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Choquequirao to Machu Picchu 9D/8N

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu: A Journey Through Inca Legends

Delve into the heart of the Cusco Region on the iconic Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu, a path frequently traveled by adventurers seeking the essence of ancient Inca heritage. Perched on a secluded hilltop and shielded by expansive canyons and robust rivers, the enigmatic Inca city of Choquequirao awaits discovery.

This trek isn’t just a walk but a passage through time. Embark on a path the legendary explorer Hiram Bingham paved in the early 19th century. As an exhilarating alternative to the classic Inca Trail, this journey brings you closer to the heart of Inca civilization.

With the support of seasoned horse riders and the steadfastness of mules, tread along age-old Inca pathways. Spanning across the majestic Vilcabamba mountain range, the trek takes you from the whispering banks of the Apurimac River to the serene flow of the Urubamba River, passing through awe-inspiring Inca sanctuaries like Choquequirao, Llactapata, and the world-renowned Machu Picchu.

Navigate through desolate canyons and ascend challenging mountain passes. Along the way, be mesmerized by the rich tapestry of flora and fauna adorning this 58 km trail. Heralded as one of Peru’s most striking and diverse treks, this journey is an ode to nature’s splendor and the indomitable spirit of the Inca empire.

DAY 1: CUSCO TO CHIQUISKA VIA CAPULIYOC

Embark on the first leg of your journey with our skilled trekking team and your personal guide, who will meet you at your hotel. Traveling for the next four hours, you’ll journey through picturesque farm villages, witnessing abundant plantations of potatoes, vegetables, avocados, and fruits, particularly in the Limatambo and Curahuasi Valley regions.

Midway, you’ll pause at Capuliyoc for a refreshing lunch. This location offers more than just a meal stop—it’s a vantage point, providing breathtaking views of the expansive Apurimac Canyon, the meandering Apurimac River, and a distant yet captivating view of Choquequirao.

Post-lunch, lace up your hiking boots as the adventure truly begins. Today’s four-hour trek on a stone-laden path will take you to Chiquiska camp. As you walk, the vastness of the Apurimac Canyon will unfold before you. Meals included: Lunch, Dinner.

Pro-tip: Ensuring the right gear is paramount. Invest in quality hiking shoes and superior socks to prevent blisters during the trek.

Altitude: Capuliyoc 2800 m/8900 ft to Chiquiska camp 2000 m./6000 ft., Distance: 12 km, Time: 4 to 5 hours.

DAY 2: CHIQUISKA TO CHOQUEQUIRAO VIA MARANPATA

With the dawn’s early light and a nutritious breakfast fueling us, we’ll begin our journey downward to Playa Rosalina. Here, we’ll encounter the mighty Apurimac River, one of the grandest rivers in the Peruvian Andes that finds its way to the vast Atlantic Ocean. Upon crossing this natural marvel, brace yourself for an invigorating five-hour ascent to Marampata

This spot offers more than just a lunch break—it’s an elevated nook offering panoramic views of the Apurimac canyons and neighboring areas, including the quaint Huanipaca village.

Post-lunch, our trek continues with undulating trails leading us to the Choquequirao base camp. While today’s trail boasts a challenging climb, the verdant bamboo vegetation provides a soothing backdrop. And if fortune favors, you might even glimpse the elusive Andean spectacled bear along the way.

Altitude: from 1600 to 3000mtrs. Distance: 16 km. Time: 8 to 9 hours.

DAY 3: DISCOVER CHOQUEQUIRAO & TREK TO PINCHIUNUYOC

Your morning is dedicated to unveiling the mysteries of the hidden Inca city, CHOQUEQUIRAO. Guided by our knowledgeable expert, you’ll be taken through the city’s most significant landmarks: from ceremonial spaces and living quarters to the distinctive agricultural terraces adorned with llama figures. After a thorough exploration and personal downtime, you’ll regroup for a hearty lunch.

Post-lunch, the day’s adventure continues with a brief 30-minute ascent, followed by a two-hour descent through dense, vibrant vegetation on a stone-paved trail. Our destination is Pinchiunuyoc, where we’ll set up camp for the evening. While the locale is naturally warm, a nearby pristine water stream offers a refreshing respite for travelers.

Altitude: Choquequirao 3000 m/9500fts. Pinchiunuyoc 2100 m./6600 ft., Distance: 8 km, Time: 3 hours.

DAY 4: JOURNEY FROM PINCHIUNUYOC TO MAIZAL

Kickstart the day with a wholesome breakfast before embarking on a two-hour descent to Rio Blanco. As you tread the stone path, you’ll be enveloped by the rich tapestry of flora and fauna adorning the verdant landscape. 

Upon reaching the Rio Blanco River, embrace the opportunity to rejuvenate with a dip in the glacier-fed waters—a particularly welcome respite on sun-drenched days.

Recharged, you’ll begin a four-hour ascent, traversing through the enchanting native bamboo forests, culminating at the Maizal camp, where lunch awaits. Here in Maizal, serenity reigns. Home to just two families who’ve lived amidst this beauty for generations, it’s a perfect vantage point to witness the captivating dance of dawn and dusk against the majestic mountain backdrop.

Altitude: 2100 m./6600 ft. / to Maizal 3000 m/9500 ft., Distance: 14 km, Time: 6 to 7 hrs.

DAY 5: FROM MAIZAL TO THE YANAMA COMMUNITY

Begin the day with a nourishing breakfast before setting out on an uphill trek. As you hike through lush forests and native trees, the trail reveals its muddy and wet nature. We highly recommend wearing gaiters for this portion to ensure comfort and protection. 

