Trek to Choquequirao, Vilcabamba and Machu Picchu is the place where you will discover the great citadel of the last Inca kings and also have the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful ecosystem.
Vilcabamba is located northwest of Cusco, in the province of Convention, in the eastern mountain range of the Andes. It has a chain of snowy peaks and high forest mountains with constant climatic changes. The region is bounded by two very deep canyons, the Apurimac canyon on the left and Willcamayu on the right. Through both runs very fast rivers that have carved and still carve one of the most beautiful and spectacular landscapes of our Andean region.
We will leave Cusco early in the morning at approximately 5:30 a.m. First we will go to the small town of Cachora (2850m / 9350f), a pleasant place surrounded by beautiful mountains and the majestic Padreyoc glacier (5571m / 18278f). Here we will also meet our riders who will accompany us during the trip. After having passed the town of Capuliyoc (2800m / 9186f), we will continue descending to our camp called Chiquisca (1930m / 6332f).
After breakfast, we will first descend to La Playa Rosalina (1550m / 4921f) and then we will ascend to the town of Marampata (2850m / 9350f). From here we will have a beautiful view of the archaeological complex of Choquequirao (3033m / 9951f). If we are lucky, we will even see a condor fly at nightfall. Our camp in Choquequirao is about 25 minutes from the ruins at 2950m / 9678f.
At dawn, we will first go to the Citadel of Choquequirao called "Cradle of Gold", the "Cradle of Gold", and enjoy the tranquility in this place. Further on, we will explore this archaeological site, of which only 30% is restored, in more detail: we will visit the section of the palaces, the liturgical fountains, the temple of the high priest, the section of the llamas and the Ushnu. From then on, our trip continues towards the Choquequirao Pass (3270m / 10728f) and passes the archaeological site of Pinchaunuyoc (2450m / 8038f). Finally, we will go to the deepest point of the small canyon known as Río Blanco or Río Silvestre (1900m / 6234f), where our campsite is located.
After breakfast, we will begin the difficult ascent towards the tropical forest of Maizal (3000m / 9843f). After four hours, we will arrive at the community of Maizal where we will spend the night. Maizal is a pleasant place to enjoy a spectacular view of mountains and glaciers, such as the Qori Wayrachina (5512m / 18084f).
Our trip continues along the Inca trail. Due to errors, the road is not in good condition, so you should carefully observe its steps. First, we will ascend to the top of the San Juan pass (4170m / 13681f). From here, we will have a beautiful view of the valleys, mountains and glaciers, from where some reach more than 5000m / 16404f. Due to the constant changes of the ecosystem, the Vilcabamba mountain range is undoubtedly one of the most complex regions. Our campsite will be in the small town of Yanama (3530m / 11581f).
In Yanama we will experience the Andean life, its traditions and its costumes. Our hike continues up and down through tropical forests such as Urpipata, Yutupata (3300m / 10827f) and Tucarhuay and leads to the Quellccamachay cave. Our campsite is called Lazuna pampa (3800m / 12467f).
After breakfast, we will walk for a while until we reach the Choquetacarpu pass (4600m / 15092f). Here we will have a short rest and explore the area of the Andean mountains. If we are lucky we will also see a flying Condor. After our rest, we will descend to the small town of Pillaupata (3200m / 10499f), where our campsite is located.
In the morning, we will visit the archaeological sites of Vitcos Rosaspata (3080m / 10105f), Ñustahispana (Yurac Rumi) (3050m / 10007f) and recent excavations. From then on, we will ascend the Azutina Pass (4000m / 12975f) and descend to our camp site in Inca Wasi (3600m / 11811f).
During the day we will see parts of the Inca Trail that lead to the Racachaca community (3700m / 12139f), where we will have lunch. We will also meet some Andean families, who will tell us something about their customs and traditions. Our campsite will be in Hatún Pampa (4000m / 13123f).
This day is characterized by constant ups and downs and ecosystem changes. First we will walk to the Yanacocha pass (4420m / 14501f), Tullu Tacana (4500m / 14764f) and Mojón (4500m / 14764f). Later, we will descend to the Cocha Laco lagoon (3600m / 11811f). Our camp site will be in the cloud forest of Mutuypata (3250m / 10663f), home of the Andean bear.
In the morning we will enjoy the biodiversity of orchids, bromelain and other plants, and we will see coffee, avocado and papaya plantations. In Yanatile (2100m / 6890f) we will take a public transport called "truck" to Santa Teresa (1850m / 6070f). In this city we will spend the night in a family hotel. If you wish, you can also visit the hot springs in Santa Teresa.
We will get up at 7:00 a.m. and we will have breakfast, then we will continue the walk towards the hydroelectric power plant. We will pass many waterfalls and especially one that falls from 45m. approx. After that, we will arrive at the hydroelectric power plant to rest and have lunch. Then we walk for 3 hours to reach our final destination ... HOT WATERS. Here we will have our accommodation and dinner, then we will have the informative meeting about Machu Picchu for the next day.
Note Between the city of Hidroeléctrica and Aguas Calientes we will stop to visit Mandor Park, where we will reach wildlife such as the famous orchids and all the others.
We will leave our hotel after breakfast at 5:30 am and head towards Machu Picchu (2400m / 7874f) by tourist bus. We will arrive at the citadel around 6:00 a.m. After a guided tour of the archaeological site, which includes information about the life and culture of the Incas, you will have enough time to enjoy Machu Picchu and Wayna Picchu (2750m / 9022f) on your own. We will leave Aguas Calientes by train at 2:55 p.m. or at 6:10 p.m. Until then, you will have time for lunch in one of the good restaurants. In addition, you can visit the hot springs in Aguas Calientes to relax a bit.
Choquequirao is 3,033 meters above sea level (m.s.n.m.).
Choquequirao houses Inca buildings as impressive as Machu Picchu, such as: the Main Square, the Colcas, the Inca Cemetery, the Kallankas, the Ushnu, the Andenes, etc.
Choquequirao continues in the excavation process. It is estimated that to date, only 30% of the original Inca site has been valued.
According to research done in Choquequirao, it is estimated that the Inca site was built around 1536.
Due to its similarity with Machu Picchu, it is believed that the Inca Pachacutec founded the place. His son Túpac Inca Yupanqui would be the one who ordered the construction of Choquequirao.
The archaeological site of Choquequirao has a mild climate. The walk to this place has a hot climate due to the proximity of the so-called ‘Apurimac Canyon’.
The best time to visit Choquequirao is during the high tourist season (from April to October). During those days, there is little chance of rains so the walks are safer.
Choquequirao is a difficult and demanding but not dangerous walk. The paths that lead to the archeological site are well signposted. During the rainy season (from November to March), there may be landslides or the flooding of the river so it is not advisable to do the walk at that time of the year.
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