This expedition will take you to two of the major archaeological sites in the area of Cusco and Peru: Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Most everyone knows the legends and knowledge of the ruins at Machu Picchu. From the re-discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham in July 1911, the ruin has been a topic of discussion and research regarding the Incas, and finally in 1981 the Peruvian government established the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, and in 1983, the site was honored by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. As much as one can find the writings and stories about Machu Picchu, very little can be found about the latter, ruins of Choquequirao offering no less meaning of interesting.
Choqequirao, meaning “Cradle of Gold” is a magnificent archaeological complex located in the Cordillera Vilcabamba, in the region of Cusco. It is believed that this range was the last refuge of the Incas as they resisted the conquest, led by Manco Inca II.
On our trip, we will enjoy spectacular geography, flora and fauna typical of the Yunger rain, valleys and rainforest.
The temperature on this trek can range from a low of -10 ° C at night and a maximum of 23 ° C during the day.
DAY 1: CUSCO (3350m.) – CACHORA (2850m.) – CHIQUISCA (1930m.)
We leave Cusco very early (6:00 am), the road that goes north-west through the famous Pampa de Anta or Yawar Pampa (Pampa blood because of the fierce battle between the Incas and the Chankas for possession of Cuzco city). We cross the mountains and descend to the warmer climated town of Limatambo, where the archaeological site of Tarawasi is located.
We continue in the direction towards the Cunyac Bridge over the Apurimac River, the natural border between Cusco and Apurimac regions. Follow the path to Curahuasi, famous for its aromatic liquor: Anise Macerated. Our last stop is the town of San Pedro de Cachora (2850m) about 4 hours from Cusco, in the province of Apurimac, surrounded by majestic snow peaks, such as Padreyoc (5,771 m). Here we find our “carriers” (riders), and we start our walk, leaving town heading north, with a spectacular view of the Padreyoc snowcap mountain. We cross the Cachora creek and climb through a forest of eucalyptus and restoration of native vegetation to the dirt track which is passable by car, from where the road is flat until the lookout at Capuliyoq (2800m). Estimated time to reach this point is approximately 3 hours. From the viewpoint, you will have a spectacular view of the Apurimac River and Choquequirao. Here we will enjoy our lunch.
We begin our downward descend on a winding path through shrub and later a forest of native trees called Phaty which will last about 3 hours. After six hours of hiking we finally arrive at our first camp called Chiquisca (1,930 m). We can expect a warm night in the valley.
Meals during the day: Lunch / Dinner.
DAY 2: CHIQUISCA (1930M.) – PLAYA ROSALINA (1550M.) – MARAMPATA (2850M.)
After a hearty breakfast, we begin our descend to Playa Rosalina (1550m), where we pass through the INC checkpoint and we cross the bridge over the Apurimac river. This time point will be about 1 hour. We begin our walk uphill on a winding road, towards Santa Rosa (2095m), where we can take a refreshing break, and maybe buy some refreshments. We continue upwards towards Marampata (2850m), a flat place where you can rest under conditions similar to those of Santa Rosa, enjoying a splendid view of Choquequirao. Time from the Apurimac river to this location is about 4-5 hours. The gradient varies from almost flat to very steep. We continue forward on the trail that starts flat and has several ups and downs before the INC campsite at Choquequirao. This campground provides restrooms and a cold shower.
We hike for about 7 hours throughout the day in a rather warm climate, with a total distance of 14 km to the campsite.
Meals during the day: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
DAY 3: MARAMPATA (2850m.) – CHOQUEQUIRAO (3270m.) – MARAMPATA (2850m.)
We have a full day to discover the huge complex of Choquequirao. Your guide will try to show the most recently discovered areas and also the agriculture terraces and sector of the Llamas sculptures that are located in a more remote area. Archaeologists are still discovering new parts of the complex as it is covered by the intense jungle. You will also have time to explore the site on your own. Late in the afternoon we start the walk back, and we will camp in Marampata (approx. 2 hours). We will walk for approx. 5 hours in a warmer climate.
Meals during the day: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner.
DAY 4: MARAMPATA (2850) – COCA MASANA (2150m.)
