Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek

Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek 

Journey to a set of newly excavated Inca ruins that are 3X the size of Machu Picchu, followed by a difficult trek through the Andes to Machu Picchu.
Activity Level: 5  | Duration: 8 days, 7 nights | Group Size: 2-16 | Price: $1100

Overview

Kusa Treks is honored to be one of the first trekking companies to take adventurers to Choquequirao. Choquequirao is a newly uncovered set of Inca Ruins, similar to Machu Picchu.

Four things set Choquequirao apart from Machu Picchu:
   1. It is more difficult to access
   2. Because of #1 It is infinitely less crowded than Machu Picchu
   3. Treks to Choquequirao are relatively new
   4. It is 3X larger than Machu Picchu!

This trek will start with a hike to Choquequirao where you will be one of the first people to tour these ruins. From Choquequirao you will have 4 very difficult days of hiking through the Andes to Machu Picchu.

The hike will have extreme elevation changes. Upon completing the hike, you will spend the last night in Aguas Calientes, the quaint town below Machu Picchu. The last day you will tour the amazing Machu Picchu. 

Trip Highlights

  • Voted as Lonely Planet's #1 destination in 2017!
  • Hike on a path built by the Incas 
  • Includes 1 night of camping on Inca ruins
  • Be one of the first people to tour Choquequirao 
  • This trek also visits Machu Picchu

Activities

  • Difficult Hiking
  • Scenery
  • Wildlife
  • Cultural Experiences 

Accommodations

  • Kusa Treks camp for 7 nights
  • 3-star hotel in Aguas Calientes for 1 night
Elevation Map

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

TRANSPORTATION
All transportation for the trek.
This includes: 
   - Private van pickup from your hotel in Cusco to start of hike
   - Private van drop-off at your hotel in Cusco
FOOD
All food is provided. In fact, we'll be hiking with a professional chef! Our chef and his staff will cook you some of the best meals you've ever eaten, and they'll do it in the middle of the Andes. Please notify our staff of any food allergies or restrictions, and we will ensure that the food is prepared properly.

NOTE: All of the meals prepared by our chef are made with locally sourced, organic ingredients. 
WATER
Your guides will supply all of the water you'll need on the trek. The water will first be boiled, filtered and then cooled. You will need to bring a container for the water (Camelback, Nalgene, etc.). We recommend carrying at least 2L of water. Your water containers will be refilled at each meal.

Please ensure that your water containers are filled when you leave the hotel on Day 1 to begin the trek. Our staff will provide clean water for the rest of the trek. 

NOTE: As a company that strives for 100% sustainability, we highly encourage our clients to bring "permanent" water containers made of metal or hard plastic. We discourage the use of cheap plastic water bottles that can be harmful to the Peruvian environment.
PROFESSIONAL GUIDES
Kusa Treks strives for greatness and this begins and ends with our people. All of our Lead and Assistant Guides are locals to this region and studied Tourism and/or Archaeology in University. They are all fluent in English and are passionate about their work. Trust us when we say, there is no better person to be on a trip with than a Kusa Treks guide. You will be in incredible hands!
PERMITS & TICKETS
Once you pay the trip deposit, we will purchase your hiking permits as well as your entrance tickets for Choquequirao. The government issues this permit in your name, under your passport number, and for a specific time-frame. They cannot be changed once confirmed, which is why the initial deposit is non-refundable and nontransferable after 24 hours. 
MEDICAL EMERGENCY
Alright, emergency sounds a bit dramatic. However, you can be confident in your Lead Guide and his staff. All of Kusa Trek's guides receive extensive First Aid training from a qualified and licensed physician, and we conduct mandatory review/training sessions twice a year.

Your Lead Guide will carry a Hiking First Aid kit (including oxygen), and should the need arise we will get you off of the trail and to a medical facility as quickly and comfortably as possible. *We have never had to evacuate a hiker.*

Note: Please bring whatever personal medication, such as prescriptions, that you know you will need. Our staff will be prepared with a general emergency kit, but personal medication is your responsibly. 
SUPPORT STAFF
In addition to your incredible guides, this trek requires a support staff including: chef, assistant chef, horse master and porters. We started Kusa Treks for several reasons, one of which was to provide living-wage jobs for local Peruvians.

We employ individuals passionate about Peru's culture and nature and who want to share their incredible country with our clients. You will be absolutely amazed at how hard these people work to provide you with an incredible trip.

NOTE: This trek includes a personal porter in the price. 
EQUIPMENT
Your tents are provided. They are comfortable, roomy and cozy. We provide a 4-man tent for every 2 people (unless otherwise specified).

