"When we took this route, our campesino guide at first told us it was completely impossible. He later revised his description, saying that he had taken Inca ruins expert and explorer Vincent Lee on this route some months earlier." - Ariana Svenson, Apus Peru Co Founder

Giving back

Trek with us and $20 of your trek price is donated to generate a sustainable trekking industry in the Andes, and the NGO: ThreadsofPeru.com


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Inspired? More information about the Espirtu Pama hike at these links...

Read the story of modern day explorer Gary Zieglers Expedition to Puncuyoc The sun settles silently behind the glistening snow peaks of the western Vilcabamba range as I study my mud stained notes from the day's exploration. We have just completed four intensive days of investigating the high puna summits and cloud forested slopes of the Puncuyoc range...

The Apus Peru staff in a group shot on a sunny day.

Vilcabamba to Espiritu Pampa 8d

We originally named this trek "In the footsteps of Explorers" because you truly follow in the footsteps of modern day explorer Vincent Lee. With a small deviation this trail follows the classic Espiritu Pampa trek route.

Our trip takes us to the little known ruin of Puncuyoc and then crosses through true wilderness to the Inca Trail that leads to the last capital of the Incas, Espirtu Pampa. Feel the thrill of exploration as you arrive at the wonderfully constructed stone steps that lead to Espirtu Pampa, once the home of Tupac Amaru II.

This trek is for the serious Inca ruin enthusiast, who wants to vist a very untouristed area.

Vilcabamba to Espiritu Pampa 8d

> View Full Itinerary (Code CVEP8)

Highlight: All of it! Getting off the beaten track, visiting breathtaking Puncuyoc, followed by a beautiful (and downhill walk) to the jungle ruins of Espiritu Pampa.

Location: Departs from Huancacalle (approx. 8hours from cusco), returns To Kiteni, (approx. 10 hours from cusco) and then onto Cusco

Duration: 8 days/ 7nights

Level: Easy/ moderate

Adventure Rating: Very adventurous trekking - you will see few other visitors on this route.

Inca Trail Alternative: Can be combined with a Machu Picchu extension to make an Inca Trail alternative.

Departure Dates: any day with two people. We offer affordably priced tours for 2 people so that you can depart when it suits you best. Difficult to access in the wet season.

Combos & Upgrades: Combine with one of our tours for a complete Peru experience, try Comfort Camping or choose an Aguas Calientes upgrade.

Trekkers Wanted: If you wish to join a group tour, please see Trekkers Wanted.You can also form your own tour to be advertised on this page. Maximum group size 10.



# of People

2 3 4 5-6 7-8 9-12

Price USD (per person)

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  • Prices are the same for private or group treks
  • To Join a group visit Trekkers Wanted – all confirmed departures are listed. We have no fixed groups.

Vilcabamba to Espiritu Pampa trek 8d - Full Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco - Abra de Malaga - Huancacalle

We pick you up in your hotel very early (ie 4am)l, in private transport. You pass through the pretty Sacred Valley before beginning to climb to the Abra de Malaga - a very spectacular and very windy road! Often the pass (4300 m) is snow covered. At Chaullay you divert from the route to Quillabamba and head towards Huancacalle. You should arrive at Huancacalle by 1pm, and after lunch you will have a guided tour of f the archaeological sites of Vitcos-Rosaspata and the Ñustahispana (or White Rock). We will stay overnight at the iconic Sixpac Manco hostal in Huancacalle

Day 2 Huancacalle - Yupanqa - Puncuyoc

Take taxi or local transport to the village of Yupanqa and then onto Puncuyoc. A road was recently constructed to this once very remote site. After arriving at campsite at head of Rio Upamayo, we will farewell our transport and visit the archaelogical ruins perched in an impossibly beautiful and remote place.. Accommodation: Camping

Day 3 Puncuyoc - Ututo

Today is the most adventurous of the trip, as you head cross country through landscapes only visited by the farmers of this region. Accommodation: Camping

Day 4 Ututo - Vista Alegre

departure from campsite and hike cross country through wild and uninhabited landscapes until you reach the stones of the Inca trail. Continue to Vista Alegre, which will take us 8 hours of walking. We will cross bridges and we will even see some inca trails, here we will stay for the night (1,550 meters above sea level.).

Day 5 Vista Alegre - Concevidayoc

We will hike from Vista Alegre to Concevidayoc (8 hours of hiking). We will cross Inca trails and will have the opportunity to s ee the Tunki bird, which is family of "gallito de las rocas". In Concevidayoc we will overnight (1,420 meters above sea level.)

Day 6 Concevidayoc - Espirtu Pampa

From Concevidayoc we will hike in 3 hours to EspirituPampa. Here we can admire the remains of the archeological site Espiritu Pampa the last Inca Capital. We will camp at Espirtu Pampa and spend most of the day there. (1,200 meters above sea level). This place is still covered by vegetation, just a small part has been cleaned by INC.

Day 7: Espirtu Pampa - Chuanquiri - Siete Tinajas

After breakfast we will hike from Espiritu Pampa to Chuanquiri, which will take us around 5 hours. We will enjoy a lot of different landscapes and a huge diversity of flora and fauna in this tropical area, which is located at 800 meters above sea level. The lunch will be in Chuanquiri. Afterwards we will go by car to the seven Tinajas (6 hours of travelling) where we will stay for the night.

Day 8: Siete Tinajas - Quillabamba - Cusco

After visiting the Siete Tinajas we will visit Quillabamba, a high jungle town. We will then take the bus back to Cusco, an eight hour journey.
*this tour can be shortened by approximately two days if you take night buses in place of Day One and Day nine, if you are on a budget and short of time.

*If you would like a little more luxury, and also to shorten the itinerary, you can take private transport on days 1 & 9, but more cost is involved.

Itinerary Notes - Vilcabamba to Espirtu Pampa trek 8 days

  • 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.
  • This is an adventurous trip. You should be sure to bring an open mind, flexibility and a sense of humor. Most of all you should be prepared to go with the flow.
  • This region is not frequently visited by tourists, therefore tourist infrastructure is limited. This tour incorporates public transport, and use of local facilities. Visitors should be aware that things change, or may not go to plan. This is all part of the adventure!
  • This trek can be combined with a Machu Picchu visit. Please email us for more details.

Practical Information

What's included?

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 by private transport.
  • Public taxis or transport within the program at cited places.
  • Entry fee to Vitcos Rosaspata & Espirtu Pampa
  • 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 and sleeping bag (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
  • Public transport to Cusco at the end of the trip.
  • Lunch on the last day is included in this itinerary.

What is not included?

  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Dinner on the last night.
  • 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.
  • 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 tips and souvenirs, or any drinks or snacks you might want to buy along the way.
  • 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)

optional extras

We can hire the following to you.

  • 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)
  • Under18: US$ 20.00 discount presentation of proof of age.


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.