Challenge yourself to an invigorating 8-day trek into the heights of the Vilcabamba mountain range, crossing over passes between 4,200 and 4,668 meters in altitude, where you will be awestruck at the inspiring snow-capped peaks surrounding you. Explore the two most stellar archaeological sites in Peru; Choquequirao, known as the last refuge for fleeing Incas during the Spanish conquest, and Machu Picchu, the "lost city of the Incas", both nestled in the mountainside in a tropical jungle setting. Adventure seekers will get a thrill at crossing high mountain passes and nature lovers will marvel over the sight of Andean condors cruising gracefully in the sky and the wild variety of flora and fauna to be found in the tropical jungle. This is a trek that you simply cannot miss and will remember for a lifetime!
On day 1, you will have a free day and 1 night`s accommodation included at Milhouse Hostel. You will start your actual trek on day 2. Be sure to attend your pre-departure briefing at Milhouse Hostel at 6:30pm today.
Trekking Day 1: Depart Cuzco - Hike from Cachora village (2,910m) to Chiquisca (1,836m) (L/D)
Today you will be picked up at your accommodation as we leave Cuzco early in the morning to journey by road to the small village of Cachora (2,910m) the starting point of the trek. Upon arrival to Cachora, we will be met by our mule drivers, who will load our gear on the horses and mules before we begin our first day’s hike. We will begin hiking along the edge of the Apurímac canyon, with the river almost 2,000 metres below us and breathtaking views of the surrounding Padrayoc and Choke Takarpu mountains. Lunch will be served at Capuliyoc (2,915m) followed by a 2-hour winding descent to Chiquisca (1,836m) ending at our campsite near the Apurimac River.
Today we will have an early breakfast and then start off our day with a 1.5 hour downhill hike to Playa Rosalinda where we will cross a suspension bridge over the Apurimac River followed by an uphill hike leading to Santa Rosa (2,095m). Here we will have a rewarding lunch and have the chance to taste local "cambray" a sugarcane juice from the region. The hike will continue ascending to Marampata village (2,913m), home to shepherd families. Finally, after a challenging 3-hour trek we will reach our campsite overlooking the Choquequirao archaeological site with panoramic views of the naturally stunning Apurimac river valley and if we are lucky, we might see Andean condors flying overhead.
Trekking Day 3: Hike from Choquequirao to Maizal camp (3,000m) (B/L/D)
An early start will give us the opportunity to see Choquequirao in the early morning light and will give us time to explore the "lost Inca city" of Choquequirao (3,035m). Afterwards, we will hike about 2 hours to the fully restored Pinchaunuyoc archaeological site (2,500m) which is still waiting to be excavated. From Pinchiyoc Unu, we`ll follow a steep and narrow trail to reach our campsite for the night, Maizal (3,000m).
Trekking Day 4: Hike from Maizal camp to Yanama camp (4,100m) (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, we`ll ascend toward Paso Victoria, passing through lush and dense cloud forest while enjoying spectacular views along the way. The pass (3900m / 12,800 ft) is a good place for a break, as it offers stunning views of the surroundings. After crossing the pass, we will descend to the small village of Yanama (4,100m) where we will end our day with lunch and free time to relax in the afternoon.
Trekking Day 5: Hike to the Totora community (4,100m) via High Pass (B/L/D)
Today we will hike from Yanama to a high pass at 4,668m with amazing views of Salkantay and Huayanay mountains and then cross over Yanama pass at 4,500m where you will feel truly immersed in the heart of the snow-capped Andean peaks. It can be windy and chilly on the pass, so it is a good idea to bring some warm clothes and a pair of gloves for this part of the trek. Here we may have the luck of seeing condors. We will descend through grassy fields to the Totora community to camp overnight (4,100m).
Trekking Day 6: Hike to Sayahuaco & Transfer to Santa Teresa town (1,700m) (B/L/D)
Today we will have the chance to see vibrant regional flora and fauna as we continue our descent to the Totora River and near the town of Sayahuaco for lunch. Along the way you will notice the colourful and abundant bird and plant life where you can see hummingbirds and woodpeckers among varied species of flowers such as orchids and begonias. Traversing the tropical region we can see waterfalls, banana, avocado and coca plantations. After lunch we will take a transfer to reach Santa Teresa town (1,700m) for the night. Here you can relax in the hot springs before dinner if time allows (at an extra cost).
Trekking Day 7: Hike from Santa Teresa town to Aguas Calientes (2,040m) (B/L/D)
Finally today we have an easy hike over rolling hills along the Vilcanota River in a warm and humid climate towards the Hydroelectric station (1,900m) for lunch. Another 3-hour hike will bring us to our final destination of Aguas Calientes (2,040m) for a well-deserved rest. There are internet cafes, cafes with board games and cards, plenty of shops and places to relax there as well. Enjoy a delicious dinner, followed by a hot shower and a good night`s rest.
*Optional train transfer from Hydroelectric Station to Aguas Calientes is available for an extra cost.
Trekking Day 8: Explore Machu Picchu - Return to Cuzco (B)
We will catch one of the first buses (05:30 am) to Machu Picchu (25-minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city in the early morning light as the mist dissipates. A walking tour (approximately 2 hours) is given by your guide and after this you can explore the mysterious site by yourself. You will be meeting your guide in Aguas Calientes, which can be reached by bus or on foot, to receive your train tickets for the return trip. Have lunch and visit the local marketplace right next to the train tracks where you can shop until the train whistle blows, signaling your return to Ollantaytambo. From Ollantaytambo, you will take a bus for the last section of the highway to Cuzco arriving back around 10:30pm. You will be dropped off at the Plaza San Francisco. Please make your own way to the accommodation of your choice upon arrival.
• DESCRIPTION OF MACHU PICCHU GUIDED SITE VISIT: The one and only, the most spectacular (and not to mention most popular) archaeological site in all of South America. Your guide will take you on a 2-hour tour of Machu Picchu walking you through the most important sites and covering the history of the place. Then you will have free time to explore on your own and take pictures at your leisure. When you decide to head back down to Aguas Calientes, there are buses departing every 15 minutes from the entrance or you can take the walking trail down if you feel like another 1 hour stair stepping downhill to Aguas Calientes town.
• Take an OPTIONAL hike up the steep peak named Huayna Picchu, which is located inside the Machu Picchu archaeological site. This sometimes muddy peak takes about 45 - 60 minutes to hike up and awards you with unforgettable views of Machu Picchu from a coveted perspective. Keep in mind that if you want to take this optional hike, you must now purchase your ticket at least 2 weeks in advance for an additional cost in order to get one of the 400 passes (200 people are allowed up at 7:00am and 200 more at 10:00am). Please send us an email directly to request this extra ticket.
*If desired, an extra night in Aguas Calientes town can be arranged. (Please let us know whether you would like to stay an extra night when booking your tour.)
You will sleep in a dorm, single room or double room at Milhouse Hostel on Day 1, the night before your trek begins. On Days 2 - 7 you will be camping in a tent. On Day 8 you will sleep in a hostel at Aguas Calientes
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Trip Name: Small Group: Choquequirao Trek
Duration: 9 Days
From Price: $2,517
Supplier Tour ID: CUZCHQ/166695
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