Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek 6 Days

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6 Days – 5 Nights

Max Guests: 8

Max. Altitude: 1500 – 3030m

Act. Level: Challenging

Overview

This letter contains the most important information about the Choquequirao¬ – Machu Picchu trek that you should be aware of before your departure. It is important to read and understand the information to leave well prepared and avoid unexpected surprises during your hike. We recommend following the basics of ecotourism.

We must respect and protect the environment, as well as the archaeological complexes and local customs.

Itinerary

Day 1Cusco – Cachora – Chiquisca

We leave Cusco early (5:00am), driving along the road which goes north-west across the famous Pampas de Anta or Yawar Pampa (Blood Pampa, because of the ferocious battle between the Incas and the Chankas over possession of Cusco city). We cross the mountains and descend to the warm town of Limatambo (2600m), where the archaeological site of Tarawasi is found.
We continue in the direction of the Cunyac Bridge over the Apurimac River, the natural border between the Cusco- and Apurimac region and follow the road to the settlement of Curahuasi, famous for its aromatic liquor: Macerado de Anis. Our final stop is the town of San Pedro de Cachora (2800m) around 4 hours’ drive from Cusco.

Here we will meet our “arrieros” (horsemen), and begin our walk. We cross the Cachora creek and climb through a refreshing forest of eucalyptus and native vegetation to the dirt track which is passable by cars. From here the path is flat until the viewpoint at Capuliyoq (2850m). Estimated time to reach this point is 3 hours. From the lookout where we will enjoy our lunch, we have a spectacular view of the Apurimac River and Choquequirao.

We descent for 3 hours on a zigzagging footpath, crossing scrub and later a forest of native trees called Phaty. Finally we arrive at our first campsite called Chiquisca (1930m) after 6 hours hike. We can expect a warm night in the valley.

  • Climate: warm with mosquitoes
  • Hiking time: 7 hours

Day 2Chiquisca – Rosalina Beach – Marampata – Choquequirao (1930-1550-2850m)

After breakfast, we begin our descent to Playa Rosalina (1550m), where we are going to climb uphill on a zigzagging path, towards Santa Rosa (2095m).

After a recovery time, we continue upwards to Marampata (2850m), a flat place where we can rest in similar conditions as Santa Rosa; enjoying a splendid view of Choquequirao.

Time from the Apurimac River to here is around 4 to 5 hours. The gradient varies from almost flat to very steep. We follow the path which begins flat, and then has several uphill and downhill sections before the campsite at Choquequirao (3033m). This campsite has bathrooms and a cold shower.
We hike 7 hours this day in a rather warm climate, with a total distance of 14 km to the campsite.

Day 3Choquequirao – Marampata (2850m)

We have a full day to discover the enormous complex of Choquequirao. Your guide will try to show you the most recently discovered areas the agriculture terraces and the sector of the Llamas sculptures that are a more remote sector. The archaeologists are still discovering new parts of the complex that is covered by intense jungle. You will have time to explore the complex at your own. Late in the afternoon we will start the return trek, and we will make camp at Marampata (2850m) (approx. 2 hours). Our hike will be about 5 hours in a rather warm climate.

Day 4Marampata – Coca Masana

After breakfast we continue our return journey, beginning with a steep descent down to the Apurimac River where we will stop for lunch. In the afternoon we will climb for approximately 4 hours and then make camp at Coca Masana (2150m). The walk uphill will this time be easier than on the second day. We hike about 7 hours today in a rather warm climate

Day 5Coca Masana – Cachora – Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes

Day 5 will be the last trekking day and we will be able to appreciate the Apurimac canyon as we follow the trail that crosses through the canyon to the point where the trek started. We arrive at Cachora (2850m) and take our bus to Ollantaytambo.
In the evening, you will take the train (1 hour 30 minutes) from the train station in Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes, where you will spend the night in a hotel. Your guide will not follow you to Ollantaytambo, but instead you will have a new guide waiting for you the next morning.

Day 6Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu – Aguas Calientes – Cusco

Early in the morning we take the bus from Aguas Calientes (2050m) to the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. You have the opportunity to climb the difficult path to the top of the Huayna Picchu Mountain (2700m) – the pyramid-shaped peak that overlooks Machu Picchu, which offers spectacular and different views. From Huayna Picchu it is even possible to see the famous Apu Salkantay snow captured mountain.
The 2hrs guided tour of Machu Picchu allows us to appreciate the high level of development achieved by Andean civilization through the Incas. Machu Picchu demonstrates the superior knowledge achieved in astronomy and astrology. Knowledge of rainy and dry seasons through the solstices was indispensable for developing agriculture; the life-source of the Andes. In the afternoon, at Aguas Calientes, you can enjoy a relaxing bath at the local hot springs before having the train back to Cusco.

