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Trek Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

Follow the footsteps of the Inca to reach the ancient citadel of Choquequirao, Machu Picchu's lesser-known 'sacred sister'

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Trip Ref #10767

Trek Choquequirao to Machu Picchu

Follow the footsteps of the Inca to reach the ancient citadel of Choquequirao, Machu Picchu's lesser-known 'sacred sister'

DURATION
11 nights
LOCATION
Peru
ANNUAL LEAVE
8 days off work
SEASON
May-Oct
GROUP SIZE
Up to 14 people
MEETING POINT
Cusco Airport
ACCOMMODATION
Classic

Hotel · Wild camping

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY
Challenging

You'll be hiking for up to eight hours each day with some high-altitude passes to tackle, so a good level of fitness is required

Tackle a wild hike through hidden jungle and over high mountain passes to Choquequirao, Peru's real lost city

Soak up the solitude of this remote, well-preserved Incan 'Cradle of Gold' before moving on to Machu Picchu itself

Finish off your trek by weaving through lush rainforest to sample steaming Peruvian coffee, and enjoy a well-deserved soak in the Cocalmayo hot springs

Day 1

Welcome to Cusco!

Plaza de Armas, Cusco. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MAFU_cxSOro-cusco/

Arrive at your hotel in Cusco this afternoon, nestled just off the Plaza de Armas – the town's bustling main square. Take a stroll through the ancient streets to absorb your first taste of Peruvian culture. Later on, join your guide and meet the rest of your crew at a nearby restaurant, where you can sample the local cuisine and music, as well as get to know your fellow adventurers. After dinner, head back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.

Day 2

Acclimatisation hike in the Sacred Valley

Pisac ruins in the Sacred Valley, Peru. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MAED8BbuNqY-pisac-ruins-sacred-valley-peru/

Hiking

3 hours · 5 - 6km · 200m up · 200m down

Lace up your boots and get ready for an acclimatisation hike in the Sacred Valley. This iconic spot was a crucial area for the Inca Empire – functioning as an agricultural, spiritual and political hub, it's rich with history. You’ll hike around the two main sites, Pisac and Ollantaytambo, learn about their history as you wander between their ancient ruins and cobbled streets. In the afternoon you'll visit a llama and alpaca farm to meet some of the local woolly residents. Head back to your hotel in Cusco, where your guide will hold a quick pre-trek briefing. Afterwards, the evening is yours – relax, grab some dinner and probably have an early night, ready for tomorrow’s adventure.

Day 3

Trek to Chiquisca

Hiker above the Apurimac Canyon on the Choquequirao Trek Photo: Canva link: https://www.canva.com/photos/MADnMxovDSE-young-hiker-man-trekking-with-backpack-in-peruvian-andes-mountains-peru-south-america/

Hiking

3-4hrs · 8km · 1000m down

Driving

4.5hrs

You'll be picked up from your hotel for a scenic road trip through the awesome scenery of the Andes to Capuliyoc (2915m) – take in the views of the snow-capped peaks and deep valley forests. Once you arrive you'll have brunch, then after packing up the horses, it's time to set off on your trek. Begin with a downhill hike to your first campsite at Chiquisca (1900m).

Day 4

Chiquisca to remote Inca city of Choquequirao

Landscape view of Choquequirao from the trail. Photo: Host/Action Treks Peru

Hiking

8 - 9 hours · 14km · 1600m up · 1365m down

Rise early and continue your descent to the bottom of the Apurimac Canyon, the lowest point of the route at 1550m above sea level. Cross the river (by bridge!) before tackling a steep climb up the other side. Stopping for lunch at Maranpata (2850m), you'll enjoy your first views of the terraces of Choquequirao. Your uphill efforts are rewarded with a magnificent campsite at an altitude of 3150m, just a short distance below the archaeological ruins.

