Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek 7 Days

Visit the lost ancient cities of both Choquequirao and Machu Picchu on one epic adventure. Trek along an Inca trail for 5 days, explore ruins along the way and camp out underneath the stars suspended high on tetering mountains while cloud forest mist forms around you. This is the real deal, back country Chaski territory. We'll use mules, cook over fire and explore this lesser-known area where tourism is limited to those who dare to venture. We'll traverse 2 rivers, 2 mountain ranges and climb switchbacks from the pueblo of Cachora to Yanama, then transfer to Santa Teresa by car followed by a 2 hr walk to Machu Picchu.


Duration
Difficulty
Trekking Distance
Total Distance
Min Elev.
Max Elev.
Max Elev. Chg
Type
To Do

7 Days 6 Nights
3.5 of 5
36km/22.4mi
99km/61.5mi
1400m/4593ft
4108m/13480ft
1600m/5249ft
Camping/Hotel
Hiking Rivers Ruins

Overview

Day 1    Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina
From Cusco we take a car 4 hrs to Cachora where we begin our trek ending the day at the Apurimac river and campsite at Playa Rosalina (1,400m/4,921ft).

Day 2    Marampata - Choquequirao
Difficult hike from Playa Rosalina (1400m/4593ft) up to Choquequirao ruins and Campsite (3,000m/10,006ft).

Day 3    Choquequirao Ruins - Pinchiunuyoc Ruins
We head behind Choquequirao and down switchbacks to our next campsite at the Pinchiunuyoc Ruins overlooking the Rio Blanco.

Day 4    Pinchi Unuyoc - Rio Blanco - Maizal
We continue downhill to the river then up again until we reach Maizal (3032m/9946ft).

Day 5    Maizal - Yanama Pass - Yanama
We climb until we reach the Yanama Pass at 4108m/13480ft then down to Yanama and our last campsite.

Day 6    Yanama - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes
We take a beautiful van ride over the Totora Pass and down through jungle to Santa Teresa and Hidroelectrica followed by a 2 hr walk to Aguas Calientes and our hotel.

Day 7    Machu Picchu - Train to Ollantaytambo - Cusco
This morning we take a bus up to Machu Picchu for a 2 hr guided tour followed by 2 hrs of free time. Afterwards we return to Aguas Calientes to catch a train to Ollantaytambo then transfer to Cusco arriving at night.

Itinerary

Day 1    Cusco - Cachora - Playa Rosalina
5 a.m we leave Cusco and arrive at Cachora town at 10 am. Here after we arrange our equipment on mules we will observe the majestic Padrayoc snow covered peaks. The hike on this first day is 22km/14mi. On the way we will observe Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora snowfields, the Capuliyoc mirador and a beautiful mountainous descent towards the Apurimac river reaching "Playa Rosalina" campsite (1550m/5085ft) in Santa Rosa.

6 hrs

Full Day's Trek
Trek down switchbacks from Cachora to our campsite on the Apurimac river.

Tent - Catered

Playa Rosalina Campsite
Tents and Camping Equipment Provided

Meals LD

Optional

Extra Mule
Rent an extra mule if considering riding more than walking. Note that mules cannot carry riders going down steep inclines.

Day 2    Marampata - Choquequirao
Early morning at 5 am we continue our hike up to the pueblo of Marampata followed by Choquequirao. Arriving to Choquequirao after 5 hours, we will observe the three levels of the excavated ruins where we can appreciate houses, terraces and other parts of this late Inca-town such as the ruins currently being excavated. We'll also visit areas still unexplored which can tell us more about this last refuge of the oppressed Inca empire. Approximately at 3 pm in the afternoon (depends of the weather) we can appreciate Condors in flight. Our next campsite is at Choquequirao.

6 hrs

Full Day's Trek
Today's hike is somewhat difficult but very rewarding with incredible views of neighboring canyons and distant waterfalls.