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Inclusions

Includes

  • Transportation in and out: Cusco – Cachora
  • Transportation from Cachora to Ollantaytambo
  • Guide: Professional English and Spanish speaking guide
  • Cook: In charge of meal preparation
  • Horsemen and horses: Carry tents, cooking equipment and also carry backpacks, sleeping bags and mattresses (Max. 08 kilos per person)
  • Emergency Horse: Just in case someone needs help
  • Ticket: Entrance fee to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu
  • Meals: 5 Breakfasts/5 Lunches/5 Dinners/Snacks and afternoon tea
  • Equipment: tents ( 2 people in each 3-person-capacity ), mattresses, dinner tent, bathroom tent, kitchen tent, tables and chairs, first aid kit, including emergency oxygen bottle
  • Bus ticket: Aguas Calientes – Machu Picchu (last day)
  • Hotel in Aguas Calientes
  • Tourist Train Service: Ollantaytambo – Aguas Calientes – Cusco
  • Transportation to and from: Hotel -Train station- Hotel

Excludes

  • Breakfast the 1st day, and lunch last day
  • Sleeping bag.
Travel Info

Briefings

All briefings are done at our office at 7:00 PM one or two nights before your trek. If you are unable to make this time, you need to coordinate another time with a member of the Xtreme Tourbulencia office team. Briefings are approximately 40 minutes long.

Pickups

Xtreme Tourbulencia is one of the only companies to pick you up directly from your hotel. As long as your hotel is in the center of Cusco city, we will coordinate this pickup based on a time that your guide will discuss at the briefing. Pick up times may vary 30 – 45 minutes based on traffic conditions and previous pickups.

Cusco is an old city with cobblestoned streets and very narrow passageways. Smaller hotels and Airbnbs are often located on streets that cars can´t pass through. They also are frequently on hillsides with long steep climbs, making it difficult to carry luggage. We highly recommend that you book accommodations with better access. We have a list of hotels that are all comfortable with easy access to pick up and drop off. HOTEL LIST HERE.

Some treks will allow for pickups in the Sacred Valley, which is outlined below.

Huaynapicchu/Machu Picchu Mountain

Machu Picchu is most beautiful when seen from above, which is why hiking one of the mountains next to the ruins is very popular to do after your tour.

Huaynapicchu is the most popular and must be booked in advance since it sells out very quickly. This hike takes approximately 1 hour to the top, and another 45 minutes back down. Tickets are sold in time sessions stating when you can start this hike. The first session is from 7-8 AM, and the 2nd session is from 10-11 AM. Again, this refers to the timeframe when you can start your hike. We usually book the second session so you can enjoy your tour with your guide first. You will do this hike on your own, but your guide will show you where to begin.

Machu Picchu Mountain is a bit longer and a bit less popular. It takes 2 hours to the top and another 1 hours to the bottom. Again there are two time windows – from 7-8 AM and 9-10 AM and we usually purchase the second time window. 4 Day treks, the Trekkers CAN NOT do this hike and enjoy a tour of the ruins. Time will not allow for this.

Hiking either mountain will allow you to have some extra time at the ruins once you complete, as listed above.

Machu Picchu Entrance Times

Machu Picchu now has two different time windows of when you can visit: either morning or afternoon. Your entrance ticket will be for only one session, morning session, and when your time window is over, the Rangers will ask you to leave.

MORNING SESSION: 6AM – 12PM

AFTERNOON SESSION: 12PM – 15:00PM

** If you have tickets to hike either Huaynapicchu or Machu Picchu Mountain, you will need extra time 3:00 hours.

Health Concerns

You must be honest with your guide about any health conditions or concerns you might have. While our guides are not medical professionals, they do have first aid training. We also work with a clinic in Cusco that can help assist our team.

You are responsible for assessing whether a Tour is suitable for you. You should consult your physician to confirm your fitness for travel and participation in any planned activities. You should seek your physician’s advice on vaccinations and medical precautions. Xtreme TourBulencia will not provide medical advice. It is your responsibility to assess the risks and requirements of each aspect of the Tour based on your unique circumstances, limitations, fitness level, and medical requirements.

If you develop extreme altitude sickness or any other illness that prevents you from hiking, and you still wish to visit Machu Picchu by train, we will work with you to coordinate this trip. Since this will be a new trip, it may require additional fees. We will use as much of the original itinerary to keep costs low.

If you experience issues while hiking and can not continue, a porter will accompany you to the closest road and wait while a car comes to pick you up and bring you to the nearest health clinic.

