Vilcabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa 8D

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Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Availability : Every Day.
Depart: Huancacalle
Destination: Espiritu Pampa
Min Age : 10
Max People : 12

Vilcabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa 8 Days Highlights

  • The Vilcabamba trek is the plethora of ancient Incan history and magnificent archaeological ruins
  • Let yourself be amazed by the incredibly varied scenery and the Peruvian wildlife, including the Tunki bird!
  • Prepare yourself physically in advance for this astounding journey that includes very long days, up to 9-11 hours long!

About the Vilcabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa 8 Days

Follow in the footsteps of modern-day explorer Vincent Lee! This Vilcabamba trek takes you to the little known ruin of Puncuyoc and then crosses through un-trekked wilderness to an ancient Inca trail that leads to the last capital of the Incas, Espiritu Pampa.

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We start our trip early in the morning and leave Cusco in our private transport. Please note that it is a long drive to reach the trailhead. This 8-day journey includes 3 days travelling by car or bus, 4 1/2 days of hiking – including some very long days (9-11 hours per day) – and 1 day to visit the site of Espiritu Pampa.

The Vilcabamba trek is filled with Inca Ruins and archaeological sites and it’s the perfect choice for both nature and history lovers! Feel the thrill of exploration as you arrive at the wonderfully constructed stone steps that lead to Espiritu Pampa, once the home of Tupac Amaru I. If you’re an Incan history buff looking for a unique, off-the-beaten-path adventure, then this Vilcabamba trek is for you!

Complete the circuit and start by doing our 8 Days Choquequirao to Vitcos hike!

This Vilcabamba trek does not include Machu Picchu. Consider adding a Machu Picchu Extension!


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

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3 people

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4-6 people

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9-12 people

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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 Vilcabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa 8 Days

What is Included?


  • 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


  • 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)
  • Filtered water provided during the drive on the first day


  • Collection from your hotel on the morning of your Vilcabamba to Espiritu Pampa trek departure
  • Private transport from Cusco to the trailhead and return at the end of the trek

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


  • 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 inclusions

  • Pre-trek briefing

What is Not Included?


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


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


  • Tips for the guide, cook and muleteers
  • Flights to/from Cusco
  • Travel Insurance
  • Entrance to the Aguas Calientes hot springs, if you choose the Machu Picchu Extension
  • Entry to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, if you choose the Machu Picchu Extension. This must be requested at time of booking as spaces are limited.

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


    • 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: Free. A valid passport must be presented upon booking. Children under 4 will not count towards the total number of guests in a group. 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 knows the Vilcabamba to Espiritu Pampa trek 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 Vilcabamba Trek 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Vicabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa 8b Days Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Vilcabamba – Huarina

      • Total Walking Distance: 3km
      • Total Walking Time: 2hs
      • Minimum Altitude: 2600m (8,530 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3800m (12,467 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 2600m (8,530 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 7°C (45°F)

Rise and shine! We pick up from your hotel in Cusco in the early morning (4am) today to start your Vilcabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa. After driving about 8h by private car we reach Vilcabamba. We will explore Vilcabamba for a couple of hours before camping here for the night.

Day 2Vilcabamba - Huarina – Puncuyoc (Incahuasi) – Huarina

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time: 7h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3600m (11,811 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 4300m (14,107 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3600m (11,811 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 0°C (32°F)

After a delicious breakfast this morning, we will take a local transportation to Huarina (2hs drive). From Huarina we will hike up to Puncuyoc to visit the intriguing site of Incahuasi (4300mt /14,107ft), returning to Huarina at the end of the day in about 7h total hiking time. We camp again tonight at Huarina.

Day 3Huarina – Capillayoc Lagoon

      • Total Walking Distance: 16km
      • Total Walking Time: 9h
      • Minimum Altitude: 3400m (11,154 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3950m (12,959 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3600m (11,811 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: -5°C (23°F)

Today is the most adventurous day of the Vilcabamba Trek to Espiritu Pampa as we hike for about 9h along the mountain ridge, passing beautiful lakes along the way. We will camp in Capillayoc lagoon.

