This is the only trek that offers you to hike the two most impressive Incan cities: Choquequirao and Machu Picchu! However, both show off the same high Incas architecture quality, the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu receives crowds of tourists every day while Choquequirao Archeological Park receives only a couple of visitors due to its location on top of the Vilcabamba mountain range in the district of Santa Teresa province of the Convention at 3,033 msnm (9959 ft). Although, it is definitely worth visiting as it offers not only views of this enigmatic and fantastic Inca's site, but also the possibility of seeing the condors in majestic flight, pumas, quetzales, foxes, hummingbirds, skunks, deer or Tarucas, bears of glasses and the so-called National bird of Peru the "Gallito de las Rocas". Even more, for vegetation lovers there is a wide variety of orchids such as ample vegetation and local crops such as coca, cocoa, corn, coffee and abundant fruit trees.
Condors soaring in quiet silence of untrammeled mountains! This unique trek continues exploring very remote Andean villages and a daily life of their residents, beautiful mountains and rivers, until you reach the Citadel of Choquequirao where you will see buildings of temples, prisons and government buildings, beautiful mozaicos of ‘llas’, separated into 9 different sections that include the temple, squares known as Hanan and Hurin (Alta and Baja) and the main square Huaqaypata. Choquequirao also has a ceremonial platform called Ushno, having the whole complex great similarity with Machu Picchu counting in both parts its buildings and agricultural terraces along the slope of the mountain.
Did you know that the word Choquequirao means the “Cradle of the Gold” in southern Quechua? But it is also known by other names such as "City of the heathen", "Refuge of the Incas", "City - or town - of the silver smith" and "Last refuge of the Incas of Vilcabamba".
Choquequirao is considered as one of the last resistance bastions and refugees of the Incas, who abandoned the imperial city of Cusco in 1535 by order of the Incan ruler Manco Inca to regroup because Cusco was besieged by Spaniards. Don't forget to bring your photographic equipment with you because this journey is the most “picturesque” trip offered in the Cusco’s area! There's going to be horses along the trip for your convenience and we provide you with top quality camping equipment as well as a very balanced and energetic diet. Are you waiting for an unforgettable adventure? The Combo Expedition connecting the both Incan highlights, Machu Picchu and Choquequirao will go beyond your dreams!!! so Are you ready? Discover Machu Picchu and its sister Choquequirao with us!!
Day 01: Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina
Day 02: Playa Rosalina - Marampata - Choquequirao
Day 03: Choquequirao - Maizal
Day 04: Maizal - Minas Victoria - Yanama
Day 05: Yanama - Totora
Day 06: Totora - Collpapampa - Wiñaypoco
Day 07: Wiñaypoco - La Playa - Lucmabamba
Day 08: Lucmabamba - Hidrolectrica - Puente Ruinas
Day 09: Puente Ruinas - Machu Picchu - Aguas Calientes - Cusco
Crew: A Tierras Vivas Representative in Cusco, a professional local bilingual Tour Guide, a Cook and Porters for the trek.
Accommodation: 8x campsite.
Meals: 8x breakfast, 8x lunch, 8x dinner, 6x afternoon tea.
Transportation: Transportation by private van, 1x train (Expedition Service).
Please note: If you want short hike to Choquequirao, we recommend the Choquequirao Trekking 5 days Tour
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Tierras Vivas DOES NOT permit this exploitation!! We guarantee that our porters carry only an amount given by the Peruvian law!! There is still a long way to go when it comes to a reserve of adequate meals, backpacks and warm dry sleeping accommodation. click here
Each Year Tierras Vivas celebrate a Christmas party in Patacancha. Family porters,
We leave Cusco early in the morning by private vehicle. After 4 hours, we reach Cachora (2,850 m/9,350 ft), a small village and the starting point of this hike. We start descending to the Apurimac River Valley having incredible views of far away snowy peaks. We have first opportunity to see Choquequirao Mountain on the opposite site of the valley after a couple of hours of walking. The way to Choquequirao leads through a highland jungle (or Andean jungle) so the weather is warm, humid and rainy resulting in a very rich tropical vegetation and fauna too. Of the vegetation, we can see native trees such as lambram, chachacomo and inkallaulli. There are also cedars, medicinal plants, ferns, orchids, bromelias, etc. Representans of local fauna are deer, a spectacled bear, felines, foxes, skunks, birds such as a variety of of hummingbird species or Andean condors crisscrossing the sky in the afternoons. In the end, we reach our first campsite at Playa Rosalina (1,550 masl/5,115 ft) located at the shores of the Apurimac River.
