Discover the 2 great architectural wonders of the Incas on a 9-day trek that will challenge your physical and mental limits to renew yourself from head to toe. If you’re addicted to physical activity, you love nature, and you’re passionate about the history of ancient civilizations, this route is perfect for you. Due to the archaeological importance of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu — the largest and best preserved Inca sites that exist in all of South America— and its impressive natural beauty, this route was chosen in 2015 by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful in the entire world. The difficulty of this excursion is comparable to the trek to Mount Everest base camp.
Prepare yourself for a journey through time, leaving modernity and worries behind as you walk through the stone streets of Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Imagine a lifestyle where great importance was given to the community and where there was a deep love and respect for Mother Nature, or Pachamama. This intense and important connection between human beings and nature allowed the Incas to carry out true wonders of architecture and engineering. Anti-seismic stone cities high up on the mountain. Aqueducts that bring fresh and clean water for 500 years. Agricultural platforms on the steep mountain sides. Be amazed at what the Incas were able to do on this magical tour. In addition, you’ll be able to visit part of the world famous Classic Inca Trail heading to Machu Picchu.
An amazing route in one of the most impressive tourist destinations on the planet.
We will pick you up early from your hotel to head to Capuliyoc, the starting point of the trek. You will enjoy a delicious breakfast and meet the trekking team before starting a three-hour downhill hike to Chiquisca, where we will spend the night. This afternoon, enjoy the scenery of the valley, the canyon and, perhaps, the majestic flight of the condor. In the evening, we will visit the tropical oasis of Chiquisca before having a delicious dinner and rest.
Our exciting adventure begins today! We will pick you up from your hotel around 7:00 a.m. and head to Capuliyoc on a four-hour drive. You will have a delicious breakfast that will give you the energy to start the epic hike. After exploring the area, we will head along a flat trail until we reach the Capuliyoc viewpoint (2,890 m / 9,482 ft). Here, we will enjoy the breathtaking views of the Apurimac Canyon and, if we are lucky, we will be able to witness the amazing flight of the condor.
We will begin to descend through a constant zigzagging under intense heat, where you can only hear the sound of the wind and the rhythmic songs of birds and cicadas. On the way, we will stop for a moment at Cocamasana, where the views are simply majestic.
After three hours of intense descent, we will arrive at the tropical oasis of Chiquisca (1,900 m / 6,234 ft), a place full of life in the middle of the arid canyon. We will walk around the area and learn a little more about the farming activities of the families that live in this beautiful place. Then we head for lunch and recharge our batteries to continue the hike to Rosalina beach.
Then we will continue walking downhill for 1 hour to our camp Playa Rosalida (1,500 m / 4,921 ft), this camp is located on the banks of the Apurimac River, after settling into our comfortable tents we will explore the place and go to relax our feet in the river. Then we will start with the happy hours where we will serve hot teas and desserts, after 30 minutes we will serve dinner prepared by our professional chef. Today you will sleep soundly with absolute silence and a calm noise of the river.
A hearty breakfast will be ready and waiting for you today to give you the boost you need to start our amazing hike. We set out on a path that winds its way up the mountainside.
We will ascend in a zigzagging way for two and a half hours until we reach the small village of Santa Rosa (1,970 m / 6,463 ft), we will visit a family farm and learn about the elaboration of Cambray, a handmade liquor made from sugar cane grown in this place. After enjoying a delicious lunch and being part of this experience, we will climb for three more hours to reach Marampata (2,900 m / 9,514 ft). Here, you will appreciate the most spectacular views and take excellent photographs to remember your trip through the snow-capped mountains and canyon.
Then we continue a winding trail for 2 hours to our camp in choquequirao (2,900 m / 9,514 ft), after settling into our comfortable tents we will go to explore the main square of the archaeological center of choquequirao (3,050 m / 10,006 ft).
You will have a fantastic opportunity to see the brilliant sunset behind Choquequirao and the surrounding mountains. An orange glow will be cast over the giant rocks that will fill you with peace. Once it gets dark, we will enjoy a delicious dinner that will fill your hungry stomach and replenish your energy. Afterwards, you will head back to your tent to rest under the stars.
We’ll take the day to explore in great detail this incredible Inca site that’s located on the mountains and very close to the deepest canyon in the entire American continent. You can already imagine the incredible landscapes that surround this colossal Inca construction. A 14-minute walk will take us to the Main Square of Choquequirao (3,050 m / 10,006 ft) and then we will visit the most impressive corners of this fascinating place.
Much larger than Machu Picchu, Choquequirao shows squares, food stores, temples, and impressive platforms that will make you constantly ask yourself: how were the Incas able to build this on top of the mountains? Don’t miss the famous white stone flames that adorn the platforms practically built on the hillside and that are located in the direction of the mountain that protects that sector the Apu Qoriwayrachina. In many ways, Choquequirao remains a mystery. According to experts, for now, only about 50% is visible. At the end of the day, we will return to our camp and enjoy a delicious dinner.
