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Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek. Give yourself a splurge of Andean and natural history and visit the best two archeological Inca sites near Cusco!!!. The Combo Expedition will take you to the Citadel of Choquequirao, the latest archeological destination in southeastern Peru, and to the world famous Inca Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.We propose you a 9-days expedition in the midst of time, vegetation, imposing snow-peaks and deep valleys.

Also, you will have the opportunity to experience remote native communities before reaching the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Bring your photographic equipment along, as this journey is the most picturesque trip offered in the Cusco area. The trip is supported with horses for your convenience and we provide you with top quality camping equipment and a very balanced and energetic diet. Hungry for an unforgettable adventure the Combo Expedition will go beyond your dreams!!!!!

Quick Itinerary of the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek:

 

Day 01: Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina

Day 02: Playa Rosalina - Marampata - Choquequirao

Day 03: Choquequirao - Maizal

Day 04: Maizal - Minas Victoria - Yanama

Day 05: Yanama - Totora

Day 06: Totora - Collpapampa - Wiñaypoco

Day 07: Wiñaypoco -La Playa - Lucmabamba

Day 08: Lucmabamba - Hidrolectrica - Puente Ruinas

Day 09: Puente Ruinas - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco

 

Highlights of the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek:

  • Visit of the biggest cities of the Incas in only one tour
  • Discovery and a guided tour of the last Incan refuge - Choquequirao, hidden in jungle
  • Visit of the "Lost City of the Incas" - Machu Picchu
  • Following an authentical Inca´s path
  • 9 day hike with a professional Tour Guide, Coook, Horseman and horses
  • Observation of Cusco´s highlands and a high jungle as well
  • Visit of very remote Andean villages where normal tourists do not have chance to get 
  • Exploration of old Incan mines
  • Spectacular landscape views

Crew: A Inca Trail Machu Picchu Representative in Cusco, a professional local bilingual Tour Guide, a Cook and Porters for the trek.

Accommodation: 7x campsite. Hostel (1x night)

Meals: 8x breakfast, 8x lunch, 8x dinner, 7x afternoon tea (Please allow USD 100-150 for meals not included).

Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train (Expedition Service).

Day 01: Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina

We leave Cusco early in the morning by private vehicle. After 4 hours, we reach Cachora (2,850 m/9,350 ft), a small village and the starting point of this hike. We start descending to the Apurimac river valley having sensational views of far away snowy peaks. We have first opportunity to see Choquequirao Mountain on the opposite site of the valley after a couple of hours of walking. The way to Choquequirao leads through a highland jungle (or Andean jungle) so the weather is warm, humid and rainy resulting in a very rich tropical vegetation and fauna too. Of the vegetation, lets name native trees such as lambram, chachacomo and inkallaulli. There are also cedars, medicinal plants, ferns, orchids, bromelias, etc. Representans of local fauna are deer, a spectacled bear, felines, foxes, skunks, birds such as a variety of of hummingbird species or Andean condors crisscrossing the sky in the afternoons. In the end, we reach our first campsite at Playa Rosalina (1,550 masl/5,115 ft) located at the shores of the Apurimac river.


Estimated trekking time: 7-8 hours
Trekking distance: 19 km
Max. elevation: 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
Min. elevation: 1,550 m (5,115 ft)
Climate: Warm
Difficulty: Easy

Day 02: Playa Rosalina- Marampata - Choquequirao

After a solid breakfast, we start a gradual ascend to Marampata (2,850 m/9,350 ft) consequently, the treks gets harder; however, it offers spectacular views of the deep Apurimac River Canyon and the river itself that is the main tributary of the Amazon River! We can also spot condors soaring in the mountains! When we get to Marampata, we have lunch there and a short rest. At around 4 pm, we arrive to the enigmatic and fabulous lost Inca city - Choquequirao (3,100 m/10,168 ft)! The city is considered bigger in extension than the Sancturary of Machu Picchu! Our Tour Guide shows us around the city and explains us about its each part such as Hauqaypata (main square) with the principal Sun Temple, Urin (upper square) with its open temple, Ushno (ceremonial platform), houses of priests, qolqas (storages), irrigation channels and agricultural terraces. However, investigation works have not discovered all the site yet so we can still expect more surprising excavations in future!! From there, we also can view spectacular mountain scenery surrounded by the cloud forest! We set a camp near the archaeological site and overnight.


