Choquequirao – Vilcabamba Trek to Machu Picchu (10 Days)

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Tour Details

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. 

Machu Picchu:

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. 

Why Encuentros Peru Adventure?

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. 

Departure & Return Location

Cusco Hotel Transfer

Departure Time

0400 AM

Price Includes

  • Pre trek briefing
  • Private transportation to the trek departure point and return to your hotel
  • Private cook and fresh, healthy meals while trekking
  • Mules & muleteers to carry equipment, emergency riding horse, supplies, & up to 8 kilograms of your personal items
  • All required equipment except sleeping bag
  • Final night in a comfortable, 3-star Aguas Calientes hotel (based on double occupancy)
  • Entry to Machu Picchu with guided tour and roundtrip bus tickets return train and transfer to your Cusco hotel
  • 1-night accommodation in Aguas Calientes

Price Excludes

  • Dinner on the last night.
  • Huayna Picchu entrance fee: if you would like to climb this mountain an additional fee of US $16 per personal applies
  • Breakfast on the first morning.
  • Entrance to the 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: please note that our agency staff is well paid so please feel free to tip or not as you wish.

Recommended To Carry

  • 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.
  • Sandals or plastic slip on thongs are also good to give your feet a chance to breathe 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).
  • Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain, and cold.
  • Sunblock.
  • After-sun cream or hydrating cream for face and body.
  • Insect repellent – minimum recommended 20% DEET – although no malaria risk has been reported.
  • Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, raw fruits, muesli, etc.
  • Non-disposable canteen (Nalgene type) and water for the first morning.
  • Your own medical kit with any special medications that you might require, paracetamol, second skin for blisters, etc.
  • Small towel.
  • Swimsuit (if you wish to go to the hot springs.).
  • Cash in soles and/or USD.
  • Original passport.
  • Rain gear (jacket and pants if available) or rain poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco).
  • Strong footwear, waterproof trekking boots recommended.
  • Flashlight/headlamp and batteries.
  • Camera and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions).
  • Water container and water for the first morning. Important notice: plastic water bottles are no longer allowed into Machu Picchu. Plastic water containers (ie. Nalgene) or metal ones are recommended.
  • Optionally: water- sterilizing tablets in case you pick up water from streams or rivers along the route. Otherwise, we provide filtered boiled water, which is safe to drink and has not reported any health problem so far.
  • Original International Student Identity Card (in case you have applied for a student discount.
  • Optional: walking sticks or poles (rubber covers required in order not to damage archaeological sites).

Day 1Cusco — Capuliyoc — Marampata

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 15 Kms
  • Hiking time: 7 hours.
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2850 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 1475 metres

Day 2Maranpata — Choquequirao — Choquequirao Camp Site

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.

  • Hiking distance: 8 Kms.
  • Hiking time: 6 hours.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 3106 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 2850 metres

Day 3Choquequirao — Choquequirao Pass — Pinchinuyoc

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 26 Kms
  • Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2900 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 2040 metres

Day 4Pinchinuyoc — Rio Blanco — Maizal

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 19 Kms.
  • Hiking time: 6 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4200 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 1475 metres

Day 5Maizal — Minas Victoria — Yanama

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 22 Kms.
  • Hiking time: 7 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4150 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 2900 metres

Day 6Yanama — Yutuypata — Quellqua Machay

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 17 Kms
  • Hiking time: 9 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4600 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 4000 metres

Day 7 Quellqua Machay — Vilcabamba

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 17 km
  • Hiking time: 9 hours
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 4000 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 2900 metres

Day 8Vilcabamba - Santa Teresa

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. 

  • Distance Travelled: 8 Kms
  • Hiking time: 2 hours.
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 1458 metres
  • Minimum Altitude: 1008 metres

Day 9Santa Teresa - Hidro Electric - Aguas Calientes

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 12 kms
  • Hiking time: 7 hours  
  • Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2040 metres.
  • Minimum Altitude: 1008 metres.

Day 10Aguas Calientes - Machu Picchu - Cusco

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. 

  • Hiking distance: 6 kms
  • Hiking time: 6 hours  
  • Meals: Breakfast.
  • Maximum Altitude: 2370 metres.
  • Minimum Altitude: 2170 metres.
1 Review
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Group Traveller

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.

March 2, 2020
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