Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 7D

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Duration: 7 Days / 6 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Capuliyoc
Destination: Machu Picchu
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12

About the 7 Day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu

The Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu is one of the most challenging and spectacular hikes in the region. This Peru trek connects two of the most famous Inca cities, Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.

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The Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is the most incredible way to experience Inca history first-hand. Choquequirao and Machu Picchu were two of the most important sites during Incan times, and and this trek lets you retrace the steps of a past civilization.

The hike starts with the classic Choquequirao trek, one of the most challenging routes in the area. Starting in Chiquisca, we follow the Choquequirao trail down to the Apurimac River and then climb steeply back up again until we reach the ruins. After some time to fully explore as much of this incredible site as possible (it’s still only partially excavated!), the trek continues from Choquequirao towards Machu Picchu.

After two and half more days of hiking through beautiful mountain landscapes and past remote villages, we will drive to Lucmabamba where we will stay on Day 5. Lucmabamba is a semi-tropical area full of fruit trees and other crops, and we will have a chance to learn first-hand about traditional coffee making. You can also choose to spend the night in a homestay rather than camping!

On Day 6, we hike up to Llactapata for our first views of Machu Picchu – an amazing perspective on this World Heritage Site. After spending the night in a comfortable hotel in Aguas Calientes, we then travel up to Machu Picchu itself on Day 7 for a tour of the Inca citadel. In the afternoon we return to Cusco by train. See the Itinerary below for full details day by day on the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu.

More Choquequirao Machu Picchu Treks!

Want something different? We also offer an 8 day and a 9 day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu. Our 8 day Choquequirao Machu Picchu adventure is not for the faint of heart. The route follows nearly the same itinerary as the 7-day trek with a challenging detour to the Qhiswa Pass on Day 6. Only for fit hikers!

The 9 Day Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu is our signature trek and adds a trek to Vilcabamba, the last refuge of the Incas. This trek truly checks off all the boxes for the history buff, with visits to Choquequirao, Vilcabamba (Vitcos Rosaspata) and Machu Picchu.

7 Day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Highlights

  • Visit both Machu Picchu and its sister city Choquequirao.
  • Trek through amazing remote landscapes with plunging river gorges and stunning mountain views.
  • Includes some travel by car, plus an optional hands-on coffee-making learning experience.
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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

$2275

4-6 people

$1399

7-8 people

$1255

9-12 people

$1229
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

Important Details About the 7 Day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu

What is Included?

    Accommodation

    • 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.
    • Toilet tent
    • 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.

    Meals

    • Dining tent with camp tables and chairs, and kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
    • 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.
    • Boiled water to drink on the hike (which you can carry in your own reusable water bottle)
    • Filtered water provided during the drive on the first day
    • Celebratory dinner in Aguas Calientes
    • Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.

    Transport

    • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu departure
    • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
    • 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.

    Trekking Team

    • English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide, plus an assistant guide for groups over 8
    • 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).
    • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals

    Safety

    • First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
    • 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if you are a little slower

    Additional

    • Pre-trek briefing
    • Entry fee to Machu Picchu & Choquequirao

What is Not Included?

    Meals

    • Breakfast on the first morning
    • Dinner on the last night

    Equipment

    • Sleeping bags. Available for rent if you don’t have one with you.
    • Additional horses for your personal luggage or to ride

    Other

    • Tips for the guide, cook and muleteers
    • Flights to/from Cusco
    • Travel Insurance
    • Entry to Aguas Calientes hot springs.
    • Entry to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain.

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.

    Equipment Available for Rent

    • Extra horse to carry luggage exceeding the allowed 7kg (15lbs) per person
    • Sleeping Bag suitable for -5˚C
    • Deluxe sleeping bag suitable for -15˚C
    • Light-weight aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
    • Thermarest inflatable mattress
    • Thermarest inflatable pillow

    Service Upgrades

    Optional Activities

    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.

What to Pack

    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.
    We recommend that you bring the following items with you:

    • A fleece or down jacket is an essential item at this elevation;
    • Hiking trousers with zip off shorts are a good idea, as day time temperatures can be quite warm, yet temperatures plummet as soon as the sun goes down. You can supplement these with leggings or thermals to wear underneath;
    • A rain poncho or waterproof jacket is also important. It can rain or even snow at certain times of the year!;
    • Water-resistant trekking boots are advisable. The trail on this hike can sometimes be muddy and wet, so we also recommend to bring extra socks!;
    • A warm sleeping bag, rated to -15°C (5°F). If you prefer, you can rent one from us;
    • A headlamp or torch;
    • A high factor (SPF) sunscreen, a sun cap and sunglasses. The sun can be really strong, especially in dry season. Sun protection is essential!;
    • A small daypack to carry your necessary items for each day’s hiking.

