Follow the path of Hiram Bingham throughout this adventurous journey into the deepest depths of historical Peru where you will be able to experience breath-taking natural and cultural wonders. This adventure trek connects three stunningly located Inca sites that Bingham discovered over 100 years ago. Supported by mules you follow old Inca Trails to traverse the entire Vilcabamba mountain range from the Apurimac to Urubamaba river joining the stunning sites of Choquequirao, Llactapata and Machu Picchu. From arid canyons and high mountain passes, to the warm moist air of the jungle this 65km journey is one of the most spectacular and diverse treks in the whole of the Americas. This expedition encompasses real adventure, natural wonders and the local history of the region which impresses any traveller looking for a memorable experience.
This 7 day adventure is truly an amazing once in a lifetime experience. Incorporating some of the most beautiful views Peru has to offer, this itinerary is suited for advanced trekkers who love to explore and challenge themselves in everything the destination has to offer. To ensure you have an astonishing experience on the Choquequirao to Machu Picchu Trek we work closely with local partners.
CHOQUEQUIRAO TO MACHU PICCHU TREK ITINERARY
Day 1: Drive to Cachora and Trek to Chikiska (L, D)
We leave Cusco and drive off to the beautiful village of Cachora. Your trekking team will be waiting for you near the trailhead. After an early lunch you start to descend the switchback trail, 1600m (5250ft) into the Apurimac canyon and the small settlement of Chikiska where you camp for the night.
Day 2: Chikiska to Choquequirao (B, L, D)
After a delicious breakfast, we continue our trek down to cross the roaring Apurimac River. Once we have successfully crossed the river we will climb past the small communities of Santa Rosa and Maranpata to our camp which is situated next to the Choquequirao ruins. The path is good but it is steep and can get very hot at times. This is a long tough day requiring an early start but the scenery more than makes up for the hardships endured.
Day 3: Explore Choquequirao (B, L, D)
A fifteen minute walk takes you to the main square of the Choquequirao ruins. Perched on a tiny hilltop, 1,700m (5580ft) above the Apurimac, the location and views are awe-inspiring. The ruins cover an area far bigger than Machu Picchu. Enormous curving terraces, ritual baths and a fine main plaza are just some of the highlights. Those with the energy can even descend to see the famous white stone llamas laid into the rock. After a great day of exploring you return to base camp to relax and ponder upon all that you have learnt and seen.
Day 4: Choquequirao to Maizal (B, L, D)
We leave early for a short climb to the pass. Then it is downhill 1400m (4600ft) past the recently discovered ruins of Pincha Unuyoc to the Rio Blanco where we can dip our feet in the cool waters. Just be aware of the biting sand-flies which are known as ‘Pumahuacachi’ which means ‘makes the Puma cry’. Refreshed, we start our next trek, 1200m (3900ft) to the small and beautifully located of Maizal at an altitude of 3,000m (9840ft). This is probably the toughest day of the trip but if you are well prepared and are determined, you will succeed. There will be a cold beer waiting for your arrival at camp.
Day 5: Maizal to Yanama, drive to Lucmabamba (B, L, D)
After leaving camp we climb past the old silver mines to the highest pass of the trip. Abra San Juan at 4,000m (13123ft), affords spectacular views of the Cordillera Vilcabamba mountain range. We then take a delightful and at times precipitous path down the charming Andean village of Yanama where we will say goodbye to our arrieros and climb aboard the waiting vehicle for the spectacular drive on a brand new road over the Totora pass and down to the small hamlet of Lucmabamba.
Day 6: Lucmabamba to Llactapata to Machu Picchu Pueblo (B, L, D)
Today we embark on our final day of trekking. We will take a spectacular Inca trail up through lush coffee and tropical fruit plantations and into pristine cloud forest. As the path crests at the ridge, old Inca walls appear out of the forest we will then step into the recently cleared ruins of Llactapata. Hiram Bingham made his way up here too but the map he drew was so bad, neither he nor anyone else could find the ruins again for 80 years. In the mid 1990’s an Anglo-American team found them once more, totally covered over by thick jungle vines. From here we have the option to either wait for the short but spectacular train ride, or hike two to three hours along the rail-track to the bustling town of Machu Picchu Pueblo and our hotel for the night.
Day 7: Machu Picchu Tour (B, L)
Today we will explore the pinnacle of Inca engineering – Machu Picchu. This astounding site lies in an even more astonishing location. T hings are slightly easier now than in the time of the Incas and so we start our day with a twenty minute bus ride to the site. Please discuss with your guide what time you wish to arrive at Machu Picchu. The guided tour takes around two hours leaving you a few hours free to wander amongst the old Inca walls and just sit and take in the scale of the place on your own. For those who want to walk a bit more, you could take the hour long trail up to the Sun Gate, or a shorter trail to visit the Inca Bridge which once spanned a sheer cliff face. At the end of the day we will take the bus down to Machu Picchu Pueblo and board our train back along the Urumbamba River. The scenery is beautiful and the train jolts softly along, allowing us to further enjoy the views as we stare out the window and reflect on all we have seen.