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Huchuy Qosqo Hike to Machu Picchu

Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machu Picchu – 3D/2N

Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machu PicchuThe Huchuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu remains off the beaten path and has amazing scenery. You will have stunning views of local mountain villages, encounter many animals such as llamas and alpacas, observe dramatic mountain peaks and a variety of local flora and fauna. You will meet the local people in rural villages and have a first hand look at life in the high Peruvian Andes, as well as walk along the footpaths of the ancients on the Inca Trail.

The signature archeological site of this trek is Huchuy Qosqo (3,600 m/11,800 ft). We will arrive at this site on Day 1 and camp there. A comprehensive tour will occur on the morning of Day 2.

This site provides a picturesque environment to see examples of the master architecture of the Incas. From this location the view of the Sacred Valley and Urubamba Mountain range will take your breath away.

After two days of hiking you will make your way to Aguas Calientes by train. On the third day you will visit the magnificent citadel of Machu Picchu. Our standard package includes the premium services of the Vistadome train from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, lodging in a very nice hotel in Aguas Calientes on night two, and dinner at a great local restaurant in Aguas calientes. Your Machu Picchu ticket is also included.

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ITINERARY

Pre-trek briefing (required): We provide a full pre-trek briefing at our office 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 Huchuy Qosqo Trek briefing.

Day 1: Cusco – Qoricocha – Huchuy Qosqo

We will pick you up early from your hotel and drive for 30 minutes to the Inca site of Tambomachay (3,700 m/ 12,139 ft). Along the way we will pass Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, and Puca Pucara. Tambomachay is the trailhead for this trek and where we will meet the remainder of our team – the horses, muleteers, and chef. We will pack our gear onto the horses and start the Huchuy Qosqo trek.

We begin your Huchuy Qosqo trek by hiking uphill for two hours until we reach the first pass of our trek (4,100 m/13,451 ft). During this portion of the hike there are gorgeous views of Cusco and the surrounding mountains. After an additional 30 minutes we will arrive at Lake Qoricocha. This spectacular location is the perfect place for us to enjoy a scrumptious lunch.

After lunch, we will ascend for 35 minutes to the second pass, and highest point of our Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machu Piccchu (4,200 m/13,779 ft). From here the remainder of the day´s trek is downhill. During this approximately 4 hour segment we will go through scenic valleys, a fabulous canyon, and hike on a portion of the original Inca Trail. Our campsite for the night is on one of the terraces of the Huchuy Qosqo Inca site (3,600 m/ 11,808 ft).

  • Meals: Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Camping
  • Distance covered: 14 km / 9 miles
  • Time: 7-8 hours
  • Lowest elevation: 3,600 m/ 11,808 ft
  • Highest elevation: 4,200 m/ 13,779 ft
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Sights: Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Lake Qoricocha, Huchuy Qosqo Complex

Day 2: Huchuy Qosqo – Lamay – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

We will wake up early to have a fantastic breakfast at our camp. After breakfast, we will have an extensive tour of the Huchuy Qosqo archeological site.

After our tour we will hike downhill for 2 to 3 hours to Lamay (3,000 m/ 9,840 ft). In Lamay we will have lunch. After lunch, our van will be waiting to drive us to Ollantaytambo (2,840 m / 9,315 ft), where we can do a short walking tour in the town.

From Ollantaytambo we will catch a nice train to Aguas Calientes. When we arrive you will check in to your hotel room. The natural hot springs in town are a great way to spend a late afternoon/early evening if time is available before dinner. Dinner will be at a great local restaurant.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner
  • Accommodations: Hotel
  • Minimum altitude: 3,000 m/ 9,840 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 3,600 m/ 11,808 ft
  • Distance to walk: 3 km (1.5 miles)
  • Approximate walking time: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Sights: Huchuy Qosqo Inca ruins, Ollantaytambo

Day 3: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

You will have breakfast at your hotel before we take the bus along the winding road to Machu Picchu, the Inca 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 at 2 hour walking tour of the site.

If you have elected to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain (the price of this hike is not included in your Huchuy Qosqo Trek price), you will begin the hike at 10 a.m. If you are not climbing the mountain you will have some time to be at the site before you return to Aguas Calientes by bus.

