Grade

Difficult

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu: This 65 km trek takes you through lush jungles, deep canyons, and many snow-capped peaks along the way to Machu Picchu. If you’re in for a great Peru adventure, this is one of the most beautiful treks in the Cusco Region.

The Inca city is situated in the vast landscape of the Vilcabamba Range above the Apurimac River Canyon. Thick forest has covered this Inca site for many years and it has only been discovered in relatively recent times.

Choquequirao was the dwelling of the last rebel Incas of Vilcabamba and similar to Machu Picchu, it is thought that the Spanish never discovered it. This is a challenging trek traversing different ecosystems; it’s possible to do this route in 7 days by just exploring Choquequirao in the morning on day 3 and then continuing.

There are amazing views of the Vilcabamba Range and the trail descends deep into the Apurimac Canyon, which makes this a truly magnificent hike.

The main ruins of this trek — Choquequirao, Llactapata, & Machu Picchu — all have their own distinct features and functions. The Incas built an all encompassing trail system spanning these sites and the whole of the Sacred Valley, making for a detailed and adventurous trek.

Highlights

  • Experience the ancient ruins of Choquequirao, “Sister City” of Machu Picchu
  • Pass through the recently-uncovered ruins of Picha Unuyoc
  • Descend down to the Rio Blanco for a refreshing dip in the river
  • Climb the Abra San Juan pass (4150m) with views of Cordillera Vilcabamba
  • Finish the trek at Machu Picchu, and explore the ruins at sunrise
Trek Facts
Trek min. duration 7 days
Max. elevation 4,650m (15,260 ft)
Start/finish Cusco/Cusco
Difficulty Challenging
Best season Late Spring/Early Fall
Sleeping Camping
Day 1
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Cusco to Chiquisca
Drive from your hotel in Cusco to the rustic Cachora village where your trek will begin. After having lunch, start your trek by following a switchback trail down into the Apurimac canyon. You’ll stay the night in Chikiska, a small mountainside settlement with beautiful views down into the Apurimac valley. Accommodation: Camping
Overnight: Chikiska
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 2
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Chiquisca to Choquequirao
Depart from your campsite at Chikiska and continue your trek across the Apurimac River and pass through the communities of Santa Rosa and Marampata. The steep path passes through territory which can get humid and hot depending on the season. One of the more strenuous days, with dramatic views of the canyon as you approach the ruins of Choquequirao. In the evening, we will arrive at our campsite, located right near the ruins of Choquequirao.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Choquequirao
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Day at Choquequirao
After breakfast at your campsite, head out to visit the ruins. With few other tourists around, explore the main plaza, ritual bath, and inlaid stone llamas at the ruins of Choquequirao. The site sits atop a hill rising 1,600m above the Apurimac and was hidden from the Spanish for centuries until Bingham stumbled upon it before Machu Picchu. The site is yet to be completely excavated, with much of it still shrouded by jungle and cloud forest. In the evening, return to your campsite near the Choquequirao ruins.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Choquequirao
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Choquequirao to Mayisal
Get ready for the toughest day of the trek. You’ll start by trekking 1,400m downhill from your campsite near Choquequirao to the newly uncovered ruins of Picha Unuyoc, then down to Rio Blanco where you can dip your feet in the refreshing water. You’ll then climb 1,200m back up to Maizal, a beautiful campsite at 3,000 m.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Maizal
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 5
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Mayisal to Yanama
Depart from your campsite in Maizal and hike past long-lost silver mines through the Abra San Juan mountain pass to the highest point of the trek at 4,150m. From here, you’ll have breathtaking views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba range, then you’ll descend down to the village of Yanama. Overnight Camp
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Yanama
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Yanama to Totoru
You'll wake up early and have breakfast. On this particular day you'll discover parts of an original Inca trail. Ascending uphill for about 4 to 5 hours and then a further 6 hours descending, so it will be a long day. Also passing through the Abra Minas Victoria, a pass between the mountains before ending up in Totoru. Totoru is a small town where camp is setup.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Totoru
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Totoru to Santa Teresa
On your last day of hiking, you’ll walk from your campsite through fields and cloud forests along an imperial Inca trail. Llactapata is a small, beautiful set of ruins hidden in the wilderness with a view across to  Machu Picchu. Soon you'll arrive at the small town of Santa Teresa, here you can take hot baths to relax after a long trek.
  • Overnight: Santa Teresa - Camping
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 8
Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek - Hydroelectric train to Machu Picchu & Tour
Machu Picchu Travel: From Santa Teresa, you’ll continue down to the Hydroelectric power station, where you can either take a train or hike to the town of Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival, mid morning you'll be in good time for the afternoon entrance to Machu Picchu, which is a quieter and more serene time to visit. From Aguas Calientes, it's an easy 25-minute bus ride up to the Machu Picchu ruins. This 15th-century Inca citadel is located at 7,970 ft (2,430 m) and is a masterpiece of engineering that served as a sanctuary and retreat for the Incan Emperor Pachacutec and his royal court. Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain," is considered a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. Your guide will lead you around the site and explain the different buildings and curious corners of the building complex. Approximately one-third of the site has been reconstructed into its original structure, giving visitors a sense for the grandeur and artistry of the original citadel. After the tour, take the bus back to Aguas Calientes ready for the return train journey back to Cusco early in the evening.
  • Overnight: Cusco
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Tour Info

Breakfast x 7
Lunch x 8
Dinner x 7
Private Transport – collection & drop-off for all tours and airport transfers
Professional bilingual guide
Cook
Horsemen & mules
All camping equipment (Sleeping bags to hire + Walking sticks)
Entrance to Machu Picchu & return trip bus tickets to Aguas Calientes
Accommodation in Aguas Calientes x 1 night
Train tickets to Cusco
Accomodation in Cusco/Lima/Sacred Valley x 7 nights (3-4*)
Domestic flights from Lima to Cusco (Return trip)
Extension trips to Machu Picchu
Tips for crew
Any additional extras
There will be a pre-trek briefing held usually the evening before departure, at your hotel, to go over the details of the trek and any specific requirements not already captured
Prior to setting off we recommend you steer clear of street food and only eat in good restaurants, to avoid any stomach complaints. Peruvian food can be spicy, it can be strong and rich for many European diets. Likewise with tap water, it is largely untreated, so please avoid at all costs on arrival and stick to bottled water only or sterilised water if you have the right equipment.
We’ll ensure that we cater for all of your dietary needs, at the point of booking we’ll collect this information from you. We can secure special menu requests also for your trek party.
We are able to customise our treks to suit you, but usually our treks are guided by a professional bilingual guide, arriero (horseman) and mules to carry all equipment (passenger horses also available on request), and a mountain cook. They become a large part of your trekking expedition and it’s a great experience working together.
This is a really important part of your trip planning process, please find a link below which explains a little more about preparing for altitude.
Attached below are a couple of links which will explain how to prepare for your trip & trek in advance of your arrival. We recommend being prepared in advance to save time & stress whilst you’re in Peru.

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Lunch: 12pm - 1pm
RUC: 20602741029



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