The Christmas Chocolatada trek- Full itinerary and inclusions (Code CCC5)
Departs 20th December, returns 24th December*
Day One - 20th December - Cusco - Lares Valley - Huacahuasi
We depart Cuzco early in the morning and travel to the township of Calca (2900 metres/ 9512 feet). We will visit traditional markets where people from all over the Sacred Valley trade crops. From Calca we pass Inca burial tombs, local farms and herds of wild llama en route. Just after the highest point of the day, we will stop for a short walk at the Inca ruins of Ancasmarca with views of the surrounding valley. From here we make our way down into the Lares Valley and the main town of Lares, where we can visit the local market before continuing onto the infamous hot springs. Have a dip in the hot springs before lunch and then have lunch... in the afternoon you will walk 2-3 hours to the village of Huacahuasi. Overnight camping at Huacahuasi, a remote village.
Day Two - 21st December - Huacahuasi - Chaullacocha
Huacahuasi to Chaullacocha. 5 hours walking including crossing the a high pass. When we arrive parents, teachers and Apus Peru staff will have been preparing the chocolate for the Chocolatada. A 'chocolatada' is a uniquely lovely way of celebrating the gift of giving at Christmas. Often organised by NGO’s, churches, businesses or shops, they are characterised by sharing in a cup of hot chocolate, panettone bread or biscocho (a sweet bread with dried fruits inside), sometimes even sweets or maybe a toy.
You will be expected to be active participants on this day, assisting with serving the hot chocolate and panettone, giving gifts and interacting with the locals. After the Chocolatada event, which is anticipated to last most of the day, we will camp near the village.
*Important note. Most Apus Peru treks and activities are designed with our client in mind. This Chocolatada event is quite different – it is an annual tradition between Apus Peru and the remote communities. This is a long day and designed for the community we visit. There can be long periods of sitting and watching and perhaps not understanding what is happening. Also, by December the wet season has started and as Chaullacocha is a very high community you should prepared to be wet, and cold. (Snow has been experienced at the Chocolatada in previous years.) This is a fascinating day – but come with an open mind and on the understanding that you might be cold and uncomfortable.
For pictures see http://www.apus-peru.com/en/gallery/category/357/chocolatadas
Day 3 - 22nd December - Chaullacocha - Ollantaytambo - Aguas Calientes
In the morning say our farewells to the people of Chaullacocha. From Chaullacocha, you have a steep climb up to the final pass of the trek, around 4300m, and then the final section of our trek is a descent to the valley of Patacancha. A steady 4 hours walking (from Chaullacocha) brings us to the town of Patacancha, a long-established textile community with strong ancient Quechua traditions. We will have lunch near Patacancha or in Rumira Sondormayo, another of the communities that Apus Peru supports via the NGO Threads of Peru. From here we will continue via private transport to the village of Ollantaytambo. We will have lunch and during the afternoon you have time to visit the ruins of Ollantaytambo. (Boleto Turistico not included). In the afternoon or evening you will take the Vistadome Train to Aguas Calientes, where we will enjoy a celebratory dinner (included). Approx 3 hours walking. Accomodation: Hostal, Aguas Calientes.
Day 4 - 23rd December - Machu Picchu
Your start will be early on this morning… about 5am, but imagine telling your friends that you watched the sunrise over Machu Picchu
You will have a 2q hour guided visit of the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu and then have the rest of the day free to explore the ruins by yourself. For the fit and healthy, we highly recommend climbing Huayna Picchu (ticket not included in price of tour, please advise at booking). We return to Cusco in the afternoon by the backpacker train, arriving around 8pm.
Accomodation: Hostal, Cusco (3 stars, examples: Tika Wasi or Inkarri, will depend on availability) We can also upgrade, please discuss at the time of booking.
