Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu is one of our signature treks. This 10 days trek from Cusco takes you three prime sites. All these sites played a significant role to Incas.
The trek starts with a visit to Choquequirao, continues to Vilcabamba and culminates at Machu Picchu.
This is a complete history, nature and culture oriented trek. You are certain to experience the best of Incan civilisation on this exclusive 10 Days Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu.
Also known as “Sister City of Machu Picchu”, Choquequirao in Quechua means “Cradle of Gold”. It was built during the reign of Pachacutec in the same era as Machu Picchu. Both Machu Picchu and Choquequirao has a resembling architecture. However, there is one aspect that distinguishes the architecture of Choquequirao. It is the Llama Terrace. Llama terraces are a terraces with image of Llamas and baby llamas built with white stones. Supposedly, they are facing Machu Picchu. There are 24 Llama terraces in total.
Unlike Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is relatively unknown to travellers. It gets a handful of visitors a day. Moreover, it is located quite remotely. The only way to get there is by hiking strenuously. Although, the government is planning to install cable car from the nearby village and are estimating a boom in tourism.
Vilcabamba was the last capital of Incas. After winning the battle of Ollantaytambo in 1537, Manco Inca (Incan Emperor) was certain about a subsequent major attack. This was due to Ollantaytambo’s close proximity to Cusco. He retracted to the Victos Rosaspata in the Jungle, much away from Cusco. He eventually moved to Vilcabamba and named it as the Capital of Neo-Inca state in 1539.
Vilcabamba in Quechua means ” Sacred Plain”. It is now called as Espiritu Pampa “Plain of Spirits”. Upon the Spanish conquest in 1572, the Incas abandoned Vilcabamba or Espiritu Pampa. It was in 1911, the renowned American explorer, Hiram Bingham III discovered the ruins which was called as Espiritu Pampa by locals.
The renowned citadel of Incas, Machu Picchu is one of the new wonders of the world. Pachacutec ordered the constructed it of Machu Picchu as his royal estate. It was home to 750 people. They worked for the royal family. The archeological complex depicts an impressive stone work of Incas. They built the farming terraces on the slope of a hill. This was to prevent any soil erosion and to protect the citadel from natural calamities.
Unlike most royal estates, Machu Picchu did not pass down in the line of succession. Upon Spanish invasion, the Incas abandoned it after using it for 80 years.
As an outdoor adventure company, we have dedicated and well trained local guides. Our guides have extensive knowledge about the culture, traditions and trail routes. We have hand picked camp sites which will allow you to have a sound sleep after an arduous day of trekking. We also maintain an optimum level of security and safety standards. All our guides are trained on first aid and usage of Oxygen shots. We carry enough oxygen shots on all our high altitude treks.
We strongly recommend you to spend atleast four days acclimatising in Cusco before the trek. This would help you to acclimatise and will avoid altitude sickness.
While you are acclimatising, you may choose one of our one day trips. Trips like, Sacred Valley VIP tour, South Valley Tour, Inca Quarry Trek and Inkilltambo Trek will help you to acclimatise. These tours will also give you a good introduction to Inca civilisation.
Cusco Hotel Transfer
We will be picking you up at 0400 AM from your hotel in Cusco. Then we will drive you to Capuliyoc village in our private transport. It is a four hours drive from Cusco. Here we will stop for breakfast. Later, we will be meeting our crew (muleteers, chef and porters).
We will begin the first leg of Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu with a 20 minutes downhill hike. Then we will stop at a view point to relish the first sight of snow capped peak of Padreyoc and Apurimac Canyon. From here, it is a three hours hike to a hamlet named Chiquisca. This section of the trek is an interesting one. You will be able to see different medicinal plants, our local expert will explain to you about its uses. Often trekkers also spot the flight of Andean condors here. At Chiquisca, we will stop for lunch.
After relishing on an authentic Peruvian meal for lunch, we will continue with our down hill hike for 45 minutes to Playa Rosalinas. Here, the Apurimac river separates Cusco and Apurimac province.
We will be crossing a bridge here and will descend for four hours to Marmapata. We will be crossing many Andean farms and communities on this section of the trek. At around 0530 PM, we will be reaching our campsite. We will serve you coffee/tea with snacks and this will be followed by dinner.
Early in the morning, our crew will wake you up to a hot cup of coffee/tea. This will be followed by nutritious breakfast. We will then hike to Marmapata. This section of trek is a bit challenging as we will be hiking up the hill to Choquequirao. Along the way, you will have spectacular view of Apurimac Canyon.
