Choquequirao and Machu Picchu
Choquequirao known as Machu Picchu´s Sacred Sister lies at 3,000 m.a.s.l. in the Apurimac Canyon, one of the deepest canyons on earth. Currently only 30% of the complex has been explored and excavated. The rest of it lies in silence under the vegetation that has kept it untouched for centuries. Impressive peaks, the spectacular Apurimac River and stunning Inca remains are just a few words to describe this beautiful trek. This 10 days itinerary includes also a horsebackriding excursion to Apu Wanakaure, a hike to an interesting but less known archaeological site in the Sacred Valley called Huchuyqosqo “Little Cusco” and last but not least a visit to Machu Picchu.
- Challenge yourself while doing the exciting Choquequiro trek
- Ride Peruvian Paso horses to an off the beaten Inca site in the outskirts of Cusco
- Visit the famous citadel of Machu Picchu
Arrival to Cusco and free day
Upon arrival to Cusco airport you’ll be met by one of our representatives and taken in private shuttle to your hotel. We´ll have a short briefing to go through all the details of the program together. You´ll receive your travel kit with your vouchers, day by day details, maps and our best recommendations of restaurants.
We recommend taking it easy the first day so you can have a proper acclimatization to the altitude. Our guide will be more than happy to suggest you restaurants, local markets, shops, museums and other interesting spots according to your interest so you can visit some of these attractions at your own pace.
Horseback riding excursion to Apu Wanakaure
At 08:30am, we pick you up at your hotel and drive you over to the stables which are located at Fundo Molleray. We will show you the horses and you will be given instructions concerning safety. We will also explain the details of the route that will be taking. After a warm-up session to know your horse, we will head out through the fields full of barley, corn and potatoes. We will cross over a few small rivers and into a forest of eucalyptus trees. We will pass through the village of Wilcarpay, where we will see the friendly people of the Andes going about their daily business and tending their fields and their animals. At the next creek, there will be 200 yard ascent up a gentle incline along an Incan pathway where the Ayar Brothers used to travel. The first Inca ruins complex that we will visit is called Inka Raccay. We will go through the pass at Puna Cancha and continue on along the Incan trail that leads up the back of Apu Wanakaure. We will ride along the flank of the hill until we arrive at the ruins. There we will again dismount to show our respect to the Apu. Then we will explore the archaeological site. There is a chullpa at the summit where people have made offering and venerated the mountain since immemorial times. From here you will be able to appreciate the beauty of the valley. Then, we will ride back to the stables and from there we´ll drive back to the city of Cusco to get ready for our upcoming adventure.
Choquequirao trek – Cusco to Chiquiska
We leave Cusco, heading north on the main highway towards Abancay leaving the city behind, we will see breathtaking views of mount Salcantay and Humantay at first. As you leave this high meadow area, the Pitusiray, Chicon and Veronica snow-capped mountains come into view. The road continues until you reach the Apurimac River, where you will cross its impressive gorge. Past the village of Curawasi, you will find the stone of Sayhuite and its carved map, which believed to be that of the Inca Empire. A small side road over a ridge brings us down to the village of Cachora, where we’ll start today’s hike. Taking our day-packs, we start walking along the edge of the Capuliyoc Mountain, where we get our first view of the Apurimac Canyon and the trail that lies ahead. A few hours later we arrive to Chiquiska, where set up our tents to spend the night. Today’s hike is mostly downhill.
Choquequirao trek – Chiquiska to Choquequirao
After breakfast, we continue our descent appreciating the beautiful views of the Apurimac Canyon until we arrive to the height of 1495 masl, where we will find the famous Apurimac River Bridge. After crossing over the high hanging bridge, which makes for a memorable moment, we will have a challenging 4 hour climb on the other side to Marampata where we´ll have lunch. Afterwards, we´ll continue hiking all the way to Choquequirao. We will be hoping to arrive just in time to enjoy the incredible crimson sun dipping into the jagged, snow-capped mountain peaks. We will set up our camp and have our dinner nearby. We will enjoy a well-deserved rest that night in the mountains (3,000 m).
