Grade

Challenging

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek: 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, and it’s possible to also include Machu Picchu as part of the trek route.

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
Cusco - Cachora - Chikiska
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.
  • Start Elevation: 2900m / 9514ft.
  • Max Elevation: 2945m / 9648ft.
  • Approximate Walking time: 6 hrs
  • Distance travelled: 19km / 11.80 ml
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Chikiska
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 2
Chikiska 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 Maranpata. 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.
  • Start Elevation: 2847m / 9340ft
  • Max Elevation: 3100m / 10170ft.
  • Approximate Walking time: 8 hours
  • Distance travelled: 14km / 8.69 ml
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight:Choquequirao
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3
Explore 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 Maizal
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
Maizal to Yanama, then drive to Lucmabamba
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 before driving over the Totora pass to the village of Lucmabamba.
  • Accommodation: Camping
  • Overnight: Lucmabamba
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 6
Lucmabamba - Llactapata Aguas Calientes
On your last day of hiking, you’ll walk from your campsite in Lucmabamba 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. From here, 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, check in to your hotel and relax. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep for an early start to see Machu Picchu at dawn.
  • Overnight: Aguas Calientes
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 7
Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco
Get an early start to beat the crowds and get the best views of the ancient ruins. 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 7,970ft (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. Built as a seasonal residence for the Inca family, Machu Picchu was rarely home to more than 800 people, and during the royals' absence, a mere 100 servants would remain at the site to maintain the grounds. Machu Picchu was abandoned 100 years after construction due to the Spanish conquest and remained largely hidden to the outside world until the early 20th century. 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 for lunch and then board the train to Ollantaytambo. Upon arrival in Ollantaytambo, transfer to a vehicle for your transfer back to Cusco.
  • Overnight: Cusco
  • Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Price includes

  • Briefing one day before the trek
  • Collection from your hotel in the morning of the trek departure.
  • 3 nutritious meals per day (vegetarian options available)
  • Drinking water along the trek
  • Bilingual guide (Assistant Guide for groups over 6 passengers).
  • Chef (assistant chef for larger groups).
  • Quadruple tents to be used by two people, allowing more comfort and more space to store backpacks
  • Mules (for equipment and personal items) and muleteers
  • Inflatable mattresses
  • Sleeping liner and pillow.
  • Saddled horse in case of emergencies or if you are making very little progress (this horse is with the group at all time)
  • First aid kit and oxygen bottle
  • Kitchen tent and dining tent with camp tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent
  • Duffel bags (up to 7Kg/15lbs per person). This will be provided by your guide at your briefing.
  • All entrance tickets for Choquequirao & Machu Picchu
  • One night Hostel in Aguas Calientes
  • Return Train to Cusco & bus tickets for Aguas Calientes
 

Price excludes

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Sleeping bag. If you don’t want to bring your own, we can hire this for you.
  • Tips for guides and field staff.

Tour Info

Breakfast x 6 Lunch x 7 Dinner x 5 Private Transport – collection & drop-off 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
Hotels before & after (can be organised as part of trip) Tips for crew Domestic flights (can be organised as part of trip) 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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Salkantay Trek

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