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Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure Trek 8D

(2 Reviews)
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Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Availability : Everyday
Depart: Capuliyoc
Destination: Machu Picchu
Difficulty : ★★★★ Challenging
Adventure : ★★★★ Very adventurous
Solitude : ★★★ Off the beaten path
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12
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Description

Not for the faint hearted! The 8-day Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure is a fabulous trek for those with the strength and courage for a real adventurous challenge. This trek follows the same itinerary as the 7D Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek, with an exciting detour on Day 6 via the Qhiswa Pass, a physically challenging day chock-full of jaw-dropping scenery and utter isolation. You will not see any other hikers on this part of the route! The adventure is rounded out by a visit to the unbeatable Machu Picchu on the last day.

The Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure eight-day trek is one of the most challenging and spectacular hikes in the region, one that really gets you off the beaten track. This trek should only be attempted by those with high levels of fitness and who have spent at least 3 days acclimatizing at high altitude prior to beginning the trek.

If you are deciding between doing the 7-day or 8-day Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek, Day 6 is the real deal breaker. Have a careful read of the itinerary for this day and make sure it is right for you. If you are unsure, please ask!

What to Expect on the 8D Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure Trek

This challenging version of the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek covers some amazing, little visited landscapes, plunging river gorges, high mountain views, as well as remote villages. And of course, the two big highlights of this route are the incredible Inca ruins at Choquequirao and Machu Picchu!

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Price
Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. We do not have fixed-date group departures. If you do not want to book a private trek, please see our Trekkers Wanted page for a list of open departures within your dates.

2 people

$2720

4-6 people

$1570

7-8 people

$1380

9-12 people

$1295
Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Cachora – Chiquisca – Santa Rosa

    To start off our Choqequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure, we leave Cusco early and begin the drive towards the Apurimac Canyon. After about an hour and a half of driving, we will have a short stop at Tarawasi (2675m / 8776 ft).

    Tarawasi gets its name from two Quechua words: tara, a type tree native to the Andes (latin name: caesalpina espinosa), and wasi, which means “house”. So Tarawasi is “the house of the Tara tree”. Tara is a multipurpose tree that produces large bean pods that turn orange when ripe. The seeds inside are used as a natural dye, and also have medicinal purposes.

    Tarawasi is a ceremonial centre that dates to Incan times. One of the most striking features of this archaeological site is the presence of an usnu, a ceremonial structure where ritual offerings would be prepared.

    Leaving Tarawasi behind, we continue another 3h to Capuliyoc (2970 m / 9744 ft) where we will have our first glimpse of the stunning Apurimac Valley and the snow-capped peaks of Padreyoc and Huayna Cachora.

    In Capuliyoc, we meet our muleteers and walk for about 15 minutes until we reach our lunch spot at the Capuliyoc lookout. After lunch, we’ll start a steep 3-4h descent into the Apurimac Canyon, taking in the spectacular views as we go. We pass Chiquisca (1836m / 6023 ft) and after another hour, arrive at the roaring Apurimac River (1520m / 4986 ft).

    After crossing the river, we begin the tough, 2h climb up to the Santa Rosa Campsite (2095m / 6873 ft). As the campsite is further along than the most popular camp, it is often quiet and you can soak up the stars in restful tranquility.

    Total Walking Distance – 12.2 km
    Total Walking Time – 6-7h
    Minimum Altitude – 1520m / 4986 ft / Maximum Altitude – 2970m / 9744 ft
    Altitude of camp – 2095m / 6873 ft
    Approx. night temperature – 8°C

Day 2Santa Rosa – Choquequirao Ruins

    We start early again today, and head off around 6am towards Marampata. The climb from Santa Rosa to Marampata (2940m / 9646 ft) is a tough, 3h uphill stretch. As we continue on, we’ll soon have our first views of Choquequirao, and then it’s just another 2h until we reach the ruins. This stretch will be a welcome respite, hiking over gently undulating terrain. We’ll have lunch at the Choquequirao campsite (2900m / 9514 ft) before heading to the site itself in the afternoon.

    With only about 30% of the site excavated today, Choquequirao remains somewhat shrouded in mystery. The complex consists of an extensive set of terraces, irrigation channels and various religious and administrative buildings extending over 1800 hectares. And all this set against the dramatic background of the Apurimac Canyon!

    Spending the afternoon exploring the ruins, we will watch the sunset and keep our fingers crossed for the chance to see condors!

