Choquequirao Trek Machu Picchu

Our 9 day Choquequirao trek brings you to the two most impressive Inca ruin sites in Peru: Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. In fact, Choquequirao trek is named by National Geographic’s as one of the top 25 treks in the entire world.

Choquequirao is considered the “Sister of Machu Picchu”, as it has similar breathtaking views and exquisite architecture and due to its remote location you get an experience without the crowds!

Choquequirao means the “Cradle of the Gold” in Quechua (the native language).  It is said to be one of the last resistance bastions and refugees of the Incas, who fled Cusco in 1535. Throughout, you will learn of the rich and fascinating history and culture of the Inca as we visit and tour many significant sites.

This trek brings you through the vibrant flora and fauna of the Andes. You will breathe in the fresh air while surrounded by snowcapped mountains, travel through cloud forest, explore the high jungle, and experience fascinating Andean wildlife; all while immersing yourself in the history of the Inca.

On our eight night we will be staying in lovely hotel in Aguas Calientes and enjoying dinner at the best restaurant in town.

Overview

Choquequirao Trek – Overview

  • Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Capuliyoc – Chikisca
  • Day 2: Chikisca – Marampata – Choquequirao
  • Day 3:  Full day visit and exploration of the magnificent Choquequirao city.
  • Day 4: Choquequirao – Pinchuyniyoq Inca ruin – Rio Blanco – Maizal
  • Day 5: Maizal – Mina Victoria Pass – Yanama
  • Day 6: Yanama Village – Yanama Pass – Totora
  • Day 7: Totora – Colpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba
  • Day 8: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 9: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Minimum altitude: 1,550 m /5,085 ft.

Maximum altitude: 4,672 m /15,328 ft.

Total distance: 93 km/58 miles

Overall trek difficulty: Demanding

Pre-trek briefing:

Our professional tour guide will provide a pre-trek briefing from your 9 day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu before starting the hike to review the day-by-day itinerary and discuss any questions that you may have about hiking the Choquequirao trek. We highly recommend spending at least two full days or more in Cusco before starting the Inca Trail. This will help you to adjust to the altitude of the Area and be prepared for the physical demands of the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu hike.

Itinerary

Choquequirao Trek – Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco – Cachora – Capuliyoc – Chikisca

We begin our adventure early and pick you up at your hotel in Cusco in private transport. We then make our way on a 4 hour drive through the Limatambo Valley and San Pedro of Cachora, just north of Cusco. This scenic drive takes you through the beautiful valley of the Vilcabamba Mountains with views of the Apurimac River. We will stop at the Capuliyoc lookout point and soak in the views and take advantage of this incredible photo opportunity.

While at Capuliyoc (2,915 m/9,563 ft.) we will share a beautiful lunch prepared by our trekking chef and pack up our horses with our gear. Then we begin our trek! We make our way downhill for approximately 3 to 4 hours through the canyon until we arrive to our first camp at the small village of Chikisca (1,900m/6,233ft.). We relax here, enjoy a delicious dinner, and sleep surrounded by mountains under the stars.

  • Meals: Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Chikisca
  • Highest Elevation: 2,915 m/9,564 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,900 m/ 6,233 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 8 km / 5 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 4-5 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy

Day 2: Chikisca – Marampata – Choquequirao

You will be woken up with a warm cup of coca tea and breakfast to bring in the beautiful day. We then begin our day’s hike descending one hour towards the Apurimac River (1,550 m/ 5,085 ft.). Here we have the chance to spot the massive Andean Condor, with a wingspan that can reach up to 10 feet!

We then cross the bridge over the Apurimac River and embark on a 5 hour walk uphill to the rural village Maranpata (2,850 m/9,350 ft.). We share a delicious lunch here, relax, and enjoy our first views of the magnificent Choqequirao ruin sites.

After lunch it is only 2 more hours of variant terrain to our home for the night at Choqequirao (3,150 m/ 10,334 ft.) We are fortunate to be able to stay here in Choquequirao, a spectacular camp site just 45 minutes away from the ruins. After a successful and long day we relax, rejuvenate, soak in the powerful surroundings, and refuel with a nourishing dinner.

  • Meals:  Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Choquequirao
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,550 m/ 5,085 ft.
  • Highest Elevation: 3,150 m/ 10,334 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 14 km / 9 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 8 – 9 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Demanding

Day 3:  Full day visit and exploration of the magnificent Choquequirao city.