We also provide a foam sleeping mat throughout the trek. 

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED:

ADDITIONAL EQUIPMENT
We have high quality equipment you can rent:
   - Sleeping Bag: $25
   - Inflatable Air Mattress (Therm-a-Rest): $15
   - Trekking Poles (2): $20
   - Personal Tent: $35
   - Hiking Backpack: $20

NOTES:
   - Rental prices are in USD and are for the duration of the entire trek. 
   - If you decide not to rent, you are responsible for providing this equipment.
INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS
The Choquequirao Trek begins and ends in Cusco, Peru, You are responsible for getting to Cusco. We do offer a flight booking service, and the price for international flights will depend on origin city, time of travel and preferred class of cabin. If you are interested in having us book your flights, please inform our team at the time of booking.
HOTEL(S) IN CUSCO
We include accommodations you will need for the 8 days and 7 nights of this trek. We highly recommend that you arrive to Cusco at least 2 full days before starting a trek to ensure proper acclimation to the high elevation.

You are responsible for booking your own hotels in Cusco before and after the trek. Here is a list of our recommendations.

As with flights, we do offer a hotel booking service. The price for hotels in Cusco will depend on your preferred class of hotel. If you are interested in having us book your hotels, please inform our team at the time of booking.

Pricing:

GROUP TREK PRICE: $1,100
A "group trek" means you will be paired with other people. 

PRIVATE TREK PRICES:
A "private trek" is just your group and our guides. 
2 - 3 People: $1,600
4 - 6 People: $1,495
7 - 9 People: $1,300
9+ People: $1,100

PRICES ARE PER PERSON AND IN U.S. DOLLARS ($)

NOTE: We require a minimum of 2 people to guarantee a trip start date.  For solo travelers, we will do everything possible to pair you with an existing group on, or close to, your preferred start date. In the event that we do not have a group doing your desired trip during the dates you are available, we can find a “partner company” to pair you with.

CHOQUEQUIRAO TO MACHU PICCHU Itinerary 

High Level Itinerary:

DAY 1: The Journey Begins!

Pick up from your hotel in Cusco at 5AM. 3.5 hour drive to the trail head. 8-9 hours of hiking through beautiful scenery to the first campsite.

DAY 2: A Difficult Uphill Hike to Reach Choquequirao.

Early start with an uphill hike up a mountain. Choquequirao is at the top of the hike. Camp right on the ruins of Choquequirao.

DAY 3: Explore Choquequirao and Then…the Hard Part Begins!

Spend the morning exploring the vast Inca city of Choquequirao. Hike downhill and then uphill to reach campsite.

DAY 4: Difficult Hike and High Altitude, but Beautiful!

Difficult day, hiking uphill. Absolutely beautiful day of hiking. The weather will colder as the elevation continues to increase.

DAY 5: Another Difficult Day of Hiking. Reach the Peak of the Trek. Finally, Some Downhill.

Uphill hike in the morning. Reach the highest point of the trek in the early afternoon (Yanama’s Pass, 15,315ft., 4,668m).

DAY 6: Short(ish) Day of Downhill Hiking.

Hike downhill throughout the day. Enjoy warmer temperatures and amazing views.

DAY 7: Long Day of Hiking. Hike on the Inca Trail. Incredible Views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Take a Train to Aguas Calientes. Hotel…finally!

Hike uphill to reach the Inca Trail. Spend a few hours hiking on the world famous Inca Trail. You will see Machu Picchu before taking a train to Aguas Calientes.

Day 8: Tour of Machu Picchu.

25-minute bus ride from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. Guided tour of Machu Picchu. Option to climb Huyana Picchu. Train ride back to Cusco, arrival between 7-8pm.


Details For Each Day:

DAY 1: The Journey Begins!
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 11,125ft. (3,395m)
  • Min Altitude: 6,332ft. (1,930m)
  • Distance Hiked: 11.8 miles (19 km)
  • Hiking Time: 8-9 hours

Note: Our trekking times are approximate and will vary depending on: weather conditions, group ability and other factors.

MORNING

Today’s journey starts early! A Kusa Treks van will pick you up from your hotel at 4:00AM and drive you to the trail head called Capuliyoc. Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy the first of many professionally prepared meals by our chef and his staff. During breakfast you’ll meet the crew that will be hiking with you including the Porters, the chef, and assistant guides. You’ll snap a quick family photo (before we lose anyone to the Andes) with gorgeous snow-capped peaks as the backdrop!

After the picture, you will start your life-changing expedition to Choquequirao. There is only one trail to reach Choquequirao, so you will take the same path on the way out as your way in.

