Inca Trail and Choquequirao Tour 12D

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Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Capuliyoc
Destination: Machu Picchu
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12

About the Inca Trail and Choquequirao Tour 12 Days

A challenging yet rewarding trek for the history enthusiast and adventurer! This unique Choquequirao tour takes you from Choquequirao to Salkantay and then meets up with the Classic Inca Trail to finish at Machu Picchu, the unparalleled Inca Citadel. 

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This 12 days Choquequirao and Inca Trail tour is an amazing long distance trek that combines the best of everything, from fascinating history found in the lesser-known ancient Incan archaeological sites to gorgeous and high Andean breathtaking views! Make sure to be physically prepared for this level of adventure and amazingness!

Mark three of the most treasured and favored bucket list desires in our unique tour that takes you to Choquequirao, Machu Picchu’s sister city, the Salkantay Pass and the famous steps of the Inca Trail. What more to wish for?

Did you know? FAQs about the Inca Trail

Only a special few actually get to hike the Inca Trail every year. Peru’s permit system means that just 500 people are allowed on the trail every day – approximately 200 visitors and 300 trekking staff. Permits are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, and are in very high demand: they can sell out as much as 6 months in advance. Once spaces have been booked, NO OPERATOR CAN OFFER YOU A SPACE. All spaces are personal and non-transferable, and there is no waiting list, so if someone cancels, their spot cannot be taken by someone new. Also note that the Inca Trail is closed in February for maintenance.

We treat our staff right!

The Inca Trail is notorious for the mistreatment of porters and other trail staff who are asked to carry more than government regulation allow. At Apus Peru, we do things differently, going above and beyond these minimums. Read more about how we take care of all our staff, including porters and horsemen.

Inca Trail and Choquequirao Tour 12 Days Highlights

  • The 12 days long distance Choquequirao tour has it all! History, culture and nature!
  • Expect to visit lesser-known ancient Incan archaeological sites and remote traditional high Andean villages.
  • Complete this amazing Andean adventure following the steps of the Incas on the most-wanted Inca Trail!
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Price

Prices are per person in USD, based on group size. Apus Peru exclusively operates private groups, except by special request. Hiking the Inca Trail as a private group allows us to offer you a highly personalized experience, with more one-on-one time with your guide and a more tailored, off-the-beaten-path experience on the trail. 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

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7+ people

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IMPORTANT

Please Note: These prices are subject to a new Peruvian law governing the employment of porters on the Inca Trail. These changes are expected to substantially increase the cost of operating the Inca Trail for all licensed agencies. Contact us to learn more.

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 About the Inca Trail and Choquequirao Tour 12 Days

What is Included?

Accommodation

  • Tent: 2 people in a 4-person tent, allowing for greater comfort and backpack storage!
  • Camping pillows
  • 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

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 Travel Consultant during the booking process 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)
  • Lunch on the last day
  • Filtered water provided during the drive on the first day

Transport

  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Long Distance Choquequirao Tour trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek
  • Bus down from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
  • Train ticket (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 10kg/22lbs per person).
  • Tents, sleeping bags and mattresses for our staff to sleep in, plus a budget for their meals
  • Porters, who carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 10kg/22lbs per person). If you wish to take more, you can hire a personal porter. Please contact us for costs.
  • Mules only for first 8 days

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 only for first 8 days

Additional inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing
  • Inca Trail Permit (includes entry to Machu Picchu, but not to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain)

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
  • Entrance to the 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 10kg (22lbs) per person
  • Llamas to carry your own things. Note that this traditional Inca beast of burden can only carry about 10kg (22lbs), and will only walk in groups. The cost of hiring llamas includes a small group of 3-4 llamas and a llamero (llama driver)
  • 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 aluminum walking stick. Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
  • Thermarest inflatable mattress