Upon arrival 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 (additional tour guide for groups of nine people or more)
  • Pre-Departure Briefing at your hotel 1 or 2 days before your trek.
  • Pick up from your hotel and transportation to Tambomachay
  • Four-person tent for every 2 people.
  • Mattress
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent
  • Chef
  • Muleteers and horses to carry all the equipment (food, tents, chairs, table, etc.)
  • Horse to transport 8 kg of your personal gear
  • Duffle bag for your personal gear
  • Emergency horse in case we need it
  • Two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners
  • Hot water for washing.
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
  • Train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
  • Return Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to either Ollantaytambo or to Poroy
  • One night hotel accommodation in Aguas Calientes (double occupancy)
  • Entrance to Machu Picchu
  • Round trip bus from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu

NOT included

  • Sleeping bag – you can rent one from us
  • Trekking pole – you can rent from us
  • Huayna Picchu Permit (this ticket can be purchased for an extra USD $75 per person)
  • Day 1 Breakfast
  • Day 3 Lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Tips for the crew (guide, chef, wranglers)
  • Travel Insurance (highly recommended)

What to bring

  • 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, tops, a few t-shirts, socks, sun hat, thermal underwear, light long pants, gloves, poncho, rain jacket)
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sun block, factor 35+ recommended
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses and sun hat
  • Camera with spare batteries – batteries run down faster at high altitudes
  • Binoculars
  • Book to read (you will have some time at every camp to read your favorite book)
  • Trekking poles (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
  • Insect repellent

PRICES & ADD-ONS

Group: USD $620 per person
Private: USD $670 per 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.

Discounts

  • Under 18 years Discount: USD $20
  • Under 7 years Discount: USD $35

Rentals

  • Hiking Poles – USD $10 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $15 per person
  • Private Tent – USD $30 per person

Upgrades

  • Return Vistadome Train – USD $60 per person
  • Return Hiram Bingham Train– USD $400 per person
  • Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel (5-star hotel) – USD $245 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Private Tent – USD $30 per person

Huchuy Qosqo Trek 2024 FAQs.

What is the Inca Huchuy Qosqo Trek to Machu Picchu?

The 3-day Huchuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu is an ancient, off-the-beaten track that offers dramatic views of the Sacred Valley and Andean mountains, marvel in the wonders of the sky Andes as you camp under the stars at the Inca ruins of Huchuy Qosqo and end your hiking experience at the famous and mysterious ruins of Machu Picchu!

This Short hike is perfect for the adventurous travelers and one great alternative hike to the Inca Trail trek.

How far in advance should I reserve my permit for the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

Unlike the Classic Inca Trail, where there is a limit of 500 hikers per day and so permits can be sold out up to six months in advance, there are no limits for the Huchuy Qosqo trek.

This makes it an excellent alternative if you’d been hoping to hike the Inca Trail but have found that there isn’t any space. 

The only restriction you’ll face is on the availability of entry tickets to Machu Picchu, so it’s still worth booking at least a few weeks in advance, particularly if you’re travelling between May and September.

Is a permit required to hike the Huchuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu?

No permits are currently required to hike the Huchuy Qosqo trek. However, you will need a ticket to enter Machu Picchu at the end of the trek. Also, if you plan on hiking any of the three mountain trails within Machu Picchu, you will also need to buy these tickets in advance too.

Again, be mindful, that tickets for Huayna Picchu sell out months in advance, as there is a limit of just 200 people per day. So, you may need to be a little more organized than usual if you plan to hike this trek. 

Does the Huchuy Qosqo trek include your Machu Picchu entrance ticket?

Yep, the cost of entry is included in the trip price and it’s the responsibility of Action Peru Treks to take care of all that and provide you with the ticket on the day you’re entering the site.

Is there a waiting list for sold out Machu Picchu permits?

No, there is no waiting list for permits. Permits are only available for purchase through the Peruvian government.

Once a permit is purchased for one person, the permit cannot be refundable or transferred to another individual.

Is it possible to enter Machu Picchu with a different name?

No, you need to carry your valid passport to enter the city.

What is the terrain like? And how difficult is the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

The difficulty of the Huchuy Qosqo trek is “Moderate”.

The Huchuy Qosqo trek is around 17 km (11 miles) long. For travelers interested, you must be physically capable for a trek like this.

Altitude effects aside, it is multiple days of 6+ hours of hiking through rough terrain and often up or down hill. But anyone who exercises regularly will manage just fine! It is exhausting but it’s certainly not unbearable.