    Total Walking Distance – 9.3 km
    Total Walking Time – 5-6h
    Minimum Altitude – 2095m / 6873 ft / Maximum Altitude – 3000m / 9843 ft
    Altitude of camp – 3000m / 9843 ft
    Approx. night temperature – 5°C

Day 3Choquequirao – Pinchiunuyoc – Rio Blanco

    Today we have the whole morning to explore the enigmatic Choquequirao site. Although discovered in 1710 and known to several early European explorers, little importance was historically given to Choquequirao. The site was even visited by Hiram Bingham at the same time as he rediscovered Machu Picchu, but nevertheless Choquequirao remained in the shadow of that of Inca Citadel, largely ignored until the Peruvian government began excavations in the 1970s.

    After our guided, visit we climb over a ridge for around 1 hour and then descend about 3h to the ruins at Pinchiunuyoc. We will take a short break at these ruins to admire the majestic views, and then we continue descending another 1.5-2h until we reach Rio Blanco (1880m / 6167 ft), our campsite for the night. Make sure you have insect repellent with you – it is a necessity when camping at Rio Blanco!

    Total Walking Distance – 12km
    Total Walking Time – 6h
    Minimum Altitude –1880m / 6167 ft / Maximum Altitude – 3300m /10,826ft
    Altitude of camp – 1880m / 6167 ft
    Approx. night temperature – 15°C

Day 4Rio Blanco – Maizal – Mina Victoria/Pajonal

    After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, we’re ready to tackle what for many is the hardest section of the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure trek: a difficult, 3-4h zig-zag uphill climb to a cleared agricultural area on the side of the mountain known as Maizal (3000m / 9843 ft).

    After our lunch in Maizal, we climb another 4-5h uphill through the cloud forest to the Victoria Mines. We’ll take a short rest here and admire the outcropping of rocks, shining with their rich mineral content. It’s no wonder this was a mine in ancient times!

    We continue our trek over the puna, along well-preserved, zig-zagging Inca trails, until we reach our campsite at Pajonal (4000m / 13,123 ft). Here we’ll be treated to incredible views of the journey we’ve just completed, looking back over the amazing Apurimac Valley. Due to the altitude, it will be a cold night!

    Although we don’t have time to visit it, it’s interesting to note the newly discovered Coryhuayrachina ruins, located between Maizal and Yanama. Read more about the little-known Inca history of Coryhuayrachina in this great blog by Gary Ziegler!

    Total Walking Distance – 13km
    Total Walking Time – 7-9h
    Minimum Altitude – 1850m / 6070 ft / Maximum Altitude – 4000m / 13,123 ft
    Altitude of camp – 4000m / 13,123 ft
    Approx. night temperature – -10°C

Day 5Pajonal – Yanama

    We wake early and climb for an hour to the Victoria Pass, also known as the San Juan Pass (4150 m / 13,615 ft), where we’ll be treated to spectacular views. From here, we descend about 2.5h to the charming village of Yanama (3700m / 12,139 ft). Yanama is one of the villages from where Apus Peru hires muleteers. We will have lunch and spend the night here.

    Total Walking Distance – 6km
    Total Walking Time – 3-4h
    Minimum Altitude – 3700m / 12,139 ft / Maximum Altitude – 4150 m / 13,615 ft
    Altitude of camp – 3700m / 12,139 ft
    Approx. night temperature – -5°C

Day 6Yanama - Qhiswa Pass – Lucmabamba

    Today is the day that puts the “adventure” into the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure trek! We will depart at about 5;30 am as we have a very challenging 22km trek ahead of us and a breathtaking – literally! – peak altitude of 4785m (15,698 ft). The way is narrow, the terrain slippery and rocky; this is the makeshift path we’ll be following for about 9-10h total. Our efforts will be rewarded, though, with some of the most spectacular scenery on the route!

    Important: You must have the physical strength and endurance to handle this day, as there is no access to bring an emergency horse with us.

    The views are stunning with breathtaking glaciers, cloud-enveloped mountains, and a real sense of Andean isolation. We will not see another soul along this section, although we may be fortunate enough to spot a condor, or even a deer, along with plenty of bird-life.

    After a long day trekking, a vehicle will meet us at Totora and transfer us to Lucmabamba which is about a 2 hour drive. We will arrive late, and camp for the night at Lucmabamba.

    You can also choose to spend the night in a homestay in Lucmabamba. Spend the night with a local coffee-growing family and enjoy a hot shower and a comfortable bed! There is an extra cost for this option. Read more about our homestay options.