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

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: 75% off. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group, but will be charged 25% of the per person price based on final group size. For example, a group of 4 adults and one child under 4: adults will be charged the full price per person based on a group size of 4 and the child will be charged 25% of the per person price for a group of 4. Children under 3 will not be considered to occupy a seat on any train or bus, and instead must ride on a parent’s lap. Car seats, cribs and other baby needs may not be included and must be discussed in advance. For more information about travelling with infants and toddlers, please see this blog as well as the Age Requirements section of our Booking Conditions.
  • 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 know the Inca Trail and Choquequirao regions 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

General Information about the 12D Long Distance Choquequirao Tour

  • 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 12D Long Distance Choquequirao Tour is a true adventure and 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. The Inca Trail is closed for maintenance in February.
  • 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!
  • This is a totally off-the-beaten path trek, and tourist infrastructure is very limited. Instead, we’ll be making use of local facilities where possible.

Information about the Inca Trail

  • Campsites and itinerary are subject to change, depending on the time of booking and availability of campsites. The Ministry of Culture, the government institution responsible for operating the Inca Trail, allocates campsites to authorized trekking companies on a first-come, first-served basis, and so we cannot guarantee that all campsites described in this itinerary will be available when you book.
  • Wiñaywayna vs Phuyupatamarca campsites. Your last night on the trail will be spent either at Wiñaywayna or Phuyupatamarca campsites. Many people covet Wiñaywayna as it’s just a 2-hour hike to Machu Picchu from there, whereas it is 5 hours from Phuyupatamarca. If you have your heart set on camping at Wiñaywayna, book early! The plus side to Phuyupatamarca is that it is generally less crowded.
  • A scanned copy of your passport and a non-refundable deposit must be provided upon booking an Inca Trail trek. This is due to government regulations which require complete passport details and full payment of the Machu Picchu entrance fee in order to issue a permit. Your reservation will only be confirmed when we have your entrance ticket in our hands.
  • If your passport number changes after you book, you must tell us immediately or you will lose your booking. If the name or number on your passport is different from the name or number on your Inca Trail permit, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund.
  • You must carry your original passport with you on the trail.
  • If you booked the Inca Trail at a student rate, you must bring your valid student card on the trail with you. If you do not present your student card, you will not be allowed to start the trek and you will not be entitled to a refund, nor given an opportunity to pay the full rate.

Information about Visiting Machu Picchu

  • 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.
  • This trek includes transportation by train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo on the Expedition service (Tourist Class), followed by bus transport from Ollantaytambo to Cusco. Train times are variable and according to availability. If you’d like more flexibility in your return travel to Cusco, consider upgrading to the Vistadome train service (Executive Class). This upgrade must be requested at time of booking.

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.

Inca Trail and Choquequirao Trek 12 Days Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Capuliyoc – Chiquisca – Santa Rosa

      • Total Walking Distance: 16km
      • Total Walking Time: 5h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1950m (6,398 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2915m (9,561 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 1950m (6,398 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

To begin our 12D Long Distance Choquequirao Tour, we leave early from Cusco and travel 4.5 hours in a private vehicle 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.

We then continue on another 3h to Capuliyoc (2915m / 9561 ft) where we will glimpse our first beautiful views of the Apurimac Valley below, as well as neighboring Padrayoc and Wayna Cachora mountains. In Capuliyoc our Choquequirao tour begins! Hiking first to Chiquisca, we then continue on to Santa Rosa, where we will spend the night.

This day is flexible and so the route you trek might not correspond exactly to the route described here. Walking times depend on the time of departure and on the nature of the group. The guide may change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group.

Please take note that there might be biting insects on the trail, thus repellent will be needed! It can get very hot on the trail (not just in the canyon!), going up to 30-35ºC (86ºF – 95ºF). It can get as hot as 40ºC (104ºF) in the canyon.

