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Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu

Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu – 5D/4N

Moonstone Trek to Machu PicchuThis extraordinary Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu is our newest offering. We went out of our way to develop a rare route that is not used by any other company! This hike has many features that aren´t found on other treks in the area.

First of all, it is named for the Moonstone… Quillarumiyoc in Quechua. This is one of the finest carved rock huacas in the vicinity of Cusco. From the Moonstone we follow the footsteps of the Incas who built a high route from their capital city of Cusco westward through the rugged cordillera, and filled their empire with amazing temples and royal residences.

You will visit a rare, well-preserved pre Inca site as well as the longest Inca Canal built in the entire Empire. You will see the quarry where the stones from Ollantaytambo came from.

Add to this an incredible Canyon, interactions with multiple small communities, red Mountains, the Huaracondo River, farms of quinoa, corn and potatoes, abundant alpacas and llamas, stunning views of Mount Veronica, snow capped glaciers and much more.

During four hiking days you cover 38 ½ km / 24 miles, starting at 3,257 m/10,682 ft, and finishing at 2,792 m/9,158 ft above sea level. The high pass has an elevation of 4,625 m/15,170ft.

This trek includes a Luxury Vistadome train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, a nice hotel in Aguas Calientes, dinner at great local restaurant in Aguas Calientes and your private walking tour of Machu Picchu.

We hope you will join us for this undiscovered trek!


Pre-trek briefing (required): We provide a full pre-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. Get answers to a few FAQs.

DAY 1: Quillarumiyoq – Varpiso – Huatta – Chillipawa

We start the first day of your Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu with an early pick up from your hotel. We take a 1 hour drive to Quillarumiyoc (the Moon Temple). This is the namesake of the trek. We will have a nourishing, gourmet breakfast at this location. Following breakfast, we will drive a further 40 minutes to the trailhead, Varpiso (3,257 m / 10, 682 ft). Here we will meet our horses and horsemen. We will pack all the gear on to the horses and start the trek.

We cross a bridge over the Huaracondo River and then are off to this incredible, rarely visited region! This segment is 3 ½ hours uphill. Then we arrive at Huatta (3,924 m / 12, 870 ft), a pre-Inca site. Huatta is a substantial pre-Inca fortress dominating the crest of a ridge. Archeologists currently excavating the site are revealing burial sites and occupation levels from the Formative Period (2,500 years ago), on through the enormous fortifications of the 4th century Regional Development period; a scattering of late-period Inca structures seems like an afterthought on the top of the highest hill. The site is classic: a defensible ridge with dominating three-way views along intersecting valleys. We will have lunch and a tour here.

Following lunch, the remainder of the day´s trek is 3 ½ hours of up and down sections. At that point we will arrive to our camp for the night, the hamlet of Chillipawa (3,750 m/12,300 ft). As a side note, Chillipawa is the native village of many of our guides. You will experience remarkable Peruvian hospitality in this village.

  • Meals:  Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner +snacks
  • Lowest Elevation: 3,256 m/10, 682 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 3,924 m/12, 870 ft
  • Distance to walk: 10 km
  • Approximate walking time: 7-8 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Lodging: Camping at Chillipawa

DAY 2: Chillipawa – Pucaccasa –  Chancachuco

This morning, you will be woken up with delectable coca tea or heavenly local coffee. After that and your robust breakfast, the trek for the day will begin.

The beginning of the trek is uphill for 3 ½ hours. We will then stop at a small open space for lunch (4,438 m/14,557 ft).

Following lunch, we have 1 more hour to go uphill to the high point of the trek, the Puccacasa pass (4,643 m/15,229 ft). This is a very unique vantage point. On one side, you see Cusco and Mt Ausangate (6.372 m/20,900 ft), which is the tallest peak in the Urubamba Mountain Range. On the other side you have a close up view of Mount Veronica (5,882 m/19,096 ft). Mt Veronica represents the end of the Urubamba Mountain range and its pyramidal shape makes it particularly impressive.

After we enjoy this astonishing vista, we start our trek downhill to the camp. During this 2 ½ hour stretch we will see abundant llamas, alpacas and potato farms. We will then arrive at our camp, Chancachuco (4,177 m/13,700 ft) for the night, where we will enjoy a well earned bountiful dinner. We will have a gorgeous view of the Huaynay Glaciers at the camp.

  • Meals:  Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner +snacks
  • Lowest Elevation: 3,750 m/12,300 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 4,643 m/15,229 ft
  • Distance to walk: 11 ½ km/7 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 7-8 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Challenging
  • Lodging: Camping at Chancachuco

DAY 3: Chancachuco – Punkuyuc – Inca Canal – Inca Quarry

Featuring a breathtaking canyon, this is the most beautiful section of the Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu. Additionally, this portion is part of an original Inca Trail. Since we are the only company that uses this route, we will definitely be alone!