Once in Choquequirao, our guide will give you a three hours guided tour. On this tour, you will be visiting llama sector, farming terraces, ceremonial centre among other sites.
Once you have had your fill of history, we will descend to the camping area for lunch. After lunch, you will have some free time. Optionally, we can visit a beautiful waterfall named Pachayoc. It is right amidst the beautiful tropical jungle. We will then return to the campsite for dinner.
After breakfast, we will be hiking up the hill to the the highest pass of the Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu. Yamana Pass nestles at 4700 metres above the sea level. The route goes through some potato fields. You will also be rewarded with the sight of Andean Condors flying high above.
The pass offers a captivating view of the Salkantay Peak on one site and Santa Teresa valley on the other. We will then descend to Totora community for lunch. You will notice a change in weather, it would gradually start getting warmer as we will be nearing the tropical region.
After lunch, we will descend further to Colpapampa village. Here we will be camping for the night.
After breakfast, we will give you a guided tour of the upper section of the Choquequirao archaeological complex. We will be visiting the farming terraces of Pinchayunuyoc. After touring the site, we will start our hike to the last capital of Incas, Vilcabamba.
We will be descending to Rio Blanco. Here we will be stopping for lunch. You can take a dip in the fresh stream of water while our crew will setup your lunch.
After lunch, we will be hiking up the hill to the most idyllic spot of Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu. Maizal is a pristine spot up at 3500 metres above sea level. We will be camping here for the night.
This will be a good start of the day. You will be waking up to the sounds of chirping birds. We will be serving you a freshly prepared breakfast in a beautiful setting.
We will start the day’s hike with a gradual climb to Victoria Pass. Along the way, we will be crossing many Inca ruins. We will also be passing through an abandoned colonial mine, Victoria Mines.
Once at Victoria Pass, you will have fantastic sight of Andean Condors flying around. Victoria Pass nestles at (4150 meters / 13,610 feet). It is right in the heart of Vilcabamba mountain range.
We will then hike down the hill for three hours to Yanama Village. Here we will be stopping for lunch and will be camping after dinner.
After breakfast, we will be starting the day with a gradual up-hill hike to Choquetacarpo Pass (4593 meters / 15,065 feet). This is one of the beautiful spots of Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu. The pass is surrounded by snowcapped peaks.
We will then join Qhapac Ñan or the Inca Roadway. We will be trailing the footsteps of Incas for almost an hour and a half on this section of the trail. Our local expert will explain about each section that demonstrates impressive engineering of Incas. Then we will be reaching our campsite in Quellqua Machay where we will be spending the night.
After breakfast, we will continue with a downhill hike to the last capital of Incas, Vilcabamba. On this section of the trek, we will be walking through some colonial roads which are not in use for transportation. We will be then reaching Huancacalle. Here we will be camping for the night.
After breakfast, we will start at 0730 AM from the campsite. We will be hiking for four hours to the two lesser known archaeological sites, Ñustajispana (White Rock). and Victos Rosaspata.
After touring these sites, we will be stopping for lunch. Later, we will be travelling to Santa Teresa village in our private transport. This beautiful village is popular for its hot springs called Cocalmayo Hot Springs. We will be camping here for the night.
After breakfast, we will be travelling to Hidro Electric Plant. From here it is a three hours hike along the railway lines to Aguas Calientes. This is the same route that Hiram Bingham III took when he rediscovered Machu Picchu.
In Aguas Calientes, we will be accommodating you in an ensuite hotel room. Later that evening, we will be meeting at a local restaurant to celebrate the successful completion of Choquequirao Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu.
Early in the morning we will be taking the first bus to Machu Picchu citadel. Here our guide will assist you to enter the citadel. You will be seeing the golden rays of sun shimmering on the walls of Machu Picchu.
We will give you a two hours guided tour of the citadel. On this tour, you will be visiting the main plaza, the condor square, farming terraces and other important sites.
After the tour, you will have some free time to walk around the citadel. If you have booked your trek to Huyana Picchu or Machu Picchu mountain, our guide will assist you to the entrance. Alternatively, you can visit the Sun Gate, it offers an exclusive view of Machu Picchu to those on Inca Trail. It is a two hours walk back and forth from the citadel.
At a designated time you will be taking the bus down to Aguas Calientes town. You will then be boarding a train to Ollantaytambo. Our representative will be meeting you at Ollantaytambo train station and will transfer you to Cusco.
This was an exceptional trek. We visited all prime sites of Incan civilization. Jose Luis was our guide and he has a very good knowledge. I surely recommend doing this trek.