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Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu

Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu – 9D/8N

Choquequirao Trek to Machu PicchuThe Classic Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu, is one of the most beautiful and spectacular treks in the Cusco region.

This Choquequirao trek is an extended version of the Choquequirao trek 4 days that continues on past Choquequirao to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. This Hike was listed on the National Geographic 2023 best Trips in the world! This challenging Choquequirao trek will be very rewarding to the adventurous trekker.

The Choquequirao trek difficulty is comparable to the hike to Mount Everest Base Camp.

On this Choquequirao trek you will see the great Choquequirao ruins and have a real adventure enjoying the spectacular views of snow-capped mountains, great valleys and amazing canyons.

You will also see native animals such as Andean Condors and native flora and fauna such as orchids and so much more.

The Inca Emperors frequently chose beautiful locations for their “royal residence.” Machu Picchu was the jewel Pachacutec built, but it was Topa Inca who built the magnificent Choquequirao, on an stunning orchid strewn mountain, 61 miles west of Cusco.

It is situated in a cloud forest, a dramatic 1,150 meters (3,772 ft) above the Apurimac River. Choquequirao means Cradle of Gold.

On the 8th day of the Choquequirao Peru trek, we will arrive in Aguas Calientes, the town at the base of Machu Picchu. Here you will check in to your hotel room at a very nice bed and breakfast. Dinner will be at a great local restaurant in Aguas Calientes. The trek is capped off by your visit to Machu Picchu and private tour of the site on  the 9th day.

The Choquequirao trek is challenging but amazing experience to hike down to the depths of the Apurimac Canyon and then up to the site in the clouds…rewarded at the end with a visit to the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu.

Action Peru Treks is highly recommended by TripAdvisor and Trustpilot. Join hundreds of happy trekkers who have experienced the adventure of a lifetime!


CHOQUEQUIRAO TREK ITINERARY 

Pre-trek briefing (required): We provide a full pre-trek Choquequirao trek briefing at our office or at your hotel in Cusco.

This gives you the chance to ask questions about the trek itinerary. Briefings are scheduled for the day before your trek starts.

Please take this into consideration when booking your travel plans to Cusco, to ensure you arrive in time for the briefing.

Day 1: Cusco – Capuliyoc – Chiquisca

We will pick you up early from your hotel and drive for 4 ½ hours in our private transport to Capuliyoc (2,915 m/9,564 ft).

Along the way there are spectacular views of villages, valleys and snow-capped mountains. Once at Capuliyoc (start of our Choquequirao trek), we will have brunch and then meet our horsemen and horses and pack all our equipment onto the horses.

After brunch, we descend for three to four hours to our first campsite at Chiquisca (1,900 m/6,270 ft), where we will spend the night.

  • Meals:  Brunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Chiquisca
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,900 m/ 6,270 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 2,915 meters/9,564 ft
  • Distance to walk: 8 km / 5 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 3-4 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Sights: Apurimac canyon, Padreyoc mountain

Day 2: Chiquisca – Maranpata – Choquequiraoa

After an early breakfast we descend to the magnificent Apurimac River (1,550 m/5,117 ft) for 1 hour.

We will cross the bridge above the Apurimac river and then walk uphill for 5 hours to the rural village of Maranpata (2,850 m/9,350 ft) where we have lunch whilst enjoying the spectacular views of the archaeological site of Choquequirao (3,150 m/10,397 ft).

After lunch we hike for 90 minutes, with gentle up and down segments to our camp. It is a magnificent camp 45 minutes from Choquequirao. We will arrive at the camp around 4 p.m. We will relax, have happy hour and then dinner.

  • Meals:  Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Choquequirao
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,550 m/5,117 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 3,150 m/10,397 ft
  • Distance to walk: 14 km/9 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 8-9 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Demanding
  • Sights: Apurimac River, Ampay Mountain

Day 3: Full Day Choquequirao Exploration

We will take this day to fully explore the incredible Inca Site of Choquequirao. We will have a guided walking tour.

During the tour we will explore all the important sections, such as: palaces, temple, ritual water fountains, amazing Usno (ceremonial platform), agricultural terraces, llama´s section and much more.

Choquequirao, originally discovered in 1710 by a series of European explorers who passed through this area and knew about this site.

However, little importance was given to Choquequirao until 1909 when Hiram Bingham, who is credited with the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu, came across the site. 

This brought more international attention to the site, but even then the site was largely ignored until the 1970´s when the Peruvian government started its excavations.  Choquequirao is composed of an amazing and extensive set of terraces and a smaller religious and administrative area with a total area of over 1,800 hectares.