Group Tours

Group tours are made up of all different types of people, with various hiking skills and ages. By agreeing to a group tour, you agree that some people might be slower or faster than you are. Everyone can go at their own pace for the trek, and the guide will work with the group to spend time with everyone. Groups might request some modifications to the tour, and the guide will work with everyone to make the best decision for the group.

Strikes

Unfortunately, strikes are frequent in Peru and can disrupt our tours. Roads are often blocked, and trains stopped. We will make sure your trek continues as planned, even if that means leaving the night before your start date. Under these circumstances, tours might need to be canceled. But our operations department will coordinate with you in this situation. Your safety is always our top concern and will dictate how we decide.

Lost Items

You are responsible for your items throughout the Tour. Please be diligent about where you leave your things and remember to remove all items from our vans, your tents, restaurant, etc. Do not leave anything unintended during your hike. Other trekkers or teams might pick it up not knowing whos it is.

Tips

Tipping is part of the tradition of any trek to Machu Picchu. While we pay good wages to our entire team, anything extra is always appreciated. Please know that this is not obligatory and that you should never feel pressured into this.

Typically the participants in a group pool their tipping money together for the porters and chef. The amount recommended is different per trek and listed below. For the guide, this is more personal and needs to be decided based on your relationship with them and done separately from the group. Porters and Chefs prefer soles if possible. Guides are happy with U.S. dollars, Peruvian Soles, or even your credit card ????

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is inexpensive and strongly recommended. With trips being planned months ahead of time, you never can predict what could happen. Adventure travel includes more risk than the average trip. Insurance is a way to protect the investment you have made on this journey. We can help recommend an agent to walk you through this type of insurance if needed.

Weather

Of course, the 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 so just be prepared. No matter what month you are doing the trek, 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. Several of the treks through the Andes involve various microclimates and you will need to be prepared. Layers are always key since they are easy to adjust to different temperature changes. Be prepared with a warm packable down jacket since the evening will be cold.

It’s also important to note that the weather can change a listed itinerary. There are times that routes become impassable, and our guides will be forced for your safety to rework your tour.

Altitude Sickness

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. For this reason, we always recommend spending at least two days in Cusco before beginning any trek in the Andes. Cusco is a marvelous city with lots to do, so if you have more time to acclimate 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 that help 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 if they race to the top of the mountain too quickly. Go slow, and it will give your body time to adjust to the elevation.

Your healthcare provider may prescribe medications, 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 and drink lots of water, and enjoy the coca tea. If anything does happen and you, unfortunately, get sick, let your guide know right away. Xtreme Tourbulencia guides are trained to help you get through it.

Getting To Cusco

The airport in Cusco currently is only for domestic flights, so all international travelers by plane must disembark in Lima and go through Customs. Even if your flight to Cusco is the same day by the same airline carrier, you must grab your bags in Lima and then check them back in.

The best way to get to Cusco is by air, and there are several options in airlines. LAN tends to be the most expensive but has the most options and flights. Expect delays or flight cancellations. Due to the high altitude of Cusco, it tends to be difficult to land, and any acclimate weather will stop air traffic. Bus travel is always available, and while the trip can be long, especially from Lima, the buses in Peru are very well maintained and comfortable. This option is strongly encouraged if coming from a city closer to Cusco, like Puno. Lima buses will take about 20 hours to arrive.

Packing List

What Do I Need To Bring?

  • Backpack with rain cover (35- or 45-liter capacity is sufficient).
  • Clothing for both warm and cold climates.
  • Original passport, original ISIC student card (to receive the student discount
  • Sun hat to protect neck and face (01)
  • Woolly hat for the cold (01)
  • Long- and short-sleeved T-shirts.(04)
  • Fleece jacket (01)
  • Hard shell jacket (01)
  • Trekking pants and shorts pants (03)
  • Pajama pants (01)
  • Under wears (04)
  • Trekking shoes/boots.(01)
  • Slippers or sandals (for showers and hot springs). (01)
  • Woolen/synthetic socks.(04)
  • Flashlight or Headlamp(02)
  • Water bottle or camel back (01)
  • Trekking towels (01)
  • Toilet paper (01)
  • Bathing suit (for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes). (01)
  • Sunscreen with UV protecction, insect repellent, toilet paper, hand cleaner/disinfecting alcohol gel.
  • Camera (with rain protection), a flash light/headlamp and extra batteries.
  • Snacks (e.g. chocolate bars and dried fruit)
  • Money cash in soles / approx. 400 soles (100 dollars)
  • Small lock and plastic bags
  • Rain Poncho
  • Since the weather can be very cold and rainy, your clothes – once wet – won’t dry at night. It’s best to take some clothes to change.
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