    Total Walking Distance – 22km
    Total Walking Time – 9-10h
    Minimum Altitude – 2100m / 6889 ft / Maximum Altitude – 4785m / 15,698 ft
    Altitude of camp – 2100m / 6889 ft
    Approx. night temperature – 10°C

Day 7Santa Teresa Activities – Aguas Calientes

    Tonnes of great options today for the adventurous! You will pick your option as a group, either at your briefing or on the trail. Note that this will not be a wilderness experience, and you can expect to encounter other people no matter what you do.

    OPTIONS

    1. Relax & Unwind
    This morning, we travel by vehicle to the busy Santa Teresa campsite where you will have some free time and a chance to visit the nearby Colcamayu hot springs. After this, we will travel to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station where we will have lunch and visit another Inca ruin. We will then walk for another 2.5 hours along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes. Here, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your group before turning in at your Standard Aguas Calientes hotel. Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrades also available.

    2. For the Adventurous 
    We leave early and climb for about three hours through the jungle before descending to the interesting, but largely covered ruins of Llactapacta. Don’t let your guide talk you out of this! Yes, it’s a three hour climb, but it is also a very interesting introduction to Machu Picchu!

    Originally discovered by Hiram Bingham at the same time that he re-discovered Machu Picchu, modern day explorers Vincent Lee and Gary Ziegler recently established that these ruins are much bigger and more important than previously thought. From here we have our first view of Machu Picchu, in the saddle of the mountain opposite. We descend very steeply on a muddy track for two hours to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station where we will have lunch and visit another Inca ruin. After this, we will walk for another 2.5 hours along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

    A soak in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes is often the perfect respite for aching muscles! Afterward, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your group before turning in at your Standard Aguas Calientes hotel. Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrades also available.

    3. Calling All Thrill Seekers!
    Zip along South America’s highest and longest zipline, the Cola de Mono! Note that there is an additional fee to ride the Cola de Mono zipline. After a thrilling morning, we’ll travel to the Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station, where we will have lunch and visit another Inca ruin. Then, we will walk for another 2.5 hours along the train tracks to arrive at the village of Aguas Calientes.

    A soak in the thermal baths in Aguas Calientes is often the perfect respite for aching muscles! Afterward, enjoy a celebratory dinner with your group before turning in at your Standard Aguas Calientes hotel. Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrades also available.

    Note:If you prefer not to walk 2.5h to Aguas Calientes from the Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station, you also have the option of taking the train (included in the price of your trek).

Day 8Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

    Today we achieve what for many is a lifelong dream: a visit to the Imperial Inca City of Machu Picchu! In the pre-dawn hours, we’ll take the bus up to the site to enjoy the ruins at sunrise. Your 4h visit to Machu Picchu can be spent exploring some of the alternative routes, like the Inca Bridge, after which your guide will give you a 2-3h walking tour of the historic citadel.

    If you’re feeling adventurous you may wish to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, but take note: this requires an extra permit, and they can sell out well in advance! Be sure to tell us at booking if you would like to add one of these hikes. For more tips on what to see, check out our Visiting Machu Picchu page.

      Want more time to explore? Consider our Extra Day Upgrades.

      We return to Cusco in the afternoon by Expedition (tourist class) train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where our driver will meet us and will transfer you directly back to your hotel in Cusco. Total travel time is about 4 hours from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

WHY BOOK WITH US?

High quality personalized experience

Unique, off-the-beaten track routes

Experienced staff

Verified sustainability practices

$20 of every trek donated to Threads of Peru

Details

What is Included?

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Choquequirao to Machu Picchu trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Entry fees to Machu Picchu and Choquequirao
  • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Basic foam mattress. If you would like greater comfort during the trek we can rent you an inflatable mattress. See Optional Extras & Upgrades below.
  • Cook and cooking equipment, plus assistants for larger groups.
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary. Our professional cooks prepare a combination of traditional Peruvian and Western cuisine. Talk to your guide if you have certain preferences! Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options available. When served, salads are washed in boiled water.
  • Toilet tent
  • Horses and horsemen, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7kg/15lbs per person).
  • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower
  • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals
  • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus up and down between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu
  • Train from Hydroelectric station to Aguas Calientes
  • Train (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
  • Private transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco.
  • Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes
  • Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.
  • 1 night accommodation in Aguas Calientes in a Standard Hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hotel with breakfast included and private bathroom. You can also upgrade to a higher quality hotel.

What is Not Included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Entry to Aguas Calientes or Colcamayu hot springs.
  • Entry to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain
  • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
  • Tips for the guide, cook and porters
  • Additional horses for your personal luggage

You Should Bring

    See What To Bring for our comprehensive recommendations on what to pack for your trek. Note: it gets hot in the Apurimac Canyon! Although there will be plenty of cold nights along the trail, you should also be prepared to de-layer when we climb down towards Apurimac river. For more great suggestions, check out our blog about How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru.

