Choquekiraw & Machu Picchu 8D/7N
Note: The hotel must be booked in the main town due to the early pick up for our services we are unable to go to the Airbnb as most of them do not have a name or address easy to find and some of them are located far away from the main town.
DAY 1: Cusco – Ccachora – Capuliyoc – Chikiska – Playa Rosalina – Santa Rosa
We will pick you up from your hotel at 4 a.m. for the four hour drive to the trail head, where you will have breakfast with your trekking staff. Here, you will meet with your horsemen and horses and have the opportunity to give them your duffel bags. After breakfast, you will start your expedition to Machu Picchu. The first four hours are downhill, until your reach your lunch stop at Chikiska-Chikiska. This is a small village with fruit plantations. Along the way, you will have great views of the Apurimac River and the valley, as well as the snow-capped peaks. After lunch, the weather gets much warmer, since you have already descended quite a bit. It will be another two hours until we arrive at the bottom of the valley, and see the famous Apurimac River. Following, you will pass a bridge, and have a two hour, uphill hike to the campsite at Santa Rosa.
Walking Distance: 18 km
Campsite Elevation: 1,800 m
Weather: Hot and dry
Day 2: Santa Rosa – Marampata – Choquekiraw
After an early breakfast you will continue your expedition, starting with a two hour, uphill hike to Marampata. Take note that this section has many zigzags. Marampata is at an elevation of 3,100 meters, where you will see amazing views of the canyon and the surrounding snow-capped peaks. It will be another two hour, gradual downhill hike until you arrive at the famous Choquekiraw Inca site, where you will enjoy lunch. After lunch, you will visit the Inca site and explore the most important places, such as the religious area, the observatory area, and llama terraced sections. You will also enjoy the sunset over the valley and mountains. Following, you will return to your campsite for the night.
Walking distance: 10 km
Camp site elevation: 3,300 m
Weather: Hot and humid
Day 3: Choquekiraw – Choquekiraw Pass – Pinchawniyoc – Rio Blanco – Maizal
You will have an early breakfast with your team, and prepare for today’s expedition, starting around 6:30 a.m. It will be about 40 minutes, uphill, to reach the first pass of Choquekiraw at 3,500 m. This is a great place to look through the dense vegetation for the famous orchids and flowers, which bloom here most of the time. Then, it will be about 30 minutes of flat, elevated walking, before starting to descend along the zigzag path for an hour and a half, where you will arrive at the Inca site of Pinchauniyoc. Pinchauniyoc was used as an agricultural site by the Incas, as well as a rest stop when they traveled on their expeditions to Machu Picchu. After a brief explanation by the guide, you will keep walking downhill for another hour and a half until you get to the River, Calle Rio Blanco, at 1,750 m, where we will have lunch. Be sure you bring a good mosquito repellent, especially for this segment. After lunch, we’ll take a four hour, uphill hike until we reach the campsite at Maizal. Here, we’ll see amazing views of the Andean mountains.
Walking Distance: 14 km
Campsite Elevation: 2900 m
Day 4: Maizal – Minas Victoria – Condor Pass – Yanama
You will be woken up with a hot drink, followed by breakfast and the magical sunrise over the mountains. After stocking up on water and snacks, you will start the day’s activities. We’ll start with a four hour, uphill hike along a rocky path. In some sections there will be great views of the surrounding mountains, lush, green valleys and also some arid mountain peaks. Once you reach the top of the pass (at 4,200 m), you will enjoy a packed lunch, provided to you by your trekking chef. The views will include snow-capped peaks, valleys, and perhaps some condors (the largest bird of the Andes). After snapping a few fantastic pictures, you will start a three and a half, downhill hike to our campsite at Yanama-Yanama. This is a small, indigenous village where, if you have time, you can visit some local homes to learn about how people live and the ancient traditions that they have kept intact for hundreds of years.
Walking Distance: 15 km
Campsite Elevation: 3,800 m
Weather: Humid, dry and cold
Day 5: Yanama –Mariano Llamocca Pass – Totora
Your team will wake you up early in the morning, so you'll have time to pack for the day. At around 6 a.m. you will start your expedition. Today, we will scale the famous Vilcabamba mountain range, the last city of the Incas. It will be five hours until we reach the pass, but the views along the way are amazing. There will also be some rest stops and guided explanations along the way. Once we reach the pass at 4,500 m, we will enjoy a packed lunch provided by your chef. Since this is the last leg of your journey to Machu Picchu, you will especially enjoy the views of Salkantay and Humantay. Grandfather glacier peaks are a special sight. It will be five hours until we reach the campsite. The paths can sometimes be slippery in the rainy season, or dusty and rocky in the dry season. Along the way, you may see some black bears and Andean birds, such as, falcons, eagles, hawks, condors, and geese. Finally, we will arrive at the campsite and enjoy hot drinks and a delicious dinner.
