Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 8 Days
Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days
Looking for a real adventure to go on an expedition and conquer Machu Picchu? Choquequirao, perched on a sharp-edged promontory at 10,000 feet and ringed by the snow-capped Vilcabamba Mountains and protected by the roaring Apurimac river, a true “lost city of the Incas.” For its absolutely stunning location, Choquequirao (The Cradle of Gold) is often compared to Machu Picchu and said larger than Machu Picchu, yet this hidden Inca site has no road access, few visitors, and a haunting ambience unmatched at other Inca ruins. Choquequirao still makes you feel as though you’re practically the first to arrive. First discovered in the 1700s, Choquequirao was not excavated until more than 200 years later. Less than 30% of the ruins have been uncovered, with many of the site’s secrets still undiscovered. This spectacular and challenging trek brings us from the depths of the canyon carved by the roaring Rio Apurimac to breathtaking Choquequirao, with its stunning plazas, granary buildings, and mysterious shrines, and a place which is still home for Condors. Trekking onward, we cross the entire Vilcabamba range through deep-cut valleys and over high passes to the world-renowned Machu Picchu. Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days offers a variety on flora and fauna, thus along the pathway we’ll experience different microclimates and ecosystems rich in birdlife and orchids
Each exhilarating day of hiking will end at our exclusive camps, where we can savor peaceful nights beneath a star-filled sky. Our fitting finale is an overnight at the Gringo Bill’s Boutique Hotel in Machu Picchu town. This is a true trek into the heart of the Inca Empire. Join us!
Duration: 9 Days / 8 Nights
Physical Rating: 5 – Demanding to Strenuous. Some high-altitude hikes or more strenuous activities, but accessible to most healthy travellers. Full-day hikes (6-8 hours), mountainous, steep terrain (hiking up or down as much as 3,500 feet) on many days. Most hikes take place at altitudes above 12,000 feet, with some days ascending as high as 17,000 feet
Service Level: Upgraded, Comfort
Group Size: Small Private Group. Small group experience, Min 02 – Max 8, Avg 04.
Overnight In Machu Picchu Town? YES.
Limited Trekking Permits: NO.
Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days is not regulated yet by the peruvian goverment; however, the entrance fee for the Choquequirao is charged at the checkpoint right before getting into the park (the entrance fee is included); thus you can book your trek one month in advance to organize the tour, whether you would like to hike up Wayna Picchu mountain, please let us know at the moment you are booking the tour ( tickets for Wayna Picchu is limited to 400 tickets a day).
Please Note. Passport information must be submitted to Crocotrail Travel at the moment you book prior to departure. This information is necessary to issue, Machu Picchu entance fee, Waynapicchu, train tickets, bus tickets.
Day 01. Cusco – Capuliyoq – Playa Rosalina
We meet you at hotel in this morning and begin our drive to Capuliyoq, the starting point for our picturesque hike to Choquequirao. En route we’ll drive though highland villages and stop to shoot some awesome photos. One of them is the village of San Pedro de Cachora (9,500 feet), four hours later we’ll get the lookout and starting point Capuliyoq (9,532 feet), where we enjoy our first views down into the deep, forested canyon of the Apurimac River, and make our rucksacks ready for the adventure. We then start descending into the canyon on the switchback section of trail to camp site Playa Rosalina (5,069 feet). All meals included.
Hiking Time: 6 hours
Hiking Distance: 4.9 miles.
Day 02. Playa Rosalina – Maranpata – Choquequirao
This day we start the day waking up very early to hike up in the shadow and freshness of the morning. We cross the river on a footbridge and hike onto the switchback section through the cloud forest that leads us to Choquequirao at 10,000 feet. Nearby to Choquequirao, Maranpata town is located, where we’ll have our lunch, then in the mid-afternoon we’ll set out to camp site in Choquequirao. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 8 hours
Hiking Distance: 8.7 miles.
Day 03. Exploration of Choquequirao – Pinchayunuyoq
A nutritious breakfast prepares us for today’s exploration, we’ll explore this lost city, led and explained by our Leader. The site is gradually being restored by a team of Peruvian archaeologists, and we’ll explore this extraordinary complex, with its ceremonial buildings, grand staircase, terraces with llamas, agricultural terraces, granary buildings, usnu (ceremonial platform, a perfect place to spot condors around). Today is a perfect day to shoot national geographic type photos while exploring the site, at the same time we’ll keep our eyes ready to spot birds of this regional reserve. About mid-day we’ll have our lunch right close to Ceremonial buildings. Hiking ownwards to the next camp site Pinchayunuyoq (9,320 feet), this is an inca site, comprised by agricultural terraces with aqueducts and water fountais, we’ll set up our tents right above these incan terraces. All meals Included.