The Archaeological Park of Choquequirao is situated in southern Peru on the right side of Apurimac River, at the slopes of the same named mountain just next to Qoriwayrachina Mountain of the Salkantay Mountain Range. The park covers an area of 1,810 hectares.


Choquequirao was constructed probably between the second part of the 15th century and the first decades of the 16th century, it means the period when Incas started to conquer new territories of Antisuyo (located northwest of Cusco in high Andes inhabited by so called “Antis” – a collective name for the many varied ethnic groups living in this area). Choquequirao is considered as one of the last resistance bastions and refugees of the Incas, who abandoned Cusco in 1535 by order of the Incan ruler Manco Inca to regroup as Cusco was besieged by Spaniards. 


Although, there were a couple of persons, who wrote about or visited Choquequirao, this Incan site had not received a big attention until the American historian Hiram Bingham along with the topographer Clarence visited and described the place in details in 1909!

 

Due to its location, it is probable that it served as a very important religious centre occupied by Inca’s priests. It also served as a big political, economic and cultural centre that was in touch to the coastal, highland and jungle parts of the empire. The site ended unfinished as well as it let many questions unanswered to confuse today’s archaeologists.


Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 11 km
Max. elevation: 3,100 m (10,168 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,850 m (9,350 ft)
Climate: Warm as well as cold
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 03: Choquequirao - Maizal

After breakfast, we leave the Incan city of Choquequirao to first gently hike for 3 hours up to the Choquequirao Pass (3,300 m/10,890 ft) and after that, we start descending to Rio Blanco (White River; 1,900 m/6,270 ft) entering a cloud forest. There, we can appreciate polylepis trees (native mountain trees with shredded, multi-layered bark), epiphytes, bromeliads, orchids, diverse bird species as well as water fountains. Lush vegetation of the cloud forest still cover a part of the Inca farming terraces of Pinchiunuyoc (2,487 m/8,160 ft). After our Tour Guide explains us about this Inca site, we keep descending passing through coca plantations and gradually changing nature into a dry Andean forest. After having lunch there, we climb for another three hours towards the village of Maizal (3,000 m/9,900 ft) where we set up our next campsite. From this natural view point, we can appreciate imposing views of the gorges of Yanama and Yurahmayo that later join the Apurimac River Canyon! Also the sunsets there are really stunning!


Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 5 km
Max. elevation: 3,300 m (10,890 ft)
Min. elevation: 1,900 m (6,270 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 04: Maizal - Minas Victoria - Yanama

We start ascending after early breakfast towards the Victoria Pass (4,150 m/13,695 ft). After a 4 hour steep ascend, we reach the Minas Victoria, an Incan and later colonial silver mining centre that is abandoned nowadays. Then, we hike along a hill called Qoriwayrachina, a place where archaeological explorations have been done recently. Closer to the Victoria Pass, we start following an incredibly well- preserved authentical Inca trail with stone steps in its middle! When we reach the Victoria Pass, we enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains of Humantay (5,700 m/18,700 ft) and Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft), considered by local people as the "guardian spirit of the jungle"! Finally, we descend to the village of Yanama (3,800 m/12,540 ft) where we overnight in another campsite with views of the Yanama River below us and Pumasillo Mountain above us.


Estimated trekking time: 7 hours
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 4,150 m (13,695 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,800 m (12,540 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes as well as cold 
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

Day 05: Yanama - Totora

We start hiking in the morning towards the Yanama Valley passing farmar´s fields and lush vegetation to later overcome the highest pass of the trek - Yanama Pass (4,668 m/15,315 ft). This causes that today´s trek gets harder and the day is challenging! However, it offers spectacular views of a chain of snowy peaks such as the Sacsarayoj and Padreyoc Mountains! If we are lucky, we can also spot majestic condors flying above surrounding cliffs. When reaching the pass, we are able to observe a pile of stones that have been added by visitors to thank to Apus (a mountain god) for a safe journey and good luck! Then, we descend to the Totora Pampa where our next campsite is situated near the village of Totora (3,630 m/11,979 ft).


