You may be wondering what the difference between the eight day and seven day trek to Choquequirao and Machu Picchu. Most of it is the same! The difference is that day six and seven of the eight day trek are compacted into one day. On this shorter trek you will travel all the way from the cloud forest to aguas calientes without spending the night in Lucmabamba. In reality, you won’t be missing out on much because the afternoon spent in Lucmabamba is an afternoon off designed to give you rest and the opportunity to explore the local hot springs or take a dip in the river. If this doesn’t interest you, the seven day hike may be the best option for you!.
Choquequirao is situated in the spur of the Salkantay mountain range at 3035 MASL – 9957 FASL. It is surrounded by the snowcapped Apus of Yanama, Ampay, Choquetacarpo, and Pumasillo on the right side of the Apurimac River. This trek will take you along Peru’s most historic routes allowing you to see these two complex metropolitan centers filled with palaces, temples, and ancient agricultural infrastructure. For lovers of history, nature, and adventure: this is the trek for you!.
DAY 2: Playa Rosalina | Maranpata - Choquequirao (Golden Cradle)
DAY 3: Choquequirao | Choquequirao Pass - Rio Blanco - Maizal.
DAY 4: Maizal | Minas Victoria - Yamana.
DAY 5: Yamana | Mountain Range - Totora.
DAY 6: Totora | Cloud Forest – La Playa – Aguas Calientes.
DAY 7: Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Cusco.
Cusco | Cachora - Playa Rosalina (Apurimac River)
We will start our lives anew after this trek! Your hotel in Cusco or the Sacred Valley provides breakfast, and then we will pick you up you and start the 5-hour car journey to the travelers crossing Cachora. Once there, we will meet the rest of team (horsemen, cooks, etc.). We then begin trekking uphill, crossing through the pass of Capuliyoc where we might see condors flying overhead! We will have a great view of the Apurimac Canyon and experience the valley’s lush microclimate. At our stopping point, we can see the location of Choquequirao from afar. Finally, we descend through a cactus forest to La Playa Rosalina on the banks of the Apurimac River, the main tributary of the Amazon River. Along the river, there is another microclimate. This first night, we will camp at La Playa Rosalina (1550 MASL – 5085 FASL).
- Distance : 22 km – 13.6 miles
- Climate : Warm
- Hiking time : 7 hours
Playa Rosalina | Maranpata - Choquequirao (Golden Cradle)
After a hearty breakfast, you will be given a bag of snacks to nibble on throughout the day. The first part of our day consists of a 4-hour ascent on a long, narrow trail. Our adventure starts by crossing by cable car over the wild river which is surrounded by dense vegetation with several varieties of orchids. Halfway up, we stop for lunch at Maranpata, where we have our first main view of the Choquequirao complex. We then continue hiking 2 more hours to Choquequirao (Golden Cradle), which is considered the sister city of Machu Picchu because of its several similarities. It sits 1500 meters/4921 feet above the Apurimac Canyon, and Machu Picchu sits above the Urubamba Canyon. In the afternoon, you will have free time to take in the sunset views of the canyon – it is spectacular! Here, it is also possible to see Andean condors soaring in the mountains. We will camp near Choquequirao (3050 MASL – 10006 FASL).
- Distance : 14 km – 8.7 miles
- Climate : Warm Day/Cold Night
- Hiking time : 7 hours
Choquequirao | Choquequirao Pass - Rio Blanco - Maizal.
Before breakfast, we recommend going to appreciate the magnificent sunrise from this picturesque spot! We will have breakfast at 6 AM. We start today’s trek passing through and exploring the Choquequirao ruins. We hike uphill through cloud forest, mountains, and valleys to reach the Choquequirao pass. After 5 hours trekking, the trail continues through agricultural terraces called Pinchinoyoc which means “water jumping forward” (2750 MASL – 9022 FASL). There we will see different species of birds, varieties of orchids, and local coca plantations. We will have our lunch near the Rio Blanco. We use the break here to take a refreshing dip in the cold, clear river water if you would like. We cross the river by walking because there are no bridges. On the other side, we start the long, steep climb to our camp in Maizal high over the river and closer to the sacred Apus of the Incas. This climb takes about 3 hours. This is the most challenging day. We will camp at 3000 MASL – 9842 FASL.