Hiking Time: 6 hours
Hiking Distance: 6.2 miles.
Day 04. Pinchayunuyoq – Maizal
A short day hiking, after having a great breakfast, we will get ready to hike the fourth day, we’ll walk down back to the basin of Vilcabamba Mountains to get Rio Blanco (6,507feet) from where we will start to ascend until reaching the fourth camp spot which is Maizal (10,464feet), where we’ll eat our lunch upon our arrival. This camp site offers amazing views as the great snowcapped mountain Victoria. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 5 hours
Hiking Distance: 4.9 miles.
Day 05. Maizal – Yanama
A nutritious breakfast makes us ready for today’s first high pass. We’ll ascend through the cloud forest, along the pathway we’ll see a lot of fern, orchids, and many other exotic vegetation proper ones of the cloud forest. We’ll hike along the ancient mining center that was taken advantage for many decades. After exploring the mining center for a while we will get into the Inca trail that is very well preserved to reach the Victoria pass (13,734feet), at top this pass we’ll have our lunch with amazing views around, and the beauty of Vilcabamba Range going in different directions with many peaks along. Afterwards we’ll descend to highland picturesque community Yanama (11,936feet) where we’ll camp. All meals included
Hiking Time: 8 hours
Hiking Distance: 7.4 miles.
Day 06. Yanama – Totora
As usual we will have our hot coca tea, coffee to wake up, and have a great breakfast, to start the day with anergy because today bring us the highest point on whole trail, Yanama pass ( 15,369 feet), we’ll follow the trail across the andean valley covered by lupin flowers, and snow-capped mountains above us, until getting the high pass. At the highest pass we’ll offer coca leaves to the andean spirits. Then we continue walking down to Totora town ( 10,464feet), in which we will spend the sixth night. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 9 hours
Hiking Distance: 11.2 miles.
Day 07. Totora – Lucmabamba
Today’s trek through the rural Santa Teresa River Valley takes us downhill past lush cloud forest with orchids, ferns, birds and vast coffee plantations (said to produce one of the best organic coffees in the world), banana trees, passion fruit crops, and orchards. On the way we’ll walk across La Playa village with its friendly inhabitants. One more hour later from this village the trail brings us to Lucmabamba (6,867 feet) camp site, where we’ll be treated to a special lunch, a traditional festive Peruvian meal. This camp site is perfect to spot hummingbirds so we’ll spend the afternoon whilst watching them, or we may have an opportunity to explore the coffee crops, and other tropical fruits. All meals included.
Hiking Time: 7 hours
Hiking Distance. 12.4 miles.
Day 08. Lucmabamba – Llaqtapata – Machu Picchu Town
A hearty breakfast fuels us up for the last day of our trek and the initial 3-hour climb towards Llactapata pass (8,974 feet). Shortly after cresting the pass and beginning our 3,165 feet descent, we’ll be treated to our first distant glimpse of Machu Picchu. As few tourists approach the ruins from this direction, our particular view is an unique treat. The final descent along the trail leading to the Urubamba River passes through more orchards and lush bamboo forests. Our hike today is timed to reach the river with ample time to spare before the train arrives that will transport us to the village of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes), located a short distance from the ruins. We’ll spend this last night at the delightful Gringo Bill’s Boutique Hotel, a perfect base from which to explore the wonders of this magnificent site the next day. All meals included, exept the last dinner.
Hiking Time: 6 hours.
Hiking Distance: 6.8 miles.
Day 09. Guided Tour at Machu Picchu – Free Time to Explore or Hike to Huayna Picchu Mountain – Back to Cusco
A full day at Machu Picchu affords us the luxury of exploring at a leisurely pace while learning more about the Inca culture and the latest theories behind the construction of this marvelous complex. We have an early breakfast and head up to the ruins by shuttle bus before the morning tourist train arrives in order to fully enjoy the peace and solitude of this mystical place. Our knowledgeable Leader leads us on a fascinating tour, recapping Machu Picchu’s rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911 and explaining the significance of the various structures that cover the grounds. We then have the chance to indulge ourselves with a hike to the dramatic viewpoint of Intipunku (the Sun’s Gateway), or a variety of other intriguing possibilities including an easy walk to an ancient Inca drawbridge or more vigorous hike to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain based on permit availability both peaks loom above the ruins. Of course, we can also choose to independently continue our exploration of the main site and daydream about what life must have been like here centuries ago. We catch the afternoon train to Ollantaytambo and from there take the bus back to Cusco, arriving at approximately 7:00 p.m. The day concludes with our Leader joining us for a final celebration dinner at a traditional local restaurant. Only breakfast included, the rest of meals don’t include.