After breakfast we continue our return journey, beginning with a steep descent to the Apurimac River where we will stop for lunch. In the afternoon we will go for about four hours and then make camp at Coca Masana or Chikisca. The walk uphill this time easier than on the second day. Hike for about 7 hours today in a warmer climate
Meals during the day: Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner.
DAY 5: COCA MASANA (. 2150M) – HUANCACALLE (. 2450M) – OLLANTAYTAMBO (. 2850M) AGUAS CALIENTES (2050M.)
It will be the last day of the trek. We will see the grandeur of the Apurimac canyon to follow a new path crossing through the canyon. Arrive at Huancacalle and take our bus to Ollantaytambo.
Walk 3 hours.
At night, we take the train (1 hour and 30 minutes), the train station Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where we spend the night in a hostel.
Note: The trekking guide ends this day with you, in Aguas Calientes the guide to Machu Picchu will be waiting for you.
Meals during the day: Breakfast / Lunch.
DAY 6: AGUAS CALIENTES (2050M.) – MACHU PICCHU (2430M.) – AGUAS CALIENTES – CUSCO.
Early in the morning we catch the bus from Aguas Calientes to the Machu Picchu archaeological site. We have the opportunity to climb the difficult path to the top of Huayna Picchu, the pyramid-shaped peak that overlooks Machu Picchu, which offers spectacular and a different perspective of the site, which at times it is even possible to see the Salkantay Mountain in the distance.
The guided tour of Machu Picchu for approx. 2.5 hours allows us to appreciate the high level of development achieved by Andean civilization through the Incas.
Used as a religious site, Machu Picchu demonstrates the superior knowledge achieved in astronomy and astrology. This knowledge of measuring the rainy and dry seasons through the solstices is indispensable for the development of agriculture, the life-source of the Andes. After our visit, we will take the bus back to Aguas Calientes, where we will enjoy a relaxing dip in the local hot springs.
Meals during the day: Breakfast.
You will catch the train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo train station at 14:00 or 18:00 which takes 1 hour and 40 minutes. In Ollantaytambo have bus transportation to your hotel in Cusco which takes approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
You will be back at your hotel around 17: 30-18: 00 or 9:30 pm to 10pm.
- Your passport number
- If you have any special dietary requirements (ex. vegetarian)
- The hotel and its address of where you are staying
- If you have special dieses or allergies, we have to be aware of (you are responsible for bringing their own medicine). We will provide basic first aid kid and oxygen.
- For the tour we provide a duffle bag (normal sports bag), where you can put your personal belongings, and maybe things you do not want to take on the trip, but we are still carrying with you on the tour. You are allowed to fill the bag with 7 kilos, the limit the mules will carry per person on the trip. For this duffle bag, you need to go to the travel agency of Cusco Sonqo Peru on the street Plateros No. 314. The office is located very near the Plaza de Armas of Cusco.
- Transportation Cusco - Cachora
- Transportation from Cachora to Ollantaytambo
- Guide: Professional English-Bilingual
- Cook: In charge of meal preparation
- Riders and horses: Carry tents, camping equipment, cooking utensils and also carry backpacks, passenger and mattresses (Max 7 kilos per person.)
- Saddle horse or emergency
- Entrance to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.
- Food: 5 breakfasts / 5 lunches / 5 dinners / snacks and afternoon tea.
- Provided is a liter of boiled water every morning
- Gear: tents (2 people in each one that’s a 3 person-capacity tent), inflatable mattress, "thermal rest", dining tent, biodegradable bathroom, kitchen tent, tables and chairs, table,
- First aid kit,
- Oxygen bottle.
- Bus Tickets: Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes
- Hostel: Double accommodation in Aguas Calientes
- Tourist Train Service: Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes - Ollantaytambo
- Transportation Ollantaytambo - Cusco Hotel
- Breakfast on first day and lunch on the last day.
- Sleeping bag.
Below is a list of equipment we recommend you bring:
- Original passport
- Sleeping bag.
- Change of clothes, jacket, and clothing for cold weather
- Good stockings/socks
- Camera, films and extra batteries
- Water bottle, ideally non disposable canteen (boiled drinking water provided)
- Flashlight, extra batteries
- Insect repellent
- Toiletries and toilet paper, small towel
- Swimsuit for hot springs in Aguas Calientes
- A selection of snacks, chocolate, nuts, cookies, bars energize teas, etc.
- Cash in soles and US dollars