15 Day Choquequirao Adventure
- Undertake a remote and unique trek along the spectacular Vilcabamba Mountain.
- Range between two sacred Inca Rivers & enjoy 3 hearty meals a day on trek prepared by our chef.
- Explore the magnificent and remote ‘lost’ Inca ruins of Choquequirao, and experience an incredible and very rarely seen view of Machu Picchu against dramatic mountains from the Inca site at Llactapata.
- Discover ancient Machu Picchu as the sun rises.
- Take in the historic city of Cuzco, the royal capital of the Inca Empire.
- Embark on scenic walk in the Sacred Valley to view ancient Inca salt flats.
Stunning views of snow-covered Andean peaks, ancient cloud forest, abundant wildflowers and the Inca ruins of Choquequirao are just some of the highlights of this outstanding trek. Our route follows a mountain traverse between two sacred Inca rivers – to the west the Apurimac and to the east the Urubamba. These mighty rivers are the main tributaries of the Amazon. Between them lies the great Vilcabamba Mountain Range – the last stronghold of the Inca Empire. Unique to this area are the spectacular ‘lost’ ruins of Choquequirao. Built by the Incas in the 15th century, like Machu Picchu, it became lost in high jungle which engulfed the ruins until being rediscovered in the early 20th century. A day is set aside to explore this impressive site before continuing our trek to the Inca site at Llactapata which provides a stunning and rarely seen view of our final destination – Machu Picchu.
You’ll be met by your guide and transferred from Cuzco airport to our hotel for a short initial briefing and then a few hours of rest, essential to successful acclimatization. In the evening you’ll have a longer briefing to discuss aspects of the itinerary and, in particular, the trek.
Every alleyway we enter or corner we turn brings another surprise in the form of the superbly constructed Inca walls or the more architecturally extravagant colonial churches and palaces. The city, once capital of the extensive Inca Empire, has seen many changes since Francisco Pizarro’s men took the city with such apparent ease in November 1533. We also take a short drive to visit the monolithic walls of Sacsayhuaman, spectacularly set above the city. In the afternoon you may have time to explore some of the central parts of the city and a chance to look at some of the great varieties of local craftwork on sale in open-air stalls and shop.
We leave Cuzco and head to the Chinchero Plateau from where we get impressive views of three mountain ranges. We then visit the remarkable Inca salt flats below Maras, ending up in the Sacred Valley near an excellent restaurant where we can savor dishes made with locally grown produce. After a leisurely lunch we head for our hotel in the valley. The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the beauty of this famous valley.
Meals: B, L, D
Another day in this beautiful place, which follows the course of the famous Urubamba River, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon River. During our time here, we visit some of the enthralling citadels, fortresses and temple ruins that are found along the valley including the site at Ollantaytambo. The village itself is a fascinating mixture of Inca and Colonial architecture. If the weather is good and we have time, we can enjoy some short walks in the valley – a good way to prepare for the trek ahead. The evening is spent preparing for the trek at our hotel.
Meals: B, L, D
Today you will be collected from your Sacred Valley hotel for the drive (approx. 5 hours) to the trailhead. On the way we stop at the famous Sayhuite carved rock for a short visit before arriving to Capuliyoc to start our trek. After lunch we continue to the Chiquisca campsite. (Walking time/distance: approx. 4 hours/ 8km / 5 miles.)
We descend very steeply to the spectacular Apurimac river canyon. At first the descent is quite gentle, then it gets steeper and hotter as we go further into the canyon to Playa Rosalina (1550 mts). Then we continue to Marampata (2930m) where we have lunch. After lunch we continue to Choquequirao (2860m), where we will camp. If we are lucky we may see some condors and spectacled bears. (Walking time/distance: approx. 7 hours/15km / 9.3 miles .)
This morning after breakfast we explore this marvelous site, which actually is larger than Machu Picchu! There are many similarities with Machu Picchu, this enigmatic monumental site was also built during the mid to late 15th century, it became lost for many centuries as the high jungle in this area soon covered the ruins and it was re-discovered by Hiram Bingham in the early 20th century. We will camp here one more night. (Walking time/distance: approx. 7 hours / 6km / 3.7 miles.)
We walk down through some beautiful terraces and thick, lush vegetation, all the way to Pinchi Unuyoc at 2100mts, (6890 feet) where we camp for the night. This is a hot, dusty spot, but we can refresh ourselves and wash in this beautiful stream before we settle into our camp. (Walking time/distance: approx. 5 hours/8km.)
We descend approximately 2 hours to the Rio Blanco and then ascend another 4 hours through some beautiful cloud forest all the way to Maizal 3085 mts (10121 feet) for lunch. (Walking time/distance: approx. 6 hours/8km./ 5 miles)
This morning we climb for four hours to the San Juan pass 4150 mts (13615 feet), where we will have lunch before dropping down into the Yanama Valley with great views of Panta and Pumasillo snowed peaks. (Walking time/distance: approx. 6 hours/11km. / 6.8 miles)
Today we climb from our campsite to the top of Yanama Pass 4665 mts (15305 feet) where we have amazing views of the Veronica, Salkantay and Humantay peaks to the south. We then drop down to Totora 3425 mts (11236 feet) where we will make camp. (Walking time/distance: approx. 10 hours/19km.)
Today we continue our descent reaching very lush cloud forest, full of begonias, orchids and crops like coffee and passion fruit, until Wayracpunku. From here we will take private transport for another hour or so to our campsite at Lucmabamba 1800 mts (5905 feet). (Walking time/distance: approx. 5 hours / 23km./ 14.2 miles)
Today we ascend from Lucmabamba to Llactapata 2655mts (8710 feet), where we have lunch with incredible, and very rarely seen, views of the back of Machu Picchu. After lunch we descend to the mighty Urubamba River – the main source of the Amazon 1900mts (6230 feet) to catch the afternoon train to Aguas Calientes where we check in to our hotel. This evening we will be free to enjoy the town and the hot shower! (Walking time/distance: approx. 6 hours/13km.)
Meals: B, L, D
After a professionally led tour of the citadel of Machu Picchu, we’re free to explore the rest of the amazing sights for up to 2 hours in the company of our guide. Then we will eat lunch at Sanctuary Lodge. In the afternoon or early evening we depart from Machu Picchu for the train ride back to Ollantaytambo where we transfer to our vehicle for the drive back to Cuzco and check into our hotel.
Note– depending on train schedules, we may arrive into Cuzco very late at night.
Meals: B, L
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight where your trip concludes.
- 14 breakfasts,11 lunches and 9 dinners.
- Airport transfers if arriving/departing on first or last day.
- Expert bilingual guide.
- Group medical kit.
- Comfortable and central hotels, primarily Casa Andina Classic hotels.
- Private internal transportation.
- The use of a gear pack including sleeping bag and sleeping mat.
- Group camping equipment.
- Porters to carry personal gear.
- Sightseeing and site entrance fees as listed (including Machu Picchu entrance fee)
- International flights and domestic taxes.
- Travel Insurance (compulsory)