A fantastic program featuring two of the finest examples of Inca architecture: Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Due to its remote location, Choquequirao (“cradle of gold”) is relatively new to the trekking circuit. Nestled on a prominent ridge overlooking the chasm created by the Apurímac River, this mysterious city must have rivaled Machu Picchu in terms of beauty. Little is known about this seldom visited site which was first mentioned in the writings of British historian Sir Clement Markham. It was explored briefly by Hiram Bingham in his search for Vilcabamba. This trek is a perfect alternative for those unable to book the Inca Trail. We will take the train in Ollantaytambo to Machu Picchu village to spend the night. The next day visit the spectacular citadel of Machu Picchu for a never to be forgotten guided-tour of this architectural marvel.
We depart early in the morning heading northwest of Cusco (3,300mt/10,800ft) in the direction of Cachora (2,909mt/9,543ft) for a 3 hour drive. In Cachora you will have the opportunity to stop and stretch or a rest room stop. Continue our drive to Capuliyoc (2,915 mt/ 9,561 ft) with lovely views of the Apurimac Valley stretched out in front of us. Here we meet the Mule handlers with their mules that will carry all the camping equipment during the expedition. From here, we will walk down a steep trail to the Apurimac Canyon taking in spectacular views as we descend to Chiquisca (1,836mt/6,023ft), with breathtaking views. After an hour we arrive at the roaring Apurimac River (1,550mt /5,084ft) where we begin to climb to Santa Rosa (2,200m/7,215ft.) , our next campsite.
Hiking time: 7 hours
Meals: L, D
After an early breakfast we start our early hike to avoid the hot sun. Our walk starts with a tough uphill climb from Santa Rosa to Maranpata (3,110m/10,120ft) which will take about 3 hours. We will take a break here and have our first view of the Choquequirao ruins. From here we hike another 2 hours to the archeological site and to our campsite (3,110m/10,120ft) nearest to the ruins where we will have lunch. After lunch, we head to the Choquequirao complex for the afternoon. We will begin to explore the area, and then see the sunset and keep our fingers crossed for the chance to see condors. Only around 40% of the Inca remains of Choquequirao have been excavated. What can be seen today however, is most impressive and very much worth the challenging trek to get here. The stonework in Choquequirao is not as sophisticated as that found in Machu Picchu, because the stone found here is very difficult to carve, but the buildings are impressive and suggest a site of high status. Choquequirao evokes a sense of awe simply because of the sites’ surrounding beauty and isolation and condors can be seen frequently soaring the skies.
Return to our campsite for dinner and to relax under the many stars above us.
Hiking time: 5 hours
Meals: B, L, D
Today's focus is on the exploration of Choquequirao. Waking up early we head out on a guided tour of the site which shows you the most important and interesting sections of the city and the opportunity to learn about the Inca culture and the close relationship between Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Compared to Machu Picchu little is known of Choquequirao although the people where aware of its existence. Originally discovered in the 17th century by the Spaniards but abandoned and forgotten until a few years ago, when tourism raised the profile of the city and began exploring it. Walk down the side and be amazed by the series of enormous agricultural terraces, each decorated with a llama motif. After our intense visit we will walk back to Santa Rosa and continue to La Playa Rosalina (1,550m/5,085ft) about a 4 hour hike down. Our camp tonight is at La Playa Rosalina.
Hiking: 5 hours
Meals: B, L, D
After Breakfast, we will ascend about 5 hours to Capuliyoc (2,915m/9,561ft) where our transport will be waiting to Cachora and continue our drive to Ollantaytambo for about 4 hours. We can walk around the village before boarding the expedition train to Machupicchu Town to spend the night in a comfortable hostel.
Hiking: 5 hours
Driving distance: 4 hours
Meals: B, L
Pick up in the early morning to take the bus up to the magical Sanctuary. Enjoy a professional guided walking tour of the grand Machu Picchu (2,400mt/7,874ft.). Visit the extraordinary Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Three Windows and much more. After a glorious, eye and mind opening visit with your guide enjoy some time at leisure to further explore the mystical grounds feeling the positive energy that abounds the area which has withstood time. Then return by bus to Aguas Calientes for lunch (on your own) before boarding the expedition train to Poroy. You will be met at the train station by our staff and private transfer to your hotel in Cusco.
Optional: (extra cost) Head over to the entrance of Huayna Picchu to climb a narrow path until reaching the top for splendid vistas of Machu Picchu and the valley below.
If you have already visited Machu Picchu we recommend doing Choquequirao 4d/3n or longer.
Optional: Huayna Picchu climb or Machu Picchu Mountain extra cost.
Upgrade: Expedition train to Vistadome or Hiram Bingham train at extra cost.
Upgrade: Hostel to standard, 4 or 5 star hotel at extra cost.