There are impressive irrigation channels, and all of this is set in the dramatic setting of the steep Apurimac Canyon.

After a full day, we head back to our second evening’s campsite located just 45 minutes from the Choquequirao ruins, where we will have our dinner.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Choquequirao
  • Elevation: 3,150 m/10,397 ft
  • Approximate walking time: 6–7 hours

Day 4: Choquequirao – Maizal

Setting off for a beautiful Choquequirao hike today, we climb over a ridge for around 2 hours to Abra Choquequirao (3,318 m/10,883 ft). From this vista we will see the Vilcabamba mountain range and the breath taking snow capped Choquetacarpo glacier.

This is followed by a 2 hours descent to the ruins at Pinchinuyoc, We will take a short break at these ruins to admire the majestic views.

From there, we will descend to the Rio Blanco (1,990 m/ 6,527 ft), a further 1.5 hours steep descent. Here you can luxuriate in the river and take a bath if you would like. This is where we will have lunch.

Then we will start a difficult climb to a small cleared agricultural area on the mountain, Maizal. For many people, this is the most difficult section of the whole Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu.

The climb is a difficult 3 to 4 hours zig zag uphill. Maizal is located at 3,000 m/9,842 ft. Maizal is our camp for the night.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Maizal
  • Lowest Elevation: 1,990 m/6,527 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 4,000 m / 13,123 ft
  • Distance to walk: 18 km/11 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 8-9 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 5: Maizal – Abra San Juan – Yanama

After breakfast in Maizal we climb 4 to 5 hours uphill through cloud forest to the Victoria Mines.

This ascent takes you from an altitude of 3,000 m to 4,000 m! We’ll take a short rest here and admire the shine of the outcropped rocks illustrating the high concentration of minerals and metals, and the reason for the ancient mines.

We will then continue our climb to the pass of Abra San Juan (4,130 m/13,546 ft). This is our lunch spot.

This is also the best place to see Andean condors. We can also see the Vilcabamba Valley, which is the lowest city of the Incas, as well as the Pumasillo glacier.

After lunch as we descend to the charming village of Yanama (4,100 m/13,541 ft), a 2 to 3 hour walk. This is our campsite for the night.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Yanama
  • Highest Elevation: 4,130 m/ 13,546 ft
  • Distance to walk: 12 km
  • Approximate walking time: 8-9
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 6: Yanama to Totora

From Yanama, we begin a 4 to 5 hour ascent. The first 4 hours are gentle and the last hour is steep, to reach the Yanama pass (4,672 m /15,324 ft), the highest point of our Choquequirao trek.

We will see many waterfalls on the way up and meet local individuals. At the top we will see Apu Salkantay and part of the Salkantay Trek.

We will then descend for two hours and have lunch along the way. After lunch we hike 2 ½ hours downhill to our camp at Totora (3,398 m /11,445 ft).

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping at Totora
  • Lowest Elevation: 3,398 m/11,445 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 4,672 m/15,324 ft
  • Distance to walk: 14 km/9 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 8-10 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging

Day 7: Totora – Lucmabamba

We will begin the day by taking our private van from Totora to Colpapampa. We will hike 5 to 6 hours on gentle up and down segments.

We will be hiking through the rain forest, following the path of the Santa Teresa river. We will have the opportunity to see multiple coffee plantations, banana plantations, and fields of passion fruit.

Along this path you will also see the most beautiful waterfall along the Choquequirao trek.

We will reach Lucmabamba, our campsite for the evening, around noon. Here we will relax and enjoy a delicious lunch!

After lunch, we will do an incredible coffee tour at the plantation adjacent to the campsite.

We will begin by browsing the fields, learning about the different types of beans, and picking our own beans. There are also several fields of tomatoes and avocados.

We will pick vegetables that the chef will use for dinner that night.

After picking our beans, we will roast them and grind them. Finally, we will brew and drink our own coffee! It is a truly unique experience.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Distance Covered: 14 km (8 miles)
  • Time: 5-6 hours
  • Lowest elevation: 2,050 m /6,725 ft
  • Highest elevation: 3,398 m /11,445 ft
  • Area: Rain Forest
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Sights: Santa Teresa River, Colpapampa village, Lucmabamba

Day 8: Lucmabamba – Llactapata Inca Ruins – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes

We will wake up early and have breakfast. Today´s hike starts with a moderate 3 ½ hour climb through the rain forest until we reach the Llactapata Inca site (2,700 m/8,856 ft), where we will have a thorough tour.

This is the location where you will have your first view of Machu Picchu in the far distance. You will also have a first look at the mountain you will hike tomorrow, Huayna Picchu!

