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The 12 days Inca Trail and Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most rewarding treks in Cusco. The trail to Machu Picchu combines the best of what the region has to offer. The trek goes through stunning high Andean peaks, some lesser known Inca sites and culminates with a visit to Machu Picchu.
The highlight of the Choquequirao combined Inca Trail is you will be experiencing the four best sights of the region. Choquequirao archaeological site, the esteemed Inca Trail, Salkantay pass and iconic citadel of Machu Picchu.
Inca Trail is a 500 years old trail that retraces the footsteps of Incas. Dotted with numerous original Inca ruins, the two most raved sites are Wiñay Wayna and Inti Punku (Sun Gate).
This 12 days Choquequirao combined Inca Trail is one of the less popular treks. Treks in Cusco, as an outdoor adventure tour operator, has well experienced dedicated guides. Our guides are locals. They have an extensive knowledge on culture and history.
The highest point of the Choquequirao Inca Trail is at 4850 metres above sea level (15908 feet). We recommend you to spend at-least 2-3 days acclimatise in Cusco before the trek. You may choose to experience our Cusco City Tour or Sacred Valley Tour while you are acclimatising to get an introduction to Incas history.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will be picking you up from your hotel in Cusco quite early in the morning. Then in our private transport, we will be driving you to the Apurimac Canyon. This will be a four and a half hours drive.
The route offers captivating views of the snow capped Andean peaks. On our way, we will have a brief stop at an Andean village, Tarawasi.
The village derives its name from two native Quechua terms, Tara is a typical native Andean tree, Wasi signifies house. So the village is home to Tara Trees.
The tree is very significant to locals. It primarily produces bean pods. The beans become orange in colour when it ripes.
Locals use the seeds as a natural dye. They also have medicinal value.
The village is also a significant ceremonial centre since Inca civilization. One of the unmissable attractions here is Unsu. It is a ceremonial element where locals prepare offerings for rituals.
From here we will be driving for three hours to Capuliyoc. It nestles at 2915 metres (9561 feet). From here you will have an enchanting view of the Apurimac Valley snuggled between the snow capped peaks of Wayna Cachora and Parayoc while the Apurimac river snakes through the green field. .
Here we will begin the Choquequirao Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We will begin with a hike to Chiquisca. Then we will be hiking to Santa Rosa which will be our camping site for the night.
We will begin the uphill hike quite early in the morning to Maranpata. It takes three hours from our campsite in Santa Rosa. It is mostly uphill and quite challenging.
Here we will be stopping for lunch. From our lunch camp, you will get the first sight of Choquequirao ruins. From here it is two hours further to the ruins.
We will be spending the evening enjoying the Sunset from the complex. You will also have the opportunity of seeing the flight of Andean condors.
We will begin the day quite relaxed. This is the easiest day of the 12 days Choquequirao Inca Trail experience.
You can spend the morning exploring the complex. Later, in the afternoon, we will be hiking up over a ridge to Pinchinuyoc where we will be camping.
We will leave the campsite at day break to Rio Blanco. It is a two hours hike to the canyon. Here we will be having lunch and gaining enough strength to continue with the 4 hours uphill hike to Maizal.
We will be camping at Maizal.
At 0700 AM, we will be hiking three hours uphill to Victoria Mines. These mines were quite prominent during the colonial era. Now, it is abandoned.
Here we will be touring and visiting the nearby Inca ruins. Then we will be hiking to Victoria Pass at 4130 metres (13546 feet).
You will have an enchanting view of the valley from the pass. We will then start hiking down the hill for two hours to Yanama village.
Along our way, we will be passing Coryhuayrachinca. It is an Inca ruins that was recently discovered.
We will be leaving from the campsite early in the morning. We will begin hiking to the highest pass of the Choquequirao Inca Trail at 4850 metres (15908 feet).
From the pass, we will be descending for three hours to Totora Valley. We will be camping here for the night.
Another challenging day of the trek. We will begin with an uphill hike to Salkantay Pass (4600 metres / 13451 feet). This is the second highest point of the trek.
Although it is challenging, it takes you through some of the scenic landscapes. We will be hiking up the hill through the cloud forest to the bottom of the snow capped peak.