We wake surrounded by breathtaking views and have a filling breakfast. Today is dedicated to exploring the Choquequirao Inca site in its beautiful entirety. Our expert guide will take you on a tour that will enable you to experience the full essence of this ancient site. You will visit numerous significant sites, such as: palaces, temples, terraces, and Usnos (ceremonial platforms), all while learning the fascinating history of the Inca.

You will be amazed by the blends of Andean and Amazonian materials and decoration, as well as the intricate stonework. You will learn of the ingenuity of the Incas, as you explore this 1,800 hectares consisting of exquisite agricultural terraces, spiritual and religious centers, irrigation channels, and much more, all set in the towering Apurimac Canyon.

After our exploration of the impressive Choquequirao we head back to our campsite and share a warm beautifully prepared dinner.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Choquequirao
  • Elevation: 3,150 m/10,334 ft.
  • Approximate walking time: 5 – 6 hours

Day 4: Choquequirao – Pinchuyniyoq Inca ruin – Rio Blanco – Maizal

After a very early breakfast, we will start to follow the trail for an hour that ascends up through the forest and other lush flora which brings us to the Choquequirao Pass (3,318 m / 10,885 ft.) From here we will descend 2 hours towards the archeological site of Pinchuyniyoq. Here, we will explore this magnificent Incan ruin and soak in the views of spectacular Vilcabamba Mountain range and Choquetacarpo glacier.

After, we descend 2 hours to our lunch spot at Rio Blanco (1,990 m/ 6,528 ft.) We replenish with lunch and if you choose a dip in the river. Either way, we lay out by the beautiful water, digest and continue on!

The high jungle is our next destination, as we climb 4 to 5 hours through rich plant life and surrounded by the sounds and sites of native birds. We also have the possibility to spot the spectacled bear, also known as the Andean bear.

After our steep climb, we reach the small traditional Andean village of Maizal (3,000m/9,842ft.). We get to spend time with some families of this small warm and welcoming community. They will share with us some of their traditional practices, which resembles greatly the lifestyle lived many centuries ago.

We will be camping at Maizal. After we set up camp we will have time to see the sunset, enjoy a well-deserved meal and get a good night’s rest.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Maizal
  • Highest Elevation: 3,318 m / 10,885 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,990 m/ 6,528 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 18 km / 11 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 9-10 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 5: Maizal – Mina Victoria Pass – Yanama Village

We wake up in the beautiful camp of Maizal, eat, and set out for a 4 to 5 hour climb through the cloud forest following an ancient stone path that leads us to the Victoria Mines. Here you will be rewarded with exquisite views of the entire Vilcabamba Mountain range and we will explore this old silver mine a bit too. We will enjoy lunch here as well and if we are lucky, spot a condor soaring above
the snowcapped mountains.

We continue, descending for approximately 2 hours reaching the quaint village of Yanama (4,020 m/13,188ft). This is our camp for the night and after a hard day’s trek, we share dinner and relax in the middle of the magnificent mountains.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Yanama
  • Highest Elevation: 4,130 m/ 13,546 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 3,000m/9,842ft.
  • Distance to walk: 12 km
  • Approximate walking time: 8 to 9
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 6: Yanama Village – Yanama Pass – Totora

Our trek chef will prepare us another delicious breakfast and then we are off! Today our trail climbs the ravine of the Yanama River. We begin with a gentle incline and progress to a steeper trail as we approach the Yanama Pass, the highest point of the our trek, at an impressive 4, 672 meters or 15, 328 feet!

Along the way we will pass many beautiful waterfalls and have views of Apu Salkantay, a part of the classic Salkantay trek. We trek through variant ecological regions as we make are way to the high puna of the Andes.

Then, it is 3 1/2 hours downhill from here, as we hike towards our camp for the night the small community of Totora (3,398 m /11,448 ft.) We rest in the Totora River Valley and prepare for our next day’s adventure.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Totora
  • Highest Elevation: 4,672 m /15,328 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 3,398 m /11,445 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 14 km / 9 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 8 to 10 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 7: Totora – Colpapampa – La Playa – Lucmabamba

After breakfast we will begin by taking a private local van from Totora to Colpapampa. Here we explore the jungle and hike about 6 to 7 hours to Lucmabamba.

On our trek today, we venture through coffee and banana plantations making our way through the rainforest and all along walking beside the beautiful Santa Teresa river. We will have opportunities to see beautiful waterfalls along on our way too.