Day 2Santa Rosa – Choquequirao

      • Total Walking Distance: 13km
      • Total Walking Time: 4h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1550 m (5,084 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3110 m (10,120 ft)
      • Altitude of camp : 3050m (10,000 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

Departing early, we continue our ascent out of the magnificent Apurimac Canyon (1550 m / 5084 ft) towards Maranpata where we will have lunch. The climb from the Santa Rosa campsite takes about 3 hours and is tough. From our lunch spot, we will have our first view of the Choquequirao ruins (3110 m / 10,120 ft)! Then it’s just another two hours to reach the ruins. We will spend the late evening at Choquequirao, where we will watch the sunset and have the chance to see condors.

Day 3Choquequirao – Rio Blanco

      • Total Walking Distance: 10km
      • Total Walking Time: 3.5h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3000m (9,842 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3110 m (10,120 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3000m (9,842 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

This morning we can rest and spend more time exploring the ruins. In the afternoon we will climb over a ridge to the ruins of Pinchinuyoc (3000m / 9842 ft), where we will spend the night. This is definitely the easiest day of the trip!

Day 4Rio Blanco – Maizal

      • Total Walking Distance: 8km
      • Total Walking Time: 6h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1990 m (6,527 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3000m (9,842 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3000m (9,842 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

After 2 hours of walking, we will arrive at the canyon of the Rio Blanco (1990 m / 6527 ft) where we can rest before starting a difficult 3-4 hour climb to our campsite at Maizal.

Day 5Maizal – Yanama

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time: 3h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3000m (9,842 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4130 m (13 546 ft)
      • of camp: 4100m (13,451 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

We depart at 7am and walk uphill for about 3 hours through semi-jungle to the Victoria Mines. We visit the ancient mines and some Inca ruins before climbing an hour more to the Victoria Pass (4130 m / 13,546 ft). There are spectacular views from the pass as we descend for about 2h to the charming village of Yanama.

Between Maizal and Yanama are the recently discovered Coryhuayrachina ruins. We won’t have time to stop and explore them, but we encourage you to read more about this fascinating and little-known Inca history.

Day 6Yanama – Colpapampa

      • Total Walking Distance: 18km
      • Total Walking Time: 7h
      • Minimum Altitude: – / Maximum Altitude: 4850m (15,908 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3900m (12,795 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

Today is a day of mountain peaks! It will be a long day so we will get an early start. We lightly ascend to the second pass which is the highest of our trek at 4850 m / 15,908 ft. After the pass we descend for three hours to the Valley of Totora, where will spend the night.

Day 7Colpapampa – Ichupata

      • Total Walking Distance:
      • Total Walking Time:
      • Minimum Altitude: – / Maximum Altitude: 4600m (13,451 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 4100m (13,451 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

Today’s hike is mostly up, as we will climb from Totora or Colpapampa to the Salkantay Pass (4600m / 13,451 ft), the second highest point on our trek. The hike is a fascinating botanical journey as we watch the landscape change while we ascend through the ceja de selva or “eyebrows of the jungle,” observing many varieties of high jungle plants.

Expect to meet lots of other trekkers on the trail today as this section is a popular route – though we will be hiking against the flow. From Salkantay Pass we will descend for about 2 hours to Salkantaypampa (4100m / 13,451 ft), where we will likely camp for the night. Depending on how the group is feeling, we may continue to Ichupata and then spend the night there.

Day 8Ichupata – Pampacahuana

      • Total Walking Distance: – 14km
      • Total Walking Time:
      • Minimum Altitude: – / Maximum Altitude: 4850m (15,908 ft)
      • Altitude of camp:
      • Approx. night temperature:

After a cold night, we start the 3-4 hour steep climb towards the Incachiriasca Pass (4850m / 15,908ft), the highest point on our route. From here we will have incredible views of Salkantay’s snowy peak. After a well-deserved, celebratory rest on the pass we will then descend towards our lunch spot at Sisaypampa, a flat area from which one can observe Salkantay’s neighboring valleys. If we’re lucky we may even be able to see condors soaring through the air here! After lunch we continue towards Pampacahuana community, located next to an original Inca canal, where we will spend the night.