Tent - Catered

Choquequirao Campsite
Tents and Camping Equipment Provided

Meals BLD

Day 3    Choquequirao Ruins - Pinchiunuyoc Ruins
This morning after a hearty breakfast we'll explore the ruins of Choquequirao. We'll learn about the significance of the Inca's construction of double niches and window placement. We'll visit the main plaza, Haran, Pikiwasi and Llama sector. If time allows some may go downhill to see the overgrown Agricultural Sector where a lonely house of stone faces a waterfall. After lunch we'll continue on further up and over to Choquequirao's backside, mirador and finally arriving at more ruins and Pinchiunuyoc 2427m/7963ft where we will have dinner at the ruins and make our campsite for the night.

3 hrs

Guided Tour of Choquequirao
1.5 hr guided tour of Choquequirao followed by 1.5 hrs free time

5 hrs

Full Day's Trek
Mostly downhill trek with panoramic views of the Apurimac and Rio Blanco rivers.

Tent - Catered

Pinchiunuyoc Ruins Campsite
Tents and Camping Equipment Provided

Meals BLD

Day 4    Pinchi Unuyoc - Rio Blanco - Maizal
Leaving Pinchi Unuyoc we'll descend to 1869m/6134ft and the Rio Blanco, "White River" named for the continual whitewater breaking over boulders. We can cool off in pristine clean water and rest a while before beginning another uphill hike. This day is very similar to our first day climbing to Choquequirao. We'll soon find ourselves in the Bosque Relicto "Relic Forest" where it is possible to find wild fruits such as tomatillos, bean pods, vibrant butterflies and even Walking Stick insects. Long sleeves work best here. Soon we pass through this ecological niche and find ourselves again heading for the clouds until we reach Maizal at 3032m/9946ft and a crop field "Chacra" of corn "Choclo" or "Maize". There we will find our host for the night "Zacarias" who lives here with his 2 dogs, 3 kittens and 5 Cuys. He may invite us into his adobe "cocina" and woodfire kitchen to offer us a mix of his freshly picked choclo and maize. Night camping on any 1 of his many terraces. The view here tonight from your tent is surreal and it feels like sleeping in the clouds when the mist moves in and becomes lit by the moon "Mama Quilla".

5 hrs

Full Day's Trek
Today we trek down to the river then up again on established trails.

Tent - Catered

Maizal Campsite
Tents and Camping Equipment Provided

Meals BLD

Day 5    Maizal - Yanama Pass - Yanama
This morning we are more than welcome to help Zacarias scare off big green parrots from the choclo fields. Then after breakfast we'll again head upwards through cloud forest finding blast mines along the way. We'll reach the pass at 4108 m/13480ft around lunch time where we can relax and take in the panorama. Then we'll begin a 2 hr descent to Yanama 3547m/11638ft, again passing by mines cut straight into the mountain. The views here are more crisp at this higher "Altiplano" elevation. We leave behind the humid jungle setting and embrace for a colder night near a campfire and we can see that Yanama gets pure glacier water and excellent pressure. This night marks the end of our difficult portion of the trek. Tonight we can celebrate with a soda or beer from the nearby tienda. Night camping with full/basic facilities.

5 hrs

Full Day's Trek
Today we trek up to the Yanama Pass (4108m/13480ft) then down again to the Yanama pueblo.

Tent - Catered

Yanama Campsite
Tent camping and celebration of your accomplishment.

Meals BLD

Optional

Feast
Celebratory sheep or pig dinner.