All guides carry oxygen canisters, so if you start to feel altitude sickness you can rest and get some much-needed O2. If you’re an avid hiker or used to the altitude you won’t have a problem.

For everyone else, make sure you feel confident in your hiking abilities and you’ll do amazing.

Which campsites do you use along the trek?

Campsites may change depending on booking time and availability, weather conditions or on restrictions undertaken for safety reasons by our trekking team.

We generally camp in less trafficked areas so that trekkers can enjoy the natural beauty of the trek and minimize environmental impacts.

Our regular campsite for the night is at the Inca ruin of Huchuy Qosqo.

What do I need to carry on the trek?

We recommend that travelers carry the items that they will need each day while hiking such as water, snacks, camera and film. Our horses will carry 8 kg of each of your personal gear including the camping equipment during the trek.

We will give you a duffel bag for those belongings at the time of your pre trek briefing. We generally ask trekkers to bring only the necessary items that they will need for the trail and leave any unneeded luggage at the hotel in Cusco or at our office.

Where do I store my luggage during the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

Your Cusco hotel will store your luggage for free while you will be on the trek. We can also store your extra luggage at our office in Cusco.

How big are the groups?

Our groups are usually small. Average is 3 to 5 people and maximum 16 people plus the trekking team.

When Is the Best Time to Hike the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

The end of the rainy season (April) and the beginning of the dry season (May) are generally considered the best times to hike the Huchuy Qosqo trek.

The surrounding landscape is still green and lush from months of downpour and the chances of being caught out in the rain are significantly lower.

Is the Huchuy Qosqo trek to Machu Picchu always open?

It’s possible to hike the Huchuy Qosqo trek all year round, but for the best conditions (and to get those iconic views at Machu Picchu on the final day), try to avoid the rainy season, which is between November and March.

Are there toilets and showers at the campsites?

We provide you with a pop-up tent and eco-friendly portable toilet that is clean and sanitary.

Shower is not available during the hike portion and your first opportunity to take a hot shower would be at the hotel once you arrive in Aguas Calientes in the afternoon of the day 2.

Altitude and acclimatization

We recommend travelers spend a few days in Cusco before doing the trek to help adjust to the high altitude. It’s better to acclimatize in Cusco, not the Sacred Valley, because the higher elevation of the city at 11,120 ft (3,400 m) is more akin to those at the start of the Huchuy Qosqo trek.

Altitude sickness is caused by a rapid change in elevation without the necessary time for acclimatization. Mild symptoms are common and include lingering headache, nausea, and loss of appetite.

Every person responds differently to the change in altitude and unfortunately there is no way to prevent it or predict how seriously it may affect you.

What is the food like on the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

A cook accompanies each group on the trek and prepares breakfast, three course lunches and dinners.

The meals are quite exquisite considering that all of the ingredients and cooking supplies are carried from Cusco and the Sacred Valley.

Each trekker is also provided with snacks to take with them on the trek.

Vegetarian and vegan meals are also available upon request. Other special dietary requests can usually be accommodated as well with sufficient notice.

Is drinking water supplied?

Yes, our trekking team will provide drinking water every morning and at each meal (except for the first day until the lunch spot).

Each evening, water is collected from nearby streams, boiled, and left to cool overnight. A reusable water bottle or hydration pack works well for this.

We recommend that travelers bring their own refillable bottles to limit plastic waste along the Trail.

What equipment is supplied by us along the trek?

We supply the sleeping tents (4 person tents for two travelers), dining tents, tables, chairs, toilet tents, cooking equipment, water purifiers, sleeping pads, and other camping equipment.

Our outfitter purchases the highest quality equipment in Peru and older equipment is evaluated and replaced on a regular basis.

What are the guides like?

Our team are among the very best and most experienced guides anywhere. They are from the surrounding Cusco and the Sacred Valley areas and speak fluent English, in addition to Spanish and the Inca indigenous language of Quechua.

Most have 8-10 years of experience leading hikes to Machu Picchu and all have training in the history, spirituality, culture, and ecology of the area.

How can I prepare for the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

The more training you do beforehand, the more you will enjoy your trek.

We recommend 30 minutes of cardio activities 3-4 times a week in the 2-3 months leading up to your departure. Take every opportunity to walk up and down stairs or hills for leg strengthening and aerobic fitness.

Are there any ATMs?

