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The Huchuy Qosco hike is like stepping back in time, although it is hard to believe that it is so close to Cusco! From its beginning, this walk takes you out of the typical tourist route. You will walk along ancient paths and visit local communities where you will immerse yourself in the local culture. On his second day, he will visit the little known site of Huchuy Qosco, a pre-Inca site that joined the Inca empire early when they came to power. This site offers an interesting mix of pre-Inca and Inca architecture and is in a beautiful location overlooking the Sacred Valley.
The Huchuy Qosco Trek offers a view of Cusco that few will see, incorporating culture and beautiful landscapes in just 3 days. It is ideal for those who do not have much extra time on their hands. This is a unique experience that you will not regret!
We will pick you up from your hotel at around 6:30 AM and take you up to Tambomachay (3700 MASL – 12139 FASL) in the Sacsayhuaman Park. This is where we will begin our trek. From here, we will head up the mountainside for about 2 hours until we reach our first pass for the day (4100 MASL – 13451 FASL). From here you will be able to enjoy the views of several Inca sites and Cusco spread below you. After a well deserved rest, we will descend in to the next valley where we will visit a small village called Quesser Grande before heading back up the opposite side of the valley again for 2 hours to reach our second pass (4300 MASL – 14107 FASL). From here we will descend to Lake Qoricocha (Golden Water) and follow the edge of the lake around to reach the path which will take us to our first night’s camp at Patabamba village (3848 MASL – 12795 FASL). This last leg will take us about 2 hours.
This trail will first take you to the little village of Sihua and then up to the Pukamarca pass (4150 MASL – 13615 FASL) which overlooks the village with the same name. Here, you will have a splendid viewpoint of the Urubamba mountain range and the Sacred Valley. After reaching the top of the pass, there is a 2km/0.6 mile (approximately 30 minute) downhill hike to the Pumamarka Community for lunch.
After this, you will continue your trek to the Puma Puncu canyon ( “the puma door” ). From here, you will hike along an original Incan trail, which has been restored as part of the Qapacñan project. This trail will lead you to the isolated and mysterious Inca site of Huchuy Qosqo (“the little Cusco’’) perched above the Sacred Valley of the Incas at 3600 MASL/11811 FASL. Once in the site, your guide will walk you through and show you all the site’s amazing Inca buildings like sacred temples, storehouses, Inca terraces for agriculture and the Inca reservoir used to store water during the dry season.
After your guided tour of the site, we will begin our 2-hour walk downhill to the village of Lamay (2800 MASL – 9186 FASL) in the Sacred Valley where we will get a bus to take us to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, we take a train to Aguas Calientes (the village below Machu Picchu) where we will spend the night in a hostel.
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 (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 Machupicchu (a bus ride is optional for $12.00) 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 16:22 hrs (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 20:00 hrs. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!