Estimated trekking time: 8 hours
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 4,668 m (15,315 ft)
Min. elevation: 3,630 m (11,979 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Challenging

Day 06: Totora - Collpapampa - Wi˝aypoco

We start trekking today following the flow of the Totora River to later descend gradually to a high (or mountain) jungle - known in Spanish as the "Ceja de selva (literally: jungle´s eyebrow) so we can notice the quickly changing vegetation and temperature getting warmer. In the high jungle, we can view its typical lush vegetation of  wild orchids and bromeliads as well as watch a variety of beautiful birds. Then, we descend to bamboo groves. Do not forget to look back sometimes as you can see snow-peaks framed by bamboo fronds behind you! We pass through the village of Luscamayo and after a 4 hour descend; we reach a tiny settlement of  Collpapampa (2,850 m/9,348 ft), a place of our lunch break. Afterwards, we keep descending having the Santa Teresa River on the left side observing small coffee and tropical fruit´s plantations on the way. In the end, we get to the foothill of the Wiñaypoco Mountain where we set a campsite (2,680 m/8,793 ft).

 

Estimated trekking time: 6-7 hours
Trekking distance: 10 km
Max. elevation: 2,850 m (9,348 ft) 
Min. elevation: 2,680 m (8,793 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Moderate

Day 07: Wi˝aypoco - La Playa - Lucmabamba

After a healthy breakfast, the trail continues down towards the Aobamba River passing through bamboo groves, orchards and coffee plantations providing some perfect birdwatching opportunities (e.g. hummingbirds, woodpeckers). We walk on some fantastic untouched paths where strawberries grow at our feet and passion fruits are just above our heads, this all decorated with begonia and purple orchid rugs! After 2 and half an hour, we arrive to a tiny place called La Playa (2,100 m/6,890 ft) where we have a small break accompanied by lunch with fresh fruits! Later, we keep trekking until we get to the village of Lucmabamba (2,250 m/7,381.89 ft), a place of our next overnight. This is another easy trekking day, during which we enjoy observation of lush vegetation as well as we get familiar with diverse plants cultivated in this area such as banana, mango, papaya, avocado, coca leaf, coffee, etc. The areas is also a habitat of a spectacled bear and many parrots.

 

Estimated trekking time: 6 hours
Trekking distance: 5 km
Max. elevation: 2,250 m (7,382 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,100 m (6,890 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Easy

Day 08: Lucmabamba-Hidroelectrica-Puente Ruinas

We wake up early today as a nice up-hill walk awaits us providing us some amazing views of a valley. After a 5 hour hike, we enjoy our last lunch at the recently restored Incan ruins of Llaqtapata (2,650 m/8,694 ft) from where we can view both, Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the ruins! From there, we are given an opportunity to see the main highlight of South America - Machu Picchu, from an exceptional point of view that a majority of tourists will never see!! Then, we descend easily for 3 hours to the Hydroelectric Plant (Hidroelectrica; 2,050 m/6,726 ft). There, we follow trails and the Vilcanota River leading us to our last campsite in Puente Ruinas (2,042 m/6,700 ft), located at the foothill of Machu Picchu Mountain!


Estimated trekking time: 10 hours
Trekking distance: km
Max. elevation: 2,650 m (8,694 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,042 m (6,700 ft)
Climate: Warm with mosquitoes
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

Day 09: Puente Ruinas-Machu Picchu-Aguas Calientes-Cusco

After an early morning breakfast, we hike for 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m/7,972 ft) that we enter for the early morning best photos opportunities! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the Incan city and explains us about its history and purposes. After the guided tour, we have an opportunity to climb up for about 45 minutes to Huayna Picchu, a peak above Machu Picchu that serves to take some panoramic pictures of the Incan city. Then, we are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on our own.

In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.