Choquequirao trek – Choquequirao and back to Chiquiska
Today´s morning we´ll continue exploring the archaeological site of Choquequirao. We´ll also have some time to wander around at our own pace. We have an optional hike to a place called ”Casa Cascada” located 300 meters below Choquequirao. In the afternoon we´ll begin our trek back to Chiquiska where we´ll spent our last camping night.
Choquequirao trek – Cachora to Cusco
We will have our last breakfast of our trek before beginning an ascent to the last and highest pass of the trek, Capuliyoc Pass. We will walk for approximately 2 hours more to arrive to our destination, Cachora. Our transport vehicle will already be there waiting to take us back to Cusco, where we will arrive to at about 19:00 hours.
Hike to Huchuyqoso “Little Cusco”
Huchuyqosco is a demanding but beautiful high altitude trek in the surroundings of Cusco. We’ll pick you up from your hotel and drive through the Andes to Chinchero community. The trek starts uphill with a beautiful view of Piuray lagoon and the presence of llamas and cattle until we reach the only mountain pass of the hike at 4500masl/14760ft. Then the trail goes downhill through remains of Inca Trails until reaching Huchuyqosco. This place was once an Inca palace during Inca times and it has well preserved high structures made of stone and adobe (mud-brick). After admiring and exploring this archaeological site located in the mountaintop, we descend to Lamay where our vehicle will be waiting to drives us to Ollantaytambo. an old Inca fortified village where we may observe some of the best examples of Inca architecture in the region. The rest of the afternoon will be free for you to relax. We’ll spend the night in a nice hotel in this cozy village.
Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu
Today is the big day! We’ll be exploring two of the most interesting Inca sites we know of. First, in the early morning to beat the big crowds, we’ll walk from our hotel to the Ollantaytambo archaeological site, an impressive Inca complex that protected this area from incursions from the Amazon Basin. Ollantaytambo is one of the best examples of Inca architecture we can see nowadays. This should take us roughly around an hour and a half.
Then, at around 11am, we’ll board the train to Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu Town). The train journey is a spectacle in itself as we’ll be able to appreciate the changing landscape from green fields and eucalyptus forests to lush jungle always travelling besides the meandering Urubamba River. Upon arriving to Aguas Calientes, we’ll head to the nearby bus station to take a 20-minutes bus up the steep zigzagging road to Machu Picchu Citadel, located on an impressive mountain setting. Ideally we would like to be at the entrance gate to Machu Picchu between 1 and 2pm. This will give us plenty of time for our 2 to 3-hour guided excursion in which we’ll explore just about every corner of the famous citadel. We like to visit Machu Picchu in the late afternoon because it is the time with the least crowds and therefore the best experience! Machu Picchu closes at 5pm, time at which we’ll take our bus back to Aguas Calientes. We’ll have a little more than an hour to relax and maybe have a snack here before returning to Ollantaytambo for the night.
Train ride back to Ollantaytambo and free day in Cusco
This morning, after a long but fun day in Machu Picchu, we can sleep in and have a late breakfast. Afterwards, we´ll take the train back to Ollantaytambo from where a private transport will be waiting to take us back to Cusco, the old Inca Capital. The journey to Cusco takes roughly about 2 hours from Ollantaytambo. Cusco is one of the most interesting cities in Peru and South America. We’ll have most of today to explore the streets, plazas and markets of this UNESCO World Heritage City at our own pace.
Important note: Cusco is a city that is quite easy to explore individually which is why we aren’t including a city tour initially (and we’ll be providing you with plenty of recommendations too). However, if you prefer a guided excursion on the city please let us know in advance.
Today, we’ll have some free time to maybe take a last walk around Cusco’s shops and markets and then, at the coordinated time, we’ll head to Cusco’s airport to board your flight to Lima and international connecting flights to your next destination.
- What’s Included
- Brief presentation prior to departure
- All transfers and transports with the exception of domestic flights
- All excursions and entrance fees
- English speaking guide in each destination
- Accommodation as detailed in the program including 3 camping nights (Mountain double tent)
- Meals as detailed including full board while at Choquequirao
- Entrance tickets to all tourist attractions mentioned in the itinerary
- All common camping gear: Mountain tent, mattress and kitchen equipment for the group
- First aid kit with oxygen
- Mules and arrieros for the whole camping equipment (Mules for personal luggage ARE NOT INCLUDED)