Your climb culminates at the San Juan pass, standing tall at 4,100 meters. Here, treat yourself to a panorama that captures the essence of the Vilcabamba mountain range, highlighted by the majestic Pumasillo glacier. And if fortune smiles upon you, a rare sighting of the Andean Condor might just grace your journey.

Post-lunch and some leisurely moments to absorb the views, embark on a two-hour descent, leading you to the heart of the Yanama community. You’ll camp and rest for the night here amidst the welcoming locals.

Altitude: 3000 m/9500 ft. to Yanama 35000mts/11000 ft., Distance: 15 km, Time: 7 to 8 hours.

DAY 6: FROM YANAMA TO TOTORA

Embark on what promises to be the most exhilarating day of your trek. The stunning Vilcabamba mountain range unfurls beside you as you weave through trails. Your journey reaches its pinnacle at the Yanama Pass, standing impressively at 4,600 meters (approximately 14,600 feet). From this vantage, the grandeur of the Salkantay and Humantay snow-capped peaks emerge, offering nothing short of breathtaking vistas.

After soaking in the views and a moment of respite, we’ll transition to a winding trail that descends into the heart of the Totora Valley. Your day’s adventure culminates in the quaint village of Totora, which will be your haven for the night.

Altitude. 3500mts/11000fts. Totora 3400mts/10800fts, Distance: 22 km, Time: 8 to 10hrs.

DAY 7: TOTORA TO LUCMABAMBA VIA LUSH PATHWAYS

Embrace a day where nature’s transitions are as palpable as the path beneath your feet. As you move forward, witness the ecosystem’s transformation from the lofty Andean peaks to the verdant expanse of the cloud forest, culminating in a tropical setting.

Following breakfast, we’ll begin our descent, journeying for two hours through the Totora Valley until reaching Colpapampa. This village serves as the second-night campsite for those trekking the classic Salkantay route. The trail continues with a blend of ascents and descents, with the cloud forest showcasing its botanical wonders – from vibrant begonias and orchids to a myriad of butterflies and birds. 

Our path meanders past farms laden with avocado and granadilla (a relative of passion fruit) until we reach Granadillayoc. From here, transportation will whisk us to our campsite in Lucmabamba, situated at approximately 2,000 meters.

Lucmabamba offers an intriguing exploration—it’s a farming village primarily known for its coffee cultivation. Immerse in the fragrances of a tropical forest, and for caffeine aficionados, this becomes a haven to savor some of Peru’s finest organic coffee. As the day winds down, you have an optional activity to consider: a visit to the soothing waters of the Cocalmayo Hot Springs, available at an additional cost.

Altitude: 3400mts/10800fts. Lucmabamba 2000mts/6300fts, Distance: 20 km, Time: 8 to 9 hrs.

DAY 8: JOURNEY FROM LUCMABAMBA TO AGUAS CALIENTES

Greet the dawn with an early breakfast, energizing for the day’s adventure. Our path today includes a three-hour climb to Qelloqasa, perched at an elevation of 2,700m (8,586ft). Here, you’re rewarded with an unparalleled vista of the iconic Inca citadel, Machu Picchu, albeit from a unique perspective.

Your journey doesn’t pause here. We’ll meander downwards to the Llaptapata archaeological site. This vantage allows views of both Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu mountains. After an insightful rest and guided explanation, our trail descends further, making its way to the Aobamba River. 

As you traverse this lush terrain dotted with avocado and coffee plantations, keep an eye out for the vibrantly colored cock of the rocks, Peru’s national bird.

Upon reaching the Machu Picchu hydroelectric plant, we’ll pause for lunch and bid adieu to our dedicated trekking crew. The day concludes with a scenic 45-minute train ride to Aguas Calientes, where you’ll be escorted to your chosen hotel for a well-deserved night’s rest.

Trekking distance: 18 km, Time: 7 to 8 hours, Highest point: 2700 m/8,586ft.

Altitude: 2000 to 2000 meters above sea level.

DAY 9: EXPLORING MACHU PICCHU & RETURN TO CUSCO CITY

Following breakfast, your guide will escort you on a brief bus ride to the gates of the illustrious Machu Picchu. Immerse yourself in the history and wonder of this majestic Inca city. Over the next three hours, unravel the mysteries of its construction and discovery under the expert guidance of your tour guide.

After the guided tour, free time allows you to meander through the ruins. If you’ve secured a ticket for Wayna Picchu, this is the moment to embark on that climb.

Note: Wayna Picchu permits are limited to 400 visitors daily. It’s crucial to book in advance with us to guarantee your entry.

As afternoon shades into evening, we’ll regroup in the vibrant town of Aguas Calientes. Our journey back to Cusco involves a train ride, either to Ollantaytambo or Poroy, depending on availability, followed by private transportation that ensures your comfortable return to your Cusco hotel.

Tour: Choquequirao to Machu Picchu 9D/8N
Type: Alternative Treks
Duration: 9D/8N
Difficulty: Challenging
Location: Vilcabamba mountain
Destinations: Vilcabamba mountain, Choquequirao, Llactapata, Machu Picchu, Limatambo, Qelloqasa,Cocalmayo Hot Springs, Lucmabamba, Colpapampa, Totora Valley, Yanama community, Pumasillo glacier, Curahuasi, Capuliyoc, Apurimac Canyon, Playa Rosalina, Apurimac River, Marampata, Pinchiunuyoc,  Rio Blanco River, Maizal,  San Juan pass, Aguas Calientes, Ollantaytambo, Cusco, Poroy

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