and a first-aid kit.
Headlamps: It is strongly encouraged to bring a headlamp for your night camping. There will be no lights at the camping sites and it is hard to get to your dining tent or you bathroom tent without one. Flashlights are acceptable, if you don’t have a headlamp, but make some tasks more difficult.
Flights: Flying to Cusco can be tricky. Delays occur often and it is not uncommon for flights to be cancelled. Please be sure to arrive in the city at least two days before your trek start date. LAN Peru is the most reliable of the airlines. Avianca and Peruvian Airlines are acceptable companies, as well. You will not return from your trek until around 8 p.m. on the last day, so be sure your flight is not until the next day, when leaving Cusco.
Gratuities: Tipping is always appreciated and should be based completely on your satisfaction. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels.
Travel Insurance: This is not required, but always recommended. For those of you who live at sea-level, landing in Cusco will take an adjustment period. Most people need one or two days to adjust. In case you have a hard time adjusting to the altitude, it is suggested to have protection for missed tours.