After a nutritive breakfast, we start a gradual ascend to Marampata (2,850 m/9,350 ft), the trek gets harder but remember every effort will have its reward; however, it offers spectacular views of the deep Apurimac River Canyon and the river itself that is the main tributary of the Amazon River! We can also spot condors soaring in the mountains! When we get to Marampata, we have lunch there and a short rest. At around 4 pm, we will arrive to the enigmatic and fabulous Cradel of Gold - Choquequirao (3,100 m./10,168 ft)! The city is considered bigger in extension than the Sancturary of Machu Picchu! Our Tour Guide shows us around the city and explains us about its each part such as Hauqaypata (main square) with the principal Sun Temple, Urin (upper square) with its open temple, Ushno (ceremonial platform), houses of priests, qolqas (storages), irrigation channels and agricultural terraces. However, investigation works have not discovered all the site yet so we can still expect more surprising excavations in future!! From there, we also can view spectacular mountain scenery surrounded by the cloud forest! We set a camp near the archaeological site and overnight.
The Archaeological Park of Choquequirao is situated in southern Peru on the right side of Apurimac River, at the slopes of the same named mountain just next to Qoriwayrachina Mountain of the Salkantay Mountain Range where the impousing Salkantay glacier is located . The park covers an area of 1,810 hectares.
Choquequirao was constructed probably between the second part of the 15th century and the first decades of the 16th century, it means the period when Incas started to conquer new territories of Antisuyo (located northwest of Cusco in high Andes inhabited by so called “Antis” – a collective name for the many varied ethnic groups living in this area). Choquequirao is considered as one of the last resistance bastions and refugees of the Incas, who abandoned Cusco in 1535 by order of the Incan ruler Manco Inca to regroup as Cusco was besieged by Spaniards.
After a delicious breakfast, we will leave the Incan city of Choquequirao to first gently hike for 3 hours up to the Choquequirao Pass (3,300 m/10,890 ft) to then start descending to Rio Blanco (White River; 1,900 m/6,270 ft) to enter at the cloud forest. There, we can appreciate polylepis trees (native mountain trees with shredded, multi-layered bark), epiphytes, bromeliads, orchids, diverse bird species as well as water fountains. Lush vegetation of the cloud forest still cover a part of the Inca farming terraces of Pinchiunuyoc (2,487 m/8,160 ft). After our Tour Guide explains us about this Inca site, we keep descending passing through coca plantations and gradually changing nature into a dry Andean forest. After having lunch there, we will climb for another three hours towards the village of Maizal (3,000 m/9,900 ft) where we set up our next campsite. From this natural view point, we can appreciate imposing views of the gorges of Yanama and Yurahmayo that later join the Apurimac River Canyon! Also the sunsets there are really stunning!
We start ascending after early breakfast towards the Victoria Pass (4,150 m/13,695 ft). After a 4 hour steep ascend, we reach the Minas Victoria, an Incan and later colonial silver mining centre that is abandoned nowadays. Then, we hike along a hill called Qoriwayrachina, a place where archaeological explorations have been done recently. Closer to the Victoria Pass, we start following an incredibly well- preserved authentical Inca trail with stone steps in its middle! When we reach the Victoria Pass, we enjoy a breathtaking view of the snow-capped mountains of Humantay (5,700 m/18,700 ft) and snowy Salkantay (6,271 m/20,574 ft), considered by local people as the "guardian spirit of the jungle"! Finally, we descend to the village of Yanama (3,800 m/12,540 ft) where we overnight in another campsite with views of the Yanama River below us and Pumasillo Mountain above us.