You will be encountering many other trekkers of Salkantay Trek on this route. However, we will be going in an opposite direction.
From the pass, we will be hiking down the hill for two hours to Salkantay Pampa. It is a small village at 4100 meters (13451 feet).
We will be camping here for the night. If you feel like you have the stamina to continue, we can continue to Ichupata.
We will begin with a 4 hours uphill hike to Incachiriasca Pass (4850 metres / 15908 feet). This is another highest point on the Inca Trail and Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu.
The pass offers a spectacular view of the snow capped Salkantay peak. We will be stopping at the pass to immerse in the beauty of nature.
We will then descend to Sisaypampa. This is a beautiful valley that offers a captivating view of the valley. Here we will be stopping for lunch.
After relishing on a nutritious lunch, we will be hiking to the Pampacahuana community. This is located right next to an original Inca canal. We will be camping here.
As you will be waking up, you will witness that the valley starts to narrow down as the river becomes a canal. This is a marvel of Inca engineering.
The Incas built canals in a way that it passed through the valley. This is to increase the access to farmlands.
It is a three hours hike down the hill to Inkaracay fortress. Some know it as Paucar Cancha. This is a hidden gem as not many people are aware of its existence.
After exploring the site, we will be hiking for an hour to Huayllabamba. It is a small village. Here we will be joining the Classic Inca Trail.
Inca Trail has many restrictions to maintain its authenticity. So mules are not allowed as their poop could spoil the trail. Hence, our porters will be joining us on the trail from here.
Later in the afternoon, we will begin hiking to the dead woman’s pass. This is a steep climb for some nine odd kilometres.
Since we will be joining the trail from half the way, we will just be climbing a part of the stretch. We will be stopping at Ayapata and will be camping there.
Another interesting day on the 12 days Choquequirao Inca Trail. We will be retracing the footsteps of Incas to the highest point of Inca Trail, Warmihuañusc Pass (4200 metres | 13776 feet).
From the pass, we will be descending to Pacaymayo Valley (3600 metres | 11808 feet). Then we will be hiking to the second pass, Runkurakay (3970 metres | 13022 feet).
On our way, we will be visiting the ruins of Runkurakay. This was a watch tower to Incas. Then we will be descending to Yanacocha. It is a lake that derives its name after its black coloured water.
From here, we will be entering the cloud forest and reach Sayacmarca (3624 metres / 11887 feet). It is a semi circular complex.
We will be hiking from there for another 20 minutes to Chaquicocha. This in Quechua means dry lake. We will be camping here for the night.
We will start the day with an easy hike to the third pass on the trail. Phuyupatamarca Pass (3700 metres | 12136 feet). It also houses an archaeological complex.
The archaeological complex is one of the most well preserved sites in the Inca Trail. The word Phuyupatamarca in Quechua means town above the clouds.
From here, we will be hiking down through cobblestone steps to Wiñay Wayna. In Quechua it means forever young. We will be settling down at the campsite. The complex is just five minutes away from there.
This is another beautiful complex which was primarily used for farming.
The last day of Inca Trail and Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. We will be waking you up early in the morning. We will begin hiking at 0500 AM to Inti Punku (Sun Gate). This is the highlight of Inca Trail.
We will be hiking for an hour on the trail to Inti Punku to get an entrancing view of the sun rising over the walls of the emblematic Inca citadel.
Then we will be hiking for around 40 minutes down the hill to the centre of Machu Picchu citadel. On our way we’ll be stopping at a checkpoint where you can leave your belongings.
You will have four hours during which you can visit the Inca bridge or simply explore the citadel. Then our local expert will be giving you a two hours guided tour of the citadel.
If you want to climb Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, you must obtain an additional permit. Please advise us at the time of booking the Inca Trail and Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu.
You may want to spend an additional day to get the most. If you do, we recommend you to visit the hot springs. There is no better way to end your trek experience than taking a dip in the natural thermal spring water.
Check out our post on Five Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Later in the afternoon, we will be taking an Expedition train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo train station. Our representative will be meeting you and will transfer you back to your hotel in Cusco.