There are no ATMs along the Huchuy Qosqo trek. You should bring enough money with you from Cusco for tipping and lunch in Aguas Calientes.

There are also some ATMs in Aguas Calientes if you need to withdraw additional cash.

What if I have a medical emergency while hiking the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

Guides carry a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts/scrapes, etc.). They receive Red Cross First Aid and other emergency training every year.

Our guides lead over 1000 travelers along the trek each year and we have rarely had a traveler unable to complete the hike. In these rare instances when someone has not felt well enough to finish the hike, the client has been escorted back to Cusco and generally felt well enough to re-join the group in Machu Picchu via train a few days later.

Cusco city has the nearest modern medical facilities so travelers with a serious medical emergency would need to be evacuated there. Guides and porters have pre-established evacuation strategies in place should this need occur.

Is there internet access on the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

Nope, and this is one of the best things about it.

Instead, you and your group will spend evening conversing over metal cups of hot tea or coffee, playing card games, or lazing in nature together.

Your last chance to use the internet or have a reliable phone signal will be at the trailhead and your first opportunity will be at Inca ruin of Huchuy Qosqo and Ollantaytambo before taking the train down to Aguas Calientes town.

How much money should you bring on the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

The vast majority of costs will be covered in the up-front price of your trip, but there are a few costs along the way for which you’ll need to bring cash:

  • Snacks and drinks from stallholders
  • Toilet entry fees (usually 2 soles at Machu Picchu)
  • Tips for porters and guides
  • Lunch on day 3 at Aguas Calientes.

It’s sensible to take this money in the form of smaller notes and coins.

We’d say at least 200 soles per person for the trek-specific section.

Will I get altitude sickness on the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

Many of the most popular places in Peru, such as Cusco and Huaraz, are at high altitude; this means that for anyone planning a trip to Peru understanding altitude sickness (and how to avoid it) is incredibly important. In fact, not approaching altitude correctly is one of the biggest mistakes of travelers in South America.

The best way to minimize the likelihood and impact of altitude sickness is factoring in enough time into your Peru itinerary to acclimatize to the conditions.

This means that it is incredibly foolish to arrive in Cusco, which is at 3,399m (11,152 feet) above sea-level, and leave the next day to do a strenuous hike or even start the Huchuy Qosqo trek. Your body needs the time to adjust to the altitude!

A good rule of thumb is to give yourself and your body two easy days at altitude to acclimatize to the change, and to keep yourself well hydrated throughout.

What about medication?

Obviously, medical attention and facilities along the trek are pretty much non-existent so you need to bring any of your own required medication with you and keep it on your own person or in the daypack.

What climates can I expect on the Huchuy Qosqo trek?

Variance in latitude, elevation and local winds all factor into the wide range of climates experienced in the central Sierra Mountain region. Average temperatures in the Sierra vary little between seasons, but there is dramatic daily variance. 

While the average daily temperature may only vary a few degrees Celsius between January and July, the diurnal (daily) temperature range is often huge.

You can expect daytime temperatures in the highlands to be in the range of 10-25°C (50-77 °F), falling as low as -10 °C (14°F) at night especially at the first camp site.

How much time can I spend at the Machu Picchu sanctuary?

There are three time slots in which patrons can enter Machu Picchu for a maximum of four hours and must follow one of three predetermined routes. Admission is not allowed after 4pm. Additionally, all visitors must always be accompanied by a guide.

The early morning is one of the best times to savor the views and atmosphere of Machu Picchu. The mystical morning light over the enigmatic site is spectacular. Try and catch the sunrise at the sanctuary, you won’t regret the early wakeup call!

PRICE PER PERSON IN USD:
Group: $620
Private: $670
DURATION:
3 Days / 2 Nights

AVAILABLE ADD-ONS

  • Hiking Poles – USD $15 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $20 per person
  • Huayna Picchu Permit – 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)
  • Tierra Viva Machu Picchu (3+ star hotel) – USD $50 per person per night (double occupancy)
  • Private Tent – USD $30 per person

 

OVERVIEW

  • Day 1: Cusco – Qoricocha – Huchuy Qosqo
  • Day 2: Huchuy Qosqo – Lamay – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 3: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Beginning altitude: 3,700 m / 12,139 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 4,200 m / 13,779 ft
  • Hike Total Distance: 17 km / 10 ½ miles
  • Overall trek difficulty: Moderate

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