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Choquequirao Trek To Machu Picchu 8 Days
Choquequirao Trek 8 days is an expedition that will take us to Machu Picchu an unforgettable adventure by beautiful places and landscapes that decorate this 8 day hike unlike other walks full of people in this adventure will surely be the only group and with an incredible tranquility will be an unforgettable expedition where we will see archaeological sites and ceremonial temples Choquequirao is a city built on top of the mountains for protection and refuge for the Incas.
We will start our lives anew after this trek! Your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley provides breakfast, and then we will pick you up you and start the 5-hour car journey to the travelers crossing Cachora. Once there, we will meet the rest of team (horsemen, cooks, etc.). We then begin trekking uphill, crossing through the pass of Capuliyoc where we might see condors flying overhead! We will have a great view of the Apurimac Canyon and experience the valley’s lush microclimate. At our stopping point, we can see the location of Choquequirao from afar. Finally, we descend through a cactus forest to La Playa Rosalina on the banks of the Apurimac River, the main tributary of the Amazon River. Along the river, there is another microclimate. This first night, we will camp at La Playa Rosalina (1550 MASL – 5085 FASL).
Distance : 22 km – 13.6 miles
Climate : Warm
Hiking time : 7 hours
After a hearty breakfast, you will be given a bag of snacks to nibble on throughout the day. The first part of our day consists of a 4-hour ascent on a long, narrow trail. Our adventure starts by crossing by cable car over the wild river which is surrounded by dense vegetation with several varieties of orchids. Halfway up, we stop for lunch at Maranpata, where we have our first main view of the Choquequirao complex. We then continue hiking 2 more hours to Choquequirao (Golden Cradle), which is considered the sister city of Machu Picchu because of its several similarities. It sits 1500 meters/4921 feet above the Apurimac Canyon, and Machu Picchu sits above the Urubamba Canyon. In the afternoon, you will have free time to take in the sunset views of the canyon – it is spectacular! Here, it is also possible to see Andean condors soaring in the mountains. We will camp near Choquequirao (3050 MASL – 10006 FASL).
Distance : 14 km – 8.7 miles
Climate : Warm Day/Cold Night
Hiking time : 7 hours
Before breakfast, we recommend going to appreciate the magnificent sunrise from this picturesque spot! We will have breakfast at 6 AM. We start today’s trek passing through and exploring the Choquequirao ruins. We hike uphill through cloud forest, mountains, and valleys to reach the Choquequirao pass. After 5 hours trekking, the trail continues through agricultural terraces called Pinchinoyoc which means “water jumping forward” (2750 MASL – 9022 FASL). There we will see different species of birds, varieties of orchids, and local coca plantations. We will have our lunch near the Rio Blanco. We use the break here to take a refreshing dip in the cold, clear river water if you would like. We cross the river by walking because there are no bridges. On the other side, we start the long, steep climb to our camp in Maizal high over the river and closer to the sacred Apus of the Incas. This climb takes about 3 hours. This is the most challenging day. We will camp at 3000 MASL – 9842 FASL.
Distance : 18 km – 11.2 miles
Climate : Warm
Hiking time : 9 hours
Waking up on the hillside with the sounds of the forest and birds is a truly great experience! Recharging our energy with a good breakfast and following the trail upward, the landscape is lush green vegetation. If we keep up our motivation and the gods give us a clear sky, we will be able to just sit and appreciate the snow-capped mountains around us. The uphill climb today is around 7 hours to the summit, and this trail is historically important due to some archaeological remains and Inca channels along the way. We will pass by the impressive Incan mines called Minas Victoria, from which silver used to be extracted. and head toward the Victoria Pass (4200 MASL – 13773 FASL). This is a long climb, but we will walk through an absolutely breath-taking area, first with cloud forest and then over the Andean Puna with its well-known Ichu grass. As we approach the top, we can appreciate original paved Inca trails. We will have lunch on the pass with views of the mountains Choquetakarpo and Pedrayoc. While we have lunch, we will hopefully be able to appreciate the flight of the condors, depending on the climate. Finally, we will descend to our campsite at Yamana, a small village settlement at the bottom of a long valley surrounded by mountains (3800 MASL – 12467 FASL).