- Distance : 18 km – 11.2 miles
- Climate : Warm
- Hiking time : 9 hours
Maizal | Minas Victoria - Yamana.
Waking up on the hillside with the sounds of the forest and birds is a truly great experience! Recharging our energy with a good breakfast and following the trail upward, the landscape is lush green vegetation. If we keep up our motivation and the gods give us a clear sky, we will be able to just sit and appreciate the snow-capped mountains around us. The uphill climb today is around 7 hours to the summit, and this trail is historically important due to some archaeological remains and Inca channels along the way. We will pass by the impressive Incan mines called Minas Victoria, from which silver used to be extracted. and head toward the Victoria Pass (4200 MASL – 13773 FASL). This is a long climb, but we will walk through an absolutely breath-taking area, first with cloud forest and then over the Andean Puna with its well-known Ichu grass. As we approach the top, we can appreciate original paved Inca trails. We will have lunch on the pass with views of the mountains Choquetakarpo and Pedrayoc. While we have lunch, we will hopefully be able to appreciate the flight of the condors, depending on the climate. Finally, we will descend to our campsite at Yamana, a small village settlement at the bottom of a long valley surrounded by mountains (3800 MASL – 12467 FASL).
- Distance : 17 km – 10.6 miles
- Climate : Warm and windy day, Cold night
- Hiking time : 8 hours
Yamana | Mountain Range - Totora.
The native community of Yamana surrounds the base camp. We begin another long day with the big smiles of local children, the sun is shining on camp ground, the noise of a grand waterfall, and breakfast on a table outside to appreciate everything around us. We then start hiking uphill to the highest pass in this trek (5 hours). This is Yamana pass (4700 MASL – 15419 FASL). During the day, it is common to observe the Andean farmers growing potatoes in their fields and possibly even some frozen potatoes. Again, the view will be amazing from here as we will be surrounded by the mountain ranges of Saqsarayoc and Pedreyoc. Once again, we have the chance to see condors flying about, and this morning’s smooth climb brings us through new landscapes - especially the wet grass fields under the snowline and water stream. In the pass, we may be walking through snow in a new entrance to the Santa Teresa Valley. Here, we can observe one of the Incan Gods – Salkantay Mountain. Afterward, we descend on a long, foggy path through grassy fields and bush areas, crossing bridges on the way to the community of Totora. We will spend the night in tents, surrounded by native people and indescribable natural beauty!
- Distance : 20 km – 12.4 miles
- Climate : Cold and Windy
- Hiking time : 9 hours
Totora | Cloud Forest – La Playa – Aguas Calientes.
Today’s trek is more downhill, continuing along the original Inca trail in the forest to appreciate the depth of the jungle. Hiking will take 10 hours as we head back into the heat of the jungle to harvest some fruit as we descend to the Totora River. We will observe wildlife, such as hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and many species of orchids and begonias. We then take a trail on the left side of the Santa Teresa River where we will see small plantations of bananas, passion fruit, and coffee (which you can taste if you would like!). On the way, we will stop at small waterfalls along the way for refreshment. The climate and vegetation are very different here than on the other days of our trek. La Playa is the biggest village on the way as well first place with electricity, and here we will have lunch. There are also small shops here to buy snacks and water or use the restrooms. After lunch, we will drive a small van to Hidroelectrica for about 1 hour passing by Santa Teresa. We cross the river of Vilcanota and will have an excellent view of Machu Picchu and the Aobamba canyon from a different angle; another Inca trail can be seen here, as well. From Hidroelectrica, we hiking to Aguas Calientes for 3 hours. This last part of the trek is flat and surrounded by the mountains which house Machu Picchu. If you are tired, there is an optional train ride to Aguas Calientes (US $ 34.00) There is also the option to visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes. We will spend the night in a hostel in town, which will have hot water, wi-fi, and comfortable beds for you.