Leaving Llactapata, we begin a 2 ½ hour descent to Hydroelectric, where we will have lunch. At 3 pm we will board the train for a 40 minute trip to Aguas Calientes.

On arrival at Aguas Calientes you will check into your hotel. Dinner will be at the finest restaurant.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Distance Covered: 13 km /8 miles
  • Time: 6-7 hours
  • Lowest elevation: 1,800 m/5,905 feet
  • Highest elevation: 3,100 m/10,170 feet
  • Area: Cloud Forest
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Sights: Llactapata Inca Ruins, Machu Picchu

Day 9: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take an early bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu, the city that was lost to the jungle but rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983, Machu Picchu exceeds all expectations.

Perched high on an inaccessible hilltop the citadel is protected by huge cliffs and the raging Urubamba River. Once there you will be given a 2 hour walking tour of the site.

After you have concluded your amazing Machu Picchu tour,  you will have some time to be at Machu Picchu before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.

When you arrive in Aguas Calientes you will board the expedition train to either Ollantaytambo or to Poroy.

From Ollantaytambo or Poroy, you will travel by private van to Cusco and we will drop you off at your hotel. Arrival time in Cusco depends on the time of your train ticket.

  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Lowest elevation: 2,040 m/6,691 ft
  • Highest elevation: 2,440 m/8,052 ft

INCLUDED

  • Bilingual English speaking tour guide
  • Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu.
  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Capuliyoc on day 1
  • Four-person tent for each two persons
  • Mattress and pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent.
  • An expert chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc)
  • Duffle bag for your personal gear
  • Horse to carry 10 kg of your personal gear
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Nine breakfasts, Eight lunches and Eight dinners
  • Hot water for washing.
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
  • Permit for the choquequirao trek
  • Return Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to either Ollantaytambo or to Poroy
  • Private van transport from Poroy to your Cusco hotel
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Coffee plantation tour in the afternoon of day 7
  • Lodging in Aguas Calientes on night 8 of the trek (double occupancy)
  • Dinner in Aguas Calientes on night 8
  • Train ticket from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes

NOT Included

  • Sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Hiking poles (can be rented from us0
  • Huayna Picchu Permit (this ticket can be purchased for an extra USD $75 per person)
  • Day 9 lunch and dinner
  • Tips for the crew (muleteers, chef and guide)
  • Travel Insurance

What to bring to the Choquequirao trek

  • Original passport (if you have acquired a new one after you made your booking, bring both)
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag (can be rented from us)
  • Clothes (trekking boots, warm fleece jacket, a few T-shirts, socks, sun hat, warm underwear, light long pants, gloves, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen SPF 35+ recommended
  • Head lamp, flashlight
  • Sunglasses
  • Camera with spare batteries (batteries run down faster at high altitudes)
  • Binoculars
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
  • Insect repellent – minimum 40% DEET

PRICES & ADD-ONS

Group: USD $1480 per person
Private: USD $1530 person

Group versus Private Treks: What’s the difference?

  • Depending on the number of people in your booking, additional people may join the trek to make a full group.
  • If you choose “private”, no additional people will be joining your group, no matter the size.
  • Minimum booking size is two people; one person may book a group trek if Action Peru Treks is able to join that person with additional groups.

Rentals

  • Hiking Poles – USD $30 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $40 per person

Upgrades:

  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham Train– USD $420 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $255 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Inkaterra El Pueblo Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $250 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • El Mapi Hotel (4-star hotel) – USD $115 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Private Tent – USD $60 per person
PRICE PER PERSON IN USD:
Group: $1480
Private: $1530
DURATION:
9 Days / 8 Nights

AVAILABLE ADD-ONS

  • Hiking Poles – USD $30 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $40 per person
  • Huayna Picchu – USD $75 per person
  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham Train– USD $420 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $255 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Inkaterra El Pueblo Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $250 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • El Mapi Hotel (4-star hotel) – USD $115 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 Per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Private Tent – USD $60 per person

 

OVERVIEW

  • Day 1: Cusco – Capuliyoc -Chiquisca
  • Day 2: Chiquisca – Maranpata – Choquequirao
  • Day 3: Full Day Choquequirao Exploration
  • Day 4: Choquequirao – Maizal
  • Day 5: Maizal – Abra San Juan – Yanama
  • Day 6: Yanama – Totora
  • Day 7: Totora – Lucmabamba
  • Day 8: Lucmabamba – Llactapata Inca Ruins – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 9: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Beginning altitude: 1,550 m / 5,117 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 4,672 m / 15,324 ft
  • Total distance hiked: 93 km/58 miles
  • Overall trek difficulty: Demanding

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