Today we recommend waking up before the sun come up to appreciate the magnificent sunrise. See how the flashes of Father Sol or Tayta Inti fill all corners with colour and life. Connect with the closest star of fire and feel his deep affection. Take the opportunity to thank the sacred mountains that surround you and the powerful Apurímac River. In this way we’ll say goodbye to Choquequirao. After breakfast, we’ll begin our ascent towards the cloud forest.
We will arrive at the Choquequirao pass (3,270 m / 10,728 ft) to descend to the archaeological site of Pinchaunuyoc (2,420 m / 7,940 ft) that will surprise you with its agricultural platforms suspended over the abysses of the White River canyon. We’ll continue descending to enjoy our lunch near the river where you’ll be able to appreciate various species of birds, different orchids, and plantations of the sacred coca leaf. Many of our travellers take advantage of this opportunity to take a dip in the cold and crystal clear waters of the river. It will be a pleasure to take a bath after 3 days of trekking! We’ll cross the river and begin a challenging ascent to our camp in Maizal. This will be the most difficult day.
Today you’ll wake up with the unanimous song of the birds that will greet the sun. After recharging your energy with a delicious breakfast, we’ll head down an uphill path covered by lush vegetation. The snowy mountains will surround us once again reminding us of their power and beauty. In case the sky is not clear, you’ll see how the clouds cover the valley below us. In one way or another, the landscape will be extraordinary. 7 hours of ascent await us. This sector of the route is of great historical importance because several archaeological sites are scattered along the way. In addition, you’ll be able to observe some ancient Inca silver mines called Minas Victoria and then ascend to the Victoria pass (4,200 m / 13,773 ft).
It will be quite a long climb, but the beauty of the route is so great that you won’t even notice the effort. We’ll walk through the Amazonian cloud forests and then we’ll go up to the puna that is known for its grasslands or ichhu. Near the top we’ll begin to see cobbled sectors of the road that are original constructions of the Incas. We’ll have lunch observing the immensity of the snowy mountains of Choquetakarpo and Padreyoc. If we’re lucky and the weather allows it, it’s very likely that we can appreciate the flight of the condor whose spread wings reach 3 meters in length. For this reason it’s the largest flying bird in the world. Finally we will make a decent to the Yanama camp (3600 m / 11811 ft) a small town located at the bottom of a huge valley.
The people of Yanama have known how to preserve the ancestral traditions of the Andes to this day. It’s an excellent place to make new friends and perhaps give some things to the children who’ll come to greet you. You’ll wake up to the relaxing sound of a waterfall and the countless voices that the jungle hides. After breakfast, we will begin a 5-hour ascent to the highest point of the entire trek, the Yanama pass (4,700 m / 15,419 ft).
On our walk we’ll observe the people of the place lovingly working the land in the potato fields. Along the way, the snowy mountain ranges of Saqsarayoc and Padreyoc will appear with their gigantic bodies of snow. Depending on the season, we may be able to walk on the snow at this point of the trek. In addition, you’ll see, for the first time, the imposing sacred mountain Salkantay, one of the main deities of the region. Later, we’ll descend through a long and mysterious fog-filled path towards the community of Totora. After dinner, enjoy a restful night amid the tranquillity of the place and its indescribable beauty.
After a delicious breakfast, we’ll start with a 3-hour descent to Ccolpapampa where you’ll begin to see the trekkers from the Salkantay Route. From here we’ll be able to observe beautiful rivers, impressive waterfalls, wild orchids, and coffee, banana, and avocado plantations. The place is so fertile that it’s full of fruit. Try the delicious flavour of passion fruit and granadilla! If luck is with us, we can see the intriguing national bird of Peru, the “Cock of the Rocks”. We’ll have lunch at approximately noon at La Playa and then we’ll walk for 1 more hour to our camp in Lucmabamba (2,400 m / 7,874 ft).
We can explore the tropical jungle a little and visit a coffee growing field. If you’re a coffee lover, this place will be heaven for you. Feel the aroma and powerful flavour of one of the best coffees in all of Peru that’s exported to the United States, Asia, and Europe. Since you’ll have free time in the afternoon, we recommend you visit the relaxing thermo-medicinal waters of Cocalmayo (price not included) that are close to there. It’s the best way to recover after so many days of walking!
The last day of walking has arrived. We’ll walk 3 hours uphill on a section of the original Inca Trail. From there you can see the incredible landscape of the Santa Teresa valley and some coffee and passion fruit plantations. Once we reach the top of that mountain we’ll find the fabulous Inca site of Llactapata (3,360 m / 11,023 ft) from where you can already distinguish the location of the citadel of Machu Picchu. Then we’ll descend for 3 hours to the Hydroelectric train station.