- Distance : 25 km – 15.5 miles
- Climate : Warm
- Hiking time : 10 hours
Aguas Calientes | Machu Picchu - Cusco.
Today’s Highlights: Your excitement for our rendezvous at Machu Picchu will rise as we are hiking early in the morning through the forest to reach the site before most other tourists – even the Inca Trail trekkers!! You will have plenty of time to explore this truly magnificent World Wonder while you enjoy the beautiful sunrise from this once-in-a-lifetime viewpoint. Your group will learn about this mystical place in a two-hour guided tour of the ruins. Afterwards, you can opt to climb Huayna Picchu or Machupicchu Mountain (if you have pre-booked tickets) or walk to the Sun Gate or Inca Bridge (without extra tickets).
Today we arrive at the long-awaited finale of our trek, one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site – Machu Picchu! We will wake up early after a refreshing night at our hostel to beat the crowds to the top of Machu Picchu and enjoy its serenity in the soft morning light. The Machu Picchu entrance check point is open from 06:00 AM until 17:00 PM. We will hike up to Machu Picchu (a bus ride is optional and included if you do not want to walk) and enter the hidden Royal Citadel of the Incas. Here we will have a 2-hour guided tour through this incredible ancient city to visit temples, terraces, palaces, priest’s houses, the sundial, the industrial sector, and the farming fields. Be amazed at the engineering ingenuity of the Incas which was so far ahead of their time and still partially a mystery today! Without having modern tools or even steel and iron to work with, the people who built this city were genius in organizing this community in a sustainable and beautiful way on the side of a mountain, even bringing water in canals through its streets for the people to use. When a Peruvian guide showed this site to Hiram Bingham, it was almost unrecognizable, covered in thick vegetation and in a state of disrepair. It has since been cleaned and restored and is now protected and treasured by the world at large!
After this tour, you are free to climb up to Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (Be sure to book in advance to get tickets for these!). Each mountain takes approximately 3 hours to hike up and down. Another lower-impact option for which you do not need an extra ticket is to trek to the Sun Gate, the main entrance from the Inca Trail (this takes about 2 or 2.5 hours round-trip). Another option is walking to see the Incan Bridge. You will be able to stay and enjoy this magical city for more than 7 hours before hiking back down to Aguas Calientes for the train ride at 6:45 PM to Ollantaytambo. A private bus will pick up our group and drop you off at your hotel in Cusco at about 11:00 PM. Rest your feet and your body now, but we can assure you your heart will still be soaring for weeks and years to come!
- Private transport from Cusco to Cachora trail head (starting point of the trek)
- Transport from La Playa to Santa Teresa and the Hidroelectrica train station (for all camping and personal luggage)
- One way Bus tickets up / down from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu
- Train tickets: From Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo (“Expedition” service with Peru Rail between 01:37 PM and 06:20 PM). Subject to availability.
- Hostel in Aguas Calientes
- Dinner in Aguas Calientes
- Entrance fee to Choquequirao
- Entrance fee to the sanctuary of Machu Picchu
- Professional, bilingual guide (Spanish and English)
- High quality camping equipment. Tents are big enough for 2 people. There will be mattresses, a dining tent with table and chairs, and a bathroom tent.