Hiking Optional Huayna Picchu. Hike may be unguided and is steep with some exposure. Permits are limited to 400 spaces a day. An alternative optional hike may be available if Huayna Picchu permits cannot be obtained.
– Transportation from your hotel to the start of the trail.
– Entrance fee to Machu Picchu.
– One night hotel in Machupicchu town.
– Bus tickects up and down in Machupicchu town, the day of guided tour.
– Train ticket back to Cusco at the end of our journey.
– Camping Equipment Black Diamond 4 season tent (04 people tent for 02 people).
– Other camping equipment, a dining tent with table and chairs, and a kitchen tent, manned by a professional cooking staff.
– Private bus from the train station to hotel in Cusco.
– Tour Leader.
– First-Aid Kits, Oxygen tank.
– Meals: Breakfast (8), lunch (8), dinner (7), and snacks, with option for vegetarians, gluten free, lactose free.
– A professional Quechua chef who grew up in the countryside.
– Horses and muleteers to carry your personal gears. Where you’ll pack as max amount 18 pounds.
– Sleeping pad (Therma-Rest mattresses) and Pillow.
– Duffle bag.
– Outdoor toilet tents with chemical toilets at our campsites.
– Train ticket from Hidroelectrica station to Machu Picchu town.
– Emergency horse, that will be staying with us during the hike to upload our personal day gears or ride.
What’s Not Included
– Sleeping bags, you might get them rented from us US$ 5 per day.
– Hiking poles,you might get them rented from us US$5 per day a pair of poles, Black Diamond or leki brand.
– Last dinner on 8th day.
– Last lunch on 9th day.
– Extra expenditure during the trek, such as: soda, alcoholic drinks, extra snacks, tickets for the hot springs in Machu Picchu town (Aguas Calientes).
– Travel Insurance.
– Travel and health insurance (bring copies with you please), we highly recommend to get an insurance of trip cancellation, interruption; an insurance to protect your travel investment, Included with your pre-departure package, bring your travel insurance to cover trip cancellation, interruption, baggage loss and delay, emergency medical evacuation insurance and emergency medical expense insurance. Any unexpected situations occurred during the journey and which are beyond our control, including changes in scheduling trains or flights, delays, strikes, cancellations, missed connections, etc. it should be covered by the passenger as a whole. Also, if you for physical reasons of health cannot continue the trek or walk, and will need emergency evacuation then all charges incurred such as transportation, hotel, ambulance, doctors, medication, hospitalization, etc. will be at passenger’s expense.
– International or internal airfare, transfers for independent arrival or departure, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Detailed Itinerary, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessitated by airline schedule changes or other factors, expenses such as medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, or passports and visas, and other expenses of a personal nature (alcoholic beverages, laundry, etc.).
Lodging & Camping Amenities
Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Camps.
We make hiking and camping in the Andes as comfortable as it can get! On the trail, you are accompanied by our experienced team of trek Leaders, and all your gear is carried for you, leaving you free to hike with just a light daypack to hold your camera, water bottle, jacket, etc. Our camp amenities include a dining tent with a dining table, chairs with backs, camp meals prepared by our highly trained staff, toilet tents with chemical toilets. Our camp crew takes care of all camp chores, including bringing tea or coffee to your tent each morning and providing beautiful picnic lunches each day at a scenic spot along the trail. Accommodations are in sturdy mountain-four season tents, mountain-four season sleeping pads, pillows. Our camps are operated to the highest environmental standards. Most trip members bring their own sleeping bag, but we can arrange for you to rent them in Cusco at our office if you prefer.
Tents: Black Diamond tents. Our tents are 4 season and roomy, high-quality 4-person mountain tents (used for only two people) and 2-person tents (used for singles).
Sleeping Pads. Therma-rest 4 season. Our Sleeping pads are confortable and high-quality mountain type.