After breakfast, we start our journey through the canyon. We will be surrounded by lush green vegetation and polylepis trees, while following a lovely, flowing stream. The beginning of our journey through the Puncuyoc canyon and the Silque Valley is an easy 2 hour downhill stretch. We will follow the 16 km Inca Canal, the longest Inca Canal constructed. This canal was built from Chancachuco to Ollantaytambo. We will also have the possibility to see the native Spectacled Bear.

We will then head back uphill for 2 hours. Along the way we will stop at Inti Punku (the Sun Gate) and tour the Inca Quarry. From here we can see Mount Veronica and parts of the Sacred Valley.

This is a site where history is literally frozen in time. You will see the Inca constructions where the stone masons lived. You will see the “tired stones” that were ready to be skidded down the steep slope to the Vilcanota River below, but abandoned before that was possible. These stones were the pink stones that were used to build Ollantaytambo. You will see an early wheel design. Finally, there is a rare mummy at this site.

The remainder of the day´s hike is 45 minutes of gentle up and down sections, until we reach our camp, the Inca Quarry (3,525 m/ 11,564 ft). We will have lunch at our camp.

We will have the remainder of the day to relax. We will have happy hour, a plentiful dinner and then enjoy the sunset over the Sacred Valley.

  • Meals:  Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner +snacks
  • Lowest Elevation: 3,525 m/ 11,564 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 3,940 m/ 12,136 ft
  • Distance to walk: 10 km/6.2 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 6-7 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
  • Lodging: Camping at the Inca Quarry

DAY 4: Inca Quarry – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

After another delectable breakfast, we begin a relaxed day where we will have ample opportunity to enjoy the sites between the Inca Quarry and Ollantaytambo. This is a rarely visited region and we will likely not encounter any other trekkers. This is an exceptional opportunity to see sites that others never have the chance to see. The hike is 3 ½ hours downhill until we reach Ollantaytambo (2,792 m / 9,158 ft).

We will have lunch in Ollantaytambo.

After lunch, we will catch the Vistadome Train to Aguas Calientes. Upon arrival to Aguas Calientes, you will check in to your hotel room. Since we will get to Aguas Calientes in the early afternoon, you will have plenty of time to relax, enjoy the town and visit the hot springs. Dinner will be at a great local restaurant.

  • Meals: Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner +snacks
  • Lowest Elevation: 2,792 m/9,158 ft
  • Highest Elevation: 3,525 m/11,562 ft
  • Distance to walk: 7 km/4.5 miles
  • Approximate walking time: 3-4 hours
  • Level of Difficulty: Easy
  • Lodging: Three star Hotel in Aguas Calientes

DAY 5: 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 tour of Machu Picchu, 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. Your Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu will then conclude.

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


  • 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 Varpiso
  • Four-person tent for every 2 people.
  • Mattress and Pillow
  • Kitchen tent
  • Dining tent with tables and chairs
  • Toilet tent
  • Professional Chef and assistant chef
  • Wranglers 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
  • Five breakfasts, four lunches, and four dinners
  • Hot water for washing.
  • Daily morning boiled and cold water to fill the water bottles.
  • Emergency oxygen bottle and medical kit.
  • Vistadome train ticket from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
  • Return Expedition train ticket from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • 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 Poles – you can rent from us
  • Day 5 Lunch in Aguas Calientes
  • Huayna Picchu Permit (USD $75 per person)
  • Tips for the crew (guide, chef, wranglers)
  • Travel Insurance

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 with rubber tips (recommended especially for the steep descents, can be rented from us)
  • Insect repellent


Group: USD $780
Private: USD $850

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.


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


  • Hiking Poles – USD $25 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $30 per person
  • Private Tent – USD $40 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 by Inkaterra (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)

Enjoy the Moonstone Trek to Machu Picchu!

Group: $780
Private: $850
5 Days / 4 Nights


  • Hiking Poles – USD $25 (pair)
  • Sleeping Bag – USD $30 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 by Inkaterra (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 $40 per person


  • Day 1: Quillarumiyoq –Varpiso – Huatta – Chillipawa
  • Day 2: Chillipawa – Pucaccasa –  Chancachuco
  • Day 3: Chancachuco – Punkuyuc – Inca Canal – Inca Quarry
  • Day 4: Inca Quarry – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes
  • Day 5: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco
  • Beginning altitude: 2,792 m / 9,158 ft
  • Maximum altitude: 4,643 m / 15,229 ft
  • Hike Total Distance: 38 ½ km / 24 miles
  • Overall trek difficulty: Moderate


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