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Choquequirao & Vilcabamba, 13-day trek to Machu Picchu, from Cusco

Join friendly and local IFMGA-certified guide, Juventino, as he takes you on this sprawling, epic, fascinating and fun 13-day trek to Machu Picchu from Cusco via Choquequirao & Vilcabamba, taking in the best landscape, scenery, terrain and culture that Peru has to offer.

Mountain RangeAndes
Duration13 days
Offer periodMay, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov
Skill LevelIntermediate
Fitness LevelFit
Type of tripPrivate

Highlights

  • Trek through the Peruvian countryside all the way to Machu Picchu!

  • Witness stunning scenery such as mountains, glaciers, forests and valleys

  • Learn about Incan culture and the traditions of the local Andean people

  • Spend a whole day marvelling at the wonder that is Machu Picchu

Description

This 13-day trek I will guide you on is a truly awesome and magnificent adventure, as we traipse, travail and wind our way around mountains, lakes, glaciers, valleys, forests and ancient Incan monuments from Cusco to Choquequirao & Vilcabamba, all the way to the world famous, stunning, mystical and magical ruins of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is an abandoned Incan settlement nestled within the Andes Mountain Range in the Cusco region of Peru, and it is one of the most visited and most famous tourist sites in the world. It remains a historically important and mythical site of Incan culture, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Our epic trip begins in Cusco on the morning of the 1st day, and over the subsequent 2 days we will be hiking through traditional Peruvian countryside to reach the archaeological site of Choquequirao on day 3, a gorgeous historical site that is just as important to Incan culture as Machu Picchu.

From here, every day of the trip is devoted to long hikes, lovely scenery and education about the Andean people and their customs, culture and traditions. We will hike through and stop at places such as Maizal, Lazuna pampas, Inka Wasi and Santa Teresa, with each place containing unique characteristics.

The sensational views and jaw-dropping scenery is near-endless, with each day taking us through the raw natural beauty of the country, the flora and fauna seemingly stretching on forever, only interrupted by small villages and interesting archaeological sites.

After 13 days of idyllic and tranquil beauty, we spend the entire last day exploring, discovering and marveling at Machu Picchu, a place that no matter how many photos you have seen, still manages to take the breath away.

After exploring to our hearts content, we finish the trip back in Cusco, weary yet immensely satisfied at the sights and sounds we have experienced.

This is the trip of a lifetime that will make you fall in love with Peru and Machu Picchu – book now so you don’t miss out!

For those with less time who still want a spectacular experience, try our 3-day Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu, here!

Accommodation

Hostel for 3 nights, camping for all other nights.

Meeting point

Cusco, Peru

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Photos


Itinerary

Day 1: Cusco - Cachora - Chiquisca

We will leave Cusco at 5:30 in the morning. First we will go to the pretty village of Cachora (2850m) surrounded by mountains and the majestic glacier Padreyoc (5571m). Here we also meet the team of muleteers who will accompany us throughout this unforgettable trip. After crossing the village of Capuliyoc (2800m), we continue the descent to our camp, Chiquisca (1930m).

Day 2: Chiquisca - Playa Rosalina - Marampata - Choquequirao

After breakfast, we will start our tour to Playa Rosalína (1550m) and then we will go up the village of Marampata (2850m). From here we will have a beautiful view of the archaeological complex of Choquequirao (3033m). If we are lucky, we will see condors. Our camp is located in Choquequirao, about 20 minutes from the ruins.

Day 3: Choquequirao - Col de Choquequirao - Río Silvestre

Early in the morning we will visit the citadel of Choquequirao, “Cuna de Oro” (the golden cradle) to enjoy the silence. We will explore the archaeological site, of which only 30% has been restored. We will visit the palace sections, the fountains, the temple, the lamas section and the Usnu. Then we will continue our ascending path to the Choquequirao pass (3270m) and we will pass by the archaeological site of Pinchaunuyoc (2450m). Finally, we will arrive at the deepest point of the ravine, Río Blanco, or Río Silvestre (1900m), where we will spend the night.