We start hiking in the morning towards the Yanama Valley passing farmar´s fields and lush vegetation to later overcome the highest pass of the trek - Yanama Pass (4,668 m/15,315 ft). This causes that today´s trek gets harder and the day is challenging! However, it offers spectacular views of a chain of snowy peaks such as the Sacsarayoj and Padreyoc Mountains! If we are lucky, we can also spot majestic condors flying above surrounding cliffs. When reaching the pass, we are able to observe a pile of stones that have been added by visitors to thank to Apus (a mountain god) for a safe journey and good luck! Then, we descend to the Totora Pampa where our next campsite is situated near the village of Totora (3,630 m/11,979 ft).
We start trekking today following the flow of the Totora River to later descend gradually to a high (or mountain) jungle - known in Spanish as the "Ceja de selva (literally: jungle´s eyebrow) so we can notice the quickly changing vegetation and temperature getting warmer. In the high jungle, we can view its typical lush vegetation of wild orchids and bromeliads as well as watch a variety of beautiful birds. Then, we descend to bamboo groves. Do not forget to look back sometimes as you can see snow-peaks framed by bamboo fronds behind you! We pass through the village of Luscamayo and after a 4 hour descend; we reach a tiny settlement of Collpapampa (2,850 m/9,348 ft), a place of our lunch break. Afterwards, we keep descending having the Santa Teresa River on the left side observing small coffee and tropical fruit´s plantations on the way. In the end, we get to the foothill of the Wiñaypoco Mountain where we set a campsite (2,680 m/8,793 ft).
After a healthy breakfast, the trail continues down towards the Aobamba River passing through bamboo groves, orchards and coffee plantations providing some perfect birdwatching opportunities (e.g. hummingbirds, woodpeckers). We walk on some fantastic untouched paths where strawberries grow at our feet and passion fruits are just above our heads, this all decorated with begonia and purple orchid rugs! After 2 and half an hour, we arrive to a tiny place called La Playa (2,100 m/6,890 ft) where we have a small break accompanied by lunch with fresh fruits! Later, we keep trekking until we get to the village of Lucmabamba (2,250 m/7,381.89 ft), a place of our next overnight. This is another easy trekking day, during which we enjoy observation of lush vegetation as well as we get familiar with diverse plants cultivated in this area such as banana, avocado, coca leaf, coffee, etc. The areas is also a habitat of a spectacled bear and many parrots.
We wake up early today to start a nice up-hill walk providing us some amazing views of the valley. After a 5 hour hike, we enjoy our last lunch at the recently restored Incan ruins of Llaqtapata (2,650 m/8,694 ft) from where we can view both, Machu Picchu and the Salkantay Mountain! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the ruins! From there, we are given an opportunity to see the main highlight of South America - Machu Picchu, from an exceptional point of view that a majority of tourists will never see!! Then, we descend easily for 3 hours to the Hydroelectric Plant (Hidroelectrica; 2,050 m/6,726 ft). There, we follow trails and the Vilcanota River leading us to our last campsite in Ruins Bridge (2,042 m/6,700 ft), located at the foothill of Machu Picchu Mountain!
After an early morning breakfast, we hike for 2 hours up to the mysterious city of Machu Picchu (2,430 m/7,972 ft) that we enter for the early morning best photos opportunities! Then our Tour Guide shows us around the Incan city and explains us about its history and purposes. After the guided tour, we have an opportunity to climb up for about 45 minutes to Huayna Picchu, a peak above Machu Picchu that serves to take some panoramic pictures of the Incan city. Then, we are given time off to spend and explore Machu Picchu on our own. In the afternoon, we return by train to Ollantaytambo (alternatively to Poroy), from where we are taken by van back to Cusco.
Machu Picchu is both, the best and the least known site of the Incas as it is not mentioned in any Spanish conquistador´s chronicle so that contemporary archaeologists can not do anything more than just speculate on its functions. Local Quechua farmers had known about Machu Picchu for centuries before an 11-year-old boy showed the American historian Hiram Bingham (who was in a search of Vilcabamba) on the 24th of July, 1911. At that time, all the rest of the world became aware of its existence. However, the site was covered with thick vegetation so Hiram Bingham along with his team returned and within the years of 1912 and 1915 cleared its surface. Over the years, plenty of work has been done on excavating and studying the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.