Walking Distance: 16 km
Campsite Elevation: 3500 m
Weather: Cold, dry and humid
Day 6: Totora – Ccolpapampa – La Playa
Your team will wake you up with hot drinks. After breakfast, we’ll start the day with a three hour downhill hike to Ccolpapampa, where you may meet up with the Salkantay Trek trekkers. At Ccolpapampa, we’ll enjoy lunch, then depart from our horsemen, as it is time for them to go back home. From here, your porters will continue by car and you will continue on your adventure by foot. It will take five hours for you and your tour guide to arrive at the campsite at La Playa. Along the way, you will see waterfalls and fruit plantations, as we come into the more tropical forest, from the cloud forest and the high mountains. Today, we may also visit some coffee plantations.
Walking Distance: 16 km
Campsite Elevation: 2,400 m
Weather: Hot and dry
Day 7: La Playa – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes
Today is your last hiking day. It will end around lunch time. This climb along the Inca Trail takes about six hours. It is three hours uphill, along the hillside with great views of the Santa Teresa Valley and some coffee and passion fruit farms. Once we arrive at the top of this mountain, we will be at the famous Inca site of Llactapata, which was built by the Incas. They used it to observe the sunrise during the winter solstice. You will also see Machu Picchu for the first time from this location, as well as views of the surrounding areas, such as, the valleys and mountains of Machu Picchu (Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountains). Then, we will walk the last three hours, descending down to the hydroelectric station. Here, we will enjoy our last lunch and say goodbye to your trekking chef and porters. You will retrieve your duffel bags and catch the train around 3:30 p.m. After a one hour ride to Aguas Calientes, you will be taken to your hotel for a hot shower. If you would like, you can visit the famous hot springs at Aguas Calientes (the entrance fee is $3 per person), then enjoy dinner at a restaurant.
Walking Distance: 12 km
Aguas Calientes Elevation: 2,000 m
Weather: Hot and humid
Accommodations: inti punku (or similar)
Day 8: Machu Picchu, Optional Huayna Picchu Climb & Return To Cusco
You should arrange for an early wake up call in order to get to Machu Picchu early to enjoy the sunrise. You’ll have breakfast at the hotel and then you can either get one of the first buses up to Machu Picchu, or walk up to the citadel with your tour guide (you must coordinate this with your trekking guide the night before). Once you arrive into Machu Picchu, your guide will head to the most famous places, so you can get beautiful pictures. You will also enjoy the sunrise (weather permitting). After this, your guide will do a walking tour and visit the most important places in the Machu Picchu complex, such as the Temple of the Sun. The walking tour lasts two or three hours. Following, if you have booked permits to climb Huayna Picchu Mountain, you will have the opportunity to climb this mountain (which will be during the second slot, at 10 a.m. and finish around noon). Following, you’ll still have time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. Around 3 p.m., you should take the bus back down to Aguas Calientes to grab lunch at one of the many restaurants. You will then pick up your bags from the hotel and walk to the train station. The two hour train ride departs at 4:20 p.m. (tourist/Expedition class) and will take you to the town of Ollantayatmbo. You will be met by our Alpaca Expeditions van and we’ll drive you back to Cusco. You will be dropped off at your hotel at around 8:30 p.m.
Note: Lunch is not included on day eight.
On this trip, we use horses to carry the camping equipment and your duffel bags, so be sure you bring a small day pack to carry your personal items needed during the daytime.
One thing we want to highlight is that the weather is extremely variable and changes often from hot to cold to humid. Also, be sure you bring good mosquito repellent.
Our team of Alpaca Expedition guides, chefs and porters are 100% dedicated to making sure that this is an adventure of a lifetime for you.
- Trekking briefing with your trekking guide at 6 p.m., the night before you depart. You will receive your duffel bags for your personal porter.