Distance : 17 km – 10.6 miles
Climate : Warm and windy day, Cold night
Hiking time : 8 hours
The native community of Yamana surrounds the base camp. We begin another long day with the big smiles of local children, the sun is shining on camp ground, the noise of a grand waterfall, and breakfast on a table outside to appreciate everything around us. We then start hiking uphill to the highest pass in this trek (5 hours). This is Yamana pass (4700 MASL – 15419 FASL). During the day, it is common to observe the Andean farmers growing potatoes in their fields and possibly even some frozen potatoes. Again, the view will be amazing from here as we will be surrounded by the mountain ranges of Saqsarayoc and Pedreyoc. Once again, we have the chance to see condors flying about, and this morning’s smooth climb brings us through new landscapes – especially the wet grass fields under the snowline and water stream. In the pass, we may be walking through snow in a new entrance to the Santa Teresa Valley. Here, we can observe one of the Incan Gods – Salkantay Mountain. Afterward, we descend on a long, foggy path through grassy fields and bush areas, crossing bridges on the way to the community of Totora. We will spend the night in tents, surrounded by native people and indescribable natural beauty!
Distance : 20 km – 12.4 miles
Climate : Cold and Windy
Hiking time : 9 hours
Today’s trek is more downhill, continuing along the original Inca trail in the forest to appreciate the depth of the jungle. Hiking will take 10 hours as we head back into the heat of the jungle to harvest some fruit as we descend to the Totora River. We will observe wildlife, such as hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and many species of orchids and begonias. We then take a trail on the left side of the Santa Teresa River where we will see small plantations of bananas, passion fruit, and coffee (which you can taste if you would like!). On the way, we will stop at small waterfalls along the way for refreshment. The climate and vegetation are very different here than on the other days of our trek. La Playa is the biggest village on the way as well first place with electricity, and here we will have lunch. There are also small shops here to buy snacks and water or use the restrooms. After lunch, we will drive a small van to Santa Teresa (1600 MASL – 5249 FASL) for about 40 min. There will be our camp for the night. In the afternoon, we recommend visiting the hot springs in town to regenerate after the hard journey!
Distance : 18 km – 11.2 miles
Climate : Warm
Hiking time : 10 hours
On this day the wake up is late. You will have a time to walk around the town and explore the new city that has been rebuilt after its collapse in 1997 due to the El Niño phenomenon. After you learn about the history of the area, we will drive to Hidroelectrica 40 min away where we will start walking to Aguas Calientes (a 3-hour walk) on a trail where we can appreciate many types of orchid and birds. From below, we will be able to see the city of Machu Picchu from afar situated in dense and bizarre vegetation. There is also an exceptional view of the mountain Machu Picchu from which the city takes its name. For sick or tired trekkers, there is an optional train ride to Aguas Calientes (US $ $32.00) We will spend the night in a hostel in town, which will have hot water, wi-fi, and comfortable beds for you.
Distance : 10 km
Climate : warm
Hiking time : 3 hours
Today’s Highlights: Your excitement for our rendezvous at Machu Picchu will rise as we are hiking early in the morning through the forest to reach the site before most other tourists – even the Inca Trail trekkers!! You will have plenty of time to explore this truly magnificent World Wonder while you enjoy the beautiful sunrise from this once-in-a-lifetime viewpoint. Your group will learn about this mystical place in a two-hour guided tour of the ruins. Afterwards, you can opt to climb Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain (if you have pre-booked tickets) or walk to the Sun Gate or Inca Bridge (without extra tickets).
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hostel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. We will hike up to Machu Picchu (a bus ride is optional and included if you do not want to walk) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. Here we will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 6:45 PM to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hostel in Cusco at about 11:00 PM. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!