Optional Extras & Upgrades

    We offer you the opportunity to personalize your trek and make your experience more comfortable through our Optional Extras and Upgrades. All options are available during the reservation process; please ask your sales consultant for more information.

    • Extra horse to carry your own things
    • Extra horse for you to ride, and horseman to lead it
    • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
    • Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15˚C
    • Light-weight aluminium walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
    • Thermarest inflatable mattress
    • Thermarest Inflatable pillow
    • Single-occupancy tent supplement
    • Comfort Camping Upgrade
    • Aguas Calientes Hotel Upgrade
    • Extra Day at Machu Picchu
    • Extra activities such as the Cola de Mono zipline
    • If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider a train upgrade for an extra $30 per person. This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.
    • If you’d like to hike Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain , let us know at the time of booking as it requires a separate permit.

    Important!

    • When calculating the cost of renting equipment, calculate using the length of the entire trip, not just the number of trekking days.
    • Please be careful with rented equipment! You are responsible for the cost of replacement if something is damaged or broken.
    • Any upgrades or trip extensions must be requested at time of booking.

Available Discounts

  • Students: USD $30 off, in certain circumstances. Please enquire for details about eligibility.
  • Youth 12-17: 5% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 5-11 years: 15% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking.
  • Children 0-4 years: Free. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group. This discount does not apply to train fares. Children under 2 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap.
  • 5% off the second trek, if you book two treks or two tours. 5% is discounted from the cheaper of the two treks or tours; only one trek is discounted.

Trekkers Wanted

    Want to join a trek? Ready to confirm a departure date of your own, but interested in having others join you? Then Trekkers Wanted is for you! Our innovative Trekkers Wanted system matches people up who are interested in hiking the same trek, bringing costs down and multiplying the fun for everyone! Read More about Trekkers Wanted, post your trek or search for confirmed departures!

Important Info

  • Each guide has their own preferred route and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
  • The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group, and the guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.
  • The 8D Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Adventure trek is one of the toughest hikes in the region. It crosses several high passes, as well as the Rio Blanco which does not have a substantial bridge and can be dangerous to cross in periods of heavy rain. This trek should not be attempted by those who do not have some experience in trekking, plus a solid level of fitness!
  • Trek conditions vary according to the season. In the dry season the trail can be dusty; in the wet season it can be slippery and muddy. Apus Peru takes no responsibility for trail conditions, as it is directly related to the weather.
  • We do not recommend this trek during Dec-Mar, inclusive, though this recommendation depends on the actual weather conditions.
  • Please note: this is a true adventure and things may not go exactly according to plan! Keep an open mind and let yourself enjoy the cultural differences you may experience. There is always an opportunity to learn something!

Ready to Book?

  • Does this trek sound like just what you were looking for? If you’re ready to book or just want to find out a bit more information, fill out the Inquiry Form in the top right-hand corner of this page to get the ball rolling. You’ll be connected with one of our amazing sales people who will be able to turn your dream of hiking in the Andes into a reality. For more information on the entire booking process, please see our How To Book page.
  • Travel insurance is a must! World Nomads offers travel insurance for adventure activities.

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2 Reviews
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Simon from UK

Family Traveller

Our family of 4 were very well looked after on this amazing trek. If you are fit, it is NOT as hard as described and the excellent Apus guides and team look after you better than any other trekking expedition that I’ve been on. Congratulation to them and to Apus who are a very high quality organisation and can be trusted.

3 September, 2017

Stephanie P. from US

Group Traveller

5 of us did the Choquequirao 8 day trek and I cannot rate Apus Peru highly enough for organization and execution of this trip from the transport, the guide, food and crew who helped us (ranging in age from 41-58) over some exhausting mountain passes (15,700ft) and down glacier fed river valleys (4,500ft). The patience and care shown before and during our trek was very much appreciated especially when we learned that the horsemen they employ from one of the remote villages we passed through can do the trek in half the time it takes us and they would stay with the slowest member of our party and encourage them through the toughest parts.

In the horsemen’s town of Yanama we played an impromptu game of soccer with the local kids which ended up being the highlight of our trip for all of us. Learning about their village and what it takes to live there gave us a true appreciation for their smiling efforts every day. The food was AMAZING and if I have one reservation it was that we felt like there was a ton of food left over and we weren’t quite sure if this was finished off by the crew (hopefully!).

I would highly recommend Apus Peru and this grueling 8 day trek to understand what the region is like and see some of the more remote ruins without the thousands of tourists and the Disney World atmosphere of Machu Picchu.

9 May, 2016
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