Choquequirao trek – Itinerary
DAY 1: Cusco – Cachora – Chikisqa
First, we will need to meet up with our chefs and our muleteers at the trailhead. Then, our adventure begins with a great view of Choquequirao, located on the other side of the valley. From here, the path works its way down into the Apurimac Canyon which exhibits fantastic views of snow-capped peak, and eventually, the Apurimac valley spreads out in front us as we continue hiking throughout the day. Although the trekking to Choquequirao, is said to be one of the hardest in Peru, during the first day the path is all downhill. It takes about 3 to 4 hours to reach our first campsite in Chikisqa. This is one of the quietest places to camp on the Choquequirao trail to Machu Picchu which makes it one of the best locations to enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery without distractions.
DAY 2: Santa Rosa – Choquequirao
This is probably the hardest day of the Choquequirao Trek. To reach the Choquequirao ruins, we need to make our way up to the opposite side of the Apurimac Valley, which involves ascending about 650m/2,124ft over a distance of 10km/5.8 miles through hot and humid conditions. Finally, we will pass by Santa Rosa and Marampata which are small rural towns along the Choquequirao trail.
It’s quite tough going, but the views we see are mixed with a wide variety of wildlife and vegetation. Throughout the day, we will see various of bromeliads, orchids and stands of bamboo. Additionally, we’ll see birds such as eagles, falcons, toucans and different types of humming birds that our guides are excellent at spotting. Finally, after about 6 hours of hiking, we’ll reach our campsite close to Choquequirao at an elevation of 3,050m (10,005ft). If the weather is nice, we will be able to have a clear view of the amazing sunset. Furthermore, we may be lucky enough to spot condors also known as «the Lord of the Andes»—the mountain range’s largest bird—soaring over the valley down below.
DAY 3: Choquequirao – Pinchaunuyoq
After an early breakfast, you will be prepared for an exciting day at the Choquequirao ruins.. It takes 30 minutes to get there, and then we will begin the tour with a comprehensive history lesson about the site. Susprisingly, the ruins of Choquequirao is considered to be bigger than those in Machu Picchu. This is because the majority of them remain either underground or hidden in the forest and have yet to be excavated. The most relevant parts of this site are the temples, astronomical observatories, and water channels.
Choquequirao is three times the size of the ruins in Machu Picchu, and archaeologists have freed only 30% of it from the jungle. Located at a height of 3,100 meters (10,180 ft) just outside Cachora, these ruins were built amongst some of the most amazing sceneries in the rising altitudes.
After touring all morning, we will have lunch while enjoying the best view of the Choquequirao ruins. Following lunch, we’ll be ready to continue our 9-day Choquequirao trek heading to the pass (3,600 MASL), just above the city. Once we finally reach the summit, we will spend a few minutes walking down in order cross to the other side of the mountain, but when we finally do, a breathtaking valley will be revealed. During our descent, we might spot condors, bears, and deer. Our campsite during this night is on the beautiful Inca terraces of Pinchaunoyoc (2,487m/8,160ft).
Day 4: Pinchaunuyoc – Maizal
From our campsite, we’ll carry on down into the valley until we reach the river below. In the dry season, the river is small and calm, so it is a perfect place to stop and have a refreshing dip so as to relax your tired muscles. After our swim, we’ll make our way back up on the opposite side of the valley, heading for our campsite in Maizal (2,891m/9,481ft).
During the day, we will see a wide variety of native plants and birds which will also be accompanied by stunning views of the lush, green Rio Blanco valley. After reaching our campsite, if we have the time and some remaining energy, we may visit a nearby Inca site.
Day 5: Maizal – Yanama
In the morning, you will enjoy a nutritious breakfast while witnessing the magical sunrise over the mountains. We’ll start the day’s activities by trekking all uphill for 3 to 4 hours on the rocky path; however, the difficulty of the trail will be balanced out by fantastic views of the surrounding areas complete with lush vegetation, green valleys, and also some arid mountain peaks. Once we reach the summit (4,150m/13,700ft), the views are even more amazing: snow-capped peaks, deep valleys, and here, we have the greatest possibility to see condors.