The first leg is a 3-hour descent [caution to those with knee issues!]. This section of Inca Trail can be a bit slippery if there has been recent precipitation. However, with trekking poles and good hiking shoes you’ll make it through just fine. After hiking for 3-4 hours, you will reach your lunch spot, where a hot meal awaits.

AFTERNOON

After taking a break to enjoy lunch, the hike will continue downhill. All of today’s hiking will be downhill, so you will take your time and take breaks along the way. Your guide will pause to show you incredible vistas along the way. This part of the Andes is one of the most remote places on the planet, and you will feel a sense of overwhelming wonder and awe at the incredible scenery that surrounds you.

After hiking for another 3-4 hours, you will reach the first campsite.

EVENING

Each night you will have a family “tea-time” where you’ll enjoy hot chocolate, a variety of teas and snacks together to wind down from the efforts of the hike. You’ll swap stories and prepare to eat a delicious, hot dinner being prepared by our chef and his staff. If the weather allows, your guide will show you the Inca Constellations in the millions of bright stars that stretch overhead.

After dinner your Tour Guides will go over our plans for Day 2. Buenas Noches!


DAY 2: A Difficult Uphill Hike to Reach Choquequirao.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 11,125ft. (3,395m)
  • Min Altitude: 5,085ft. (1,550m)
  • Distance Traveled: 7.7 miles (12.5 km)
  • Walking Time: 7-8 hours
MORNING

Your day will start early with a Porter waking you up with a fresh cup of hot tea at 5:30AM. As our staff packs up camp, you will eat a nutritious, warm breakfast. After finishing breakfast, the hike will continue through the Apurimac Canyon and Apurimac River, where you can take a dip in the water to freshen up.

You will then cross over to the other side of the river using a hanging bridge (don’t look down!). After crossing the river the hard part of today will begin!  You will hike up a hill (mountain, it’s really a mountain), using a winding trail which will leads away from the canyon. The hike will continue to use a switchback trail and will take you past vast areas of vegetation full of orchids, violets and other beautiful flowers.

During the hike in the morning, you will also have a chance to see Peruvian deer.

AFTERNOON

A little more than halfway through today’s climb, you will stop to rest and eat a refreshing lunch. The views during lunch are incredible, as you are over 9,000ft. up. The valley below us is filled with lush forests, a rushing river and wildlife, and you may even be able to spot the King of the Andes, the Condor. After lunch you will begin the final phase of your trek to the Inca’s last refuge place: Choquequirao or the “Golden Cradle” (9,950ft / 3,033m).

Choquequirao was designed with 9 unique areas, which were built as small towns and surround a main square where all of the streets originate. Choquequirao is still be uncovered! So far the following areas have been excavated and identified: The upper areas (Hanan), the storage areas (Qolqa), the main square (Huaqaypata), the lower square (hurin), the farming terraces (Shaqra Anden), the ceremonial platform (Ushno), and the priest houses.

Archaeologists believe that Choquequirao was a great political and economic center in the Inca Empire and was used as a hub for commerce and culture exchange between the coasts, the mountains and the jungles. It is known as “Machu Picchu’s Sister” because of the similarities in architectural design and structures.

In the afternoon, you will have a guided tour of several sites in Choquequirao, including the main square and spiritual center of the city.

EVENING

Each night you will have a family “tea-time” where you’ll enjoy hot chocolate, a variety of teas and snacks together to wind down from the efforts of the hike. You’ll swap stories and prepare to eat a delicious, hot dinner prepared by our chef and his staff. If the weather allows, your guide will show you the Inca Constellations in the millions of bright stars that stretch overhead.

After dinner your Tour Guides will go over our plans for Day 3. Buenas Noches!


DAY 3: Explore Choquequirao and Then…the Hard Part Begins!
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
  • Max Altitude: 11,125ft (3,500m)
  • Min Altitude: 3,280ft (1,00m)
  • Distance Traveled: 9 miles (15km)
  • Walking Time: 7-8 hours
MORNING

You will enjoy a delicious, warm breakfast in the morning. After breakfast you will have plenty of time to further explore the majesty of the Choquequirao ruins before continuing the trek, which of course is uphill. After a short while, you will reach the peak of the mountain that Choquequirao was built on. From the top of the mountain, you will see different mountains and the deep canyon Rio Blanco.

From the peak of the mountain, the trail will descend into a cloud forest towards a set of recently restored ruins called Pinchauniyoc. Your guide will give you a tour of this area, and then the hike will continue to the White River (Rio Blanco).