Day 5

Explore the Lost City of Choquequirao & hike to Pinchuyniyoc

The lost city of Choquequirao. Photo: Host/Action Treks Peru

Hiking

3 hours · 8km · 0m up · 580m down

Discovered a few years before Machu Picchu, Choquequirao is the little-known 'sacred sister' of its famous counterpart, boasting the same Incan architecture and mystic allure. Set over a larger area than Machu Picchu, it is home to an array of plazas, temples and llama-adorned stone terraces. The key difference of Choquequirao, however, is that the only way to reach it is by a four-day trek – so despite its historic stature, it only receives a fraction of the visitors in a year that Machu Picchu receives in a day. You have most of the day to explore this mountaintop citadel, enjoying the hard-earned serenity of this sacred site. After which, we climb the Abra Choquequirao pass (3318m), and marvel at the expansive views of the Vilcabamba mountain range and snow-capped Choquetacarpo glacier, before descending to camp at the ruins of Pinchuyniyoc.

Day 6

Pinchuyniyoc to Maizal

Mules carrying load on the Choquequirao Trek. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MADQCB_0ldw-choquequirao-trek/

Hiking

6 - 7 hours · 10km · 1175m up · 750m down

Today starts with a long, steep downhill trek to the Rio Blanco (1990m). Take a dip in its refreshing waters while your crew prepares lunch. A steep and difficult climb follows as you zig-zag your way up to the small clearing of Maizal (3000m), your mountainside campsite for the night.

Day 7

Maizal to Yanama

Hikers walks along the Abra San Juan Pass on the Choquequirao Trek. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MADnM0ZkcdI-young-hiker-man-trekking-with-backpack-in-peruvian-andes-mountains-peru-south-america/

Hiking

8 - 9 hours · 12km · 570m up · 1130m down

Today starts with a challenge, as you tackle the tough climb up through the cloud forest to the Victoria Mines at 4000m above sea level. Here, you'll take a well-deserved break and admire the shine of the mineral-dense rocks. Continuing up, you will reach the pass of Abra San Juan (4130m), a great place to spot Andean Condors effortlessly floating above. After lunch on the pass, descend down to the charming village of Yanama (3600m), where you'll camp in the grounds of a local family's home.

Day 8

Yanama to Totora

Views of Salkantay Mountain from Yanama pass on the Choquequirao Trek. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MADaAJhFd6A-yanama-pass-with-4-700-meters-in-elevation-the-hightest-point-on-the-choquequirao-trek-to-machu-picchu-peru-southamerica-/

Hiking

8 - 10 hours · 14km · 1000m up · 1300 down

Today you'll begin with a hike to the top of Yanama Pass, a mostly gentle climb passing waterfalls and small homesteads, with a steep final section. At 4672m above sea level, it is the highest point of the trek and from here you can see views of Salkantay ('Savage Mountain'), the highest peak in the Vilcabamba range. Once on the other side of the pass, it's a long descent to reach camp.

Day 9

Totora to Lucmabamba

Cocalmayo Hot Springs, Peru. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MADQCKZH8hE-thermal-bath-of-santa-teresa/

Hiking

5 - 6 hours · 14km · 1350m down

Hop in the van to Colpapampa, where you'll find the trailhead for today's hike. Follow the Santa Teresa River undulating through lush rainforest, reaching the most beautiful waterfall of the trek. Reach camp in time for a relaxed lunch before taking a tour of the adjacent coffee plantation and a well-earned soak at the Cocalmayo hot springs. You'll get to pick your own beans to grind and brew, as well as some home-grown vegetables that the chef will cook up into a delicious meal tonight!

Day 10

Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata

Trek to Aguas Calientes via Llactapata, Peru. Photo: Host/Action Treks Peru

Hiking

6-7hrs · 13km · 1100m up · 1300m down

After breakfast, you’ll embark on a final trek through the rainforest to the fascinating Llactapata Inca complex (2700m). You’ll have plenty of time to explore and catch your first glimpse of Machu Picchu in the distance. From Llactapata, you’ll descend for lunch before boarding a train to Aguas Calientes. There'll be some time to relax after completing this epic hike, before enjoying a celebratory dinner with the crew.