Afterwards, we hike downhill for about 2 hours until we arrive at our campsite of Yanama. This is a small indigenous village surrounded by snow-capped mountains where the people are very welcoming. It would be a fun and educational experience to visit some families to learn about their culture, and more especially, their day-to-day activities.
Day 6: Yanama – Collpa Pampa
During the first 4 days of the trek to Machu Picchu, we will have been trekking through mostly low lush valleys and hot temperatures. However, now the landscape will change dramatically, and as a result, we will see less vegetation that will consist primarily of shrubs and grass. Moreover, the air will be thinner and the temperatures will be cooler.
This day is most definitely the longest and most challenging day because we have to reach the highest pass of the whole 9-day Choquequirao trek. We’ll leave Yanama early in the morning, and walking along a gentle path through a grassy valley, we’ll make our way up to the Mariano Llamoja pass (4,645m/15,088ft).
Once we reach the summit, we will be able to take in the most amazing features of the tallest and most outstanding peaks of Choquequirao trail: the mighty mountains of Salkantay and Pumasillo which are colloquially called the protectors of the citadel of Machu Picchu. From here, the trail is mainly downhill, and we go back down to the warmer climates and lush forest. Our path will eventually join with the Salkantay trail in Collpapampa (2,900m/9,515ft), and at the end of the day while we set up camp, we may see other campers that are doing the Salkantay trek.
Day 7: Collpapampa – Lugmabamba
Our destination today is Lugmabamba which is located about 13km down the valley in the jungle area. Our route goes along the Lluscamayo River bank through an area teeming with life. As you hike today, you will be amazed by the diversity of vegetation like flowers, orchids, coffee plants, avocado trees, passion fruit (Granadilla), and many others from the jungle area. Ultimately, it will be an easy and enjoyable day until we reach our camp.
We’ll only hike until lunch, after which we have a coffee tour where you will learn how to get the best aromatic coffee without using any chemical additives. This is all included in the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu at no extra costs.
Finally, it’ll be time to relax and enjoy the free afternoon. In our opinion, the best way to do so would be at the hot springs in Santa Teresa. These wonderful waters are only 1 hour away from our campsite by car. If you are interested in going there, please inform your guide in advance so he can organize it for you.
Day 8: Lugmabamba – Llactapata – Aguas Calientes
Today will be another big day for us because we have yet nother mountain to climb. It, however, will be nothing compared to what we will have accomplished thus far. It’ll be especially challenging along the final stretch to get to the summit, but in the end it will be worth it. First, we will immerse ourselves in the jungle area until we find a specific original, well-preserved Inca trail. This trail leads up the mountain to the outstanding Inca ruins of Llaqtapata that overlook Machu Picchu.
There, we will have the amazing view of Machu Picchu being seated on the rocky crest between Machu Picchu Mountain and Huayna Picchu Mountain. After a riveting history lesson, we’ll head down the mountainside to the hydroelectric station where we will eat lunch and say goodbye to our amazing team who made the Choquequirao trek possible. From here, we will then catch our train to Aguas Calientes.
Day 9: Machu Picchu – Cusco
Following an early breakfast at the hotel, we will board the bus up the switchback road to the ancient city of the Incas. After hiking and camping in the mountains for 8 days, you will surely be excited to visit Machu Picchu—one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World.
The sacred ruins in the citadel of Machu Picchu are mind-blowing in every way imaginable. Although the city was discovered over a hundred years ago, archaeologists are still mystified about the purpose of the site. Our tour guides play an intergral role in this experience because learning about the history and the uses of the temples and palaces only adds to the awe of the city.
Crossing mountains, rivers, and after surviving the extremely cold and hot temperatures, we finally will arrive in Machu Picchu. This amazing place is a stunning example of world architecture, which was built in the 15th century by Pachacutec Inca, the greatest emperor in the Americas.
We start the tour of Machu Picchu by visiting the most important buildings of this city with a professional tour guide, who is going to help us to properly explore and better understand the mystery of this sacred place. After 2 to 3 hours, you will have extra time to explore the ruins on your own. If you have booked a permit to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, this will be the time that you do so.
