Choquequirao - Machu Picchu 9 days | 8 nights
DAY ONE: Cusco – Cachora – Capulliyoc – Playa Rosalina
Our trip to Machu Picchu begins as we leave Cusco by private transfer at approximately 1:30 AM. After a four hour drive, we arrive in the typical Andean town of Cachora (2,900 MASL). We will then drive on to Capulliyoc (2,915 MASL) to meet with the rest of our trekking team. On the way, you will enjoy splendid early morning views of the Apurimac Valley stretching out below us, and of the snow-capped peaks of Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora (5,482 MASL). Afterwards, we will trek through the eastern slopes of the Andes until we reach Coca Masana (2,330 MASL). The temperature will rise and the flora and fauna begin to change. Towards the end of the day, we will arrive at Playa Rosalina (Rosalina Beach) to set up camp for the night beside the raging Apurimac River.
DAY TWO: Playa Rosalina – Maranpata or Choquequirao
After breakfast, we will head out to reach Maranpata or Choquequirao at approximately midday. We will explore the archaeological site and acquire a deeper knowledge of the area's history. We will admire the beauty and observe the dauntless flight of the condors that appear in the skies around Choquequirao. Towards the end of the day, we will proceed to Raqaypata to have dinner and make our camp for the night.
DAY THREE: Choquequirao (all day)
This day is dedicated to enjoying the beauty and learning the deeper history of Choquequirao. Through a guided visit, we will learn about each part of the site and observe the three excavated levels of this late Inca town, including excavations in progress and unexplored areas that can also inform us about this last refuge of the oppressed Inca empire. Time will be spent to enjoy the majestic flight of condors and if we are lucky they will come very close to us. In the afternoon, we will leave the terraces to return to our campsite, have lunch, and rest in the tranquility of Choquequirao.
DAY FOUR: Choquequirao - Rio Blanco - Maizal
This morning we will make our way through the interesting vegetation known as Dry Andean Highland Forest. The trees and plants here are different from what we have previously seen. After we pass Choquequirao, we descend for several hours to PinchayUnuyoq's beautiful Inca terraces and water fountains. Here we enjoy a short break and afterwards we continue to Rio Blanco where we will have lunch. Finally we will hike up to Maizal, our campsite, where we will spend the night.
DAY FIVE: Maizal - Choquetakarpo
We break camp in Maizal and walk towards the San Juan pass. It will be a long day of climbing, but through an amazingly beautiful area - first in cloud forest and then over Andean puna grassland, with its well known ichu (feathergrass). We rest at some of the Victoria mines, where the shining metal stones are evidence of a high concentration of minerals and metals. We travel through the puna on very well preserved Inca trails, often following classic zigzag paths. Lunch is at a pass over 4000 metres over sea level with views of the mountain Choquetakarpo. After eating, we descend towards Yanama, our designated camp spot. It is a small isolated settlement at the bottom of a long valley surrounded by mountains. Here our cooks will use a stone oven to prepare a delicious local dinner called “pachamanca”.
DAY SIX: Yanama – Totora – Collpapampa
We continue from Yanama up through the valley towards the highest point of the tour, the Yanama Pass (4750 MASL). On the way, we will have a good view of the snow capped Sacsarayoc. Once again we have the chance to see condors, and this morning's smooth climb brings us through new landscapes- especially the wet grass fields under the snowline that differ from everything else seen on the tour. In the pass we might walk through snow, and the descent is a long foggy hike through grassy field and bush areas that crosses small wood and dirt bridges until we reach the community of Totora. Here we take local transportation for about 50 minutes to Collpapampa, a small village in the cloud forest. We spend the night here.
DAY SEVEN: Collpapampa – Lucmabamba (The Coffee Plantation)
After breakfast at 6.30 AM, we start trekking for the day through the upper jungle, crossing the Lluskamayo River and a variety of little brooks to reach La Playa, where we will take a bus to Lucmabamba, a coffee plantation where we will have lunch. At the plantation we will learn about the coffee that we will then harvest, toast, and grind as part of this trek. Afterwards as an optional activity we can visit the natural hot springs in Santa Teresa to relax for a few hours. Our camp for the night will be in Lucmabamba.
DAY EIGHT: Lucmabamba to Llactapata –Hidroelectrica -Aguas Calientes
We will have breakfast at 6 AM before setting off along the original Inca Trail trail of Llactapata. From this spot, we can see Machu Picchu at a distance as well as Huayna Picchu. After we arrive at Hidroelectrica we will have lunch, then continue walking, passing a variety of crop plantations including banana plantations. The walk continues for about three hours along the train road until we reach Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in a hostel.
DAY NINE: Machu Picchu
We wake up in the early morning between 4 and 4:30 AM to have breakfast and leave on the one and a half hour walk up to Machu Picchu. There is a secondary option to catch the first bus leaving at 5:30 (a 25 minute ride) in order to appreciate the magnificent city as the sun is rising.
A walking tour (approximately 2 hours in length) is given by your guide, and after this you are free to explore the mysterious city by yourself. If you are still full of energy, you can also climb Huayna Picchu (2720 MASL)! It takes 45 minutes to reach the top. You will meet up again with your guide in Aguas Calientes (which can be reached by bus or on foot) to collect your train tickets back to Cusco or Ollantaytambo. The first train usually leaves at 15:55, and we will arrive back in Cusco at approximately 20:20. The second train leaves at 16:20 and goes to Ollantaytambo, where someone will be waiting for you with your guide's name to lead you to the bus to Cusco.