Day 11

Ah...Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru. Photo: Canva link: https://www.canva.com/photos/MADyQ7f-OTU-photo-of-machu-picchu/

Hiking

4hrs · 3.5km · 296m up · 296m down

Today you’ll head to Machu Picchu itself – one of the world’s most incredible archaeological sites, with a breathtaking location to match. You'll catch the bus there and have a guided tour to hear all about the hidden secrets of this ancient site. After a long morning, you’ll return by bus to Aguas Calientes where you will enjoy lunch with your group to celebrate an epic successful adventure. You'll then continue your journey back to Cusco via the expedition train to Ollantaytambo, and then bus it from there. You’ll be back at your hotel with a drink in hand by 21:00, no doubt ready to drop.

Day 12

Time to head home

Colourful Andean textiles in Peru. Photo: Canva link:https://www.canva.com/photos/MAD5AIvSt6U-andes-textiles-cusco-peru/

Your Peruvian adventure draws to a close, it's time to head home. Your transfer will pick you up from your hotel in Cusco and take you to the airport in time for your onward journey.

Included

Guides

Local, certified, English-speaking guides

Accommodation

4 nights in hotels and 7 nights camping

Meals

All breakfasts, 10 lunches, 9 dinners

Transfers

Airport transfers and everything in between

Porterage

Porters and horses to carry your luggage on the trek

Equipment

All your camping equipment whilst on the trail

Permits

All your tickets and entry fees

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Visas where required

Alcoholic drinks

Some meals as described

Day 1

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3 – Day 9

Wild camping · Twin tent

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 10

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 11

Hotel · Twin share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 12

Departure day

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Food on Trek, Choquequirao, Peru - Action Treks Peru

Whilst trekking, an experienced chef will be on-hand to rustle up amazing meals in the middle of the mountains. Expect plenty of hot food and drinks at every meal. Snacks such as chocolate or granola bars, cookies, dried or fresh fruit will be provided in addition to three meals a day during the hike. Breakfasts typically include things like oats (or 'kiwicha', a local supergrain), eggs/omelettes, jam and toast, pancakes and granola. Lunches are usually soups, salads, pasta, or potato-based dishes and dinners tend to be three-course cooked meals complete with dessert.

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for – please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Tierra Viva Centro Hotel, Cusco - Action Treks Peru
Cusco

During your time in Cusco, you’ll stay in a centrally located boutique hotel, such as the stylish Tierra Viva Cusco Hotel or similar. This highly rated hotel is set in a classic colonial house just off the Plaza de Armas (Cusco's main square).

Camp set up on the Choquequirao trail. Photo: Host/Active Treks Peru
Choquequirao trek

During the trek, you'll camp at various points along the route. Your host will provide a four-man tent for every two people, complete with a Thermarest inflatable mattress and pillow. Your group will be accompanied by a camp chef and porters, bringing a kitchen tent, dining tent with tables and chairs, and a toilet tent with a portable loo.

Hatun Inti Class, Breakfast room - Action Treks Peru
Aguas Calientes

On the last night of the trek, you'll stay in the Hatun Inti Classic Machu Picchu hotel in Aguas Calientes for a good night's sleep before heading up to Machu Picchu the following day. Both hotels are modern, clean, very friendly and serve a brilliant breakfast.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private room and tent can be booked for an extra charge, see Optional Extras for the price. Please request this at the time of booking (this is subject to availability).

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Cusco Airport (CUZ)

Arrive any time on Day 1

Ends

Cusco Airport (CUZ)

Catch any flight home on Day 12

Transfers

Catch any flight you like into Cusco Airport: your host will pick you up on arrival and drop you off back at the airport on Day 12 (just bear in mind that if you arrive at the crack of dawn, your room may not be ready for check-in! The usual hotel check-in time is at 13:00). An arrival airport transfer is included even if you decide to arrive earlier than the trip start date – just make sure that you provide your flight details to your host.