Day 6    Yanama - Hidroelectrica - Aguas Calientes
Today we begin with a passenger van ride through altiplano backcountry ~4 hrs. We'll first head up he valley to the Totora Pass where we may have to do some light maintenance where the river intersects with the road. This is a nice break from the duration and gives us a chance to snap photos of the surrounding landscape. After crossing the pass by car we head down towards Totora where it becomes greener and warmer. We continue by car through Colcalpampa (Salkantay Trek intersection) and down into jungle, watching the Santa Teresa River wind it's way along the road. Finally we reach Santa Teresa around 11 am and take a transfer with our backpacks to the Hydroelectric station "Hidroelectrica". After a short 10 min ride we begin a 2 hr walk along flat ground a follow the tracks until we reach Aguas Calientes early afternoon. Soon we're checked in to our hotel, cleaned up and ready to explore this very touristic town. Dinner is included at Toto's House on the river. Please be there at 7 pm for Toto's Special and a briefing on the next day's tour of Machu Picchu. Night in Hotel.

4 hrs

Bus to Hidroelectrica
See more of the countryside from Yanama up through the Totora Pass (4500m/14763ft) to Totora and Santa Teresa.

Hostal

Accommodation
Basic Hostal in Aguas Calientes

Meals BLD

Optional

Additional Day's Trek
Continue your journey on foot through the Totora Pass (4500m/14763ft) to the pueblo and campsite of Totora.

Day 7    Machu Picchu - Train to Ollantaytambo - Cusco
Today we visit Machu Picchu. We'll begin by bus until we reach he entrance. After we meet up with our guide we'll tour these ruins for 2 hrs followed by 2 hrs Free Time to explore or take photos. Around noon we'll descend again to Aguas Calientes where we are on our own for lunch until our train departure time. We'll also have Free Time to see Aguas Calientes before we embark on a 1.5 hr train ride through the Peruvian jungle and along the Urubamba "Vilvcanota" river. After reaching Ollantaytambo your bus transfer will be waiting at the station ready to take you back to Cusco arriving at night.

3 hrs

Guided tour of Machu Picchu
1.5 hr guided tour of Machu Picchu followed by 1.5 hrs free time

1.5 hrs

Train Ride
Experience an uphill train ride through Peruvian jungle along the Urubamba river.

Meals B (Boxed Lunch)

Optional

Bus Tickets up to Machu Picchu
If feeling tired from the trek, choose the bus to Machu Picchu instead of the 1.5 - 2 hr hike up.

Train Upgrade
Ride the Vistadome or Hiram Bingham train

Huayna Picchu
Climb to a unique and picturesque viewpoint above Machu Picchu * Book 3 months in advance!

Montaña
Get a unique view of Machu Picchu from a neighboring mountain which offers the best possible photo opportunity of Machu Picchu.

Group Size Price/Person Group Type Extras
2 $1070 Private --
3 $848 Private --
4 $805 Private --
5 $735 Private --
6 $670 Private --
7 $625 Private --
8 $600 Private --
9 $590 Private --
10 $585 Private --
11 $566 Private --
12 $550 Private --

Included Not Included
* Pickup from your Hotel and transfer to Cachora
* Entrance Tickets to Choquequirao
* Entrance Tickets to Machu Picchu
* Chef and Cooking Equipment
* Meals - 6B / 6L / 6D
* Vegetarian Food (Optional)
* All Camping Equipment
* First Aid Kit and Oxygen Bottle
* Bilingual Professional Guide
* Hostal in Aguas Calientes
* Dinner at Toto's House in Aguas Calientes
* Train Ticket Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
* Transfer Ollantaytambo - Cusco
* Sleeping Bag
* First Day's Breakfast
* Last Day's Lunch or Dinner
* Bus Tickets up to Machu Picchu
* Hot Springs in Santa Teresa ($3)

To Bring Optional
* Original Passport
* Sleeping Bag
* A Backpack with a Change of Clothes
* Raincoat or Poncho
* Trekking or Sport Shoes
* Warm Clothes, Jacket/Sweaters
* Flashlight and Batteries
* Camera, Film and Extra Batteries
* Hat or Cap and Sunblock
* Insect Repellent
* Toilet Paper
* Snacks
* Water Bottle
* Swimsuit (Hot Springs)
* Cash in Soles and US$
* Binoculars