    For our full packing list for treks in the Andes, see What to Bring.

    Our blog How to Prepare for a Trek in Peru will also give you some great tips for how to get ready for your trek, before you even leave home.

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 a day tour listed price when you also book a 3-day or longer trek operated by Apus Peru

Guides & Safety on the Trail

    Our whole trekking team is very familiar to the area and know the Choquequirao region like the back of their hand! They are some of the warmest, endearing and wonderful people you are ever likely to meet.

    Our guides are all licensed and receive regular training. They share their experience, professionalism, knowledge and enthusiasm with our passengers on every trek.

    Get to know our team!

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 Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 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 Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 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.

7 Day Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Capuliyoc – Chiquisca – Santa Rosa

    • Total Walking Distance: 12.2 km
    • Total Walking Time: 6-7h
    • Minimum Altitude: 1520m (4,986 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2970m (9,744 ft)
    • Altitude of camp: 2095m (6,873 ft)
    • Approx. night temperature: 8°C (47°F)

    We begin our Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu with an early departure from Cusco and head towards the Apurimac canyon, surrounded by impressive snow-capped peaks. 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.

    From here, we continue by car another 3h to Capuliyoc (2970m / 9744ft). In Capuliyoc we have our first beautiful views of the Apurimac valley stretching below, as well as the snow-capped peaks of Padreyoc and Huayna Cachora.

    We will meet our muleteers here and walk about 15 minutes to have our lunch at the Capuliyoc lookout point. From here, we descend steeply 3-4h into the Apurimac Canyon, taking in the spectacular views until we reach Chiquisca (1950m / 6397 ft), with breathtaking drops on either side. An hour beyond Chiquisca, we arrive at the roaring Apurimac River (1520m / 4986 ft).

    From the river, we begin to climb to the Santa Rosa Campsite (2095m / 6873 ft). This is a tough 2h climb but makes the next day easier! As the campsite is further along than the most popular camp, it is often quiet and you can soak up the stars.

Day 2Santa Rosa – Choquequirao Ruins

    • Total Walking Distance: 9.3 km
    • Total Walking Time: 5-6 h
    • Minimum Altitude: 2095m (6,873 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3050m (10,007 ft)
    • Altitude of camp: 2900m (9,514 ft)
    • Approx. night temperature: 5°C (41°F)

    We depart early again today, in order to get the most out of the day! We begin by continuing upwards to Marampata where we will have a break. The climb from the Santa Rosa campsite to Marampata (2940m / 9646 ft) takes about 3 hours and is a tough uphill stretch. A little further on from our break site we will get our first view of the ruins of Choquequirao! From here we have 2 more hours of hiking over gentle, undulating terrain until we reach the ruins. We take our lunch at the Choquequirao campsite (2900m / 9514 ft) nearest to the ruins, before we head to Choquequirao itself for the afternoon.

    Only around 30% of the Inca remains of Choquequirao have been excavated. What can be seen today, however, is most impressive and very much worth the challenging trek to get there! The stonework in Choquequirao is not as sophisticated as that found in Machu Picchu, because the stone found here is very difficult to carve, but the buildings are impressive and suggest a site of high status. Choquequirao evokes a sense of awe simply because of the site’s surrounding beauty and isolation.

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

Day 3Choquequirao – Pinchiunuyoc – Rio Blanco

    • Total Walking Distance: 12km
    • Total Walking Time: 6h
    • Minimum Altitude: 1880m (6,167 ft) / Altitude: 3300m (10,826 ft)
    • Altitude of camp: 1880m (6,167 ft)
    • Approx. night temperature: 15°C (59°F)

    We begin this part of the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu with an early morning visit to the impressive Choquequirao site. Originally discovered in 1710, there were a series of European explorers who passed through this area and knew about this site, however little importance was given to Choquequirao until 1909 when Hiram Bingham, who is credited with the scientific discovery of Machu Picchu, came across the site. This brought more international attention to Choquequirao but even then, the site was largely ignored until the 1970s when the Peruvian government started its excavations.

    Choquequirao is composed of an amazing and extensive set of terraces and a smaller religious and administrative area with a total area of over 1800 hectares. There are impressive irrigation channels and all of this set in the dramatic setting of the steep Apurimac Canyon.

    We will take our lunch within the ruins today to allow for more exploration time. After our guided visit we climb over a ridge for about 1 hour and then descend for 3h to the ruins at Pinchiunuyoc (2470m / 8104 ft). We will take a short break at these ruins to admire the majestic views. From here, we will descend to the Rio Blanco (1880m / 6167 ft), a further 1.5 to 2 hours steep descent. We camp tonight at Rio Blanco – insect repellent is a must!