Travel options

International flights into Cusco from Europe or the US generally involve one or two changes, often going via Lima. If you prefer to break up the journey, you could consider flying into Lima a day early, then booking an onward flight to Cusco the following day. Airport hotels are available in Lima or, if you have more time to spare, why not stay in the city's popular Miraflores district and use this as a base to explore the city? See Optional Extras below for prices for extra nights in Cusco or Lima, either before or after the tour.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Tent, inflatable mattress and pillow
  • Duffle bag for your personal belongings
  • Group oxygen bottle and medical kit

What's available to hire?

  • Sleeping bag
  • Trekking poles

What do I need to bring?

  • Day pack (25-35 litre)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Warm fleece or down jacket
  • Hiking boots (worn in)
  • Wicking base layers
  • Light long walking trousers
  • A few t-shirts
  • Hiking socks
  • Winter gloves
  • Beanie and sun hat
  • Down or synthetic feather sleeping bag
  • Warm layers for the first night camping at 4400m
  • Ear plugs
  • Trekking poles (recommended)
  • Head lamp
  • Sunglasses
  • Toiletries (toilet paper, wet wipes, personal towel)
  • Sunscreen (SPF 35+ recommended)
  • Insect repellent
  • Water bottle

FURTHER INFORMATION

  • You'll be given a duffel bag during the trek briefing to pack your trekking gear into. You'll have an 8kg limit per person for porterage, so you'll only need to carry your day pack.

  • Your camp crew will provide you with boiled water every day, which is safe to drink. Should you have any concerns about the water quality, please feel free to bring additional water purification tablets.

*Requests for optional extras can be made after booking on your “My Bookings” page

Sleeping Bag Hire

Payable Before Departure

Sleeping Bag Hire

Trekking Pole Hire

Payable Before Departure

Trekking Pole Hire

Pre/post accommodation in Cusco (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Cusco (Single)

Per Night

Pre/post accommodation in Cusco (Twin/Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Cusco (Twin/Double)

Per Night

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Single)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Single)

Per Night

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Twin/Double)

Payable Before Departure

Pre/post accommodation in Lima (Twin/Double)

Per Night

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

Payable Before Departure

Optional Private Room & Tent Upgrade

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 105kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. We partner with the World Land Trust to ensure this trip achieves Net-Zero emissions. We also support their Buy an Acre programme, helping local communities to buy and protect natural habitats in perpetuity, ensuring the protection of the reserve and its wildlife.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

Tougher than both the classic Inca Trail (and without any of the permit faff) and the Salkantay Trek, the Choquequirao Trek is a great challenge for those with good fitness who are after quieter trails and dramatic Andean landscapes. The two nights in Cuzco (3,400m) before the trek double up as acclimatisation days, but nevertheless – the steep terrain and high altitude will make the going tough at times. No previous experience is necessary, but you will need to be able to walk for 6-8 hours a day with considerable ascent and descent for consecutive days. Porterage is included, so you'll only need to carry a small daypack with extra layers and bits for that day.

Sure can! Over 70% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

Clean drinking water will be provided for you each morning and at meals. In an effort to eliminate plastic waste you must bring your own water bottle or hydration bladder with you. If you are concerned about the water quality, please feel free to bring additional water purification tablets.

Tips are not included in the trip cost. These are entirely at your discretion but there is an expectation to tip for good service. Your guide will help with advice however we suggest the below as a guideline:

  • We would recommend bringing 200 soles per person to contribute to the crew tips. If each Porter/Horseman were to receive 60 to 70 soles and your Chef received 120 to 150 soles per person from the group, this would be considered a generous tip, and your team would be delighted!
  • We recommend that your Guide is tipped personally and would suggest between 60 to 100 soles per person.