AFTERNOON

After reaching the river, you will have time to relax and enjoy another delicious meal prepared by the Kusa Treks chef and his team. After gathering your energy, you will continue hiking through a unique topographical landscape known as the Dry Forest. This area consists of smaller trees with very little foliage, making for an otherworldly feeling!

You will walk through the forest until reaching the Victoria River, which you will cross and begin an incredibly challenging climb to reach the second campsite located at Maizal. This will be a very difficult climb. You will take your time and have plenty of breaks to rest and enjoy the stunning scenery that surrounds you.

EVENING

Once you reach the campsite you will be able to rest before enjoying dinner.  The campsite at Maizal is the most beautiful campsite of the entire trek. From your tent, you will be able to see three different valleys that stretch out below you. You will also have an amazing view of snow capped mountains and rugged landscape ahead of you.

Following dinner your guide will provide another briefing when he will go over the itinerary for the next day. After a hard day of hiking you will look forward to the warm and comfortable confines of your tent.


DAY 4: Difficult Hike and High Altitude, but Beautiful!
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
  • Max Altitude: 13,779ft. (4,200m)
  • Min Altitude: 9,8423ft. (3,000m)
  • Distance Traveled: 6.8 miles (11km)
  • Walking Time: 7-8 hours
MORNING

Your Porters and guides will wake you up early with a hot cup of tea, followed by a delicious, energy-packed breakfast. You will refill your water containers, load up on snacks and start the second “challenge” day of your journey, which will start with a 4-hour steep, uphill hike on a rocky path. You’ll enjoy incredible views of the surrounding mountainside, lush valleys and an abundance of wildlife. The hike in the morning will be uphill and cold, so be sure to bundle up and dress in layers. This portion of the trek is also one of the most beautiful stretches of the entire journey!

The trail will lead you through another cloud forest as you begin to enter the highlands of the Andes. Your guide will stop the group to rest in a mountain mine, where you will learn about the minerals and metals that are mined from this area.

AFTERNOON/EVENING

The hike will continue onto part of the original paths built by the Incas as a “highway” over 600 years ago! You will stop at the peak of the pass (13,800ft / 4,200m) for lunch and enjoy an incredible backdrop of snow-capped mountains and abundant wildlife (including the majestic condor). After taking some selfies, you will continue the trek with a sharp descent for 3.5-4 hours to the campsite for the night at the bottom of the valley, which is located in a local village called Yanama.


DAY 5: Another Difficult Day of Hiking. Reach the Peak of the Trek. Finally, Some Downhill.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
  • Max Altitude: 15,345ft. (4,680m)
  • Min Altitude: 10,662ft. (3,250m)
  • Distance Traveled: 9.3 miles (15km)
  • Walking Time: 8-9 hours
MORNING

Today you will reach the highest altitude of the trek (15,300ft. / 4,680m.). The trail to get there will be very difficult and very beautiful. After enjoying a early breakfast, the trail continues with a sharp incline as you make your way towards the Yanama Pass. During the climb, you will have a great view of the snow-capped mountain, Sacsarayoc.

Enjoy an every changing landscape as the vegetation shifts from forest to sparse shrubs as the altitude continues to increase.  Be on the lookout for birds, especially the mighty condor! You will stop around mid-day to enjoy an uplifting and rejuvenating lunch.

AFTERNOON

After lunch you will finish the climb to reach the Yanama Pass, where you will stop and enjoy views of two majestic mountains: Salkantay (21,000ft. / 6,400 m.) and Pintuyo (18,000ft. / 5,460m.). The trek will transition from trail to road as you make your way downhill (finally!) towards the Totora Valley, which is where the campsite for tonight is located.

EVENING

Upon reaching camp, you will take a well deserved break and a wonderful meal, followed by another briefing.


DAY 6: Short(ish) Day of Downhill Hiking.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
  • Max Altitude: 10,662ft. (3,250m)
  • Min Altitude: 8,694ft. (2,650m)
  • Distance Traveled: 6.2 miles (10km)
  • Walking Time: 4-5 hours
MORNING

Today will feel much easier than yesterday, as you will finally have some gradual, downhill hiking. After breakfast you will descend into a warmer climate that is home to a wide variety of vegetation. You’ll begin to shed some of the layers you put on in the morning, as the climate continues to warm up with each passing hour.

The trek will lead to the village of Winaypocco, which is located in a jungle valley full of orchids, fruit trees, waterfalls, butterflies, birds and much more plant and animal life. You will have the option to cool off underneath one of the many natural waterfalls that surround the valley!