We eventually arrive at Lucmabamba (2,050 m /6,725 ft.) where we will have lunch and camp for the night. After lunch, we have the rare opportunity for a coffee tour where we will learn about everything from planting to harvesting to roasting, and of course tasting! We will also be able to pick our own beans and learn about the variant types of beans, their tastes and aromas. Tonight, we get to contribute to dinner by picking some vegetables that the chef will be using in our fresh farm to table dinner.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Lucmabamba
  • Highest Elevation: 3,398 m /11,445 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 2,050 m /6,725 ft.
  • Distance to Walk: 14 km (8 miles)
  • Approximate Walking Time: 5 to 6 hours
  • Difficulty: Modérate

Day 8: Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Hidroelectrica – Aguas Calientes

We will enjoy a beautiful breakfast and say farewell to the friends we made at Lucmabamba and embark on a 3 hour uphill hike continuing through the jungle. We will then arrive at Llactapata Inca site (2,610 m/8,562 ft.) Here we will take a tour and learn of the significance this beautiful area holds. Not only is it rich in history, it is rich in views of Machu Picchu. This will be our first sighting of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu and there will be many chances for photos.

After Llactapata, we will continue downhill for 2 hours to Hidroelectrica (1,800 m /5,905 ft.) where we will catch a scenic 40 minute train ride to Aguas Calientes (2,040 m/ 6,691 ft.) Here we will check into your comfortable hotel and have dinner at the finest restaurant.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Hotel at Aguas Calientes
  • Highest Elevation: 2,610 m/8,562 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,800 m /5,905 ft.
  • Distance to walk: 13 km /8 miles
  • Approximate Walking Time: 6 to 7 hours
  • Difficulty: Modérate

Day 9: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

Today is our final day of the trek, ending with the famous Machu Picchu (2,440 m/ 8,052 ft.) We will have an early breakfast at the hotel and then catch the bus up through the cloud forest to Machu Picchu. Just in time to see the sunrise. Although it is substantially more crowded, you will be one of the few who can appreciate the similarities and difference to Choquequirao.

We will begin our Machu Picchu experience with a 2 hour guided tour with our expert guide. Some of the many places you will visit are temples, water fountains, and ceremonial sites, all rich with fascinating information.

After, you have the option to explore more own your own or at 10 am climb Huayna Picchu (entrance fee is included in trek package). Huayna Picchu is the iconic peak that appears in many Machu Picchu pictures, as it is a perfect bird’s eye view looking over the citadel.

In the afternoon we make our way back down to Aguas Calientes where we take the train to Poroy station. In Poroy, A Peru Path representative will be awaiting your arrival to escort you back to Cusco in private transport.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Highest Elevation: 2,440 m/ 8,052 ft.
  • Lowest Elevation: 2,040 m/ 6,691 ft.

 

Inclusions

Services Included on the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu:

  • Bilingual English speaking tour guide
  • Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu.
  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Capuliyoc on day 1
  • Four-person tent for each two persons
  • Inflatable Mattress and pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent.
  • An expert chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
  • Duffle bag for your personal gear
  • Horse to carry 10 kg of your personal gear
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Nine breakfasts, Eight lunches and Eight dinners
  • Hot water for washing.
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
  • Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Poroy (Cusco train station)
  • Private van transport from Poroy to your Cusco hotel
  • Ticket for Huayna Picchu mountain
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Coffee plantation tour in the afternoon of day 7
  • Lodging in Aguas Calientes on night 8 of the trek (double occupancy)
  • Dinner in Aguas Calientes on night 8
  • Train ticket from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes

Services Not Included on the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu:

  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Day 9 lunch and dinner
  • Tips for the crew (muleteers, chef and guide)
  • Hiking poles (can be rented from us)

What to bring for the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu:

  • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
  • Binoculars
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
  • Insect repellent – minimum 40% DEET

Prices

Group Service

  • US $1480 per Person

Private Service

  • US $1530 per Person

Optional

Rentals

  • Hiking poles – US $35.00 (pair)
  • Sleeping bag – US $40.00

Upgrades:

  • Belmond Sanctuary Lodge (5 star hotel) – US $460 per night (per person, assuming double occupancy)
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu hotel (4 star hotel) – US $234 per night (per person, assuming double occupancy)
  • Vistadome train (US $35) or Hiram Bingham train (US $375) for trip from Aguas Calientes to Poroy
  • Buffet lunch at the Tinkuy restaurant in the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge in Machu Picchu on day 9 – US $45
  • Private hotel room in Aguas Calientes – US $40
  • Private tent – US $30

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