Hotel in Machu Picchu Town. On the eighth night of the trek, after your final day of hiking, you’ll overnight at charming Gringo Bill’s boutique hotel, in the town of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes).
From USD 1500.00 Per Person.
Prices are quoted in US Dollars and all payments must be made in US Dollars.
To offer the lowest possible cost, our trips are tier priced according to the number of full-paying participants on the trip.
All costs are per person, based on double occupancy. If you wish to have a single room, you must pay the single supplement fee. If you are willing to share accommodations, we will match you with a roommate if one is available. If we cannot match you with a roommate, the “forced single supplement” is listed if applicable.
Trip Payment Schedule.
– At time of reservation: 30% of total balance.
– 90 days prior to departure: Balance should be paid fully, or once upon your arrival in Cusco the other 50% of final balance must be paid fully.
Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule.
– Minimum fee (Salkantay Trek permit fee): $120 per person
– 61-90 days prior to departure: 30% of trip cost
– 46-60 days prior to departure: 50% of trip cost
– 45 days or less: 100% of trip cost.
Preparing For Your Trek
Whichever trail people choose, it’s important that they make the right preparations. The hike into the Andes is difficult for most, if for no other reason than the high altitude. No matter what, hikers should give themselves at least two days to adjust to the high altitudes in Cusco before beginning their journey. Once setting out, it’s important to be prepared with all of the essentials. Vendors will sell bottled water and snacks on the way, so it’s a good idea for travelers to carry currency just in case. Also, the trail gets cold at night, so it’s important to have proper sleeping bags and warm clothes even when hiking in Peru’s summer months.
The Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days is mostly bridle path and it goes up and down across green mountains while crossing one high-altitude passes. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed because we always have a staff member hiking in the lead as well as one behind with the slowest hiker in our group if there are 7 participants in the group. Any fit, experienced hiker will enjoy this hike, but we recommend you make an extra effort to prepare by engaging in regular exercise well beyond your normal routine. To accelerate your conditioning, try walking faster than 1.5 miles per hour, walking on steeper inclines, using your gym’s stair-climbing machines, or going on long hikes (also a good way to break in your boots). Please be aware that there are a few sections of long, steep stone staircases, so we do suggest hiking poles to protect your knees. The trek takes place at altitudes between 6,540 feet and 15,147 feet.
What To Pack. Your 18 pounds will be carried by horses to the camp sites. Thus, you do need to pack light for the trek, but you will find it is not that challenging since all you really need are the following: comfortable hiking clothes, with additional warm layers, good hiking boots, and personal toiletries (we provide a detailed clothing list). You can bring your own, or rent a Crocotrail Travel sleeping bag, and hiking sticks. Your non-hiking luggage will be safely stored for you at your Cusco hotel. One of our Area Managers will be your point person from your first inquiry throughout your preparation for the trip, and they will be happy to answer any questions you have about preparing and packing for this incredible journey.
A professional Crocotrail Travel Tour Leader with a deep knowledge of the destination and a focus on customer service makes all the difference. Our leaders are experts in Inca history, nature, birding, gastronomy, local laguage, etc, with a profound connection to Peru’s fascinating traditional culture. They take care of all the details so that you can savor the experiences of the trip. And just as important, they have a remarkable gift for sharing their extensive knowledge and favorite places. Our Tour Leaders have the warmth, endless energy, and that special “it” factor that transforms a trip into an unforgettable journey.
Make the most of Peru’s natural beauty with outdoor picnics on each adventure tour, and Discover the delights of Peruvian cuisine in each tour destinations and outdoor tours. So food is awesome!
Our chefs are to Food what Leonardo da Vinci is to Art, so we rely on really experienced Quechua chefs who were trained and chosen to make this food in the mountains, and they are our stars.
You’ll be surprised and delighted at the variety and quality of our on-the-trail cuisine, a blend of freshly made Peruvian & Fusion dishes with vegetarian options. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served in our enclosed dining tent, complete with table and chairs. Each morning, you’ll wake up to hot coffee, cocoa, and a choice of teas, brought right to your tent. This is followed by a freshly prepared breakfast of eggs, pancakes, fruit salad, quinua porridge, fresh juice, French toast, or oatmeal. As you start the day’s hike, we provide tasty trail snacks including fresh fruit and chocolate.