Day 9Pampacahuana – Ayapata

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time:
      • Minimum Altitude: – / Maximum Altitude:
      • Altitude of camp:
      • Approx. night temperature:

In the morning you will see that the valley begins to narrow and the river becomes a canal. The Incas frequently cut canals through valleys to increase the available agricultural land. From Pampacahuana it’s a 3 hour hike down the narrow, steep valley to the Inca fortress of Inkaracay (also known as Paucarcancha). This is a site well worth exploring and little known to the vast majority of visitors to Peru.

After this, we walk for about another hour to the small village of Huayllabamba, where we will join up with the Classic Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. As mules are not allowed on the Classic Inca Trail, we will say goodbye to our mules and muleteers and welcome our porters who will accompany us for the next few days.

In the afternoon, we leave Huayllabamba behind and start our way up to the Warmihuañusca Pass, also known as Dead Woman’s Pass. This is an abrupt and steep ascent that stretches for 9 km, but we will only climb part-way, stopping today at Ayapata (also known as Yuncachimpa), where we will spend the night.

Day 10Ayapata to Chaquicocha

      • Total Walking Distance:
      • Total Walking Time:
      • Minimum Altitude: 3400m (11,155 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4200m (13,776 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3400m (11,155 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

Today we continue our trek for about 2 hours up to the Inca Trail’s highest point (though much lower than what we’ve already reached!), Warmihuañusca Pass (4200m / 13,776 ft). Immediately after the pass, we descend into the Pacaymayo Valley (3600m / 11,808 ft). From here, we continue on to the second pass, Runkurakay Pass (3970m / 13,022 ft), stopping halfway to visit the very impressive archaeological complex of Runkurakay (3800m / 12, 464 ft) which is believed to have been a watchtower. After going over this pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lake) and enter the cloud forest to finally arrive at Sayacmarca (3624m / 11,887 ft). This is a beautiful, semi-circular complex. Just 20 minutes away is Chaquicocha (dry lake in Quechua), where we will camp for the night (3400m / 11,155 ft).

Day 11Chaquicocha to Wiñaywayna

      • Total Walking Distance:
      • Total Walking Time:
      • Minimum Altitude: 2650m (8,692 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3700m (12,136 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 2650m (8,692 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature:

After breakfast we have an easy climb, to arrive at the third pass, Phuyupatamarca Pass (3700m / 12,136ft). Phuyupatamarca is one of the most complete and best-preserved archaeological complexes along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, and is located on the highest point of a mountain. Curiously, Phuyupatamarca means “town above the clouds”. From here we also have impressive views of the Urubamba River Valley.

We then descend by stone steps to Wiñaywayna (2650m / 8692 ft). At this campsite we will find a lodge with a restaurant, bar and bathrooms. The campsite has the same name as the complex located only five minutes away from the lodge. Wiñaywayna is an impressive complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, a religious sector and an urban sector – even if you are tired and enjoying the relative luxury of this campsite, don’t miss the chance to explore this archaeological complex!

Day 12Wiñaywayna to Machupicchu

      • Total Walking Distance:
      • Total Walking Time:
      • Minimum Altitude: – / Maximum Altitude:

Almost there! We wake up very early this morning in order to be sure we are on our way by 5am in order to climb to the famous Inti Punku, or Sun Gate. We will walk for about an hour along a trail of flat stones on the edges of cliffs, through highland jungle. From this fabulous spot, we will hopefully watch the sun rise over Machu Picchu! After taking in this incredible view, we will walk 40 minutes down into the incomparable Inca Citadel.

We first head to the control point where we will register and leave our backpacks. 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!

In the afternoon, we travel on the Expedition (tourist service) train from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo, where our driver will meet us and will transfer you directly back to your hotel in Cusco. You will arrive in Cusco approximately 4 hours after your train’s departure from Aguas Calientes.

apus-peru-handy-in-the-andes
 

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