Day 4Capillayoc Lagoon - Qollpaqasa – Ututo

      • Total Walking Distance: 18km
      • Total Walking Time: 10hs
      • Minimum Altitude: 3100m (10,170 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3850m (12,631 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 3100m (10,170 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 5°C (41°F)

We must be well-rested today in order to face a long day of hiking. We will hike about 10h in total as we journey from Capillayoc lagoon to Qollpaqasa (4h) and then continue on to Ututo (4h), where we will camp for the night.

Day 5Ututo - Vista Alegre

      • Total Walking Distance: 12km
      • Total Walking Time: 6h
      • Minimum Altitude: 2000m (6,561 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 3100m (10,170 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 2000m (6,561 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 10°C (50°F)

Today’s journey will take us through Andean jungle from Ututo to Vista Alegre. We will cross Inca trails and will have the opportunity to see the tunki bird, which is a relative of the famous Peruvian “gallito de las rocas”. We will overnight in Vista Alegre.

Day 6Vista Alegre - Concevidayoc

      • Total Walking Distance: 20km
      • Total Walking Time: 11h
      • Minimum Altitude: 1768m (5,800 ft) / Maximum Altitude: 2000m (6,561 ft)
      • Altitude of camp: 1768m (5,800 ft)
      • Approx. night temperature: 10°C (50°F)

After breakfast, we will start trekking for 11h descending from Vista Alegre to Concevidayoc. We will admire different types of birds and flora like orchids. We will pass Tunqui Mayo bridge, the Andean community called Urpi Pata and different communities who are engaged in agriculture, raising farm animals and coffee growing.

Day 7Concevidayoc - Espiritu Pampa – Kiteni

      • Total Walking Distance: 7km
      • Total Walking Time: 3h
      • Minimum Altitude: 500m (1,640ft) / Maximum Altitude: 1400m (4,593 ft)

After three really long, intense days of hiking we get a well-deserved break! From Concevidayoc we will hike for about 3 hours until we reach Espiritu Pampa (1400m /4593ft). Here we can admire the remains of the archaeological site of Espiritu Pampa, the last Inca Capital. We will spend most of the day here. Espiritu Pampa is an especially intriguing site as most of it remains shrouded in vegetation, adding to its mystique. We will continue the journey back by bus (5h), stopping at Kiteni where we will spend the night in a hostel.

Day 8Kiteni - Quillabamba – Cusco

Leaving Kiteni we will take a bus to Quillabamba (4h) around 8am, for the final leg of the return journey. We arrive to Cusco around 6pm.

For even more adventure and a chance to see Machu Picchu, don’t forget about our Machu Picchu Extension!

1 Review
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Group Traveller

In 2012, I was in Peru but unable to see several ruins I had wanted to see. A guide from another company actually recommended Apus Tours as the company to contact for more custom treks to less travelled locations. That is what I did. Our travel consultant kept the lines of communication open. When the time was right, he put together this trek from Choquequirao to Vilcabamba and on to Espiritu Pampa.

What can I say? Words can’t do justice to my experience. Natural beauty that literally made me cry, challenging trails that almost made me want to cry but were so rewarding. Breathtaking ruins and miles of empty Inca roads. Good company with a great team that made life on the trail easy. This was a never to be forgotten trip of a lifetime. It was the highlight of an incredible six week trip in Peru.

Our guide was patient and knowledgeable. When we stopped in a village, he talked to the people and gave us insight into their lives. His interest in the archeology was evident. Thanks!

Our cook made incredible meals. I don’t know how he kept up the variety for 2 weeks. He also hiked with us, sharing his knowledge and making it possible for each of us to go at our own pace. Thank you for your enthusiasm.

I hope to return to Peru. I will book with Apus again if I do.

14 February, 2017

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