Lunches consist of a wide variety of dishes, depending on the day, including delicious roast guinea pig (a local delicacy dish), beef, chicken, fish, pasta salads, soup, casseroles, and other offerings, or surprises with appetizers and delicious desserts. They are served at a comfortable and scenic spot along the trail where our staff has set up tables and chairs, and quite often an open tent for shade. At each lunch stop, we set up our own private toilet tent and chemical toilet for minimal impact on the environment.
This trip is Level 5, Demanding to Strenuous. Most hiking is between 8,000 and 12,000 feet. The maximum elevation we reach is 15,369 feet, and the highest place we camp is 11,772 feet. The total mileage hiked is about 62.5. Trails can be rugged, not the well-maintained trails you may be accustomed to in your country. For the most part, you can hike at your own speed. Our group will spread out along the trail during about six to eight hours of hiking each day (shorter on some days). On the trail, you will just carry your own daypack for the items that you want with you on the trail, such as a water bottle and a jacket. Our horses and muleteers carry all your other gear from camp to camp.
A Typical Trekking Day. Hiking distances on trek are normally measured in hours, not miles, since maps aren’t really accurate enough to assess how far we walk up and down on winding mountain trails. With rest stops and photo stops, few people walk faster than one mile an hour in a mountainous region. Some hiking days are shorter than others, and some days are more difficult than others due to altitude gain and loss.
– Original passport and Student ISIC card (if applicable), and some copies.
– Travel insurance (and some copies).
– Sleeping bag (or you can rent one from us).
– Backpack to carry your things.
– Phone, power bank battery, camera charger and adapter.
– Bathing suit (if you would like to enjoy the hot springs in Machu Picchu town).
– Torch or headlamps.
– Deet or mosquito repellent ( recommendable 30% deet).
– Hiking poles ( or you can rent one pair from us).
– Rain gear (especially if traveling in the wet season, from October to March).
– Comfortable hiking clothes, including warm clothes for the nighttime.
– Good hiking boots with protector ankle or similar, and one pair of flip-flops or light sandals.
– Sunblock and sunglasses.
– Hiking long sleeve T-shirts.
– Hiking trousers.
– Ear Plugs.
– Thermal underwear.
– Hiking socks.
– Water bottle or canteen.
– American dollars and peruvian soles in cash.
– Sun hat, cap, and warm hat and gloves for the nighttime.
– Toilet paper, and face tissue paper.
– Crédit or debit card.
– Luggage Tags and Locks.
– Anti-inflammatory tablets (e.g. Ibuprofen).
– Personal first-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may take).
– For more info you can visit Gear Lexicon https://www.alpineascents.com/pdf/gear-lexicon.pdf
When to Go
The Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days can be hiked all year around except in late December and February, the rainiest months, when the trail is blocked and damaged sometimes by the rainfall, and dangerous by the rockfalls. The trail reopens in March and April, when the rains lighten up and the mountains are still green. High season begins in May and extends through September, as these are the driest months. October through December are considered shoulder season, when occasional rain is possible, but keep in mind that the highlands of Peru are a temperate desert and it is not uncommon for it not to rain for weeks at a time even in the height of the rainy season. This is also the time with the fewest hikers on the trail, more flowers in bloom, and fewer tourists at Machu Picchu as well as in Cusco. Temperatures in the Cusco-Machu Picchu region range from the high 60s in the daytime to the low 40s at night, with some variation depending on the time of year you go.
Route & Acclimatization
Whichever trail people choose, it’s important that they make the right preparations. The hike into the Andes is difficult for most, if for no other reason than the high altitude. No matter what, hikers should give themselves at least two days to adjust to the high altitudes in Cusco before beginning their journey. Once setting out, it’s important to be prepared with all of the essentials.
The trail gets cold at night, so it’s important to have sleeping bags and warm clothes even when hiking in Peru’s summer months.
Our trek has 9 hiking days (most companies push it with just eight days on the trail—and some even four). The Crocotrail Travel way allows you to acclimatize gradually to the altitude, have reasonable wakeup times (no hiking in the dark, as with other companies), and enjoy well-paced hiking days that give you time to explore the extraordinary archaeological sites, and the birds along the route. We want you to experience the wonder of the Trail, not race through it.
With us you can have the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days largely to yourself!. We have perfected the timing of our daily hiking schedule so that the majority of other hikers will be either far ahead or far behind you each day. This delivers a much better experience of this World Heritage Site, and our travelers often comment on the magic of having the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 9 Days to themselvel!.