Machu Picchu is both, the best and the least known site of the Incas as it is not mentioned in any Spanish conquistador´s chronicle so that contemporary archaeologists can not do anything more than just speculate on its functions. Local Quechuan farmers had known about Machu Picchu for centuries before an 11-year-old boy showed the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in a search of Vilcabamba) this site on the 24th of July  1911. At that time, all the rest of the world became aware of its existence. However, the site was covered with thick vegetation so Hiram Bingham along with his team returned and within the years of 1912 and 1915 cleared its surface. Over the years, plenty of work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain. 

Estimated trekking time: 1 hour
Trekking distance: 3 km
Max. elevation: 2,430 m (7,972 ft)
Min. elevation: 2,042 m (6,700 ft)
Climate: Warm
Difficulty: Moderate

What is included in the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek?

  • Pre-trek briefing;
  • Early morning transfer by private bus to the initial point of the trek (Tarawasi);
  • Accommodation: Campsites (7 nights), Hostel (1 night);
  • Entrance fee to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu;
  • Meals: 8x breakfast, 8x lunch, 8x dinner and 7x afternoon hot beverages;
  • Professional bilingual Tour Guide;
  • Professional Cook;
  • Horseman;
  • Horses to carry food, camping and cooking equipment and 7 kg of each passenger's stuff;
  • Camping equipment: personal double tents, sleeping foam matts, tables and chairs, a cooking tent with cooking equipment, dining and toilet tents and bottled gas;
  • A sleeping bag (for up to -5°C);
  • Tourist train from Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu) to Ollantaytambo;
  • Tourist bus from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.    

Not Included

  • Breakfast on the day 1 and lunch on the last day;
  • International and domestic flights nor airport departure taxes;
  • Travel insurance;
  • Entrance fee to Huayna Picchu ($80) or Machu Picchu Mountain ($80);
  • A shuttle bus between Machu Picchu and Aguas Calientes Town ($9.50 - one way, $18.50 - a round trip);
  • Tips to local staff (please note: it is a custom to give tips in Peru; however, it is not obligatory);
  • Other extras not mentioned.

Meal budget: Please allow USD 30-50 for meals not included.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single room" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent for all nights.
Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek´s price!

Tour Guide & a Choquequirao Representative

All Choquequirao adventurous group tours are accompanied by a Tour Guide, a Representative or an expedition team. The aim of our Tour Guides is to take a hassle out of our customers’ trips and to help them to have the best trip possible. The Tour Guides provide information on places visited, offer suggestions of what to see and to do, recommend a good place to eat and introduce to his/her colleagues. The Guides have a broad general knowledge of each country visited during a tour, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local Tour Guides where we think that more specific knowledge could add more enjoyment to visited places.

Emergency Contact

If you need emergency assistance, you can contact us locally at the following phone numbers:

Mobile: +51 984 004472

Phone: +51 84 226547

Choquequirao Trek Packing List

What to Take

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you will not be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes) we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg/22lb.

 

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for daytrips.

 

Checklist of what to take

  • Passport (with photocopies)
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)
  • USD cash and travels cheques
  • Credit and debit cards (see personal spending money)
  • Vouchers and dossier
  • Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
  • Camera and film
  • CD/MP3 player
  • Reading/writing material
  • Binoculars
  • Daypack (to carry your personal necessities during daily travel)
  • Cover for backpacks
  • Fair sized daypack
  • Wool hat, mitts or gloves (preferably water proof)
  • Strong plastic bags to help keep gear dry
  • Fleece top
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket
  • Small towel and swim wear
  • Shirts/t-shirts
  • Sun hat
  • Shorts
  • Long trousers
  • Hiking pants/track pants
  • Hiking boots/ sturdy walking shoes
  • Socks
  • Sport sandals
  • Sun block
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries (biodegradable)
  • Watch or alarm clock
  • Water bottle
  • Pocket knife
  • Flashlight
  • Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen)
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, and extra prescription drugs you may be taking).

Emergency Fund

Please, make sure you have access to at least an additional USD200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster) need a change to our planned tour. This is a rare occurrence! But you never know…

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts you at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Inca Trail Machu travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The explotation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader/local operators has the right to expel any member of the group/tour if drugs are found in their possession or they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a trip with us, you will not be permitted to join the tour until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader or local operator, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number, if you need more infortaion contanct us info@incatrailmachu.com

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