Of course, you are free to tip more or less and the amount should be reflective of your perception of service and quality - a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

The only thing you can say about the weather in Peru is that it is difficult to accurately predict. You can have beautifully clear hot days in the middle of the wet season and hail storms in the dry season – it’s one of the beauties of Peru.

In the Andes, there are two main seasons – wet and dry. The wet season runs from November to April and is wet but usually warmer overall. The dry season runs from May to October and has hot clear days but cold nights. As this trek reaches altitudes above 3000m expect chilly mornings at some of the higher campsites. If you're spending time in Lima before or after the trip then be aware that the season is the reverse of this so you can expect some grey skies.

When you trek in the mountains, there's always the risk of getting altitude sickness, regardless of how old, young, fit or unfit you are. We would expect most trekkers to feel some mild symptoms of altitude sickness (headache, sleeplessness, heavy breathing) when over 3000m. Our guides are trained to identify the symptoms of altitude sickness so if any more serious symptoms are noted, there is a strict procedure regarding extra care or a rapid descent or evacuation if needed. All of our trips have been designed with altitude best practice in mind so acclimatisation days have been built in and our experienced guides follow advice to ‘walk high and sleep low’.

We recommend checking out the country specific information and also talking to a travel nurse.

Yes, it is possible to leave excess luggage items at the start hotel in Cusco and pick them up at the end of the trip.

No, for this trek you do not need to organise a permit, and entrance to Machu Picchu is included in the price of the trip.

The Inca Trail has all the fame, but in our humble opinion, this is a better, less crowded trek. It passes through more dramatic landscapes, past Inca ruins, and still ends at Machu Picchu. It is widely regarded as one of the best alternative treks. You'll also evade the permit requirement and strict regulations that are enforced on the Inca Trail.

For current advice about travelling in Peru, have a read of the UK Foreign Office pages.

Owing to the nature of this trip, it is essential that your personal travel insurance policy provides cover to the maximum altitude visited on this trip (4630m).

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory for all of our adventures and you are required to provide your policy information before departing.

Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure. We also strongly recommend it includes cancellation and curtailment insurance, should you be unable to join your trip for specific reasons such as illness.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last-minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're always in good company on one of our adventures.

Our trips are typically made up of a mixture of solo travellers and small groups of 2 or 3 friends, with most in their 30s-50s.

Our sociable adventures are solo-friendly by design and naturally attract outdoorsy people with a shared mindset; a love for adventure, a desire to push themselves and meet awesome, like-minded people along the way.

It’s this camaraderie that has so often turned a great adventure into a life-changing one.

Don't just take our word for it:

  • 95% of people rate the group dynamics on our trips 5/5
  • 90% of people recommend joining a trip to make new friends
  • 75% of people have met people on our trips that they would now consider friends

See here for more info about the Much Better Adventures tribe.

Interested in a more exclusive experience? Opt for a 'Private Group' through the dates and prices tab to book this adventure for just you and your chosen companions.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

TRIP DEPARTURE DATES

August 2024

Saturday • 10th August 2024

to Wednesday • 21st August 2024
3 Booked • 11 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 14th September 2024

to Wednesday • 25th September 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 12th October 2024

to Wednesday • 23rd October 2024
2 Booked • 12 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 10th May 2025

to Wednesday • 21st May 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 24th May 2025

to Wednesday • 4th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 14th June 2025

to Wednesday • 25th June 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 28th June 2025

to Wednesday • 9th July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 12th July 2025

to Wednesday • 23rd July 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 26th July 2025

to Wednesday • 6th August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 9th August 2025

to Wednesday • 20th August 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 23rd August 2025

to Wednesday • 3rd September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 6th September 2025

to Wednesday • 17th September 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 27th September 2025

to Wednesday • 8th October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

Saturday • 11th October 2025

to Wednesday • 22nd October 2025
14 Spots left
Guaranteed to run

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