- Pick up from your hotel and a transfer to the trail head in our private transportation
- English speaking tour guide
- Cook, porters, horsemen, and horses
- Personal Porter that can carry up to 8kg/16 pounds (we provide a duffel bag)
- Hiking gear: four man tent, dining tent, kitchen tent, chairs, table, foam mat
- All meals: breakfast, lunch, happy hours, dinner, and snacks each day
- Vegetarian food available
- Drinking water each day (you can fill up your water bottle three times a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
- First-aid kit
- Oxygen tank
- Train from Hydroelectric to Aguas Calientes
- Entrance fees for Choqueuiraw Inca ruins and Machu Picchu ruins
- Last night hotel in Aguas Calientes village
- Guided tours in Machu Picchu and Choquekiraw
- Train ride back to Ollantaytambo and a bus to Cusco
- We operate this trek ourselves (minimum of two people required)
Satellite Phones: Our top priority will always be the safety of our clients and our team. While we are prepared and all our guides are trained for most of the issues clients have on the mountain, being a phone call away from any doctor, hospital or friend helps everyone feel assured that they are safe. Radios, which all our guides have, are limited in how far they can reach, so Alpaca Expeditions has added Satellite Phones to every trek. Every guide will have a fully charged phone that can be used anywhere on the mountain to connect us anywhere in the world. And they can be used by our clients for non-emergencies as well. While they are not cheap to use, they are available just in case you need to check in on the puppy you left at home with grandma.
- Sleeping bag (rentals available from Alpaca Expeditions)
- Inflatable air mattresses for extra comfort - 3 in /8 cm thick (rentals available from Alpaca Expeditions)
- Trekking poles (rentals available from Alpaca Expeditions)
- Last lunch
- Tips for your crew
$35 off per person
Student discounts apply to anyone who has a valid UNIVERSITY STUDENT CARD at the time of the trek or who is 17-years-old or younger. For those using a university student card to receive the discount, we need to see a copy of the card at booking. For those booking children 17-years-old or younger, we need a copy of their passport at booking time. Please send all to email@example.com.
More Information about STUDENT CARD
Hotel upgrades in Aguas Calientes will depend on the hotel you choose to upgrade to. Hotels that are included in our price will depend on availability, but we frequently book in the following hotels: Intipunko Inn, Waman Hotel, El Presidente, or Casa Andina. All of them have private rooms with private bathrooms, a hot shower, wifi, breakfast and storage to leave your luggage in, while you visit Machu Picchu.
Vistadome train to return: $75
Huayna Picchu climb: $35 per person
As soon as people book their trip to Peru, specifically Cusco, they start wondering about altitude sickness. The air at high altitudes contains less oxygen than at sea level and forces your body to work harder to get the oxygen it needs. Over several days at high altitude, your body adjusts to the lower amount of oxygen in the air. This is why we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek. If you have more time, even better. Cusco is an amazing city with a lot to do, so you won’t be bored.
With altitude sickness, you may first feel like you have the flu or a hangover. You may have a headache, tiredness, loss of appetite, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, trouble sleeping, trouble breathing during exercise. If any of these effects become severe, please contact our office and we will help you get to a doctor.
Most of the time, these symptoms will be mild. We always recommend easing into activity slowly, allowing your body to adjust. Drink plenty of fluids such as water or coca tea. Coca tea has been used since ancient times to help prevent altitude sickness. Leaves from the coca plant contain alkaloids which helps bring oxygen into your blood, helping your body avoid the effects of altitude sickness. Avoid drinking a lot of alcohol and coffee. They will cause you to urinate more often and become dehydrated. Avoid smoking. Smoking makes it more difficult for your body to get oxygen. Avoid sleeping pills. They may cause shallow breathing at night, making it more difficult for your body to absorb oxygen while you sleep.
Remember the trek to Machu Picchu is not a race. Even those in the best shape will suffer from altitude sickness when they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slowly, it will give your body time to adjust to the mountain.
Your healthcare provider may prescribe medicines, such as acetazolamide and dexamethasone, to help prevent altitude sickness. Start the medicine two days before you get to a high altitude. Continue to take it while you are at high altitude.
You must remember that this is your holiday and you do not want to stress out about the possibility of getting sick from the mountains. Do everything slowly. Drink lots of water. And enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you unfortunately get sick, let your guide know right away – all Alpaca Expeditions guides are trained in how to help you get through it.
Of course weather is unpredictable. Typically the dry season in Cusco is from April through October, but this does not stop rain from falling in June or the sun from coming out in December – just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, please make sure that you have rain gear that includes a waterproof jacket, pants, poncho and waterproof gloves. Many people forget about gloves, but being cold and wet makes hiking very unpleasant.
Also prepare for four seasons. Many of the treks through the Andes involve many micro-climates and you will need to be prepared for all seasons. Layers are always key as they are easy to adjust to the different temperatures. And evenings will always be cold, so please be prepared with a warm, winter-weight jacket.