The train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo will be in the afternoon which will be followed a bus that will take you back to Cusco.
All inclusive package Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu
What is Included in Choquequirao trek?
- Pick up from the Airport/Hotel
- English Spanish speaking tour guide
- Professional cook
- Entrance Fee to Choquequirao
- Entrance fee to Machu Picchu
- Briefing the night before the trek
- Duffel bag to pack your hiking gear
- Horses to transport the camping equipment and food supplies
- Emergency horse
- Pick up from your hotel and transfer to the trailhead
- 4-man tent for every 2 people
- Dinning tent
- Kitchen tent
- Train ticket from Machu Picchu to Ollantaytambo (Expedition class at 16:22 hours)
- Train ticket from Idroelectrica to Machu Picchu town
- Pick up from the train station and drop off into your hotel – Cusco
- Bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu round trip
- Meal: 9 breakfast, 8 lunches, 8 dinners
- Huayna Picchu mountain or Machu Picchu Mountain
- Water: we will provide you water every day at breakfast time, at lunch time and at dinner time
What is not Included in the Choquequirao trek
- Sleeping bag
- Hiking poles
- Air mattresses
- Last day lunch
- Transportation to the hot spring
- Entrance fee to the hot spring
- Extra expenses
Choquequirao 9-Day Trek- Prices
We warmly welcome you to join us on the Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu. We are eager to make this one of your most unforgettable lifetime experiences. Our treks can begin on any day of the week and during any month of the year.
Group Service Price: $1,050 USD Per Person
A group service means that other hikers are able to join you. Your group will have varying hiking and fitness abilities. Our Professional Tour Guides are experts on how to keep the group moving and happy no matter how fast you go. We just need 2 hikers to start this adventure.
The Private Tour Service is also available and is priced by party size.
Choquequirao trek is a breathtaking journey full of magical natural wonders that will undoubtably never be forgotten. The only way to make these days even more special is to share this experience with your loved ones. This option is also highly recommended for families with children or for people who don’t have much hiking experience because you can set your own pace without having to worry about waiting for the others or trying to keep up with them. Our private tours can start at any size, and the Inka Trail Explorer staff and I will all do our best to make this a positive and life-altering adventure.
- 2 Hikers $1,250 USD per person
- 3 Hikers <$1,180 USD per person
- 4 Hikers $1,100 USD per person
- 5 Hikers $1,020 USD per person
- 6 Hikers $960 USD per person
- 7+ Hikers $870 USD per person
Student discount: $20 per student. To aply to student discount you shoud follow the below govenment requirements
Students from 18 to 25 years old get discount of $20
Students from 12 to 17 years old, they get discount of $20.
Children from under 11 years all they get discount of $20.
The Ministry of Culture has changed its regulations regarding student discounts for entrances to Machu Picchu and Inca Trail permits. For anyone wishing to obtain a student discount, the following requirements must be met: (1.- Must be under 25 years of age 2.- Must have a valid institutional student card with A.- Photograph B.- Student´s full name C.- Expiry date in 2019 that includes the date of reservation and the date of visit to Machu Picchu). Please note ISIC cards or any alternative documents proving student status will not be accepted. Unfortunately, if you fail to meet any of the above criteria we will not be able to offer the student discount.
For example, if you book your trek at the age of 17 but, you turn 18 before you start your trek, you do not qualify for a student discount.
Please send all documents to firstname.lastname@example.org
Huayna Picchu Mountain
Huayna Picchu, is a stunning mountain that sits directly behind Machu Picchu, this is the infamous sugar-loaf mountain which sits at an elevation of 2,720m and 300m above the Machu Picchu Inca Citadel.
There are some archaeological remains as the Moon Temple and other precincts that are interconnected with authentic trails, steps, tunnels and natural formatted caves which made the view more interesting, without any doubt, Huayna Picchu mountain can be the highlight of your trip to Machu Picchu.