Here we’ll enjoy our last lunch on the route and say goodbye to our support team. You’ll receive your luggage inside the duffle bags and embark on a train trip to the miniature city of Aguas Calientes (2,000 m / 6,562 ft) where you’ll stay in a comfortable hotel. Before or after dinner, you’ll have the option of visiting the thermo-medicinal waters that exist in the place (price not included). Then, a night of well-deserved rest awaits you because the next morning, very early, we’ll go to the fantastic archaeological complex of Machu Picchu.
Your excitement for our visit to Machu Picchu will be huge this morning as we awake bright and early in the morning. After a nourishing breakfast at your hotel, we’ll take one of the first buses to Machu Picchu entrance checkpoint which is open from 6:00 am until 17:00 pm.
You´ll arrive when the sun rises and shines its beautiful morning light on the huge rocks. After enjoying the spectacular view, you´ll have time to explore this Wonder of the World while touring the citadel on a guided tour of approximately two hours to some of the important sectors: temples, terraces, palaces, houses, fields, among others. You´ll be impressed by the engineering of the Incas, which was far ahead of its time and to this day remains a mystery.
Then, you can choose to climb Huayna Picchu mountain or Machu Picchu mountain (if you have tickets booked in advance). You´ll be able to get an incredible view of the whole site. Don’t forget to take good pictures in this sacred place.
Once back in the town, you’ll have time to find a restaurant you want to have lunch in before you have to catch the train at 4:22 pm (subject to availability) to Ollantaytambo. There, our private transport will pick up your group and drop you off at your accommodation in Cusco at around 8:00 pm. Rest your feet and your body now because we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come with the rhythm of the Andes.
All information meetings are held in your hotel at 6:00 p.m., one night before the tour begins. If you cannot attend, you must coordinate another time at the Peru Hike offices. These meetings last approximately 30 to 45 minutes and there you will be given a small duffel bag, in which you’ll put all the belongings you intend to bring on the trek that won’t be in your day pack.
ou’ll receive a canvas case or duffel bag during your briefing. The porters will take them on the way and will deliver them to you when you get to each camp. They measure 66 cm / 2 ft. Long x 36 cm / 1 ft. Wide.
A maximum of 5 kg is allowed for each duffel bag that includes the weight of your sleeping bag, mat, clothes and other personal items.
The trek has to be paid for in full by at least 7.30 pm two days before departure. For example, if your tour departs on a Wednesday, then you must come to our office before 7.30 pm on Monday.
It would be much appreciated if you pay the trek balance in cash US dollars or local currency. You can withdraw some money from several ATMs along Avenida Sol (either in US dollars or local Peruvian Soles). You can pay by credit card or PAYPAL online, but you will have to pay an 8% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. We do not accept bank checks or payment of the balance by traveler’s checks.
Of course! During the travel, your main luggage can be stored at our office(you can organize briefing day or by email) or at your hotel, both free of charge.
Any equipment that you are not going to need on the trek can be stored safely in your hotel. Nearly every hotel will provide this service. Don’t leave items of value with your bags, put them in the hotel safe and obtain an itemized receipt (In the unlikely case of theft many insurance companies require that you have a copy of the receipt itemizing all the items). Best put items such as credit cards inside a sealed, signed envelope for extra peace of mind.
Peru Hike can pick you up from your hotel, as long as it’s in the Historic Center of Cusco. The pickup time will be coordinated with your guide in the briefing. The pickup time may vary between 30 and 45 minutes due to traffic. Cusco is a very old city, therefore, it has many narrow cobbled streets. Some hotels and Airbnbs may be located on streets without access to cars or on long, steep slopes, making it difficult to transport luggage. We strongly recommend that you book accommodation with good access.
Returning from Machu Picchu requires quite a bit of logistics, but don’t worry. Everything is included in your tour!
Group tours are made up of different types of people. Physical conditions and ages can vary. By agreeing to be part of a group tour, you also accept that some people may be faster or slower than you. Therefore, each person can go at their own pace on the route. It may be the case that a group wishes to modify the tour; however, it will be the guide who decides, after consulting with all the participants, if said modifications can be made.
Strikes and demonstrations are usually frequent in Peru and this may interrupt some of our tours. Roads can be blocked and train tracks can be taken over. However, we will try to keep your excursion as planned, even if it means leaving the night before the scheduled date. Under these circumstances, tours may also be cancelled. In case of changes or cancellations, all situations will be coordinated with you by our operations department. Your safety is our highest priority and our decisions will be made to protect it.
You’re responsible for your objects during the tour. Please pay attention to where you leave your things and remember to take everything once you leave our trucks, tents, or restaurants.
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I visited Choquequirao on the trail to Machu Picchu. Choquequirao is special, for its remote location, few visitors, and spectacular setting and as an introduction to the Inca Empire. Its terraces are impressive for their location, scale and “llama” stonework. We liked Machu Picchu, but we were glad that we had earlier enjoyed other Inca sites including Choquequirao. Our approach somehow made the hordes and the commerce of Aqua Calientes and Machu Picchu easier to pass through en route to additional knowledge.