Single room: Please note that if you have booked the "Single room" option for this trek, you receive your own single tent for all nights.
Local flights: No local flights are included in the trek's price!
Usually our hike is starting from Cusco, but we can pick you up from your hotel outside of Cusco. Please check your trip and location for pick you up.
|Trip/ Hiking||Starting point & pick up|
|Inca Trail||Cusco, Chinchero, Urubamba, Yanahuara, Ollantaytambo|
|Lares Trek||Cusco, Pisac|
|Inca Jungle Trek to Machu Picchu||Cusco, Urubamba, Yanahuara, Ollantaytambo|
|Inca Quarry Trail||Cusco, Urubambam Yanahuara|
|Day tours||Only Cusco|
Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the first and ninth day (if sunny) and in Choquequirao and Machu Picchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Choquequirao or Machu Picchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list.
Choquequirao is known as the other Machu Picchu. This archaeological site has recently gained a high level of importance and both tourist and cultural curiosity. Choquequirao is located in the jungle, which is the transition from the Andean valleys to the jungle. Life in this area belongs to those given in dry, mountain and sub-tropical forests.
The trip to Choquequirao is long and strenuous, but certainly unforgettable. It starts from Cusco by the road that goes to Abancay. At kilometer 154, take the detour to the town of Cachora, the last town before reaching the archaeological complex. From there you will go on horseback or on foot. The road has recently been extended and arranged. To travel through it, it is now more comfortable and safe. Arriving in Choquequirao you just require good physical condition the adequate equipment will be given for us!! .
It is one of the most famous treks followed by the Inca Trail and is considered among the 25 best treks in the world, according to the National Geographic Adventure Travel Magazine. The "Salkantay" is the tutelary God of Cusco with 6271 meters of altitude, in its route we will appreciate beautiful Andean landscapes until arriving at the majestic skirts of this impressive snow-capped mountain. Come and walk in the shadow of "The wild Salkantay".
This five-day Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu is an outdoor adventure that offers a challenge of spectacular natural beauty and full of spirituality. The majestic Salkantay ice peak is one of the traditional sacred mountains in the Vilcabamba mountain range, at the south of Machu Picchu. It is alig with dark constellations that formed an integral part of the concept of sacred geography of the Incas. This deity of the mountain, served as reference for the cardinal astrological observations, in particular during the solstice of June and December and solar equinoxes.
Our classic Salkantay Trek is an alternative to the traditional Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, but this trek, in fact, brings the two together! The trek from Salkantay to Machupicchu lasts 7 days and has become a favorite of hikers who want a more rustic and natural way. The first 4 days will be enveloped by splendid surroundings and you will not see other hikers often. On the fifth day it connects with the Inca Trail in Wayllabamba and continue to Machupicchu. The hike is only a little more difficult than the classic Inca Trail you can use horses for the first four days to transport food and luggage, horses are not allowed on the Inca Trail, so our porters make the work in the last part. Salkantay Trek to Inca Trail
There are many paths that lead in Machu Picchu. One of the routes is the 4 Day Lares Trek Peru, in which you will find landscapes of Andean mountains, snowy peaks and tropical jungle. The end of the road is crowned by the imposing view of the wonder of Inca stone: Machu Picchu. During four days of walking your feet will take you on an adventure on an old path. Step by step you will see the change of ecological floors, you will be able to feel the difference of climates and heights as well as the faces of your companions together towards the same destination.
Also during this trek you will explore the Thermal Baths of Lares, that are one of these thermomedicinal resources that you will be able to enjoy when going through this trek. These thermal baths, as the name suggests, are located in the district of Lares, which is located in the province of Calca. The Thermal Baths of Lares are formed by a group of four swimming pools. These are fed by waters that are temperate to different degrees. The temperature of Lares thermal pools fluctuates between 36 ° C and 44 ° C Definitely the best trek if you are looking for a time to realx and explore.