The last stretch to get the summit is very steep, narrow, and in some parts, you are required to use your hands for balance. There are some stone ladders to climb up the cliff face along the way. if you have problems with the heights this may not be the hike for you. The summit itself is not flat but is instead rocky, therefore when the crowd picks up it can be a bit difficult to move around.
- Difficulty – Due to the complexity and gradient of the trail, the hike is rather challenging.
- Duration – The round trip can take between 1.5 to 2 hours in average.
- Elevation – The mountain’s summit sits at 2,693masl, while the climb itself is 353m.
Huayna Picchu mountain can be climbed in 2 different sessions:
- The first session: from 7am to 8am – Highly recommended
- The second session: from 10am to 11am
Machu Picchu Mountain
The climb up to Machu Picchu mountain is nearly twice as high as Huayna Picchu but has a more gradual ascent profile up to its summit at 1,850 feet (~620m) above the city ruins (3,051m above sea level).
The panoramic views are from another world. The Inca ruins, Huayna Picchu and Putucusi Mountains look so small behind the giant row of mountains that it makes you wonder if it is true what you are seeing. You will be astonished!
The awe-inspiring view is still composed by a bright blue sky, clouds and the Urubamba River snaking around colossal mountains covered with lush vegetation. What a gift from our mother nature!
- Difficulty – Due to the complexity and gradient of the trail, the hike is rather challenging.
- Duration – The round trip can take between 2.5 to 3 hours in average.
- Elevation – The mountain’s summit sits at 3,000masl, while the climb itself is 600m.
Machu Picchu mountain can be climbed in 2 different sessions:
- The first session: from 7am to 8am – Highly recommended
- The second session: from 9am to 10am
- Sleeping Bag $35 USD
- Walking Pole $12 USD per each one for the whole trip
- Inflatable Mattress $35 USD for the whole the trip
- Single Tent Supplement $40 USD for the whole trip
- Vistadome train: (One-Way): $65 USD per person
- Casa Andina Hotel: $55 USD per person if shared ($110 for a single)
- El Mapi Hotel: +$65 USD per person if shared (+$170 for a single)
Additional Free Tours
If you are traveling to Peru with your family or friends and there are 4 or more people in your group, then you automatically get one of our additional tours for free. You may pick whichever one you like from the list below. Please note that we do not include the entrance fees for these, but we do include the transportation and a professional tour guide.
Do not worry single travelers! If you travel with us, you will also get special discounts on any of our additional tours.
- South Valley Tour
- Sacred Valley Tour
We know planning an adventure vacation is no small decision, so we’re here to make the process as easy as possible for you. We’ve been doing this for quite a while, so we’ve got the answers to everything you need to know!
Upon your arrival in Cusco City
You will be welcomed by one of our transfers at Cusco airport and then you will be transferred into your hotel. Find out your transfer in Cusco airport holding our Inka trail Explorer. Please you should provide us your flight schedule before you leave home.
Your guide will meet you in your hotel 1 or 2 days prior you start the trek. your guide will explain everything concerning the trek in detail. This includes the 2-days Inca trail schedule and a few tips on how to make the Short inca trail easier. You also will receive a small duffel bag which is meant to contain all of your personal belongings and it will be sent by train to the hotel where you will stay after the trek.
Can I leave my Suitcase in your storage?
Usually most of the hotels in Cusco city offers a free storage but, definitely you can leave your suitcase in our storage while you go on trek or tour, we offer a free storage.
How big needs to be my daypack?
You only need to bring a small daypack (25 to 30 Lts max). Big enough to pack you rain gear, snack, water, camera, fleece jacket and some small items that you might need for the day trek.
How do I Pay my final Balance?
Your final balance should be paid in cash and it can be done in American dollars or in the local currency (Peruvian soles). We kindly request pay your final balance at least 24 hours prior you start the trek. You also can pay your balance via PayPal 10 days prior you start the trek. To pay your final balance via PayPal, you need to log into your PayPal account using our e-mail address – email@example.com
Can I cancel my trip or change my departure date?