AFTERNOON/EVENING

Once you reach Winaypocco, you will have lunch and have an opportunity to learn how the local community farms the many crops in this area including avocados and coffee. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon while you interact with the locals. You will have dinner and camp here for the night.


DAY 7: Long Day of Hiking. Hike on the Inca Trail. Incredible Views of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu. Take a Train to Aguas Calientes. Hotel…finally!
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and dinner
  • Max Altitude: 8,990ft. (2,740m)
  • Min Altitude: 6,070ft. (1,850m)
  • Distance Traveled: 11.8 miles (19km)
  • Walking Time: 9-10 hours
MORNING

Good news and bad news…

Good news first: Today will be your final day of hiking!

And now the bad news: It’s going to be a long day.

You will enjoy one final breakfast from the Kusa Treks chef and his team. They’re going to pull out all of the stops and pack you with as much energy as possible! After breakfast you will continue the trek, which begins with a descent towards the Lucmabamba Valley. In the morning you will pass through a lush area that contains banana, passion fruit, cocoa and coffee plantations!

AFTERNOON

The trail will turn from a nice downhill hike to an uphill climb that leads you out of the valley and towards the world famous Inca Trail. You will spend the afternoon walking on the Inca Trail, which will take you to the incredible archaeological site known as Llactapata. From here you will have an amazing view of the Sacred Valley that stretches out below you.

You will also catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu, Huyana Picchu and the Urubamba River that winds through the valley. You will have a final lunch with the crew and then descend through a narrow trail made up of switch backs to the Hydroelectric train station.

You will take a 1 hour train ride to Aguas Calientes where you will [finally] have access to a warm shower, WiFi and clean sheets!


DAY 8: Tour of Machu Picchu.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Max/Min Altitude: 7,972ft. (2,430m)
  • Distance Hiked: ~2 miles (walking around Machu Picchu)
  • Walking Time: 4-6 hours
MORNING

Today you will discover Machu Picchu, the world famous Sacred City of the Incas! It is entirely up to you when you would like to start this exciting day! The majority of travelers choose to wake up around 4:30AM. This allows you to eat a quick breakfast and head over the bus station where you will catch a bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu. The bus ride to reach Machu Picchu Park is 25 minutes on a road full of switchbacks. The gate to Machu Picchu opens at 6AM as the sun rises over the lost city. It is truly magical to experience a sunrise over these ruins as the mists part and the city rises from the clouds stone by stone.

Your official guided tour of Machu Picchu will begin at 8AM and end at 10:30AM. All of our guides have been to Machu Picchu hundreds of times and know this site incredibly well! Your guided tour will start with the impressive Temple of the Sun. You will see several iconic areas of Machu Picchu including: The Citadel, The Royal Tomb, the Main Plaza, the Condor Temple and much more.

NOTE: Due to new regulations (effective Jan 1. 2019), the paths that lead through Machu Picchu are all “one-way”, meaning you are not able to backtrack during your visit to Machu Picchu. Each visitor without a permit to climb Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have ~4 hours to spend inside the park and those with permits to climb either Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain will have 6 total hours to spend inside the park (including the 2 hour climb).

AFTERNOON/EVENING

After touring Machu Picchu, your guide will take you to the bus stop just outside the gates of Machu Picchu Park. You will take the bus back to to Aguas Calientes. Depending on your train departure time (see below), you will either need to head straight to the train station or you can go to one of the many fantastic restaurants in Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included).

There are several train class options for the ride back to Cusco. The main two trains are the “Expedition Train” (included in the price) and the “Vista Dome Train” (additional $70 USD per ticket). We usually try to get tickets for a train leaving in the 15:00 (3PM) hour, which will have you back to your hotel in Cusco around 19:00 (7PM).

If you have a preference for departure/arrival time and provide us with 4+ months notice, we are able to book tickets for the following departures:

Expedition train departure times (train ticket included in price):

  • 14:55, 15:20, 16:20, 18:10

Vista Dome train departure times (additional $70 USD per ticket):

  • 15:20, 16:20, 17:10, 18:20
  • 13:37, $25 USD only available for those who do not do the Huyana Picchu hike

All trains that depart from Aguas Calientes will arrive at one of two stations:

  1. Ollantaytambo station, 2 hour drive back to Cusco
  2. Poray station, 30 minute drive back to Cusco

Your arrival station will depend on the time of year of your trip, departure time and class of train. Once you arrive to either station, a Kusa Treks van and driver will be waiting for you at the station to take you back to your hotel.

NOTE: Train times depend on: the number of people in your group, the time of year of your trip and the class of train you prefer.