Day 5 - 24th December - Cusco - Selling of the Saints Market
This tour is designed so that you will be in Cusco for the 24th December to coincide with the famous "selling of the saints" market Santicuraray which should not be missed! Nor should the celebrations around Cusco on the night of the 24th which is "noche buena" and when Cusqueños traditionally celebrate Christmas. You will meet your guide in the morning when they will give you a description of how to create a typical ‘Cusqueño nacimiento’ and will visit the different displays in the churches around Cusco.
Christmas day itself is not generally full of celebrations for locals but many tourist oriented restaurants offer special dinners and celebrations.
* If you are interested in doing a trek that includes a Chocolatada but cannot make the specified dates, please contact us directly and we may be able to accomodate your itinerary, accompanied by a substantial donation which would assist fund a Chocolatada in another community. Note: chocolatadas are only held from approx. 5 December through to 25 December, though you could validly still offer one for a community up to 30 December
Itinerary notes - Christmas Chocolatada trek.
- The times cited in this itinerary are approximate. Walking times depend on the group and the guide can change lunch spots and campsites, depending on the progress of the group. Each guide has their own preferred route and it might not correspond exactly to the route described here.
- These are remote and high altitude villages. Conditions are harsh, and even though we will be camping in relative luxury (toilet tent, dining tent and mattresses, conditions are basic). There will be no opportunity to bathe (other than washing hands and face) and you should be prepared for extremely cold conditions. By the same token, this trip has many beautiful views and encounters with the people, and will most likely be the most memorable part of your entire Peru trip!
- You are participating in an existing community event - you should be prepared for some discomfort and also that things might not go as you expect. (This is an authentic event, it is not staged, there can be long periods of waiting etc.)
Aguas Calientes upgrade package (optional)
This is an upgrade package for treks that already include a nights stay in a hotel in Aguas Calientes, but you would like to upgrade the standard of hotel, meals and train service. This price doesn’t change depending on the number of people in the group.
** For Prices and detailed description please refer to the Aguas Calientes Upgrades page **
** The difference between the Standard option, and the Comfort Plus option, is the standard of the hotel.
- Standard Option includes - a night 3 star hotel, like La Cabaña (standard), Inti Inn (standard), Gringo Bills (Jnr Suite), Rupa Wasi (Suite). These are a nice hotels, with a little more character tha the average Aguas Calientes Hotel - well decorated, and clean.
- Comfort Plus Option includes - a night in higher price range 3 star hotel, like El Mapi or Taypikala. Both are new hotels with careful attention to detail.
Both packages include the same meals and trains.
- Dinner at one of Aguas Calientes “best” restaurants, like Indio Feliz or Tree House restaurant.
- Buffet lunch at Tinkuy Restaurant, located in the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
- With limited eating choices at Machu Picchu hunger tends to send clients to Aguas Calientes; by including the buffet lunch we find that clients can visit Machu Picchu early, then go to the buffet to try lots of different Peruvian (and Western) dishes, and then rest and go back for a second look at Machu Picchu.
- Return in Vistadome train rather than Expedition train, which gives you the opportunity for a more varied timetable and to return in a nicer train, with big windows in the roof.
For complete facts about many aspects of Apus Peru tours, check out our FAQs page!
- Pre trek briefing
- Collection from your hotel in the morning of trek departure.
- Transport from Cusco to the trailhead at the beginning of the trek in private car
- Entry fee to Machu Picchu (If you wish to climb Huayna Picchu its $15 extra, please advise at booking)
- Participation in Christmas Chocolatada
- English/Quechua/Spanish speaking professional guide (you will have an assistant guide for groups over 6 people).
- Tents - 2 people in a 4 person tent which allows for greater comfort, and also storage of backpacks.
- Basic foam mattress. If you require greater comfort during the trek we can hire you an inflatable mattress (eg. Thermarest) .
- Cook and Cooking equipment (Assistants are provided for larger groups)
- Toilet tent
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary (optional vegetarian food). Our professional cooks prepare meals that incorporate elements of the western diet and also traditional Peruvian delicacies. (Please communicate with your guide/cook during the trek if you have a preference for certain types of dishes). Salads, if served, are washed in boiled water.