As soon as you make your confirmation by paying your deposit we proceed to purchase the Inca trail permits, Machu Picchu tickets and train tickets. According the government regulations, the Inca trail and Machu Picchu permits or tickets cannot be canceled, changed of date or transferred into other traveler and unfortunately there is not a refund.
Do I need my Original passport when I travel into Peru?
Very important to bring the original passport with you. If you are a foreigner, you need a passport to enter Machu Picchu. Not just any passport. It has to be the passport you used to book your trip in Peru or buy your entry tickets to different attractions in Cusco – Peru.
If you renew your passport after you booked your trip in Peru, you must travel with both the old and the new passports. You also can send us via e-mail a copy of your new and old passports and we will be able to upgrade your new passport information.
How fit do I need to be to hike these trails?
As long as you enjoy hiking, you’ll love these trails – you’ll be hiking about eight miles a day, but there’s no rush, you can take it at your own pace. In fact, the slower the better I say, as that way you get plenty of time not only to enjoy your surroundings, but let your body acclimatize to the altitude as well.
We recommend doing plenty of exercise before you leave home, as the fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy your hike. We suggest you try to go for a short walks or running 2-3 times a week. If you have access to some walking trails that go over hills then go and explore, Hit the gym if you can’t do outdoor activities.
That said our trips are designed for regular active people, so you don’t need to be a triathlete or anything – though if you are you won’t be bored!
What if I need a special diet?
We cater all the food restrictions you might have; we work with responsable retaurants and cooks who will take care of you. You also can specify your particular requirements when you fill up our booking form.
- Vegan (no meat or animal products)
- Vegetarian (no meat products)
- Fishatarian (vegetarian, and eat fish)
- No red meat (eat chicken & fish)
- Gluten intolerant (no wheat, rye, barley or oats)
- Lactose intolerant (no dairy products)
Do you recommend buying travel insurance?
You should have full travel insurance cover – please be aware that some insurance companies require insurance to be purchased within 7 days of deposit payment. It is imperative for you to have medical cover and emergency repatriation and we strongly recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy that also includes trip cancellation and other travel mishaps (e.g. flight cancellations or delays, trip interruption, theft or loss of luggage and personal effects).
Choquequirao Trek – Peru – Packing List
- Original Passport
- Valid, GREEN ISIC card (if you booked as a student)
- Immigration Card (given on the plane as you enter Peru)
- Confortable daypack ( A small one is highly recommended)
- Water storage: Water reservoir like Camelbaks are encouraged – but enough for at least 2-3 liters.
- Comfortable trekking boots with ankle support
In your Duffle Bag for Choquequirao
Remember you are packing for 7 nights of camping and 1 night in a hotel. Horses will carry up to 14 kg of your personal items. This must include your sleeping bag and air matt (if you decide to bring/rent one). If you rent them from us, then these two items will weigh a total of 3.5 kg.
- Warm, down jacket: this trek includes 3 cold nights of camping
- Headlamp: essential
- Waterproof gloves (even if they are ski gloves, take them)
- Comfortable shoes for camp
- Quickdry towel. We provide small ones, but you might prefer something a little larger.
- Soap: we provide warm water each day to clean, but it might make you feel fresher if you had a little soap.
- 5 wicking t-shirts
- 3 hiking pants
- 6 sets of undergarments
- 5 sets of hiking socks
- 2 Fleece jackets
- Battery Charger: There are some places to plug in while trekking
- Large plastic bags: to help organize and keep clean clothes seperate from dirty clothes.
- Sleeping bag: We recommend down bags for -10°C at least
- Face moisturizer
- Hand sanitizer
- Wet wipes
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- First-aid kit: band-aids, moleskin, etc.
What do I need to pack in my Daypack?
Daypacks can be any size for Choquequirao, but we always recommend bringing just a small one because once inside Machu Picchu, bags larger than 25L will not be allowed. You will need to store them outside citadel gates.
- Water: We supply clean water at each meal.
- Bug spray
- Rain gear
- Fleece jacket
- Hand sanitizer
- Toilet paper and a small plastic bag for waste
- Personal medication
- Extra Money for Souvenirs, Drinks & Tips