Day 4Rio Blanco – Maizal – Mina Victoria/Pajonal

    • Total Walking Distance: 13 km
    • Total Walking Time: 7-9 h
    • Minimum Altitude: 1880m (6,167 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4150m (13,615 ft)
    • Altitude of camp : 4150m (13,615 ft)
    • Approx. night temperature: -10°C (14°F)

    Today, after breakfast we will start a difficult climb to a small cleared agricultural area on the mountain known as Maizal (3000m / 9843 ft). For many people, this is the most difficult section of the whole Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu. The climb is a difficult 3-4 hours zig-zag uphill.

    After our lunch in Maizal, we climb a further 4-5h hours uphill through cloud forest to the Victoria Mines, an incredible and breathtaking climb, with an elevation gain of around 1000m! Here we can admire the shine of the outcropped rocks illustrating the high concentration of minerals and metals and the reason for the ancient mines.

    During our trek through the puna, we’ll walk over well-preserved Inca trails, with their classical zig-zag shape before setting up camp for the night at Pajonal (4000m / 13,123ft). Pajonal affords stunning views of the trail where we have just walked, back towards the amazing Apurimac valley. Due to the altitude of the camp, this will be a cold night.

    The newly discovered Coryhuayrachina ruins are between Maizal and Yanama, where we will head tomorrow. Though we do not visit Coryhuayrachina, it is still interesting to learn about some of the little-known Inca historyabout Coryhuayrachina in the areas that we are hiking through.

Day 5Pajonal – Yanama – Lucmabamba

    • Total Walking Distance: 6km
    • Total Walking Time: 3-4h
    • Minimum Altitude: 2100m (6,889 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4150m (13,615 ft)
    • Altitude of camp: 2100m (6,889 ft)
    • Approx. night temperature: 15°C (59°F)

    We wake early and climb for an hour to the San Juan Pass, also known as Victoria Pass (4130 m / 13,549ft). From this high pass we will be able to see the imposing Mount Choquetacarpo in front. This is a fantastic spot to take pictures on a clear day, possibly the best photo ops on the whole Choquequirao trek to Machu Picchu! The spectacular views continue from the pass as we descend about 2.5h to the charming village of Yanama (3700m /12,139 ft).

    After lunch, we will say farewell to our muleteers, some of whom may be from Yanama itself, and your group will be met by a vehicle which will transfer you to the high jungle village of Lucmabamba (2100m / 6889ft), about a 3h drive. You will enjoy the warm high jungle climate and different atmosphere! Once we arrive at Lucmabamba, a local coffee grower will provide us with a coffee making demonstration and you will have the chance to learn more about the coffee growing process.

    We will camp the night at Lucmabamba. Note, your campsite altitude tonight is half of what it was the night before! 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.

Day 6Lucmabamba – Llactapata – Aguas Calientes

    • Total Walking Distance: 12km
    • Total Walking Time: 5-6h
    • Minimum Altitude: 1800m (5,905 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2800m (9,186 ft)

    We leave early and climb for about three hours through the jungle before descending to the interesting, but largely covered ruins of Llactapacta, an amazing introduction to Machu Picchu. Originally discovered by Hiram Bingham at the same time that he discovered Machu Picchu, modern day explorers Vincent Lee and Gary Ziegler recently established that the Llactapacta 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.

    After this visit, we descend very steeply on a muddy track for two hours to the impressive Machu Picchu Hydroelectric Station (Hidroelectrica) where we will have lunch and if you have the strength you can visit the Inca ruin of Intihuatana.

    We will board the train at Hidroelectrica in the mid-afternoon, arriving in Aguas Calientes about an hour later. After checking into our accommodations, we will enjoy a celebratory dinner before having an early night in preparation for the next day’s visit to Machu Picchu.

Day 7Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Cusco

    Today we will have a guided visit of the unparalleled Inca Citadel, Machu Picchu! This is a lifelong dream for many, and also the pinnacle of the Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu!

    We will take a bus in the pre-dawn hours up to the ruins of Machu Picchu so that you can appreciate this famous city in the dawn light. Your 3-4h 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.

      After visiting Machu Picchu, you can take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes (or walk down!). From there, we return to Cusco in the afternoon by the Expedition (tourist class) train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where our driver will meet us and transfer you directly back to your hotel in Cusco. Total travel time is about 4 hours from Aguas Calientes to Cusco.

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1 Review
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Kalpesh P.

Couple Traveller

Apus Peru made our trek the experience of a lifetime. We had an awesome time on this trek. It was NOT easy and I would say it was the toughest trek we have ever done. However the views were awesome and the treking company made the trip, a trip of a lifetime. Apus was well equipped and experienced and we attentive to all our needs. The food was awesome, the tents were in excellent condition and the crew was outstanding. Well done Apus!!

21 September, 2016
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