- Horses (for equipment and personal items) including horsemen. They carry camping equipment, food and kitchen utensils. We provide duffel bags at your briefing for your personal items (up to 7 kg/15lbs per person).
- 1 emergency horse which can be ridden if you are feeling ill or if are a little slower
- Dining tent with camp tables and chairs & Kitchen tent for the cook to prepare meals
- Tents for our staff to sleep in
- First aid kit including emergency oxygen bottle
- Bus up and down from Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu
- Train ticket (Expedition service) from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo
- Train ticket (Vistadome service) from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes
- 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 basic hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom. If you wish to upgrade from this hotel, please check out the options listed on our Aguas Calientes accommodation page. Price based on Twin Share basis.
- 1 night accommodation in Cusco in a basic hotel. This will be a nice, clean and safe hostel with breakfast included and private bathroom. Price based on Twin Share basis.
What is not included?
- Breakfast on the first morning.
- Dinner on night 4
- Lunch & Dinner on the last day.
- Huayna Picchu Entry ($15 extra)
- Entrance to the Aguas Calientes thermal springs
- Sleeping bags - If you haven't got a sleeping bag or you don't want the hassle of bringing one all the way to Peru with you, then we have sleeping bags for hire.
- Tips for the guide, cook and porters
- Additional horses for passengers luggage.
You should bring:
- A light day pack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek - prepare for a vast range of changes in temperature
- Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho. Plastic ponchos can be bought for about $1 in Cusco .
- Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended. Extra socks are a must.
- Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breath in the evenings if you wish to carry them.
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleeces, gloves, scarf and beanie/touk. Thermal clothing is also recommended, especially for sleeping.
- Clothes or protection for wet weather - this trek occurs in the middle of the wet season!
- Sleeping bag (we can hire these to you)
- Torch/ Flashlight and spare batteries
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain and cold
- Sun block
- After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body
- Insect repellent - minimum recommended 20% DEET - although no malaria risk has been reported
- Toilet paper, pack in & pack out
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
- Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
- We advise you to bring water sterilizing tablets in case you collect water from streams.
- Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters etc.
- Small towel or sarong
- Bathers/swimsuit (if you intend on swimming in hot springs )
- Cash - sufficient for snacks, tips and souvenirs.
- Original passport & ISIC (International Student Identity Card) if you have one.
- Walking sticks or poles (we can hire these to you. Please note poles with metal tips cannot be carried into Machu Picchu and should be left at your hotel on the final day)
- Binoculars (if you have them)
We can hire the following to you - please contact your Travel Consultant / or our booking forms for the current rates.
- Extra mule to carry YOUR things
- Extra riding mule and muleteer to lead it
- Sleeping Bag suitable for – 10deg
- Deluxe Sleeping Bag suitable for -15deg.
- Walking stick lightweight aluminum - Two sticks are recommended for tough hikes.
- Thermarest inflatable mattress -
- Thermarest Inflatable pillow
- Comforting Camping trek upgrade - bigger tents, camp beds, includes sleeping bag, thermarest, and walking stick.
- Single tent supplement (ie you don’t want to share a tent)
- When calculating costs for hire of walking stick, sleeping bag, calculate using the length of the tour. Even though you won’t use the equipment on the final day it will still be ‘on the road’ and ‘occupied.’
- If you hire equipment and break it – you are responsible for price of replacement /or repair. (please do the right thing!)
AVAILABLE DISCOUNTS (these discounts are not cumulative)
- 5% discount on treks only for members of South American Explorers Club (SAE)
- Students: US$ 30.00 (students require a valid International Student Identity Card. Please beware that Youth Travel Cards are not valid)
- Teenagers: US$ 20.00 (up to 15 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
- Children: US$ 45.00 (up to 10 years of age, passport copy required for all bookings)
TO MAKE A BOOKING
Please visit our Make a Booking page.
You will need to email us to check availability, receive booking forms and then make your deposit. For our payment conditions and booking please refer to our Make a Booking page.
* For organisational reasons, we require one week to organise your booking, prior to departure.