Day 4: Río Silvestre - Maizal

After a full breakfast, we will begin the climb in the middle of the rainforest. This part of the road is relatively difficult and we will spend the night in the community of Maizal (3000m). Maizal is a recommended place to observe spectacular glaciers such as the Qori wayrachina (5512m).

Day 5: Maizal - San Juan Pass - Yanama

Our tour continues following the famous Inca Trail, which is unfortunately in bad summer due to erosion. First we will climb to the Col de San Juan (4170m). From here we will have a beautiful view of the valleys, mountains and glaciers. The ecosystem is constantly changing, so the Vilcabamba Mountains are located in one of the most complex areas of Peru. Our campsite will be in the small village of Yanama (3530m).

Day 6: Yanama - Yutupa - Lazuna pampas

In Yanama we will experience the Andean life, the traditions and customs of the locals. Our path will go up and down among the tropical forest of Urpipata, Yutupata (3300m) and Tucarhuay, and will lead us to the Quellccamachay cave. Our camp is at Lazuna Pampa (3800m).

Day 7: Lazuna Pampa - Col de Choquetacarpu - Huancacalle - Pillaupata

After our breakfast we start our ascent to the Choquetacarpu pass (4600m). Here we will take a short break to savor and explore the places. Then we will descend again to the village of Pillaupata (3200m), where our camp is located.

Day 8: Pillaupata - Vitcos, Ñustahispana (Yurac Rumi) - Azutina Pass - Inka Wasi

It is a delight to visit the archaeological sites of Vitcos Rosasapata (3080m) and Ñustahispana (Yurac Rumi) (3050m). After the visit, we will climb to the Azutina pass (4000m), then descend to our camping site, Inca Wasi (3600m).

Day 9: Inka Wasi - Raccachaca - Hatún Pampa

During this day we will find the remains of Inca Trail, which will take us to the Raccachaca community (3700m), where we will have lunch. This small village is very welcoming, people will come out to meet us to encourage us in this beautiful adventure. Our camp is at Hatum Pampa (4000m).

Day 10: Hatún Pampa - Yanacocha Pass - Mojón Pass - Mutuypata

This day will be both the most arduous and the most beautiful part of our adventure. We will pass Yanacocha passes (4420m), Tullu Tacana (4500m) and Mojón (4500m). Then we will descend to the Laco Cocha Lagoon (3600m). Our camp will be in Mutuypata cloud forest (3250m), the habitat of the Andean bear, called the spectacled bear.

Day 11: Mutuypata - Yanatile - Santa Teresa

In the morning, we will enjoy the biodiversity of orchids, bromeliaceae and other plants of the region. We will also see coffee, avocado and papaya plantations. In Yanatile (2100m) we will take a transport to go to Santa Teresa (1850m). We will spend the night in a family hotel. You can enjoy the hot water pools if you wish.

Day 12: Santa Teresa - Hidroeléctrica - Aguas Calientes

From Santa Teresa, we will walk to the Hidreléctrica station. On the way we will pass the waterfall of Mayubamba and the mountain of Machu Picchu. Arrived at Hidroeléctrica, we will have lunch, then we will take a train to Aguas Calientes, where we will spend the night in a hotel.

Day 13: Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

We will leave the hotel after breakfast at 5:30 and we will ride to Machu Picchu (2400m) by tourist bus. We will arrive at the citadel around 06:00. After a guided tour of the archaeological site (including information about life and culture of the Incas), you will have time to explore Machu Picchu at your own pace, as well as the Huayna Picchu if you wish. We will leave Aguas Calientes by train at 14h55 or 18h20, until Ollantaytambo, then a bus will take you to your hotel in Cusco. While waiting for the train, you will have the time to have lunch in one of the restaurants of the city. In addition, you can enjoy the hot springs in Aguas Calientes to relax before your departure.


About the guide

guide profile img

IFMGA/UIAGM mountain guide from Peru.

He was born in 1960 in Huaraz / Peru. With his 15th Age he learned the world of trekking and mountaineering know by he accompanied his father on trips with his clients.

To this day he is still working as a mountain guide and tour operator. For many years he was able to acquire a lot of knowledge about the mountains, making it one of the most experienced certified mountain guides.

He runs a family travel agency based in Huaraz, which was founded by his father, and is now managed by Juventino and his son, Eric.


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