- Meals during the excursion (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks; Vegan, vegetarian, or other special menus available at no extra cost)
- Chef and cooking equipment
- Horsemen and cargo mules for all camping equipment and trekkers’ luggage (Up to 7 kg)
- Emergency horse for groups more than 8 people
- First-aid kit and oxygen bottle
- Sleeping bag
- Lunch on the last day in Machu Picchu
- Extra night at Aguas Calientes
- Inflatable mattresses
- Trekking poles
- Sleeping bag
- Clothing for warm and cold climates and a waterproof jacket
- Rain pants and lightweight pants
- Trekking shoes
- Slippers or sandals (for showers and hot springs)
- Woolen or synthetic socks and a sweater
- Long- and short-sleeved polos/t-shirts
- Rain poncho and hat
- Bathing suit (for the hot springs in Aguas Calientes)
- Sunscreen, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, water bottle and water-sterilizing tablets, toiletries, and toilet paper.
- Camera (wrapped in plastic bag), a flash light, and batteries
- Snacks like chocolate bars, dry fruit, and granola
- Extra money in soles (400 soles) in case of emergency and for tips
- Since the weather can be very cold and moist, your clothes, if wet, will not dry at night. Take some clothes to change.
IS IT FOR ME?
The Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu is a great alternative for the Inca Trail trek and better suited for more adventurous trekkers who are able to handle higher altitude and longer distances. Ascending to reach the famous Apacheta Pass at 4650 MASL - 15088 FASL is not too strenuous since it is at the beginning of the trek, neither is it very steep, but it does require stamina and a little time in Cusco to acclimatize to the altitude before beginning the trek.
This meeting will take place the night before the trek’s departure at 6 PM at our office which is located at Triunfo Street 392, Office 212 (second floor). We are 1 block from the Main Square (Plaza de Armas) of Cusco.
WHAT ABOUT THE BALANCE?
It would be greatly appreciated if you pay in cash at our office (US dollars or Peruvian soles) here in Cusco. We have many cash machines in the historical center to withdraw money. You can also pay by VISA or PAYPAL online but you will have to pay a 8% service charge, charged by VISA and PAYPAL. To pay your balance through PAYPAL, you need to log into your PAYPAL account using our email address of firstname.lastname@example.org
DUFFEL BAG FOR Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 7 Days
The evening before you start your trek, you will be given a SMALL DUFFLE BAG to pack your clothes for the next four days. Your weight allowance is up to 7 kg/15.4 lbs. Our horseman will carry your duffle bag for you together with the food and camping gear. It is important to be aware that you will not have access to your items in the duffle bag until the end of each day as the horsemen and horses will always be ahead of the group. During the travel, you need a day backpack big enough to carry your personal belongings such as a warm jacket, raincoat, camera, sunscreen, snacks, water, etc. Usually, a 30 to 50 litre backpack is sufficient.
CAN I STORE MY LUGGAGE AT YOUR OFFICE?
Of course! During the travel, your main luggage can be stored at our office or at your hotel, both free of charge.
HOW TO BOOK THE Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 7 Days
FIRST To make a booking, please email us to check availability and receive customized booking forms. You can also download a generic form from:
All clients will need to fill out a Passenger Details form.
Please be ready with the following information (FROM EACH PARTICIPANT in your group). We cannot purchase any Choquequirao Trek to Machu Picchu 7 Days permits or entrance tickets without the following information:
- Personal information (Full name, exactly as on your passport):
- Passport number
- Date of birth (dd / mm / yyyy)
Our Tour Guides
Your tour will be led by a trained and highly experienced professional with a very solid guiding background, years of hiking and wilderness experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into unforgettable adventures. More Info
After a challenging trek we know how important a good hot meal can be to prepare your body and warm you up. That’s why on every trek with Salkantay Trekking we employ chefs with years of experience cooking on the trails so that they provide filling.More Info
Meals: What to Expect
All of our hiking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola. More Info
Our Horseman and Horses
Our Horseman and his horses are in charge of all our gear and will always await us within the safe and comfortable camp sites. More Info
Terms and Conditions
Please complete the form below to request a reservation. One of our Trip Coordinators will contact you, often within two business hours, to confirm availability of the trip and/or provide you with other options. Once availability is established, we will ask for a deposit and a completed online registration to confirm your spot on the trek. Please call us at (+51) 958191179 with any questions or to confirm availability over the phone.