Every Alpaca Expeditions guide has received training in first aid from a physician. We conduct mandatory training every February – every single Alpaca guide attends. When guiding you, they will have with them a first aid kit for basic medical problems (traveler’s diarrhea, cuts, scrapes, etc.) and oxygen. They know how to make you feel better.
In case something unexpected happens and you feel you can no longer complete the trek, they will figure out the safest and quickest way off the course and to a clinic. You will never be left alone; you will have a member of the team escort you every step of the way until safely with a doctor. When you are feeling up to it, we will make sure that you still have the chance to visit Machu Picchu and re-connect with your group, traveling by train comfortably.
Because there are so many logistics to plan and pay for before your trek occurs, payment for your trek is due even if you are unable to complete the hike. Please read our Booking Conditions carefully so you know what is due. Obtaining travel insurance before you leave home is strongly encouraged. This way, if something happens, and this is rare, you will not be out of pocket a tremendous amount of money. Alpaca will provide a letter and your invoice to submit to your insurance in this case to help expedite your processing.
Alpaca Expeditions uses biodegradable soap and transports all our garbage back to Cusco. Our porters are trained to look after the trail and pick up any waste from other groups, as well. We also use environmentally-friendly chemical portable toilets that allow us to pack waste out. We believe in leaving no footprint behind.
Alpaca Expeditions is really proud of the work we do for our community. This is a main focus for our company. We have worked with villages directly to help supply them with needs their families were missing. We have supported local schools by giving them computers and books. We currently sponsor a teacher at the village most of our porters come from to ensure their children are offered the best education.
We buy all our food from local farmers and markets and serve the freshest ingredients. We provide English classes for all our team: guides, porters, chefs and drivers. And we are building a house for our porters to give them a safe and comfortable place to stay before and after our treks so they no longer need to sleep on the floor of a friend.
And twice every year we bring our porters and their families to Machu Picchu. This is our favorite trip to do as the guys who work tirelessly have never visited the Lost Citadel of the Incas. Showing them this place is our biggest honor.
We are always looking to do more for our partners. Please let us know of your ideas and we will work to help.
Alpaca is dedicated to making sure we have the best equipment available. Casual Adventure Camping Store is a family owned business in the United States that is dedicated to the outdoor travelers needs and helps us with all our equipment needs.
Enjoy a good night’s sleep in our spacious Eureka tents. All our tents are 4 man tents, but you will only have to share with one other trekker leaving lots of room to spread out comfortably and store your duffels. They are an A-frame design with entrances on both sides of the tent. They also include a little vestibule in front, giving you some extra outdoor space to leave your boots and walking sticks so you don’t have to bring in dirt. We are proud to be the only company to use these tents.
Our Toilet Tents
No need to add some additional hiking in the middle of the night when you have to use the bathroom! We set up our spotless, environmentally friendly, toilet tents right at your camping site and lunch sites so you don’t have to bother with the park toilets that are not in great condition. This is our way to lessen our footprint on the environment while adding the convenience and luxury of a private bathroom to your trekking adventure.
A foam mat is included to separate and insulate you from the ground. For added comfort you may want to consider upgrading by renting an inflatable sleeping pad which adds 3 inches of comfort on top of the provided foam mat to help you sleep like a baby alpaca each night on the Andes. We use Thermarest and Eureka inflatable air mattresses.
Our Sleeping Bags
We use only mummy style sleeping bags that are 100% down for -15°C/5°F . Please note that if you are over 1.95 meters / 6´4" tall then you won't be able to find a sleeping bag rental in Cusco. In this case it is recommended to bring your own. For everyone else, you will have a great night's sleep in this comfy, warm bag. We provide liners to everyone that are machine washed between every use. These do need to be included in your duffel weight and weigh 2 kg.
Our Walking Sticks
All our sticks are black diamond and fold up for when you are not using them. They are sturdy and adjust to your height. Even for those of you who are great trekkers, having a set of sticks is helpful on all treks. Especially if the weather turns bad or just heading down some of the steeper portions of the hike.
- Day pack
- Copy of your passport
- Good hiking gear: hiking boots, warm jackets, gloves, hat warm fleece and socks
- Sleeping bag
- Walking boots
- Waterproof jacket/rain poncho
- Hat and gloves
- Warm clothes: layers for variable temperatures, especially at night
- Comfortable trousers
- Sun hat
- Sun screen
- Insect repellent
- Re-usable plastic/metal water container, or camel bags
- Water for the first four hours of the trek, then we will provide you with drinking, previously boiled water
- Personal medication
- Camera and films
- Flashlight with spare batteries
- Walking stick
- Bathing suit for the hot springs
- Extra money for souvenirs, drinks and tips